Happy Birthday song – level 3
“Happy birthday to you!”
People can now sing the traditional Happy Birthday song in public without fearing they’ll have to pay royalties.
Yeah, panic over! A judge in the U.S has ruled that Warner/Chappell Music Inc. no longer owns the copyright. The music publisher has previously collected royalties on the iconic song after buying the firm that owned the copyright in 1988.
The tune was originally composed by sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill from Kentucky in 1893. They called their version “Good Morning to All”, which later evolved into the song that’s now sung at birthday parties around the world.
“Happy birthday, to you. Happy birthday, to you. Happy birthday, dear Jeong-un, happy birthday, to you”.
Warner/Chappell had been collecting fees since 1988 when it bought “Birch Tree Group” which claimed the original copyright. It is thought to have made 1.3 million pounds a year, by charging every time the song was used in a film, TV episode, advert or other public performance.
Difficult words: royalty (when you must pay to an author for a copy or a public performance), tune (a song), claim (to own, have).
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