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'Boy' Trouble

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Hugh Grant may not be the only one butchering Roberta Flack’s 1973 hit ”Killing Me Softly With His Song” in About a Boy. Universal Pictures might have failed to clear rights to the Don McLean-inspired song, which Grant skewers in the film for its unhipness. The Gimbel Music Group, which claims the rights to ”Softly,” says it had no prior knowledge that Boy would feature the song. (The end scene doesn’t appear in Nick Hornby’s 1998 novel.) ”Had we known the way it was to be used, we would never have approved,” says firm owner Anthony Gimbel, whose father, Norman, cowrote the song with Charles Fox (the duo’s other credits include themes to Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley). Gimbel won’t say whether the company will pursue legal action; a Universal spokeswoman also declines to discuss the situation. At least Flack, who was hired by Universal to help promote the film, says she isn’t upset: ”Anytime that song is used, it makes me feel great.”

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