NEW YORK (AP) — A production company making a documentary about the song “Happy Birthday to You” has filed a lawsuit in New York over the copyright to it.
Good Morning To You Productions Corp. says in Thursday’s federal court filing Warner/Chappell Music Inc. has been collecting “Happy Birthday to You” licensing fees for years. Warner/Chappell claims exclusive copyright to what Guinness World Records has called the most famous song in the English language.
But the film company disputes the copyright, saying the song is “dedicated to public use and in the public domain.” It asks the court to count thousands of people and groups who’ve paid Warner/Chappell Music licensing fees totaling more than $5 million as part of a class action and to make the song free to use.
Los Angeles-based Warner/Chappell hasn’t responded to a request for comment.