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
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
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 suit.
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 be seen.
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 collector's item."