Music Article

'B'Day' Blues

Beyoncé's legal woes -- The deluxe edition of ''B'Day'' faces court injunction for unlicensed use of Des'ree song

This is no way to start a B'Day party: On April 16, a lawyer for music publishing company the Royalty Network filed for a preliminary injunction to prevent further sales of the new ''deluxe edition'' of the 2006 Beyoncé's album, B'Day. Their claim: Beyoncé's managers never reached a licensing deal — or even paid the Royalty Network — for the rights to use the Des'ree single ''I'm Kissing You.'' The British singer (most famous for 1994's ''You Gotta Be'') co-wrote the ballad for and performed it in the 1996 Leonardo DiCaprio film Romeo + Juliet. Retitled ''Still in Love (Kissing You),'' Beyoncé's take was one of the 11 new tracks that helped the updated B'Day move 126,000 copies in its first week.

Despite the legal wrangling, Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles, insists ''we are not pulling product off shelves.'' Columbia Records reached an agreement April 20 to stop distribution temporarily, but all copies shipped before the court papers were filed can still be sold. The disputed track is no longer available on iTunes, and future pressings of the album will not include it until the issue is resolved. (The next hearing is scheduled for May 14.) Knowles pére insists that song-rights snafus ''happen on most records,'' while a senior music exec says, ''The last thing you want to do is pull a pet project, so maybe [Beyoncé's camp] went ahead to meet a deadline.'' Knowles suggests a time crunch was the main issue, and says his superstar daughter had no idea the song would prove to be problematic: ''No artist gets involved with clearances. She was unaware of any of this.'' — Additional reporting by Shirley Halperin

Originally posted May 04, 2007 Published in issue #933 May 11, 2007 Order article reprints
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