'Happy Birthday to You' copyright suit - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

'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>>

  • NJ, NY officials meet about security

    NJ, NY officials meet about security

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:50:11 GMT
    With new concerns about home grown terrorism becoming more urgent, city and state officials -- including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio -- met with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to devise new strategies. NYPD counterterrorism police stood watch outside the Midtown Manhattan meeting where city, state and federal law enforcement officials coordinated their new security plans.
    With new concerns about home grown terrorism becoming more urgent, city and state officials -- including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio -- met with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to devise new strategies. NYPD counterterrorism police stood watch outside the Midtown Manhattan meeting where city, state and federal law enforcement officials coordinated their new security plans.
  • Cabs for women driven by women

    Cabs for women driven by women

    Monday, September 15 2014 3:14 PM EDT2014-09-15 19:14:45 GMT
    Taxis come in yellow, green, black, and now... hot pink? They're called SheTaxis and they are from a cab service for women by women. (The cabs aren't actually pink, but drivers will carry pink pashminas.)The service is coming to New York this week. You could almost think of it as an all-female Uber.
    Taxis come in yellow, green, black, and now... hot pink? They're called SheTaxis and they are from a cab service for women by women. (The cabs aren't actually pink, but drivers will carry pink pashminas.)The service is coming to New York this week. You could almost think of it as an all-female Uber.
  • Gillibrand: I don't know who made 'porky' comment

    Gillibrand: I don't know who made 'porky' comment

    Monday, September 15 2014 12:53 PM EDT2014-09-15 16:53:12 GMT
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, without naming any names, claims in a new book that male colleagues made off-color remarks about her appearance – with one even allegedly squeezing her stomach and telling her: “Don't lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”  The 47-year-old Democratic New York senator discussed her new book, “Off the Sidelines,” in an interview with Good Day New York on Monday.
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, without naming any names, claims in a new book that male colleagues made off-color remarks about her appearance – with one even allegedly squeezing her stomach and telling her: “Don't lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”  The 47-year-old Democratic New York senator discussed her new book, “Off the Sidelines,” in an interview with Good Day New York on Monday.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

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