Yesterday, my sound FX “Happy Birthday Music Box” was definitely rejected after it
was held back a few days. The reason was a possible copyright infringement.
I can not fully understand this and therefore ask you for advice.
To my knowledge, the song “Happy Birthday” was composed by Mildred J.Hill and
P.S. Smith Hill and published in 1893 for the first time.
If I am not wrong, the copyright expires 70 years after death. Or is it only for Switzerland?
If the former is true, this should be the case as of 26 May 2016 (P.S.Hill died on
25 May 1946, M.J. Hill as early as 1916). Not that I had waited like a vulture
for this time … but after this deadline the melody would have to become
"Volksgut" (traditional) and freely used?
Of course there are mechanical rights as well. But if I crank the music box myself,
am I then the interpreter? Or is it the music box? (Or do we have to share 50/50?.. )
And as already mentioned, I had submitted the sound as sfx, thus without claim
on the melody, of course.
Perhaps there is someone among you who is well versed in music law? I would be very happy for an advice.