Birthday Songs

Imagine you’re in a restaurant enjoying dinner. “Hey! Hey! Hey!” Your conversation is suddenly interrupted by a chorus of half-hearted voices, and poorly coordinated claps. You don’t recognize the song they are singing, but it sucks. Sound familiar?

At the moment, I can’t think of a more depressing spectacle than the alternate birthday song.

Why do restaurants do this? Blame the US government. The real “Happy Birthday” song, which was copywritten in 1935, might have entered the public domain in 1991. However, before that tragedy could occur Congress extended copyright terms twice. Retroactively. By the current standard, you’ll be suffering through crappy faux-birthday songs until at least 2030.

Apparently an author’s right to milk their creation for all it’s worth trumps your right to develop any semblence of a culture. Or eat in peace.


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