“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” I can’t sing more because then I’d have to pay Warner … until NOW!
According to a court filing yesterday (Feb. 8th), music publisher Warner/Chappell will pay $14 million to end a lawsuit challenging its hold on one of the English language’s most popular song, “Happy Birthday to You.” The settlement also says a proposed final judgment and order would declare the song to be in the public domain. The court papers sign the praises of the deal as “truly, an historic result.”
The revelation of the settlement terms comes after U.S. District Judge George H. King came to the conclusion last fall that Warner didn’t hold any valid copyright to the song and never acquired the rights to the “Happy Birthday” lyrics. At the time, the judge stopped short of declaring that the song was in the public domain, and just before a trial was set to begin in December exploring the history of a song dating back to a 19th century schoolteacher named Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred Hill, the sides reached an agreement.
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