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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Happy Birthday Song

The issue of copyright infringement and the payment of royalties for "The Happy Birthday to You Song" has gotten ridiculous!! You know the song I mean. We all grew up singing it to each other on our birthdays. We've all sang, "You look like a monkey and you smell like one too!"

But I won't put any of the actual lyrics here since I can't afford the royalty payments and this could be considered use of the song for profit making if my readership ever gets large enough to support advertising. The movie The Corporation claimed that Warner/Chappell, the copyright holders charge up to US$10,000 for the song to appear in a film. The Walt Disney Company paid the copyright holder US $5,000 to use the song in the birthday scene of the defunct Epcot attraction Horizons. In a 1987 documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eyes on the Prize, there was a scene in which Dr. King was feeling discouraged. In the scene, at a birthday party for him, there was a significant beginning of his discouragement lifting. The film was not able to be released when the filmmaker could not afford the $10,000 it would cost to include the sequence that included the "Happy Birthday to You" song. (cited in Wikipedia's article on the song)

The furor of copyrights has gotten ridiculous in some quarters. So, I propose we create a new birthday song. Now is the perfect opportunity for someone to make up a new Birthday Song to replace the old one.

So, today, I decided to write a new birthday song and promote it to replace the old copyrighted one. My Sweet Baboo helped me come up with this rather pretty one in the car coming home from Christmas shopping tonight. She's got a good ear for composition and we both contributed ideas.

I'd love to put the greedy Happy Birthday song hijackers out of business and send a message to ASCAP, BMA and RIAA that we're "Mad as an old wet hen and we're not going to take it anymore!"

So, here is Tom & Sheila King's "New Happy Birthday Song"

The Birthday Song
Lyrics by Tom & Sheila King
Tune by Alexander Hume - 1850
(a setting of Robert Burns' "Flow Gently Sweet Afton")

Today is your birthday
And we’re all gathered here
To say that we love you
And wish you good cheer.
Rich blessings and joy,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear (insert name here) .
May your dreams all come true.

Copyright 2007 – Public Domain (No one living or dead may charge anyone for the use of this song in any public or private gathering, on any type of recording, film or live broadcast.)

The tune we used is at this link:

Now if everyone will just pass it on, we can make this song famous and strike a blow for free use of birthday songs (and maybe we can supplant that awful one they do in restaurants now!

Just one man's opinion....

Tom King

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