King v. Mister Maestro, Inc.
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
224 F. Supp. 101 (1963)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (plaintiff) was a clergyman and prominent leader in the US civil-rights movement. In June 1963, Dr. King delivered a speech in Detroit, Michigan. In August 1963, Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during a march for civil rights in Washington, DC, which included some of the words and ideas from the June speech. On the morning of the August speech, and at the request of the organizers of the event, Dr. King gave a copy of the planned speech to members of the press. Dr. King did not give a copy to anyone outside of the press. Later that day, Dr. King delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech in front of around 200,000 people. Thereafter, the speech was widely discussed in the press media, including being published in newspapers and broadcast on television and radio. Mister Maestro, Incorporated and 20th Century-Fox Record Corporation (the record companies) (defendants) also made and sold phonograph sound recordings of Dr. King’s speech without Dr. King’s consent and without paying any royalties. In September 1963, Dr. King registered a copyright on his speech, and in October 1963, he filed suit against the record companies for copyright infringement. The record companies argued, in part, that—because Dr. King’s speech had been delivered to such a large audience—the delivery was a general publication that had placed the speech within the public domain.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wyatt, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 706,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 706,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,400 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.