Guzman Law Group


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Posts tagged Royalties
"Happy Birthday" Will Cost You

Did you know that the “Happy Birthday” song, formally known as “Happy Birthday to You”, is the most recognized song in the english language? Then why is it that your favorite restaurant has decided to steer away from the highly popular song and create their own celebratory ditty? Its because the restaurant does not want to pay royalties. Yes, the "Happy Birthday" song is copyrighted. The song comes from the tune "Good Morning to All", written by two sisters, Patty and Mildred J. Hill in 1893. Their "Good Morning to You" song became so popular with Patty's kindergarten class that, myth has it, the sisters began singing it at their students birthdays changing the lyrics to "Happy Birthday". According to Wikipedia, the following is the copyright history and terms:

In 1935, "Happy Birthday to You" was copyrighted as a work for hire by Preston Ware Orem for the Summy Company, the publisher of "Good Morning to All". A new company, Birch Tree Group Limited, was formed to protect and enforce the song's copyright. In 1998,[10] the rights to "Happy Birthday to You" and its assets were sold to The Time-Warner Corporation. In March 2004, Warner Music Group was sold to a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. The company continues to insist that one cannot sing the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics for profit without paying royalties: in 2008, Warner collected about $5000 per day ($2 million per year) in royalties for the song.[2], pp. 4,68 This includes use in film, television, radio, anywhere open to the public, or even among a group where a substantial number of those in attendance are not family or friends of whoever is performing the song. For this reason, most restaurants or other public party venues will not allow their employees to perform the song in public, instead opting for other original songs or cheers in honor of the birthday celebrant.

In many countries, including the United States, copyright lasts the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. In this case, since it was a work for hire, the standard is not 70 years post death of the last surviving author, but 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever comes first. Assuming, the song still enjoys U.S. copyright protection, and assuming its first publication date was 1935, the copyright would be valid until 2030.


Google Images are not Royalty Free, Get Permission

Are you a blogger? A lot of people like to add a photograph to their blog post and will grab an image off of Google Images or other search engines. This is actually Copyright Infringement. The images found on a search engine are not owned by the search engine and therefore they cannot grant you permission to use the image. The copyright lies with the creator (or any person/company who has bought the image from the photographer). The moment a photograph is created the image automatically becomes the copyrighted property of the photographer. In order to use photographs that you do not own, you must gain the permission of the images creator. This is an absolute if you are using the image or content in products for resale, license or other distribution. Even if you are using an image for purposes such a blog, e-newsletter or website, you still must have permission from the author to use the content. What if I credit the source? Crediting the source is a step in the right direction, but you still should always ask for permission or purchase the content before use. Some photographers do not mind and even love the exposure, and others, well, they want their royalties.

**From Google's Permissions web page

Google Logo and Screenshot Permissions:
" You don’t need our permission when you want to use a standard, unaltered Google screenshot (an image of our homepage or search results page) in either print (book, magazine, journal, newspaper) or digital (web page, DVD, CD) formats for an instructive or illustrative purpose. Examples include screenshots of:

• a Google search results page
• search results indicating where sponsored links are
• an Advanced Search page
• search results for a query you show

This use must be unaltered: You can’t superimpose graphics, photos, or ad copy on the screenshot or change the look of the screen-captured image in any other way.

Please note that using a screenshot of a Google search results page in connection with advertising your products or services (for instance, showing a top ranking on Google) is not considered instructive or illustrative, and therefore is not permitted."

Click here for more information about Google permissions