Scared to sing the ‘Happy Birthday To You’ song, without being charged to pay royalties? The popular song is now free!
Music publisher, Warner/Chappell who had previously collected royalties for the song, had the copyright overturned by a US district judge (George H King) when a documentary maker found out there was no claim to the original piece while he was making a film about the history of the song.
It was claimed that the original song copyright obtained by Clayton F Summy Co only covers the tune’s musical arrangement and not the lyrics.
In the ruling, the judge said, “Because Summy Co never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, defendants, as Summy Co’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”
Happy Birthday To You has the most famous lyrics of any song in English language, according to Guinness World Records.