Jan 17, 2006

He Had a Dream, But You Can't Hear It

I just read that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family has copyright-protected audio recordings of his famous "I have a dream" speech, which makes it difficult for people to hear the speech unless they pony up $10 per recording to the King family. (Though the family reportedly will provide free copies to educators.) That's a travesty. Dr. King was such a compelling speaker and that's such a powerful speech. But most people have only heard snippets and have read the text rather than heard the man. I do understand that the King family needs to make money; I'm really not unsympathetic. But surely there's a better way than this. That speech should be in the public domain for all to hear.

This anecdote from the Washington Post article neatly summarizes the issue. Edoardo Pisoni, a 10-year-old who has heard a recording of the speech, was asked why it wouldn't be the same experience to simply read the text or hear someone other than Dr. King speak the words. He wisely replied, "It wouldn't have the heart."

Here is an mp3 version of the speech. (Thanks, Boing Boing.)

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