Will the real Village People please stand up: Copyright law issue

A group of men took to the stage in the 70s to entertain music lovers with their song and dance talent. They were a costume-oriented group known as The Village People. Many people today still recognize their construction worker, Native American and cowboy persona, in addition to a few others Several members of the original group are currently engaged in a contentious copyright law dispute involving several other management and licensing entities.

When The Village People first hit the charts with their routines, Can't Stop Productions was said to have spearheaded the idea. Sometime later, Can't Stop accepted a 5 percent license fee agreement when two members from the group founded their own company, Sixuvus Ltd., and began performing live with both original and new group members under the new company umbrella. Not long ago, Can't Stop severed the agreement when it formed a new contractual relationship with a third party, Harlem West Entertainment.

Harlem West Entertainment is owned by the wife of one of the original group members. She said Sixuvus Ltd. is continuing to operate as though it owns The Village People trademark, which, according to Can't Stop, it doesn't. Whether  those currently performing as The Village People are doing so without proper authorization is a matter a judge will decide.

The heated battle is currently being fought in court. It may be some time, however, before the copyright law situation is resolved. There may be New York musicians and managers who relate to the problem as many in the past have turned to experienced business attorneys to protect their rights in similar situations.

Source: courthousenews.com, "Village People Licensing Dispute Jives Into Court", John Russell, Aug. 28, 2017

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