A labor tribunal in Paris today ordered Universal Music France to hand back to Johnny Hallyday the masters from his 42 years with the company.

A labor tribunal in Paris today ordered Universal Music France to hand back to Johnny Hallyday the masters from his 42 years with the company.

Included are more than 1,000 tracks by the veteran French rocker, who was signed initially to Philips, which became part of PolyGram, then part of Universal.

However, the court decided to deferred until next year a ruling on whether to grant Hallyday a €50 million ($60.3 million) damages claim against Universal Music France.

The court also asked for an analysis of all contracts signed between the artist and the record company, especially those in which the company lent money to Hallyday. Between 1978 and 1997, Universal is said to have lent Hallyday 107 million francs ($19.9 million).

Hallyday, born Jean-Philippe Smet, took Universal to court after he "resigned" from the company on Jan. 5. Under French labor law, recording contracts can be viewed as working contracts, and artists can "resign" before the end of their term.

During the court hearing in June, Universal lawyers argued that the 61-year-old Hallyday had been treated fairly and that the company had always financially supported him.

Universal was not available for comment.