'Happy Birthday' Song Now in Public Domain

The music publisher that claimed to hold the rights to the song "Happy Birthday to You" has settled the class action lawsuit for $14 million. 

So what does this mean?  Dianne Gallagher has that.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
…Birthday to you.
FAMILIES SING IT.
Happy Birthday to you.
POLITICIANS DO TOO.
Happy Birthday to you.
THEY EVEN SING IT AT THE WHITE HOUSE BUT DID YOU EVER NOTICE YOU NEVER REALLY HEAR IT SUNG BY CHARACTERS IN MOVIES OR ON TV?
WELL, THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY JUST GOT AN EARLY "BIRTHDAY" PRESENT, IF YOU WILL.
IT LOOKS LIKE A SETTLEMENT WILL BLOW OUT THE CANDLES ON A COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT, OPENING UP THE POPULAR TUNE FOR USE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
NOW, ACCORDING TO DOCUMENTS RELEASED MONDAY, WARNER-CHAPPELL MUSIC, THAT'S THE COMPANY THAT CLAIMS TO OWN THE RIGHTS TO THE SONG, WILL HAVE TO PAY $14-MILLION TO SETTLE A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT.
NOW, THIS HAS BEEN HUNG UP IN THE COURTS SINCE 2013, WHEN A COMPANY MAKING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE SONG FILED THE LAWSUIT, CLAIMING IT SHOULD BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. THERE HAVE BEEN RULINGS AND APPEALS SINCE THEN, ALL THE WHILE, TV, MUSIC, AND FILM INDUSTRIES, THEY'VE  HAD TO PAY IF THEY WANTED TO USE IT.
AND BY THE WAY, THAT 16-WORD SONG AMERICA SINGS BEFORE DIGGING INTO CAKE AND ICE CREAM, WELL IT'S A CLASSIC IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.  THEY TUNE WAS WRITTEN WAY BACK IN 1893 BY SISTERS, MILDRED AND PATTY HILL BUT THE JUDGE RULED THAT THERE'S ACTUALLY NO EVIDENCE THAT THE DUO WROTE THE LYRICS TO THE SONG.
IN WASHINGTON, DIANNE GALLAGHER.

As you heard, works in the public domain can be used by anyone and are no longer owned by a person or group. Books or artwork created before there was a copyright law are in the public domain. 


Instructional Links

Website Articles & Videos: Ultimate Guide to Copyright for Students

Website: Welcome to Copyright Kids, FAQs, Definitions, Quiz

Video & Quiz: YouTube, Copyright School

Online Interactive Website: Library of Congress, Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright

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