Ownership claims of Warner Chappell Music will come to an end and the Happy Birthday Jingle will now be available on public domain for free - All thanks to the Indian-Origin lady Rupa Marya, leader of the band Rupa & the April Fishes.
A US court has recently signed off on a settlement of the copyright case involving “Happy Birthday” – billed as the most recognised song in the English language – and ordered that the song be placed in the public domain for use at no charge.
The US court has also issued an order to refund $14 million to end the long-running dispute over royalty rights to the tune. The money will be distributed among those who paid licensing fees to use the song during the previous five decades
Ms. Marya recorded the tune three years ago at a San Francisco nightclub on the eve of her birthday. She said she was shocked when her attorney broke the news that she would have to shell out $455 to include it on her live album. Winning the litigations, Rupa Marya said, “This is a very historic and important moment to show that we actually can fight back and we can win. So, it’s exciting”.
Readers would be delighted to note that the original Happy Birthday to you was written as a Kindergarten rhyme by Kentucky schoolteacher Patty Smith Hill. She wrote it with the help of her sister Mildred J Hill and wrote this song in 1893. It was originally titled “Good Morning to All” with original lyrics as follows: “Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning dear children, and good morning to all”.