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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    30,165

    Fierce copyright battle rages over.......that famous ditty, "Happy Birthday to You"?

    The battle to sing the world's most famous song: How 'Happy Birthday' is now at
    center of bitter copyright feud - 120 years after it was penned by two sisters from Louisville
    . (Daily Mail)
    Happy Birthday to You’ has been performed around the world in tribute to everyone from toddlers to centenarians for nearly 120 years, but few people know that the ubiquitous song is owned by a private company.

    Now, the most famous ditty in the English language has found itself in the middle of a legal battle after a film production company filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the copyright protecting the song.

    The proposed class action asks a federal court to declare the song to be in the public domain and that Warner/Chappel Music Inc, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, return ‘millions of dollars of unlawful licensing fees’ it has collected for reproductions and public performances of the song.
    ---
    Whenever 'Happy Birthday to You' is being sung for profit, as in movies, television shows and concerts, the performers or producers are required to pay licensing fees, or face a copyright infringement lawsuit.

    But few people know that under copyright law, singing the song in any public venue constitutes a performance, which is why most restaurants have their waiting staff sing alternative songs when celebrating patrons' birthday to avoid paying royalties.
    ---
    The song was first published in 1893 as ‘Good Morning to All.’ The simple four-line ditty was written by Mildred and Patty Hill, two sisters from Louisville, Kentucky, and it was intended as a musical greeting performed in school by teachers.
    ---
    It remains a mystery when exactly the classroom tune transformed into a birthday song, and who was responsible for changing the Hills' lyrics. It is generally believed that the sisters were not the ones who altered the song.
    ---
    If the film production company's lawsuit fails, 'Happy Birthday to You' will remain under copyright protection until 2030.
    Much more - everything you always wanted to know about the song, possibly, and, possibly, much more - at the link, with pictures and sidebar.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    8,118
    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    The battle to sing the world's most famous song: How 'Happy Birthday' is now at
    center of bitter copyright feud - 120 years after it was penned by two sisters from Louisville
    . (Daily Mail)

    Much more - everything you always wanted to know about the song, possibly, and, possibly, much more - at the link, with pictures and sidebar.
    They don't sound very "happy"!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Palm Springs
    Posts
    19,111
    This has gotten ridiculous! I'm a lyricist and playwright so copyrights do indeed matter to me, but the continued efforts to extend copyrights indefinitely have not come from actual artists, but from big movie, music and TV companies seeking to make more money off their inventories.

    Whether it's a ditty like "Happy Birthday" or a work of genius like Madama Butterfly, a century is more than enough time for a creator and his heirs to make money off a work of art. 133 years for "HB" is absurd!



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