It’s good for Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs that his reality-show stint on MTV’s ”Making the Band” this fall will be limited to covering his duties as a talent scout. If the show were covering the rest of his daily schedule, it might have to include an upcoming court date in a lawsuit filed against him by a music publisher over songwriting royalties from his solo debut, 1997’s ”No Way Out,” the CD that included ”I’ll Be Missing You,” his hit elegy for slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.
According to published reports, Universal-MCA Music Publishing has filed a $4 million suit in Manhattan Supreme Court on behalf of songwriters Todd Gaither, Kelly Price, and Jeremy Graham, claiming that they’ve never received royalties from songs they wrote on the five-year-old album, which sold 5 million copies. The three of them are credited, separately or together, as songwriters on half a dozen tunes on the album, including ”Missing You,” which is credited to Gaither, along with Combs and, of course, Sting, since the music and lyrics are based on the Police’s ”Every Breath You Take.” Price also sang on the album.
The suit alleges that Combs and Bad Boy Records engaged in ”fraudulent activities” in their accounting practices in order to claim that no royalties are due to the songwriters. ”This lawsuit has no merit whatsoever,” Combs’ spokeswoman responded in a statement. Meanwhile, P. Diddy’s duet with Ginuwine, ”I Need a Girl (Part Two),” is currently the No. 5 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.