This paper explores the the copyright protections surrounding works deeply embeded in the American culture. It begins with a brief exp will begin with a brief summary of the role copyright plays in the United States Constitution and will follow with the development of terms and protections from 1781 to the present day.  The bulk of the paper will look at how this development effects the use of three iconographic American works that were created by pre-drafted text, inspiration, improvisation and outright theft.  The three works are:  Mildred and Patty Hill’s, “Happy Birthday To You”; Woody Guthrie’s, “This Land Is Your Land”; and Martin Luthere King, Jr’s, “I Have a Dream” speech.