ATLANTA - One of the world's leading music publishers struck a deal Tuesday with the estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and will work to bring the civil rights icon's words to a wider audience by encouraging their use in songs.
EMI Music Publishing will also use its copyright expertise to police the use of King's name, image, likeness, recorded voice, both in recordings and music and in online and digital media.
The publisher will work with Intellectual Properties Management, the Atlanta-based company that administers The King Estate and manages the licensing.
EMI represents songwriters and licensing for everything from CDs to commercials but this is the first time that EMI has taken on the licensing of a non-music based intellectual property catalogue. EMI declined to say how much the deal is worth.
''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 fulfil that responsibility,'' EMI Chairman and Chief Executive Roger Faxon said in a statement.
Dexter King, chairman, president and chief executive of The King Estate, said EMI was best positioned to ''increase The King Estate's ability to preserve, perpetuate and protect the great legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.''
In a statement, Martin Luther King III said he and his sister didn't have any information about the deal.
Bernice and Martin Luther King III have been fighting their brother, Dexter, in court in recent months. The siblings are struggling to settle three lawsuits involving their parents' estates, including one attempting to force Dexter King to open the books of their father's estate.
Another would determine who should control Coretta Scott King's personal items - some of which were at the centre of a $1.4-million book deal about their mother's life that fell apart last year amid the legal wrangling.