On Air Now
In Conversation With Steve Allen 6am - 7am
8 August 2017, 17:09 | Updated: 8 August 2017, 18:24
This caller was under the impression that the 'Happy Birthday' song is owned by Disney. Is he correct?
Who owns the copyright to the 'Happy Birthday' song?
The ‘Happy birthday’ song was owned by Warner/Chapel Music until about a year ago. A film director then took the company to court after she was ordered to pay $1,500 to use the song in a documentary. She sued on the grounds that no one should be charged for use of the song. The judge ruled in the film director’s favour, stating the song should be in the public domain and ordering Warner/Chapel Music to repay the $14 million in royalties they had claimed over the years.
Qualification: A music teacher.