Ken's Project Blog

August 24, 2011

A King’s Ransom

Filed under: History,In The News — Ken @ 11:05 am


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is currently open, but I think it’s worth a moment to take a look back and remember one of the controversies around it – the licensing fee the organizers had to pay the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate to employ his likeness and words in the memorial to him:

“The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s family has charged the foundation building a monument to the civil-rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 to use his words and image — and at least one scholar thinks that Dr. King would find such an arrangement offensive.”

and

“Financial documents revealed that the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by the King family. They also showed that a $71,700 “management” fee was paid to the family estate in 2003.”

Source: nypost.com

For confirmation, I went to the website of the organizers that put the memorial together, found the following:

“”License granted by Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. as Manager of the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Source: mlkmemorial.org

But, just to be doubly sure, I sought out another report on the topic:

“According to financial documents reviewed by The Associated Press, the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by King’s family. Documents also show a “management” fee of $71,700 was paid to the family estate in 2003.

In a statement to the AP, Intellectual Properties Management said proceeds from the licensing agreement go to the King Center in Atlanta, where King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are entombed. The statement said the arrangement was made out of concern that fundraising for the monument would undercut donations to the King Center.”

and

“For years, King’s family has fiercely protected his legacy, suing for a share of the proceeds from the use of his words and images in merchandise and publications. In the 1990s, the family reached settlements with USA Today and CBS over their use of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech without permission. A federal appeals court ruled in 1999 during the CBS case that the speech was not in the public domain.”

Source: usatoday.com

Here’s the speech that not only fueled a Civil Rights struggle, but also created a valuable franchise that needs to be protected:

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

Source: youtube.com – Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 of 2

Sources

youtube.com: MLK Memorial Opens on National Mall, August 28, 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have a Dream Speech – 1 of 2 and August 28, 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have a Dream Speech – 2 of 2

nypost.com: King ‘Monument to Greed’

mlkmemorial.org: License Agreement

usatoday.com: King family draws fees from DC memorial project

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