Friday, May 22, 2015

Judge Wants to Know If 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Was Abandoned; Hollywood Reporter, 5/18/15

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Judge Wants to Know If 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Was Abandoned:
"U.S. District Judge George King wants to hear more about whether the 19th century schoolteacher who has been credited with writing "Happy Birthday to You" — the English language's most popular song — had abandoned the copyright to the lyrics. On Monday, King directed parties involved in a fight over whether the song is copyrighted to brief him on the issue of abandonment.
The lawsuit is a proposed class action that if successful would mean that film and TV producers no longer have to pay license fees to use the song. Is the "Happy Birthday" licensing cash cow about to be over? Maybe not. Although the deceptive headline might suggest otherwise, King's new order could actually be a favorable sign for defendant Warner/Chappell in its efforts to defend the validity of its copyright.
To understand why this is potentially good news for the song publisher, one must understand the arguments presented at summary judgment."

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