There is currently a copyright debate over who should own the rights to the popular tune, “Happy Birthday.”
A New York based production company called, “Good Morning To You Productions Corp,” has filed a lawsuit against the Warner company branch, “Warner/Chappel Music Inc.,” which currently owns the rights to the birthday tune. Those who use the song without permission from Warner face up to $150,000 in copyright infringement fees. According to “good Morning To You Productions Corp,” there is historical evidence that “Warner” has, if anything, only the rights to the solo piano version.
Under the conditions of the lawsuit filed by Good Morning To Your Productions Corp, the song “Happy Birthday” would become public property, instead of being owned by one corporation. In addition, “Good Morning to You Productions Corp” is requesting that “Warner” reimburse thousands of dollars worth that they have already collected in licensing fees on the simple song. “Warner/Chappel Music Inc.” collects yearly 2 million dollars in licensing fees from other companies and productions wanting to use “Happy Birthday.”
The “Good Morning To You Productions Corp” is currently producing a documentary about the origins of the happy birthday tune. They have already paid $1500 dollars to earn the right to use the song in their production.
Emmy Moore is a general assignment reporter at Buffalo Morning Star. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in his journalism career, and has lived in Buffalo for more than 8 years. Emmy has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Buffalo News.