I get chills each time I hear the inspiring words of the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Although times have changed, many of the topics he spoke about still have lessons for today's society. I just hope that a new licensing deal between King's estate and EMI Music Publishing will uphold the integrity of what he stood for.
EMI will work with the King estate to manage the use of his name, image, likeness, and recorded voice in music and recordings, as well as online and digital media, according to the Associated Press. It's the first time EMI has licensed a non-music based catalog of intellectual property. EMI has represented songwriters and licensing in many forms, including CDs and commercials. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
I think it's a great idea to make Kings speeches more widely available in modern formats, especially to the younger generations. But I sure hope that King's image isn't exploited to sell cheesy products that have nothing to do with what he and other civil rights workers fought and died for.
While it's kind of funny to see that commercial with Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner, I'd hate to see King's image used in that same way. The AP quoted Dexter King, president and CEO of the King Estate, as saying EMI would "increase The King Estate's ability to preserve, perpetuate and protect the great legacy of Martin Luther King Jr."
I sure hope that any licensing deals do indeed preserve and honor that legacy.