June 20, 2013
"Happy Birthday To You" Copyright Suit Filed In NY
New York (AP) A production company making a documentary about the song “Happy Birthday to You” is challenging the copyright to the famous jingle.
Good Morning To You Productions Corp., which is working on a film tentatively titled “Happy Birthday,” argues in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the song should be “dedicated to public use and in the public domain.”
The company is seeking monetary damages and restitution of more than $5 million in licensing fees collected by Warner/Chappell Music Inc. from thousands of people and groups who’ve paid it licensing fees.
“More than 120 years after the melody to which the simple lyrics of Happy Birthday to You is set was first published, defendant Warner/Chappell boldly, but wrongfully and unlawfully, insists that it owns the copyright to Happy Birthday to You,” the lawsuit states.
Good Morning To You Productions argues that evidence dating to 1893 helps show the song’s copyright expired around 1921.
It says four previous copyrights to the melody of the similar-sounding song “Good Morning to All,” filed in 1893, 1896, 1899 and 1907, have expired or been forfeited.
The class action lawsuit says that Warner/Chappell claims the exclusive copyright to the song based on piano arrangements published in 1935 but that the copyright applies only to the piano arraignment and not to the melody or lyrics.
The film company filed the lawsuit after having to pay Warner/Chappell a $1,500 licensing fee and sign an agreement to use the song in a scene or face a $150,000 penalty.
No Joke: Jester Wanted At Austrian Hotel
Vienna (AP) Wanted: A jester. Wallflowers need not apply.
It’s no joke. An Austrian hotel is advertising for a modern-day court fool, who is communicative, extroverted, musical, creative and imaginative.
Applicants are asked to bring and play their musical instrument during the job interview. Also welcome: creative costumes. The successful candidate will earn 1,400 euros‚ around $1,900 a month. Hotel director Melanie
Franke says those interested should not think they’re on a fool’s errand in applying. She says the idea is to treat guests like royalty, noting that “jesters were a luxury that royal families indulged themselves in.” The hotel in Austria’s Styria province was designed by famed Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Franke says the jester concept fits its hotel’s colorful appearance.
Danish Supermarket A Surprise Instead Of Bananas
Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) Drug traffickers back in Colombia must be going bananas over how their shipment ended up at Danish supermarkets and not on the streets.
Police say employees at the supermarket chain Coop got a big surprise when they opened banana boxes from the South American country and found about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of what police believe is cocaine.
The powder was discovered last week in Aarhus, western Denmark, when employees noticed that some of the boxes were heavier than others. Coop spokesman Jens Juul says more bags with white powder were found Wednesday in a separate shipment from Colombia at a central dispatch facility in suburban Copenhagen.
Juul told the Danish news agency Ritzau the company has contacted their Colombian supplier.Police are investigating, but haven’t made any arrests.
Unlucky Bear With Head Stuck In Jar Is Freed After Many Days
JAMISON CITY, PA (AP) Four central Pennsylvania residents said they used only a rope and a flashlight during a wild chase to rescue a young bear whose head had been stuck in a plastic jar for at least 11 days.
The frightened but powerful bruin fell into a swimming pool at least twice during the ordeal, according to a report Saturday in the Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg. But the group eventually yanked off the jar and set the animal free.
“I thought, ‘No one is going to believe us,’” said Morgan Laskowski, 22, the bartender at the Jamison City Hotel and a member of the impromptu bear-wrangling team.
Area residents first spotted the 100-pound bruin with its head in a red jar on June 3, but it eluded game wardens. The animal was attracted to the container because it appeared to have once contained cooking oil.
“He put his head in, and had a problem,” said Mike Jurbala, 68, another rescuer. “He’d have died in a couple more days.”
Jurbala saw the bear Thursday night as he was leaving the bar at the Jamison City Hotel. He called Jeff Hubler, a local employee of the state Game Commission who had been among those trying to capture it for days with a lasso.
The two teamed up with Laskowski and her mother, bar owner Jody Boyle, to follow the bear through the darkness.
“You knew where he was because you could hear him banging into things,” Jurbala said.
They cornered the bear in a resident’s backyard, where it ended up falling into a pool a couple of times. Eventually, they wrangled the animal into a position where Hubler could pull off the jar.
“You’d think the bear would be weak, because it hadn’t eaten or drunk for a week, but it was strong,” Boyle said. Hubler said people should keep lids on food jars that they throw away.
Lawsuit: Man Allowed To Curse On NY Ticket's Payment
Liberty, NY (AP) A 22-year-old Connecticut man who wrote obscenities and “Tyranny” on his speeding ticket payment claims in a federal lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested.
William Barboza is suing two police officers in the Catskill-area village of Liberty over the arrest.
Barboza had replaced the word “Liberty” with “Tyranny” and added an obscenity-laced insult on the payment form accompanying an August 2012 ticket.
The lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union says the Fairfield County man was ordered to town court, where he was handcuffed and arrested for aggravated harassment. He posted $200 bail that day. The charge was dismissed in March.
The NYCLU argues that offensive language is protected speech.
There was no immediate comment from Liberty police.
NY Librarian Back On Job After Storm-Forced Firing
Round Lake, NY (AP) A librarian in a small upstate New York village is back on the job two weeks after she was fired for closing the library 40 minutes early amid a tornado warning.
Theresa Marchione (mahr-shee-OHN’) shut down the Round Lake Library on May 29 as nasty weather headed her way.
Meteorologists later confirmed a tornado touched down 13 miles away.
The library’s board fired Marchione two days later, and people in the village 20 miles north of Albany protested loudly.
On Wednesday night, seven of the eight library board members quit. A new board quickly reinstated Marchione with back pay.
The decision was met with a standing ovation from the crowd gathered at the meeting. Marchione hasn’t spoken publicly and didn’t attend the meeting.