“Lawsuit Filed To Prove Happy Birthday [the song] Is In The Public Domain”

Warner/Chappell Music continues to demand and collect royalties for public performance of the ditty, although its melody was first published more than 120 years ago and the familiar celebratory words have been sung to it for more than a century. A new lawsuit seeks a judicial ruling that the song is in the public domain and asks a return of wrongfully collected royalties. [The Hollywood Reporter via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]


  • Good for the challengers! Usually it is not worth an individual’s trouble and expense to challenge a copyright troll. If this is their idea of “serving the community,” however, it is money admirably spent.

  • Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday to you,
    How much do I oweu?,
    Happy birthday to you.

  • The whole copyright system is clearly out of whack. Traditionally, copyrights were granted for the life of the creator plus 20 years. Now, thanks largely to the efforts of Hollywood, especially Disney, copyrights can last for decades beyond the death of the date of their creation, for example, the Happy Birthday To You (C) song. This is ridiculous. In a related area, there is a move afoot to require purchasers of artworks to pay the artist a piece of the sales price, even on the third, fourth and fifth resales, without a time limit. This is stupid; if I sell my house do I have to give a portion of my profit to the original builder?

  • […] Lawsuit Filed to Prove Happy Birthday [the song] is in the Public Domain, (Overlawyered, June 16, 2013). Share this:FacebookEmailGoogle +1TwitterPocketLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Standard […]

  • […] Here Come the Other “Happy Birthday” Lawsuits [Lowering the Bar, earlier] […]