Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' Video Taken Down On Internet Freedom Day

from the more-like-a-nightmare dept

We’ve been talking a lot today about Internet Freedom Day, and the anniversary of the SOPA/PIPA blackout. The folks at Fight for the Future noticed the proximity of Internet Freedom Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and decided an interesting form of celebrating internet freedom would be to share a video of MLK’s famous “I have a dream…” speech. As you may or may not know, Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs have been ridiculously aggressive in claiming copyright over every aspect of anything related to MLK — and they seek large sums of money from people for doing things like quoting him. When the MLK Memorial was recently built in Washington DC, the family was able to get nearly $800,000 just to use his words and likeness.

The FftF video was not just the MLK video, but contained some additional explanation of how expanding copyright laws could impact people for doing something as simple as sharing the MLK video — and then it included some of the speech. So I guess it should come as little surprise that the “I have a dream…” video that FftF was urging people to share has already been taken down (it’s unclear if the takedown was due to a notice or Vimeo being proactive).

It seems fairly ridiculous that on Internet Freedom Day, and just before MLK Day, we’re still dealing with takedowns on such powerful words.

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Comments on “Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' Video Taken Down On Internet Freedom Day”

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Mr. Smarta** (profile) says:

MLK? So what??

Upon reading this, I realized that I never actually heard the entire MLK speech in my life. All the years through school, I’d only heard the name and the “I have a dream” phrase. Just tried to look it up to listen to it for the first time and received the copyrighted notice. Apparently, the day isn’t important enough for people to hear the speech. Martin Luther King is apparently, and the day, not as important as copyrights.

And since we have our fill of copyrights in the world, I guess it’s safe to say that Martin Luther King Day just isn’t that important. So who cares? Not important to me, then I don’t have to give a damn.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Annoying

So, Monday, I am celebrating Whoopi Goldberg Day. I hope you will all join me.

I’m celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr day, but I prefer to dwell on the fact that if it wasn’t for him, Nichelle Nichols wouldn’t be the person she was. Look up the Star Talk podcast with Nichelle Nichols, and listen to her talk about her experience with MLK. Star Trek would have been an entirely different experience if she wasn’t there, just as it would have been if George Takei wasn’t there. I can’t do justice to her story…

anonymouse says:


I think MLK would have been disgusted and disowned his family for this, those thieving greedy no good……….ok i will stop there.

No i won’t, this is history, imagine if the history books could not be written because every person or entity in any history book sought financial gain from discussing their great great grandparents history, sickening and so so sad.

maclypse (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I was thinking the same thing, but then I realised: we are not thinking like the maffia: “If Martin Luther King speaking to the public is automatically public domain, how can we argue that music or anything else performed at a public event isn’t?”

Anyone that argues that King’s speech should be in the public domain, will have to face off against the every copyright group in the US who will desperately defend their ability to protect their own copyrighted material. We already know they will fight tooth and nail to avoid ANY exception to copyright, even at the expense of the deaf. I very much doubt they will act any different to this “exception”.

nice says:

As you may or may not know, Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs have been ridiculously aggressive in claiming copyright over every aspect of anything related to MLK — and they seek large sums of money from people for doing things like quoting him. When the MLK Memorial was recently built in Washington DC, the family was able to get nearly $800,000 just to use his words and likeness.

im sure there father would be proud of what there doing…

but hey im just a white devil what would i know?

Goyo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Este v?deo incluye contenido de Screen Media Ventures, LLC, CD Baby, Diwan Videos y de IODA, y uno o varios de estos usuarios lo han bloqueado en tu pa?s por motivos de derechos de copyright.”

Quick and dirty translation: “This video includes content from Screen Media Ventures, LLC, CD Baby, IODA and Diwan Videos, and one or more of these users have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”

So don’t worry, somebody is taking care of the copyright.

Ophelia Millais says:

Re: Re:

I can see the video, but it has been monetized by providing Buy links for a rap track by Flex. But then it says the artist is Moodswings, and gives the writing credits for “Spiritual High Part III”.

Both Flex and Moodswings merely sampled parts of the speech in their songs. They, their record companies, non-MLK co-writers, and publishers are not entitled to a dime from plays of this video. Yet they probably are getting paid, or have the option to be. I would like to see the King estate sue all of them.

weneedhelp - not signed in says:

Re: Re:

A holiday for some, but not really all of us..

“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”

“one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!”

See he was a visionary that wanted equality for all. He wanted all races and creeds to be united as brothers and sisters to live in harmony.

So no, you are incorrect, it is for everyone.

kenichi tanaka says:

It’s nice to see black people issuing DMCA takedowns of civil rights speeches made by black people. I don’t know what you call this when black people are censoring themselves.

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech should be in the public domain because it should be a speech that everyone should be able to watch and hear. Inistead, his family wants to censor their father’s own speech. WOW! Racism in Reverse.

Wouldn’t their father be proud of them.

The Dream is dead!

streetlight (profile) says:

Don't others have this speech?

I’m wondering if some other outlet doesn’t have this speech. I mean, CBS TV/Radio, NBC, ABC, NPR, PBS, BBC should have this and may own a copyright on their broadcast of it. One of them could put their video and/or audio in the public domain and thus not require royalty payments. Oh, wait … These guys want to make a profit, so maybe this is ridiculous.

Also the speech was given at the Lincoln Memorial in DC, so does the Federal Government have some first dibs.

One way to solve the problem, as implied in some of the posts here, is that there never again be any presentation of Dr. King’s writings, speeches, images, etc., anywhere. Of course, this would bury him from any future reference anywhere and prevent any royalties paid to the family. Sad.

streetlight (profile) says:

Re: Re: Don't others have this speech?

I don’t think that’s true. One can attach a copyright notice in the proper format which includes the circled C, date and the name of who owns the copyright. By sending a copy to the Copyright and Trademark office one has stronger evidence of holding the copyright. Whether your material ends up in the Library of Congress is another matter.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a dream

I have a dream that when I die, my heirs will become rich.
I have a dream that my heirs will be lazy sitting on their asses charging people to hear these words.
I have a dream that only those rich enough to pay my heirs will be inspired from my great words.

Only when my heirs are filthy rich will we be free at last.

That One Guy (profile) says:

The preservation of culture

Incidents like these just further solidify my belief that unless something drastic changes(like the complete collapse or re-writing of copyright law), the only way current and future culture will survive beyond the generation it appears in will be due to lawbreakers and pirates.

If the preservation of culture was left just to the creators and owners, so very much would be lost, as for far too many as soon as the item in question stops being profitable they cease to care about preserving it for the future, though they never stop trying to kill off any unauthorized versions.

Even today, there are a good number of books, games and videos that only still exist because someone broke the law and created a backup, or a copy of the original, though unfortunately far too much is still being lost as it’s locked up beyond the point of recovery, or far past the point where it has any relevance at all.

Abigail says:

This is already on youtube

I have found so many sites saying this was taken down/copyrighted. I am confused, it’s on youtube:

I’ve watched it several times over the last couple years including in school. This whole debate is confusing to me.

You can watch many of his other speeches at this youtube playlist:

Hope that works.

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