The suit filed against Arista Records for royalties from the re-release of Whitney Houston’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” was dropped Monday (December 17), according to a spokesperson for Arista Records.
“It was the shortest lawsuit in history,” the spokesperson said. “It was an administrative oversight from [Houston’s] Greatest Hits album.”
Leonard David Stone, executive director for the orchestra, said until a resolution has been reached, he was prohibited from commenting on the matter.
The Florida Orchestra, which recorded the national anthem with Houston in 1991, filed a suit Friday (December 14), asking a judge to ensure that Arista honored an agreement to pay the classical outfit royalties on record sales. Houston performed the song, which also appears on her 2000 Greatest Hits album, at Super Bowl XXV, during the Persian Gulf War.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Arista re-released the single, donating proceeds to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order Of Police-organizations supporting the departments and families affected by last week’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The orchestra received royalty payments in 1991 and 1992 of about $100,000, the St. Petersburg Times reported. Orchestra attorney Frank Jakes told the Times that the non-profit organization had not received quarterly royalty statements since mid-1992.
On Monday, an Arista representative assured Jakes that the issue could be settled without legal action. “We voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit,” Jakes told the Times. “We would expect this to be wrapped up pretty quickly.”
“The Star-Spangled Banner,” is Number Four on the Billboard 100 chart, and has sold more than 1 million copies.