Evidence found that Happy Birthday song older than copyright owner claims

Errr… wow. You should email the Plaintiffs and let them know. Your Google Books link doesn’t reveal a full page for me, but it seems you’ve found another piece of evidence.

Here’s the book at archive.org. https://ia600301.us.archive.org/20/items/TheElementaryWorkerAndHisWorktreatingTheBeginnersAndPrimary/The_elementary_worker_and_his_work.pdf

That said - the lawyers are definitely aware of this printing: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/08/05/happy-birthday-to-you-copyright-challenged-in-class-action/id=50684/. I guess it comes down to whether this 1911 version was an authorised or unauthorised publication?

Are there major exceptions to the rule that materials published prior to 1923 are no longer protected by copyright?

While my expectation is that nothing in US copyright is simple, Project Gutenberg’s legal guide suggests no exceptions (in the USA at least)

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