Universal Music Slaps Monster Energy With $1.2 Million Lawsuit Over Beastie Boys Music

One of Adam “MCA” Yauch’s final wishes was that his music never be used for commercials or promotion

Last Updated: September 24, 2014 @ 5:56 PM

Universal Music, which co-owns the Beastie Boys’ recordings, is suing Monster Energy for $1.2 million over copyrights, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in New York.

The energy beverage recently lost a $1.7 million lawsuit filed by the band for using several songs in a video promoting a snowboarding event in May 2012, just days after the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch at age 47.

Also read: Beastie Boy Adam Yauch Banned Commercial Use of His Music in Will

According to Universal Music’s latest complaint, “Without the Plantiff’s consent, Monster and/or entities acting at Monster’s direction synchronized and recorded the Beastie Boys compositions and Beastie Boy Recordings together with usual and other material to create promotional videos for Monster products.

“Monster posted the video on a number of websites,” stated the lawsuit. “Monster’s unauthorized creation and distribution constitutes infringement on the Plaintiff’s copyrights.”

The incident in question involved an Alberta, Canada, event where Beasties scratch-era contemporary DJ Z-Trip paid homage to Yauch with a long medley mix.

Also Read: The Muppets Rap Beastie Boys ‘What’cha Want’ (Video)

DJ Z-Trip had permission from the Beasties to use the songs — including “Pass the Mic,” “So Whatcha Want” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” — but Monster did not have permission to distribute the performance. The company made the remix available for free download, even though one of Yauch’s final wishes, expressed in his will, was that his music never be used for commercials or promotion.

Monster later sued DJ Z-Trip for breach of contract and fraud, blaming him for the mix-up and claiming he told a Monster employee it was OK to use the remix without restriction. A U.S. District Court judge dismissed that claim and granted summary judgment to Z-Trip.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report. 

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