Anyone involved in the music business has probably heard about the copyright dispute involving happy birthday. Warner Chappell thought that they owned the copyright until 2030 but the judge ruled that the song already belongs to the public domain. They were making 2 million dollars a year in licensing fees and would have collected 30 million dollars more without this ruling.
The legal aspect of the dispute largely deals with issues of authorship that date back nearly 100 years. It is very hard as a third party bystander to form an opinion on who really composed the song and who really owns the copyright since we don’t know any of the parties involved.
The majority of people will rejoice at the decision because it is good for artists who now don’t need to pay to license the song for their work. Len Blavatnik owns Warner Chappell and was the man previously profiting off the Happy Birthday Copyright. Len is the wealthiest man in Britain and has a net worth that exceeds 20 billion pounds. Blavatnik owns many businesses in a variety of sectors including oil& gas, real estate and entertainment. Blavatnik loses more money with each dollar that oil prices go down than he will lose with Happy Birthday. For Len, this is nothing more than a rounding error and for everyone else it is a happy day.