LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The settlement of a long legal dispute over rights to the Beach Boys’ name has restored good vibrations among the three surviving original members of the famed group, attorneys in the case said on Thursday.
The agreement, reached on Wednesday after two days of talks mediated by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, put to rest years of litigation that strained relations among members of the group that defined the California surf sound of the 1960s.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But lawyers suggested the amicable nature of the settlement could pave the way for a long-awaited reunion of the band’s three surviving co-founders — Brian Wilson, cousin Mike Love and Al Jardine.
“Certainly everybody would love it, but we’re taking it a day at a time,” Jardine’s attorney, Lawrence Noble, told Reuters. “We’ve cleared out a lot of negative history, we’re looking forward to the future, and hopefully a lot of good things will happen.”
The years-long court battle grew out of use of the band’s name by Jardine, who had been touring under such billings as “Beach Boys Family & Friends” until a federal judge ruled in 2000 he was engaging in trademark infringement.
The decision affirmed Love’s claim as the sole licensee of the “Beach Boys” name under a deal he negotiated with the band’s corporate entity, Brother Records Inc, in 1998.
A U.S. appeals court upheld that ruling in 2003, again siding against Jardine in the case brought by Love, Wilson and the estate of his brother, Carl, who died of cancer in 1998. A fifth founding member, brother Dennis Wilson, drowned in 1983.
Love and the Carl Wilson estate sued Jardine again on behalf of Brother Records in 2004 seeking $2.2 million in legal fees spent in the original litigation against him.
It was that case, set for trial next month, that was settled this week, said Carla DiMare, who represents the Carl Wilson estate, consisting of his two sons, Justyn and Jonah.
“Mr. Love and ... Mr. Jardine are looking forward to bringing more great Beach Boys music to the United States and around the world, particularly as they approach their 50th anniversary,” DiMare said.
Love and Jardine both attended the settlement conference, spending the first day in court chatting and occasionally singing lines from the Beach Boys hit “Help Me Rhonda” and other songs while attorneys met with the judge in chambers. Brian Wilson also attended for part of the first day.
All three are shareholders of Brother Records, along with the Carl Wilson estate.
Founded in suburban Los Angeles in 1961, the Beach Boys reigned for several years as America’s leading pop group with such hits as “I Get Around,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Good Vibrations.”
Brian Wilson, Love and Jardine made a rare joint appearance in June 2006 to celebrate the double-platinum certification of their 2003 greatest-hits collection, “Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys.”
Jardine joined Wilson in November 2006 for a series of concert performances of the Beach Boys’ landmark “Pet Sounds” album.
Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney