You Decide: Laws 310 Week 3

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The (Plaintiff) Johnny Singstealer is seeking the sum of $1 million from the (Defendant) Bobby Bandleader, for alleged copyright abuse of the song “Happy Birthday to You”. The (Plaintiff) Johnny Singstealer is the copyright holder to the said song. The (Defendant) Bobby Bandleader is a Bistro owner who performs the song in an altered version (his own words are used) to his customers on their birthdays and have been doing so for the past twenty years without obtaining any licensing or permission from the copyright holder (Plaintiff) Johnny Singstealer. Is the (Defendant) Bobby Bandleader committing copyright infringement, by singing the song to his customers? Should the (Plaintiff) Johnny Singstealer be paid royalties from the (Defendant) Bobby Bandleader, when he sang the song “Happy Birthday to You”, in his own reword/altered version? The (Plaintiff) Johnny Singstealer stated that “I’m glad I finally found out what he’s been doing. I inherited the copyrights to the “Happy Birthday to You” song fair and square from my family and I want what’s coming to me”. The (Defendant) Bobby Band leader stated that, “... My version is better anyway. I harmonize it a little bit and use some different words. It’s not even the same song; it’s much better. People love to come to my bistro to celebrate their birthday because they love how well I sing the “Happy Birthday to You” song.”

From that statement, it appears that the (Defendant) Bobby Bandleader has created a song parody of the song “Happy Birthday to You”. According to the U.S. Copyrights Office, Section 107: Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use, “Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or

phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an...
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