All the 'Happy Birthday' song copyright claims were invalid, federal judge rules

September 23, 2015 3:12 AM

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None of the companies that have collected royalties on the "Happy Birthday" song for the past 80 years held a valid copyright claim to one of the most popular songs in history, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled on Tuesday.

In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, the judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the "Happy Birthday To You" song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it paid $15 million to buy Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. S...

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