Charles Taylor

TODAY   |  June 14, 2013

Filmmaker wants ‘Happy Birthday’ song to be public

The song’s copyright holders make an estimated $200 million a year, but now there’s a movement to make the popular song a part of the public domain.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> trending on msn, the fight over the happy birthday song . it's something you don't hear us sing because we have to pay for it.

>> we can't.

>> in fact, when it's a birthday you might hear us play this. [ music playing ]

>> a little stevie wonder or 50 cent . [ music playing ]

>> they copyrighted this thing and every time it gets played it's estimates that people hold the copyright, warner music makes over $20 million a year.

>> but there's a move by people to say this song should belong to everybody.

>> a film maker in new york filed a class action suit asking court to declare it public domain and free for everyone to use.

>> i remember it was somebody's birthday and everybody said no, stop.

>> it was a twofold reason. so we put it out on our today.com poll to see if people think they should be able to sing it and not have to pay for it and in fact, 89% of the folks say it should be free. there's a little issue of the copyright.

>> yeah but that is such a classic, old song.

>> yeah, it's kind of public domain .

>> you can sing it yourself