Village People “Cop” Regains Copyrights
The Village People were one of the hottest properties in disco music for just over a year in the late 70's. From 'Macho Man' to 'In the Navy', their songs and albums sold in the millions, but when the bubble burst it was tough going especially for Victor Willis.
Willis was not only 'the cop' in the group, he also wrote or co-wrote a lot of their material. When the original copyright ran out, Willis lost the right to his own songs and his income dropped to nothing.
Back in 1978 there were some changes made in the insane copyright laws making it possible for Willis to regain his original copyrights.
Victor Willis is far from the first artist to lose the rights to his own songs. Back in the late 60's, Brian Wilson's dysfunctional father sold the rights to all of Brian's early Beach Boys' hits for a fraction of their worth. Brian was lucky and successfully sued to get them back.
One of the most publicized instances of lost rights happened back when Michael Jackson underhandedly bought the rights to all the early Beatles material. In essence, Paul McCartney no longer owned the rights to 'Yesterday', the most recorded song in history. In two more years, McCartney will be able to 'buy back' his own material. Just how wrong is that?
In any case, Victor Willis now re-owns the rights to the old Village People catalogue with the exception of 'Macho Man.' The 'new' copyright law only covers songs written after 1978.
Think we might need to take a look at a law that takes copyright away from the creator?