Beastie Boys seek $2 million from Monster for copyright infringement
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer for the Beastie Boys on Wednesday urged jurors to make Monster Beverage Corp pay at least $2 million for copyright infringement, saying the energy drink maker used their songs without a license in an online video.
Kevin Puvalowski, the Brooklyn-born band's lawyer, said in closing arguments in a trial in Manhattan federal court that Monster's unauthorized use of its music in a 2012 promotional video was "absolutely egregious."
Beastie Boys members Michael Diamond, or "Mike D," and Adam Horovitz, or "Ad-Rock," sat as spectators in the courtroom as Puvalowski told jurors Monster had hoped to benefit from how "cool" his clients' had become, without their permission.
"They didn't care if their employees were stealing from the Beastie Boys," he said.
Reid Kahn, Monster's lawyer, acknowledged the energy drink maker had infringed the Beastie Boys' copyrights but said it was because an employee thought the company had permission to use the music.
He said the band's demands for damages and claims Monster intended to steal the music to make it look as if the Beastie Boys endorsed the drink were "contrary to common sense."
"The plaintiffs try to take the undisputed evidence and spin some tale of an insidious corporate conspiracy," Kahn said.
Monster has asked jurors to award the band no more than $125,000.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2012, centers on a video promoting an annual snowboarding competition the company organizes and sponsors in Canada called "Ruckus in the Rockies."
The video, posted on Monster's YouTube channel, featured the competition and an after-party attended by DJs, including Z-Trip. It included a remix by Z-Trip of Beastie Boys songs, including "Sabotage" and "Make Some Noise."
The four-minute video concluded with a sentence saying "RIP MCA." Adam Yauch, a Beastie Boys member who went by "MCA," died a day before the snowboarding event after a battle with cancer.
The Beastie Boys complained to Monster in June 2012, saying it did not have permission to use its music. The lawsuit followed.
Diamond and Horovitz, who both testified, have been regularly seen in the Manhattan courthouse since the trial began on May 27.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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