“Happy Birthday to You” – Royalty-free

European lawyers, and German lawyers in particular, love to make fun of U.S. litigation, and class actions in particular (and are highly sceptical of any plans to introduce them in Europe). But if there ever is one such thing,  this may just be the one class action everybody loves. “Good Morning to You Productions Corp”. seeks to declare invalid the copyright claim of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. for “Happy Birthday to You” and reclaim the world’s most popular song for the public.

The class action seeks to reclaim royalties paid for the commercial use  of “Happy Birthday to You” to Warner Music. According to the complaint, the song is sung to the melody of a children’s song called “Good Morning to All,” written by Mildred Hill and Patty Hill in 1893. The plaintiff argues that “Happy Birthday to You” has been in the public domain since at least 1921, and traces the story of “Happy Birthday to You” to “Song Stories for Kindergarden.” Kindergarden must be the world’s most popular German word…

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