Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to--whoops!


You probably know that the ubiquitous, "Happy Birthday," created by Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill, is under copyright protection. However, it should have expired in 1991. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended it, and then the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended it again. At this point, "Happy Birthday" won't enter the public domain until 2030. In the meantime, you're allowed to sing it informally at small parties, but not in any public venue without paying licensing fees.

I'm no fan of the "Happy Birthday" song owned by AOL Time Warner. I like simple lyrics well enough, but I think the melody is all wrong. It's too easy to sing "Happy Birthday" out of tune. Let AOL Time Warner have their 2 million per year royalties in USD. I'm not going to bicker about copyright laws simply because they don't suit my specific purposes at certain times.*

I want to create a song that replaces "Happy Birthday." It won't bankrupt the copyright holders, but it'll make their claims obsolete. The new song will be sonorous, melodic, anything you like, as long as it sounds good and stays duty free. Then, I'll copyright it so that no one else can. Immediately afterward, I'll give it to the world for free. Anyone who tries to make money off the song gets sued and flogged.


I don't have to create this song all by myself. You're welcome to send in ideas with the understanding that nobody makes money from the song. (I just know that Limpy99 won't be able to resist. I am crafty that way.)



*Hey, stay away from my iTunes folder.

9 comments:

limpy99 said...

I'm having trouble getting past the opening line

"Oh boy are you old"

BlueMamma said...

mozart wrote a good one called "little freddie's birthday," which can be pretty accurately personalized. unfortunately, it takes a pretty high range and a skillful accompanist to sing it, but it's very cute.

Lady K said...

What about something like, "Thank God It's Not ME Who's Turning a Year Older Today?"

ha ha!

jerrster said...

alternatives to Happy Birthday could only make this a better world to live in.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Only to be sung at small children's birthday parties as they are blowing out the candles...

OH THE YEARS ARE PASSING BY
IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY PLEASE DON'T CRY
ONE MORNING IN YOUR BED
YOU'RE SURE TO WAKE UP DEAD
Chorus:-
GROWING OLD! GROWING OLD!
IF I MIGHT BE SO BOLD
YOUR DREAMS AIN'T WORTH A DIME
WE ARE ALL THE SLAVES OF TIME!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

YP: I showed your song to Bede, and he said, "That Yorkshire Pudding does have a certain flair."

Jerrster: I'm working on that world. Oh, to dream...La la la.

Lady K: It's so weird-- I'm getting this vibe among the over 18 set about birthdays not being joyful events. I'm turning 35 this year. I want a little fuss and bother about it.

BlueMamma: I'm intrigued! Do you have a link? I've come up with zilch so far.

Limpy99: You would appreciate my guitar teacher's birthday version of the Rolling Stones' "She's So Cold."

Lady K said...

akelda ~ EVERY day is a birthday! But the day we WERE actually born is a day to celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music! I always feel like I should get MY folks a gift. If it weren't for THEM, I wouldn't be here!

The Moy said...

At my age, I consider Ogden Nash's rather mordant birthday poem more in keeping with my attitude --

"For Mr. Migg is fifty
Is Fifty
Is Fifty
The years are crawling over him like wee small ants...""

If you could get the copyright on that and set it to music, I'd get behind you 100%.

BlueMamma said...

ha ha! sure i have a link - it's actually des kleinen Friedrichs Geburtstag, K529. Here's an hyperion recording available on amazon.com, with a recording sample - check track number 15.

http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Songs-Wolfgang-Amadeus/dp/B00000DLXZ/sr=8-1/qid=1171156030/ref=sr_1_1/104-0311693-6395151?ie=UTF8&s=music

I'm pretty sure it's not exactly what you're looking for. I know how to play it on the piano, though.