Lawyers Who Yanked “Happy Birthday” Into Public Domain Now Sue Over “This Land”
Our copyright laws really are too favorable to music corporations that lock up tunes well past the time that they should be in public domain. This is one reason you hear a lot of really crappy music when you go to your kid’s dance recital or band concert.
All music is derivative, and all art is derivative - if we want to live in society where the old is refreshed and reborn periodically, we will fix copyright to life of artist +5 -10 years when the rights are retained, and to 28 years for rights that are sold. The existing 70 years post mortem rights extension is just ridiculous. The Sonny Bono act extended copyrights beyond a century, and something really needs to be done.
Randall Newman and his colleagues have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against The Richmond Organization (TRO) and Ludlow Music, the two entities that also claim to own the copyright for “We Shall Overcome.”
The new suit is filed on behalf of a Brooklyn, New York-based band, Satorii, which obtained a license (at $45.40 for the privilege) to record a version that they sell as a download. However, the band has recorded another version with a different melody, and the musicians are concerned that they’ll be sued over it.