The Happy Birthday song hasn't been in copyright for generations, and everybody knew it. That didn't stop Warner Chapell music from running a scam where they extorted "royalties" from movies and restaurants that featured the song, charging less than it would cost anyone to litigate the question.
Until, that is, a documentary about the song decided to fight the question in court.
U.S. District Judge George H. King ruled Tuesday that the copyright originally filed by the Clayton F. Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific arrangements of the tune and not the actual song itself.
In invalidating the copyright, King ruled that Summy never acquired the rights to the song's lyrics.
Federal judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song in public domain
(Image: 53/365 - 02/22/11 - Happy Birthday, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from shardayyy's photostream)
The Eastern District of Texas is home to a crooked court that is in the pocket of patent trolls, handing down ludicrous rulings in favor of the trolls, whose "head offices" are tiny, unoccupied offices in empty, dusty office buildings, the rent on which entitles patent trolls to claim that their rights are being infringed […]
Last year while I was on tour in Australia with my novel Walkaway, I sat down for an interview with legal scholar Rebecca Giblin (previously), whose Authors' Interest project studies how we would craft copyright (and other policies) if we wanted to benefit creators, rather than enriching corporations; we talked about the power and limits […]
Last August, Florida's prison system announced that it was switching digital music providers and would be wiping out the $11.2 million worth of music that it had sold inmates -- music they'd paid for at $1.70/track, nearly double the going rate for music when not purchased from prison-system profiteers.
Looking to de-clutter your kitchen counter? Start with those multiple, tangled charging cables for your multiple, power-hungry devices. There’s a workhorse solution for all those power needs, and it’s just as just as well suited to travel as home use: The Scout Wireless 5000mAh Charger. Compact and sleek at nine ounces, it doesn’t look like […]
Use a single password for every website, and you’re compromising your security. Use a different one each time, and you’re bound to lose track of them. The solution? RoboForm Everywhere, a catch-all tool that will not only manage the passwords on every site you visit but generate better ones. As a simple password database, it’s […]
Just a reminder: Print isn’t dead. And now that printers are becoming as portable as cell phones, it might be around for quite some time. Enter the MEMOBIRD Mobile Thermal Printer, a mini-printer that is versatile, portable – and most importantly, never needs a refill on ink or toner. Measuring just a few inches around, […]