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Law and Happy

In: Other Topics

Submitted By weiser1977
Words 527
Pages 3
Factual Summary:
Bobby Bandleader, a Bistro Operator refuses to pay for copyright song” Happy Birthday”. He has his own version of the song and is one of the main reasons people are coming to his restaurant. If he has to pay for all the licensing fees, he will be bankrupt. Mr. Singstealer has the right of the copyright song and demands fees from the restaurant. He is also not working and the fees from the song are his only income. Mr. Bistro is a customer for the Bistro restaurant and has been going there for years. He goes there because the food is “tasty” and the tradition of getting the “Happy Birthday “song, sung to him. Also his mother sung “Happy Birthday” every year to him, and he also sings the song to his children.
Issue(s):
Is singing a “Happy Birthday” song in public restaurant violation of any copyrights?
Bobby’s own version of the classic “Happy Birthday to You” uses the same tune, but somewhat different wording than does the original song.
Legal Concept(s):
In accordance with title 17 of the United States Code 101, “musical works, including any accompanying words are protected within the copyright law”. The law goes on to say “The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work”. With these two basic rules in mind in order to come to a decision I would have to compare both Mr. Bandleader and Mr. Sing stealer’s versions of the song to determine how much material within the infringing song was contributed by the copyrighted material. As an arbitrator in charge of resolving this legal dispute based upon my understanding of copyright law and the facts of this case I would submit a verdict for only the percentage of the song that was contributed. An example of this is if Mr. Bandleader’s version was completely different in melody and lyrics he would not be liable for any…...

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