'Happy Birthday to You' copyright suit - New York News

'Happy Birthday to You' copyright suit

Posted: Updated:

NEW YORK (AP) — A production company making a documentary about the song "Happy Birthday to You" is challenging the copyright to the famous jingle.

Good Morning To You Productions Corp., which is working on a film tentatively titled "Happy Birthday," argues in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the song should be "dedicated to public use and in the public domain." The company is seeking monetary damages and restitution of more than $5 million in licensing fees collected by Warner/Chappell Music Inc. from thousands of people and groups who've paid it licensing fees.

"More than 120 years after the melody to which the simple lyrics of Happy Birthday to You is set was first published, defendant Warner/Chappell boldly, but wrongfully and unlawfully, insists that it owns the copyright to Happy Birthday to You," the lawsuit states.

Warner/Chappell, based in Los Angeles, claims exclusive copyright to "Happy Birthday to You," which Guinness World Records has called the most famous song in the English language. The company, whose artists include Aretha Franklin, Barry Gibb, Rob Zombie, Madonna and Michael Jackson, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Good Morning To You Productions argues that evidence dating to 1893 helps show the song's copyright expired around 1921. It says four previous copyrights to the melody of the similar-sounding song "Good Morning to All," filed in 1893, 1896, 1899 and 1907, have expired or been forfeited.

The class action lawsuit says that Warner/Chappell claims the exclusive copyright to the song based on piano arrangements published in 1935 but that the copyright applies only to the piano arraignment and not to the melody or lyrics.

The film company filed the lawsuit after having to pay Warner/Chappell a $1,500 licensing fee and sign an agreement to use the song in a scene — or face a $150,000 penalty.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Fort Drum soldier fatally wounded in Afghanistan

    Fort Drum soldier fatally wounded in Afghanistan

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:12 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:12:36 GMT
    U.S. Army photoU.S. Army photo
    A soldier from Fort Drum in northern New York has died from wounds suffered in combat in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced. Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk, 27, of Cuero, Texas, was wounded during a firefight with insurgents in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province on April 12, 2014, the Pentagon said. The military flew him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he died three days later.
    A soldier from Fort Drum in northern New York has died from wounds suffered in combat in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced. Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk, 27, of Cuero, Texas, was wounded during a firefight with insurgents in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province on April 12, 2014, the Pentagon said. The military flew him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he died three days later.
  • Harlem politician Basil Paterson dead

    Harlem politician Basil Paterson dead

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:41:03 GMT
    Basil Paterson, the father of former New York Governor David Paterson, died Wednesday night at the age of 87. The trailblazing Democratic politician from Harlem served in the state Senate, as deputy mayor of New York City, as secretary of state of New York and was appointed by the New York Senate as a commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 1970, he ran for lieutenant governor, the second black nominee of a major party for statewide office in New York.
    Basil Paterson, the father of former New York Governor David Paterson, died Wednesday night at the age of 87. The trailblazing Democratic politician from Harlem served in the state Senate, as deputy mayor of New York City, as secretary of state of New York and was appointed by the New York Senate as a commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 1970, he ran for lieutenant governor, the second black nominee of a major party for statewide office in New York.
  • Pizza man attacked, shoots would-be robber

    Pizza man attacked, shoots would-be robber

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:34:37 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    This guy packs more than pepperoni. Police say a masked robber is in the hospital after a pizza delivery man shot at a gang of would-be thieves. Police tell local media outlets that the delivery man brought a pizza to a house around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was met in the front hallway by a man wearing a mask and hoodie.
    This guy packs more than pepperoni. Police say a masked robber is in the hospital after a pizza delivery man shot at a gang of would-be thieves. Police tell local media outlets that the delivery man brought a pizza to a house around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was met in the front hallway by a man wearing a mask and hoodie.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
  • Wineries flourish in Brooklyn

    Wineries flourish in Brooklyn

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:34:04 GMT
    Hundreds of oak barrels of wine are all stacked in one room. You might think this is Napa, California. But it's not. It's the Brooklyn Winery, located in what was once an old pickle factory in Williamsburg. Refrigerated grapes are brought in from the North Fork of Long Island and from the Finger Lakes and then aged in barrels. These days urban wineries are becoming more popular, and they're popping up all over the borough.
    Hundreds of oak barrels of wine are all stacked in one room. You might think this is Napa, California. But it's not. It's the Brooklyn Winery, located in what was once an old pickle factory in Williamsburg. Refrigerated grapes are brought in from the North Fork of Long Island and from the Finger Lakes and then aged in barrels. These days urban wineries are becoming more popular, and they're popping up all over the borough.
  • NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-04-18 01:30:41 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices