Village People Singer Wants To Ban The Group From Singing YMCA After Claiming He's Regained The Copyright
from the um... dept
That said, what struck me as more interesting -- but no less troubling -- is the gleeful manner in which it appears Willis is preparing to use his new copyright powers (if he actually gets them) to make the current version of The Village People stop performing the band's classic songs:
In a telephone interview from his home in Southern California, Mr. Willis said he has not yet decided how best to exploit the song catalog. “I’ve had lots of offers, from record and publishing companies, a lot of stuff, but I haven’t made up my mind how it’s going to be handled.”Willis seems positively gleeful about his believed power to stop the song from being played:
He added, however, that he is thinking of prohibiting the Village People — the band still exists and is touring this month and next, though with largely different members — from singing any of his songs, at least in the United States.
“I learned over the years that there are some awesome powers associated with copyright ownership,” Mr. Willis said. “You can stop somebody from performing your music if you want to, and I might object to some usages.”The NY Times claims that this right could allow Willis to prevent venues from even playing recordings of classic songs like YMCA. This seems somewhat unlikely. While it's true that a copyright holder can prevent a public performance (though not a recording of a cover), most songs are licensed for public performance via one of the major performance rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. In theory, there could be a situation in which Willis would pull the songs from those guys, but that would likely lead to a major loss of income. But if it's licensed to those guys, then, generally speaking venues pay a blanket license and can play any and all songs in that venue. I can't see how Willis would possibly stop that without pulling his songs out of the PROs and that just seems silly.
Still, even assuming there is a way to do this, why would he? It just seems petty and stupid and vindictive, with little upside, other than annoying a lot of people. But, all too often, it seems like that's what copyright is for.