Welcome to www.comprofessor.com a.k.a. Lynch Coaching: Media and Communication Prof's News and Views from Art Lynch. This blog exists to stimulate critical thinking, provide information on communication and media, stimulate discussion and share ideas. For additional media and other news see also sagactoronline.com. Thank you and tell your friends. - Art Lynch
rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters from the steps of
the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington.
As thousands gather in Washington over the next week to the mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington,
you may be moved to look for video of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a
Dream Speech," which he delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial
during that march.
It might surprise you
that it is actually quite hard to find — because while many copies have
been uploaded to Internet video sites, many have also been taken down.
"Months after the August
1963 March on Washington, King himself sued to prevent the unauthorized
sale of his speech, purportedly in an effort to control proceeds and
use them to support the civil-rights movement. In 1999, the King family
sued CBS after the network produced a video documentary that 'used,
without authorization, portions of ... King's 'I Have a Dream' speech.' A
divided Appellate Court, in reversing a lower court ruling, held that
the speech was not a "general publication," despite its huge audience
and subsequent historic importance. The speech instead qualified as a
"limited publication," the court said, because "distribution to the news
media, as opposed to the general public, for the purpose of enabling
the reporting of a contemporary newsworthy event, is only a limited
"The ruling was narrow,
and CBS and the King estate settled the case before the lower court
could reconsider, leaving the copyright of the speech in a somewhat
confusing legal situation. A CBS press release dated July 12, 2000,
discusses the agreement that allowed the network to 'retain the right to
use its footage of the speeches' from the march and license it to
others in exchange for an undisclosed contribution to the Martin Luther
King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
"In 2009, EMI Publishing
cut a deal with the King estate to help ensure that the speech was
'accorded the same protection and same right for compensation as other
copyrights.' EMI was sold in 2011 to a consortium headed by Sony. The
King Center did not respond to requests for comment."
The bottom line is that
online presence of the speech is likely to be problematic until 2038,
when King's copyright expires. U.S. law states that an author keeps a
copyright for life plus 70 years.