All of us who areÂ English-speaking, tone deaf, and melodically-challenged are often called uponÂ to singÂ this song from our repertoire. As you will knowÂ Â ÂHappy Birthday to YouÂ is Guinness World RecordsÂ best known song in the English language, butÂ Warner/Chappell Music have claimed exclusive copyright in the title. This means that when it is played on the radio or sung in a film you have to pay a royalty to the owners.
News broke last week that Good Morning to You productions, isÂ in the process of makingÂ a film entitled Happy Birthday. However they are now being threatened with a law suit from Warner for infringment of its copyright.Â Good morning claim that the lyricsÂ are for Âpublic useÂ and the tune isÂ in Âthe public domainÂ.
It is claimed that Warner/Chappell Music have previously earned over Â£3million from licensing feesÂ but Good Morning to You isÂ now saying their rights wereÂ falsely obtained, and have nowÂ issued a claim seeking a declaration of ownership.
The lawsuit calls Warner/ChappellÂs copyright claims ÂboldÂ, ÂwrongfulÂ and ÂunlawfulÂ,Â and claims that the copyright appears to have expired in 1921.
Watch this space for further news but good news for those who hate birthdays!
This article was written by Stephanie Thomas whilst on work experience from the University of Birmingham.