Thursday, June 16, 2005

There Will Be Cake Later

You have most likely never heard of Mildred and Patty Hill, but you probably owe them money. They wrote the song "Happy Birthday." A little scary that it took two people to write 14 words, but they did it and as a copyrighted song they are entitled to a royalty whenever it is sung publicly.

Mildred and Patty's heirs sold the rights, so the next time you sing their song at a birthday party you should make your check out to Time-Warner, Inc. By the time the copyright expires (2021), the royalties are expected to have totaled $80 million. That's right, 14 words, 80 mil! The actual royalties, of course, come from the song being sung on TV shows and in movies.

Since there are only six different words in the song, and the singer has to supply one of those, it comes out to $16 million per word. Way to go girls!

I bring this up because today is the birthday of one of this site's regular visitors. So...

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear,
Happy birthday to you.

And, Time-Warner, the check is in the mail!

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