Copyright trolls who claimed to own "Happy Birthday" will pay $14M to their "customers"

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I think some words miss.


Still, businesses paid Warner millions as an alternative to costly litigation. Finally, a documentary film about Warner’s ridiculous claims, sued defended the suit, and won.

Needs an edit.


You shouldn’t assume that this song is in the public domain.

We do not know for a fact that the copyright expired.

What we know is that the words and music both existed in prior to the attempt to copyright. Which makes the copyright invalid.


Um, no.

The copyright on the music expired; that we already knew even before this lawsuit.

The copyright state of the lyrics is less clear. This is why the judge ruled that Warner doesn’t own the copyright, but did not actually say the lyrics were out of copyright.

Doesn’t “de minimis non curat lex” apply any more? If the lyrics [sic] to Happy Birthday are copyrightable, I think I should copyright “You’re a jerk” and then sue almost everybody who has ever been rude about copyright lawyers.

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The issue I was hoping to see addressed was the concealment of evidence by Warner. The way the “damning evidence” was found is a researcher noticing the blurred pages in the scans of the songbook submitted as evidence. Those pages just happened to be the ones with the evidence that showed that the copyright had expired. Those were the only pages that happened to be blurred in that manner.

I don’t think that was a coincidence. I don’t think the judge did either.


One thing that always bothered me about this whole fiasco: it’s a SHIT song.
Pardon the language, but seriously, even terrace chants look down on the Happy Birthday song…

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Why do you hate love and joy? Why?

There are literally millions of shit songs out there. Doesn’t mean someone has the right to charge you for it when they don’t own it.

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Hehehe… it all goes back to not getting an Atari VCS when I was a kid…

You’re joshing me (I think!), but of course I do love birthdays - not mine, but those of happy smiling juniors. And my criticism was maybe mean and unnecessary. I just always found it a dull, atonal dirge: na-na-na-na-NA, na-na-na-na-NA, na-NA-Na-na-na-na, NA-Na-na-Na-Na. Maybe it has to be to permeate young minds, I dunno.

For contrast, the “For (S)He’s a Jolly Good Fellow!” refrain which often follows it is a lively, celebratory affair. De gustibus non est disputandum.

Not that this excuses evil copyright trolling in any way of course, as someone else points out. Hope those Warner lawyers never have a birthday wish come true ever again.

On a final, semi-related note: I’m not into Springsteen, but he has a strangely touching birthday song called “Surprise, Surprise” which may serve as an alternative HB anthem for grown-ups, should you ever need one (the Beatles have one too, albeit it’s a more straightforward rocker).

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