Heirs of Malcolm X slapped Illinois-based Third World Press with a lawsuit on Friday attempting to block its “unauthorized” planned publication in November of Malcolm X’s diary entries.
The trademark infringement suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, claims an entity that Malcolm X’s children created called “Legacy X” has exclusive rights to publish, reproduce and distribute the diaries worldwide and that Third World Press is snubbing the “exclusive copyrights” by planning to publish “The Diary of Malcolm X.”
“Legacy X has made repeated efforts to communicate to TWP that its publications of these works is improper,” the suit says. “These efforts have fallen on deaf ears; TWP continues to act if it is entitled to exploit intellectual property which it does not own.
“Without this court’s immediate assistance, the value of these timeless writings will be lost forever.”
Ironically, one Malcolm X’s children is on the other side of the battle.
The suit claims that Third World Press entered in an “unlawful agreement” with journalist Herb Boyd and Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz to edit the diaries. However, Ilyasah Shabbaz – as four of her siblings now challenging the publishing of the diaries – signed over to “X Legacy” their rights to Malcolm X’s intellectual property in 2011 so that decisions could be made jointly.
Legacy X had planned to release and publish the diaries in February 2015 around the time of the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination. The suit also seeks unspecified monetary relief Reps for Legacy X and Third World Press did not immediately return messages.