The company that claims to own “Happy Birthday” shot back yesterday at what has been described as “smoking gun” evidence that the world’s most famous song is not copyrighted.
Lawyers for a filmmaker seeking to knock out the copyright found a 1922 songbook that features the lyrics of “Happy Birthday,” published without a copyright notice but with a notice giving “special permission through courtesy of the Clayton F. Summy Co.” On Monday, they filed an application saying that the notice warrants ending the case. Publishing the lyrics without a copyright notice should have forfeited any copyright, and even if it didn’t, copyright on the 1922 songbook expired in 1949.
Warner/Chappell Music, believed to collect around $2 million per year from licensing “Happy Birthday,” filed a response (PDF) yesterday, saying that the new evidence at most creates issues that can be resolved at trial.
Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Leave a Reply