Birthday Celebration

"Happy Birthday" might go into the public domain, "T.S. 1989" merch goes to China and Ted Nugent says Cecil the Lion was fair game

click to enlarge The Happy Birthday song might soon be in the public domain
The Happy Birthday song might soon be in the public domain

HOT: “Birthday” Celebration?

Soon you may be able to sing “Happy Birthday” in a YouTube video and not have to pay for it! Makers of a documentary about the history of “Happy Birthday to You,” one of the most popular songs ever, sued Warner/Chappell (supposed keepers of the copyright) to let them use the tune in their film without paying the licensing fee. In a cinematic twist, on the day before the judge was to make a decision, the filmmakers presented new evidence — a page from a songbook that contains “Birthday” sans copyright and predates the established copyrighted version. It’s complicated, but, essentially, the evidence could put “Happy Birthday” into the public domain, meaning no one would have to pay to use/perform it, causing the publishers to lose out on a reported $2 million annually.

WARM: Dangerous Year, Risky Initials

The Chinese government does not want its citizens to think or talk about the June 4, 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, when hundreds of students were killed in protests calling for democracy in the country. (Combinations of the numbers “6,” “4” and “89” are even reportedly censored in search engines and on social media.) This could present a problem for Pop star Taylor Swift, who is going to have her clothing line/merchandise made available in China soon. The issue? Some of the items feature her latest album’s title — 1989 — as well as her initials (also listed on the album’s cover). If they get past the powers that be, “T.S. 1989” clothing items could be huge. If not … T.S. should probably not pull a Wham! and try to tour the country until her next album, Tibet is a Lovely Part of China.

COLD: Guess Who’s Pro-Dentist/Hunter?

If you have Internet or TV access, you undoubtedly know about Cecil, a protected and endangered lion who was killed for sport by a U.S. dentist/hunter who allegedly paid $50,000 for the thrill of illegally poaching the animal in Zimbabwe. Guess what rocker thinks the killing was totally cool? Good old right-wingnut Ted Nugent said the “whole story” is false, the kill was legal and, besides, animals would run out of food and room to live were it not for hunting. The Nuge is reportedly writing a longer piece on the controversy — probably with the blood of a panda bear and a quill made of saved dodo-bird feathers.

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