Warner/Chappell Music acquired Birch Tree Group Limited in 1988 for US$25 million. The company continued to insist that one cannot sing the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics for profit without paying royalties: in 2008, Warner collected about US$5,000 per day (US$2 million per year) in royalties for the song. Warner/Chappell claimed copyright for every use in film, television, radio, anywhere open to the public, and for any group where a substantial number of those in attendance are not family or friends of whoever is performing the song. Brauneis cited problems with the song's authorship and the notice and renewal of the copyright, and concluded: "It is almost certainly no longer under copyright."
Warner/Chappell disputed the evidence, arguing that unless there was "necessary authorization from the copyright owner", the "Happy Birthday" lyrics and sheet music would still be subject to common law copyright as an unpublished work, and that it was unknown whether the "special permission" from the Summy Company covered "Good Morning to All", "Happy Birthday", or both, thus alleging that the publication in The Everyday Song Book was unauthorized. The company also argued that it was not acting in bad faith in withholding the evidence of the 1927 publication.
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