Did you know that Warner Music Group collects $2 million annually for the copyright on “Happy Birthday”? When you sing “happy birthday” to friends, did you realize you might be guilty of violating its copyright? (How did they collect those fees, anyway? Did they have spies running around in cars throughout neighborhoods all over America, using those huge plastic dishes utilized on the sidelines of football games, to capture all the obscenities? Did they crash backyard birthday party barbecues? Have I gone a bridge too far in my imagination?)
Anyway, goodbye and farewell to those licensing fees, because a judge invalidated the copyright.
The decision is a blow to the music publisher Warner/Chappell and its parent, the Warner Music Group, which reportedly still collect some $2 million annually in licensing fees.