Copyright infringement cases have always been common among recording artists. Artists in the hip-hop genre have traditionally been more prone to these types of suits as the borrowing of hooks and beats is widespread. Musicians such as David Bowie and Rick James have been involved in copyright infringement. More recently, work by the musical group LMFAO has been the subject of this type of litigation.
The Beastie Boys have recently made and won a claim of copyright infringement. After group member Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away in 2012, Monster Beverage Inc., the company that produces Monster energy drinks, put out a video with a compilation of Beastie Boys tracks played by DJ Z-Trip. A download of these songs was also issued along-side the video. The video was sponsored by Monster and the download was available through their site.
Unfortunately for them, Monster overlooked one important factor before issuing the video and download. The Beastie Boys have traditionally been against the use of their music in a commercial capacity. Adam “MCA” Yauch was particularly against this as evidenced by a specific clause in his Last Will and Testament. So, the remaining members of the group, Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovits, brought suit seeking $2.5 million in damages. The court eventually found for them and awarded $1.7 million. The group members seemed to be pleased with the ruling.
Using someone else’s copyrighted work without permission often results in a legal problem. In a case where the owners of the copyright are openly against the use of their work, one should be exceptionally careful. Copyright infringement is a very serious matter that often involves very complicated issues. In order to get the best possible outcome in these types of cases, it is important to obtain the representation of an experienced intellectual property attorney.
Thomas M. Lancia is experienced in the litigation of copyright infringement cases. He represents clients who are claiming copyright infringement or are accused of it. If you have a copyright infringement issue, call Thomas M. Lancia at (212)964-3157 for a consultation today.