4 Things To Know About The 'Happy Birthday' Ruling

By Bill Donahue (September 23, 2015, 8:57 PM EDT) -- Warner/Chappell Music Inc. spent years collecting millions from anyone who wanted to use "Happy Birthday to You," but a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the company never really owned a valid copyright on the century-old song.

While it might come as a surprise to most that anybody claimed to "own" the ubiquitous birthday song, Warner/Chappell had for years been quietly doing just that, raking in an estimated $2 million a year in licensing fees from filmmakers and others.

Warner/Chappell, the publishing unit of Warner Music Group, long claimed that it had inherited a 1935 copyright for the song from a company...

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