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‘Happy Birthday to You’ in the Public Domain

As published in Washington Post, U.S. District Judge George H. King decided today that America’s go-to celebration song, “Happy Birthday to You,” now 120 years old, is in the public domain, deeming Warner Music’s (formerly Chappell Music, Inc.) copyright of the song invalid. Since 1988, Warner Music’s copyright has been very lucrative, charging $1,500 to $50,000 to use it in songs, movies, radio spots, etc., totaling around $2 million a year in revenue.

“Warner Music has unlawfully held the rights to this song and has made millions from companies in licensing fees”, says Michael Donaldson, Partner of Donaldson + Callif a Los Angeles-based law firm representing independent producers of film, television and web-based content. “Most of these companies were unable to challenge a behemoth of a company like Warner Music, so we are gladdened that the Happy Birthday Song is now in the hands of its rightful owner – America.”

If you are interested in speaking with Mr. Donaldson, please contact Megan Braverman at (310) 405-7343 or [email protected].