Law School Case Brief
Boys v. Monster Energy Co. - 983 F. Supp. 2d 338 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
To form a valid contract under New York law, there must be an offer, acceptance, consideration, mutual assent, and intent to be bound.
Beastie Boys, along with affiliated plaintiffs, filed claims of copyright infringement and of violations of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq., and the New York Civil Rights Law (NYCRL) § 51, arising out of Monster's 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 a third party complaint against Zach Sciacca, a/k/a "Z-Trip," the disk jockey ("DJ") who, with the Beastie Boys' permission, originally made the remix. Z-Trip furnished the remix to Monster. Monster's complaint alleged that Z-Trip authorized Monster to make unrestricted use of the remix, including the Beastie Boys' original compositions and recordings contained in it, in its promotional video. Monster sued Z-Trip for breach of contract and also for fraud, the latter based on the claim that Z-Trip falsely represented to a Monster employee that he had authority to permit Monster to use the remix for its own purposes. Z-Trip moved for summary judgment on Monster's claims against him.
Was there a valid contract between Z-Trip and Monster?
The court granted Z-Trips’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed Monster's third-party complaint. It was found that there was not a valid contract under New York law, since the communications between the DJ and Monster did not constitute an offer or acceptance and there was a lack of consideration. The alleged terms also did not grant Monster the necessary rights. Monster’s fraud claim was also dismissed because it failed to show that the DJ acted with fraudulent intent and that there was any motive to defraud it. Further, the summary judgment record was devoid of evidence that Monster undertook any effort to investigate these matters.
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