By JAY REEVES
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 24, 2006; 11:01 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A federal judge has temporarily barred a producer from selling songs recorded by "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks when he was still just a gray-haired bar crooner from Alabama.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins issued the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Hicks against William Smith of Nashville, Tenn., after two songs written and sung by Hicks showed up for sale on the iTunes Web site.
Smith, in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, said the songs were no longer for sale. The judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30 on whether to make her order permanent.
Hicks claimed Smith and his companies, William Smith Productions and Baldwin Entertainment, wrongly tried to make money selling three songs that Hicks wrote and recorded with Smith _ "The Fall," "Son of a Carpenter," and "In Your Time."
Smith doesn't have rights to the music, Hicks claimed.
Smith said he has signed contracts with Hicks, however. Smith also said he released the songs mainly to help fend off critics' bad reviews of Hicks' single, "Do I Make You Proud," released after he won "Idol" in May.
"It aggravated me because I knew what a gifted performer and writer he is," Smith said in the AP interview. "I love Taylor Hicks, and for three months I was refuting the bad press he was getting."
Hicks' suit says the songs were recorded in 1997, but Smith said Hicks recorded them in June 2001. Smith said he's not sure how many copies of the songs were sold, but Hicks will get any royalties he is due.
A sworn statement by Hicks' attorney, Michael J. Douglas, said the recordings were poor-quality demos. Distributing them could damage Hicks' reputation in the music industry and cause him "immense irreparable financial harm," the statement said.