Should The 'I Have A Dream' Speech Be Public Domain?

Jan 20, 2014

Credit Trikosko, Marion S. via Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Junior’s ‘I Have a Dream' speech is not in the public domain. The King Estate holds strict copyrights on the famous 1963 speech, claiming it as private intellectual property. But many scholars point out that the laws allowing the King Estate to own the speech are the same laws King himself broke while giving the speech. The tradition of orating is one of sharing ideas, and many preachers of the time, including King, would reference each other’s sermons or any words, past or present,  they felt were relevant. On The Media producer Jamie York has the story of how King preached at the height of his prowess, and his family’s demands that his publicly sourced speech remain privately owned by them.