The New York Times has reported that a lawsuit brought against the original frontman of The Village People Victor Willis, by two publishing companies has been dismissed.
Scorpio Music and Can't Stop Productions tried to prevent Willis from reclaiming the rights to "YMCA" and 32 other Village People tracks after Willis filed a lawsuit last year on the basis of a provision added to copyright laws in 1978 that grants artists "termination rights," allowing them to reclaim ownership and control of songs they'd signed away 35 years after their initial release.
In a new precedent Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz dismissed the complaint by the two publishing companies that claimed that the provision did not apply to Willis as he was hired as an employee of The Village People, which rendered his songs "works for hire."
The decision means that any artist will be able to reclaim the rights to songs after a period of 35 years, allowing them to license their music to advertisers, sell it to another label, or even distribute it themselves. In this event, labels that rely on back catalog sales could be hit hard.