'Happy Birthday' Lawsuit Seeks To Free Up Copyrighted Song

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 08:23 AM

By Clyde Hughes

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The song "Happy Birthday to You" has proven very profitable for one music company, but a current federal lawsuit is trying to make sure that the popular song is official part of the public domain.

Unbeknownst to many who have sung "Happy Birthday to You" to their children, relatives or friends, Warner/Chappel Music Inc., the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, claims it owns the copyright to the song, according to Reuters. The lawsuit, filed Thursday, states the song, around since the 1800s, should be declared in the public domain.

Good Morning To You Productions Corp. of New York is the plaintiff in the suit, Reuters said. The company is making a documentary about the song. The company said it was forced to pay a $1,500 licensing fee in March to use the song, Reuters said.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

The lawsuit claims that Warner/Chappel has collected $2 million in licensing fees for the song. The lawsuit wants the company to return the licensing fees, according to Reuters.

"More than 120 years after the melody to which the simple lyrics of 'Happy Birthday to You' is set was first published, defendant Warner/Chappell boldly, but wrongfully and unlawfully, insists that it owns the copyright to 'Happy Birthday to You,' " Reuters said the lawsuit stated.

Reuters said a representative of Warner/Chappell was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

According to the Associated Press, Good Morning To You Productions said the song's original copyright expired in 1921. It states other attempts to copyright the melody of the song, which came from the song "Good Morning to All," have either expired or been forfeited. (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/happy-birthday-you-copyright-suit-filed-ny)

The lawsuit claims that Warner/Chappell has copyright only to the piano arrangements published in 1935, not to the melody or lyrics, said the Associated Press.

Editor's Note: Get the Navy SEALs Cap – Celebrate Our Heroes

Robert Brauneis, a professor at George Washington University Law School, told Reuters he could not find a copyright for the combination of the "Good Morning to All" melody and "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics.

"Happy Birthday to You" and its lyrics date back to the late 1800s when sisters Mildred Hill and Patty Smith Hill put the words and melody together for what was intended to be a classroom greeting. (http://musiced.about.com/od/historyofmusic/a/happybirthday.htm)

Related stories:

Apple Unveils Music Streaming Service, Revamps IOS

Bonnaroo 2013 Begins, Bringing Together Music, Social Media, TV

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Seth Rogen Didn't Think 'The Interview' Would Be Pulled by Sony

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 17:24 PM

On Monday, before Sony Pictures made the decision to pull "The Interview," actors Seth Rogen and James Franco couldn't i . . .

99-Year-Old Woman Robbed by Teen While Delivering Christmas Cookies

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 17:01 PM

A 99-year-old Connecticut woman delivering Christmas cookies was knocked to the ground and robbed by a teenager Wednesda . . .

Mark-1 Plumbing: Truck From Texas Winds Up With Militants in Syria

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 18:06 PM

A photo of an old truck with a Mark-1 Plumbing logo on the side that used to belong to a Texas plumber has showed up on  . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved