Internet Freedom Day greeted with takedown of MLK speech video

Added by on January 18, 2013

Notice on a video sharing site that MLK's famous speech was taken down

Notice on a video sharing site that MLK’s famous speech was taken down

Internet Freedom Day, marked by the one year anniversary of an online protest against a proposed US law that would have expanded the US government’s to curb access to copyright infringing or counterfeit goods, including enforcement extending beyond the US border, was greeted by the takedown of a video of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

The protest, called SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was reportedly thought to have “put the financial interests of the entertainment industry ahead of our rights and the free and open web,” said a blog post on Access Now, an internet freedom advocacy group.

Between January 18-19 2012 opponents to the law voluntarily took down their own websites or prominently posted messages in protest. Opponents included Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Reporters without Borders, PayPal, WordPress, Mozilla and many others.

In observance of Internet Freedom Day, Fight For the Future – an advocacy group that played a significant role in the defeat of SOPA, uploaded a copy of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech which was delivered on August 28, 1963. The speech is considered to be a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement.

The speech is copyrighted by EMI, who has previously and repeatedly issued takedown requests to other websites that hosted the video including YouTube and Vimeo.

“The speech is fair use because it’s not being used for profit and it’s part of a political speech – everyone should be able to view the video,” said a commentator.

In a famous letter King said, “One has not only a legal but moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Find out more about Internet Freedom Day by visiting