70s stories in the news: Village People royalty ruckus

Village People, doin' the royalty dance, Y.M.C.A. video, 1978

A member of 1970s disco party band the Village People has won a “landmark legal case” regarding his right to reclaim partial ownership and improved royalties for many of the band’s hit songs.

Victor Willis, perhaps better known as the original “Policeman”, has been allowed “to terminate a decades-old publishing deal, which gives him the right to expanded royalties for hits such as ‘YMCA’ and ‘Macho Man’.” Congrats, disco cop! I’m all for any musician getting his fair due from the corporate record labels notorious for ripping off artists. Read the full story at The Guardian.

The Guardian Quote:

“It all goes back to the 1978 amendments to the US Copyright Act. According to that law, songwriters have the right to unilaterally terminate their copyright deals with labels and publishers, 35 years after the contracts are inked, provided they give due notice to labels and publishers. It is under that law, which takes effect next year, that Willis is relcaiming his rights to the Village People’s hits.

Many artists who were making music in the late 70s, including Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and the Eagles, have begun filing notices of termination, telling their publishers and labels that they want out. And the famously litigious Willis was no different, terminating his agreement with Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, which administer the Village People’s publishing rights.”

Village People Wiki

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