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June 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you happen to take notice during the film credits in movies where it is sung, you might not realize that filmmakers pay royalties to a unit of Time Warner for performances of “Happy Birthday.” But the credits are always there: “Happy Birthday,” written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill, and Warner Chappell Music reportedly pays the Hill Foundation some $2 million a year in royalties for the song. However, the producers of a documentary about the song are going to court, maintaining that it should be in the public domain, saying that it was compelled to pay Warner/Chappell $1,500 last year to use the song in their film. They claim that the sisters had actually written a song called “Good Morning to All” that used the melody but never used the words “Happy Birthday” — and nobody seems to know who did.