NEW YORK (Billboard) - Columbia Records is facing the
prospect of having to pull the new deluxe edition of Beyonce's
"B'Day" from stores amid a dispute over publishing rights.
But rather than recalling the release altogether, multiple
sources say Columbia parent company Sony BMG plans to
manufacture and distribute a new version of the deluxe edition,
minus one track featuring the challenged copyright.
At the heart of the controversy is the track and
accompanying video "Still in Love (Kissing You)," a reworking
of Des'ree's 1996 song "I'm Kissing You."
The Royalty Network, a publishing company administering the
copyright on behalf of Timothy Attack, co-writer of the song,
alleges that Sony BMG didn't receive its permission to use "I'm
Kissing You." It is pressing the matter by filing a copyright
infringement complaint with the U.S. District Court of the
Southern District of New York --a move that has led to a
temporary halt of distribution of the albums.
Sony BMG, Sony BMG Sales Enterprise, Beyonce, her B-Day
Publishing company and EMI April Music are all named in the
A preliminary injunction hearing is set for May 4, which
could require Sony BMG to permanently stop distributing the
copies of "B'Day -- Deluxe Edition" and the special Wal-Mart
version "B'Day -- Deluxe Edition/Video Anthology," and perhaps
even remove unsold discs from stores. As part of the temporary
cease-and-desist, "Still in Love" has been yanked from digital
services and its video has been pulled.
Retail sources estimate that Sony BMG has shipped several
hundred thousand copies of the deluxe editions to date. The
editions, which include the top 10 hit "Beautiful Liar," a duet
with Shakira, have sold 214,000 copies since their release at
the beginning of April, Nielsen SoundScan reports.
Both retail and legal sources suggest that the matter can
still go away for the right price. But retail sources say Sony
BMG seems disinclined to settle. The company has put the word
out that the current version of "B'Day -- Deluxe Edition" is no
longer available for order and that it plans to issue a
replacement soon. The cost is expected to be minimal to Sony
BMG, because most of the product that had initially hit stores
has been sold and the company needed to manufacture more units
anyway, sources say.
Reps for Sony BMG, Columbia and Beyonce didn't respond to
requests for comment. Anthony Motta, attorney for the Royalty
Network, declined comment.
Though copyright clearance flaps are common, such disputes
rarely lead to CDs getting yanked from stores. What becomes of
remaining unsold copies of "B'Day -- Deluxe Edition" remains to
Brett Wickard, owner of Bull Moose Records in Maine, says
they won't likely immediately disappear from store shelves, no
matter what the court rules.
"When records are recalled, retailers can't (remove) them
immediately, and sometimes the customer hears about it and runs
out to buy it," he says. "They think it will become a