Avril Lavigne has responded to news of a pending lawsuit against her, filed by songwriters who claim she ripped off one of their tunes with her smash hit, “Girlfriend.”
Songwriters Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Lavigne and co-writer Lucasz Gottwald lifted their 1979 song, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” which was originally performed by new wave band The Rubinoos.
In an open letter on her official Web site this week, Lavigne defended herself against the allegations:
“You may have heard some news that two guys who wrote for some band from the 1970s I have never in my life heard of (sic) called the ‘Rubinoos’ are trying to sue me,” she wrote. “They have a song called ‘I Want To Be Your Boyfriend’ that has no musical similarities to the song ‘Girlfriend’ that Luke Gottwald and I wrote together. They claim that a small part of the lyrics are the same and are saying that I took these from them. I had never heard this song in my life and their claim is based on 5 words! All songs share similar lyrics and emotions. As humans we speak one language.”
A second, four-page civil complaint also reportedly charges music labels Almo Music and RCA Records, along with Apple, of willingly treading on the copyright for the song.
The claim reportedly states that any company publishing the work — whether it be Lavigne’s labels or Apple’s iTunes Store — is guilty of allowing the infringement to continue.
A statement released today by Lavigne’s manager, Terry McBride, refutes the claims made in the pending lawsuit:
I have read the following quote from Tommy Dunbar of the Rubinoos.
“While it’s true that we filed suit some time ago, we hesitated to go public to save Avril and her handlers any embarrassment,” Tommy Dunbar said. “We learned over the July 4th holiday that her management and spin doctors have apparently decided to preempt things with their revelation of the lawsuit.”
This is simply a lie. I challenge them to provide one iota of proof to back up this claim. We did not say a word about the suit out of respect for the dialog that was ongoing. The numerous phone calls from the media seeking comment on the suit started on July 4th. We were blind sided and simply responded.
We also find it ironic that in the Suit they named Apple as a defendant, what a great way of getting it out there to the media.
On the topic of Apple, it seems like the Rubinoos have an issue with the Beatles among other great bands. This quote is directly from the Rubinoos Myspace page “Bands that have ripped us blind: the Raspberries, The Beach Boys, The Beatles”
As we have clearly stated, upon the expert opinion of one of the country’s foremost musicologists, there is no basis for this claim.”
But Dunbar disagrees.
“We are not so naive as to chalk it up to some sort of cosmic coincidence,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press Thursday. “The lyric, the meter, the rhythm — they’re identical.”
The first court date has been set for Aug. 28 in Oakland, California.