NY judge promises quick decision on Yoko – Expelled suit

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 ...

Court restrains further distribution of Expelled, per Yoko Ono suit 4

A federal judge in Manhattan has told the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that they cannot distribute the film any further, until a copyright infringement complaint is heard in court later this month. The temporary restraining order issued April 30 does not affect existing screenings of the anti-evolution film, which uses a segment of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” as an example of “Darwinist” philosophy. Lennon’s heirs filed suit April 24 in US District Court in Manhattan against the producers and distributors of the film, alleging copyright and trademark infringement and requesting monetary damages and an injunction against any showing of the film in its present form. Expelled is showing in 656 theaters nationally, and has gross box office receipts topping $6 million. The parties involved in the suit have until May 6 (Wednesday) to produce documents supporting their cases. Premise Media and its co-defendants have until May 14 to argue against the injunction. The plaintiffs, Yoko Ono Lennon, John Lennon’s sons and his publisher, EMI Blackwood, have until May 16 to rebut. Final arguments are due May 19. Justice is swift, for some of us anyway. Here is the text of the judge’s order: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Upon ...

Stanford law group to represent Expelled‘s producers

The producers and distributors of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed have found an unlikely ally in the Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project, which has agreed to represent them in their legal battle with the heirs of former Beatle John Lennon. Last week, Yoko Ono Lennon, Sean and Julian Lennon and EMI Blackwood Publishing filed a $75,000 copyright and infringement lawsuit against Premise Media and its associated companies, alleging that the makers of Expelled used a fragment of Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” without their permission. The suit also alleges that the association of the song with the anti-evolution polemic damages the reputation of Lennon, his “trademark,” and his heirs. Premise Media representatives assert their use of the song and its lyrics fell within the “fair use doctrine” of US copyright law, and that they did not need to obtain permission to use “Imagine” in the movie. The filmmakers did obtain permission from other music used in the movie, however. “The right to quote from copyrighted works in order to criticize them and discuss the views they may represent lies at the heart of the fair use doctrine,” said Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project. “These rights are under attack ...
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