Beastie Boys file suit against Monster Energy

Complaint claims unauthorized use of music in Web promo campaign

The Beastie Boys have filed a copyright claim against Monster Energy Drink in connection with a Web promotional campaign.

Underscoring the zealousness with which musicians are taking to protect their recordings and brand image, the group’s attorneys filed suit in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday, claiming the beverage maker used their music in promos including a video for an event called Ruckus in the Rockies, where their compositions and recordings were used for more than three minutes. They also claim Beastie Boys were used in a video posted on Monster’s website and in social media, and that Monster linked to an MP3 with a 23-minute medley of the group’s music. The video and MP3 were in turn posted to other sites, like Snowboardmag.com.

By featuring the name Beastie Boys in text, as well as the name of Adam Yauch, the founding member of the group who died on May 4, Monster’s promotions gave the impression that the group gave their permission, the suit states. It claims that the videos were posted on or about May 9.

The suit claims copyright infringement and violation of the Latham Act, which governs trademarks and endorsement. It also cites violation of New York’s civil rights law. It seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction, as well as statutory damages of $150,000 for each infringement of their works.

A spokeswoman for Monster did not return a request for comment.