The Ghost Of Beastie Boys’ MCA Protects Legacy From Corporate Sabotage
Following the death of Beastie Boy, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch earlier this year after he tragically lost his battle to cancer, many have been wondering what happens next in the hip hop luminaries’ career. Producer Mario Caldato Jr. for one, revealed in June that there’s a wealth of material left over in the Beasties’ vault that could be released in the near future, but one thing’s for certain, you won’t see any Beastie Boys classics selling a car any time soon, or soundtracking an advert for butter.
Rolling Stone reports that the last will and testament of founding member Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, who passed in May overnight at the age of 47 after his three-year long struggle with cancer, contains a particular clause that ensures that even from beyond the veil, he can ensure that his music and art can’t be used to shill for advertising.
Instructions in the pioneering rapper’s will make it clear that he’ll be spared the fate of other deceased musicians whose work has been used to promote products long after they’ve passed away.
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes,” reads a copy of the will, and according to Rolling Stone, the phrase “or any music or any artistic property created by me” was reportedly added in handwriting.
The will, filed in the Manhattan Surrogate Court last Tuesday, says the Brooklynite’s $US 6.4million fortune – earned from his Beastie Boys output and his independent film distribution company Oscilloscope – will be entrusted to his wife, Dechen Yauch and 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin.
It also says that Dechen has the right to sell and manage his artistic property, so technically, if she (for some bizarre reason) did want to sully her husband’s music for some corporate shilling; she could supercede his will. Though there’s no reported mention of fellow bandmates Adam ‘Ad Rock’ Horowitz or Michael ‘Mike D’ Diamond in the late MCA’s will, presumably they have some legal say in the use of their music.
Which is why they’ve also just launched a lawsuit against energy drink manufacturer Monster Energy, for allegedly using their songs in online promotional videos with the proper license or permission.
According to the lawsuit which was filed last night, the promotional videos were “comprised substantially of excerpts from the Beastie Boys Sound Recordings and the Beastie Boys Musical Compositions totaling more than three minutes in duration.”
The songs in question include “Sabotage,” “So Whatcha Want” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun.” with ”the text accompanying Monster’s internet postings, video and MP3 conveyed to consumers the impression that Beastie Boys permitted the use of their name and intellectual property, and participated in connection with Monster’s promotion of its products and events”.
The Beastie Boys are seeking unspecified damages for alleged copyright infringement and various other intellectual property violations.
Still, hypotheticals aside, Yauch has ensured the integrity of his legacy and ‘artistic property’ in a piece of forward-thinking that shows he was worth all the respect due to him; which is more than we can say for some artists (here’s looking at you John Lydon).
“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”, declared Johnny Rotten on stage at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in 1978 as he finished the Sex Pistols' last ever performance. Selling out to the man and using music for commercial purposes was once a no-no for artists who wanted to maintain their credibility with fans and critics. Legendary comedian Bill Hicks once infamously said, if artists were to sell themselves or a song to an advertisement, they’d be "off the artistic roll call forever. You're another whore at the capitalist gang bang … Everything you say is suspect and every word that comes out of your mouth is now like a turd falling into my drink." In a day and age where most artists can barely afford to live off their recording sales, it’s suddenly an ambition for a band or artist to soundtrack an ad or have their song used in a TV show – it’s one of the few remaining decent paydays out there. However, does it erode their artistic credibility? Join us as we countdown some of our favourite rock n’ roll sell outs! Watch this slideshow »