An unheard tape of cult British rockers JOY DIVISION laying down tracks in a recording studio could be mothballed forever amid a legal wrangling between bassist Peter Hook and the owner of the cassette.

Fans of the band were sent into a frenzy last month (Aug13) when it emerged former studio assistant Julia Adamson was planning to release a tape containing alternative versions of four tracks from the group's 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures.

But the recordings could remain under wraps forever after an ownership tussle between Adamson, Hook, and the band's record company Warner Music hit a brick wall.

Hook tells NME magazine, "The first anyone from the band was aware of this tape was when Adamson tried selling it for £20,000... I've spoken to (the band's) lawyer - I'm not doing this independently."

Adamson was offered a 'finder's fee' by Hook for recovering the tape but is adamant she wants a larger payment, saying, "I didn't think it was a fair fee. Considering the tape's potential for fans, I think it's worth more than he's offered. He's spoken to me three times, but hasn't negotiated on price at all. I think he's over-emotional and bullying."

Joy Division's frontman Ian Curtis hanged himself in 1980 and the surviving members of the band went on to form New Order.