As promised, we are bringing you the latest in the "Happy Birthday" development. In our September article, we reported that Warner Music did not have a valid copyright claim to the song. Additionaly, it was estimated that the famous song written by sisters Patty and Mildred Hill (pictured right), collects $2 million a year in royalties.
In a filing on Tuesday, the parties involved said that they had agreed to a confidential settlement to end the case. This means that if the settlement is approved by the court, the song will formally enter the public domain and will no longer be covered by copyright.
To further complicate things, the Association for Childhood Education International, a nonprofit group that was co-funded by "Happy Birthday" writer Patty Hill, has collected a large portion of the song's royalties. They also filed a motion last month stating that if Warner did not control the copyright to "Happy Birthday", then their entity did. A lawyer for the association declined to comment, but the document filed with the court said that the organization was party to the settlement.
It appears as though things are coming to a close, and soon we will be able to freely bellow out the glorious, and arguably the most famous tune in the world. We will keep you posted on any additional phases in this ongoing case, but for now, Head over to NYT for the full writeup.