23rd jun, 2008

Impressive work on history of “Happy Birthday” and copyright protection

I have stumbled upon a work of great interest – “Copyright and the World’s Most Popular Song. Professor Robert Brauneis has researched the history of the Famous “Happy Birthday to You” song from a copyright perspective. The song is surrounded by some controversy because Time-Warner collects royalties from this 100+-year old song. This fact has been used to argue against copyright extension. Professor Brauneis wondered if all the stories around the song were true, and found out that they weren’t. Read this remarkable paper and discover the true history of the worlds most famous birthday song – which started out as a kindergarten song. Another remarkable feat is that all material has been put online for your further research. 


The short story is: 

The claim that the song is still under copyright is doubtful both because the original copyright was never renewed and because the rights were not litigated for a long period of time. Also a number of very similar songs existed at the same time casting some doubts as to the original nature of the music. 

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