Skip to content

The End of Aiken Chicken

One of the small pleasures of teaching copyright law in Pittsburgh is pointing out the city’s contributions to copyright history. Fred Rogers, not a son of Pittsburgh but one of its most beloved citizens, played a small but key role in the Betamax case. And George Aiken, protagonist of Twentieth Century Music Co. v. Aiken, the case that held that playing the radio in a retail store did not constitute a public performance of the music that came out of the box, was a Pittsburgher.  Back in the mid-1970s, Aiken’s was a small, local chain.  I point out to my students that the 61C Cafe in Squirrel Hill, a familiar coffee shop named for a bus route, was once a George Aiken’s.

Until very recently, the last “George Aiken’s” restaurant was still operating  in Downtown Pittsburgh, a throwback to the city’s steel era.  But the last George Aiken’s is closing.