Defunct boyband Busted are being sued by a former member, who claims he is owed unpaid royalties for helping to write some of the groups biggest hits.

OWEN DOYLE, who was replaced in the band by CHARLIE SIMPSON shortly before the British group hit the big-time in 2002, has launched legal action and now $3.8 million (GBP2 million) in royalty payments have been frozen until the dispute is settled.

Doyle's lawsuit comes only a week after the CRASHED THE WEDDING trio stars announced they were splitting so Simpson could concentrate on his other band Fightstar, leaving original members James Bourne and MATT JAY to contemplate solo careers.

An insider says, "Owen missed out on fame - and now he feels he's been frozen out of royalties. He says he co-wrote four of Busted's biggest songs - WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR, YEAR 3000, PSYCHO GIRL and SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHT ON.

"Busted argue he signed away the rights but publishing experts disagree. All money from the first album is on hold until a decision is made. Owen showed enough evidence to get the money frozen and this will end up as a bog court trial unless Busted settle with cash."

Another member, KI FITZGERALD, was also dropped before Simpson joined, with Owen recalling, "I did help write those four songs. Me, Matt, James and Ki were great friends. I would love to get in touch with James again."

A spokesperson for the band confirms royalties have been frozen, but warns Doyle, "We'll fight this all the way."

23/01/2005 11:11