From the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has promised a fast decision in a lawsuit brought by Yoko Ono to get the song Imagine taken out of a movie challenging the concept of Darwinian evolution.
A lawyer for the movie’s distributors has warned that the litigation could wreck the movie’s political message by preventing it from impacting viewers in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential campaign.
The movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, features Ben Stein challenging Darwinian theories and suggesting life could have originated through intelligent design. About 20 to 30 seconds of the song are played in the movie.
Ono has accused the movie’s producers of infringing the song’s copyrights by using it without her permission, giving the impression that the Lennon family had authorized it.
US District Judge Sidney Stein’s ruling will settle whether the producers of the film can release it to Canadian theaters and to DVD as planned. The Canadian premiere is scheduled for June 6, according to Premise Media’s attorney Anthony Falzone. DVD rights have to be finalized by the end of this month for an October release, he said.
As for the political impact of the film, this decision will have little effect. The movie is a dog. It has been losing audiences and theaters steadily since it opened April 18, despite all the publicity — good or bad — about it. If the producers of this film think it has any political impact, they’re dreaming.