You probably will never have to pay up, but technically, every time you sing “Happy Birthday” you owe Warner/Chappell Music.
Reports show the company owns the rights to the 120 year old song. Basically, anyone who performs the song in public could face a $150,000 fine if you don’t pay Warner/Chappell Music first.
One group wants the 16-word song turned back to the public domain. CNN reports Good Morning To You Productions filed suit on Thursday seeking to have the song returned back to the public domain. They claim the copyright on the song expired in 1921.
Good Morning To You Productions made the revelation to the song’s ownership when they were forced to pay $1,500 to use it in a documentary based on the song itself.