"We Shall Overcome" has overcome copyfraud and is now unambiguously public domain

A group of activist lawyers/documentarians have made a vocation of fighting copyfraudsters in the courts, first forcing Warner Chapell to relinquish its bogus claim over "Happy Birthday" and then targeting Ludlow Music Inc. and The Richmond Organization who had spent decades fraudulently collecting licensing fees for the public domain civil rights hymn "We Shall Overcome."

Now, Ludlow and Richmond have capitulated, entering into a settlement in which they "dedicate" the song to the public domain — presumably, this is a weaseling bid to maintain the fiction that the song was in copyright until now, as a means of forestalling legal action from the victims of their legal shakedown racket.

Ludlow and Richmond are serial copyfraudsters, claiming to hold the copyright over Woody Guthrie's public domain song "This Land is Your Land." The band Satorii is suing them to make them stop pretending that users of this song need to take a license.

Defendants agree that hearafter they will not claim copyright in the melody or lyrics of any verse of the song We Shall Overcome ("the Song")…. Defendants agree that the melody and lyrics of those verses of the Song are hereafter dedicated to the public domain.

'We Shall Overcome' Overcomes Bogus Copyright Claim — Officially In The Public Domain [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]