Beach boys brawl | SierraSun.com

Beach boys brawl

LAW REVIEW, Jim Porter

One of my all-time favorite bands, The Beach Boys, is battling. I think I have every album they ever did. Will vinyl ever come back?

Originally, The Beach Boys were Al Jardine, Mike Love, and brothers Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson. Dennis drowned in Marina del Rey after some serious drinking. Carl died several years ago from cancer. Brian, the musical genius and writer of most songs, reportedly took too many drugs in the old days and has never been the same.

Even my kids like The Beach Boys.

They now recognize Beach Boys’ music on the radio, and can distinguish them from The Beatles and the Stones: “Dad! We can tell the difference between The Beach Boys and the Stones. How many times are you going to ask?”

Over the years personal difficulties arose between some of the band members. Mike Love, who lives in Incline, and Al Jardine no longer wanted to tour together and Brian Wilson did not want to tour at all (All of this trivia comes from a new court case).

The band members and their agents got together as directors of Brother Records, Inc. (BRI) and granted each Beach Boy a non-exclusive license to preserve the Beach Boys’ style and provide royalties to the group.

Beach Boys family and friends

Al Jardine proposed a license that would pay a 5 percent royalty to BRI on the first $1 million of gross receipts and a 17.5 percent royalty thereafter.

BRI proposed a 17.5 percent royalty across the board, which was agreeable to Mike Love who tours as The Beach Boys.

Jardine then countered he did not need a license because he was touring under the name “Beach Boys Family and Friends” (with an emphasis on Beach Boys), not “The Beach Boys.”

BRI sought an injunction.

Beach Boys band II

Jardine and his band performed in locations and dates close to Mike Love’s licensed “The Beach Boys” shows.

Show organizers were confused, as was the general public. On occasion concertgoers who attended one of Al Jardine’s shows thought they were going to see The Beach Boys.

Actually if they were at a Beach Boys’ concert, they would see only Mike Love as an original, although other band members like Bruce Johnson have toured with The Beach Boys for many years.

Beach Boys win

Ultimately the federal court cited other cases like Fuddruckers, Steppenwolf, New Kids on the Block, and Playboy, concluding that Al Jardine infringed upon The Beach Boys’ trademark.

The court ruled that Jardine’s use of the name “The Beach Boys”, improperly suggests sponsorship or endorsement by BRI and is confusing to event organizers and concertgoers.

So Al Jardine is no longer The Beach Boys or The Beach Boys Family and Friends. Mike Love is The Beach Boys, or if you are precise, The Beach Boy.

Fortunately, the “good vibrations” live on.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter-Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno.

He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firm’s Web site http://www.portersimon.com