Good morning to all!

happy birthday photoA judge has just ruled that the popular song “Happy Birthday!”, originally composed by two sisters, Mildred and Patty King, in 1893 in Kentucky as “Good morning to all” a song intended for the primary school classroom.  Copyright was registered in 1935.  Music publisher Warner/Chappell acquired the copyright for the song in 1988.  This meant public performances of the song on stage, film, TV, and elsewhere incurred royalties to Warner/Chappell.  This made the publisher around $2 million each year.

A judge recently ruled the copyright claim Warner/Chappel acquired covered only the melody and a specific piano arrangement, not the lyrics after film Rupa Marya and Robert Siegel, who are making a film about the song challenged the publisher’s $1,500 (£970) fee for the right to use the song in the film, claiming the song was in the public domain and not subject to copyright.  Warner/Chappel have announced they are examining the court’s “lengthy opinion” and considering their options.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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