Sunday, December 13, 2009

Don't break the law... Don't sing 'Happy Birthday to you'

Did you know that you are commiting an 'offence' by singing the traditional 'Happy Birthday' song to your loved ones? I certainly didn't know this until our professor mentioned this while talking about coyrights and Intellectual property rights in class.  I dutifully surfed the net for details and here's what I found.
This tune of this song that is the most widely used and recognized across the world, comes from the song 'Good Morning to all' which was written and composed by American sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893. They were kindergarden teachers and composed this song for their students.

The song was copyrighted by the Summy company in 1935. The copywright was sold to Time Warner in 1990. Apparently, this copyright is valid till 2030. Currently Time Warner is charging USD 5000, every time this song is sung in public places, movies and performances. In 2008 alone, they have collected USD 2 million as royalties for using this song.

Source: The Absurdity of Copyright: "Happy Birthday to You"

So, the next time you are wishing your friend, you are voilating the law unless you pay royalty to Time Warner !!!

Ridiculous world of copyrights !!! - I'm thinking of getting a copyright for the word 'Hello'. So, everytime someone picks up the telephone and starts with this word, they have to pay royalty to me. I'm going to be a rich man !!!!


Ramya said...

I will take the copyright for the word 'I'and will out earn you. :)
I will also copyright the smiley emoticon and refuse to let anyone use it even if they are ready to pay the money. That is right! I am like this vonly.