Civil Rights For Sale - The King Controversy

Discussion in 'Use of the Law Forum & News' started by Legal Information, Dec 3, 2001.

Should Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech be sold?

  1. Yes. Welcome to America.

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  2. No. It's an insult to the civil rights movement.

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  3. Should this even be covered by copyright protection?

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  1. Legal Information

    Legal Information Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In what comes down to a question of morality and not legality, there is great commotion surrounding the creation of a commercial that features the late Dr. Martin Luther King, in a scene from his "I have a dream" speech, as a corporate spokesperson. The family of Dr. King has licensed the use of Dr. King's image and speech to create a digitally enhanced version that strips the scene of the crowd to make it appear as though Dr. King is speaking alone at the podium for the Alcatel company.

    Civil rights leaders are mortified that the family of the man who made great sacrifices in the name of equality and civil rights, have seen fit to restrict use of the material unless one pays the right price. 60 Minutes reported that the King family attempted to sell rights to use the dream to the Library of Congress for $20 million -- which the Library instantly rejected. The family has also sued organizations and the news media for using clips that it believed were too large and not falling under the "fair use" statute that allows the media to make fair usage of copyrighted materials for the sake of reporting news to the public.

    While Dr. King did copyright his work, many scholars and those close to him believe that King's desire was solely to liberate the country from racism. To limit the work for a cost and to portray Dr. King as a corporate shill is reprehensible. They believe that the United States citizens should own the right to use and freely distribute this speech, even though legally Dr. King's family does possess that right under copyright law. Dr. King's family has not commented about their decision.
     
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