Skip to comments.Happy 90th birthday, 'Happy Birthday' - Alice Vincent delves into its surprisingly murky history
Posted on 03/05/2014 2:38:57 PM PST by a fool in paradise
Ninety years ago today, the song millions of people sing around a candlelit cake was published in a songbook. Although by 1924 the recognisable melody had been sung in American primary schools for nearly three decades, the publication was to trigger almost a century of legal wranglings which would result in Happy Birthday To You being one of the most lucrative songs of all time.
Even though nobody knows who actually wrote Happy Birthday's lyrics, Warner Music contentiously owns the copyright to the song in its entirety. The media giant has therefore been earning millions from people celebrating their birthdays for a quarter of a century. Walt Disney had to pay $5,000 to use it in a parade and the royalties charge on a scene of Martin Luther King celebrating his birthday in civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize was so high that it never made it to DVD...
To sing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, at a concert or public place, royalties have to be paid. The most recent exception to the rule, it would seem, is if you sing it on Mars - as Curiosity Rover did to the surface of the planet last August, a year after it landed.
The familiar six-note tune and original similar, but importantly not birthday-related, lyrics were the work of two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, who composed Good Morning To All in 1893 to sing to their pupils every day. The Hill's lyrics wished listeners a 'good morning' where 'happy birthday' would later appear, and in this format the song made its way around Kentucky kindergartens and primary schools in the late 19th century....
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Oops, posted, while I was in preview. Still needed the article attribution info.
By Alice Vincent
04 Mar 2014
Eternal/retroactive copyrights and consolidation PING!
This is what really ticks me off about the “musicians, artists & poets” crowd. They can demand millions for something which was not even theirs to begin with, for 70 years and more.
Yet the inventor who gives us all very useful things has a mere 18 years to make a buck while scores of lawyers are trying to design around his patent.
Would it not be great if the heirs of Ermal Fraze, who invented the pop top can, could still collect 1/10th of a cent for each one produced these days?
Reverse engineer the birthday song and it should be yours...
It’s not the musicians, artists & poets crowd being greedy here it’s a media corporation.
Did Disney "support" them in any way?
Did Disney throw some contributions their way?
Considering that Eisner was CEO of Disney at the time, I'd think he would have thrown the GOP a bone. But he didn't, and the current CEO laughs at, and spits in the faces of conservatives.
Nice job, republicans!
Reward your enemies and get kicked in the teeth in return.
My complaint is that the “Intellectual Property” laws for the musicians, artists & poets are grossly different than those for the engineers, machinists, mechanics and tinkerers.
Blue Collar vs Artistes & the Literary, if you will.
Dirty fingernails vs the lifted pinkie.
"Intellectual property" is an unnatural monopoly sold by big-government to big-corporate.
You have to pony up if you want your law changed.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.