The Beastie Boys sued Monster Energy drinks under Lanham Act for the allegedly unauthorized publication of a promotional video that used as its soundtrack a remix including songs originally composed and recorded by the Beastie Boys. Monster brought third-party claims for breach of contract and fraud against a DJ, who originally made the remix (with the Beastie Boys' permission) and furnished it to Monster. After discovery, the Court granted the DJ summary judgment dismissing the third-party claims.
First, the Court found that there was no binding agreement between the DJ and Monster. "...[A] reasonable
juror could not find an offer, sufficiently clear acceptance, or consideration, e.g., a legal duty which Monster incurred to Z-Trip, let alone all three." Second, the Court found that there was no fraud.
"In sum, if Monster is liable to the Beastie Boys, it may not shift legal responsibility for such lapses to Z-Trip. Any such liability on Monster’s part would arise instead because Monster left these matters in the hands of an employee insensitive to the legal issues presented by making derivative use of, and commercially exploiting, the Beastie Boys’ original work. In musical terms, Z-Trip can now, therefore, rest at least “as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce,” because Monster’s Third-Party Complaint against him has “got the rhyme and reason but no cause.” Beastie Boys, So Watcha Want (Capitol Records 1992). It is therefore dismissed, with prejudice."
The Court, in a separate order, further urged the parties to settle the case rather than to go to trial. [Doc. 53].