The song " The Stars and Stripes Forever " is a very famous song in the US.

The song was composed by John Philip Sousa in 1896.

By a 1987 act of the U.S. Congress, it is the official National March of the United States of America.

Here is the link to Wikipedia about this song: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stars_and_Stripes_Forever

Here is the YouTube link so that you can listen to the song: https://youtu.be/a-7XWhyvIpE?t=59

My questions are:

(1) If I hire some musicians to play this song so that I can record the song, and then play it on a commercial mobile phone app that I develop for sale. Is there a copyright violation in this case ?

For example, I want to develop a commercial mobile phone app that displays fireworks and plays this song for the Independence Day (July 4th).

(2) Who owns the copyright of this song ?

Is it true that no one owns the copyright because the song was created a long time ago (or more than 75 years ago ?

So, does this mean the song is in the public domain now, and anyone can use it in any commercial application ?

(3) Generally speaking, are there any other sensitive issues such as cultural or political issues if software company plays this song in a commercial app for sale (in a respectful and appropriate manner) ?


  • 3
    Umm. (3) is off topic for this SE, but I suspect that it might be a cultural issue in countries that don't like the USA. – Paul Johnson May 21 '20 at 13:10
  • If you do play The Stars and Stripes Forever, please don't play it forever! – Robert Columbia May 21 '20 at 15:00
  • The USA has some pretty broad freedom of speech protections. You can play the Nazi anthem (Horst Wessel Lied) in a public park while waving the Third Reich flag. Cops might frown, but won't arrest you. – Robert Columbia May 21 '20 at 15:03
  1. It depends on the terms of your contract with the musicians. Copyright in the performance belongs to the performer so you need to ensure the copyright is transferred or appropriately licensed to you.

  2. It is public domain. Copyright for US works published before 1978 is a maximum of 95 years from date of publication. Although written on Christmas Day 1896 it wasn't published until 1897. Copyright, therefore, could have lasted until 31 December 1991 at most.

  3. No.

  • 1
    A suitable licence would work as well as a transfer, no? – richardb May 21 '20 at 15:12
  • @Dale M : Thanks. – Job_September_2020 May 21 '20 at 22:37

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