Daniel Law Blog

Comments on developments in law, arts, entertainment, and business

Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Case Goes to Trial re Copyright Infringement & Endorsement

The Bestie Boys began a jury trial on their claims for damages against the Monster Energy drink company on Tuesday, May 26, 2014 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer in the U.S. District Court in New York City.  

Monster admits that it used several Beastie Boys songs and names without permission in a video promoting a Monster-sponsored snowboarding event, but claims that Monster acted in the good faith belief that it had permission.  Monster admits copyright infringement but denies that its actions also violated the Lanham Act prohibition on misleading endorsements and argues that the Beasties cannot recover damages separately for copyright infringement and the false endorsement claim.  The parties are far apart on the value of the claims.  

The Beasties Boys seek a million dollars per song plus a million for the alleged false endorsement.  Monster argues that $93,750 is reasonable compensation for both the unauthorized use of the songs and the claimed endorsement.  The jury will have to resolve the parties' wildly different view of appropriate damages.  The trial is expected to last through June 2nd or 3rd.  Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Company, 12 Civ. 6065 (S.D.N.Y.).