Music Company Does Not Own 'Happy Birthday' Song Copyright, Judge Rules

September 23, 2015 3:20 AM

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Music Company Does Not Own 'Happy Birthday' Song Copyright, Judge Rules

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Warner/Chappell Music does not own the copyright rights to famous "Happy Birthday to You" song, which has become a nearly-mandatory part of birthday celebrations across the country and beyond.

Federal judge George H. King made the ruling Tuesday in response to a lawsuit that sought to have the song placed in the public domain. Tuesday's ruling means the song is now in the public domain and the company can no longer charge for public performances, the law firm that filed the suit said.

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