Happy Birthday To Taylor Swift, And “Happy Birthday To You” Copyright Suit Gets Resolved

Happy birthday is likely the most popular song on the planet, and Taylor Swift’s fans are undoubtedly singing it to the singing superstar today. Dec. 13 marks T-Swift’s 26th birthday, and the Internet is rife with birthday cheers for the songbird.

Yes, Swifties the world over are singing happy birthday to their favorite singer, who is rumored to be jetting to Australia for a girls’ birthday weekend, according to the International Business Times. As of right now, that is only hearsay. Taylor Swift has had an amazing year, and it seems that it will only get better, given the six Grammy awards the singer is up for. In addition, there is also that burgeoning romance with Scottish DJ and singer Calvin Harris. While there might be rumors that the duo have broken up, the rumors have been labelled as strictly that, and it is anticipated that Harris will be on hand to wish Taylor Swift a happy birthday.

In addition to the world’s most famous singer enjoying the happy birthday song today, “Happy Birthday To You” has been ruled public domain, according to The Province. U.S. District Judge George H. King determined back in September that the song, which has been sung countless times at birthday celebrations, was not technically copyrighted by Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Only select arrangements in “Happy Birthday To You” were copyrighted by the company.

Jennifer Nelson, who was filming a documentary about “Happy Birthday to You” and was initially told she would be charged $1,500 for use of the song, said the outcome of the copyright trial only served to underline the dark side to what has otherwise been a happy song.

“It’s a song that everyone’s familiar with and grew up with but nobody knew that this song was copyrighted and you had to pay a license for that,” she said.

Originally, “Happy Birthday to You” and its lyrics were not put into print until 1911. It was apparently written under the title “Good Morning to All” by Patty Hill Smith and her sister Mildred J. Hill in 1893, something that Patty Smith laid claim to in 1930. However, the judge in the copyright case deemed that Clayton F. Summy Co., which originally held the copyright to the song, only had rights to the piano arrangements of the melody and not the lyrics themselves.

Ownership of the Clayton F. Summy Co. went to Birch Tree Group and then to Warner when it bought Birch Tree in 1988.

To make “Happy Birthday to You” even more mysterious, there is a contention made that the copyright is owned by two charities deemed to be beneficiaries of the Hill estate and that both charities have been receiving royalties from the song for years.

The “Happy Birthday to You” lawsuit was filed two years ago by musicians and filmmakers who had been previously charged copyright licensing fees for use of the song “Happy Birthday to You.”

Warner/Chappell said in a statement that while they disagreed with the judge’s decision about the “Happy Birthday to You” copyright, they were grateful that the situation had been resolved.

As for birthday girl Taylor Swift, no one seems to know for sure where the “Blank Space” singer will be hearing “Happy Birthday to You” this year. Her 1989 world tour wrapped on December 11, and following her rumored birthday celebration to be held in Australia, the singer is anticipated to return to America for another birthday party. Both 26th birthday celebrations for the red-hot singing superstar will no doubt feature star-studded renditions of “Happy Birthday to You.”

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