How the ‘Happy Birthday’ song became a million dollar idea

Every day, millions of people sing “Happy Birthday” in honour of their friends and family. But for almost a century it was protected by copyright.

It couldn’t be sung in films or on television – or even with waiters in a restaurant – without incurring steep fees. That’s until someone called the lawyers’ bluff. Aaron Heslehurst tells the story.

Video by Jeremy Howell.


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