HIPerspectives Episode 10: Happy Birthday to Us? HIPLegal on Copyrights


Continuing the IP Basics track of HIPerspectives, the HIPLegal partners explain how you might already have copyright protection without knowing it, how much creativity is needed to protect a work with a copyright, and what monkeys have to do with copyrights [stay tuned – PETA has filed a lawsuit to award rights to a monkey for a copyright].

Since the recording of this episode, a Federal court found that rights to the Happy Birthday song were not owned by Warner/Chappell Music because the company they acquired the rights from did not obtain effective rights to the lyrics. The case is likely to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, so this is not the final word yet, but if it stands, it means we can sing the “Happy Birthday” song without paying license fees to Warner/Chapell Music – or to anyone, if no one else can prove ownership of the lyrics (the melody is already in the public domain).  This is a great example not only of how valuable copyrights can be (millions of dollars of licensing revenue is at stake) but also of how copyrights touch all of us.

We have mentioned the Troll Taming Toolkit (which provides a roadmap to some issues to consider in developing your strategy for responding to a troll) a couple times on our podcast.  You can request a copy here.

Save the date! The CLUB is celebrating its 3rd anniversary on November 17th 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm at the Fremont Hills Country Club, 12889 Viscaino Place, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. It will be a fantastic celebration of women’s leadership. A sit-down dinner will be served and our keynote speaker will be Sally Thorton. We will add a link to sign up once it is available.