This interesting story developed over a girl wanting to do a fund raiser for a good cause and loving the song 'Smile', but running into the legal matter of copyright ownership.
'Martin House Hospice for Children' in the UK. Dressed as Charlie Chaplin, Hare used the song 'Smile' in a well created video.
They posted the video and it started to raise money for their cause. I don't know all the story behind this, but they apparently didn't know all the copyright issues, and thought they were okay in using it.
In December 2009, Bourne Music in New York contacted the family and asked to removed the song 'Smile' due to copyright infringement. (Bourne legally owns the copyright for the lyrics.) They could replace the song if they paid the fee (about $2000) for using it, plus other cost, if they used 'Smile' for other performances.
'Smile' is owned by two different copyright owners.
The music, which was a theme in the film 'Modern Times', was composed by Charles Chaplin (and his team) in 1936. In 1954, the theme was combined with lyrics and became the song 'Smile', which it is best known for today. The lyrics are by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. The song became famous with Nat King Cole and has been a standard, ever since. As for copyright, Roy Export (Chaplin's company in Paris) owns the music and Bourne Music in New York own the lyrics. (I have read in a couple of reports, the Chaplin Family were in support of Miss Hare.)
Bourne Music learned of this video and demanded 'Smile' to be pulled off the video, due to copyright infringements. The family pulled the soundtrack off video last December. The video has been silent ever since. The donations kept coming, but at a slower pace.
The mainstream press picked up the story this summer. Donations picked up. Now there is even hope of a well-known silent film pianist, who has offered to create music for her silent video. (You can follow this development at Edna's Facebook Fan Page - date last week in July 2010.)
Her fund raiser is now within 20% of reaching her goal, and if you like to help, they are taking donations at this site at JUST GIVING. (It is an UK project, so amounts show in pounds.) You can see Bethany Hare's video (minus the Smile) at this link. And here is another link from MSNBC, who covered the story a few days ago.
This is looking like it may have an happy ending, but just a good reminder to anyone thinking of doing a project, even for non-profit, to check thoroughly with all issues on copyright, if using material you didn't create or own, for any project.