U. S. court rejects Warner rights claim over Happy Birthday

(AGI) Los Angeles (California) - A Californian courtruling means that birthday celebrants the world over will stillbe able to sing the  

(AGI) Los Angeles (California), Sept 23 - A Californian courtruling means that birthday celebrants the world over will stillbe able to sing the iconic "Happy Birthday" if they want,without running the risk of being taken to court and forced topay royalties to Warner Music. The federal court in Los Angelesrejected the request of the music giant for exclusive rights tothe song. Warner Chappell Music does not "own a valid copyrightto the Happy Birthday lyrics," said Judge George King ending atwo-year legal battle brought against the company by a musicianand a producer who plan to make a film on the song. The songfirst appeared in 1893 and that in the original version was anursery rhyme entitled "Good Morning to All", the work ofKentucky sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill. Warner purchased therights in 1988 when it bought the company Clayton F. Summy Co.,subsequently known as Birch Tree, which in 1935 (just 80 yearsago) was recognised as holding exclusive rights. Warner hadasked the two to pay 1500 dollars for the right to use "HappyBirthday". However, the applicants Rupa Marya and Robert Siegelargued that the song was already in the public domain.Currently there has been no comment from Warner, which has beenleft absolutely empty handed. (AGI) . . .