10/08/2015 10:46 EDT | Updated 10/08/2016 01:12 EDT

Appeals court rules 'Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town' can return to heirs of song's co-author

NEW YORK — "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" is comin' back into the hands of the heirs of a songwriter who composed it.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City reversed a lower-court judge Thursday and ruled in favour of the heirs of John Frederick Coots. He co-wrote the song in 1934.

His daughter and two granddaughters filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court in 2012.

They said an arm of the London-based music company EMI group was due to lose its title to the song in December 2016. The appeals court agreed and said the family members will resume ownership of the rights at that time.

Lawyers did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The Associated Press