Finally you can lead the rounds of ‘ Happy Birthday ’ without encountering copyright. More than 100 years ago, the delightful ditty debuted in a Kentucky Kindergarten, written by sisters Patty and Mildred Hill.
Fast forward and a judge has now ruled that Warner/Chappell Music Inc only owns the piano arrangements of the melody but not the lyrics. That’s not a happy payday for the music mogul with millions in lost royalties.
While the tune is traceable, the origin of the song’s lyrics unclear. While Patty claims she wrote them, there are several other wordsmiths claiming the penmanship. In fact, the ownership is so contested that there’s a documentary being made about the song’s history.
Whoever the composer, you’ve now all got the go-ahead for a legal rendition at your next five year-olds fairy party or an over the phone performance for your mum.
Read more Happy Birthday capers here.