Well here’s an interesting twist in the land of pop music…
A band otherwise known at the Rubinoos has brought a lawsuit against Avril Lavigne, Dr. Luke, RCA Records and of businesses, Apple Inc.
The lawsuit contends that Avril & her co-writer Dr. Luke ripped off their song from 1978 called “I wanna be your boyfriend”. Well now, that’s an interesting proposition. Is it plausible that this happened? Sure, is it reality? Not likely. Granted if I wrote a song and had someone else write something that sounded really damn similar I’d be pretty pissed about it. Oh wait, I have. However, the reality of having to prove it in court is downright near impossible. You have to prove access. Then you have to prove damages.
I would say that despite being pretty much unknown (until now) the Rubinoos could probably prove access. Unfortunately they’re a minor band with minor hits, and most of the those hits were cover songs they didn’t write. Lets not think about that part of it. What they’re upset about is that Avril has a line in her song that is similar “Hey, hey, You, you, I want ta be your Girlfriend” to their line “Hey, hey, You, you, I wanna be your Boyfriend”, but that’s only in the words. Now, if you play them back to back, you’ll hear a similarity in the first four beats Hey, hey, You, you…
Uh oh, wait a minute, I think I’ve heard that Hey, hey, You, you thing before and by a band who did it in the 60’s no less. Would that be The Rolling Stones? I digress.
The next part of each phrase is similar: I want ta be and I wanna be. Yeah, I think there’s some similarity there, then one finishes with Girl and the other with Boy. Melodically, you can’t escape the first beats, they’re shouts and rhythmic. But the last half of the hook, is where it digresses a little and while similar – it is not the same. To top it off when you put in the next part of each line they vary even more. I’m posting a comparison video also found on youTube.com for you to hear. Let me warn you that it does sound similar but it’s not the same, copyright infringement is where it has to be the same.
Actually, I had no idea who the Rubinoos were. I’m sure Avril didn’t either. I’m even betting the Stones had no clue who they were too. My guess is this is what will happen…
The Rubinoos likely don’t have much money. They’re still attempting to gain spotlight exposure on a career that seems to span 1975 to well, now. Who knows what radar they are under, as I’m sure most people had no idea who they are until this lawsuit. Thus, with them bringing on a lawsuit with a hope and a prayer means that if they win (which isn’t likely) they’ll makes some money. Reality is they’re probably looking to get a settlement. Which could happen because to defend the case it could cost something like $300,000. If the Rubinoos lost that case and had to cough up $300,000 for Avril’s defense, they’ll likely claim bankruptcy. In which case, Avril still proves she innocent, but is now out a stupid sum of money.
To make it even more perplexing, they’re suing RCA – actually I understand that because the label should double check things before they’re released (though, I bet it cleared their lawyers). They’re also suing Apple Inc. That one is mind-boggling stupid. Apple has absolutely nothing to do to the copyright infringement of the song. They’re merely a distributor that is hired to sell. Seriously, if they’re suing Apple, they need to sue F.Y.E., Best Buy, Wal Mart, Target, Amazon, etc… They all carry the music too.
My own thought is that its not close enough to warrant a lawsuit. Hey, (hey) it’s America, the land of suing for nothing.
Here’s the Rubinoos version done to Avril’s video – that could probably be a countersuit eh?
Oh, and my thoughts are that if by some act of God that the Rubinoos actually win this suit, I would like to see the Rolling Stones sue’em immediately afterward for copying Hey, hey, You, you, get off of my cloud which has just the same amount of melodic similarity. I mean c’mon if the Stones aren’t suing Avril, do the Rubinoos really have a chance?
p.s. I’m not a huge Avril fan, but I know some of her band. BTW – this is all the exposure The You-know-whos will get here.
(** Disclaimer: If Avril or the Rubinoos decide I’m infringing on their ability to write good songs, I’ll have have to remove the video links. The post will remain to show how I feel you’ve got to rip off more than 4 words to have a case. **)