The Happy Birthday Song & Copyright

If you all haven’t heard, a really interesting decision on copyright has recently been made in the USA!

If you ever wondered why you got sung some weird version of ‘Happy Birthday’ at TGI Fridays, or why movies and advertisements rarely contained the commonplace and beloved song – it was because of the exorbitant royalties companies charged for its use. But now – “[n]one of the companies that have collected royalties on the “Happy Birthday” song for the past 80 years held a valid copyright claim to one of the most popular songs in history, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled on Tuesday.” The song is now considered a public work and is free for everyone to use! Hooray! 🙂

You can read the full story from the Los Angeles Times here.

It will be interesting to see how many people now try and claim their money back!

Keep an ear out and see if you notice the use of the song more widely now. I think its a spectacular move forward – freedom of song all the way!

Many happy returns,

Michelle De Aizpurua

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The ‘snark’ punctuation

Well how about this – punctuation to denote sarcasm called the snark! What an interesting idea.

[I]t’s one of the coolest, most utilitarian, but least-used punctuation marks around…

The easy-to-write—and type—symbol is simply a period followed by a tilde [.~]. It was created around 2007 by American typographer Choz Cunningham as an end-of-sentence mark that could denote verbal irony in writing. Its intended use is to help readers understand when the meaning of a sentence is actually very different to what the sum of its words seem to mean.

Authors wouldn’t have to write ‘(S)he said sarcastically’ every time, and instead allow for more flow and intuitive recognition of the style of speech. I think we need to spread the use of the snark! Or rather; “this is totally a terrible idea.~” 😛

Read more in the article below 😀

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Language Fun

I love to learn new things about linguistics, language can be such fun!

Today I learnt that some dictionaries have recently added the ‘informal, non-literal version of literally’ – where individuals use it as a statement for something that is only figurative. i.e. “It literally blew my head off”.

Read a short article about it here.

It turns out this is called an ‘auto antonym’ – and there are a lot more of them! How interesting.

There is a bit of list on Wiktionary which is lots of fun to read and gasp at. I also noticed one myself while working recently – ‘apparent’. This can mean clear as in ‘for no apparent reason’ or unclear, as in ‘his apparent lack of concern’. It really is a wonder we manage to understand each other sometimes 😉

That’s my musing for the day, please do comment with any linguistic fun facts you know of.

Happy reading!

Michelle De Aizpurua