NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP is pleased to announce the entry of an Order today by Chief Judge George H. King of the United States District Court for the Central District of California approving all the substantive terms of the Settlement of Good Morning to You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., No. CV 13-04460-GHK (MRWx).
The Order: (1) declares that Happy Birthday! will be in the public domain; (2) approves the Defendants’ agreement to forever cease charging for use of the Song; (3) approves the payment by Defendants of up to $14 million to Settlement Class Members who submitted claims to be reimbursed for payments for the Song since 1949; and (4) preserves the finality of the Court’s September 22, 2015 ruling that Defendants and their predecessors never owned a copyright to the Song’s famous lyrics.
Jenn Nelson, whose production company, Good Morning to You Productions Corp., filed the first class action disputing the copyright, said, “I am gratified by this wonderful result. When I decided to challenge a big music company over the world’s most famous copyright, I picked the best lawyers for the job. They did amazing work in this case.” Nelson added, “With the settlement now approved, I have the perfect ending for my documentary.”
Mark C. Rifkin, a partner of Wolf Haldenstein and the Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Class in the litigation, said, “We are extremely proud to be part of this historic achievement. The Order declares what we set out to prove: Happy Birthday! belongs to the public, and it is now theirs.”
Although the Order cannot be implemented until the Court resolves the attorneys’ fee application next month, Rifkin notes, “This Order becomes final in 30 days, and no one has standing to appeal it. No one should pay for Happy Birthday! ever again.”
Wolf Haldenstein has extensive experience in the prosecution of complex class actions and derivative litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country. The firm has attorneys in various practice areas; and offices in New York, Chicago and San Diego. The reputation and expertise of this firm in shareholder and other class litigation has been repeatedly recognized by the courts, which have appointed it to major positions in complex multi-district and consolidated litigation.