Ever wondered why you never hear the waiters and waitresses singing “Happy Birthday to You” in restaurants? The reason is that Warner Music Group claims to own the copyright to the song written in 1893, and refuses to allow anyone to sing it without paying royalties. Thus, restaurants are forbidden from singing it, and must make up their own lame version.
On Friday, United District Court Judge George H. King told Warner Music Group to get a life, and certainly a heart. Legally he stated: “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants [Warner/Chappell], as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”
Of course, the jerks at Warner Music Group will appeal the decision, but hopefully we are getting much closer for our children to be able to enjoy a song they know and appreciate while eating at their favorite restaurant.