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Playing “The Charge Song” At Sporting Events Is Copyright Infringement?

That’s what I read this morning, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. You always wonder where these little traditional songs come from and who originally wrote them. But now there’s an actual LAWSUIT?

Apparently so!   You know the song I mean, right?  I’m talking about Da-Da-Da-TA-Da-Dahhh-CHARGE!!  In case this doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll give you my rendition.

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 That little bitty song was actually written by somebody!  I guess that does make sense.  Somebody sat down with a trumpet, blew 6 notes at random and said-“Wow!  I’m going to bring my trumpet to the next basketball game and try it out on the crowd! ” And according to, we might now know who that guy is!  According to them and the Miami Herald:

Every time you hear that anthem, Bobby Kent thinks he should get paid. The 62-year-old composer says he invented and copyrighted the familiar refrain under the name Stadium Doodads while he was music director for the San Diego Chargers back in 1978. Now, he’s suing every single pro sports team in the country for playing it without due royalties—with the exception of the Lakers, who ponied up $3,000, the Miami Herald reports.

So technically, the stadium has to pay every time it’s played??  That could be a big chunk of change!

Similarly, did you also know that every time “Happy Birthday To You” is sung on the air, they are supposed to pay for that too?   According to Wikipedia, that is true:19th Annual "Hollywood Charity Horse Show"

The value of “Happy Birthday” is estimated at $5 million.  Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn

 So watch it next time you are at a game.  Don’t be caught dead uttering Da-Da-Da-TA-Da-Da–because you just might get….wait for it….come on…all together now…..


Oh, and PS.  My birthday is April 24th.  But PLEASE don’t call the station and  sing” Happy Birthday” to me either, for your own good.  And after singing, don’t go “Da-Da-Da-TA-Da-Da!”.  Could be a real expensive day for you!

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