Federal judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song free from copyright - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Federal judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song free from copyright

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(CNN) -
A music publishing company that's been collecting royalties for years on the song "Happy Birthday to You" won't anymore, if a federal judge's ruling stands. 
U.S. District Judge George H. King determined that Warner/Chappell Music's claim to the 120-year-old song wasn't legal, so he freed the song from copyright.
The judge's ruling came after Warner/Chappell tried to fine a group of filmmakers $1,500 for the song's use.
The song is based on a melody from a song written sometime before 1893; sisters Mildred and Patty Hill wrote "Good Morning to All" which had different lyrics, but was sang to the tune of "Happy Birthday."
Warner/Chappell says it only tries to collect royalties from those using the song in a commercial enterprise; the company is considering their options after the court's ruling.
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