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Beyonce

Accused of a

Musical Cover-Up

4/18/2007 1:06 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Beyoncé Knowles is going to war with a pop star from the past who claims the former Destiny's Child star covered her song, but didn't cover her ass.

0418_beyonce_launch_fm-1 Click to hear audio!
According to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court by music administators, Beyoncé allegedly never obtained proper clearance to cover a song called "I'm Kissing You," originally co-written by a singer named Des'ree -- famous for her 1994 smash hit, "You Gotta Be." Des'ree's version was used in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film "Romeo and Juliet," Beyoncé's version can be found on the re-release of her album, "B'Day."

In the lawsuit, Des'ree and her reps claim that Beyoncé, along with her record company people, originally tried to work out a deal to use the song. When they weren't satisfied with the proposed terms -- which included not being able to change the title or make a music video for the song -- Beyoncé allegedly blew off copyright law completely, and recorded the song and video without permission. The song was eventually released on Beyoncé's album, "B'Day - Deluxe Edition" on April 3, 2007, with the title "Still in Love (Kissing You)."

Des'ree is suing to halt distribution of the song, video and album and seeking at least $150,000 in damages.

Lawyers for Beyoncé and Des'ree couldn't be reached for comment.

86 COMMENTS

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46.

John C jackson    

I think every song Beyonce does is a cover song or a re-sampled sample of a rap song that sampled an old Steely Dan song or remake of a 60s song,etc.

2682 days ago
47.

shirliana    

BEYONCE - THINKS SHE IS ALL THAT... SHE SINGS WELL..... DANCES WELL.... BUT ONLY TAKNG PEOPLE FORMONEY... IT PUZZLES ME AND MANY OTHER FRIENDS OF MINE -WHY J-ZAY HASNOT YET ENGAGED HER???????????????THIS IS QUITE A MYSTERY......

2682 days ago
48.

chillininmiami    

I did music licensing for a long time. This lawsuit is b.s. Anyone can do a cover of anyone's song without asking for the copyright holder's permission, THAT IS in the copyright law (you can also do a parody without asking for permission but that is another story). Beyonce's record company (not her management) has to pay the mechanical royalty rate, which is set by the government in the US copyright law, and is non-negotiable. The negotiations with the writers/publishers (note, not the original artist) of the track come only when doing synchronization rights (when songs appear on TV, movies, etc.) and that negotiation is not done by beyonce's management, but by whatever movie, tv show wants to use it. It should have been beyonce's record label that tried to negotiate a deal to use the song on a music video. Since music video's are basically a marketing technique, it is in the copyright holder's best interest to give a good deal or give the song for gratis, BECAUSE the more albums Beyonce sells the MORE money the copyright holder makes on an old song that already had it's day. They should be thankful that Beyonce is going to make them MILLIONS, because that mechanical rate set by the government means the copyright holder is going to make a royalty for each time Beyonce's album is sold and each time her song is played on the radio, etc. $150,000.00 is a drop in the bucket compared to how muc money Beyonce is going to make for them.

2681 days ago
49.

arcadia    

YES!!! It's a little thing called Karma and I must say, its about time!! That skank has stolen from so many artists and now they better make her pay. But why so little?? Sue like you mean it Des'ree!! The original was so perfect. That slut thinks she can do whatever she wants because she's attractive and everyone lets her. As far as lawsuits go, I hope this is the first of many.

2681 days ago
50.

PARIS Hilton    

I think people should finally know that beyonce is a cheap self center bitch. I mean she does have talent but she should know the world doesn't revolve around her and what she wants she doesn't always get. I hope des'ree gets every penny plus more. I was so happy to see she didn't get recognize for her performance in dream girls. That would of put her over the top with the huge ego she already has. Having dancers working under paid. CHEAP

2681 days ago
51.

jhensi    

My take on this is:
about time someone has finally caught up to beyonce because she is always coping someone's song or idea. I have yet to see beyonce do something totally original! And I hate that people always want to call someone a star who is redoing something that was already done like janet jackson dance moves, stealing music and even styles she totally copies jennifer lopez and tyra banks. Anyways, I love beyonce, she's pretty and has a good voice, I just wish she would be original or maybe she's not that talented? I don't know!
Anyway, keep in mind they said Deseree is suing for AT LEAST 150 k so you have know idea how much more it's going to go up to once it's actually taken to court
but if I was her I wouldn't just let them pay me off I would take her to court and stop production immediately!

2681 days ago
52.

CHERYL    

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ YOU ARE SO RIGHT! I TRIED TO LISTEN TO DESREE VERSION, I JUST COULDN'T EVEN GET INTO IT! THE LYRICS ARE NOT THE SAME THERE ARE 2 LINES THAT ARE ALMOST THE SAME, OTHER THAN THAT NOT REMOTELY DUPLICATED. HOW IS SHE TRYING TO STEAL THE SONG WHEN SHE GIVES DESRE AND THE OTHER WRITER CREDIT ON HER B-DAY RE-RELEASE CD? IT IS A BUNCH OF IGNORANT PEOPLE IN THE ORLD TODAY!

2680 days ago
53.

Angiep    

Keeping it real B is not that good of a singer, she really just selling sex if you ask me. Sue her ass D. She really does think she is above the rest of the world ! Fake ass !!!

2680 days ago
54.

Angiep    

Keeping it real I dont think B is that great of a singer, truth is she is just selling sex ! She should be sued , she is not above the law I dont care how naked she is on her video's LOL so pay up !!

2680 days ago
55.

J. Owen    

Beyonce has done this many times before - change 4 or 5 words, then write her name down as 'song-writer' on an record.

She just did this on B-day the first time with the song "Resentment" - she changed 4 words at the very end and on her album she lists herself as the songwriter.

She ripped Britney's khaki colored trench coat with black boots and undergarments as well as her entrance to the stage by hanging from a rope.

I could go on and on, but I'll just let you all see for yourselves by doing a quick google search of Beyonce's name and the words copying or biting!

2680 days ago
56.

brown recluse    

WELL YOU KNOW THAT JAY IS BACKIN' HIS GIRL....SO WHAT'S 150,000??????THAT'S NOTHIN'! B- IS THE GIRL THAT EVEN YOUNG GIRLS DREAM OF BEING LIKE.I FEEL SHE FELL OFF THE GOOD GIRL WAGON THOUGH!!

2680 days ago
57.

Genie    

First of all . . . Beyonce's cover is just trying way too hard. She has a nice voice but she always over sings. And, this time her oversinging has murdered a beautiful song. Why can't she stick to killing songs she writes? Oh yeah. . . she doesn't write.

For all of you who didn't pass copyright101:

You claim to know about licensing but if you knew the first thing about copyrights you would know that it protects the owner of the copyrights RIGHTS to reproduction and distribution, and gives them the right to license (or not license) out the work to whomever they want.

The only reason you can make a parody of a song without getting license from the copyright owner is because parodies fall under "Fair Use." Beyonce's cover of the song does not fall under Fair Use.

And, compulsory license doesn't even come into play here because Beyonce doesn't have one (you do actually still have to obtain it).

Oh, and for the person who said this doesn't even include Beyonce and Des'ree because it's a publishing matter . . . . this whole issue (licensing) falls under publishing. Further more, Beyonce has her own publishing company, so there you go.

2680 days ago
58.

Genie    

Oh! And, while $150k might not hurt Beyonce's pockets, don't forget to add those legal fees in their (especially if she has a good lawyer . . . they cost more).

2680 days ago
59.

A    

Maybe I ahve missed something...what is w/all the hating of Beyonce. It seems like everytime a star is shining...we spend so much time trying to put it out. She has talent. If she stole the song, she should pay legally. But I don't understand the hate.

2679 days ago
60.

mstry    

notice the amount is ATLEAST 150,000.........thats the minimal amount she can get. if the song makes more money, i'm sure the amount will go up. if the song is a flop, the least she'll get is 150,000...the more money the song makes, the more she makes....if she win the lawsuit....so, she will continue to make money off the song as long as B does.

2679 days ago
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