We won the case, now we want $4.84 million…
In September last year, an US District Court Judge ruled that ‘Happy Birthday To You’ was in the public domain. Though this was great news for artists, producers and broadcasters alike, Warner/Chappell Music was dramatically disappointed with the ruling.
Warner/Chappell were asked to pay a massive $14 million to the parties that paid to license the iconic song from them. Now, the attorneys who won the ruling last year are asking for $4.84 million for doing so. That would bring damages surrounding the wrongful ownership claims and copyright bullying to nearly $19 million.
Warner/Chappell believed for a very long time that they owned the exclusive copyright to the ‘Happy Birthday’ song and have been making millions from royalties over several years by enforcing this copyright.
Well, this was up until Good Morning To You Productions Corp: Robert Siegel, Rupa Marya, and Majar Productions LLC filed a lawsuit against them contesting their ownership of the copyright.
Warner/Chappell battled through the suit as they didn’t want to let go of their future earnings that the copyright would have brought them up until its expiration in 2030. However, the Judge George H. King determined that Warner/Chappell actually didn’t secure the proper copyright and were essentially enforcing a copyright that they didn’t even own.
The Judge ordered Warner/Chappell to pay those that had paid to license the song from them, and now I guess the attorneys want their share.
(Image by pictures of money, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)