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Communications United States Your Rights Online News

The Copyright Nightmare of 'I Have a Dream' 366

CoveredTrax writes "If you weren't alive to witness Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech on the Washington Mall 48 years ago this week, you might try to switch on the old YouTube and dial it up. But you won't find it there or anywhere else; rights to its usage remain with King and his family. Typically, a speech broadcast to a large audience on radio and television (and considered instrumental in historic political changes and ranked as the most important speech in 20th century American history) would seem to be a prime candidate for the public domain. But the copyright dilemma began in December 1963, when King sued Mister Maestro, Inc., and Twentieth Century Fox Records Company to stop the unauthorized sale of records of the 17-minute oration."
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The Copyright Nightmare of 'I Have a Dream'

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  • How is this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Monday August 29, 2011 @01:48PM (#37243988) Journal

    How is this different from Steam Boat Willy? Both are important to culture, but both are unavailable in the public domain. Intellectual property laws in this country have become obscene. It is time to put an end to century laws and go back to a sensible two generation intellectual property right ownership (38 years).

  • Re:How is this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @02:10PM (#37244326)

    Unfortunately both parties have fallen prey to the lobbying and money. Democrats are closer to Hollywood and thus more supportive of stronger copyright laws, and Republicans are hardly better.

    This is why the only way you might be able to get this on the political agenda (which is still a long way away from getting any legislation passed) is through strong corporate sponsorship for this proposal: Google might be interested, maybe Microsoft et al.

    One thing needs to be very clear though: the public, that was deprived of works getting into the public domain at the expected time when they bought the works, were never financially compensated for this loss; this means that rightsholders who see their copyright term shortened also will not need to be financially compensated.

  • Re:Not on YouTube (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @02:15PM (#37244390)

    None of those links appear to be to the entire speech, but rather shorts snippets with documentary info intermingled. The original statement seems to stand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @03:13PM (#37245170)

    That is because he changed the Speech while speaking. The "Official Text" is the written speech, the Orration is different. This is an "Intended Feature". Deal with it.

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