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Carl

"Happy Birthday" to Enter Public Domain

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If yesterday's ruling holds up, "Happy Birthday" will be in the public domain.

The song was written by two nursery school teachers in Kentucky in 1893 as a children's tune called "Good Morning to All," which was later adapted to "Happy Birthday to You."

Royalties have been paid for using the song since 1935, when it was copyrighted. Ownership of the copyright changed hands over the years, eventually landing at the media Goliath Time Warner, which was earning an estimated $2 million a year from the song.

The copyright is murky, however, but was not seriously challenged until 2013 when a filmmaker named Jennifer Nelson, who was working on a documentary about the song, filed the suit (she was asked to pay $1,500 to use the song in the film).

Time Warner got away with it for so long because there is very little to gain from challenging the copyright - it's not like the "Blurred Lines" case where the millions will go to a specific party. Nelson, however, can provide a killer ending for her documentary if her suit stands and she ultimately sets the song free, changing the course of musical history.

We applaud the effort, but would like to point out that the song absolutely sucks. It's a cloying tune written for 5-year-olds, and thus it should never be sung to anyone past that age. Just about anything is better - the Bennigan's birthday song blows it away. The beginning of 50 Cent's "In The Club" is way better ("Go shorty, it's your birthday"). Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" is also a fine substitute. :afro_2:

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