Settlement reached in ‘Happy Birthday’ copyright case

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A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over whether “Happy Birthday” - one of the world’s best-known songs - is owned by a music publisher who’s earned millions by enforcing its copyright.

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled in September that Warner/Chappell Music didn’t own the lyrics and had no right to charge for their use.


A trial was set to begin next week on calls for the publisher to return fees collected over the years for use of the song in movies and other commercial ventures.

That trial could have settled whether the song is in the public domain.

But the judge scotched the trial on Tuesday because a settlement was reached - although no details were disclosed.

Warner/Chappell says it’s pleased to have resolved the matter.

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