Copyright and the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via Plagiarism Today

“Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most powerful, meaningful and important speeches in U.S. history. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance the speech had and continues to have on the civil rights movement, race relations and U.S. history in general. That 17-minute speech, given on August 28, 1963, continues to echo today with people of all stripes.

However, use of the speech is still strictly limited. Though King’s heirs have made the speech available for educational use, or at least declined to take action against educators, they have a long history of taking legal action against others who use the speech, including TV stations, newspapers and documentaries.

This has led to criticism from other civil rights leaders and has made it difficult for others to use the speech, even as they seek to honor it on the 50th anniversary.”

Olympic champ Lochte v. Rapper Eiht?? The trademark tug of war over JEAH! [SMH]

So you won’t often see me use TMZ as a viable source for my blog posts (especially when they misstate in the title the legal issue as one about copyright when it really involves trademark … but I digress [click here to learn the difference between copyright and trademark]). I just read the TMZ blog post about Ryan Lochte’s attempt to register his purported catch phrase “JEAH!” (like “YEAH” but with a J … but again, I digress).

So here’s TMZ’s explanation of the intellectual property hoopla between Lochte and Eiht:

“U.S. Olympic hero Ryan Lochte might have an unexpected speed bump on his way to trademarking the phrase “Jeah!”`in the form of 90s rap star MC Eiht, who claims the phrase was his long before it was Lochte’s.

Eiht tells TMZ he coined the phrase back in 1988 and is insulted to hear Lochte is trying to claim it as his own now. Eiht tells us, “Why try and trademark something his ass didn’t even create? I am mad that he isn’t giving me proper recognition for taking my saying. He is just disrespectful.”

[**blink blink** um … okay … not exactly the type of legal theory I teach in my class but **shrug**]

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