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Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages 442

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-many-more dept.
New submitter chriscappuccio sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "The song 'Happy Birthday to You' is widely credited for being the most performed song in the world. But one of its latest venues may be the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where the only parties may be the litigants to a new legal battle. The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed on Thursday by a filmmaker in New York who is seeking to have the court declare the popular ditty to be in the public domain, and to block a music company from claiming it owns the copyright to the song and charging licensing fees for its use. The filmmaker, Jennifer Nelson, was producing a documentary movie, tentatively titled 'Happy Birthday,' about the song, the lawsuit said. In one proposed scene, the song was to be performed."
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Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:35AM (#44006271)
    I've copyrighted the phrase "fuck all the lawyers", so you need to send me a check if you want to use it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:48AM (#44006387)

      I'm not sure you could claim that this is an original work of authorship.
      Perhaps you could word it as a catchy jingle ^_^

  • by torkus (1133985) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:38AM (#44006299)

    Right? /sarcasm

    I'm glad someone is pushing this topic (finally) and this is the perfect example. It's one thing to protect artists but the never-ending copyright extensions doing nothing of the sort. They ensure the media companies can generate recurring profits but, by and large, provide limit benefit to those actually responsible for the work. Oh wait...corporations are people now too.

    Hopefully this is decided firmly, not on some silly technicality, and sets a precedent for other cases so common-use media can be pushed into public domain. Maybe someone will rule that copyright law is unfair, unconstitutional, or similar and FORCE our government to review this and move to a more rational policy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:43AM (#44006343)

      Culture is being held ransom; music, literature, film, television... any medium you can think of is illegal to share, perform or otherwise widely enjoy without paying a gatekeeper. Thanks to the nature of the system if something isn't "saleable" it is left forgotten to rot in some media archive somewhere.

      Back at the turn of the 20th century piano roll music was quite popular and sophisticated however much of it is lost forever because of the same kind of greed.

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:57AM (#44007135) Homepage Journal

        I have a plan for changing this at the basic political level, finally getting rid of absurdly-long copyright terms. (And coincidentally, my plan should work for addressing the overbroadness domestic surveillance powers, too.)

        The plan is to vote for Republicans or Democrats. (I haven't yet decided which; that's a minor detail.) This way, I can get Republicans or Democrats into key policy-making positions, where they will finally be able to enact the changes they have been promising.

        Everyone, if you think the current laws are unfair and ridiculous and you want to Do Something about it, November 2014 will be your first big chance: vote to finally get some Republicans or Democrats into congress. And then in November 2016 vote for a Republican or Democrat president too. (Can you imagine the changes we would see at DoJ, if only we were to have a Republican or Democrat president? Can you imagine the reforms we would see in copyright law, if only we have a Republican or Democrat majority in the houses? Can you imagine what limits would be imposed upon the NSA by the president, if only we were to elect a Republican or Democrat to that job?)

        CHANGE CAN HAPPEN, if you do what is necessary to make it happen. For that, the parties (Republicans and Democrats) who are against the status quo, and instead, support common-sense reform, need your support. These parties have never had the opportunity to show their colors, and if only we would give them the chance, I'm sure they wouldn't let us down.

      • by boristdog (133725)

        I don't know. I've always hated the "Happy Birthday Song" and I have used copyright as an excuse to replace it whenever possible with the one Peabody and Sherman used in one of their episodes. I think it was the one with Sitting Bull. To distract the Natives, the settlers sang (in a sort of native war-chant mode):

        Happy Happy Birthday!
        Happy Happy Birthday!
        Happy Happy Birthday!
        UGH!

        Jay Ward and his heirs haven't tried to sue me yet.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:44AM (#44006351) Homepage Journal

      1) Put in reforms that revert copyright back to a shield and curb it's use as a sword.

      And one of the best ways to do that is...

      2) Disallow corporations to own copyrights. Require that they be in the name of actual persons and make it so they can only be leased to a corporate entity. That way the corporation is beholden to SOMEONE.

      and of course

      3) Get rid of Micky Mouse copyright.

      • Yes, I screwed up "it's".

      • Disallow corporations to own copyrights. Require that they be in the name of actual persons and make it so they can only be leased to a corporate entity. That way the corporation is beholden to SOMEONE.

        Oh, wow. I like that.

        Get rid of Micky Mouse copyright.

        That has two possible meanings, and I like them both.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bjdevil66 (583941)

        As much as I hate corporations pulling crap like this, this type of "corporations aren't REALLY people" precedent would create so much legal chaos that this would ultimately be a horrible idea.

        Corporations are people, or they aren't.

        But I do agree that the length of copyrights is a joke (with companies like Disney leading the way on that front).

        • by Holi (250190) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:17AM (#44006679)

          Corporations are not people, they are a legal economic structure to protect the owners personal assets.

          How can corporations be people when they are property?

          • The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized corporate personhood [wikipedia.org] since at least 1819. By 1886, the justices were unanimous that at least the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the associations of individuals called "corporations" as much as it does to the individuals severally.
          • Crporations are ... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Immerman (2627577) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:35AM (#44007467)

            To my mind the problem is the "corporations are people" mantra is only trotted out when it's legally convenient, and is promptly ignored when personhood would be inconvenient. Basically they get all the benefits of being a legal person, with none of the downsides.

            So just as an idea, what if we we also classify corporations as something they are much more similar to? Another institution explicitly created for the concentration and leveraging of power (wealth being one form of power). Governments. Let the default assumption be that corporations have to comply with all regulations and constitutional limits imposed on the governments of the jurisdictions that they do business in. Cleary that might require some fragmentation - Google China and Google US would be subject to some fairly incompatible regulations, but that might be for the best. Do we really want to live in a world where corporate power rivals or exceeds that of many/most governments? (Democratic) governments are at least titullarly under the control of their populations, but I realy don't see global cooperation reaching the point where governments can effectively reign in the power of international mega-corporations any time soon, and even if the cooperation existed there doesn't seem to be the will. Not surprising since corporations (and the powerful people controlling them) are themselves largely responsible for selecting and empowering the candidates that the rest of us get to choose between.

      • by Migraineman (632203) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:07AM (#44006567)
        Also - copyright terminates when the author(s) die. None of this life-plus-eleventy-thousand-years crap. When you kick, your works revert into the public domain ... we *all* benefit from that.
        • by mooingyak (720677) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:14AM (#44007269)

          Also - copyright terminates when the author(s) die. None of this life-plus-eleventy-thousand-years crap. When you kick, your works revert into the public domain ... we *all* benefit from that.

          I'd rather just a straight up term of 30 years (or whatever number is most reasonable), regardless of whether or not the author is still alive.

          • by j-beda (85386) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:49PM (#44008469) Homepage

            I'd rather just a straight up term of 30 years (or whatever number is most reasonable), regardless of whether or not the author is still alive.

            First decade for free, $10 registration for the next year, doubling every year after that, in perpetuity. This allows the "owner" to extract any economic value they can see in the item, and very quickly puts the vast majority of works into the public domain. Central registration also makes it easy to find the owner if you actually do want access to the work for licensing or the like, or to find out if the work has been registered. Each ten years the cost go up by a factor of 1024.

            Year 11 - $10 (total $10)
            Year 12 - $20 (total $30)
            Year 13 - $40 (total $70)
            Year 14 - $80 (total $150)
            etc.

            Price for year "n" = $10 x 2^(n-10)
            Total price to pay for every year up to and including year "n" = $10 x ( 2^(n-9) - 1)

            Year 20 costs $10240, total cost $20470
            Year 30 costs $10,485,760, total costs $20,971,510

            The details of the free period length or the first yearly amount can of course be changed, but the doubling rate is what makes this type of system work. Make it five years free and one dollar for the 6th year, and it works great too. Heck, one penny for the first year gets you to the ten bucks level in a decade, so maybe that's the way to go.

      • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:15AM (#44006653) Homepage

        1) Copyrights are supposed to encourage the creator to create more work. As soon as the creator is dead, the chances of her/him creating more work are somewhat diminished. At most a copyright period should be for N years or natural death of the creator, whichever comes first.

        2) Corporations should be allowed to have some sort of copyright, after all, their payments to creators enables the creators' work. But these copyrights could be much smaller and of a different nature. Like an "exclusive license" that lasts upto the point the product is no longer actively published. "Actively" could be reasonably specified in some way; i.e. after the first year where sold copies amount to 10% of first-year sales.

        3) How about getting rid of Mickey Mouse entirely?

        • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:27AM (#44006813) Homepage Journal

          Copyrights are supposed to encourage the creator to create more work. As soon as the creator is dead, the chances of her/him creating more work are somewhat diminished.

          Post-mortem copyrights are supposed to encourage the author's estate to complete the author's unfinished works rather than shredding them. With no post-mortem copyright, Christopher Tolkien might not have allowed The Silmarillion to see publication.

          • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:40AM (#44006963) Homepage

            Which brings up an interresting point; is a work copyrighted before it is published/made publically available?
            The Simarillion was not published in any (unfinished) form when Tolkien died.
            Wouldn't it have been possible for his son to complete the work and claim copyright of the whole work?

          • Post-mortem copyrights are supposed to encourage the author's estate to complete the author's unfinished works rather than shredding them.

            That's not why they came into existence, and it would only really apply in cases of reasonably famous authors where there would actually be a significant market for posthumous works -- for most creators, no one would care.

            Anyhow, if you read about the history of copyright in the 1800s, you'll see stories about widows and starving families who wanted the money due to them from copyright for their husbands'/fathers' work.

            (And before I get a lot of responses about how the kids shouldn't get to live off the

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:38AM (#44006943)

        What do you think a corporation is? If we just switched the term corporation to business would your suggestion start to fall apart? When an author/artist dies, so does their copyright?

        Let's pretend I make a movie. The day before release, the individual assigned for the copyright is shot. Can my competitors now charge admission to replay my movie?

        The real problem is just duration, not the entity holding the piece of paper. You could argue the need for a moral copyright beyond a commercial copyright, but I think you end up on the same slippery slope.

        12 Years from first commercial publication.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        A shield is useless if you have no recourse against the people who violate your rights.

        Do you know what a corporation is? even the slightest clue?
        A corporation can be just ONE person. Are you saying a author who incorporates can't own their own copyright? Are you saying an author can ;liscent their copyright to whomever they want?
        You solution is based on the shallowest of understanding.

        If you want anyone to even to begin to consider what you have to say, stop using terms like Mickey Mouse copyright.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      never-ending copyright extensions

      Thank you Disney and Sono Bono. Even The Emperor and Darth Vader must now bow to Disney.

    • I don't think they will find copyright unconstitutional:

      Article 1, Section 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

      I do think they might start reducing the time frame associated with "securing for limited Times."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:38AM (#44006307)

    "By the way, today happens to be my birthday."

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:41AM (#44006319)

    Bring back the original copyright terms [wikipedia.org]:

    The original length of copyright in the United States was 14 years, and it had to be explicitly applied for. If the author wished, he could apply for a second 14year monopoly grant, but after that the work entered the public domain, so it could be used and built upon by others.

    How about "25 years without any extension, then it goes into the public domain". What these money-hungry Hollywood and publishing executives don't seem to realize is that everything DRM'ed will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

    • No great loss "Tears in the rain" wasn't that greater song I'm not even 100% if it charted ?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tears_in_the_Rain_(song) [wikipedia.org]

    • by Racemaniac (1099281) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:04AM (#44006535)

      Wouldn't 5 years be more than enough? i thought part of the goal was to stimulate artist to make new stuff. if you can ride it out for 25 years on 1 hit you once scored, it's not much motivation to create something new -_-

      • by hedwards (940851)

        No, that might help the 0.000001% or so of groups that get a hit right away, and even then the artists would get very little. What's more, it means that if you don't spend a crap load on ads right away, you might not get any money at all for the work. It's hardly unheard of for a band to take more than 5 years to hit it big, so the early stuff wouldn't be something they would make any money off of.

        As for riding it out, I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to do so. We don't require construction wor

        • by LocalH (28506)

          As for riding it out, I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to do so. We don't require construction workers to tear down their house every 5 years if they built it themselves, or for landlords to do the same, just because they're "coasting" on something that they did once.

          This actually highlights the difference between copyrighted works and physical goods. Construction workers don't get a royalty check every time a house they helped build gets sold. Landlords get paid regularly because they own the physical good and are renting it to you on an ongoing basis. We're living in a world where copyright is rapidly being expanded and physical goods are being eschewed in favor of digital downloads, which are not usually transferable in the same sense as a physical copy of the work.

          • by Piata (927858) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#44007067)
            A finished house is instantly worth money while creative endeavours are often not. Maybe for big corporations there are instant profits to be made but a band or artist that spends 10+ years developing a following and perfecting their artform will often be working for nothing in the hope that eventually it will all pay off. Copyright is abused by Big Media but Copyright is also the only thing that stops Big Media from exploiting independent artists.
        • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:52AM (#44007069)

          We don't require construction workers to tear down their house every 5 years

          The construction workers don't get a check from tenants every month either.

      • by mark-t (151149)

        5 years might be enough for some types of works, but for other more long-lived works it's not practical. 25 years isn't really *THAT* long... certainly it'd generally be the case that anyone born during a period when a work was copyrighted, or if a particular work was created and copyrighted while they were growing up would still likely spend most of their adult life in a period where it wasn't. Pushing a century, however, as things are right now, is utterly absurd.

        Fixed, reasonable length, and COMPLE

      • by Piata (927858) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:38AM (#44006941)

        5 years is probably too short. While I hate copyright, it also prevents mega corps from co-opting people's creations and selling it back to us/using it to sell their products and services. They already do this to a certain extent but could you imagine how awful it would be if they had free reign to do anything they wanted with everything after 5 years?

        Imagine you wrote a song, filmed a short video or created this amazing illustration and 5 years later it was used by corporations to sell everything from toothpaste to cars. How would you feel about that?

        Copyright law cuts both ways. While it's often controlled and exploited by the mega-corps it's also the only line of defense independent artists have against those same mega-corps.

    • by FunPika (1551249)

      What these money-hungry Hollywood and publishing executives don't seem to realize is that everything DRM'ed will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

      Even if they realize it, it is unlikely that they care if a movie they released is impossible to watch 100 years from now, as long as they get their money now.

    • by stanIyb (2945195)

      Meh... that's too long. It shouldn't be longer than 10 years, and some might say that even that is too long.

    • by IP_Troll (1097511)
      While I agree with your sentiment, what you propose is much more difficult than you think.

      The present copyright term and "automatic rights" instead of "rights after registration" are not spontaneous American ideas, they are requirements of the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty.

      You will have to get the whole of Europe/ Asia to sign on to whatever changes you propose.

      Or America could withdraw from the treaty, but that would mean Americans would lose their rights in treaty countries.
      • Terms could still be scaled back without withdrawing from any worldwide treaty. Berne requires life plus 50 years for individual works or 50 years for works made for hire. The United States currently goes above and beyond this by recognizing life plus 70 years for individual works or 95 years for works made for hire.
    • by Trevelyan (535381)
      In the US because of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act [wikipedia.org] or rather the Copyright Term Extension Act [wikipedia.org].

      Basically every time Mickey Mouse is about to go out of copyright and into the public domain, Disney lobby for copyright to be extended.

      Given that they actively use MM, their Trade Mark on him will never expire. Isn't that enough? Why continuously extend copyright?
    • by kasperd (592156)

      What these money-hungry Hollywood and publishing executives don't seem to realize is that everything DRM'ed will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

      Publishers should be forced to choose whether they want protection from DRM or from copyright. They should not be allowed to have protection from both. So if they choose to release it with DRM, the copyright will immediately expire.

  • Constitutionally, copyright is meant to be for a limited time. What we have today hardly reflects the constitutional intent behind allowing the concept, originally used in other countries as a form of censorship, in the fledgling States.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:49AM (#44006389) Homepage Journal

      What I find funny is that the "strict constitutionalists" in our politics today have no problems with IP. People like Clarance Thomas talk about "original intent" but never have a problem with these matters. If there is one thing that has outstripped original intent of the constitution it's copyright. It wasn't put there for people to make money. It was put there to encourage people to be creative. Copyright in perpetuity does NOT encourage people to be creative.

      • by paiute (550198)

        People like Clarance Thomas talk about "original intent" but never have a problem with these matters. If there is one thing that has outstripped original intent of the constitution it's copyright.

        Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, known as the Copyright Clause, empowers the United States Congress:
        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

        How does current copyright law outstrip the original intent? The original intent is clear: Congress defines the length of copyright. Otherwise the authors of the Constitution would have specified the len

        • by Nimey (114278) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:35AM (#44006913) Homepage Journal

          Arguably the current copyright system doesn't promote progress of science or useful arts, and there's no indication that copyrights will ever be for a limited time since Disney buys a new law whenever Steamboat Willie is about to leave copyright.

        • by microbox (704317)

          How does current copyright law outstrip the original intent?

          Because long copyright terms encourage rent-seeking behaviour [wikipedia.org], which was explicitly what the founders were trying to protect against with the verbiage: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.

          If there would be just as much science and art with shorter copyright terms, then the law is in violation of the constitution. Congress does not have the /right/ to define a longer term.

    • It seems there are a lot of things that were originally (or amended to include) aren't reflected in current law. Libel being an obvious example. If the 1st amendment were strictly adhered to, you couldn't sue someone for libel.

      • It seems there are a lot of things that were originally (or amended to include) aren't reflected in current law.

        Because the government just does whatever it wants (as long as the public doesn't get too angry). Nothing new here.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    - Originally copyrighted in the 1930s.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178)

      To promote the Perpetual Stream of Revenue, by securing for however long it takes to lose all value to Authors' and Inventors' Employers the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

      - Ammended copyright in the 2000s.

  • Slashdot might not be RockPaperShotgun in terms of title puns, but every once in a while you get a good one off.

  • This was covered on NPR back in early March. Way to step up to the plate, old media.

  • We've got a new birthday song! So there!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaiusnHOF9A [youtube.com]

    .
  • But it's... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @09:58AM (#44006469)

    ...already IN the public domain! Hapi Berth Dey Two Ewe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f2PCWYAZQc

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:04AM (#44006529) Homepage
    the song is over a hundred fucking years old. its practically an american standard and so ubiquitously used as to be unenforceable. in any other country a judge would laugh the plaintiff out of the god damn room. if it doesnt go public domain we can definitely start a campaign against it. banthebirthdaysong.com or nomorebirthdaysong.org should point to a creative-commons or public-domain version of a song that anything from a synthesizer to a ten year old can sing without having to hire johnny cochran.
  • by wylderide (933251) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:06AM (#44006555) Homepage
    ... Which is why they're gonna rule in favour Warner, because screw the public. They aren't a corporation. What business do they have owning things that can be owned privately and exploited by individuals. Individuals meaning individual corporations: The real people.
  • In 2008 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion against copyright holders after failure to enforce trademarks for more than 40 years.

    The defendant Thomas Kenneth Abraham for years was a producer of decorative fraternity and sorority paddles. In 1990 thirty-two fraternities and sororities commenced contacting Abraham asking his to pay a license to use certain house names and logos. The defendant asseted a "laches defense" which is when a copyright holder falls asleep which regard to their trad

    • by jcorno (889560)
      You're confusing copyright and trademarks, which are legally unrelated. They don't even fall under the same branch of government. Trademark is under the Dept. of Commerce (Executive branch), and copyright is under the Library of Congress, which is administered directly by Congress.
    • by Holi (250190)

      You are extremely confused when it comes to IP laws.

      Copyright != Trademark.

      Laches defense would only exist if they had not actively been pursuing violators, which they have. How can you say "there has been no enforcement over the years", There has been so much enforcement the ridiculousness of it has entered our pop culture (The Simpsons have joked about ti, so has Futurama, iCarley, Sports Night, the Venture Brothers and so many more). I mean have you ever wondered why you never hear it on TV, you always

  • 10 years (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stanIyb (2945195) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:11AM (#44006593)

    This sort of thing is why copyright should only last for 10 year (or less). No extensions. No nothing. 10 (or less) years. If you can't profit in that amount of time, that's life.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:23AM (#44006767) Homepage

    They do not foster innovation, they impede it. Nor do they benefit the inventors, almost all "inventions" now go to big corporations. Who then abuse them all the more.

    Very few musicians see even 10% of the $$$ their music earns.

    Our present IP laws are so horrendous, society would be better without them. Sadly, politicians are so bought so we'll only see it get worse.

    ***

    And yes there are better solutions. Patents, should only be held by inventors. And should only be granted for truly novel and new inventions. Nor should a patent prevent anyone else from building a better/cheaper mousetrap. Rather, a patent should merely grant a 10% tax break to the holder or the company of their employ.

    This would encourage innovation, keep inventors employed (instead of immediately being laid off by companies after their invention is complete), rather companies would put inventors on their payroll just for the tax break. And then they'd be free to stay home and continue inventing.

    That is a far far better solution than our current system which is forcing companies like Google to spend $8 billion buying Motorola to defend themselves against frivolous patents granted to Apple on decades old technologies. And in most cases, not an invention but the mere patenting of a use.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:34AM (#44006909) Homepage Journal

    Looking at Wikipedia page it indicates the song is from 1893 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Birthday_to_You [wikipedia.org]). How the heck can anyone claim copyright on it at this point? Sure the last of the two artists died in 1946, meaning it is currently death+67 years, but I still think it is way overboard and agree with it finally needing to be put into the public domain.

    I think we need to revise copyright such that the copyright after death is much shorter, but add a notion of attribution in each place for after its expiration.

  • by PuckSR (1073464) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:38AM (#44006939)

    This is the sad fact. The "Happy Birthday" song shouldn't even be copyrighted.
    It is a derivative work on an older song in the public domain(Good Morning To You) and is far too short to receive a copyright.

    In other words, imagine if you changed the ending to the alphabet song and then tried to get it copyrighted. That would be laughable, even in our modern pro-IP courts.Yet someone did exactly that decades ago, and then some company has maintained the copyright on the "Happy Birthday" song for all of these years? It is a joke. Fixing this shouldn't even be the first blow for fixing our IP problems. It should just have been challenged in court by someone by now, but the company who "owns" the song only brings it up when they know that it is a large media company who would rather just license the song than try to challenge in court.

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday June 14, 2013 @10:39AM (#44006945)

    With every possible name inserted into line 3?

This is a good time to punt work.

Working...