Willis v. Scorpio Music, No. 15-cv-1078 (S.D. Cal. order dated Jan. 19, 2016).
In a second lawsuit concerning ownership of various "Village People" compositions, the district court dismissed a 50% owner's claims based on defendant's false claim of authorship, breach of fiduciary duty, and vicarious copyright infringement. As to the false ownership claims, the Court held that plaintiff was barred by the doctrine of res judicata from brining claims that he could have brought in the earlier action. As to the vicarous copyright infringement claim, the court held that the defendant had the right to license the composition and thus there was no infringement. Lastly, the court held that co-owners of a copyright -- though they have a duty to account -- do not have fiduciary duties to one another.