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Beastie Boys Sue Chili's Owner Over 'Sabotage' Advertisements

Beastie Boys Sue Chili’s Owner Over ‘Sabotage’ Advertisements

(Reuters) – The Beastie Boys have taken legal action against restaurant owner Brinker International in a New York federal court. The lawsuit claims Brinker used the iconic rap trio’s 1994 hit song “Sabotage” in advertisements for the Chili’s restaurant chain without obtaining permission.

According to the complaint filed on Wednesday, the group alleges that Brinker unlawfully featured “Sabotage” in social media ads for Chili’s, misleadingly suggesting that the Beastie Boys endorsed the casual-dining chain.

Representatives for the Beastie Boys and Brinker have not yet commented on the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday.

The Beastie Boys, who originated in New York City in 1981, disbanded in 2012 following the death of founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch from cancer. That same year, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Sabotage,” a single from their 1994 album “Ill Communication,” is particularly famous for its music video, which parodies 1970s television police dramas.

The lawsuit contends that Brinker posted social media ads for Chili’s featuring “Sabotage” without securing a license. One ad purportedly showcased “three characters wearing obvious 70s-style wigs, fake mustaches, and sunglasses,” aiming to remind viewers of scenes from the “Sabotage” music video.

The complaint further states, “The plaintiffs do not license ‘Sabotage’ or any of their other intellectual property for third-party product advertising purposes. Deceased Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch even included a provision in his will prohibiting such uses.”

The Beastie Boys accused Brinker of copyright infringement and trademark rights violations. They are seeking at least $150,000 in damages and a court order to prevent Brinker from using their music.

In a similar case, the group won a $1.7 million jury verdict against Monster Beverage Corp in 2014 for using their music without authorization.

Source: Reuters