'Happy Birthday to You' lawsuit filed in NY

June 13, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - A production company making a documentary film about the song "Happy Birthday to You" has filed a lawsuit in New York over the copyright to the world's most famous tune.

Good Morning To You Productions Corp. says in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal district court Thursday that Warner/Chappell Music has been collecting millions of dollars in licensing fees for years. Warner/Chappell claims to own the exclusive copyright to the happy hymn.

But the film company disputes the copyright, saying the song is "dedicated to public use and in the public domain." It asks the court to count thousands of people and groups who have paid Warner/Chappell Music licensing fees totaling more than $5 million as part of a class.

Warner/Chappell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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