“Happy Birthday” was ruled to likely be in the public domain


A California federal judge, George H. King, ruled however Tuesday that “Happy Birthday to You” does not belong to the mega music corporation but to the people of the world. Warner/Chappell collected as much as $50 million over the past 27 years. “‘Happy Birthday’ is finally free after 80 years,” Randall Newman, an attorney, said to the media. According to the 1998 Guinness World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for $25 million, with the value of “Happy Birthday” estimated at $5 million. They claimed copyright will not expire until 2030. American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, has concluded that “It is almost certainly no longer under copyright.” Good Morning to You Productions, a documentary film company, sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song.


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