Civil rights and Union leaders sing 'We Shall Overcome' at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. Stephen F. Somerstein — Getty Images

This Iconic Song May Soon be Public Domain

Apr 13, 2016

"We Shall Overcome" was one of the most iconic songs of the 1950s and 60s, when it was sung by Civil Rights protesters throughout the South. It has been recorded by legendary artists like Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen. Now, though, it may become public domain.

The same lawyers who won a case last year making "Happy Birthday" public domain—perhaps freeing you from those terrible knockoff versions sung at tacky chain restaurants—are looking to make the song public domain, reports Reuters. The lawyers, from the firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, are petitioning a judge in New York on behalf of the makers of a planned documentary film.

The Richmond Organization and its music label Ludlow Music Inc. currently own the rights to the tune. An e-mail to the company was not immediately returned.

The We Shall Overcome Foundation , the plaintiff in the case, wants to make a documentary about this history of the song and its use in the Civil Rights Movement but were not given permission.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions