France's Cour de Cassation, the final court of appeal, today (Dec. 20) dismissed veteran pop star Johnny Hallyday's claim for ownership of all the masters he recorded for Universal Music France.

The artist had embarked on a bitter legal battle with his record company in 2004. Hallyday wanted to break free from Universal, his label home of 42 years, and re-claim the masters of the 1,000-plus works recorded with the company.

In a surprise move, the French tribunal in August 2004 ordered Universal to hand back the masters to Hallyday. That decision was overruled by an appeals court in Paris in April 2005, which stated that Universal would be able to continue to exploit the artist's catalog.

This decision was upheld today, in what was the last possible legal recourse for the 63-year old artist, who signed to Warner Music France in January 2006.

In a press release issued today, Universal Music France expressed its satisfaction with the court decision, stating that labels remain assured "that the risks they are taking and all the investments they are willing to make are justified."