Two years ago, the Beastie Boys filed a breach of copyright suit against Monster Energy Drink when the company used the band’s music in promotional materials for the Monster Energy-sponsored snowboard competition Ruckus In The Rockies. Those materials (namely a Monster-commissioned mix by DJ Z-Trip that included several Beastie Boys’ songs) allegedly started appearing five days after the death of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, whose will specified that neither his music nor his likeness be included in any advertisements. The Beasties were reportedly seeking damages of $150,000 for each violation, as well as demanding Monster stop using their likenesses. Monster, meanwhile, claimed it had permission to use the content, as granted by a one-word email reply from Z-Trip which simply read: “Dope!”
After a trial held at New York City’s Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, with surviving Beasties Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond in attendance — and Ad-Rock taking the stand (and laying out for all involved the definition of “dope”) — the verdict is in, and the rappers have emerged triumphant. Per Reuters, the group sought up to $2.5 million, while Monster countered with a claim that they owed at most $125,000. After a federal jury convened, the Beastie Boys were awarded $1.7 million.