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Beach Boys vs. Katy Perry? A warning, not a lawsuit

August 5, 2010 |  3:22 pm

Katy Perry-Snoop DoggThe publishing company that control the rights to the Beach Boys’ 1966 hit “California Girls” isn’t suing Katy Perry and rapper Snoop Dogg over her recent, similarly minded chart-topper “California Gurls,” as has been reported in stories circulating on the Internet.

But Rondor Music International has sent a warning to Perry, Snoop — a.k.a. Calvin Broadus — and their co-writers and publishers arguing that Beach Boys founding members Brian Wilson and Mike Love should receive co-writing credits because Perry’s record lifts the phrase “I wish they all could be California girls” from the original record.

“Using the words or melody in a new song taken from an original work is not appropriate under any circumstances, particularly from one as well known and iconic as 'California Girls',” Rondor said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Rondor Music, who publishes the works of Brian Wilson and Mike Love, is committed to protecting the rights of its artists and songwriters, and with the support of the writers, that is exactly what we are doing.”

Wilson and Love each told The Times recently that they are fans of Perry’s song, which spent six weeks in the No. 1 slot on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. In the version that includes a rap from Snoop Dogg, the Long Beach rapper speaks the line near the end of the record, the first single from her new album, "Teenage Dream," set for Aug. 24 release.

"The melody is infectious, and I'm flattered that Snoop Dogg used our lyric on the tag," Wilson said. In a separate interview, Love asked, “What’s not to like?”

Publishers, however, have different agendas than musicians, hence Rondor’s letter of notice to Perry’s camp. “We have established diminutive claim,” Rondor’s statement said. “It is up to the six writers and various publishers of ‘California Gurls’ to decide whether they honor the claim or not.”

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Perry and Snoop Dogg at the MTV Movie Awards in June in Los Angeles. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters


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