Music Trivia: Answer 3

“Happy Birthday” is one of the most recognized songs in the English language. However, the song was originally published as “Good Morning to All” in 1893 and attributed to Mildred and Patty Hills. The alternate happy birthday lyrics were added later. “Happy Birthday” was registered under copyright in 1935 with The Summy Company, which was later purchased by Warner/Chappell Music who claimed that the copyright would not expire until 2030. For the past several years, it has been estimated that Warner makes $2 million in royalties each year on the song. However, in recent years, Warner/Chappell Music has been sued for falsely claiming copyright to the song and a federal judge declared the Warner/Chappell claim for the lyrics and song invalid. In February 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for $14 million, paving the way for the song to become public domain.

Sources: NBC News, Arts Technica, Reuters, Wikipedia

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