A judge has vacated a trial that was scheduled to take place next week.
The parties involved in a huge legal fight over the English language's most popular song, "Happy Birthday to You," have arrived at a settlement. A judge's order released on Wednesday revealed the deal and vacated a trial that was set to begin on December 15. According to a source, once the settlement is finalized, "Happy Birthday" will be in the public domain beyond dispute.
The lawsuit began in 2013 when a film company working on a documentary about the "Happy Birthday" song refused to make a $1,500 synchronization license fee payment to Warner/Chappell Music. The proposed class action aimed to free the song from copyright control by showing that a song that traces its origins to a 19th century schoolteacher named Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred Hill was really in the public domain.
The dispute centered on how the Hill sisters transferred control of the song to Clayton Summey, how the song was published in books and sang in classrooms in the subsequent decades, and whether a 1935 copyright registration included lyrics.