Hey, the Beastie Boys won another court case! Last year, a court ruled that the makers of Monster Energy Drink would have to pay the group $1.7 million for unauthorized use of their music. And now, the Beasties are being let off for unauthorized use of other people’s music. The label TufAmerica, which struck a deal years ago with some members of the D.C. go-go group Trouble Funk, tried to sue the Beasties for using unauthorized samples of Trouble Funk’s music on the group’s 1989 masterpiece Paul’s Boutique. (The Beasties recorded the album when unlicensed samples were the norm in rap.) But a judge ruled that TufAmerica doesn’t have an exclusive license on those Trouble Funk songs.
As Billboard reports, U.S District Judge Alison Nathan granted the Beasties a summary judgment. The decision doesn’t set any precedents on sampling law. It simply establishes that TufAmerica needed to make deals with all three members of Trouble Funk, rather than just two of them, before filing suit. Two Trouble Funk members made a copyright-administration deal with TufAmerica in 1999, but a third was left out. People paying attention to the case predicted that outcome last year.
In other Beasties news, my friend Zach Baron wrote a really great Ad-Rock profile for GQ.