A US federal judge has ruled that the song ‘Happy Birthday To You’ does not belong to the company receiving royalties for it. The song belongs in the public domain, US district judge George H King ruled on Tuesday.
Music production company Warner/ Chappell (615 Music) received rights to the arrangement of the song in 1988 after they filed a case claiming rights to the song in 1935.
However King ruled that the original copyright holder never gained the rights to the song’s lyrics, and the company’s claims to the copyright of the song were “implausible and unreasonable”.
The copyright case against Warner/Chappell was launched in 2013 by Rupa Marya and Robert Siegel, who are making a film about the song.
The music publisher asked for $1,500 (£970) for the right to use ‘Happy Birthday To You’ in the film.
Ms Marya and Mr Siegel argued the song was in the public domain and should not be subject to copyright fees.
Two Kentucky sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, composed the song in 1893. Their version was originally named ‘Good Morning To All’ which then evolved into the popular birthday party song.