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Monster to 'face the music' over Beastie Boys flap

California based energy drink maker, Monster, has been embroiled in legal troubles stemming from accusations about the amount of caffeine in its drinks and how it reportedly has caused a number of deaths. Now it is fending off allegations that it used several recordings without permission in promoting an event.

According to a Bloomberg.com report, Capital Records, LLC and Universal-Polygram International Publishing Inc. are suing Monster over the drink maker’s alleged use of several Beastie Boys tracks in a video shown at a snowboarding event in 2012. The recording companies reportedly own the rights to the songs and claim that Monster did not seek their permission before using them to promote the event.

According to court filings, the companies are seeking $1.2 million in damages, and a court order that prohibits Monster from using the music in promoting other events in the future. It is unknown at this point what defenses Monster may offer to defend itself, or whether it intends to formally deny the allegations raised, but it creates some important questions over what must (or should) be done before an advertiser creates a promotional scheme for a company or entity using copyrighted material.

Generally, some type of release or license must be obtained that details the method (or limits) to what the copyrighted material may be used for. That way, the permission given is clearly explained and questions about it can be resolved in a reasonable manner. It also creates an understanding surrounding the payment of royalties for the material. 

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Klein & Wilson

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