Hi Gang,
A statement was made recently that circled w's were intentionally omitted from budget labels so as to avoid paying W.E. royalties.
I assume that was a speculation and that it's not documented.  At that time AT&T (which owed Western Electric)
was massive, omnipotent company.  The group of which Columbia  and its budget labels was a puny corporate entity.  I suspect that IF they considered perpetrating a breach of contract, that the record company's executives would've ultimately chosen not to risk the ire of the liscensor.