Beastie Boys Face Off Against Monster in Fight to Protect Brand


The remaining two members of the Beastie Boys, the hip-hop icons of “Fight for your right” fame, are indeed doing just that this week in a Manhattan court for a trademark suit against Monster Energy Drinks. 

Before the group’s third member, Adam “MCA” Yauch passed way just over two years ago, Yauch made it his will that the band’s music or its likeness not be used in any form of advertising. But just a few days after Yauch’s passing, Monster uploaded a video of excerpts of its recent snowboarding event set to the beat of five Beastie Boys tracks. The video ended with the words “RIP MCA” in Monster’s brand typeface, according to Billboard

While Monster admits it made a mistake, the beverage brand is balking at paying out the reported $2 million settlement that the band and Yauch’s estate are asking for in return for “damages for the song licenses and another $1 million for the ‘implied endorsement.'”[more]

According to a statement that Monster provided to Pitchfork, Monster “initially believed (it had) received permission to use those songs,” but once it was told that it didn’t, it immediately took down the video, which it said had garnered “less than 14,000 views in the brief period it was online.”

The suit with Monster is just the latest trademark dispute that the Beasties’ management team has launched. Back in March, the band settled a suit with toymaker Goldieblox, which used an altered version of its song Girls in an web video, for an undisclosed amount.

The Beasties aren’t adverse to partnering with brands, by the way. The band’s website promotes a co-branded line of colorful watches produced by Nixon, with proceeds supporting the Brooklyn park that New York City renamed in Yauch’s honor last year.

Whatever Monster ends up having to pay, the amount could probably be easily taken from the wallet of CEO Rodney Sacks without much alarm. According to AP, Sacks topped the list of CEOs receiving whopping raises last year, thanks to a 679 percent compensation hike to $6.2 million.