findings.” But perhaps the journal’srncravenness should not have surprised us.rnAfter all, the Journal tipped its hand in itsrnNovember 15 editorial, when it stressedrnthe importance of covering this story in arn”carefully modulated” manner.rn”Carefully modulated” is perhaps thernbest way to describe the book industry’srnapproach to this story. Clayborne Carson’srnvolumes of King’s papers —inrnwhich the evidence of King’s plagiary isrnexhaustively presented but where Carsonrnstill claims that King’s “borrowing”rnonly constitutes theft if we use “a strictrndefinition of plagiarism,” and that therernis still no “definite answer to the questionrnwhether King deliberately violated thernstandards that applied to him as a student”rn—have been widely reviewed andrnpraised. And Keith Miller’s 1992 book,rnVoice of Deliverance: The Language ofrnMartin Luther King, Jr. and Its Sources—rnin which the plagiarisms of King and ofrnother minorities are discounted as “voicernmerging,” a cultural habit derivative ofrnoral traditions to which the majority culturernmust learn to be sensitive — is todayrncited as the final word on this matter.rnOur public library here in Rockford, forrnexample, at one time had four copies ofrnMiller’s faux scholarship.rnWhat the publishing industry refusesrnto tolerate is any honest discussion ofrnKing’s plagiary and of the literary chicaneryrnof our leading intellectuals, politicalrnpundits, and media darlings, fromrnChristopher Hitchens to William Bennett.rnRegarding the 40 publishers whornrejected my book and my new edition,rnthree of them said a study critical of anyrnaspect of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life orrnwork would be in “bad taste,” becausern”King isn’t around to defend himself”rnWhen I replied that this absurd standardrnwould mean the end of historical studiesrnand of scholarship in general —thatrnthis standard has not hindered the rise ofrnour new national pastime, defamingrnThomas Jefferson —I not only receivedrnno responses but in one case even gotrnmy letter back stamped, “Return tornSender” —the publisher had not evenrnopened it. A handful of publishers said,rn”Great book, we’re definitely interested,rnnow just give equal time to the other sidernof the story.” By “equal time” theyrnmeant a nonjudgmental discussion ofrnthe “voice merging” bilge. According tornthis standard, no writer could praise freerntrade without also praising tarifl^s and protectionism.rnKilling debate, stifling discussion, andrnsmothering any hint of free thinking thatrnmight disturb the verbal industries andrntheir manufacturing of public truth —rnthis is what American book publishing sornoften accomplishes today. The “reader’srnrecommendation” of one publisher gavernaway the game: “I recommend againstrnpublishing this book, because such honestyrnand truth-telling could only be destructive.”rnOther publishers wrote off this book asrna right-wing screed, even though myrnmost vocal critics have issued from thernright: meaning neoconservatives, whorntolerate no criticism of King, no matterrnhow tempered or just, because King isrnthe founding father of their breed of conservatism;rnand white racists, who wererndisappointed to discover that this bookrnwas not the down-and-dirty dose of Kingbashingrnthat they expected. In fact, thernleading “conservative” academic publisherrntoday rejected this book because Irnfailed to sing the virtues of the civil rightsrnmovement. When I replied that thernbook’s subject was plagiarism and culturalrnstandards and not the civil rightsrnmovement, whatever the latter’s virtues,rnhe replied, “It doesn’t matter what yourrnpurpose is.”rnConcerning the death threats, onlyrnone of them was memorable, and onlyrnmemorable for its tackiness: it was left onrnmy answering machine on the morningrnof my wedding. Regarding the left hookrnto my jaw, thrown by an inebriated criticrnwho recognized me from an interviewrnthen running on the barroom TV—itrnmissed.rnBut spiking stories, suppressing books,rnand issuing death threats against writersrnwho refrise to toe the politically correctrnline (Professor David Hackett Fischer ofrnBrandeis University received severalrndeath threats, one complete with footnotes,rnin the wake of Albion’s Seed, publishedrnin 1989) may no longer be necessaryrnif the King family’s approach tornintellectual property rights becomesrnwidely accepted. In January 1997, thernKing family signed a deal with Time-rnWarner and Intellectual Properties Managementrn(IPM) to produce and marketrnnew books of King’s writings, memoirsrnby family members, recordings and CDROM’srnof King’s speeches, and a KingrelatedrnInternet site; the deal will reportedlyrnnet the cash-strapped King estatern$30-$50 million within five years.rnAt the heart of the deal is an aggressivernenforcement of the hundreds of copyrightsrnthat King placed on “his” writings.rnon his most famous speeches in particular.rnMost disturbing, especially to thernblack community, has been the Kingrnfamily’s aggressive profiteering towardrnthose wanting to praise King by quotingrnthe “I Have a Dream” speech. WhenrnUSA Today quoted the speech in praisernof King in 1993, the King estate sued; thernnewspaper had to pay a $1,700 licensingrnfee plus legal costs. When CBS simplyrnreran its original news footage of Kingrngiving the “I Have a Dream” speech inrnWashington in 1963 as part of its fivepartrnvideo documentary called “Thern20th Century With Mike Wallace,” thernKing estate also sued.rnBut it is not just corporate giants whornhave been hassled and hindered in theirrnattempt to celebrate the King legacy.rnWhen a newspaper editor in Lexington,rnKentucky, wanted to honor King byrnprinting one of his speeches from 1965,rnIPM made him jump through hoops torngain permission. The editor’s ordeal, accordingrnto David Garrow’s account of itrnin the Washington Post (“Are They Stiflingrnthe Work of Martin Luther King,rnJr.?” January 28, 1997), was “long andrnfrustrating.” “Despite an express-deliveryrnletter and phone calls, he could notrnget a timely answer; only at the lastrnminute did his newspaper receive approvalrnto reprint the speech.”rnTo make matters worse, once permissionrnis granted to reprint King’s work, thernfees charged by the King estate are alsornoften excessive. Richard Lischer, a professorrnof divinity at Duke University, toldrnthe New York Times that his book ThernPreacher King (1995) was delayed for arnwhole year while “the [King] estate’s literaryrnagent reviewed the manuscript forrncopyright violations.” Moreover, “Irnthought their demands for payment forrnquotations in a serious study of Kingrnwere excessive.” So reportedly were thernfees charged Julian Bond for reprintingrnfour documents in his 824-page textbookrnon civil rights. “The book costs 65 bucks,rnand the publisher told me those documentsrnput the price up 10 or 15 dollars arnbook. . . . I was prepared to pay something.rnIt just seemed to me an unreasonablerncharge.” Philip Jones of IPMrnagreed, saying the fees charged Bond, inrna deal struck before the King family hadrnhired IPM, were indeed exorbitant. TaylorrnBranch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographerrnof King, was even more candid.rnAs he reportedly told the Daily Report ofrnFulton County, Georgia, scholarshiprn”would grind to a halt” if the King fami-rn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn