What’s that? You’re not paying Time Warner, the copyright holder, for the rights to sing “Happy Birthday to You” in a public place? You could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit!
That’s apparently what they charge. It’s probably just enough to earn a coupla million a year, but not quite enough to prompt a challenge of the copyright claims that, as far as I can tell, appear pretty week.
You can wait till at least 2030, when the song enters the public domain. You can ignore the copyright restrictions, and risk the full wrath of the law. Or you can join in Free Music Archive’s contest to produce a “Creative Commons” alternative. If your song is chosen as a winner, Free Music Archive promises to market the crap out of your song, in an effort to supplant the copyrighted song from its dominant position. Until then, you’ll either have to shell out ten grand or be content with one of the options in the video below.
Find out more about the contest, rules, and history of the “other” birthday song at FreeMusicArchive dot org.