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Settlement Reached In 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Case

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. There is a legal battle raging over a very controversial song.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Singing) Happy birthday to you.

GREENE: This song is actually copyrighted. For example, movie producers who use it have to pay royalties. That does not apply to birthday parties, don't worry. But some filmmakers sued for the song to be in the public domain. That lawsuit was settled, but a federal judge did not say yesterday whether the royalties will end. That copyright dates to 1935, meaning it's 80 years old. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.