Happy Birthday

Album: Happy Birthday (1893)
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  • An entry from The Everyday Songbook, published in 1922, shows "Good Morning and Birthday Song," with the lyrics to "Happy Birthday" listed as the optional third verse, and instructions on how to insert the birthday child's name. There is no copyright listed on the song, which reads, "Special permission through courtesy of The Clayton F. Summy Co." (the Hill Sisters' publisher).

    A key date in copyright law is 1923, as the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 states that works created before that year are considered public domain, which would apply here. This songbook was entered into evidence in a 2013 lawsuit challenging the copyright to "Happy Birthday."

Comments: 17

  • Javion Garcia from HomeI think they should get a certain amount of percent for whoever makes the song or sings it
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaThe sisters didn't write it so much as adapt it from the original folk standard, "Good Morning to You"(same basic tune, same repetition pattern)
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 16th 1974, the new Opryland Auditorium in Nashville was dedicated by U.S. President Richard Nixon...
    After the dedication he sat down at a piano and played "Happy Birthday," "My Wild Irish Rose," and "God Bless America"...
    And less than five months later on August 8th, 1974 he announced that he would resign from the presidency the following day.
  • Chomper from Northampton County, PaThis song was sang lots of times at birthday parties when me and my brothers and sister were little. During our elementary and high school days, the kids in school would come up with their own lyrics to the music; which would go : "Happy Birthday to you. You live in a zoo. You act like a monkey ; And you look like one, too." lol. A very childdish , but rather stupid way of singing the song.
  • Elizabeth from Anytown, IlEmily, i am so used to the same thing ...not that i know you or anything :D
  • Michael Scott from Punta Gorda, FlIt's interesting that first come first serve has been the way of life. I'm sure this song has been copyrighted and passed down through the generations.
    The larger the crowd, the more an expected royalty. My sister always privately sings this to me on my birthday and ads "and many more". Not to infringe on the copyright it perhaps is the most sung song ever written.
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlThis song is copywrited??? I don't think it matters though, I doubt the owners would sue anybody for this.

    My mom used to sing "Good Morning To You" to me...I ate breakfast to it all the time.

    I was really surprised songfacts had this...but, whatever, it's a good song. Happy birthday to everyone out there who happens to read this on their birthday!!!
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrYou know what I don't understand? I don't understand why this song is still copyrighted. I can't believe it! Why would a song like this still be copyrighted, when in fact it's over 100 years old? Songs like this that are over 100 years old, and even older, should at least be in the public domain. I mean, look at some of the classical symphonies that were written in the 1600's. You don't see copyright trademarks on those pieces of music nowadays, do you?
  • Lester from New York City, NyHappy Birthday to You is the B-side of A Very Merry Unbirthday to You, the song from Disney's Alice in Wonderland
  • Mike from Petersham, Mahello retards!!!
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThis would mean that royalties were paid to the Hill estate when Marilyn Monroe sang her sultry "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" for Jack Kennedy in May of '62. Marilyn herself paid $1000 to get into that event.
  • Patrick from Tallapoosa, GaThey don't have a right to your celebration. You don't have to get copyrighted permission to throw a party for someone's birthday, or to sing the song to tha person individually, or as a small group. You do have to have permission, however, if you're going to perform the song at a large concert, or any event where you made a profit for one reason or the other, and that song was part of the profit. It's like singing any other song. If you sing a Simon & Garfunkel song to your child as a lullabye, it's not copyright infringement. But, if you record the song on a CD and sell it, without their permission, it is. It's just a song that celebrates an event that occurs in everyone's life. Singing that song privately is just as safe as singing a Christmas carol privately, or like I mentioned before, singing a Simon & Garfunkel song privately.
  • Fremont from Concord, NhPaul McCartney may own a lot of songs, but he doesn't own any of the Beatles songs... Michael Jackson does.
  • Corrie from Calgary, Canadalol kinda funny seeing this song on this site. but it's sweet lol every's gotta love this song!
  • Tom from Boston, Mathe song makes me embarressed but it is happy and joyus.
  • Maureen Gallagher from Belfast, Irelandeveryone has a birthday and hopefully they are all happy. how rediculous that someone has the rights to someones birthday celebrations
  • Matt from Saugus, MaActually, Coleman only wrote the lyrics. The tune was written by a pair of kindergarten teachers in the late 1800s or early 1900s and was called "Good Morning To You". Their family still owns the rights to the tune.
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