You Can Now Sing Happy Birthday To Someone Without Maybe Getting Sued
Did you know that until yesterday you ran the risk of being sued for singing a 10-second song that everybody sings? No kidding.
You know how there's these stupid outdated laws that people forget about because they are so stupid and outdated? Well, that's how everybody felt about the copyright claim made by Warner/Chappell Music.
Warner bought the company owned by someone named Clayton F. Summy back in the 80s. Summy owned the rights to the song, which were given to him by the people who wrote the song back in the 1890s.
A production company called Good Morning To You Productions was making a documentary about the "Happy Birthday" song -- yes, someone was making a movie over "Happy Birthday to you (sang twice), Happy Birthday dear (followed by someone's name), Happy Birthday to you (sang a third time)."
GMTYP were sued by Warner/Chappell for copyright infringement -- the exact same violation me and you and every other human being on Planet Earth has committed when singing this song to someone, Warner/Chappell believed they were entitled to compensation EVERY TIME the song was performed in public -- they were asked to pay $1,500 to be allowed to use the song, and they countersued.
A judge said that this was nonsense.
Officially, he said that in 1935 a copyright was issued for the song, but it's for the piano music accompaniment, and NOT for the lyrics.
So, sing it a cappella all you want!