What better word is there in our capitalist system than, “free?”
It’s free. It won’t cost you a damn dime! What? No charge? Nada?
Yep … F-R-E-E. Free!
But since 1988, capitalists at Warner/Chappell Music held “Happy Birthday” hostage while collecting millions of dollars in royalties. Their case was based on the seriously shaky claim that the original publisher, Clayton F. Summy Company, never published or allowed anyone to publish the lyrics to Happy Birthday.
Surprisingly, there is no evidence W/CM ever ordered police to use flash-bang grenades or battering rams to raid birthday parties where gleeful kids led by their slightly tipsy moms sang the iconic song.
Thank God for that. I guess Mitt was right, “Corporations are people, too.”
But … digging into the corporate dirt of W/CM, it turns out that the case had a bit of TV court room drama in it.
Apparently W/CM, as a collection of “people-who-are-corporations” are wont to do, “forgot” to file some relevant documents until just before judgment day. The most important info in one of the docs was also mysteriously blurred.
Guess what? A little closer examination revealed a smoking gun.
The original title of the song was not just “Good Morning” as claimed by W/CM. The blurred original title was clearly “Good Morning and Birthday Song” … and just below the title it also stated the “Clayton F. Summy Company gives permission” for the song to be published.
My, my, my … does anyone still think “corporations are people?” For sure I do … nasty, greedy, lying people living to cover-up their tracks.
Do I hear someone mumbling “Fahrvergnugen all over again?”
Karma’s a B**ch, as the saying goes. The plaintiffs are also considering a nasty class action suit to reclaim the millions in ransom W/CM illegally collected.
The plaintiff’s attorney speculates that the suit could be for way more than the self-reported royalties. Whatever gives him the idea that W/CM might try to fudge the total amount collected in royalties?
With “Happy Birthday” no longer held hostage maybe Warner-Chappell Music should set sights on “The Star Spangled Banner.” Somebody better check to make sure Frances Scott Key maintained his rights or we could be shelling out big bucks again.
The SSB is sung at almost every U.S. athletic event, miniscule to giganto. Wow… That’s a pot of gold! Time to call W/CM and feather up the nest egg.