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View Full Version : Why you won’t see or hear the ‘I have a dream’ speech



JAD_333
28 Aug 13,, 23:17
I was there 50 years ago near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when MLK delivered his "I have a dream speech", though at the time I didn't expect it to become as iconic as it has.

It disappoints me now to learn that he and his heirs have milked it for profit all these years. I still admire King for his courage and his practice of non-violent political protest. He's still an American hero in my eyes, but perhaps a notch lower than before I learned of this copyright thing.





By Josh Schiller, Published: August 27

Josh Schiller is an associate in the New York offices of Boies Schiller & Flexner who has represented plaintiffs and defendants in copyright infringement lawsuits.

Fifty years ago this week, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. But in coverage of events celebrating its anniversary, the entirety of King’s address will rarely be reprinted, if at all, nor will viewers see footage of his speech delivered in full.

A few months after King delivered the speech, he sent a copy of the address to the U.S. Copyright office and listed the remarks as a “work not reproduced for sale.” In legal terms, this is also known as an unpublished work. He subsequently sued to enjoin two publishers from distributing phonographic reproductions of the address. One of the defendants, 20th Century Fox, had filmed and broadcast all of the speeches at the March on Washington at the request of the march’s organizers. From that material, it had reproduced the phonographs that were the subject of the injunction. But a court ruled that, although King had addressed a large public audience in an unrestricted public forum, reproduction without authorization was an infringement of King’s copyright. Performance of the speech, like the performance of a song or play in a public space, did not create a general waiver of King’s right to limit reproduction under the 1909 Copyright Act.


Since 1963, King and, posthumously, his estate have strictly enforced control over use of that speech and King’s likeness. A few years ago, the estate received more than $700,000from the nonprofit foundation that created and built the monument to King on the Mall in order to use his words and image. The only legal way to reproduce King’s work — at least until it enters the public domain in 2038 — is to pay for a licensing fee, rates for which vary. (Individuals visiting the King Center can buy a recording of the “I have a dream” speech for $20. Licenses for media outlets run into the thousands.)

Although it has been the subject of at least two lawsuits — the King estate sued CBS and USA Today for their use of the speech, reaching undisclosed settlements — a court has never examined whether and under what circumstances the “I have a dream” speech may be used without authorization in what’s considered a “fair use” exception.

Courts look at four factors for fair use: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is for commercial or for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. There are no bright-line rules for fair use; each case must be examined on its facts. Courts have frequently recognized that fair use is central to the “progress of science and advancement of the useful arts” that is the principal tenet upon which copyright laws were created.

Recent jurisprudence has focused on the first and fourth factors, looking primarily at whether the secondary work that cites the material is “transformative.” The threshold is whether the copyrighted material is used as an element, or ingredient, of a new work created for a different purpose and a different audience and whether a new aesthetic or further expression can be perceived by a reasonable observer.

In an important case in 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit found that a biographer of the Grateful Dead had made fair use of copyrighted concert posters and tickets whose illustrations are the instantly recognizable sort that observers associate with the band and the 1960s and ’70s. The appropriated images “serve as historical artifacts graphically representing the fact of significant Grateful Dead concert events selected” by the author, the court said, and this use did not harm the first creator’s economic incentives.

Playing a recording of King’s speech as thousands march on the Mall, as happened this past weekend, is surely the sort of non-commercial, educational and historical use that Congress and the courts have frequently and rightly protected.

One can imagine many transformative uses of the “I have a dream” speech — from posting it in social media platforms for people to share and remark upon, to quoting the text in song lyrics or in a film, documentary or other artistic work to conjure the strivings for social equality that were the essence of King’s speech and to celebrate a sense of shared accomplishment that followed.

As an attorney, I believe in respect for the law and observing copyright restrictions. But when it comes to observing the anniversary of such a public moment, one hopes that fair use will allow current generations to appreciate what happened 50 years ago this week and why it was such a moment in American history.

The public benefit of access to historical artifacts such as King’s speech is undeniable. Any restriction on public access to the content of such a historical artifact should be enforced with caution. Why you won’t see or hear the ‘I have a dream’ speech - The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-you-wont-see-or-hear-the-i-have-a-dream-speech/2013/08/27/09d2a07a-0e66-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html?tid=pm_pop)

Doktor
28 Aug 13,, 23:21
Have seen an article titled "I have a copyrighted dream" few days ago, saying you can't find the whole speech anywhere. Meant to post it, but... :(

There were other articles and besides the copyrights and all had one common question: "How far USA reached in racial equality?"

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 23:33
Any citizen can access it free of charge, download and own a copy of it for fee in .pdf form . Its commercial use that is restricted.

http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

Doktor
29 Aug 13,, 00:06
I believe the copyright claim was about Audio/Video. You wont find it on YT and I believe it was removed from Vimeo as well.

MLK's family found a nice facade behind that claim - support civil rights orgs with collected money.

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 00:07
Have seen an article titled "I have a copyrighted dream" few days ago, saying you can't find the whole speech anywhere. Meant to post it, but... :(

There were other articles and besides the copyrights and all had one common question: "How far USA reached in racial equality?"


lol...

dok, we've come a long way from the days of my youth. I remember separate bathrooms and water fountains labeled colored and white. My mother's Jamaican maid bringing me back home from the beach wasn't allowed to sit with me in the white section of the bus station waiting room and when she wanted an ice cream cone, she had to go around back to order from a window labelled "colored". Those were the outward signs.

In Washington, where I grew up, colored people could not buy houses in certain parts of town (neither could Jews). Colored people had an entirely separate social world in Washington, with their own low class and high class. But where the real discrimination existed was in jobs, in the courts, in schools, in banking, in the military, in politics, even in sports... All that has changed enormously; today we see blacks who are wealthy, politically powerful, accomplished actors, sports heroes, and so forth.

But vestiges of racial bias remain, especially in attitudes toward blacks who receive social welfare and are involved with crime. And in rural America, mainly south of the Mason-Dixon line, a lot of whites still look down on blacks. We still have racial profiling and, sorry to say, sometimes for good reason. But police are far more restrained than in the good old days.

How far do we have to go? When BET, cable TV's Black Entertainment Network drops the word 'black", when the NAACP drops the word "colored", when there are no more "Black Entertainment Awards"--when the African-American community begins to see the irony in the fact that it too would be offended by a "White Entertainment Network" , a NAAW(hite)P, or a "White Entertainment Awards". For now we accept this seeming polarization because it does advance racial equality. Once we all realize that skin color doesn't much matter in the larger scheme of things, we'll have arrived at racial equality...and after that everyone is gonna have to get by on their own merits.

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 00:10
Any citizen can access it free of charge, download and own a copy of it for fee in .pdf form . Its commercial use that is restricted.

http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

Well of course; that's the gist of the article. Am I missing your point?

Doktor
29 Aug 13,, 00:19
But you guys got a Black President with a black dog into the erm... The White House ;)

On a more serious note, I believe(d) USA is less racially divided then most of the countries I have visited. The latest developments (Zimmerman) and media hype washed a bit of that belief away.

zraver
29 Aug 13,, 00:32
Well of course; that's the gist of the article. Am I missing your point?

Yup look at the post directly above mine.

Blademaster
29 Aug 13,, 00:38
I was there 50 years ago near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when MLK delivered his "I have a dream speech", though at the time I didn't expect it to become as iconic as it has.

It disappoints me now to learn that he and his heirs have milked it for profit all these years. I still admire King for his courage and his practice of non-violent political protest. He's still an American hero in my eyes, but perhaps a notch lower than before I learned of this copyright thing.

Ok then by your standards, George Washington and the rest of the Founders are now downgraded on the fact they owned slaves and did nothing to free the slaves or end the slavery. I can apply your standard to every hero of yours and you will come out the worst for it. :rolleyes:

King had nothing to do with the copyright thing and the copyright is an American thing. After all it is a byproduct of capitalism and during its young days, America promoted racism and slavery as part of promoting capitalism. You can't have your cake and eat it.

Blademaster
29 Aug 13,, 00:40
lol...

dok, we've come a long way from the days of my youth. I remember separate bathrooms and water fountains labeled colored and white. My mother's Jamaican maid bringing me back home from the beach wasn't allowed to sit with me in the white section of the bus station waiting room and when she wanted an ice cream cone, she had to go around back to order from a window labelled "colored". Those were the outward signs.

In Washington, where I grew up, colored people could not buy houses in certain parts of town (neither could Jews). Colored people had an entirely separate social world in Washington, with their own low class and high class. But where the real discrimination existed was in jobs, in the courts, in schools, in banking, in the military, in politics, even in sports... All that has changed enormously; today we see blacks who are wealthy, politically powerful, accomplished actors, sports heroes, and so forth.

But vestiges of racial bias remain, especially in attitudes toward blacks who receive social welfare and are involved with crime. And in rural America, mainly south of the Mason-Dixon line, a lot of whites still look down on blacks. We still have racial profiling and, sorry to say, sometimes for good reason. But police are far more restrained than in the good old days.

How far do we have to go? When BET, cable TV's Black Entertainment Network drops the word 'black", when the NAACP drops the word "colored", when there are no more "Black Entertainment Awards"--when the African-American community begins to see the irony in the fact that it too would be offended by a "White Entertainment Network" , a NAAW(hite)P, or a "White Entertainment Awards". For now we accept this seeming polarization because it does advance racial equality. Once we all realize that skin color doesn't much matter in the larger scheme of things, we'll have arrived at racial equality...and after that everyone is gonna have to get by on their own merits.


Slavery was practiced for more than four centuries. Jim crows laws lasted more than a century. The Blacks and other colored only started experiencing the freedom from legal barriers. However social and economic barriers remain to this day. Don't expect the attitudes of the blacks to disappear overnight the same way as you don't expect social and economic barriers to disappear overnight. After all, there are still survivors of Jim Crow laws and mob lynchings living today. Ask the question in 50 years and then it would be appropriate to ask.

Doktor
29 Aug 13,, 00:41
Yup look at the post directly above mine.

OK, I was not specific on A/V thing, but look a bit above - at the title ;)

Tronic
29 Aug 13,, 00:54
I believe the copyright claim was about Audio/Video. You wont find it on YT and I believe it was removed from Vimeo as well.

Dok, The full version is available on Youtube:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 01:50
Ok then by your standards, George Washington and the rest of the Founders are now downgraded on the fact they owned slaves and did nothing to free the slaves or end the slavery. I can apply your standard to every hero of yours and you will come out the worst for it. :rolleyes:

King had nothing to do with the copyright thing and the copyright is an American thing. After all it is a byproduct of capitalism and during its young days, America promoted racism and slavery as part of promoting capitalism. You can't have your cake and eat it.


Blade, I don't understand your animosity here.

You have no idea what my attitude is toward Washington, etal, and my attitude toward King is positive.

Your facts about copyright laws in the US are wrong. The English passed a copyright law in 1710. US copyright law was largely ineffectual until the late 1800s.

King did copyright his speech because no one else could have.

Doktor
29 Aug 13,, 02:37
Dok, The full version is available on Youtube:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

Tronic, thanks. I have read this article (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/copyright-battle-behind-i-have-dream/68527/) a week ago and misquoted from memory.


"We were shocked to find that it was very difficult to find a full copy of Dr. King's speech on YouTube," said Evan Greer, a campaign manager at Fight for the Future, an Internet free-speech advocacy group. In January, the group posted the full-length speech on Vimeo in an act of "civil disobedience" coinciding with Martin Luther King Day. The video was promptly removed for violating Vimeo's terms of service, Greer said, but a version on YouTube has managed to avoid detection and remains up on the site, having accumulated more than 80,000 views.

According to the number of views on your link, the video either gained popularity over last week, or the article was wrong.

bonehead
29 Aug 13,, 04:27
You may not want to be so quick in taking King down a notch JAD. It is hard to say what his motivation was at the time and he is no longer around to explain/defend that position.

Repatriated Canuck
29 Aug 13,, 04:34
Slavery was practiced for more than four centuries. Jim crows laws lasted more than a century. The Blacks and other colored only started experiencing the freedom from legal barriers. However social and economic barriers remain to this day. Don't expect the attitudes of the blacks to disappear overnight the same way as you don't expect social and economic barriers to disappear overnight. After all, there are still survivors of Jim Crow laws and mob lynchings living today. Ask the question in 50 years and then it would be appropriate to ask.


If people are not willing to move on in 50 years it will still be the same.

The attitude you project is similar to the Middle East. Being pissed off for a really long time about historical slights is really working for them over there.

Blademaster
29 Aug 13,, 05:03
If people are not willing to move on in 50 years it will still be the same.

The attitude you project is similar to the Middle East. Being pissed off for a really long time about historical slights is really working for them over there.

Then you have not been in the shoes of these people. You diminish/trivialize the impact of slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is very easy to criticize others when you have enjoyed the products and fruits so long denied to others. Yes the legal barriers are gone but the social and economic barriers are not gone and they take the longest to go away whether you like it or not.

Yes some blacks are lazy but I have seen other blacks who had to work harder and put more efforts to have similar opportunity. We are getting closer to the dream that King was talking about but we are not there yet.

Repatriated Canuck
29 Aug 13,, 05:53
My heritage is mixed. My ancestors where not slaves they where just murdered and had their children taken. Many Native people of North America are still held back due to their own lack of self responsibility. Even with guaranteed 70k job due to their skin colour some can't not drink long enough for an alcohol breath test. They don't tent to blame themselves. Yes they where royally screwed and in VERY recent memory. Until they as a people can start taking responsibilities for themselves they will never be free. My family has still not regained Native Status taken from us.

On my mothers side my family is from Scotland, wonder what made them move to Canada so long ago? Could it be some form of Jacobite oppression? Should I still hate the bastard English?

I've also watched my fiance assaulted through racial hatred and I myself have been abused by a black mother in front of her child. Jamaicans who moved to London sure brought a lot of hate with them. My ancestry is Maritime Canada, we freed slaves. I got beat up by a fair few East Indians as a teenager because of my colour growing up in Surrey BC. I know what racism and bigotry looks and feels like.


I'm so tired of this blame the white man crap. I didn't do it and I don't want to pay for what some asshole did in history who happens to have the same pigment. Those people where evil dickheads.

I'm also far from the abnormal white man. When I meet racist white people of which there are a fair few, normal people think they are just as stupid as you and I do.


Social and economic barriers certainly are still there. It's a good thing I worked my ass off to get a trade before I moved to the North. I'm the wrong colour for an apprenticeship you see; even if I had been born here I'm second to certain tribes in hiring preference. Even if I had my status card I would be the wrong kind of Indian.... What kind of racial harmony do you believe hiring practices based on race promote?

When was the last time you filled out a job application? Why do they ask what racial background you identify yourself as? I bet it must be so they can hire the white people first.


Your version of social and economic barriers don't go away anywhere. There are poor areas all over the world full of people blaming their version of the man as to why their life sucks.

Anyone alive today in North America who works hard and is willing to move to chase work will be successful. To say otherwise is a lie.


You have a black president in a country with only %12.6 black people according to wiki. Not the greatest source but it will do.

Demographics of the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States#Race_and_ethnici ty)



That's a whole lot of racist white people forgetting to vote I guess.

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 06:43
You may not want to be so quick in taking King down a notch JAD. It is hard to say what his motivation was at the time and he is no longer around to explain/defend that position.

My notches are small. :) I still have a high opinion of him.

bonehead
29 Aug 13,, 06:49
Then you have not been in the shoes of these people. You diminish/trivialize the impact of slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is very easy to criticize others when you have enjoyed the products and fruits so long denied to others. Yes the legal barriers are gone but the social and economic barriers are not gone and they take the longest to go away whether you like it or not.

Yes some blacks are lazy but I have seen other blacks who had to work harder and put more efforts to have similar opportunity. We are getting closer to the dream that King was talking about but we are not there yet.

I am not diminishing the impacts of slavery/jim crow laws as heinous is too light of a word, but seriously, how many do you personally know that were slaves? I do not advocate forgetting those atrocious crimes, but it is time to put down that crutch of an excuse because if you don't you are never going to be able to move on. In todays society what happened to your great great grandparents many years ago matters very little when compared to what YOU make of your life today. Many people have to work harder than others for the same opportunity but it is rarely a matter of skin color. More like who you hang out with and BTW racism still is a two way street. Pretty much everyone living today has experienced a form of it. Most of todays social barriers holding back blacks are put in place by the black community. Even though that pressing problem needs to be addressed it is largely been ignored. Exactly what economic barriers that are in place today are you referring to?

bonehead
29 Aug 13,, 06:54
My notches are small. :) I still have a high opinion of him.

I don't doubt that. It is a shame that his speech is not more widely and freely available as it is not only about blacks, or even Americans but relates to everyone on the planet.

Parihaka
29 Aug 13,, 08:24
Obama reminds Americans that Martin Luther King’s vision was just a dream


Today, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington (http://www.thecivilian.co.nz/obama-reminds-americans-that-martin-luther-kings-vision-was-just-a-dream/), D.C., U.S. President Barack Obama marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech by reminding Americans that the civil rights leader’s vision was “just a dream” and “not necessarily representative of an eventual reality.”

“Fifty years ago, on the night before he marched on these steps, Dr. King had a dream,” said Obama. “It was a good dream, and that’s why we remember it. But like with all dreams, we must understand that it is neither realistic nor necessarily achievable.”

Obama told the audience of tens of thousands that, while dreams can be fun and “sometimes sexy,” they are “also not real.”

“Dreams are a wonderful thing,” he said. “Dreams keep hope alive. But as I’m sure you’ve all experienced in your own lives, dreams don’t often come true.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a firefighter. Obviously that didn’t pan out.”

Obama said it was “probably best” that King’s vision never fully reach fruition, because if everyone was judged by the content of their character, “no one would be treated very well at all.”

Nonetheless, Obama acknowledged that Dr. King’s vision of racial harmony in America and throughout the world was “a nice idea,” but he didn’t have time to stick around and talk about it, as he had an important meeting about war.

Former President Bill Clinton also delivered a speech at today’s event, in which he recounted at length one of his own dreams while touching himself.

Double Edge
29 Aug 13,, 12:23
It is hard to say what his motivation was at the time and he is no longer around to explain/defend that position.
If you think music and artists having the rights to their work, then it makes sense.

He wanted to prevent others from commercially exploiting his work. It belonged to him and he wanted to keep it that way. And the system allowed him to do just that.

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 15:32
Obama reminds Americans that Martin Luther King’s vision was just a dream

Everyone knows this is made-up satire, right? Obama's actual speech was rather blah...

The full text with applause indicated can be found here:

Remarks by the President at the "Let Freedom Ring" Ceremony Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington | The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/28/remarks-president-let-freedom-ring-ceremony-commemorating-50th-anniversa)

Parihaka
29 Aug 13,, 21:39
Everyone knows this is made-up satire, right? Obama's actual speech was rather blah...

The full text with applause indicated can be found here:

Remarks by the President at the "Let Freedom Ring" Ceremony Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington | The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/28/remarks-president-let-freedom-ring-ceremony-commemorating-50th-anniversa)

oh spoilsport. This is pure gold

Obama said it was “probably best” that King’s vision never fully reach fruition, because if everyone was judged by the content of their character, “no one would be treated very well at all.”

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 23:26
oh spoilsport. This is pure gold

:biggrin: