Adam Yauch’s will bans ads from using Beastie Boys music

Dead rapper MCA forbids the use of his 'image, name or music' in commercials

LAST UPDATED AT 14:50 ON Fri 10 Aug 2012

THE WILL of Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch, who died earlier this year, contains a clause that prevents his music and image from ever being used in advertisements.

Many dead celebrities, including John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, have been resurrected by marketers and have been used in commercials, but before his death Yauch was determined to make sure he never endorsed any products from beyond the grave.

The rapper, known as MCA, inserted a clause that reads: "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."

According to Rolling Stone magazine, which has seen the document, the phrase "any music or any artistic property created by me" was added in handwriting.

However, the instruction could create a legal headache with regards to the Beastie Boys' back catalogue, almost all of the band's work is attributed to the Beastie Boys, rather than individuals.

"While Yauch's instructions are clear with regard to his own image and music, it's not clear how these wishes affect the Beastie Boys' legal right to license the group's songs for advertisements," notes The Guardian.

The Atlantic Wire website suggests that Yauch's widow, Tibetan human rights activist Dechen, would have the final say in any commercial decisions.

So far they are all in agreement. On Wednesday, a day after the will was filed in New York, the remaining members of the band, Mike Diamond, aka Mike D, and Adam Horowitz, or Adrock, together with Dechen Yauch launched a lawsuit against energy drink company Monster. They claim it used Beastie Boys tracks for promotional purposes without their permission.

The will names Dechen Yauch as the executor of his estate and leaves his $6.4m fortune to her and their daughter, Tenzin Losel.

Yauch died in May at the age of 47, three years after he was diagnosed with cancer. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.