No Happy Birthday for Warner: US judge.
PHEW! You can still sing Happy Birthday to You and not risk a lawsuit.
A FEDERAL judge in Los Angeles has ruled that belting out the tune in public should be free of charge, dismissing a copyright claim by Warner Music.Warner Chappell Music does "not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics", Judge George King determined.
The decision brings to a close a two-year legal battle launched against Warner by a musician and a filmmaker making a movie about the ubiquitous song.
Warner had asked the pair to pay $US1,500 ($A2,116) dollars for the rights to play the tune in the movie.
But Rupa Marya and Robert Siegel argued that the song, penned in the late 19th century, belonged in the public domain and was not properly copyrighted.
Warner, which in 1988 bought the company that previously claimed ownership of the song, argued that the song was given legal copyright protection in 1935 and that the copyright remained valid.
The song, the most widely sung tune in the English language according to the Guinness World Records book, was originally written for kindergarteners and was titled Good Morning to All.
It has been translated into at least 18 languages.