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The Quest for an Un-'Happy Birthday' Song

Monday, January 07, 2013


It's a song that we all know by heart: "Happy Birthday To You." But it might surprise you to learn that the little ditty that we sing off-key around candles and cake is actually protected by copyright meaning that in order to perform it publicly -- be it on a TV show, in a park, at a restaurant -- you have to pay up... to Warner Music Group. Because they own that song

That’s why the Free Music Archive is hosting a contest to find a new song for birthdays -- one that's Creative Commons-licensed, so anyone could sing it for free.

Joining us to explain the contest is Ken Freedman, founder of the Free Music Archive and general manager of the independent radio station WFMU. And joining us to explain how in the heck the song "Happy Birthday to You" isn't part of the public domain is copyright expert Mako Hill

Check out the entries that have been submitted so far to the "New Happy Birthday Song Contest" (submit your own here):


Ken Freedman and Mako Hill

Comments [5]

brokeMC from The 'Shwick

Thanks for the shout guys!

Jan. 17 2013 10:47 AM
kyanaung from myeik


Jan. 14 2013 05:35 AM
Kamarusam* from facebook

file Faillied

Jan. 13 2013 09:40 AM

I was peeved and saddened to learn that a universal song which was sung for decades by just about every person in America is now under lock and key due to Warner's money grubbing copyright. I'm glad that others are paving the way with newer songs, but Warner's behavior has forever spoiled the party.

Jan. 08 2013 07:57 PM
puttycake from Montclair NJ

pretty interesting....

Jan. 07 2013 09:44 PM

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