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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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76.

OhNoWay    

Oh boo - hoo. Their diapers are dirty because someone made a hit song with the words "HEY YOU" in it? I don't see the big deal or so-called "theft." Isn't recycling themes what the music industry does?

2631 days ago
77.

Runaways Fan    

I'm with Tatgrrrl, Avril is about as punk as payless shoes. She and her songwriting partner ( the person who does all the real work, except here when they ripped the song off) probably figured no one would remember an old song from the seventies, easy money.

And someone said you can't copy right lyrics, huh?! Are you high? I'm sure lyricists would disagree with you! There are songwriter royalties as well as composer royalties. Iggy Pop wrote the lyrics of Lust For Life David Bowie wrote the music.

Brian Eno once said there is no new music it's all been written, that maybe true but this is ridculous!

2631 days ago
78.

Smith    

70. The difference is that the hip hop artists get the rights to the portions of the songs they use from either the artist or the person who owns the rights to the song. Avril could have avoided this entire thing if she had only contacted the artist/rights owner and got their permission. There is a process that must be followed. Even Weird Al who is free to parody any song he wishes usually gets permission from the original artist before releasing a song. It's actually a good thing she is being called out on this one because of the state of the music industry and the lack of creativity.

2631 days ago
79.

kuniko    

no way do they sound the same, i mean just the words "hey i want to be ur girl/boy friend". Although i think avril sold out, her version is way better.

2631 days ago
80.

mickey    

the words don't have to be the same to be a ripoff - it can be the music as well... i think she is a poser, just like the 'originality' of the song is...

2631 days ago
81.

Terra    

She jacked it..........

2631 days ago
82.

Chris    

Avril is junk - no surprise here!

2631 days ago
83.

Smith    

If copying songs were not such a big deal.. why are song catalogs like that of the Beatles worth 10's of millions of dollars? I know some of you are just posting because you like to listen to Avril but the reality of the situation is that copying a song is no different then taking a novel and copying it. Just because you can't physically put your hands on a song doesn't mean it can't have rights owned by a writer/artist/record company.

2631 days ago
84.

BCPR    

Same Same

2631 days ago
85.

Playne Jayne    

Perhaps our lame neighbors to the north need to look up America's plagerism laws... The don't have to be the exact same thing in order to be plagerism... AGAIN look at vanilla Ice taking a riff from Queen's under pressure... He puts a ting and raps completely different lyrics over it... HE Was still GUILTY OF STEALING

ANd how can you sell out when you have ZERO creditibility in the first place... Perhaps someone should write a song called Surfer Boy and see if she tries to sue them...

2631 days ago
86.

Kramer    

Big surprise. What a snaggletoothed skank!!

2631 days ago
87.

Dustin    

Avril is Awesome and they are just are upset because her song is better than theirs!! i heard them both for the first time, i think it's a coincidince that it says hey hey you you and is called "girlfriend" "boyfriend" , But anyways That is the only similarity's IT IS NOT ALIKE...they are very different...

2631 days ago
88.

MJ deserves better!    

She totally ripped it. Like when Vanilla Ice ripped off Under Pressure and called it Ice Ice Baby.

2631 days ago
89.

Argh!!!    

They sound alike to me....same beat, same stupid lyrics.

2631 days ago
90.

laura    

bad bad grrrrrrrrl

2631 days ago
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