On this (and every) Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, we pause to appreciate the civil rights leader's magnificent oratory, especially the "I Have a Dream" address he gave to thousands of people in 1963 on the National Mall in Washington.
Despite the fact that this famous speech is often quoted in lecture halls, newspapers and classrooms, it's actually illegal to reprint the text in full - at least without permission. That's because all forms of the speech are owned by the King estate, which has enforced its copyright strenuously over the years.
King himself sought copyright for the address about a month after delivering it. In December 1963, he successfully stopped the unauthorized sale of recordings in a case known as King v. Mister Maestro, Inc. Much later in 1999, a federal court upheld the copyright in Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. v. CBS, Inc., a case in which the TV network argued unsuccessfully that the speech had fallen into public domain.
The NPR program On the Media recently discussed the irony of the copyright, noting that Dr. King appropriated key elements of his address from other sources.
In any case, there are plenty of places on the Internet where you can read the complete text, hear and watch the speech in full. Martin Luther King Online is one handy source.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, in this Aug. 28, 1963. AP file photo.