The Hill sisters have a foundation in their name that distributes some of the royalties obtained from the song. Yet because those revenues have been estimated to be in the millions and it was not initially protected by a copyright, legal disputes have developed. In 1935, a company that sought to secure the rights to it claimed that two different people had written the tune. Later on, Warner obtained the rights to it prompting another company to contest its right to receiving royalties 3 years ago.
If they were alive today the Hill sisters would probably be surprised by both the popularity of the song and the conflict surrounding it. After all, they only wrote it to make young children feel special on their birthday. However, inroads resulting in a possible resolution regarding the matter have been made recently. In effect, because it has been difficult to determine who should have ownership rights to the song, experts believe that it could eventually become public domain. If that occurs, the objective of the two creative women who wrote it just to make kids happy will therefore have been met.