"Last year, a federal judge ruled that the long-claimed copyright to the song “Happy Birthday to You” was invalid. Now the same could happen for another iconic tune: “We Shall Overcome.” On Tuesday, the We Shall Overcome Foundation, a nonprofit group that works with orphans and the poor, sued the music publishers who control “We Shall Overcome,” seeking a declaratory judgment that the song is not under copyright and is in the public domain. The case, which was filed at Federal District Court in Manhattan and seeks class-action status, also asks for the return of an unspecified amount of licensing fees that the publishers, the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music, have collected from the use of the song. Like the “Happy Birthday” case, the “We Shall Overcome” suit tracks a famous piece of music through a murky early history and a complex paper trail of copyright registrations."
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
‘We Shall Overcome’ Copyright May Be Overcome One Day; New York Times, 4/12/16
Ben Sisario, New York Times; ‘We Shall Overcome’ Copyright May Be Overcome One Day: