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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dag, you mean I can't record myself singing 'Happy Birthday' without getting sued? I'm giving this a big 'C'MON SON'!

Listen to this and other music business news and trends at D.Music News with your boy DJ Adam Cruz

You may not know it, but you could owe Warner/Chappell Music thousands of dollars from all the birthday parties you've attended in your life. A federal lawsuit seeks to change that.

Warner/Chappell Music claims to own the copyright to the 120-year-old, 16-word song that is widely credited with being the best-known piece of music in the English language. That means anyone who performs the song publicly risks a $150,000 fine if they don't agree to pay a fee to the music group.

While the company doesn't actually come after private individuals for singing the song to their 3-year-olds, it technically could. And it does demand money anytime the song is sung on a television show or movie.

Good Morning To You Productions, which is a making a documentary film about the song, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to have the song returned to the public domain. It argues the copyright on the song expired in 1921, and that it should not have been forced to pay $1,500 for the rights to use the song in its documentary.