MLK film Selma was made without quoting civil rights leader

posted by Jay Weber - 

via the Daily Mail by  KIERAN CORCORAN

 Selma, the civil rights movie about Martin Luther King, was made without using any direct quotation from the man for fear of being sued by his family, it has emerged.

The Hollywood film, starring David Oyelowo as King, features setpiece orations from the events around his marches from Selma, Alabama, to state capital Montgomery - but they are deliberate approximations rather than his actual words.

Filmmakers Paramount, who released the movie on December 25 in the U.S., wanted to use his actual words, but studiously avoided it so they would not be sued by his famously litigious descendants.

King's speeches are protected under copyright, and the rights to use them has already been licensed to Steven Spielberg for a film which is yet to be produced, Britain's Sunday Times reported.

As a result key parts of the pivotal protests marches in 1965 have been rewritten to dodge the rights issue.

For instance, King's chant of 'Give us the ballot' was tweaked to be 'Give us the vote'. While an accusing demand spoken over the body of a protester is rendered in the film as 'Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson?' - in reality he asked 'Who killed him?'

An earlier account by the Hollywood Reporter said that Paramount tried to negotiate rights from Dreamworks and Warner Bros, who are linked to the Spielberg project, but failed.

They did not approach King's descendants directly, the Reporter said, realizing it was a lost cause.

A spokesman for the film said: 'There were no negotiations, - the film does not use any copyrighted material.'

King's family, who run Intellectual Properties Management Inc to protect and license his work, have previous sued USA Today and CBS for reproducing parts of his speeches without paying for rights first.

The complete story here > I didn't have a dream, for copyright reasons: How Martin Luther King film Selma was made without quoting civil rights leader for fear of being sued by his family


Dr. King addresses crowds during the March on Washington.

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