Village People star Victor Willis has won a longrunning legal battle over the copyright to the band's anthem Y.M.C.A. after a California judge ruled French author Henri Belolo had no involvement in the creation of the 1978 disco hit.
The singer/songwriter, who led the group and performed as the band's traffic cop, has been fighting for half the royalties from the tune ever since he was granted permission to reclaim the rights to more than 30 of the band's hit songs as part of an industry ruling in 2013.
However, his court fight stalled amid confusion as to whether he was laying claim to a third or half of the copyright share, due to a dispute over who actually wrote the song.
Willis maintained he and producer Jacques Morali were entitled to a 50/50 share of profits, but producers at Scorpio Music and Can't Stop Productions alleged the singer could only claim 33.3 per cent as he reportedly adapted Y.M.C.A. and other hits from tracks originally written in French by Belolo.
The case went to trial and after almost a month, the jury ruled in Willis' favour earlier this week (begs02Mar14).
Belolo's name will now be removed from the credits of Y.M.C.A. and a string of other Village People songs.
Willis tells Wenn, "I was always annoyed by the claim that Y.M.C.A. was initially authored by a Frenchman named Henri Belolo. Me and Jacques Morali actually authored all of our songs alone right here in America. I'm glad the jury saw the evidence and concluded that Belolo was not one of the writers of over 13 Village People songs I authored with Jacques."