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Avril Ripped for Allegedly Ripping Off "Girlfriend"

7/6/2007 4:06 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Avril Lavigne has gotten herself into a deeply complicated mess, with two '70s songwriters claiming that she stole their song for her hit single "Girlfriend."
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In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Northern California, songwriters Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer allege that "Girlfriend" rips off their 1979 song, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," originally performed by The Rubinoos, whose previous claim to fame was penning the theme to "Revenge of the Nerds." Veteran music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote on Billboard.com that "Girlfriend" was "a total lift" from "Boyfriend."
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Lavigne's manager tells the AP that the claim is baseless and that he hired a musicologist to study the two tracks -- and that they've been deemed "completely different songs." Decide for yourself below ...

UPDATE: Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer, the songwriters who recently brought a legal action against Avril Lavigne and Dr. Luke that claimed that the hit Lavigne/Dr. Luke song "Girlfriend" infringed the copyright in their 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," have issued the following statement: "We are satisfied that any similarities between the two songs resulted from Avril and Luke's use of certain common and widely used lyrics. We therefore completely exonerate Avril and Luke from any wrongdoing of any kind in connection with the claims made by us in our lawsuit."

229 COMMENTS

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61.

K.D.    

I think Avril is the skankiest thing i have seen in a long time besides Ms. Spears. I hope she hangs for this!! Stupid B*tch!!

2574 days ago
62.

wtf    

She ripped off "Contagious" from her former friend/collaborator Chantal and didn't give her any credit for it...needless to say they are no longer friends. Come on now...did anyone really think she wrote her own stuff....except for maybe skater boi....."he wasn't good enuf for her....." lol

2574 days ago
63.

Draax    

An American suing?
STOP THE PRESSES!

2574 days ago
64.

Brett    

There is a degree of similarity, but I don't know that I would call it a lift. In fact, it's a bit of a stretch to make that argument.

2574 days ago
65.

Heaven    

Listen to the WORDS ... They are Not the same Words at all ....

2574 days ago
66.

Tara Tennent    

This chick is so annoying and really fake, trying to be all tough and rock n roll..I bet she listens to boy band music in the privacy of her basement..and her best friends are probably the Olsen Twins..

2574 days ago
67.

Smith    

"57. her song sounds similar, but far better than the old one. I doubt she ripped it off, that song is old and no one has ever listed to it except the 2 people suing her."

Some of you are truly clueless... having the "better" song doesn't make it ok in the eyes of copyright laws. The song was part of a fairly successful movie franchise.. I truly doubt only 2 people heard it.

2574 days ago
68.

Mia    

Sounds exactly the same, although I like her version better.

2574 days ago
69.

ziggy stardust    

I can't wait to see what Avril's response is, but after listening to both the first thing that came to mind was when Vanilla Ice was trying to explain how the music (specifically the base line) to Ice Ice Baby was completely different than Freddi Mercury/David Bowie's 'Under Pressure'. says Vanilla: "if you listen closely you'll hear that that extra 'Duh' in there. "Under Pressure goes 'duh duh nuh nuhnuhnuhnuh'. "Ice Ice Baby" goes 'DUH duh nuh nuh nuhnuhnuhnuh'. Funny stuff!

2574 days ago
70.

Lisdog    

Sure, her version is better but then again she didn't have to do the hard work of coming up with the original.

2574 days ago
71.

Sound Engineer    

Somewhat similar. And as mentioned, but both are similar to the Rolling Stones hit "Get Off of My Cloud", but since the underlying chord bed is different for both songs and that the actual phrasing meter is different for both songs, that points to an unintentional similarity.

2574 days ago
72.

Smith    

"66. There is a degree of similarity, but I don't know that I would call it a lift. In fact, it's a bit of a stretch to make that argument."

What makes you say that? For a song that is only a few minutes long there are too many similarities for it not to be a lift. The best she can hope for is to claim it was a parody and she will be off the hook immediately.

2574 days ago
73.

L.Y.    

I don't think it's identical... the chorus sounds "somewhat similar" but then again that's the stupidest part of both songs IMHO... but the person who wrote "listen to the words" is right - the words are totally different out side of the "Hey You Girlfriend/Boyfriend" part.... but COME ON - every day I turn on the radio and hear some new rap/hip-hop song that incorporates a melody, phrase or something else from another old hit song... that stuff gets recycled all the time. I think these guys are making too big a deal about one tiny phrase in the chorus - the rest of her song has nothing similar to their song.

2574 days ago
74.

Lady Via    

They do sound a lot alike. If she DID use their song, The Rubinoo's should think of it as a form of flattery. If she didn't their both good songs. I dont really think its that big of a deal. Their about 3 or 4 decades apart.

2574 days ago
75.

missingdee    

Yeah it sounds a lot alike but maybe she heard the song as a kid and doesn't remember it. I think she has matured and her music is great.

2574 days ago
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