You’ve got to fight… For your right… To protect your work from copyright infringement! it does have quite the same ring does it?
But that’s basically what the Beastie Boys have been saying as they go head-to-head with energy drink brand Monster in a court case that has seen lawyers explaining the meaning of the word “dope” to the judge and err… pictures of Mike D in a sailor costume.
The case revolves around a video which Monster put out to promote their “Ruckus in the Rockies” event two years ago, which featured a mashup mix of several Beasties tunes.
“The case that has seen lawyers explaining the meaning of the word “dope” to the judge and err… pictures of Mike D in a sailor costume.”
Because the event was held a few days after the death of founding Beasties member MCA, Monster thought they’d hold a party in his honour, and put “RIP MCA” at the end of the video.
But the remaining two Beasties are apparently less than happy that their music was used without permission, and used in what they argue is an advert.
Apparently there was even a clause in MCA’s will that stated that his image or work shouldn’t be used for any advertising, so even the “RIP MCA” (which Monster’s people presumably thought was a nice tribute) is controversial.
An honest mistake
To be fair to Monster, it sounds like they made an honest mistake. They put out a statement in which they explained that they believed they had the rights to use the mashup “Beastie Boys Megamix” as the DJ who made the mix had given them permission.
“Monster in good faith believed it had obtained the rights to use a compilation of certain Beastie Boys music. The music that Monster used was provided by one of the DJs [Z-Trip], who told Monster he had permission. “
They also went on to say that as soon as they realised what was up, they’d taken the video down. And the statement also implies that Monster would probably be happy to pay the Beasties for the mistake. But they just think the $2 million the Beasties’ lawyers are asking for is a bit steep.
They’re arguing that because the video only had 14,000 views, the more modest sum $125,000 would be more reasonable.
Meanwhile the Beasties for their part were keen to point out that it was just the infringement they were against, not the content of the actual video itself. Ad Rock said: “We come from a community of snowboarders, skateboarders [and the] extreme sports world, so we’re enthusiasts of that,” when he testified.
“Ad Rock said: “We come from a community of snowboarders, skateboarders [and the] extreme sports world.”
It all sounds like a bit of an unfortunate misunderstanding to us. It’ll be interesting to see what the judge decides.
But how does Mike D in a sailor suit come into all this? Well, check this quote from Billboard Magazine’s Andrew Flanagan, who was sitting in the court room in New York:
“During cross examination the defense tried to establish that the Beastie Boys’ claim of never licensing their work for consumer products, which Adam Horovitz [that's Ad-Rock to you and me] called “a form of selling out,” wasn’t true.”
“This entailed Horovitz examining several pictures of Mike Diamond posted in a sailor outfit for a watch promotional campaign. Asked if it was Mike D in a sailor costume, Horovitz responded with a smile “He sure is.”
“It seemed to take everything in Horovitz’s power not to laugh out loud as the defense brought forth a gargantuan poster featuring Mike D’s sailor picture for the jury to examine.”
Now there’s a scene we’d like to have seen…