Is the Happy Birthday song still copyrighted
Court decision on birthday song : "Happy Birthday" is now free
The copyright for the world-famous birthday song "Happy Birthday to You" is invalid. A federal court in Los Angeles decided on Tuesday (local time). The song was common knowledge, judged Judge George King.
The verdict is a defeat for the US music giant Warner Music Group. The court ruled that Warner / Chappell Music did not have a valid copyright on the song. The group had secured the rights in 1988. The label made about two million dollars a year from commercial use of the song.
Originally, the copyright was registered in 1935 by the Clayton F Summy company, but Judge King believes that this applied only to the melody, not the text. The melody has been common knowledge for years.
"Now, after 80 years," Happy Birthday "is finally free," said plaintiff Randall Newmann after the judgment. The song was composed in 1893 by the musician Mildred Hill from the US state of Kentucky together with her sister, the kindergarten teacher Patty. It was originally called "Good Morning to You". The birthday text was created later. Three documentary filmmakers filed the lawsuit in 2013. According to the collecting society Gema, “Happy Birthday to You” is only protected until the end of 2016 in Germany. (dpa)
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