Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech: Teaching about Internet Freedom and Copyright

In 2014, activist(s) opposed to SOPA declared “Internet Freedom Day“, a day to celebrate the “…freedom of expression”. Their act of protest (against copyright) was to distribute video copies of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech; this video is owned and copyrighted by EMI [details here], and it is not of the public domain. EMI issued takedown notices to YouTube and other distribution channels in the past; the full video of his speech is not freely, publicly accessible.

Whether you agree or disagree with this decision, this dissonance is helpful for teaching about the difference between the perception of what should be accessible and the reality and legality of copyright.

The following one-class lesson engages you and your students in making sense of copyright and ownership in the context of a famous American speech: Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. It allows you and your students to make an informed decision about how you, as a whole, would handle the situation, and concludes by teaching about fair use.

Google Doc: MLK lesson plan 

What'cha thinking?