A Dream Under Copyright


I thought I’d post up something nice for Martin Luther King, Jr Day. Perhaps the text of the “I Have a Dream” speech. Or perhaps not, since as it turns out, that’s copyrighted. In fact, pretty much every speech King gave while working for civil rights is copyrighted.

This is fucking stupid. Yes, the King estate deserves to make some money for his work. Absolutely they do. But as I’ve said before, copyright law in this country is insanely stupid, and the fact that something like the “I Have a Dream” speech is considered copyrighted material over 50 years after it was produced is silly.

As it stands now the copyright on anything is life of the author plus 70 years. Seventy. Years. If I live to be 95, and die in the year 2067, my writings will be under copyright until the year 2137. So this article, the one you’re reading right now, won’t be in the public domain until more than 120 years from now. That’s just stupid.

As I’ve said before, life of the creator plus 20 years is reasonable. The King estate would have had until 1988 to make all the money they wanted, and after that point, everything would be public domain, and that’s as it should be.

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