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'Happy Birthday To You' Belongs To The Public, According To Lawsuit

07/30/2015 04:17 EDT | Updated 07/25/2016 09:59 EDT

No, restaurants don't just sing their own version of 'Happy Birthday' because they feel like it, it's because they have to — or at least they had to.

Warner/Chappell Music currently holds a copyright for the traditional birthday song that brings in approximately $2 million dollars to the company annually, the Washington Post reports.

But filmmaker Jennifer Nelson says the song shouldn't be copyrighted at all. According to Nelson's lawyer, the song Warner/Chappell Music claims ownership of is simply a song created by the public, reported the New York Times.

Warner Music itself has even submitted evidence that questions if there was ever a copyright on the song, Jezebel notes. And sources at the CBC say if there ever was a copyright on the original song, it would have expired decades ago.

In the video above, Next Media retraces the history of the song all the way back to 1922, the same year Nelson says the song became part of the public domain.

What do you think? Does Warner/Chappell Music have the right to bill those who sing this classic song? Or does 'Happy Birthday To You' belong to all of us? Let us know in the comments below.

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