Here's why The Beastie Boys are suing Monster: So THEY don't get sued by MCA's estate, because THEY violated the terms set forth in his Will.
Fuck all the school, training and hard work it takes: Throw a couple of legal sounding words together and, poof, you're Alan Fucking Dershowitz.
MCA hand wrote this on his Will: "In no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."
Nice job, fucktard. Great way to fuck your band and your family over.
Why, you ask? Cause MCA doesn't understand the difference between publicity rights and copyrights. BECAUSE HE'S NOT A FUCKING LAWYER!!!!
See, he refers to his "name and image" which have value and must be licensed under publicity rights. But as soon as he writes "music and artistic property", he's triggered copyright law, and that's where he's fucked the Beasties and his wife and daughter.
'Cause I'm guessing he isn't the exclusive owner of the copyrighted material that The Beastie Boys created.
If all three own the copyright, he can do what he wants with his portion, but he can't limit the other co-owners, which he does by creating an illegal perpetuity via his Will. You can't tie the hands of a co-owner if all co-owners haven't agreed to it.
And how vague and overbroad is "advertising purposes"? If you use the plain language construction of his restriction, that means you could never sell another DVD, CD or record with his face on it, including their back-catalog.
And while everyone's being a fucking amateur attorney, take a look at some caselaw on mandatory compulsory license. See, if your song was publicly distributed, you can't prevent others from sampling it (like every Hip-Hop song in the world) or covering it (like every shitty karaoke instrumental in the world), EVEN IF THE OWNERS DECLINE TO GIVE PERMISSION AND/OR DERIVE ANY PROFIT FROM IT.
(Shocking, huh? And you know why you didn't know that before?!? BECAUSE YOU'RE A FUCKING SHORT-ORDER COOK, NOT AN ATTORNEY. Let's make a deal: I won't try to fuck up a simple breakfast order and steal tips from waitresses, you don't try to be a fucking adjunct Professor in Contract Law.)
And just wait until MCA's wife has to file a 1041 and pay estate tax! Mr. Yauch's crayon-scribbled addendum just put into question what his copyrights are publicity rights are worth, because who the fuck knows what the estate is allowed to license?! They'll have to assign a value to the source of future income for the 2011 filing.
So, Monster did nothing wrong via the mandatory licensing act(s), but the Beastie Boys certainly may have violated the terms of MCA's Will, which will get them sued by the Estate, who in turn will be liable as a counter-defendant when they're counter-sued for trying to enforce a perpetuity.
Good fucking luck.