Beach Boys Get The Sue Me, Sue You Blues

Published: 2005-11-07
Beach Boys singer Mike Love has launched a lawsuit against Brian Wilson, his cousin and former bandmate, over the release of Wilson's 2004 album, Smile. The album was originally recorded by The Beach Boys in the mid-60's but went unreleased, attaining lost-classic status and an attendant mythology in the interim, until Wilson finally decided to complete and release it himself last year.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday (November 3), accuses Wilson of "shamelessly misappropriat(ing) Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself." Love is seeking damages in the millions of dollars, citing "illicit profits", and has also asked for US $1 million to fund an advertising campaign "to correct the effects of ... unfair competition and infringing uses." Love also seeks damages related to a promotion in which over 2 million Beach Boys compilation CDs were given away to readers of a UK newspaper, alleging that it weakened sales of the band's back catalogue.

Despite the lawsuit, Love's lawyer insisted that the singer's relationship with his cousin remained friendly. "Mike has a lot of affection for Brian and they have a good relationship and cordial relations," said Phil Stillman. "There's obviously some problem with the way Brian's (associates) have promoted the albums." However, added Stillman, "they remain family and the co-founders of a very important band in rock and roll history."

Love has the exclusive right to perform under the Beach Boys name, having successfully sued former bandmate Al Jardine in 2001 in a battle over the right to tour under the band's name. Jardine now tours with Wilson's daughters, Carnie and Wendy, under the rather unwieldy name Alan Jardine Family & Friends Beach Band.

Writer: Neil McDonald



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