Djcnor’s Weblog

The Most Popular Song in the World

Posted on: November 24, 2008

Do you know what it is?

Can I be more specific? Sure. By “the most popular song in the world” I mean the best known and most frequently sung song in the world.

Still can’t guess?

Who wrote it? Well, that’s not clear, but it is still under copyright. Or is it? Certainly, the song that started out “Good Morning to All” had copyright protection, and the version now sung generates about $2 million per year. Yet the copyright is probably invalid. There’s a lack of evidence as to who wrote the words, defective copyright notice (I don’t know what that is. Do you?), and a proper renewal application has not been filed.

In any case, the standard story about its origin is apparently false.

The putative owners did not challenge distribution of unauthorized copies for over 20 years. But the present owners of the song do enforce the copyright, and have a lot more money than you do, so don’t push them by putting it in your latest film.

Given all this, I hereby absolve the whole world of the obligation to sing it to me in the relatively near future. I’ll take the Polish song for the occasion, instead, entitled “Sto Lat” which wishes me 100 years. Yeah, that’s better.

The things you learn checking out abstracts from legal journals!


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