Beastie Boys Awarded $1.7 Million in Monster Energy Lawsuit

Beastie Boys, Monster

Beastie Boys Awarded $1.7 Million in Monster Energy Lawsuit

Rap group wins copyright battle against beverage company after two years of fighting.

Published June 6, 2014

The Beastie Boys won $1.7 million in their legal showdown against Monster Energy drink Thursday (June 5), the Associated Press reports. After deliberating for one day, a jury ruled that the beverage company violated copyright law by using the group's music in an online promotional video that ran for five weeks.  

Despite admitting fault, Monster plans to appeal the verdict. The company says they owe a maximum of $125,000. "Although Monster Energy has great respect for the verdict of the jury, we strongly disagree with it," Monster lawyer Reid Kahn told Rolling Stone. "We will make an application to the Court to set aside the verdict and we intend to file an appeal. From the inception, Monster Energy has been willing to resolve this matter in a fair and equitable manner and we will continue to make additional efforts to reach a just resolution of this dispute."

Surviving Beastie Boys members Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond testified during court proceedings and were on hand for the ruling. After court, Horovitz said he and Diamond were "happy" with the verdict. 

The hip hop legends brought a $2.5 million copyright and false endorsement suit against Monster in 2012, after the death of group member Adam "MCA" Yauch. A stipulation in Yauch's will states that his name, image, music or "any artistic property" created by him, cannot be used for "advertising purposes."

Monster used the songs "Sabotage," "So What'cha Want," "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" and "Pass the Mic" for their promotion. The songs were posted on the company's website alongside a 23-minute medley of the group's music (which was made available for download), originally pulled from a DJ set at a Monster-sponsored event in Canada, days after Yauch's death. 

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(Photos from left: Roger Kisby/Getty Images, Monster Energy)

Written by Latifah Muhammad


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