It's the episode of Law & Order we'll never see ripped from the headlines, sadly. The best of intentions can often lead to the worst of litigation. The Beastie Boys are suing Monster Energy Drinks over the use of their music in an ad from 2012. Monster states that the mistake was a good faith mistake in a statement it released as the trial begins today
Monster has no intention of litigating this matter in the media, but since the case has now received publicity we felt we should let the public know the facts as we see them. Monster in good faith believed it had obtained the rights to use a compilation of certain Beastie Boys music for an Internet video. The video recounted a snowboarding event in Canada that Monster sponsored where the after party featured many Beastie Boys songs played by the DJs in honor of the recent death of one of the Beastie Boys’ members. The music that Monster used was provided by one of the DJs [Z-Trip], who told Monster he had permission. When Monster was notified by the Beastie Boys that the company was mistaken in its belief that it had the proper authorization, Monster immediately removed the video from the Internet. The video received less than 14,000 views during the brief period it was online. This lawsuit is solely about what, if anything, Monster must pay to the Beastie Boys because of Monster’s good faith mistake. In Monster’s view the Beastie Boys are demanding sums that are far beyond any reasonable fair market value.
On face value it does sound like a misunderstanding. On the other hand The Beasties have been very outspoken in the use of music for commercial use. It's even spelled out pretty fully in their 1998 song, a very underrated and one of my favorite Beastie Boys songs, Puttin' Shame In Your Game from 1998's "Hello Nasty":
Don't grease my palm with your filthy cash
Multinationals spreading like a rash
I might stick around or I might be a fad
But I won't sell my songs for no TV ad
Seems pretty cut and dry. The Beasties are asking for $1 Million dollars. Monster would much rather have that number capped if they are found at fault.