Happy Birthday may finally be free after bombshell discovery

Fortune

The world’s most popular song dates from 1893 but a studio has been forcing people to pay for it all the same. Now, last minute evidence in a closely-watched court case could make “Happy Birthday” free at last, and end one of the most controversial copyright claims in history.

The evidence comes in the form of a book of music from 1927 titled “The Everyday Songbook,” which was put before a federal judge in California this week. There, in its pages, is a copy of the words and melody of “Happy Birthday,” whose appearance should serve to put the famous song in the public domain once and for all – and end a licensing gig that reportedly nets publisher Warner/Chappell’s $2 million per year.

In case you’re wondering how we even got here in the first place, the court case began in 2013 when a film-maker objected to paying $1,500…

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