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Is "Happy Birthday to you" the best copyright free song?

Origins of Happy Birthday to you

A few interesting stories around the beginning of "Happy Birthday to You." According to one tale, the song was first penned as a children's song called "Good Morning to All" in the late 1800s by two American sisters named Patty and Mildred Hill. The song was altered to incorporate the lines "Happy Birthday to You" after first being used as a greeting song in classrooms.

<sheet music of 'Happy Birthday to You'>

The song's origin in 1893 at a Kentucky kindergarten is another interesting tale about it. The tale goes that as part of their daily greeting ritual, a group of young kids sung "Good Morning to All" and "Happy Birthday to You." The songs were so well-known that they were finally included in the 1924 songbook "Song Stories for the Kindergarten."

The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" is the subject of a few ideas as well. The melody is said to have been based on an old folk song by some, while an old hymn or spiritual is said to have served as its inspiration by others. Regardless of where it came from, "Happy Birthday to You" has grown to be a well-known and loved birthday song.

Public Domain or Not?

In 2013, Warner Music Group accused Ruckus Network, Inc. of violating its copyright by using the song "Happy Birthday to You." Music for use in educational settings might be accessed and downloaded through a website run by Ruckus Network. Ruckus Network was allegedly utilizing the music "Happy Birthday to You" without a proper permission, according to Warner.

The case was tried in 2015, and the court decided in Warner Music Group's favor after concluding that Ruckus Network had violated Warner's copyright in the song. Ruckus Network was mandated by the court to compensate Warner Music Group for damages.

The copyright on "Happy Birthday to You," however, was eventually determined to be unlawful in a different dispute brought by a group of creatives. The music is currently in the public domain and is free to be used without asking for permission or having to pay a license fee.

Online users can download a variety of "Happy Birthday to You" piano arrangements. On certain websites, you can buy and download the song's sheet music, while on other sites, you can get free sheet music or MIDI files to make your own piano arrangements.


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