I Have a Drea...er, uh...Make That a Vision
By admin on Jan 25, 2015 | In Cinema, TV, Radio
Some of the 20th Century's most stirring speeches came from the lips of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. So how come none of his words are in the King biopic movie, Selma?
Answer: Copyright. That and the possibly perceived threat of litigation.
The copyights on Dr. King's speeches are in the possession of his surviving family--long known to be quite litigious when it comes to production companies plopping portions of those speeches into films and TV programs. According to reports, the King heirs have already licensed the use of those speeches to other companies for an as yet unmade movie.
The producers of Selma might have been able to use small portions of the speeches anyway under the Fair Use Doctrine of the Copyright Act. However, how much is too much is a pretty gray area in that respect. So even limited appropriation could still land the producers in court on charges of copyright infringement.
Of course, just because someone claims infringement doesn't mean a court will automatically see it that way. But, if the court does, and if the movie has already been released with the "infringing" material contained in it, that could be a disaster for the motion picture people. As such, in this case the producers of Selma went the safer route and paraphrased Dr. King rather than quoting him directly.
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