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Malcolm X's diary: Can it be published without his family's permission?

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(Read caption) 'The Diary of Malcolm X' is currently set to be released on Nov. 15.

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Most diaries might be considered private – but what about Malcolm X’s diary? What is private and what is considered “on the public record?”

That question is at the heart of a legal dispute pitting Malcolm X’s family against a book publisher planning to publish parts of the late civil rights leader’s diary.

Later this week Third World Press, a Chicago-based publisher, plans to publish “The Diary of Malcolm X,” a reproduction of a private diary the leader kept during the final year of his life as he traveled to the Middle East and Africa, just before he was assassinated.

But Malcolm X’s family has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court alleging Third World Press does not have the right to publish the diary, according to the Associated Press.

“X Legacy [Malcom X’s estate] was created by the heirs of Malcolm X to protect and enhance the value of the property held by his estate,” the suit says, adding that only X Legacy has rights to publish, reproduce, and distribute his diaries.

Third World Press likely got hold of the copies from the Schomburg Center, where they have been on loan since 2003, and it recently started a crowd-funding campaign through the website Indiegogo to publish and promote its collection, the suit says, adding, “TWP continues to act as if it’s entitled to exploit intellectual property it does not own.”


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