here’s a trivia on the birthday song we always sing on birthdays!

Did you know that the happy birthday song we sing every year is copyrighted?

The story of “Happy Birthday” began in 1893 with two sisters Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill.

Mildred came up with the melody and Patty added some lyrics to create the song “Good morning to all”

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

The “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics first appeared in a songbook edited by one Robert H. Coleman in March of 1924, where they were published as a second stanza to “Good Morning to You”

When the song got popularised in several musicals, Jessica Hill, a third Hill sister who administered the copyright to “Good Morning to All” on behalf of her sisters, sprang into action and filed a suit.

By demonstrating the undeniable similiarities between “Good Morning to All” and “Happy Birthday to You” in court, Jessica was able to secure the copyright of “Happy Birthday to You” for her sisters in 1934 (too late, unfortunately, to benefit Mildred, who had died in 1916).

The Chicago-based music publisher Clayton F. Summy Company, working with Jessica Hill, published and copyrighted “Happy Birthday” in 1935. Under the laws in effect at the time, the Hills’ copyright would have expired after one 28-year term and a renewal of similar length, falling into public domain by 1991.

However, the Copyright Act of 1976 extended the term of copyright protection to 75 years from date of publication, and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 added another 20 years, so under current law the copyright protection of “Happy Birthday” will remain intact until at least 2030.

Interesting sia! But if you are worried about getting sued for singing it during the next birthday party, dun worry abt it. The Copyright is for commercial purposes… So singing it in a private occasion like birthday parties is fine. =)

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