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Q: Where to get copyright permission for "Happy Birthday" song ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Where to get copyright permission for "Happy Birthday" song
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: auntie-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Feb 2003 22:20 PST
Expires: 25 Mar 2003 22:20 PST
Question ID: 166251
Our community's children's choir would like to gain rights to sing
Happy  Birthday commerically for fundraising efforts. I understand the
song is not in the public domain and the rights have been purchased by
a number of companies, including AOL/Time Warner. I'd like to know who
to contact directly to find out what the licensing costs would be for
use of the song
Subject: Re: Where to get copyright permission for "Happy Birthday" song
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 23 Feb 2003 23:27 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Auntie-ga,

You can obtain your license to use the Happy Birthday song from ASCAP
or the Harry Fox Agency.

“So, crooning "Happy Birthday to You" to family members and friends at
home is fine, but performing a copyrighted work in a public setting
such as a restaurant or a sports arena technically requires a license
from ASCAP or the Harry Fox Agency “
Snopes: Happy Birthday


ASCAP  - American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

“ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and
distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of
their copyrighted works. ASCAP's licensees encompass all who want to
perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining
permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of

“Through ASCAP, in one simple transaction, businesses can obtain the
right to perform the millions of songs created or owned by over
145,000 of America's and hundreds of thousands of the world's best
songwriters, composers, lyricists and publishers.”

You will find licensing information here:

You may e-mail ASCAP for additional information:

Or use their handy contact form:


Harry Fox Agency
The Harry Fox Agency (HFA) represents music publishers. They issue
licenses and collect and distribute royalties for the mechanical
reproduction of their copyrights. They issue licenses and collect and
distribute royalties for synchronization use of their compositions in
motion pictures, television films, video tapes and electrical
transcriptions and many other sources.

To get the copyright permission you need, select the type of use and
follow the licensing instructions.

E-mail at
Phone: 212-834-0100.


The Publishers/Administrators of Happy Birthday to You by Mildred and
Patty Hill are:


I obtained this information by entering “Happy Birthday to You” at the
ASCAP database.


Additional information that may interest you:

Who does own the publishing rights to "Happy Birthday to You"? 

“They were acquired by a New York accountant named John F. Sengstack
when he bought the Clayton F. Summy Company in the 1930s; Sengstack
eventually relocated the company to New Jersey and renamed it Birch
Tree Ltd. in the 1970s. Warner Chappell (a Warner Communications
division), the largest music publisher in the world, purchased Birch
Tree Ltd. in late 1998 for a reported sale price of $25 million; the
company then became Summy-Birchard Music, now a part of the giant AOL
Time Warner media conglomerate. According to David Sengstack,
president of Summy-Birchard, "Happy Birthday to You" brings in about
$2 million in royalties annually, with the proceeds split between
Summy-Birchard and the Hill Foundation.

Snopes: Birthday Song

From the straight dope website:

“According to ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers), which acts as a clearinghouse for music royalties, "Happy
Birthday" was by far the most widely performed musical work of the
20th century (or perhaps more accurately, the most widely performed
work still under copyright protection, and thus within ASCAP's
purview). We asked Warner/Chappell what kind of royalties the song was
bringing in--they said they'd get back to us.”

Search Criteria:
"Happy Birthday to You" licensing ionformation

I hope you find this helpful and if there is anything that I've
written that needs clarification, please ask before you rate this

Best Regards,
auntie-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent--thanks so much.

There are no comments at this time.

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