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Beastie Boys Win A Fight For Their Copyright

Rapper Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz leaves a New York City courthouse Thursday.
Larry Neumeister
Rapper Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz leaves a New York City courthouse Thursday.

The Beastie Boys have won a $1.7 million verdict against the makers of Monster Energy drink in a copyright infringement dispute over the company's use of the band's songs in a 2012 promotional video.

The Beastie Boys, who shot to prominence in the 1980s with such hits as "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" have zealously guarded the use of their music. In fact, Adam Yauch, aka MCA, who died in 2012, left explicit instructions in his will that "in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."

Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, the two surviving members of the iconic trio, attended much of the eight-day trial before a Manhattan federal jury. They had sought $2.5 million but Horovitz said, thanking the jury, that "we're happy" with the outcome.

According to Reuters, Reid Kahn, a lawyer for Monster Beverage Corp., said the company would appeal the decision. During the trial, Monster maintained that it had mistakenly believed it had permission to use the music and countered that it owed the band members no more than $125,000.

Earlier, during testimony in the trial, Diamond reportedly said that after Yauch's death from cancer two years ago, he and Horovitz had "not been able to tour.

"We can't make new music ... [and] we do not let our music get used in commercials for commercial products," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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