Thursday, May 30, 2024

“YMCA”: Jury Restores Valuable Copyright to Proper Writers, Drops Long Time Credited Co-Author


EXCLUSIVE “YMCA,” a song with many meanings and popular as a mainstream sports arena singalong, has been restored to its proper authors. Since it appeared in 1977, “YMCA” has always had three listed authors– Jacques Morali, Victor Willis, and Henry Bololo.
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But yesterday, after a two week jury trial in San Diego federal district court, Bololo was removed from the copyright. Willis now shares “YMCA” 50-50 with Morali. Attorney Brian Caplan, who handles many intellectual property cases, represented Willis, an original member of the Village People. In addition to “YMCA,” Willis regained half ownership in eleven other songs.

For almost 40 years Bololo maintained that “YMCA” was one of several French songs he repurposed. But after two weeks of testimony, a jury decided that Morali wrote the music and Willis penned the now famous lyrics. The decision, going forward, is worth millions according to Caplan.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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