The late Beastie Boys star Adam Yauch, who died earlier this year, has used his will to ban advertisers from using his music to sell their products.
Yauch, who was also known as MCA, died of cancer in May at the age of 47. His will was filed in New York this week with a series of restrictions on the use of his artistic work that prohibits companies from using Beastie Boys tracks in advertisements. Filed at Manhattan Surrogate court and seen by Rolling Stone magazine, it read: "In no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes." Part of the stipulation was written in Yauch's handwriting.
The will hands the right to sell and manage his artistic property to his widow, Dechen Yauch. The $US6.4m estate will also be put into trust for his widow and their 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel.
This week the surviving members of the pioneering rap group filed a lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink over alleged infringement. The group claims Monster used their tracks in its promotional material. British Airways came up against the group in court in 1984 after sampling Beastie Revolution without permission for one of its ads, resulting in a $US40,000 payout.
It is not clear how the will's conditions will affect the remaining Beastie Boys and how they choose what to do with their music. Yauch founded the Beastie Boys with Mike Diamond, known as Mike D, and Adam Horovitz, or Ad-Rock, in New York in 1979. After starting in hardcore punk, the group moved into rap and hip-hop.
The breakthrough came with the 1986 release of Licensed to Ill, the first rap album to reach the top of the Billboard charts in the US. The band's hits include (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party), Sure Shot, Intergalactic and Sabotage.
Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after a tumour was discovered in a salivary gland. The illness delayed the release of the group's most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two. Yauch did not attend the Beastie Boys' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. Described as a "musician, rapper, activist and director", Yauch was a strong supporter of Tibetan independence and set up the Tibetan Freedom Concert events.
Companies have regularly looked to deceased artists and actors to sell their products. Apple's Think Different campaign used John Lennon, while Ford used special effects to put Steve McQueen into one of its Puma cars. In 2007, Dr Martens released an advertising campaign featuring dead musicians including Kurt Cobain and Joey Ramone, wearing their boots, which caused outrage from those connected with the musicians.
- THE INDEPENDENTBy Nick Clark