Beach Boys settle dispute over name

April 2008


The surviving members of the beach boys (Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love) have settled a decade long dispute over the use of the “Beach Boys” mark which the original members joint company (Brothers Records) granted to Love in 1998. The agreement was reached after two days of talks mediated by a Los Angeles superior court judge and covers the payment of Love’s outstanding estimated $2 million legal bills following his successful claims and the use of the band’s name in the live environment.

The Guardian 22 March 2008

See past details of Love’s action against Wilson in Music Law Updates December 2005 below:

Beach Boy Mike Love has filed a law suit against cousin and former Beach Boy Brian Wilson over the latter’s release of the concept album Smile which Wilson released in 2004 and a free CD giveway. The suit alleges the misappropriation of Love’s songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark. Smile was first recorded in 1967 but was disowned by Love and the album was, in effect, a Wilson solo project. However album was never completed and Wilson suffered a breakdown and withdrew from public life. Wilson was the Beach Boys main songwriter and although most tracks on Smile are written by Wilson and lyricist Van Dyke Parks, Love co-wrote the classic ‘Good Vibrations’ and maintains a share of the copyright in this. The trade mark issue relates to the band’s name: The remaining band members continued to perform after Wilson’s departure although both Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson have now died (in 1983 and 1998 respectively). Love has continued to perform as the Beach Boys and has a licence to do so granted by Brother Records Inc which owns the Beach Boys Trademark. Brother itself is equally owned by four original members, Brian Wilson, Alan Jardine, Mike Love and the Estate of Carl Wilson. Alan Jardine tours as the Endless Summer Band after being prevented by court order from using the name ‘the Beach Boys’. The actual Smile album was released as ‘Brian Wilson presents Smile’ and whilst this might not infringe the Beach Boys’ trade mark, the new litigation seeks damages from a free give away by UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday where 2.6 million copies of a promotional ‘Free Beach Boys classic CD performed by Brian Wilson’ were given away. The Mail on Sunday’s promotional text described the 10 track CD as ‘ a free ten-track CD, Good Vibrations, featuring the Beach Boys’ most-loved songs performed by Brian Wilson …. “ Love seeks damages for loss of sales of legitimate Beach Boys product amongst other remedies.

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