The Heirs of Malcom X sue to stop the publication of key portions of Malcom X’s diaries. While the diaries were donated to the New York Public Library, the family argues no copyright transfer has occurred to allow defendant, Third World Press, to print all or any portion of the diaries. The family, via the entity X Legacy, LLC, seeks emergency injunction relief to stop the publication. To add to the confusion, one of Malcom X’s daughters is an editor of the project and seems to be defending the actions of Third World Press.
Donating of papers to a library or other organization is a common practice of high-profile individuals. The act of donation does not constitute a transfer of the copyright. At a minimum, in accordance with the terms of the donation or loan agreement, the donee may have the ability to display the materials for research purposes or public review.
At this stage in the litigation process, it is unclear on what grounds Third World Press, LLC is claiming they have the right to reproduce and distribute the diaries.
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