“I have a dream”

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

Martin Luther King’s famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial, 1963. ©EMI/Sony!

Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech is considered one of the most recognizable collection of words in American history. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of a national treasure or a national park. The National Park Service inscribed it on the Lincoln Memorial and the Library of Congress put it into its National Recording Registry. So we might hold it to be self evident that it can be spread freely.

Not exactly. Any unauthorized usage of the speech and a number of other speeches by King – including in PBS documentaries – is a violation of American law.

Another tragic abuse of copyright. It’s hard to imagine anything more deserving of being in the public domain. Continue reading