Universal Music France has been ordered by a French high court to revert all the recordings made by rapper MC Solaar during the time he was signed to the company.

Universal Music France has been ordered by a French high court to revert all the recordings made by rapper MC Solaar during the time he was signed to the company.

On June 21, the Cour de Cassation confirmed an appeal court verdict in favor of the artist, which forced Universal to remove from stores all four albums covered by its contract with Solaar.

It ordered to give all the recording masters, along with their respective video clips, back to the artist. The record company no longer has the right to exploit the artist's works, according to the court.

Solaar, whose real name is Claude M'Barali, was first signed to Universal (then known as PolyGram) in 1990 and his contract was renewed in August 1993.

The artist started legal procedures against Universal in 1997 in order to free him from his recording contract.

"This decision, which Universal Music will not comment, does not allow MC Solaar to exploit those recordings of which Universal Music is the producer and as such the sole owner of their intellectual property rights," comments the record company in a statement.

Solaar's manager Daniel Margules contests this point. "The judgment puts everything back to before Solaar signed with Universal, so it's as if the contract never existed and Solaar never granted the record company the right to use his work," Margules says.

Margules adds that a review is underway to establish the level of financial prejudice suffered by the artist. This, he says, should take several months.