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This Land in Public Domain? | Jason E. Shao

This Land in Public Domain?

EFF’s investigation revealed that ‘This Land is Your Land’ appears to have been in the public domain since the early 1970s. Woody Guthrie wrote his classic American song in 1940, when the copyright laws granted a copyright term of 28 years, renewable once for an additional 28. According to EFF, the initial copyright term was triggered when Guthrie sold his first versions of the song as sheet music in 1945. The copyright on the song then ran out when Ludlow failed to renew its registration in 1973. Ludlow believes its copyright — initially filed in 1956 and renewed in 1984 — remains valid and disputes EFF’s claims.

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