Beastie Boys rapper testifies at NY trial

NOT ENDORSING DRINK: The Beastie Boys' Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz
NOT ENDORSING DRINK: The Beastie Boys' Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz

A Beastie Boys rapper says the legendary hip-hop group would never license songs to endorse commercial products.

Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz testified in federal court in Manhattan. He was called as the first witness in a lawsuit the group filed against Monster Energy Company, a beverage maker. The lawsuit claims copyright infringement and unfair competition and seeks more than US$2 million (NZ$2.33m) in damages.

A lawyer for the Corona, California-based company told the jury that Monster Energy "technically did violate the copyright."

But the attorney, S Reid Kahn, said the company should only owe the band between US$93,000 and US$125,000 for five weeks when the video was online. He said the video had fewer than 14,000 views.

Horovitz is to return to the stand tomorrow.

AP