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Judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song public domain

Posted at 7:47 AM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 07:47:36-04
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge has approved a settlement that will put "Happy Birthday to You" in the public domain.
 
U.S. District Judge George King approved the agreement Monday. It ends the ownership claims of Warner/Chappell Music, the music publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song for years.
 
The company has agreed to pay back $14 million to those who have paid licensing fees to use the song. 
 
Last year, King ruled that the company didn't own the lyrics to the ditty, one of the best-known and most beloved songs in the world. He said the company has no right to charge for the song's use.
 
Warner/Chappell has said it didn't try to collect royalties from just anyone singing the song but those who use it in a commercial enterprise.
 

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