Its a story as old as time: Artist signs with record label, has massive success, then when artist is ready to do things on their own, the label refuses to let them leave with their work, court battles and lawsuits ensue, decades pass and it seems like nobody wins.

Well, R&B legend Anita Baker is a BIG winner now that she has won a battle to regain control of her master recordings.

According to Yahoo News, back in March, Baker brought to her fans attention that she had outlived her recording contracts and was legally supposed to have her masters given back to her. The Detroit-bred singer was referring to copyright reversion, which allows musicians to be given their copyrights after 35 years. Since it hadn’t happened, she told her fans to halt streaming her music until the issue was resolved.

Master recordings are extremely important for both artist and label and whoever owns it is even more important. Record labels normally own masters but artists are fighting for them more and more.

With a master recording, you can license the recording to third parties, like TV shows, films, commercials or even for sampling use by other artists. If your master belongs to someone else, like the record label, the music producer or sound engineer, then they have the right to license out the recording and collect royalties.

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