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Why You’ve Never Read “I Have A Dream” (adityamukerjee.net)
505 points by chimeracoder 1000 days ago | past | web | 226 comments



I have to disagree with part of the premise. While the speech is copyrighted, that might not be the reason most people haven't read or seen the entirety of the speech. If schools really wanted to teach it, it would be well within fair use laws for them to show the whole thing. There are probably a variety of other reasons why you don't see this speech taught in schools.

First one that comes to mind is its length. Unlike the Gettysburg Address, this isn't some short speech that could be easily recited from memory.

Secondly, there is a lot of religious imagery in the speech. I could certainly imagine people objecting to having the speech presented in a secular school.

Finally and probably most importantly, what do speeches really teach us? They aren't particularly valuable outside of context. How many of the speeches listed here (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html) are really taught in school?

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> If schools really wanted to teach it, it would be well within fair use laws for them to show the whole thing.

No, not a chance. Even a few paragraphs would likely get them smashed, especially if they're the most interesting of the speech.

> First one that comes to mind is its length.

Have people stopped studying books or something?

> Secondly, there is a lot of religious imagery in the speech. I could certainly imagine people objecting to having the speech presented in a secular school.

I wouldn't.

> Finally and probably most importantly, what do speeches really teach us? They aren't particularly valuable outside of context.

It's quite obvious that the speech would be put in context by and used within civil rights study.

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Even a few paragraphs would likely get them smashed, especially if they're the most interesting of the speech.

I second this point. Under the Fair Use doctrine, courts consider not just the amount of text used, but the so-called substantiality of the excerpt. In other words, even a small portion of the text may not be fair use if it's especially iconic and representative of the whole.

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I can tell you that in middle school at a public school in New Orleans, I had to read, summarize and write a paper reaction to the speech, as well as having watched the video.

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Schools have successfully used copyrighted books all the time in literature classes without problems. You can't run it off yourself on the mimeograph machine but just go buy 30 copies and leave them in the classroom.

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I was about to question whether or not you knew if this particular speech is actually available in its entirey anywhere that could be used as a source without potentially infringing copyright, but here it is available for download from the US National Archives:

http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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Wouldn't distributing that file be considered copyright infringement? Just because you can legally access it there doesn't mean you have the right to redistribute. Sure you could direct your students there, but you can't do the copying yourself if I am not mistaken. Seems like picking up 20-30 copies off amazon would be easier.

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The intended use in important. If a teacher distributes the speech in order to teach a lesson about it, it is very different than if a business man sell a book of the speech. Furthermore, the negative publicity from suing a teacher, using Martin Luther King Jr's speech to teach about civil rights should make any teacher completely safe from lawsuits.

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Possible publicity is a pretty weak protection compared to actual legality, and I can't imagine a regular teacher (I'm excluding highly idealistic teachers, but those are few and far strewn) would risk their job illegally distributing those texts/videos, if there is even a quanta of possibility that that happens.

Teachers aren't the idealized constructs they often use to teach.

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> Schools have successfully used copyrighted books all the time in literature classes without problems.

That is a completely different issue, classrooms have a specific exception (USC title 17 chapter 1 § 110 (1)) which allows "performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction".

The issue at hand here is that textbook publishers can't (or won't) include the speech or even major excerpts of it. And although a teacher can buy the speech DVD and play it, it's not a very good support to study the speech.

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Of course they can. That's not the issue. The issue is that textbook publishers cannot (or will not) include the speech in their books, because then they would have to pay royalties (and indirectly pass along those costs to the schools).

Furthermore, use of the video is much more heavily controlled by the King estate.

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Schoolbooks are full of stuff that is copyrighted. The photos explicitly are.

We still have Norton's Antologies, right? Many of those are 100% filled with copyrighted works they need to pay royalties on. And they do. And everything works out just fine.

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because then they would have to pay royalties

The issue is the price not the payment per-se.

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They have also been successfully sued a number of times for course packets, so they tend to be very careful.

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So buy it. The same way they would study Shel Silverstein poems.

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That's assuming you CAN buy the book/speech.

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You can buy it in written form, audio form, or DVD form and you can license it for placement in a book.

Here is even an illustrated form for children with a CD: http://amzn.com/0375858873

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> mimeograph machine

Showing your age? :)

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In 2003-ish, while I was getting my BS, the professor passed out some of those funny-smelling purple sheets. I hadn't seen them since probably second grade (mid-1980's). Apparently both the copiers were broken, but there was still an old mimeograph sitting in the corner, she tried it, and it still worked.

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Wow, I said mimeograph entirely as a joke, I didn't think anyone had used them this century.

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So funny. I can instantly recall that smell to this day.

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> I wouldn't.

Neither would I. We studied the book of Ruth in an ancient literature course in high school, along with Gilgamesh, et al. It was very interesting to read them in that context.

The effect of religion is inseparable from the course of history. It's possible to approach it from a non-theistic context.

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I did Study of Religion at a Catholic private school. We studied other religions (Buddhism, Islam, and I chose to spend a year studying The Salvation Army) in a non-theistic and academic context. It was mind expanding, and a major reason I am now an atheist.

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I read and listened to the speech in both high school and middle school in Virginia, for what it's worth.

Even now, its so surprising to me that such a pivotal part of my nation's history is such a great piece of oratory. The entire thing is just so incredibly mellifluous.

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    >> If schools really wanted to teach it, it would be well within fair use laws for them to show the whole thing.
    >
    > No, not a chance. Even a few paragraphs would likely get them smashed, especially if they're the most interesting of the speech.
    >
Actually we had to memorize a significant portion of the speech for my eighth grade AP English class, in addition to watching the speech, and talking about the context. This was part of a larger section on civil rights coordinated with our History lessons.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain that educational programs are allowed to do whatever they want wrt. copyright as long as they can show educational value and aren't directly profiting off of reproducing the copyrighted work.

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

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> I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain that educational programs are allowed to do whatever they want wrt. copyright

You're wrong. Educational programs have a specific exemption for performing or displaying lawfully acquired copyrighted works in a classroom setting: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/110 but that's the extent of it, they most definitely are not allowed to reproduce copyrighted work whether profiting of it or not.

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If that were true, there wouldn't be a market for textbooks.

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Not necessarily. The material teachers distribute to classes come out of their budget (ink and paper aren't free). And the time taken to compile an entire course from scratch would not be insignificant.

The copyrighted works we were shown and given access to in class were supplements to the textbooks we were using.

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Pretty sure we read this in my senior english class in high school. (Under the general topic of persuasion/argument/rhetoric.)

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Good points. I disagree with more parts of the premise than you do. It says: "Documentaries can only include small, five-second clips. Take a moment and ask the people sitting near you if they’ve ever heard the opening lines:"

I am one such. In fact, I heard it just the other day. It starts at 46:04 of http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/28/50_years_after_march_o... .

Democracy Now also has lengthy excerpts from MLK's "Beyond Vietnam" speech and his "I Have Been to the Mountain Top" (See http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/16/special_dr_martin_luth... ) and likely more speeches if you search the archives.

(It may be that since a news show isn't a documentary, it is one of the exceptions implied in 'most circumstances.')

I agree with you: the reason why 'ask the people sitting near you' works is likely more because - as you say - most people don't listen to speeches or watch documentaries with speeches in them.

I disagree with your religious imagery observation somewhat, because that speech doesn't include much in the way of religious imagery which needs to be explained. Looking through the copy at http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf , I see:

- references to the Gettysburg Address ("Five score years ago .. this hallowed spot")

- religious references ("captivity" can refer to the Babylonian captivity; "The whirlwinds of revolt" sounds like a reference to a verse from Hosea; "every valley shall be exalted ... all flesh shall see it together" is Isaiah 40:4-5.)

- Shakespeare ("This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent" is a reference to Richard III)

- perhaps Newton? ("meeting physical force with soul force" sound like "equal and opposite force")

- The Declaration of Independence ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal")

- the 1831 song "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (some 17 lines are a reference to the song)

This doesn't sound like any more use of religious imagery than other texts often taught in school. "To Kill a Mockingbird", for example, starts with a Methodist fleeing religious intolerance in England, and has an scene where the white children Scout and Jem go to Calpurnia's black church for a Sunday service.

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I really don't think references to religion are a problem. My AP English class read parts of the Bible itself - because it has significant literary and historic importance even if you don't view it as a religious text. This is in a secular public school in a very liberal state only recently. Nobody objected, because if you start going down that road, you will have to throw out pretty much everything written before 1800.

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Yeah Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God was in my textbook in American lit (~2001).

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Many schools do start down that road. Having the Bible in your classroom even for purely non religious reasons has gotten people in trouble before and many schools just don't want the hassle so they outright ban it.

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Do you have sources for that?

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It's always been odd to me that freedom of religion is so frequently interpreted as denial of its existence. At some point, the extent to which public society goes to avoid acknowledging it becomes kind of silly. And, of course, when taken too far, it actually infringes on true freedom for those who practice.

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Indeed, there's a world of difference between reading religious texts or listening to material that may make reference to religious matter, for the purpose of comprehension or understanding historical context etc, and it being used for proselytism.

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There was a PBS Documentary, "Eyes on the Prize" which we bought on DVD as part of our home school curriculum. Then it was taken off the market as a dispute arose between the King family estate[1] and PBS. The King family gave only enough copy right to show the program on PBS, once. And any other use was not sanctioned, we loaned our copy to the high school so that they could show it to their students.

It was such a remarkably egregious thing, I was amazed that more people weren't up in arms about it.

[1] http://www.current.org/2010/03/eyes-on-the-prize-triumphs-ov...

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I supported Downhill Battle's copywrite civil disobedience, and hosted viewings in my home at the time. I'm glad to see that an official version has been released, and that hopefully it will not be forgotten. Out of curiousity, was your copy the $40 "Home Version" (http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=3999340) or the $260 "Educator's Version" (http://teacher.shop.pbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=2445...) that includes licensing for classroom use?

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Ah, it's back on sale! Thanks for the link, I didn't know they had put it back up.

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It is the reason. The King family controls the rights to the speech and will sue people deemed to have violated those rights.

See: http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/19989079.MAN.pdf

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>Secondly, there is a lot of religious imagery in the speech. I could certainly imagine people objecting to having the speech presented in a secular school.

At my (public) high school (10ish years ago), we had "character education", and one of the "character words" we had (there was a new one each month) was "respect for the Creator", which is:

A) Actually four words.

B) Insanely, crazy religious.

I assure you that the religious angle is not why this is not presented in full in schools.

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I read the speech in English class when studying different types of writing assignments. We examined it for its structure rather than its content. Studying speeches may prove valuable when preparing oral presentations for instance.

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I also read it, in 10th grade English. I think we analyzed it's rhetorical effectiveness.

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A secular education doesn't mean it's devoid of religious literature. On the contrary, it probably means you get to explore religious texts from a variety of cultures and religions.

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That was the case in my school. We covered (nearly) every major religion, how it formed, how it spread, impact on the societies involved, etc. Did it upset parents? Undoubtedly. But it was a non-issue, unlike the ban on soft drinks (which was blown so far out of proportion it became comical).

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>>> I could certainly imagine people objecting to having the speech presented in a secular school.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I wonder how they deal with that religious imagery. Or they neglect to mention that unimportant document altogether?

I can understand when people object to school propagandizing religion or requiring some religious rites or observances from non-religious people. But completely removing a part of history because religion is mentioned there or certain figure was, in fact, a religious man? That's just insane, and anti-religious bigot would be as bad as a religious one.

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"First one that comes to mind is its length. Unlike the Gettysburg Address, this isn't some short speech that could be easily recited from memory."

You are probably not learning it for recital to prove how clever you are, you are presumably reading it for study and analysis.

"Secondly, there is a lot of religious imagery in the speech. I could certainly imagine people objecting to having the speech presented in a secular school."

On what grounds? On that basis you couldn't have US school textbooks with translations of the letters of Christopher Columbus in them -

"In conclusion, to speak only of what has been accomplished on this voyage, which was so hasty, their Highnesses can see that I will give them as much gold as they may need, if their Highnesses will render me very slight assistance; presently, I will give them spices and cotton, as much as their Highnesses shall command… and slaves, as many as they shall order, and who will be from the idolaters. I believe also that I have found rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall find a thousand other things of value, which the people whom I have left there will have discovered…

This is enough. And thus the eternal God, Our Lord, gives to all those who walk in His way triumph over things which appear to be impossible, and this was notably one. For, although men have talked or have written of these lands, all was conjectural, without ocular evidence. ... So that, since Our Redeemer has given the victory to our most illustrious King and Queen, and to their renowned kingdoms, in so great a matter, for this all Christendom ought to feel delight and make great feasts and give solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity, with many solemn prayers for the great exaltation which they shall have in the turning of so many peoples to our holy faith, and afterwards for the temporal benefits, because not only Spain but all Christendom will have hence refreshment and gain."

- The conclusion to his letter to King Ferdinand of Spain.

http://amhist.ist.unomaha.edu/module_files/Columbus%20to%20F...

"Finally and probably most importantly, what do speeches really teach us? They aren't particularly valuable outside of context."

What someone in the past said. Is part of learning about stuff, which is the context.

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"On that basis you couldn't have US school textbooks with translations of the letters of Christopher Columbus in them"

I don't know what your point is, most school textbooks don't include Colombus' letters either. And it's not that history textbooks can't include religious content but the more religious content there is the less likely you're going to see it in a secular textbook, grandparent is precisely right.

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How on earth do you think you can you avoid including religious content in history textbooks, irrespective of the secularity of the school? You'd have to cut nearly all of it.

Besides I would have thought that a secular school would be one where you would see the widest range of religious content when studying history, as it would be less likely to be biased in favour of any religion in particular.

edit - the following is from a US lesson plan on Christopher Columbus for history teachers in public schools;

"In this unit, students will work with primary source documents written by Christopher Columbus around the time of his voyage to the New World, and with secondary source documents written at a later date. They also have a chance to write their own secondary source material in this unit. Using both primary and secondary source documents within a single unit gives students an opportunity to see the difference between these two types of documents. You may wish to have students work alone or in small groups to read and interpret these documents. Groups could be based on areas of interest (especially for analyzing the scholarly documents), or could allow students with stronger reading skills to help others work through the source documents."

and

"The desire to bring Christianity to native peoples was essential to European exploration. It is a topic that cannot be ignored in discussions of Columbus"

http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/what-was-columbus-thin...

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It helps if people actually read, no one is saying all religious content is off limits or should be disallowed.

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At the very least it "chilled" the usage of that speech, because it's not very clear whether they will be targeted by the owners or not (they probably would be, which is reason enough not to use it, even if they are in the "right" to use it).

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I disagreed with its title, because I have read it.

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The speech is readily found by those who know how to Google. Perhaps more Americans would have read the speech if not for the crazy copyright laws, but I think most people haven't read it simply because most people aren't interested in reading historical speeches.

It's a little off-topic and a little cynical, but I think the larger issue here is that we've watered our teaching of history (and most things) down to soundbites and simple explanations. What we learned about Columbus, MLK, and all the founding fathers were stripped of everything controversial to create flawless heroes with views no PTA member would find offensive.

How many of the influential speeches in history have you read? I think Time's list is a good starting place. These were all inspiring, influential, and are all readily available for free:

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/...

If you have read even half of these, maybe then I'll buy the copyright argument.

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> The speech is readily found by those who know how to Google.

Unfortunately, textbook are still a/the standard source of information in most public schools. Yes, this raises separate questions about the way that we structure our education system, but that's not the issue at hand.

The speech is readily found by those willing to go out of their way to look for it, but it is not included in most textbooks, because those publishers would then have to pay royalties to the King estate (and indirectly pass those costs along to the schools).

The video is much harder to find (legally, not illegally!), because the King estate controls it much more tightly.

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Also, 15 years ago, most people had no idea who Google were, internet adoption was much lower, there was a vast majority of people who didn't even own a computer.

Your points are still very valid, but something as significant as this should never have been copyright-able from day one.

Only one thing, is impossible for god: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. ~ Mark Twain

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The video is the first hit for "i have a dream speech full version" on YouTube. I just saw it - great speech. For some background, watch yesterday's Rachel Maddow show.

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> Unfortunately, textbook are still a/the standard source of information in most public schools.

Eh, have you talked a teenager lately? I believe the standard source of information in public schools is a smartphone.

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> we've watered our teaching of history (and most things) down to soundbites

Exactly, or at least to neat narratives that are very much retrospectively constructed and do not really give a realistic picture of the messiness of how the events felt to those who were living through them. I think reading actual speeches, or documents written at the time gives a very complementary view to the neat narratives and insight into the value systems that people had at the time. Of course this is precisely the reason why reading them demands very much of the reader.

In general, I think, one should read more original works, and less later histories describing said works. It is more demanding, but also more satisfying.

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> What we learned about Columbus, MLK, and all the founding fathers were stripped of everything controversial to create flawless heroes with views no PTA member would find offensive.

Svante Myrick makes this point pretty succinctly in this video [0]. He points out that all most people know about our history of slavery is "slavery, Abraham Lincoln, freedom". Or "blacks couldn't vote, MLK, blacks could vote". It's a ridiculously shallow comprehension of history.

[0] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ-55mJlisk

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Another great book, which expands this thesis in more detail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_my_teacher_told_me

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> What we learned about Columbus, MLK, and all the founding fathers were stripped of everything controversial

"Inconsistent with the preferred simple narrative" is probably more accurate than "controversial" here.

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The Frederick Douglass speech is really good. But dipping into that list I mostly get the feeling "you had to be there".

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You can read it here http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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And watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

Incidentally, please do take the 17 minutes to watch this speech (and perhaps follow along with yread's transcript link). It really is one of the greatest speeches ever given.

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And keep in mind that MLK was 34 years old when he gave that speech. I'm trying hard not to think about what I was doing at that age...

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Also keep in mind that the last portion starting with "I have a dream..." and following was all improvised. The original draft didn't include those words.

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And listen to it (while reading the transcript) here http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1227012...

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So, not hidden behind a copyright wall?

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The distribution of the printed text is far less controlled than the video, which is much harder to find (legally) than the text.

In the case of the text, it is possible to find copies online (for, via the National Archives), but redistribution in other printed works (namely, textbooks) is problematic.

As for the video, the King estate controls that very, very tightly.

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Thank you for this. I had forgotten how powerful this speech is.

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The author here makes a good point until he asks his final question. In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King I don't believe copyright would have had any influence on the likelihood of delivering it. The purpose of the speech was selfless and so despite the copyright issue being disappointing it doesn't seem like he would have said "well, since future students won't be able to read the full text of my speech why deliver it?" Though he understood the significance of the march and probably knew his speech was important is there any evidence to suggest he knew how iconic it would become? And even if he did, was he going to forego addressing his audience, the people assembled at the Lincoln Memorial, to make a statement on copyright? It's doubtful. His speech was for the audience there. The fact that it could be reprinted and studied by future generations is just a bonus. The idea that King would be less likely to deliver his speech because of copyright is not realistic.

That said, this also isn't a convincing argument for the abolition of copyright either. I don't know if that was the point though. What this does show is how a copyright can serve the opposite of its intended purpose and hurt society. But for every case like the King speech there are plenty more that are examples of its benefit.

It's disappointing that we do not have free and open access to the I Have a Dream speech but its not a good argument against copyright. Copyright is still an issue that boils down to its use and has to be considered on a case by case basis. I don't think it ever has been all good or all bad and overlooking the vast sea of nuance there doesn't help proponents or opponents of it.

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> But for every case like the King speech there are plenty more that are examples of its benefit.

How does extending copyright to 70 years after his death benefit our culture or the dead author? Do you honestly think there is even a single song or piece of literature that was not written because the author was concerned about his grandchildren retaining copyright control over his idea?

I appreciate that you're trying to take a balanced view, but you're missing the point that the laws have extended copyright to such absurd levels that they now damaging the cultural progress they are supposed to promote.

If you don't think this is a real issue, I suggest you read these two other examples of copyright destroying our cultural heritage.

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/20130215archi...

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/03/documentaries-old...

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> grandchildren retaining copyright control over his idea

You are being conservative. Let's try to visualize a hypothetical example...

Age 25 children are born.

Age 40 write work of art.

Age 50 grand children are born.

Age 75 great grand children are born.

Age 80 dies.

100 years after being born. Great great grand children are born.

125 years after being born. Great great great grand children are born.

150 years after being born. Great great great great grand children are born. Copyright runs out.

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The author here makes a good point until he asks his final question. In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King I don't believe copyright would have had any influence on the likelihood of delivering it.

King enforced the copyright and sold records of his speeches. He knew exactly what he was doing.

I don't know where the writer on the article got the idea that MLK would have agreed with the writer's current legal opinions.

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"for every case like the King speech there are plenty more that are examples of its benefit."

Easy to say, but where is the proof? Bear in mind the history of copyright:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licensing_of_the_Press_Act_166...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_anne

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There are not benefits to copyright?

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Not plenty more benefits for every case in deficit.

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> But for every case like the King speech there are plenty more that are examples of its benefit.

Nope [1].

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/07/31...

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Surely the author doesn't intend this as an argument for the abolition of all copyright. It's clearly an argument that copyright terms should be something less than one hundred and twenty years.

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I agree. I think the question should be: Would Dr. King have kept it locked up by copyright? I don't think he would, but I have only my own faith to back that up.

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Actually, he did. Before his death, Dr. King actively maintained the copyright on the speech, hoping that any profits from its distribution would be spent to help fund his causes.

Perhaps the question should be: Would Dr. King have kept it locked up by copyright for more than 50 years?

Actually, my question is this "SHOULD this speech (and other works) be kept locked up by copyright for more than 50 years?"

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> Perhaps the question should be: Would Dr. King have kept it locked up by copyright for more than 50 years?

> Actually, my question is this "SHOULD this speech (and other works) be kept locked up by copyright for more than 50 years?"

Agreed, on both counts.

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Heard it during MLK Day on NPR, was absolutely floored.

Also, MLK's comments on the Vietnam War were remarkably prescient, and apply just fine to our terrible wars today.

If you still believe that the USG is not, in places and at times, terribly evil and corrupt, you probably don't know about the USG's efforts to kill MLK: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/31/mlk.fbi.conspiracy/

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It doesn't sound like they tried to kill him. They tried to prove an alignment with the communist party (and failed miserably). I can't believe the FBI honestly thought a note would drive him to suicide.

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The FBI was doing a whole lot more than trying to link him to the communists. It was standard operation to infiltrate all civil rights groups. I don;t know specifically what they did to King's org, but the Black Panthers were fucked by the FBI. Malcom X's body guard, for example, was an undercover FBI agent. Most of the civil rights groups had undercover FBI inside them, and in high ranking positions.

Yet another example of our government hating our freedoms.... Oh wait, I thought those were the terrorists....

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Can infiltrating the Black Panthers really be considered "anti-freedoms"? What freedoms, exactly? The freedom to be violent?

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The Panthers did a LOT more than be violent. They opened soup kitchens, and housed the homeless. They were a terrific organization for helping people int heir communities. The violence and such was, actually, a product of the FBI. Just as they do today, the FBI embedded rabbel rousers in Panther events, and used them to touch off violence and whip up the crowd. The FBI actually encouraged the behavior they were there to prevent. They do the EXACT same thing in Occupy protests, today. The fact that you believe the Panthers were nothing more than a violent group shows that the FBI won this battle.

Here, read up on the Panthers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party

From the Wikipedia: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,"[13] and he supervised an extensive program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members and drain the organization of resources and manpower. Through these tactics, Hoover hoped to diminish the Party's threat to the general power structure of the U.S., or even maintain its influence as a strong undercurrent.[14] Angela Davis, Ward Churchill, and others have alleged that federal, state and local law enforcement officials went to great lengths to discredit and destroy the organization, including assassination.[15][16][17] Black Panther Party membership reached a peak of 10,000 by early 1969, then suffered a series of contractions due to legal troubles, incarcerations, internal splits, expulsions and defections. Popular support for the Party declined further after reports appeared detailing the group's involvement in illegal activities such as drug dealing and extortion schemes directed against Oakland merchants.[18] By 1972 most Panther activity centered on the national headquarters and a school in Oakland, where the party continued to influence local politics. Party contractions continued throughout the 1970s; by 1980 the Black Panther Party comprised just 27 members.[19]

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Perhaps the freedom to self defence? The Black Panther party didn't magically appear out of a vacuum, to boldly proclaim equal rights and freedom from police brutality, where no oppression existed.

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MLK decided to use peaceful civil disobedience following the lead of Ghandi. Peaceful protest doesn't lead to a majority backlash, whereas aggressive, militant tactics do. MLK and his movement are remembered for boycotts and protest leading to the Civil Rights Act. The Black Panthers are remembered as being violent and divisive.

For all the good you do can be wiped out in one instant by a single bad.

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MLK would never have been listened to had there not been black men willing to fight for their freedom. The idea that freedom must be won peacefully, by the consent of one's oppressors, would have been alien to George Washington, to the French revolutionaries, to the slaves held in bondage in Southern plantations freed only through a bloody war.

It takes a very biased viewpoint to blame the Black Panthers for being violent when they only arose after decades of police brutality and lynchings and KKK terrorism. It's more likely that the threat of armed and organized black militia forced the white population to fold. King just gave whites an out--let's pretend we're going along with the nonviolent civil rights movement rather than admit we're terrified of all the black people who are giving up on the civil rights movement and buying rifles. So Malcolm X and the Black Panthers are marginalized and demonized to this day while King is venerated.

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It takes a very biased viewpoint to blame the Black Panthers for being violent when they only arose after decades of police brutality and lynchings and KKK terrorism.

Based in California. I'm not saying that there wasn't oppression in California but if you are going to fight the war wouldn't you got to the front lines? MLK sure did.

So Malcolm X and the Black Panthers are marginalized and demonized to this day while King is venerated.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal. How the history is remembered is decided by those who were the most successful in their pursuit. It's hard to deny that white folks - the ones who's support was needed to get the CRA passed - were not more interested in MLK's message than the Black Panthers and Malcom X.

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> I'm not saying that there wasn't oppression in California but if you are going to fight the war wouldn't you got to the front lines?

The Black Panthers drove around with guns shouting legal advice to blacks who were pulled over by the notoriously racist Oakland PD. Is that not "on the front lines" enough for you?[1] Can't people fight racism in their own communities without having to move to the South--which, incidentally, King never did, he was born there?

> There are many ways to accomplish the same goal. How the history is remembered is decided by those who were the most successful in their pursuit.

Not true. History is remembered by what the majority of people choose to believe, not by what actually happened. This is especially true when it comes to assigning credit or blame.

> It's hard to deny that white folks - the ones who's support was needed to get the CRA passed - were not more interested in MLK's message than the Black Panthers and Malcom X.

Of course white folks were more interested in the nonviolent civil rights movement than in black nationalism. But if they weren't scared as hell of the black nationalists, they wouldn't have given enough of a shit to care about anyone seeking to end the oppression of black people. Up until then, white folks were most of all interested in continuing to oppress black folks! That's what I mean when I say MLK gave white folks an out. He made it look respectable and noble for them to fold in the face of a black population that was increasingly refusing to accept being oppressed any longer, because he helped them uphold the illusion that nonviolent, democratic change was still possible. And this illusion is the history that we teach our children.

[1]"...groups of armed Panthers would drive around following police cars. When the police stopped a black person, the Panthers would stand off to the side and shout out legal advice."

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secr...

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The Black Panthers also admittedly murdered cops. All the kudos go out the window at that point.

The militarism makes an easy excuse for a crackdown. If you think scaring the shit out of people, threatening their very existence with violence, is a good way to affect change, I think you are very uninformed. Find me one example where that worked.

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The Republic of Ireland's independence from the UK and the end of apartheid in South Africa are the first two examples that come to mind.

Hell, just look at this country's own history: KKK terrorism was tremendously effective in preventing a civil rights movement from even existing for close to a century.

Cops murder black civilians to this day. If Nelson Mandela is a hero for bombing government buildings and killing government officials to resist apartheid in Africa, why are the Black Panthers villains for killing cops to resist apartheid in America?

Fear is a tremendous weapon if people can save face by pretending they never caved to it. Without the fear of more militant black nationalist groups, whites would have never given King the time of day.

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> Peaceful protest doesn't lead to a majority backlash, whereas aggressive, militant tactics do.

Uh what!? Nonviolent protestors and activists faced tremendous amounts of violence for their activity in the civil rights movement, including being murdered. Freedom riders being attacked and having their buses attacked and burned, bombing of churches, lynch mobs, being assaulted at sit ins, etc.

> MLK and his movement are remembered for boycotts and protest leading to the Civil Rights Act. The Black Panthers are remembered as being violent and divisive.

Black Panthers were a group that was systematically attacked and dismantled by state and federal police. Further, black panthers are remembered for a variety of things, like school breakfast/lunch programs, providing community safety when the police were aggressors, and tons of political discourse, among other things.

> For all the good you do can be wiped out in one instant by a single bad.

Making villains of the Black Panther Party in media and gov't circles is heavily tied to the system racism that spurred the creation of the BPP. Trying to blame all black people for the behavior of the BPP or claiming that the BPP somehow set black people back is a hugely racist claim.

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First, try to not be so inflammatory with your comments. At no point did I blame all black people for the behavior of the BPP or claiming that the BPP somehow set black people back. I merely stated that many of their tactics did not help the cause that they were for.

And, yes, nonviolent protesters can and do face a very large amount of violence. But being violent back tends to solve nothing and MLK knew that. He also knew that with enough favorable support he could affect change.

Further, black panthers are remembered for a variety of things, like school breakfast/lunch programs, providing community safety when the police were aggressors, and tons of political discourse, among other things.

I think you'd be able to find positives with a lot of fringe groups that take aggressive stances on issues. Sea Sheppard and Earth First are two environmental groups that have or continue to take this approach. But the fact remains that there is a lot of public backlash against these groups because of their tactics, even though you or I may agree on them.

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Elsewhere is this thread, you said:

> The exact type of rhetoric from a Black Panther that doesn't help his cause one iota. This is why MLK gets a national holiday and Carmichael is a footnote.

BPP and MLK are fundamentally about the advancement of black people from being considered 2nd class and subhuman. Of this cause you say BPP do not help their cause because of use of violence, this is a way of saying that the actions of BPP and the behavior of its members, who are predominantly black, are responsible for keeping their status in society from not improving. The realty is racism in the US has a long and violent history, that racism is what keeps black people and communities from improving their lives and status. Resistance to that violence is NOT responsible.

> And, yes, nonviolent protesters can and do face a very large amount of violence. But being violent back tends to solve nothing and MLK knew that. He also knew that with enough favorable support he could affect change.

That is true, but MLK was also keenly aware of the need for self defense and that not all forms of violence are unjustified[1][2][3]. Obviously this is a big split of ideology between MLK and BPP, but both MLK and BPP affected some kinds of change.

[1] http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documen... [2] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secr... [3] http://www.philosophy.uncc.edu/mleldrid/SAAP/CLT/DP02.htm

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I'd like to get confirmation of this by someone who knows more Indian history than I do but I've been told more than once that the popular narrative than independence was secured almost entirely by Gandhian non-violence is woefully oversold.

There are many statues to armed freedom fighters around India and Indian Railways famously have special counters provided as a privilege for "Senior Citizens, Disabled, MLAs and Freedom Fighters".

Subhash Chandra Bose who led the Indian National Army against the British and with Japanese support is still regarded as a hero by many. I'm sure someone with better knowledge than I can provide other examples of how the armed struggle was key and is still regarded as such within India.

Similarly there is evidence from Northern Ireland that it was the increasing violence - especially when it spread to the mainland - that led the British to negotiate with the Republicans.

I aspire to pacifism by the way. I'm just not sure if every historical example can bend to support it.

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I can't talk to the complexities of India's fight for freedom. I will say that I've worked with Indians who hold Bose in higher regard than Ghandi due to Ghandi pushing for the separation of Hindu and Muslim countries and the conflicts and deaths that caused, but that's second hand information to me. Interesting nonetheless.

India's resistance to British imperialism is similar to the US response to British imperialism. Sometimes armed resistance is necessary but when done within the official context of an army, with rules of engagement and hierarchy, it can be legitimized.

However, when fringe militant resistance that is the definition of terrorism is used, it tends to have the opposite affect.

The Black Panthers weren't doing themselves any favors within the establishment by being so militant. LBJ wouldn't have spent 5 minutes bowing to their demands but had no choice politically to negotiate with a preacher leading a peaceful, rights-driven resistance.

What you have to understand is that politically the Democrats had full control of the southern states up until the Civil Rights Act. After LBJ (a Texas, southern Democrat) got the CRA passed the entirety of the southern Democrats became Republicans - where those same states are to this day. It was done at a huge cost to LBJ and the Democrats, but it was the right choice.

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> The Black Panthers weren't doing themselves any favors within the establishment by being so militant. LBJ wouldn't have spent 5 minutes bowing to their demands but had no choice politically to negotiate with a preacher leading a peaceful, rights-driven resistance.

When you and your communities existence is under direct violent threat, you are under no obligation to be nice and to wait for the persons harming you to play nice. Even after the CRA, racism and violence, both individual and systemic, persists and is a problem of US society.

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"Dr. King’s policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That’s very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none."

-- Stokely Carmichael

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The exact type of rhetoric from a Black Panther that doesn't help his cause one iota. This is why MLK gets a national holiday and Carmichael is a footnote.

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Stokely Carmichael is 100% correct in this. Black people and communities have suffered violence from US society and the state for a long, long time. Carmichael may be a footnote to you, but he is one of the most influential activists in modern history.

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...your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.

Obviously he wasn't correct otherwise MLK would've been unsuccessful.

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MLK was murdered, remember?

At any rate, MLK didn't exist in a vacuum. It is quite possible that the movement, if it only consisted of people that aligned with MLK, wouldn't have been as successful?

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MLK was murdered, remember?

As was Ghandi.

MLK being assassinated doesn't doesn't change the fact that his focus on non-violence was more successful than the contrary position taken by the Black Panthers.

I tend to believe that things happen because they must. It was undeniable that the CRA was going to happen but without strong support from all over the nation due to the tempered approach espoused by MLK, who knows when it would've been realized.

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This is incredibly revisionist. There was no strong support for CRA in US at the time. Entire south switched its party affiliation after the vote, and many northern congressmen only voted after incredible arm-twisting by LBJ and executive branch. The senate faced 83 days of filibuster from opposing senators, and few of them stood and talked for 10+ hours to stop its passage. Only by forgetting the entire history of how the act came to be can one claim that their was strong support in entire country.

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Agreed, I thought the same way. To quote the Beatles:

We all want to change the world / But when you talk about destruction /Don't you know that you can count me out

But when you want money / For people with minds that hate / All I can tell is brother you have to wait

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Easy for John Lennon to say as a misogynist white man who had all the money and privilege in the world.

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I don't know about misogynist but he was white and was rich from his music. Lennon was a peace-loving hippie. The lyrics from 'Revolution' aren't necessarily talking about the Black Panthers, I always felt they were talking to the times and society in general, including government.

Jay-Z is rich now too - can he not have opinions on politics/race/religion or do you also dismiss him as a misogynist black man who had all the money and privilege in the world?

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John Lennon can't opt out the violence society perpetuates that seeks to uphold whiteness just by writing a song about how he's not into violence. He also can't opt out of the aspects of capitalism that perpetuate racism. That is what I mean about how it is easy for him to write or lyrics like that, he will not feel the full brunt of society's affects because 1) he is a man, 2) because he is white, and 3) because he had tremendous wealth.

> Jay-Z is rich now too - can he not have opinions on politics/race/religion or do you also dismiss him as a misogynist black man who had all the money and privilege in the world?

I don't know why you bring up Jay-Z, I never said that any musician can't have an opinion. But it is easy to be about non-violence when you are not yourself the primary target of systemic, state sponsored violence.

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> hat is what I mean about how it is easy for him to write or lyrics like that, he will not feel the full brunt of society's affects

Who exactly feels the full brunt of society's effects? This is starting to feel like a no true scotsman argument. I'm betting you can disqualify almost anyone from feeling the full effects.

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Wow, if you can't see past a person's privilege, color, or economic status in order to appreciate their ideas or words, you are quite a merry little bigot.

Get off your high horse.

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Unsurprisingly, King saw the strongly worded letter as an invitation for him to take his own life, as did an official investigation in 1976 which concluded that the letter "clearly implied that suicide would be a suitable course of action for Dr. King."

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/01/king-like-all-frauds-yo...

http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report...

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And, the U.S. government had to _pay_ the king family $800,000 for the rights to use his copyrighted words on the very statue built to memorialize him.

(http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/08/maya-angelou-u...)

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Can someone please explain this? Do his children depend on the royalties for income?

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No. Profits made from royalties go primarily into funding The King Center. http://www.thekingcenter.org/

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And who works for the King Center? MLK's kids.

So yes, royalties go to the King Center, which at least in part, go to his children, including MLK III.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_III

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And this is bad...how? They are working to further MLK's goals.

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I haven't seen anything that they've done of recent merit in the news lately.

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The counter argument, though, is "How many people have read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address"?

Many know "Four score and seven years ago", but how many know "we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground"?

I think this says more about our "sound-bite" culture than how protective the family is of the audio.

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>The counter argument, though, is "How many >people have read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address"?

Your counter-argument was about as valid as saying "How many people have needed freedom?"

In any case, your counter-argument seems unrelated to the OP's post... Whether or not people would read or listen to the entire speech, the OP was arguing that copyright laws are impeding the creation of new content, the consumption of existing, important content and society's understanding of itself.

>I think this says more about our "sound-bite" culture than >how protective the family is of the audio.

Ironically, your comment represents the 'sound-bite' culture quite effectively.

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Why are you making this about me?

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I'm pretty sure we read the whole thing in school. It was not long.

Of course, probably only about 10% of us really understood what he meant by that phrase you quoted, but hey, at least the school system tried.

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My 9th grade English class had to memorize it.

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"I Have A Dream" shows the heights of humanity, and its copyright status shows the pettiness of humanity.

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http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=i+have+a+dream&p...

thank god for those who don't respect overzealous copyright holders.

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While I am glad that some people on Youtube have posted this video anyway, IMHO, the end solution to broken uses of copyright isn't to say, "let's just ignore it", even if that does have a desirable effect in the meantime.

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Indeed, YouTube was my first answer to this.

We need more Huey P. Newton and Malcolm X for the issues of today (regulatory capture and the shredded constitution, political campaign finance, income/opportunity inequality being the main meta-issues), I think, rather than more MLK.

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MLK is just as useful for today's issues. This seems the same to me:

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksile...

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You're saying we need more people who physically harm others?

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Without the threat of someone more extreme, I don't believe someone like MLK can be terribly effective. I also don't think someone like MLK can work in a repressive regime which isn't generally subject to public will, or when trying to enforce human rights which are constitutionally protected, strongly wanted by a small affected population, but meaningless to the greater population.

I can't see 50-80 year old non-technical voters caring about key escrow or mandatory data retention, even though it's an infringement of 1A/2A/4A/5A/6A/14A/+.

(It's not violence per se, it's extremism. RMS is a copyright extremist, and that makes things easier for people like Lessig I think. Gilmore is a fly-without-papers extremist, etc.)

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Crypto as a 2nd Ammendment issue

That's why I like you rdl; munitions are munitions.

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"Bombes not bombs!" (or Bombs not Bombes, I guess). RKB Bombes? Ban the Bombe?

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombe)

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There was for several decades--decades in which we saw perhaps the most progressive action on civil liberties--a very real and immediate threat of domestic terrorism from factions who felt oppressed.

At the end of the day, having ceded the monopoly of violence to the government, it becomes very difficult to merely ask nicely to have your freedoms restored. More Malcom X's would probably have helped the Occupy movement, least of all because the "We are oppressed, we're starting to fight back" is a narrative familiar enough to the American psyche.

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I think the threat went beyond domestic terrorism; it was bordering on armed revolt and revolution.

We don't need that now (and it would be hopeless vs. modern police/military unless you had an issue, like 2A, supported by most of the individuals in police/military, combined with a constitutional justification like an unambiguously unconstitutional move by one branch of government vs. the others, like a hypothetical future President closing the Supreme Court), but a similarly forceful threat, like removing $100b/yr of business from the US or a mass expatriation, could probably work.

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King himself sued people over the copyright. We need to be careful not to revise history and turn people who did great things into saints.

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> We need to be careful not to revise history and turn people who did great things into saints.

That's true. I should have cut the last paragraph before posting, but now that it's out there and people have read it, I think it's best to let it stand.

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This completely ignores that companies will sell, and edit, popular public domain works for a profit, if they can.

It was initially a defensive copyright by the King, Jr. estate. Fox Records started selling records of the speech in 1968 [1]. And, CBS was rebroadcasting the speech for commercial purposes [2]. Only later did his family more strictly control the work and likeness of King, Jr. Otherwise, we might have seen the Dr. King, Jr. version of the Obama-hitler posters of 2008, or his face on a box of children's cereal.

[1] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/mlk_spee...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_of_Martin_Luther_King,_J....

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Given the technology of the era, how else where people supposed to gain access to it? And so what if they made a profit doing it, so long as other companies or individuals had the right to distribute it also. In the end more copies would have been distributed and listened to.

And as for the "MLK-Hitler poster" argument, that would be fair use and wouldn't be stopped by copyright.

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> And as for the "MLK-Hitler poster" argument, that would be fair use

Selling MLK-Hitler posters would not count as fair use. That was the point I was making.

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IANAL, but as appalling as I think they would be, MLK-Hitler posters are practically the textbook case of fair use:

1) Transformative factor: To say that an MLK-Hitler poster "adds new expression or meaning" to the original is to make the understatement of the year. I may not like the new aesthetics, but they are certainly there. Furthermore, the posters are powerful imagery (value is added) to those who hate MLK.

2) Amount: The posters only excerpt a single frame of a much longer video.

3) Nature of original: The video is not abstract art... it documents a historically- and culturally-significant event. This gives poster-makers broad latitude to do as they please.

4) Effect on market for original: Any argument that an MLK-Hitler poster is a substitute for video of the original speech is a non-starter and doesn't pass the giggle test. You would have to argue second-order effects, (that the posters ruin MLK's image, and therefore reduce demand for all things MLK) and courts haven't really gone for that (if they did, you couldn't publish an unfavorable movie review that showed a still from the movie). If anything, it probably inspires people to try to find the original and pay the (outrageous) licensing fees.

So an MLK-Hitler poster passes the fair-use test on every single count.

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Are you serious? I'm fairly sure you're protected by the first amendment for selling MLK-Hitler posters. In fact, you can Google for those items now. Here's one:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/artofmewa/works/8484381-the-...

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Their existence only proves they haven't been sued yet. But, you have a good point. Perhaps I am mixing Trademark, and Right of Publicity, with Copyright. All of them apply in this case, and have been used in the past to prevent the unauthorized use of MLK's image and works.

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As a public figure, MLK ('s estate) has greatly reduced right of publicity, so I'm not sure how you think that would come into this. You are allowed to criticize celebrities. Even in California, MLK's personality rights wouldn't survive his death anyway.

As for Trademark... what is the trademark here, and how would anyone be confused by an MLK-Hitler poster? I don't think anyone is going to buy an MLK-Hitler poster thinking that they are getting MLK-brand doughnuts (or even MLK-Hitler brand doughnuts).

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Here's a good summary of the copyright issue: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/08/...

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Interestingly it mentions that King himself was involved in suing people for selling videos of his speech, showing that the final lines of the blog article are wrong - he actually did enjoy the protections that copyright law offered him.

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Did he also sue people who weren't profiting from his speech?

I think those are very different things.

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Actually, I have read "I Have a Dream". In school. In multiple classes, at multiple schools, in different parts of the U.S. We also watched the video of the speech in class.

Copyright law isn't preventing the material from being taught. Teachers don't actually care about such restrictions. They ignore them and teach it anyway.

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Same here. I read it in school during Black History Month just about every year as a kid. I don't think teachers worry about getting sued by the King estate for photocopying the speech, any more than they worry about kids singing Happy Birthday in class.

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> Teachers don't actually care about such restrictions.

No, but textbook publishers do. The current state of affairs means that very few textbooks include the speech, because textbooks are sold commercially.

Agreed, teachers are notorious for ignoring copyright (I've seen them photograph entire books for us in teaching), but that's a separate matter. IMHO, the solution to broken uses of copyright isn't to say, "let's just ignore it", even if that does have a desirable effect.

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I know that McDougal includes it in their teachings. Here's the lesson plan that I learned off of and that is still taught now: http://www.classzone.com/books/language_of_lit_gr07/page_bui...

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> ... the two other people who wrote it (and likely wrote most of it).

For what it's worth, when MLK noticed he was failing to engage the audience, he went off-script and improvised a large portion of the speech.

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All the more reason for people to watch the video (which is much more heavily controlled by the King estate) than to rely on the printed text!

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Most text copies you find are transcripts of what he actually said, not the script he was reading. It's easy to tell the difference, because the phrase "I have a dream" isn't in the script he was reading!

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the part that disgusts me is that the estate was paid seven hundred thousand dollars to use the words on the monument erected in his honor. I posted this the other day from an article in the Washington Times, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6290716 which leads to http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-you-wont-see-or-h...

I know copyright and such laws have their place, but when it comes down to it, this estate is just greedy above all else.

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Not to excuse that, but if you give the average person a lever they can pull to cause $700k to get airdropped into their hands, I think the vast majority would. From a policy perspective, maybe we should rethink that lever.

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From someone (not me) who's dealt with publishing excerpts in a book, at least one major publisher's lawyers have decided that the text of the speech was indeed a "public performance" - given in a public place, and broadcast on public radio - and therefore not under copyright. The King family are apparently notoriously insistent on high royalties for any use of the estate's copyrighted works, but they seem to only have a firm lock on the video recordings.

(Of course, this may be something that has yet to be tested in court, so Don't Try This At Home unless you have the money for a large lawsuit.)

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I read the entirety in college. It was in a textbook I used to own. That in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, which is also very much worth reading (found here: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.h... )

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I remember reading that about a year ago though Letters of Note (which is often excellent), and being absolutely blown away by how eloquent King was. It was an amazing letter.

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National Archives... Seemed pretty freely available to me

http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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I remember hearing the story of how the text was written and at the last minute, as copies were being made, the lawyer for King added the Circle C and copyright info. Apparently the King family has benefitted financially by that last minute addition.

Frankly, I can't imagine a better way to reward Dr. King, and his family, for such an amazing event and turning point in our history.

It's not like the money is going to AT&T or Microsoft.

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Unless copyright law has changed since then, the circle c doesn't matter. The way copyright works in the US, the rights to any creative work are automatically reserved for the author.

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Yes, this aspect of copyright law has changed since the Sixties. The circled-C symbol (or the equivalent words) were required before 1989:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_copyright_law#Cop...

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I'm not an expert in copyright law by any means. I only recall the story I heard when the man who put the copyright information on the paper released a book a couple of years ago. I'm forgetting his name at the moment.

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This did in fact change since King's time. IIRC, what you say is true only after the adoption of the Berne convention in 1988.

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That changed around 1989 with the Berne convention to be the way you describe.

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On the Media did a great story on this [1]. If you've got 13 minutes to spare, they discuss the copyright issue and the actual construction and delivery of the speech itself.

[1] http://www.onthemedia.org/2012/jan/13/dr-martin-luther-king-...

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I love how you equate "access" with "reading". Especially given the highly rhetoric tone of the speech, reading it to me would just be doing the whole thing a disservice. A good chunk of what makes that speech successful is his awesome use of rhetoric and repitition to get his point across. It's a really dumbass comparison but IMO Chris Rock does the same thing, he'll repeat a concept over and over to the audience in between doing jokes about the concept. I think these are two sides to the same coin, rhetoric goes a LONG way when convincing others that your words are truth in public.

We studied this speech in my high school, as well as speeches by FDR and John F. Kennedy (sidenote: why are all great public speakers referred to by the initials that make up their name? MLK, FDR, JFK, etc.). We studied the speech to learn more about rhetoric and how an orator can twist common words into powerful devices for convincing you to believe in their ideas.

Oh and by the way? we read it too. This was to emphasize how much more powerful the speech is when SPOKEN rather than read. It's really not that fun to read, the sentences are so repetitive, short and simple that it's hard to believe an educated man wrote them, but that is of course the purpose of such speeches...you speak them in such a way that the simple becomes complex and weak words become powerful.

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We actually read the full speech in school and watched the youtube video. We got it as a copy from a textbook called "Speeches that changed the world" by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

You can get the ebook from the google play store. From the free sample it seems like they got permission to reproduce copyrigth material from The Estate of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=jPArcMn728kC

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I've seen and read the entire speech dozens of times: In school, I distinctly remember being given the entire speech transcription and talking about it as a class on more than one occasion. In elementary school, we would have an actor come on our "morning announcements" and re-enact the speech each year. One teacher showed it to us on YouTube in it's entirety.

Is my experience really that unusual?

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Yes. This is unusual. I went to 4 elementary schools. My wife is a elementary school teacher and has taught at around 5 of them and none did this.

I am curious how old you are if you saw a Youtube video in your class in elementary school.

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I was jumping around chronologically, the video was shown by a teacher I had in high school. That wasn't clear, sorry.

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I don't think so. I distinctly remember discussing it multiple times throughout grade school and watching it at least once.

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There was a move earlier in the year on "Internet Freedom Day' for everyone to share the video of the speech, anywhere they could, in defiance of the copyright. Not sure what traction there was. http://boingboing.net/2013/01/18/its-internet-freedom-day-ti...

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150 used, starting at $0.65 - I don't really think this material is that difficult to acquire.

http://www.amazon.com/Have-Dream-Writings-Speeches-Anniversa...

""I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World," by Martin Luther King, Jr., is a fine collection of texts by this important figure. The book has been edited by James M. Washington. Coming in at less than 300 pages, this is a concise but meaty book. Washington includes King's most important texts: the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; the "I Have a Dream" speech; his Nobel Prize acceptance speech; "My Trip to the Land of Gandhi"; "A Time to Break Silence," his 1967 speech criticizing the United States war in Vietnam, and more. These writings and speeches cover King's great themes: nonviolent resistance, the African-American civil rights movement, etc."

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My retort:

http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/i-have-a-dream-speech...

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I remember watching it on some encyclopedia product that came loaded on my HP back sometime around '95. They also had presidential speeches and the Hindenburg crash among other events. I thought I was the coolest kid ever to have access to such historical information at my home; that so much data could be stored on a simple CD.

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This is a much, much better article on the same subject: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-you-wont-see-or-h...

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It's interesting the version from the US National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf) has (top of page 5) different wording to the speech (IIRC)

  My own little children ... shall be judged not by the color of their skin 
Vs

  My four small children ... shall not be judged by ...

"Shall be judged not" is the speech and just the memory with its crackling soundtrack gets me. It's odd how even with a prepared speech he still belted out a better version on the day.

Edit: oh yes - anyone wanting to improve their accent before the next YC interviews could do a lot lot worse than have MLK playing through their headphones each day. Learn from the very best.

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I'm feeling a little evil now...

I have a dream. I dreamed with some bad guys writting with a felt-tip the complete speech in several walls in your cities, in a corner next of your schools. Ten point size is okay much more should be excessive.

Then the good people; lawyers and copyright holders came to delete the illegal speechs from the walls, restoring the law and the order.

This could be and extremely interesting social experiment, maybe even a piece of performance art.

If there is a "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", a "Mother's Day, a "World Sparrow day" and a day to play with rubber bats, candies and pumpkins; why not a "Everybody writes a famous speech day that changes our country for good it the corner of his/her street, in a paper airplane or in a ballon"?

Could make a really beautiful local holiday...

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Yet Fox News published it not two days ago:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/27/transcript-martin-luthe...

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Chances are they had to pay for it, since that probably did not fall under "fair use" (they are a commercial entity, using the speech as part of their commercial purposes).

Unfortunately, the same can be said about textbook publishers, and most of them don't pay for it.

Worse, the video is much more heavily controlled by the King estate than the printed text.

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This was done intentionally by MLK with the proceeds used for good works last time I looked into it. So, amusingly, articles like this are kind of written out of ignorance as to the speech itself.

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> This was done intentionally by MLK with the proceeds used for good works last time I looked into it.

Irrespective of this, it reduces the number of textbooks that can publish the text of the speech to (almost) zero, since most publishers can't afford it.

This is a value judgement and therefore subjective, but I don't believe it's worth it.

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Second result on google: http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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I don't know about you all, but public school did an abysmal job of teaching me any US history post-WWII. It's like nothing has happened in this country since the women's suffrage movement, with WWII a hasty footnote. Honestly, I think the politics were too hot to handle through the 1980s, when cultural divides arout Vietnam were very fresh, and those from King's time still not too distant. What is being taught in high school nowadays?

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I actually think this has more to do with the textbook authors not thinking of those time periods as "history" but as "current events" somehow and hence not feeling like a "history" book needs to include them. If you were in school about 15-20 years ago, and the textbooks were about 15 years old (pretty common), and the authors were in their 40s or 50s when writing them, then events of 60-65 years ago, so the late 40s and early 50s, would have corresponded to their teenage years...

Once you get into the 70s or 80s, it's not just the textbook authors who think that way but also most of the teachers.

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Let's not beat about the bush: the King Estate is a bunch of dumbasses and if they want Dr Martin Luther King to be forgotten, they are doing a great job.

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I watched this speech near every MLK day in the US while I was growing up, I remember sitting there not understanding it as I was in grammar school.

We watched it on a large TV set that they rolled in on a cart. Granted I was in a 99% white school at the time, but the school was not for the rich - however they bought the necessary footage (I assume now, no idea).

I distinctly remember Dr. King's voice, I will not forget it.

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In 9th grade I memorized and delivered the I Have a Dream speech for my English Honors program. I memorized it by reading it over and over again and I also found an audio recording that I burned onto a CD and listened to 10 times every night. It took me 16 minutes to deliver the whole speech (in costume). I have no idea where I found the audio recording now, although NPR sounds right.

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I did the exact same thing. The teacher offered it as a way to move up a whole letter grade.

Our textbook had the whole thing printed, but I also found it online at the time. Also downloaded the audio, though I'm not sure where from, since YouTube wasn't around then.

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Apparently the Churchill estate is also very aggressive about royalties for speeches and written works by Winston Churchill: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130118/16193821734/church...

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In high school I memorized the entire speech word for word to move my grade from a B to an A. I've read it many, many, many times.

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Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

Text: http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

WUT!

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'I Have a Dream' - Martin Luther King Jr. (audio only): http://fora.tv/1963/08/28/I_Have_a_Dream_Martin_Luther_King_...

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We've read the speech in school in Germany. Not from a textbook, but simply a copied text, from the internet I presume. Was that illegal? I think every class did. A relative who was a few years behind me also read it, with a different teacher.

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Not sure of international copyright status, but probably it was legal.

The main casualty of the copyright status is that textbooks cannot reproduce it freely.

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Prediction: major copyright holder will buy the rights and then license them liberally to get rid of this embarrassing poster child for copyright reform.

Actually scratch that, it's not a prediction. It would be smart, but it probably won't happen.

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His speech is featured at least once a year (and it was on a few nights ago) on NPR on KUOW.

His Massey Lectures are also publicly available: http://www.prx.org/series/31037

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Image not available pending copyright permission

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/h?ammem/mcc:@field(DOCID...)

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Those in the UK can listen to the speech, in full, for free on iPlayer. It's not Kings original recording but it's respoken by notable civil rights personalities. Just look for I Have A Dream on iPlayer, BBC Radio 4

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http://www.ibtimes.com/i-have-dream-speech-full-transcript-v...

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The full text of the speech is in the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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I both read and heard the speech entirely in high school back in the 80s. We spent something like 2-3 days on it and MLK's life during that period.

Is the author (and submitter, who's the same person) working off a false premise?

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> Is the author (and submitter, who's the same person) working off a false premise?

A large portion of this was affected by a lawsuit from 1999, so keep that in mind[0][1]

Also, students today are not prevented from reading the speech; however, the teacher must find a copy online and print it out and distribute it to the students - the point is that most textbooks will not be able to publish/include it.

As for the video recording, yes that's been much more heavily restricted.

[0]http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/194_F3d_1211.htm [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_of_Martin_Luther_King,_J....

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Throughout my college years, I had a poster with his entire speech on one of my walls. Unfortunately, tape is not good to posters so I don't have it anymore. I also had John Lennon's Imagine as poster.

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Maybe I'm the exception, but I never experienced anything but easy access to the speech. A few months ago I googled it and got the full text and great YouTube video taping of it. No issues.

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But... It's here? http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

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It's on YouTube, although I don't know if it's complete:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

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Can we officially retire this discussion, apres anniversary?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3474526

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It is on spotify: http://open.spotify.com/track/2jtvgfG4XLPmr0BR6p1mk5

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I own a German biography of Martin Luther King by Frederik Hetmann (1979), which includes a German translation of the speech.

I'm sure the translation is copyrighted under German law.

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>ask the people sitting near you if they’ve ever heard the >opening lines:

>"I am happy to join with you today..."

If you are a Michael Jackson fan this was included on the song History.

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Isn't the real problem the whole concept of for-profit textbooks? Without that, we, and our children could read and study these magnificent words.

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Ah yes, I love it when "Hacker News readers" becomes a thing. Just like, "Redditors have pointed out via YouTube comments..."

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It was in my 8th grade textbook. I remember because I got 50 pts "extra credit" for memorizing it...and the Gettysburg Address too.

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Copyrighted by EMI/Sony: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/copyright-king-why-the-i-ha...

There is some effort to make it public (as it should be): http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/internet-activists-are-wagi...

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My English textbook in high school had the text of the speech, and on MLK day we watched a portion of the video.

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That's the secondary reason. Real reason: because I'm too lazy, and frankly don't really care.

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FWIW everyone in my school in Germany read the entire speech in English class.

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Actually, it was printed in full yesterday in the Dutch newspaper NRC Next.

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Totally agree.

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false. did a paper on it in college.

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This is one of the most widely circulated speeches on the internet. If you Google "I Have A Dream Speech", you'll get the pdf, origial text and full video.

What a stupid post.

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I can also Google "Man of Steel (2013) torrent" and download a copy in minutes. That doesn't make it legal. Likewise, you can't stream or show "I Have A Dream Speech" or "Man of Steel" to an audience without violating copyright laws.

The real stupidity are our laws extending copyright to 70 years after death, so backwards that many people just chose to ignore them.

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