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Who owns the 'Happy Birthday' song?

A new lawsuit filed in a New York

A new lawsuit filed in a New York court is taking a look at who really owns the famous "Happy Birthday to You" song. (Credit:

Known and sung all throughout the world, the "Happy Birthday to You" song is a staple of birthday celebrations everywhere. 

But who owns the classic tune? 

Well, according to a class action lawsuit filed today, everyone does. Or at least they should.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York by Good Morning To You Productions Corp., states that, "This is an action to declare invalid the copyright that defendant Warner/Chappell claims to own to the world's most popular song, Happy Birthday to You, to declare that Happy Birthday to You is dedicated to public use and in the public domain, and to return millions of dollars of unlawful licensing fees collected by defendant Warner/Chappell pursuant to its wrongful assertion of copyright ownership of the song."

Also listed in the suit, Good Morning To You states that Warner/Chappell collects "at least $2 million per year in licensing fees" for the song and asks that all royalties collected from the song be reimbursed.

The suit asks the "defendant Warner/Chappell to return to plaintiff GMTY and the other members of the Class all the licensing or other fees it has collected from them, directly or through its agents, for use of the song Happy Birthday to You."

What do you think, should "Happy Birthday to You" belong to everyone? Let us know in the comments field below.


'Happy Birthday to You' Class Action lawsuit

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