It Might Be Happy After All
Date: June 18, 2013
When you gather a few friends in restaurant to celebrate a birthday, the server might take note of the celebration and arrange for the establishment to provide a small candle-lit dessert for the birthday-girl/boy. It’s a thoughtful gesture.
The wait-staff might also serenade the party, standing beside your table screaming some raucous, utterly unintelligible birthday chant that sounds like a soccer-cheer/hip-hop mutation. Which begs the question, “Why not just sing Happy Birthday?”
Two words: Copyright Infringement.
According to a CNNMoney article by Chris Isidore, “Warner/Chappell Music claims to own the copyright to the 120-year old, 16-word song that is widely credited with being the best known piece of music in the English language. That means anyone who performs the song publicly risks a $150,000 fine if they don't agree to pay a fee to the music group.”
We are not one to be overtly appreciative of lawyers, however . . . thanks to a lawsuit recently filed in New York, a challenge is being leveled by Good Morning To You Productions in an effort to return the song to the public domain.
Who knows, maybe someday we can get actually America singing in public again . . . one birthday celebration at a time.