What happened? In short, a lawsuit that took more than two years. This is good news for businesses that have avoided using it. Now they can sing it, play it, and have no fear (and make no payments).
More about this at:
- All the 'Happy Birthday' song copyright claims are invalid, federal judge rules, Sept. 22, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-happy-birthday-song-lawsuit-decision-20150922-story.html
- ‘Happy Birthday’ Copyright Case Reaches a Settlement, Dec. 9, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/10/business/media/happy-birthday-copyright-case-reaches-a-settlement.html
- 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Suit Settled, Dec. 10, 2015, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/happy-birthday-copyright-suit-settled-n477671
And for fun, here are James Corden and Josh Groban singing songs that are in the public domain. It's 7 minutes long and worth listening through the end.