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Beastie Boys seeking over $2 million in legal costs from Monster drink

By | Published on Tuesday 20 January 2015

Beastie Boys

If Monster Energy Drink thought that having to pay $1.7 million to the Beastie Boys for the uncleared use of the group’s music was way over the odds – and it very much did – then it will presumably balk at the suggestion that it should pay another $2.4 million in legal costs. But that is what reps for the rap outfit are requesting.

As much previously reported, Monster used a mix of Beastie Boys tracks in a promotional video documenting a snowboarding event it staged in 2012, and which was posted online shortly after the death of the group’s Adam Yauch.

Showing what might be best dubbed as ‘some naivety’ regarding how music licensing works, it transpired that the team involved in making the promotional video assumed they’d got the all clear to use the music after the DJ who mixed the soundtrack said the final edit was “DOPE”.

Monster admitted copyright infringement for using Beastie Boys tracks without permission, but said that damages in the region of $125,000 would be more appropriate. Reps for the rappers pushed for a much bigger damages sum and won $1.7 million in a jury trial last summer, a ruling which was upheld on appeal in December.

But a new legal filing by lawyers working for the Beastie Boys says that the big bucks win was actually something of a ‘Pyrrhic victory’, because legal costs associated with the litigation had reached nearly $2.4 million, leaving the trio out of pocket overall.

According to Billboard, the musicians’ lawyers argue that the way the Monster company behaved during the legal battle added to those legal costs and, therefore, it should foot the bill. A legal filing last weekend cites Monster’s failure to engage in “good-faith negotiations” and its bid to have the original ruling overturned as reasons why the drinks company should be held liable for the group’s legal fees.

The lawyers write: “Monster’s tactics significantly increased the costs for Beastie Boys to vindicate their intellectual property rights, such that, absent an award of attorney’s fees and costs, plaintiff’s success at trial would become a Pyrrhic victory”.

Monster is yet to comment on the new claim.