'Happy Birthday' song copyright ruled invalid, meaning no more weird TV birthday parties like these.
A judge has ruled that the copyright on "Happy Birthday to You" is invalid. You know the song... It goes, like, "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear..." and then you say the name of the person you're singing to, and then you do the repeating line one more time? Have you ever attended a birthday party or experienced a birthday yourself? It's that song.
You might have noticed that some movies and TV shows find creative ways to avoid showing birthday-celebrating characters sing the tune.
That's because they'd have to pay the copyright owners, Warner/Chappell Music, who according to The Hollywood Reporter have been making $2 million a year on the song. (Nice.)
The judge decided that the "Happy Birthday" actually belongs in the public domain because it's 100 years old now (that's how long a copyright lasts), and it can be featured in movies and TV shows for a cool zero dollars. Now birthday party scenes can finally offer that gritty hyper-realism they've been notably lacking.