Question about "Happy Birthday" song

The “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you”…etc. one.

Is it in the public domain or is it still under copyright?

On another message board, someone said that Paul McCartney owns the rights to it. Is this true?

Thanks in advance.

As always, The Master knows.

According to this site, since 1988 the rights have been owned by Warner Communications.

since this has already been answered, can i just say that that song is the most morbid souding tune ever? next time a group of people is singing it, just listen to the sound of the song…it sounds like the person they’re singing to is going to be executed or something.

That’s because when a group sings any song without someone leading them, they tend to sing it too slow (as they wait for everyone) and are often flat.

It’s a bit interesting in that it doesn’t begin on the tonic note.

Anybody catch Live from Lincoln Center a few weeks ago, for Kurt Masur’s 75th birthday/farewell NY Philharmonic concert? At the very end the orchestra played it for Masur. That time it sounded good. Wonder if they secured the rights to broadcast it, even over public TV/radio?

I like to begin birthdays on a gin note.

Seen Office Space lately? :smiley:

Based on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Happy Birthday to You will fall in the public domain on January 1, 2030. If Eldred v. Ashcroft finds the Bono act unconstitutional, then it will be public domain January 1, 2010.

Obligatory Snopes link.

i’ve never seen it…should i ask why?

that’s true…but i think it has a little to do with the song itself, too. because “auld lang syne” (the only other song i can think of right now that a roomful of people sing), it doesn’t sound too morbid. maybe that’s because it’s already a slower song? i dunno.

Erin: In Office Space, the people sing for their evil boss the most soulless, empty, and sad version of “Happy Birthday” that has ever been recorded.

Thanks, Elwood! You beat me to it, but I couldn’t have said it better.

…but the most soulless, empty, and sad version of any “Happy Birthday” song is the one that’s sung at Boy Scout camps whenever an adult leader has a birthday.

Happy birthday! Ugh! Happy birthday! Ugh!
Sickness, sorrow, and dispair
People dying everywhere
Happy birthday! Ugh!

All in a slow, dragging minor key.

Chronus, I’ve always sung that version to the tune of the Volga Boatman, but our words are:

Happy Birthday, Oh Happy Birthday,
People dying everywhere
Sickness, sorrow, and dispair,
On your Birthday, oh Happy Birthday,
One day closer to death…

That one is known as the “Birthday Dirge”. The FAQ ishere.

That site lists about 30 verses, but I seem to recall that there are a lot more than that around. Warning: some of them are somewhat adult in subject matter.