From Unhappy Birthday
"Did you know Happy Birthday is copyrighted and the copyright is currently owned and actively enforced by Time Warner?
Did you know that if you sing any copyrighted song:
...at a place open to the public
...or among a substantial number of people who are not family or friends
You are involved in a public performance of that work?
Did you know an unauthorized public performance is a form of copyright infringement?"
You know, I had often wondered why many major chains (such as <a href = http://www.applebees.com/>Applebees) do not use the 'traditional' words. I had heard rumors before that the song was copyrighted, but I had never tracked down the reality of story. Enter <a href = http://mako.yukidoke.org/copyrighteous/projects/20050301-00.html>Mako</a>, your freindly neighboorhood anarchist.
So, the moral of this story is this - If you sing Happy Birthday to your freind or family member in a public place, you can be sued for copyright infringement? Check out <a href = http://www.unhappybirthday.com/>Unhappy Birthday for the full scoop, and methods of turning in your freinds, foes and random people for this shocking crime!