"Happy Birthday to You", also known more simply as "Happy Birthday", is a traditional song that is sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. Birthday is the name given to the date of the anniversary of a person's birth According to the Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most popular song in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "Auld Lang Syne". Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records (and in previous U English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States " For He's A Jolly Good Fellow " is a British and American Song which is sung to congratulate a person on a significant event such as a Retirement "Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish Poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song ( Roud # 6294 The song has been translated into at least 18 languages, though it is often sung with the English lyrics even in countries where English is not a primary language.
The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning To All", which was written by American sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893 when they were kindergarten school teachers in Louisville, Kentucky, at what is now the Little Loomhouse. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Patty Smith Hill ( 27 March, 1868 — 25 May, 1946) was an American Nursery school, Kindergarten Teacher Mildred J Hill ( June 27, 1859 - June 5, 1916) was an American songwriter who composed the melody for "Good Morning to All" later Year 1893 ( MDCCCXCIII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common The Little Loomhouse is a place on the National Register of Historic Places in the Kenwood Hill neighborhood on the south side of Louisville Kentucky.  The sisters created "Good Morning To All" as a song that would be easy to sing by young children. The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" appeared in print beginning in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.  None of these early appearances included credits or copyright notices. Copyright is a legal concept enacted by Governments, giving the creator of an original work of authorship Exclusive rights to control its distribution usually for The Summy Company registered for copyright in 1935, crediting as authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. Year 1935 ( MCMXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. R. R. Forman. In 1990, Warner Chappell purchased the company owning the copyright for US$15 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at US$5 million. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) Warner Music Group (WMG is the third-largest of the "big four" major record labels, the others being Sony BMG, EMI, and Universal  Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that US copyright won't expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it.
The actual copyright status of "Happy Birthday to You" began to draw more attention with the passage of the Copyright Extension Term Act in 1998. Year 1998 ( MCMXCVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar) When the Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Judge Breyer specifically mentioned "Happy Birthday to You" in his dissenting opinion. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. Eldred v Ashcroft, 537 US 186 (2003 challenged the constitutionality of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA Year 2003 ( MMIII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar.  , Professor Robert Brauneis goes so far as concluding, "it is doubtful that 'Happy Birthday to You,' the famous offspring of 'Good Morning to All,' is really still under copyright," in his heavily researched 2008 paper. 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common 
The lyrics to "Happy Birthday to You" can be found on the copyright owner's website.
The origins of "Happy Birthday To You" date back to the mid-nineteenth century, when two sisters, Patty and Mildred J. Hill, began singing the song "Good Morning To All" to their kindergarten class in Kentucky. ( German, literally means "children's garden" is a form of education for young children which serves as a transition from home to the commencement of more formal schooling The Commonwealth of Kentucky ( is a state located in the East Central United States of America. In 1893, they published the tune in their songbook Song Stories for the Kindergarten. However, many believe that the Hill sisters most likely copied the tune and lyrical idea from other songs from that time period.  There were a number of popular and substantially similar nineteenth-century songs that predated the Hill sisters' composition, including Horace Waters' "Happy Greetings to All"; "Good Night to You All", also from 1858; "A Happy New Year to All," from 1875; and "A Happy Greeting to All," published 1885.  The copyright for both the words and the music of "Good Morning to All" has since expired and both are now a part of the public domain. The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone
The Hill Sisters' students enjoyed their teachers' version of "Good Morning To All" that they began spontaneously began singing it at birthday parties, changing the lyrics to "Happy Birthday".  In 1924, Robert Coleman included "Good Morning to All" in a songbook with the birthday lyrics as a second verse. Year 1924 ( MCMXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Coleman also published "Happy Birthday" in The American Hymnal in 1933. Year 1933 ( MCMXXXIII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Children's Praise]] and Worship, edited by Andrew Byers, Bessie L. Byrum and Anna E. Koglin, published the song in 1928. Year 1928 ( MCMXXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
In 1935 "Happy Birthday to You" was copyrighted as a work for hire by Preston Ware Orem for the Summy Company, the publisher of "Good Morning to All". Year 1935 ( MCMXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The purpose of copyright registration is to place on record a verifiable account of the date and content of the work in question so that in the event of a legal claim or case of A new company, Birch Tree Group Limited, was formed to protect and enforce the song's copyright. In 1988, the rights to "Happy Birthday to You" and its assests were sold to The Time-Warner Corporation. Time Warner Inc ( is the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate, headquartered in New York City. The company still strongly believes that one cannot sing the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics for profit without paying extremely high royalties (by some accounts, upwards of $10,000 for a single use in a film or television program). Royalties (sometimes running royalties) are usage-based payments made by one party (the "licensee" to another (the "licensor" for ongoing use of an This includes use in film, television, radio, anywhere open to the public, or even among a group where a substantial number of those in attendance are not family or friend to whomever is performing the song.
Except for the splitting of the first note in the melody "Good Morning to All" to accommodate the two syllables in the word happy, melodically "Happy Birthday to You" and "Good Morning to All" are identical. Precedent (regarding works derived from public domain material, and cases comparing two similar musical works) seems to suggest that the melody used in "Happy Birthday to You" would not merit additional copyright status for one split note. Whether or not changing the words "good morning" to "happy birthday" should be covered by copyright is a different matter. The words "good morning" were substituted with "happy birthday" by others than the authors of "Good Morning to All". Regardless of the fact that "Happy Birthday to You" infringed upon Good Morning to All, there is one theory that because the "Happy Birthday to You" variation was not authored by the Hills, and it was published without notice of copyright under the 1909 U. S. copyright act, that the 1935 registration is invalid.
Many question the validity of the current copyright, as the melody of the song was most likely borrowed from other popular songs of the time, and the lyrics were improvised by a group of five and six-year-old children who never received any compensation.  The song is currently set to pass in to the public domain in 2030.
Outside of the United States the situation is slightly different. Copyright generally subsists for the length of the life of the author plus 50 years or plus 70 years depending on the jurisdiction. Of the two co-writers of the melody, Patty Hill's life determines the length of copyright as she died decades after her sister in 1946. The lyrics on the other hand are copyrighted with reference to their writer Preston Ware Orem who died in 1938.
In jurisdictions where copyright lasts for life of the author plus 50 years, the lyrics and music are out of copyright. In jurisdictions where copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, the lyrics will come out of copyright at the end of 2008 and the music will come out of copyright at the end of 2016.
The movie The Corporation claims that Warner/Chappell charges up to US$10,000 for the song to appear in a film. The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian Documentary film critical of the modern-day Corporation, considering it as a class of Person and
The Walt Disney Company paid the copyright holder US$5,000 to use the song in the birthday scene of the defunct Epcot attraction Horizons. Epcot is a Theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. The park is dedicated to international Culture and technological Innovation. For other uses of horizon see Horizon (disambiguation. Horizons was the name of a dark ride Attraction at Epcot
In the 1987 documentary Eyes on the Prize about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there was a birthday party scene in which Dr. Eyes on the Prize is a 14-hour documentary series about the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr ( January 15, 1929 April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, Activist and prominent leader King's discouragement began to lift. After its initial release, the film was unavailable for sale or broadcast for many years because of the cost of clearing many copyrights, of which "Happy Birthday to You" was one. Grants in 2005 for copyright clearances  have allowed PBS to rebroadcast the film as recently as February 2008. 
Due to the copyright issue, filmmakers rarely show complete singalongs of "Happy Birthday" in films, either substituting the public-domain "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" or avoiding the song entirely. " For He's A Jolly Good Fellow " is a British and American Song which is sung to congratulate a person on a significant event such as a Retirement
One of the popular audience lines in The Rocky Horror Picture Show alludes to this. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical Comedy film that parodies Science fiction and Horror films. After Dr. Frank N. Furter has captured Brad, Janet and Dr. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical Comedy film that parodies Science fiction and Horror films. Scott, he hosts a dinner for them. At the beginning of an apparent birthday celebration, the audience calls out "Start to sing 'Happy Birthday' but don't finish it", and indeed, Dr. Furter cuts it short midway through the song.
The David Gilmour DVD Remember That Night has a scene in the documentary where the band and crew celebrate Richard Wright's birthday, and the song is muted, and a message informing viewers to sing it themselves is shown. David Jon Gilmour CBE (born 6 March 1946 is an English Musician, best known as the Lead guitarist one of the lead Singers DVD (also known as " Digital Versatile Disc " or " Digital Video Disc " - see Etymology)is Remember That Night is a live concert recording of Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour 's solo concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in Richard William "Rick" Wright (28 July 1943 &ndash 15 September 2008 was a pianist and Keyboardist best known for his career with Pink Floyd
King of the Hill uses a song written to the tune of "Up on the Housetop" for birthday-related scenes and flashbacks. King of the Hill is an American animated series created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels for the Fox Broadcasting Company " Up On The Housetop (Ho! Ho! Ho! " is a Christmas song composed by Benjamin Hanby in 1860.
On a Cold War-themed 1987 episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche sings the song to an unseen Mikhail Gorbachev á la Marilyn Monroe in a fantasy sequence set in Red Square. Cold War is the state of conflict tension and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR and their respective allies from the The Golden Girls is an American sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, Blanche Marie Elizabeth Hollingsworth Devereaux was one of the four main characters on the 1985 - 1992 NBC Sitcom The Golden Girls Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev ( Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov;; born 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye Stavropol Krai) is a Russian politician Red Square ( Красная площадь, Krasnaya ploshchad) is the most famous City square in Moscow, and arguably one of the most
The Beatles' Christmas Album had John Lennon singing an impromptu parody on the 1963 greeting. The Beatles' Christmas Album ( US) aka From Then to You ( UK) was a 1970 Compilation album of the Christmas John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (born
Oliver Stone's 1987 Wall Street was one of the rare films that played enough of the song to justify a royalty payment. William Oliver Stone (born 15 September) is an American Film director and Screenwriter. Events January 31 - The Cure for Insomnia premieres at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago Illinois, to Wall Street is a 1987 American film directed by Oliver Stone and features Charlie Sheen as a young stockbroker desperate Bud's computer plays the melody early in the film to remind him it's Gordon Gekko's birthday, and the song is included in the music credits at the end of the film. Gordon Gekko is a Fictional character from the 1987 film Wall Street.
In 1955, Igor Stravinsky arranged a variation of the song, called Greeting Prelude, to commemorate the 80th birthday of Pierre Monteux. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Pierre Monteux ( April 4, 1875 &ndash July The Russian-born composer wrote that he had been introduced to the tune only five years earlier, when members of an orchestra with whom he was rehearsing, to his bafflement at the time, played the tune in honor of a recent birth among the orchestra members. Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending
One of the most famous performances of "Happy Birthday to You" was Marilyn Monroe's rendition to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in May 1962. Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson, June 1 1926 &ndash August 5 1962 baptized Norma Jfk happy birthday 1jpg|thumb|220px|right| John F Kennedy thanking Marilyn Monroe]] "Happy Birthday Mr The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29 1917&ndashNovember 22 1963 often referred to by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of
The song was also sung by the crew of Apollo IX on March 8, 1969. Events 1618 - Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion. Year 1969 ( MCMLXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
Many restaurants have original, modern, corporate-developed songs that are used instead of the old-fashioned "Happy Birthday to You" when serving patrons the traditional cake on their birthdays. A corporation is a separate legal entity usually used to conduct business Originally, these songs were specifically developed to prevent copyright infringement and having to pay royalties. 'Copyright infringement' (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is covered by Copyright law in a manner that violates Royalties (sometimes running royalties) are usage-based payments made by one party (the "licensee" to another (the "licensor" for ongoing use of an
In the Homestar Runner cartoon "Strong Bad Sings", there is a scene where The Cheat plays "Happy Birthday to You" on the piano while Strong Mad struggles to remember the words to the song. Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. It mixes Surreal humor with references to 1970s '80s and '90s pop culture Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. It mixes Surreal humor with references to 1970s '80s and '90s pop culture Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. It mixes Surreal humor with references to 1970s '80s and '90s pop culture When the toon was released on DVD, "Happy Birthday to You" was replaced with the public domain song "Hot Cross Buns". DVD (also known as " Digital Versatile Disc " or " Digital Video Disc " - see Etymology)is The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone On the DVD commentary, Mike Chapman remarked: "Those Nazis!"
In the first season of the show Sports Night, Dan Rydell is told that his company will have to pay $2,500 in legal costs because he sang "Happy Birthday" to his co-anchor Casey on air. The Brothers Chaps are Michael (Mike and Matthew (Matt Chapman, creators of the Homestar Runner series of Animated cartoons. Sports Night is an American Television series about a fictional Sports news show (also called Sports Night) and the people who The two are baffled that it took two people to write such a simple song.
On the show Upright Citizens Brigade, the cast created their own birthday song which became a running joke throughout the three seasons. The Upright Citizens Brigade is an Improvisational comedy and Sketch comedy group that emerged from Chicago 's ImprovOlympic in 1990 During the commentary on the DVD release the cast cites the copyright of "Happy Birthday to You" as their inspiration.
The show Aqua Teen Hunger Force originally was to have the song played in an episode for Meatwad's birthday. Aqua Teen Hunger Force (also known as ATHF) is an American Animated television series shown on Cartoon Network as part When the writers were made aware of the copyright issues they decided to mock it by creating their own version that Master Shake wanted people to start singing so he would get all the royalties. It was co-written by Zakk Wylde. Zakk Wylde (born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt on January 14, 1967 in Bayonne, New Jersey) is an American musician who
Authorized sheet music for the song to be sung for a new baby was included in a lesson on addition in a widely adopted 2nd grade standards-based mathematics textbook developed by TERC in the late 1990s. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics is a book produced by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM in 2000 to set forth a national vision for precollege
Stewart Copeland, best known as drummer for The Police, says in the commentary track to the DVD version of his documentary film Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out that he had to overlay a music soundtrack and use the image only in one shot where "Happy Birthday" was being sung in the original footage, because the rights to the song are "incredibly expensive". Stewart Armstrong Copeland (born July 16, 1952) is an American Musician, best known as the Drummer for the band The The Police were a three-piece rock band consisting of Sting ( vocals, Bass guitar) Andy Summers ( Guitar, Everyone Stares The Police Inside Out is a Rockumentary Film made by Stewart Copeland, Drummer of the band
In the 30 Rock episode "Black Tie", the German variation of "Happy Birthday to You", known as "Zum Geburtstag viel Glück", is used to serenade an Austrian prince played by Paul Reubens. 30 Rock is an American Television comedy Series created by Tina Fey. 30 Rock, a Situation comedy Television series, premiered on October 11 2006 in the United States on NBC. The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. Austria (Österreich ( officially the Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich Prince, from the Latin root Princeps, is a general term for a Monarch, for a member of a monarch's or former monarch's family and is a Jenna Maroney, Jane Krakowski's character, almost manages to sing the first lyric in English. Jenna Maroney is a Fictional character on the American television series 30 Rock, played by Jane Krakowski. Jane Krakowski (born October 11, 1968) is an American actress and Singer. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States
Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion" featured a birthday-themed song to a tune similar to that of Happy Birthday with new lyrics and ending with "Now let's all have some cake". Futurama is an Emmy Award -winning animated American sitcom created by Matt Groening, and developed by Groening and "I Second That Emotion" is episode one in season two of Futurama. Fry follows it with "And you smell like one too" alluding to the typical parody of "Happy Birthday To You". In the DVD commentary for the episode it is mentioned that the primary reason for the new song was the high cost of licensing "Happy Birthday to You". On disc based video formats an audio commentary is an additional audio track consisting of a lecture or comments by one or more speakers that plays in real time with video
In an episode of The Simpsons (Series 3), The Ramones sing a rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" to Mr. Burns, at the end of which CJ Ramone says, "Go to hell y'old bastard. The Ramones were an American rock band often regarded as the first Punk rock group Charles Montgomery Burns, also referred to as Mr Burns is a recurring Fictional character and Antagonist in the animated television series Christopher Joseph Ward (born October 8, 1965) better known as "C " Mr. Burns subsequently demands, "Have The Rolling Stones killed. " Joey begins the set by saying, "I'd just like to say this gig sucks!" after which Johnny says, "Hey, up yours, Springfield. Joey Ramone ( May 19 1951 – April 15 2001) born as Jeffrey Ross Hyman, was a vocalist and Songwriter best John William Cummings (October 8 1948 &ndash September 15 2004 better known by the stage name Johnny Ramone, was the Guitarist for the seminal Punk rock " The song as played on the show is slightly different from the original version of the song, in that it contains additional exclamations of "Happy Birthday". Mr. Burns is also referred to as Burnsey in the song, without the word dear.
In an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm, the characters are singing "Happy Birthday to You" to Ben Stiller, but Larry David refuses to sing the song to him. Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American Sitcom starring Seinfeld writer co-creator and executive producer Larry David as himself and Benjamin Edward "Ben" Stiller (born November 30 1965 is an Emmy Award -winning American Comedian, actor Film producer and director Lawrence Eugene "Larry" David (born July 2 1947 is an American Emmy -winning Actor, Writer, Comedian, producer
On the January 9, 2008 Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, during the "It's Email Time Again" section of the show where host Craig Ferguson answers viewers' emails, one viewer told Craig it was her birthday and asked if he would sing her "Happy Birthday". Events 475 - Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople. 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is an American late-night Talk show hosted by Scottish - American comedian Ferguson went on to explain that every time the song was sung on TV you had to pay a royalty to the copyright holder and it would cost money to wish her happy birthday, then sang the complete song with the line "take that CBS" in place where one's name would go.
Thousands of spectators sang happy birthday to Pope Benedict XVI at the White House on April 16, 2008, his 81st birthday. Pope Benedict XVI ( Latin: Benedictus PP XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI; born Joseph Alois Ratzinger See also Executive Office of the President of the United States The White House, formerly known as the Executive Mansion, is the Official residence 
On the May 28th, 2008 broadcast of The View Whoopi Goldberg lead the audience in singing the song to celebrate the birthday of Elizabeth Hasselbeck, to the obvious discomfort of Joy Behar. The View is an Emmy Award -winning American Talk show created by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie and broadcast on Whoopi Goldberg (born Caryn Elaine Johnson; November 13, 1955) is an American actress, comedienne, and television Elisabeth Hasselbeck (née Filarski; born May 28 1977 is an American former Reality show contestant of Survivor The Australian Outback Josephina Victoria "Joy" Behar (née Occhiuto; born October 7 1942 is an Emmy -Nominated American Comedian, Writer, Actress After finishing Behar remarked "They're going crazy behind the scenes. You have to pay a lot of money to sing that!" to which Goldberg responded "Take it out of my check. It was worth it. "
Canadian Intellectual Property Office: http://www.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/cipo/cp/copy_gd_protect-e.html#11