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EMI Music Publishing signs groundbreaking deal to represent the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


EMI Music Publishing, the world’s leading popular music publisher, has reached an agreement to represent the intellectual property of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. it was announced today.

Under the terms of the long-term global deal with The King Estate, EMI Music Publishing will be charged with representing Dr. King’s words in recordings and music, as well as in ensuring the proper licensing and authorization of all usages of Dr King’s words and image in online and in all digital media. The King Estate will be working with EMI Music Publishing to create a licensing regime for online uses of his works, as well as his name and likeness as it applies to existing non-approved uses.

EMI will work closely with Intellectual Properties Management (“IPM”), the Atlanta based company which manages the licensing program for The King Estate. IPM will continue to administrate and process all requests for use of Dr. King’s name, image, likeness, recorded voice (without music) and rights of publicity. All non-music requests for the licensing of Dr King’s works and image will continue to be processed and licensed by IPM.

Included in Dr King’s astounding body of work are numerous speeches and sermons which helped shape the course of the civil rights movement, including ’Our God Is Marching On!’ (1965), ’I See The Promised Land’ (1968) and ’ I Have A Dream” (1963).

This is the first time that EMI Music Publishing has taken on the licensing of a non-music based intellectual property catalog in addition to its collection of more than 1.3 million current and classic hit songs. Included in the EMI Music Publishing catalog are iconic songs including ’New York New York’, ’You’ve Got A Friend’, ’The James Bond Theme’, ’Lady Marmalade’, ’Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ’Always On My Mind’, ’Over The Rainbow’, ’I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and ’Singin’ In the Rain’. Its current hit-making writers and producers include Arctic Monkeys, Beyoncé, James Blunt, Alan Jackson, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Pink, Usher, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Amy Winehouse.

EMI Music Publishing chairman and CEO Roger Faxon commented, “This is one of the most exciting and important projects that EMI Music Publishing has ever taken on, and we are deeply honored to have been selected. We have been fortunate to represent some of the most important and influential music ever created, and have played a part in bringing those songs to the public and assuring that their creators are properly compensated for their use.

“Now we have been engaged to use the skills we have refined defending the rights and expanding the market for music to do the same for the works of Dr. King. His works are the expression of a man who helped to transform our society, and to this day his words continue to inspire the world. Assuring that Dr. King’s words are accorded the same protection and same right for compensation as other copyrights works is a profound responsibility, and we are proud of the confidence that the Estate has placed in us to fulfill that responsibility.”

King Estate Chairman, President, and CEO, Dexter S. King commented, “The King Estate is very proud of the new relationship with EMI Music Publishing. We have examined the ever-evolving, global, digital landscape and feel that EMI is best positioned to monitor and bring under compliance the unauthorized usages of Dr. King’s words and IP on the Internet and digital media. We welcome EMI’s new alliance with our managing agency IPM and feel confident this is a match in complementary skills and resources that will increase The King Estate’s ability to preserve, perpetuate, and protect the great legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. became a civil rights activist early in his career as a pastor. He led the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. His pioneering efforts to deliver racial equality through civil disobedience and other non-violent means led to the March on Washington in 1963, at which he delivered his renowned “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. By the time of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1968, he had turned his attentions to both the fight against poverty and ending the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Words from Dr King are already featured in a number of major music projects, including Gwen Stefani’s multi-million selling album ‘Love Angel Music Baby’ and on Grammy-nominated country band Sugarland’s album ‘Enjoy The Ride’.


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