Author Topic: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain  (Read 975 times)

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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Offline TheL

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 05:41:20 pm »
It only took 100 years.
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Offline dpareja

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 06:44:19 pm »
It only took 100 years.

Could take more, the losing party is probably going to appeal.
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Offline Damen

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 07:57:24 pm »
It wasn't already in the public domain? :o
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Offline niam2023

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 09:03:24 pm »
I have heard Martin Shkreli intends to sue to obtain the rights to Happy Birthday to You and charge people 550 every time someone wants to sing it.
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Offline SpaceProg

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 11:14:38 pm »
Like Damen, I thought it was already public domain.

Offline TheL

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Re: "Happy Birthday To You" Now In Public Domain
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2015, 04:41:56 pm »
It wasn't already in the public domain? :o

It's complicated.

In 1893, Patty and Mildred Hill wrote a kindergarten song called "Good Morning To All."  You may recognize the tune:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r9JVWcTqbQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r9JVWcTqbQ</a>

Well.  A couple decades later, the "Happy Birthday to You" version came out.  There was a bit of friction between the Hills and the folks who published the HBtY version.  It never really came to anything, though some sources erroneously state that royalties were being paid to the Hill sisters' estate, instead of their actual payees: Warner Music.  (Who's fucking surprised?)

From Wikipedia:
Quote
None of the early appearances of the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered a copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for US$25 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at US$5 million.[10][11] Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to US$700.[12] By one estimate, the song is the highest earning single song in history, with estimated earnings since its creation of US$50 million.[13][14] In the European Union, the copyright of the song was set to expire no later than December 31, 2016.[15]

The American copyright status of "Happy Birthday to You" began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned "Happy Birthday to You" in his dissenting opinion.[16] American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that "It is almost certainly no longer under copyright."[17] In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis's research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about "Good Morning to All", sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song.[5][10] In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration only applied to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody.
Quote from: ladyrenae
You there. The creepy person who decided I was supporting their position. Stop it.

"Half the reason that I like foreign music is because I can kid myself that "Shake dat ass" is more poetic in Hindi."
--Sanda

Move every 'sig.'  For great justice!