"The filmmakers working on a documentary about the world's most popular song, "Happy Birthday to You," and currently suing Warner/Chappell for the right to use the song in the documentary without any license fee, filed court papers on Monday touting newly uncovered evidence that "proves conclusively that there is no copyright to the Happy Birthday lyrics." The "proverbial smoking gun," as the plaintiffs put it to a California judge, is a book of children's songs that comes straight out of Warner/Chappell's digital library. Betsy Manifold and Mark Rifkin, attorneys for the plaintiffs, were only given access to these files just three weeks ago. They were told the documents were held back "mistakenly." What they found was a blurry version of the 15th edition of The Everyday Song Book, published in 1927. The book contained Happy Birthday lyrics. Intrigued by the discovery, and looking for a cleaner version, the lawyers started hunting down earlier editions, and in the archives of The University of Pittsburgh, they came upon the fourth edition, published in 1922, which included the famous Happy Birthday song without any copyright notice."
Thursday, July 30, 2015
"Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song; Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/15
Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song: