Many companies use popular music in their promotional videos and advertisements. Using a well-know artist's or band's music is a common technique to promote your own brand, but if you use a band's music in your ads without their permission, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
A recent case involving the Beastie Boys and Monster Beverage Corporation highlights the legal issues a company can face for using a band's music without their permission. The Beastie Boys won their copyright infringement and false endorsement lawsuit against Monster after the company used their music in a promotional video without their permission. The band was awarded $1.7 million for the copyright violation.
The lawsuit was filed against Monster after they used a mash-up of Beastie Boys' songs in a promotional video for a snowboarding contest. The video was published online and featured several of the band's songs. After the video was published, the band informed Monster that they didn't have permission to do so and filed the lawsuit against the company.
During the trial, Monster said they thought they had permission to use their music but admitted to copyright infringement and said it wasn't intentional. After the Beastie Boys won the lawsuit, Monster said they would appeal the ruling, saying they only believed they should have to pay $125,000.
This lawsuit is an example of the legal action businesses can face if they use a band's music in any advertisements or promotional materials without the band's permission. Copyright infringement lawsuits can result in costly awards depending on the outcome of the case so it is best for business owners to make sure they are not violating any copyright laws when they are creating ads and promotional materials.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Beastie Boys Win $1.7 Million In Copyright Battle With Monster Beverage," Nate Raymond and Bernard Vaughan, June 6, 2014