'Happy Birthday to You' copyright suit - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

'Happy Birthday to You' copyright suit

Posted: Updated:

NEW YORK (AP) — A production company making a documentary about the song "Happy Birthday to You" is challenging the copyright to the famous jingle.

Good Morning To You Productions Corp., which is working on a film tentatively titled "Happy Birthday," argues in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the song should be "dedicated to public use and in the public domain." The company is seeking monetary damages and restitution of more than $5 million in licensing fees collected by Warner/Chappell Music Inc. from thousands of people and groups who've paid it licensing fees.

"More than 120 years after the melody to which the simple lyrics of Happy Birthday to You is set was first published, defendant Warner/Chappell boldly, but wrongfully and unlawfully, insists that it owns the copyright to Happy Birthday to You," the lawsuit states.

Warner/Chappell, based in Los Angeles, claims exclusive copyright to "Happy Birthday to You," which Guinness World Records has called the most famous song in the English language. The company, whose artists include Aretha Franklin, Barry Gibb, Rob Zombie, Madonna and Michael Jackson, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Good Morning To You Productions argues that evidence dating to 1893 helps show the song's copyright expired around 1921. It says four previous copyrights to the melody of the similar-sounding song "Good Morning to All," filed in 1893, 1896, 1899 and 1907, have expired or been forfeited.

The class action lawsuit says that Warner/Chappell claims the exclusive copyright to the song based on piano arrangements published in 1935 but that the copyright applies only to the piano arraignment and not to the melody or lyrics.

The film company filed the lawsuit after having to pay Warner/Chappell a $1,500 licensing fee and sign an agreement to use the song in a scene — or face a $150,000 penalty.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Temperature drops; snow moves in

    Temperature drops; snow moves in

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:59:53 GMT
    Fox 5 photoFox 5 photo
    The mild weather made an exit in the Tristate region and snow moved in late Tuesday into Wednesday. Scattered showers, heavier rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds were expected. Reports of heavy, wet snow have come in from the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey and New York City. The snow is not expected to accumulate for very long.
    The mild weather made an exit in the Tristate region and snow moved in late Tuesday into Wednesday. Scattered showers, heavier rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds were expected. Reports of heavy, wet snow have come in from the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey and New York City. The snow is not expected to accumulate for very long.
  • Service dogs trained in Westchester changing people's lives

    Service dogs trained in Westchester changing people's lives

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:44 GMT
    For the past 20 years, Monica La Peter, a breast cancer survivor, has relied on either a wheelchair or a walker to get around. Soon Monica will regain some of her independence. She is one of several disabled persons who will be going home with a service dog trained at East Coast Assistance Dog Program in Westchester County.
    For the past 20 years, Monica La Peter, a breast cancer survivor, has relied on either a wheelchair or a walker to get around. Soon Monica will regain some of her independence. She is one of several disabled persons who will be going home with a service dog trained at East Coast Assistance Dog Program in Westchester County.
  • Woman convicted in gun case tied to firefighter deaths

    Woman convicted in gun case tied to firefighter deaths

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:38:28 GMT
    AP photoAP photo
    A woman charged with buying guns for a convicted felon who later used them to kill two volunteer firefighters in an ambush was convicted Tuesday of falsifying business records. A state Supreme Court jury in Rochester found 25-year-old Dawn Nguyen, of the town of Greece, guilty because she lied when she said on a gun purchase form that she was buying the weapons for her own use.
    A woman charged with buying guns for a convicted felon who later used them to kill two volunteer firefighters in an ambush was convicted Tuesday of falsifying business records. A state Supreme Court jury in Rochester found 25-year-old Dawn Nguyen, of the town of Greece, guilty because she lied when she said on a gun purchase form that she was buying the weapons for her own use.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices