A U.S. District judge for the Central District of California has determined that Warner/Chappell Music Inc. does not own a valid copyright to the lyrics of the song “Happy Birthday.” While the melody to the song has been in the public domain for several decades, Warner has been collecting millions of dollars in licensing fees each year for public performances of “Happy Birthday.” The judge found that the copyright records do not indicate that the original publisher of the song “Happy Birthday” ever had rights to the “Happy Birthday” lyrics.  If this ruling stands, the lyrics to “Happy Birthday,” like the melody, will be in the public domain.