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Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock testifies: 'We like sports'

Thursday - 5/29/2014, 11:38am  ET

Beastie Boys rapper Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz leaves federal court in Manhattan with his wife Kathleen Hanna after testifying at a copyright trial stemming from a lawsuit his musical group brought against a beverage maker over the use of five of their songs in a video, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister)

LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Beastie Boys rapper Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz had an easy answer Wednesday for a lawyer asking why the hip-hop group refuses to endorse products but licensed its music for a watch company's snowboarding video.

"We like sports," Horovitz told the lawyer for beverage-maker Monster Energy Co. He said snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing are all hits with the band he started with two others in the 1980s when he was a teenager.

The testimony came at a trial stemming from a lawsuit the band brought against the Corona, California-based Monster.

The company admits it violated the Beastie Boys' copyrights by including its songs in a video that was online for five weeks. But it insists it should owe no more than $125,000, partly because it was viewed fewer than 14,000 times. The band wants over $2 million.

On Tuesday, Horovitz testified immediately after opening statements, saying flatly: "We don't license our songs for products."

Cross-examined by attorney Dana Michelle Susman on Wednesday, Horovitz agreed that the band had licensed songs for use in a video made by a watch maker. But he said it was because his fellow band mate was friends with the company's owner and because the proceeds were destined for charity.

He said it was also natural that the band would support outdoor sports. The music included at least three Beastie Boys songs and accompanied video of snowboarders doing stunts and speaking on camera.

"We come from a community of snowboarders, skateboarders, extreme sports world, so we're enthusiasts of that," he testified.

At one point, he tried to steer the conversation back to Monster.

"We're here because Monster Energy used our music without a license," Horovitz said.

After testifying, Horovitz returned to the first row of the courtroom's spectator section, where he sat with his wife and watched John Silva, his Los Angeles music manager, testify about contracts.


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