On June 13, 2013, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Nelson filed a putative class action suit in federal court for the Southern District of New York against Warner/Chappell in the name of her production company, Good Morning to You Productions. As part of a documentary she was making about the song and its history, she had paid US$1,500 to secure the rights. Her complaint relied heavily on Brauneis's research, seeking not only the return of her money but all royalties collected by the company from other filmmakers since 2009. A week later a similar case was filed in the Central District of California, Rupa Marya v. Warner Chappell Music Inc, Case No. 2:13-cv-04460. Five weeks later, Nelson refiled the case there, and the cases were combined. As of April 2014, Warner's motion to dismiss had been denied without prejudice, and discovery began under an agreed plan with respect to Claim One, declaratory judgment as to whether "Happy Birthday to You" is in the public domain. The Motion Cut-Off as to Merits Issues on the Claim One deadline was November 7, 2014. After that, the court was expected to rule on the motion for summary judgment as to the merits issues on Claim One. A jury trial was requested.
Hi Haley! I love these prints! Only thing is, I would like to enlarge them a bit for my bathroom. Every time I try to enlarge them, they come out pixelated. I know that posting larger files would take up space on your site, but is there any chance you can get me access to a larger size? I don’t need all of the prints, I can specify which ones I’m looking for… I’d really, really appreciate your help! Thanks so much, and thanks for these cute/hilarious prints!
On September 22, 2015, federal judge George H. King ruled that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim over the lyrics was invalid. The 1935 copyright held by Warner/Chappell applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, not the lyrics or melody. The court held that the question of whether the 1922 and 1927 publications were authorized, thus placing the song in the public domain, presented questions of fact that would need to be resolved at trial. However, Warner/Chappell had failed to prove that it actually had ever held a copyright to the lyrics, so the court was able to grant summary judgment to the plaintiffs, thus resolving the case.
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