An Early Birthday Present, Judge Rules ‘Happy Birthday to You’ Belongs to the Public
According to the Washington Post, a California federal judge ruled Tuesday that “Happy Birthday to You” does not belong to the mega music corporation that has long claimed it. Instead, the world’s most popular song belongs to, well, the world.
The ruling brings to an end an intense two-year legal standoff between a handful of independent filmmakers and massive company Warner Music, says the Post. It also throws into doubt as much as $50 million in licensing fees collected by the music giant over the past 27 years, raising the possibility of a class-action lawsuit to come.
The decision by U.S. District Judge George H. King delighted the plaintiffs, who portrayed their lawsuit as a David-versus-Goliath battle over the so-called “birthday song.”
“‘Happy Birthday’ is finally free after 80 years,” Randall Newman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Los Angeles Times. “Finally, the charade is over. It’s unbelievable.”
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