July 29, 2015

“The Big Copyright Surprise Behind ‘Happy Birthday to You,” Inc., July 29, 2015

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While numerous other songs and jingles as familiar as the “Happy Birthday” song are already in the public domain, including the national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner,” the lullaby “Rock-A-Bye-Baby,” and the popular song “A Tisket a Tasket,” it’s quite possible the birthday song is still protected, says Rudolph Telscher, principal and intellectual property expert at law firm Harness Dickey.

“To the average person, this may seem like lawyers overreaching, because they don’t see a Rolling Stones or Madonna song,” Telscher says.

“Copyright protection lasts for a very long time,” says Telscher.

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