by Mark Linnhoefer – A federal Los Angeles judge ruled on Tuesday that none of the copyright claims for the world-famous song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ are valid. This means that none of the companies that have been collecting royalties for the past eighty years had the right to do so.
The main company affected by this ruling is Warner, who has been claiming copyrights and thus charging people for the use of the song since 1988, when the company bought the Birch Tree Group, who was the legal successor of Clayton F. Summy Co., the company with which the copyright was first registered in 1935 by Patty Smith Hill and Mildred J. Hill.
The sisters composed the melody in 1893 as a song called ‘Good Morning To All’ for Patty’s school class. When they included the song in a children’s song book, they assigned the copyright to their publisher, Clayton F. Summy Co. Judge George H. King however has now ruled that said copyright only extends to specific piano arrangements of the melody and not the song itself.
The judge said that ownership of the song with lyrics cannot be properly attributed, thereby rendering any previous copyright claims invalid.
The whole debate was set in motion by two independent filmmakers who wanted to use the song in a short film but would have had to pay about $2000 in royalties to do so. They then set in motion a lawsuit they now want to reclassify as a class-action so as to force Warner to give up the profits made from royalties for the song over the past 80 years.
Warner’s lawyers say that they are evaluating their options but have not yet said anything to indicate if they will appeal the verdict. A third of those profits went to a charity designed by the Hill sisters – the Association for Childhood Education International – and it remains to be seen whether or not the not-for-profit organizations will have to return that money based on the class-action suit.
The main result for now is that the song “Happy Birthday” is now public property and can be used by anyone in any form they please, which should help diminish paranoia at birthday parties
Ringo Starr, half of the remaining half of the Beatles, is auctioning off some of his stuff for his charity, Lotus Children Foundation. The drummer is also publishing a book of never-before-seen photographs he took of the Beatles in their ’60s heyday
“We have so much stuff and a lot of it we haven’t seen in 20 to 30 years,” said Ringo.
Among the 800 items being auctioned is a Rickenbacker guitar known as the “Beatle-Backer” that John Lennon gave him; his copy of the four first pressings of the White Album; a Gretsch guitar given to him by George Harrison; and a Ludwig three-piece drum kit he used in more than 200 performances and recordings in 1963-64.
Mark Linnhoefer – Ah, the MTV Video Music Awards. A great opportunity for people famous for dubious reasons to be appreciated by their legions of mostly underage fans. This year, the show was hosted by former Disney star Miley Cyrus and featured many so-called stars like Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber.
The feud between Cyrus and the “Anaconda” star started on Twitter this summer when Minaj tweeted about the VMA’s being “racist” and geared towards “slim women” after her video for “Anaconda” was not nominated in any of the major categories. Taylor Swift felt called out by this tweet and a little back-and-forth banter ensued bringing in other celebrities trying to take sides or get in on the hype of the feud. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul offered to buy pancakes and coffee for the stars if they stopped fighting. Bruno Mars jokingly called out Ed Sheeran, who replied saying no matter how this went down it would not end well for Mars. All of this ended shortly with Swift apologizing.
At this point Cyrus chimed in and bashed Nicki in the New York Times – she said that the starlet was “not very nice” and “not very polite”, which, according to the former Disney star, is typical for Minaj. She furthermore accused the Pink Friday singer of making the whole issue about herself and starting a “pop star against pop star war”.
During the VMAs, Nicki Minaj was called to the stage to accept the Best Hip Hop Video Award for “Anaconda”. After thanking her pastor she went off script. Surprising everyone, she called out Cyrus saying:
“And now back to the bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press.”
The former Hannah Montana star replied by saying that the media “manipulate shit” in interviews, closing with a “Congratulations, Nicki.”
Nicki Minaj then moved her lips in a way that might have implied the word “bitch”, but no such thing has been confirmed by any credible source so far.
Another highlight of the VMAs was Kanye West’s 13 minute monologue in which he made the announcement to run for president 2020. He also sort of apologized to Taylor Swift for taking away her microphone in 2009.
Swift apparently made up with Minaj prior to this year’s awards as she performed with her and hugged her at the end.
The squabble between Cyrus and Minaj however is far from over and no apology is in sight yet. Those who are interested will surely follow the newest developments of this feud. This reporter surely won’t.
By: Kidman J. Williams
When you are twelve years old you really don’t have an idea of who you are. You don’t know what you really like and don’t like. Your whole identity is made by your parents. At twelve you really are just starting that long road of defining who and what you will be.
Sometimes it is just a natural toe dipping that starts you on the path of self-discovery. In some cases, like mine, you are grabbed by your ankles and tossed into it like a sack of garbage banging off the back of a dumpster. That was the case 25 years ago when I came in and saw the news of Stevie Ray Vaughan dying.
I walked into the house to see my Father just looking in amazement at the television screen. He was slack-jawed as I was listening to the claims that Stevie’s chopper went down after a show at Alpine Valley. At that point, the only thing I really knew about SRV was that my Father loved him and I loved the music that he did. It grabbed me like electricity grabs you and then catapults you from the initial grounding. Continue reading