Copyright is a valid thing within clear parameters. But in our opinion copyright in the USA and in some cases abroad has been taken to ridiculous levels. Much more should fall under “fair use” and “public domain” than currently does. In a free flowing 21st Century economy information needs to flow freely.
We are not taking an absolutest stance here. Copyright has its place. But whenever we write about the need to liberalize copyright there are always a couple of song writers (or lobbyists, hard to tell sometimes) who complain that with no copyright they’d lose income. And this may be true. But that doesn’t make unleashing information from patent trolls and from others who harbor what we would consider to be unreasonable claims is wrong.
The world’s most popular English language song is potentially free from copyright after a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that filmmakers challenging Warner/Chappell Music’s hold on “Happy Birthday to You” should be granted summary judgment.
According to the opinion on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge George H. King, “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”
The ruling means that Warner/Chappell will lose out on $2 million a year in reported revenue on the song. Unless something happens at an appellate court or unless someone else comes forward with a valid claim of ownership to the song, filmmakers like director Jennifer Nelson — who sued in 2013 over demands as much as six figures to license — will no longer have to pay to feature “Happy Birthday” in motion pictures and television shows.