…well, maybe that’s a bit strong, but he‘s got a point. After all, Happy Birthday is a copyrighted work, and technically, if you perform the song in a public place, like a bar or somesuch, you’re supposed to pay the owner(s) of the copyright a royalty fee. I kid you not.
For downloads, you’re looking at $8.50 each; to put the track on your website, $800 per year, if you can get the owners to agree to give you a license.
So, what the heck? It’s time for something new. Traditional is nothing if it’s not able to passed around like 99 bottles of beer on the wall, so it’s time to kill Happy Birthday and start anew. I’m no song writer, but I suppose you could call it “Born on the [insert date]” or “Gee, I’m glad you were born today” or “Birthday Birthday Birthday for you” or “You’re older, you’re older, you’re oooolllldddeeerrrr!”
I dunno, whatev. But as long you release it under the Creative Commons Share-alike license (Eran’s suggestion), we can go on celebrating each other’s birthdays without worrying about infringing on someone else’s golden egg. About time.