History Main / HappyBirthdayToYou

7th May '16 5:28:07 PM WileK209
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[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* The [[http://www.gocomics.com/thatababy/2015/10/10 October 10, 2015 strip]] of ''Thatababy'' spoofs the copyright expiring on the song. As the main family is celebrating the father's birthday at a restaurant, the employees are performing an original salsa-themed birthday song, to their annoyance and the family's amusement, until another employee calls out the traditional "Happy birthday" song is now public domain, so they switch to singing that, to their enjoyment and the family's disappointment.
[[/folder]]
3rd May '16 5:15:21 AM johnnye
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* In ''Webcomic/{{Bobbins}}'', Amy's coworkers singing [[http://www.scarygoround.com/index.php?date=20160502 a mangled version]] of the song's lyrics on her 18th birthday may be a nod to this trope.
27th Apr '16 8:42:11 AM mr3urious
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* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'''s Farmer Jimmy is not a fan of the song's composition and stages a contest in order to find a replacement. The anthropomorphic personification of the song is allowed to sing it at the contest.

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* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'''s Farmer Jimmy is not a fan of the song's composition and stages a contest in order to find a replacement. The anthropomorphic personification of the song is allowed to sing it at the contest.contest, but gets interrupted at various points as if to invoke this trope. He does end up slowly singing the full song.
25th Apr '16 10:06:35 PM Soufriere
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It may well be an old standard, but [[http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/22/media/warner-happy-birthday-to-you/index.html?sr=fb092215happybirthdaymoney940pStoryLink before September 22, 2015]], the lyrics to "Happy Birthday to You" ''weren't'' in the public domain in many countries. The North American and European copyright was owned by Warner Music Group from around 1988 to 2015 (except in Canada, where it expired in 1985), and the company made around $2 million per year on fees. As a result, when a birthday is being celebrated on television, it's fairly rare for those involved to actually sing "Happy Birthday to You."

"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" is often substituted (British shows may use "A Fine Old English Gentleman" instead), unlike in the real world, where singing anything ''other'' than "Happy Birthday To You" is almost unheard of (except when the singers were the waitstaff of certain chain restaurants, for exactly the same reason).

The fact that a little ditty sung thousands of times a day around the world, and which only contains five words (not counting the person's name), was subject to copyright laws was serious SnarkBait. The fact that you could've been sued for realistically portraying a North American birthday party is mind-boggling. Even foreign language translations were not exempt -- ''Series/StarTrek'' writers found out that even showing it in [[ConstructedLanguage Klingon]] would cost them.[[note]]However, given that only the lyrics were under copyright, another Klingon phrase set to the same tune would be fair game.[[/note]] This case of copyright laws gone too far was often subject to LampshadeHanging.

In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against Warner/Chappell Music by one Jennifer Nelson, whose production company, Good Morning to You Productions, was filming a documentary about the song and its history. To secure the rights to the song and ensure the documentary would be made, Nelson had to pay $1,500, which she claimed was unreasonable. In 2015, evidence was found that the copyright claim made by Warner/Chappell was false, with the discovery of documents "mistakenly held from them" by Warner/Chappell, including a book published in 1922 titled ''The Everyday Song Book''. The book contained the lyrics to "Happy Birthday" with a disclaimer that they had been used with "special permission through courtesy of the Clayton F Summy Co.[[note]]which was bought by Warner Music Group in 1988[[/note]]"... which wasn't a valid copyright notice, which was required at the time of publishing. As a result, Nelson's lawyers, Betsy Manifold and Mark Rifkin claimed Warner/Chappell did not own the rights to the lyrics -- and on September 22, 2015, a U.S. [[UsefulNotes/AmericanCourts District Court Judge]] [[http://www.shadesofgraylaw.com/media/00065570.pdf agreed with them]], ruling Warner/Chappell's copyright claim officially invalid (with a settlement between the parties involved precluding any further appeal). However, this does not invalidate any other potential copyright claims, so the lyrics are legally an "orphan work" in the U.S. for now, with the possibility someone else may present a valid claim. As of this writing, the heirs of the Hill sisters are attempting to claim the copyright themselves, although their claim hasn't been validated.

Time will tell what effect this has on public performances of the song, though at least one thing is finally certain -- producers, filmmakers, and ordinary citizens posting Grandma's 100th birthday/a real cute kid's birthday on Website/YouTube can now likely sing the familiar refrain without having to worry about Warner Music Group [[ScrewedByTheLawyers tackling them to the ground out of nowhere and slapping a fine on them]].

For reference, Europe only had to wait until 2016 for the copyright to expire prior to the ruling, so even if said ruling has no impact, it's only a matter of a few weeks.

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It may well be an old standard, but It's the most-recognized song in the English language but, [[http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/22/media/warner-happy-birthday-to-you/index.html?sr=fb092215happybirthdaymoney940pStoryLink before September 22, 2015]], the lyrics to "Happy Birthday to You" ''weren't'' in the public domain in many countries. The North American and European most countries[[labelnote:*]] (Canada was a major exception; the "Happy Birthday" copyright expired there in 1985)[[/labelnote]]. Its copyright in the United States and Continental Europe was owned held by Warner Music Group Group, which had acquired it in 1988 from around 1988 to 2015 (except in Canada, where it expired in 1985), and its takeover of the company made original holder. [[note]] It's worth mentioning that the melody itself comes from "Good Morning To All", a much older song which everyone agrees has been in the public domain for close to a century.[[/note]] WMG aggressively enforced the copyright too, which netted them around $2 million per year on in royalty fees. As a result, when a birthday is being celebrated on television, it's fairly rare for those involved to actually sing "Happy Birthday to You."

You".

To avoid fees and/or lawsuits, productions typically either substitute a public domain folk song –
"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" is often substituted one example (British shows may use "A Fine Old English Gentleman" instead), unlike or they just make up their own lyrics which may or may not use the actual melody. This is all in stark contrast to the real world, where singing anything ''other'' than "Happy Birthday To You" is almost unheard of (except of… except when the singers were the waitstaff of certain chain restaurants, for exactly the same reason).

reason as media.

The fact that a little ditty sung thousands of times a day around the world, and which only contains five words (not counting the person's name), was subject to copyright laws was serious SnarkBait. SnarkBait for decades. The fact that you could've been sued for realistically portraying a North American an Anglophone birthday party is mind-boggling. Even foreign language translations were not exempt -- ''Series/StarTrek'' writers found out that even showing it in [[ConstructedLanguage Klingon]] would cost them.[[note]]However, [[note]] However, given that only the lyrics were under copyright, another Klingon phrase set to the same tune would be fair game.[[/note]] This case of copyright laws gone too far run amok was often subject to LampshadeHanging.

LampshadeHanging, which was really all anyone could do, as WMG was expected to hold the rights to he lyrics until 2031 at the earliest. [[note]] This makes very little sense because the first publication of the lyrics was around 1911. United States copyright law states that almost everything published before 1923 is in the public domain by default. "Happy Birthday", however, had a loophole in that a separate copyright claim was filed in 1935, and Patty Hill (the last living original rightsholder) died in 1946.[[/note]]

That all changed in TheNewTens.
In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against Warner/Chappell Music by one Jennifer Nelson, whose production company, Good Morning to You Productions, was filming a documentary about the song and its history. To secure the rights to the song and ensure the documentary would be made, Nelson had to pay $1,500, $1500, which she claimed was unreasonable. In 2015, During pretrial hearings in 2015 – one day before a scheduled ruling, in fact – Nelson and her lawyers discovered evidence was found that the WMG's copyright claim made by Warner/Chappell was false, with likely invalid thanks to the discovery of documents "mistakenly "[[BlatantLies mistakenly held from them" them]]" by Warner/Chappell, WMG, including a book published in 1922 titled ''The Everyday Song Book''. The That book contained the lyrics to "Happy Birthday" with a disclaimer that they had been used with "special permission through courtesy of the Clayton F Summy Co.[[note]]which was bought by "[[labelnote:†]] (that's the company whose IP Warner Music Group ended up with in 1988[[/note]]"... which wasn't 1988)[[/labelnote]] …but that's not a valid copyright notice, which was required at the time of publishing. [[note]] ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' had a similar issue; it was distributed to cinemas without a copyright notice, thus accidentally and automatically releasing it (and by extension pretty much all of the core zombie/undead mythos) into the public domain. That loophole and several others were closed in the 1976 Copyright Act, but the law isn't retroactive. Plus, when it comes to lawsuits over old intellectual properties, American judges look at what the law ''used'' to be during the time period in question, rather than what it is now.[[/note]]

As a result, Nelson's lawyers, Betsy Manifold and Mark Rifkin Rifkin, claimed Warner/Chappell did not own the rights to the lyrics -- and on September 22, 22nd 2015, [[UsefulNotes/AmericanCourts a U.S. [[UsefulNotes/AmericanCourts District Court Judge]] [[http://www.shadesofgraylaw.com/media/00065570.pdf agreed with them]], them,]] ruling Warner/Chappell's copyright claim officially invalid (with a settlement between the parties involved precluding any further appeal). However, this does the summary judgement did not invalidate any other potential copyright claims, so by itself put the lyrics are song into the public domain; it only said that Warner/Chappell's claim is fraudulent, and there is no proof that Summy Co. ever had a valid claim either. It is theoretically possible that someone, like an heir to one of the Hill sisters, could step forward with a valid claim, so until a judge decrees that no copyrights exist (which could come as early as mid-2016), it is legally an "orphan work" in the United States.

In the European Union, copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years.[[labelnote:‡]] This is also true in the United States for non-corporate copyrights;
U.S. corporate copyrights last for now, with 95 years from publication thanks to a law derisively called the possibility someone else may present a valid claim. "Mickey Mouse Protection Act".[[/labelnote]] As of this writing, Patty Hill, the heirs of last surviving author, died in 1946, "Happy Birthday" was already set to fall into the Hill sisters are attempting public domain on December 31st 2016. American court rulings have no effect across The Pond, so Europe had to claim the copyright themselves, although their claim hasn't been validated.

wait several more weeks.

Time will tell what effect this has on public performances of the song, though at least one thing is finally certain -- producers, filmmakers, and ordinary citizens posting Grandma's 100th birthday/a real cute kid's birthday on Website/YouTube can now likely sing the familiar refrain without having to worry about Warner Music Group [[ScrewedByTheLawyers tackling them to the ground out of nowhere and slapping a $10,000 fine on them]].

For reference, Europe only had to wait until 2016 for the copyright to expire prior to the ruling, so even if said ruling has no impact, it's only a matter of a few weeks.
them]].



* ''Anime/SpaceRunawayIdeon'' second movie had children singing it...right after the KillEmAll slaughterfest.

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* ''Anime/SpaceRunawayIdeon'' second movie had children singing it... right after the KillEmAll slaughterfest.



* In an episode of ''Anime/SgtFrog'', Keroro gets Mutsumi to compose an original birthday song for Natsumi's surprise party. {{Lampshade| Hanging}}d in the dub, where Keroro tells Mutsumi that he's in charge of "non-copyright-infringing birthday song composition."

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* In an episode of ''Anime/SgtFrog'', Keroro gets Mutsumi to compose an original birthday song for Natsumi's surprise party. {{Lampshade| Hanging}}d {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in the English dub, where Keroro tells Mutsumi that he's in charge of "non-copyright-infringing birthday song composition."composition".



-->''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9h57OIaMFs One! Two! Three! Four!]]''
-->''Happy, Happy Birthday, from all of us to you!''
-->''We wish it was our birthday, so we could party too!''
-->''Happy, Happy Birthday, may all your dreams come true!''
-->''We wish it was our birthday, so we could party too!''
-->''Hey!''
* Aversion (sort of): In the ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'' film ''WesternAnimation/TheWrongTrousers'', Wallace gives Gromit a birthday card which plays an instrumental of "Happy Birthday to You." But even though the melody is supposedly not copyrighted, the producers were still forced to replace it (with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow") after the first video release.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' movie, Alex, Melman and Gloria sing the ThisLoserIsYou version to Marty. (Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo...)

to:

-->''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9h57OIaMFs One! Two! Three! Four!]]''
-->''Happy,
Four!]]''\\
''Happy,
Happy Birthday, from all of us to you!''
-->''We
you!''\\
''We
wish it was our birthday, so we could party too!''
-->''Happy,
too!''\\
''Happy,
Happy Birthday, may all your dreams come true!''
-->''We
true!''\\
''We
wish it was our birthday, so we could party too!''
-->''Hey!''
too!''\\
''Hey!''
* Aversion (sort of): In the ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'' film ''WesternAnimation/TheWrongTrousers'', Wallace gives Gromit a birthday card which plays an instrumental of "Happy Birthday to You." But even though the melody is supposedly not copyrighted, the producers were still forced to replace it (with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow") after the first video release.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' movie, Alex, Melman Melman, and Gloria sing the ThisLoserIsYou version to Marty. (Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo...)



* In ''Film/TheKentuckyFriedMovie'', a character remembers his name by singing "Happy Birthday to You." The directors' commentary notes that that one bit cost them $10,000 (roughly 1.5% of the film's budget).

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* In ''Film/TheKentuckyFriedMovie'', a character remembers his name by singing "Happy Birthday to You." You". The directors' commentary notes that that one bit cost them $10,000 (roughly 1.5% of the film's budget).



* Frank's parents sing "Happy Birthday" via a pre recorded message in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''.

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* Frank's parents sing "Happy Birthday" via a pre recorded prerecorded message in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''.



* ''Film/TheRoom''. They actually paid for the rights to the song.
* During Beaver's birthday on the ''Series/LeaveItToBeaver'' movie, as everyone sings "Happy Birthday," two of the kids briefly interrupt with "You smell like a wino."

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* ''Film/TheRoom''. They Tommy Wiseau actually paid for the rights to the song.
* During Beaver's birthday on the ''Series/LeaveItToBeaver'' movie, as everyone sings "Happy Birthday," Birthday", two of the kids briefly interrupt with "You smell like a wino."wino".



-->'''Moe:''' We baked you a birthday cake...
-->'''Larry:''' If you get a tummy ache...
-->'''Curly:''' And you moan and grown and woe...
-->'''All:''' Don't forget, we told you so!

to:

-->'''Moe:''' We baked you a birthday cake...
-->'''Larry:'''
cake...\\
'''Larry:'''
If you get a tummy ache...
-->'''Curly:'''
ache...\\
'''Curly:'''
And you moan and grown and woe...
-->'''All:'''
woe...\\
'''All:'''
Don't forget, we told you so!



** The UK Region 2 copy of the DVD still has the performance of "Happy Birthday."

to:

** The UK Region 2 copy of the DVD still has the performance of "Happy Birthday."Birthday".



* Some shows that are predominantly African-American use the chorus of StevieWonder's "Happy Birthday" instead. That may also be under copyright, but it's "in sync" with the "hot urban" lifestyle.

to:

* Some shows that are predominantly African-American use the chorus of StevieWonder's Music/StevieWonder's "Happy Birthday" instead. That may also be under copyright, but it's "in sync" with the "hot urban" lifestyle.



** In a later episode, however, Creator/JenniferAniston's character does actually sing the song seductively in the style of MarilynMonroe.
** Lampshaded in another later episode. Kenneth asks, "Did you know that if you sing happy birthday on a tv show you have to pay for it?" When everyone begins singing Happy Birthday later, it gets interrupted after the first syllable of "happy".

to:

** In a later episode, however, Creator/JenniferAniston's character does actually sing the song seductively in the style of MarilynMonroe.
Creator/MarilynMonroe.
** Lampshaded in another later episode. Kenneth asks, "Did you know that if you sing happy birthday 'Happy Birthday' on a tv show TV show, you have to pay for it?" When everyone begins singing Happy Birthday the song later, it gets interrupted after the first syllable of "happy".



** In another episode, at Sam's birthday party, they begin to sing "Happy Birthday," only for Freddie to shout out "Not P.D.!" They switch to "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow."

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** In another episode, at Sam's birthday party, they begin to sing "Happy Birthday," Birthday", only for Freddie to shout out "Not P.D.!" They switch to "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow."
28th Mar '16 3:09:39 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* The ''SakuraTaisen'' TV series has an episode where the mostly-Asian team tries to celebrate Iris' birthday in the Western manner to which she is accustomed, including an attempt at singing an original "happy birthday" song. Kanna is still singing bits of the song to herself several episodes later...

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* The ''SakuraTaisen'' TV series ''Anime/SakuraWarsTV'' has an episode where the mostly-Asian team tries to celebrate Iris' birthday in the Western manner to which she is accustomed, including an attempt at singing an original "happy birthday" song. Kanna is still singing bits of the song to herself several episodes later...
5th Mar '16 7:53:30 PM Lugamo
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* ''Film/WildTales'' has the actual song sung during the SurprisinglyHappyEnding of the fourth story.
29th Feb '16 4:07:35 PM WoodyAlien3rd
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* Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese had the song "Al mercato di Bonn" removed from their 2003 album "Cicciput", because it was about the discovery that Beethoven wrote the melody for "Happy Birthday to You", and thus contained a sample of the song, lyrics and all. Luckily for the fans, they managed to "accidentally" broadcast the song during a popular radio show.

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* Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese Music/ElioELeStorieTese had the song "Al mercato di Bonn" removed from their 2003 album "Cicciput", because it was about the discovery that Beethoven wrote the melody for "Happy Birthday to You", and thus contained a sample of the song, lyrics and all. Luckily for the fans, they managed to "accidentally" broadcast the song during a popular radio show.
2nd Feb '16 8:56:03 AM RAMChYLD
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* In ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'', the English dub used an original birthday song:

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* In ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'', the English dub used an original birthday song:song in the episode ''Surprise, Witzy!'':
2nd Feb '16 8:49:26 AM RAMChYLD
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* In ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'', the English dub used an original birthday song:
-->''It's your birthday Witzy/What a happy way/to celebrate a piece of cake/and play the day away''.
29th Jan '16 9:35:26 PM TrendingToon1
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** Averted in the episode "Whose Birthday Is It?", when the cast sings the traditional Happy Birthday song to Swiper.
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