Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pitt library songbook key to lawsuit over ‘Happy Birthday’ rights; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/30/15

Luke Nozicka, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Pitt library songbook key to lawsuit over ‘Happy Birthday’ rights:
"The plaintiffs argued in a court filing this week that the copyright for the song expired when both versions of the song were published in the 1922 “Everyday Song Book.”...
On July 21, Mike Madison, faculty director of Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute, received an email from Mr. Rifkin asking if a law student could send him copies of a 1916 version of the book located in Pitt’s Theodore M. Finney Music Library. But Jeanann Haas, head of Special Collections at University Library System, said no “Happy Birthday” lyrics were found in it.
However, the lyrics are in the 220-page 1927 version, a 12th edition, located at Hillman Library in Pitt’s Special Collections Department. Librarians there faxed a copied version of song 16 in the book published by The Cable Company in Chicago, titled “Good Morning and Birthday Song” to the attorney, which was used as evidence at the hearing Wednesday.
The attorneys said the Pitt songbook was the “smoking gun” evidence that would prove once and for all that the song is not copyrighted...
Regardless of how the judge rules, Mr. Silverman said it is almost funny how much attention Pitt is getting from this, considering all they really did “was copy a couple pages and fax them off.”
“We pull rabbits out of the hat day in and day out,” Mr. Silverman said. “We fax a couple pages to an attorney... and all of a sudden, the whole world is coming to our doorstep and saying, ‘Man, the librarians are really great.'"

No comments: