Martin Luther King's 'Dream' Speech Can Be Heard In Full Today

Despite its being copyrighted, CNN and MSNBC will run Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech in its entirety today, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

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Deadline reports that CNN and MSNBC will run a rare re-broadcast of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech in its entirety, CNN will run it once in the afternoon, while MSNBC will run it twice—once at 4 PM, and again at 8. The second showing, during a special All In with Chris Hayes, will have limited commercial interruptions.

Despite its iconic legacy, King's speech is almost never heard or seen in full, since it is actually a copyrighted work still owned by the King family, as National Journal explained last week.

That copyright cold war appears again in an op-ed in today's The Washington Post (both The Washington Post and The New York Times have devoted nearly all of their opinion sections to discussion of today's 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.) As copyright attorney Josh Schiller explains:

A court ruled that, although King had addressed a large public audience in an unrestricted public forum, reproduction without authorization was an infringement of King’s copyright. Performance of the speech, like the performance of a song or play in a public space, did not create a general waiver of King’s right to limit reproduction under the 1909 Copyright Act.

Schiller's piece is headlined as "Why you won’t see or hear the ‘I have a dream’ speech," but given the significance of the date, some organizations are apparently shelling out the license fee to carry the speech on their networks. For those who enjoying looking at paperwork, The Washington Post also got a copy of the intellectual property request form needed to license the speech.

All the major networks will also interrupt their programming this afternoon to carry President Obama's address commemorating the march, will begin around 2:30 p.m. ET.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.