Copyright Case: Who Owns “Happy Birthday”?

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Time to blow out the candles

Thinking of video taping that special someone’s Birthday festivities? Not so fast… You may be documenting an unfolding crime. Unbeknownst to myself and the general public, you could potentially be treading the line of infringing upon United States Copyright Law. As soon as the widely believed “timeless classic”, “Happy Birthday to You” ballad escapes your lips you are leaving yourself susceptible to civil lawsuit by the copyright holder; in this case, Warner/Chappell Music Inc. To prevent one’s self from running afoul of the law one must pay the $1500 licensing fee imposed by Warner/Chappell Music Inc.

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