Take Two®

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Why we need a new 'Happy Birthday' song

by Take Two®

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Dolphin trainer Thomas Lange holds a birthday cake for the young dolphins Diego, Doerte and Darwin on August 31, 2012 at the zoo in Duisburg, western Germany. Within two weeks in summer 2011, the three dolphins were born at the zoo's dolphinarium and got the cake now for their first birthday. ROLAND WEIHRAUCH/AFP/Getty Images

Today is the 85th birthday of Antoine Dominique, the great R & B singer better known as Fats Domino. We wish him the best, but we won't be playing "happy birthday to you" in his honor.   

That's because the classic birthday ditty is copyrighted, which is why you'll rarely, if ever, hear anyone sing it during a birthday scene in a TV show or movie. The song has almost been put into the public domain a few times, but copyright term extenstion have pushed that date back until at least 2030.

The folks at the Free Music Archives thought it was time to come up with a new, copyright free birthday song, so they partnered with New York radio station WFMU and organized a contest.

Ken Freedman, program director of WFMU, helped organize the new happy birthday song contest, to come up with a less restrictive way to wish someone well on his or her day of birth.

Hear the winners of the contest below:

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