What do birthdays and court cases have in common?

Once a year we get the chance to gather round a cake covered in fire to celebrate being old...

Of course celebrating a birthday wouldn’t be the same without your tone deaf friends and family harmonising Happy Birthday. However the song is now in the middle of a heated court case surrounding the rights of play.

Warner Chappell hold the copyright for the track and have threatened legal action, resulting in fines on more than one occasion. Written in 1893 by Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred, originally with different lyrics, the song was adapted to the well-known Happy Birthday To You in 1922.

Chappell states that the song is still protected by copyright law under its 95 years of protection and will be until 2030. The song is rarely on TV or in films because it can cost a hefty amount to do so. The argument is that the song should now be owned by the public, which would mean it is free to play. Opposing the copyright of the song, lawyers have discussed the 1927 songbook which Happy Birthday appeared in has no copyright attached, as it is dated eight years prior to when Chappell’s copyright would have begun.

If performing such a traditional and seemingly public song has come under scrutiny, what does this mean for your on hold messages and audio? At iNarrator you don’t need to worry about the future of your On Hold Marketing, our recordings and music are exempt from any surprise charges down the line.

PRS is a company which gains the copyrights for music, it was founded in 1914 for collecting fees for gramophone recordings being played. PRS (Performing Right Society) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) provide licences and collect fees for music which is broadcast or played in public places - this includes telephone systems. PRS even offer licensing for companies to play on hold music whilst customer’s wait, but with iNarrator this isn’t necessary.

We know that playing great quality music whilst your customer is on hold is an important way of keeping them entertained and satisfied whilst they wait. You can rest assured that you won’t receive an order to pay for PRS or PPL liences as our music is royalty free, meaning your recordings can be used without any additional fees payable.

The court case surrounding Happy Birthday is going to be reviewed this time next week, fingers crossed we will be able to sing it till our heart’s content!