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Anthem Suit Dropped...

Florida Orchestra Drops Anthem Suit

.c The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Orchestra has dropped a lawsuit against Arista Records over royalties from the rerelease of ``The Star-Spangled Banner,'' which it recorded with Whitney Houston in 1991.

Both sides said Tuesday they are ``actively working'' to resolve the dispute, which prompted a lawsuit on Friday. The orchestra filed a motion in Hillsborough Circuit Court Monday voluntarily dismissing the lawsuit.

``We're very hopeful it will work out real quickly,'' orchestra attorney Frank Jakes said.

The orchestra had filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for royalties from the rerelease of Houston's version of the national anthem, performed at Super Bowl XXV, during the Gulf War. The song also appears on the pop singer's greatest hits album.

Copies were released after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the song quickly became a hot-selling single.

The lawsuit had asked a judge to enforce terms of a 1991 agreement requiring Arista to pay the orchestra royalties on all sales worldwide. The orchestra had said Arista had refused to respond to previous attempts to discuss the royalties.

The royalties could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for the nonprofit orchestra, which cut its budget by $600,000 this year to $7.6 million and forced musicians to take a pay cut.

NEWSFILE: 19 DECEMBER 2001

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