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Judge approves Happy Birthday copyright settlement

A US judge has approved a settlement that will put Happy Birthday To You, one of the best-known and most beloved songs in the world, in the public domain.

The agreement ends the ownership claims of Warner/Chappell Music, the publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song for years.

The company has agreed to pay back 14 million dollars (£10.6m) to those who have paid licensing fees to use the song.

Last year, Los Angeles district judge George King ruled that the company did not own the lyrics to the ditty and said it had no right to charge for its use.

Warner/Chappell has said it did not try to collect royalties from everybody singing the song, only those who used it in a commercial enterprise.

AP

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