Intellectual Property Law

New Matter WINTER 2016, Volume 41, Number 4

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief


WELCOME TO THE WINTER EDITION of New Matter for 2016. The cover of this issue denotes the beginning music notes and lyrics for the song "Happy Birthday to You." A Judge approved a settlement agreement, from the litigation pending in June of this year, putting "Happy Birthday to You" in the public domain. It ends the ownership claims of Warner/Chappell Music, the music publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song for years. The basic "Happy Birthday" melody, derived from another popular children’s song, "Good Morning to All," that has long been in the public domain, and the settlement makes "Happy Birthday" in its entirety fair game for use. One of the attorneys representing opposition to the music publishing company stated that the song is finally free after 80 years. The settlement is a gift to many musicians, moviemakers and other content creators who want to use the song in their works or create derivative works, but the settlement also means millions lost for the music publishing company that has been collecting on the copyright to one of the most widely sung songs in the world.

The "Happy Birthday to You" cover art emphasizes that music and lyrics remain a valuable right and that copyright is an important part of Intellectual Property (IP) suite of rights. The "Mogol vs. Battisti" Copyright Case article in this issue also emphasizes that rights for composers are still an extremely valuable copyright throughout the world. The article covers the difficulty that composers still face when trying to enforce their copyrights.

For this edition, we note again that the Interest Group (IG) information at the end of New Matter has changed, and now MCLE credit that is available from the different IGs is provided instead. The IG Reports have been replaced by a program list that identifies recent or upcoming Webinars that interest groups are putting on, as well as important Webinars presented in the past and available online. For those needing MCLE credits in January, please consider the MCLE available from these webinars as well as the MCLE self study that is always available online from New Matter.

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