Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Martin Luther King’s 'I Have a Dream' Speech Should Belong to Everyone, not SONY

MLK orating Aug. 28, 1963
People around the world have been marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.

What I find absurd is that the King speech — one of the most important civil rights speeches in history — is under copyright in the U.S. and will be so until the year 2038.

[LINK: MLK I Have a Dream speech]

Free at last, free at last? Nope. Pay a licensing fee to use it in its entirety. Want to listen to the whole 17 minutes, legally? Shell out $20 for the DVD. Pay out enough money, and you can use the speech in an advertisement like Alcatel did in 2001...

[LINK: Alcatel I Have a Dream ad]

The speech should be in the public domain. It belongs to all of us. Yes, I understand the desire to keep anyone from misappropriating the text. But I think a larger social good comes from people being able to access, share, and interpret the text in their own way. The content transcends.

P.S. SONY is the current copyright enforcer. SONY! [I believe the King family retains ownership of the copyright itself]

More reading
Why MLK’s 'Dream' Is So Hard to Find Online [National Journal]
‘I Have a Dream’ speech still private property [Washington Post]