Lawsuit: “Happy Birthday” is not in copyright, and Warner owes the world hundreds of millions for improperly collected royalties

Copyright scholars have long been pretty certain that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain, despite the fact that Warner/Chappell claims copyright on it and charges impressive licensing fees to use it in public performances. Those fees, however, are much lower than a copyright lawsuit would be, so everyone shrugs and pays them.

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