Imagine no possessions . . . except hyper-strictly enforced copyrights

First she ruins the Beatles, and now this. 

I am starting to wonder if the EXPELLED producers are some kind of evil-super geniuses a la President Bush.  How else could they provoke people to give them all this free publicity?  Seriously, the fair use doctrine is not that complicated.

EXPELLED Producers to Yoko Ono: Let it Be

(Dallas, TX) – A new front has been opened in the culture wars. Ben Stein’s EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed stunned detractors by opening as the nation’s #10 movie last weekend. Out for less than one week, it has already become one of the top 25 documentaries of all time.

Opponents of the film have attacked everyone and everything in it. They have attacked the producers, the star, the music, and film itself. They have even attacked those who have seen it. Now they want to change the Constitution.

Yoko Ono and others have now filed lawsuits challenging the film’s use and critique of John Lennon’s song Imagine. One of the suits seeks to ban free speech through preliminary injunctive relief which essentially means that they are trying to expel EXPELLED as it is now being shown in theaters.

“If you really listen to the lyrics of Imagine then you realize that it represents everything that the Neo-Darwinists want. ‘Imagine there’s no Heaven…No hell below us…Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too…’ That’s exactly what the Darwinist establishment wants to do: get rid of religion. And that’s what we point out when we play less than 15 seconds of the song and show some of the lyrics on screen,” said Walt Ruloff Executive Producer and CEO of Premise Media.

Executive Producer and Chairman of Premise Media Logan Craft explained, “The fair use doctrine is a well established principle that gives the public the right to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary and criticism. While some may not like what we have to say or how we say it, we have the free speech right to do so – just as other political and social commentators have been doing for years.”

Premise did not pursue a license for the song and had no obligation to do so. Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the Imagine clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech. The brief clip – consisting of a mere 10 words – was used to contrast the messages in the documentary and was not used as an endorsement of EXPELLED.

But the irony of this lawsuit was not lost on the film’s star Ben Stein, “So Yoko Ono is suing over the brief Constitutionally protected use of a song that wants us to ‘Imagine no possessions’? Maybe instead of wasting everyone’s time trying to silence a documentary she should give the song to the world for free? After all, ‘imagine all the people sharing all the world…You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the World can live as one.'”

For more information or to book an interview, please contact Megan Erhardt (ext. 136) or Mary Beth Hutchins (ext. 105) at 703.683.5004.

15 thoughts on “Imagine no possessions . . . except hyper-strictly enforced copyrights”

  1. Cost of the movie: $7.50
    Watching liberals show their utter hypocrisy… priceless…

    Aren’t the early christian communities (as depicted in acts) mostly possessionless?
    I seem to remember a couple who sold all their goods yet kept a potion of them for themselves. They were killed by God (made to “sleep”).
    Surely it’s somewhat hypocritical of you guys to criticise Yoko, while not actively trying to institute some kind of possessionless christian utopia, as in the early church.

    Neil said: Hi Havok – first, criticizing Yoko for being hypocritical would only be hypocritical on my part if I taught that we should never point out hypocrisy. But I don’t make that claim.

    Second, I wrote a new post to address your points about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. I think you have some misunderstandings about the passage.

    Like

  2. I hope that this garbage gets laughed out of court. What a waste of time! It just amazes me, the violent reaction that so many folks are having against “Expelled”.

    Like

  3. That’s a pretty tidy gotcha with the Imagine lyrics. I don’t know anything about fair use, so I’ll leave that to others. But I’d like to comment on this tactic so incessantly employed by Expelled’s supporters: highlighting the uproar about Expelled among people who accept the facts (“evolutionists”), with the implication that it shows they have something to hide. But, come on. Haven’t any of you been frustrated by one or two of Michael Moore’s slicker elisions and half-truths? Not because you had something to hide, but because you knew he might persuade people who didn’t have all the facts. Expelled sounds like an extraordinarily sneaky film–without even half-truths–and apparently it’s drawing crowds.

    Like

  4. “highlighting the uproar about Expelled among people who accept the facts (”evolutionists”)”

    Nice question begging. Sheesh, you guys do that so much I don’t think you even realize you are doing it.

    Like

  5. Neil: Second, I wrote a new post to address your points about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. I think you have some misunderstandings about the passage.

    Great, i’ll head on over.

    Still, you’ll note I quoted Timothy’s comment, and nothing from yourself

    Like

  6. First things first, oh, that’s brilliant. 🙂

    Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the Imagine clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech. The brief clip – consisting of a mere 10 words – was used to contrast the messages in the documentary and was not used as an endorsement of EXPELLED.

    Ugh. Free speech is not a defence to copyright infringement. Otherwise, everyone would invoke it. There is, however, a fair use exception, which includes small amounts of the copyrighted work.

    Ideally, the Expelled crew would have paid for the snippet of “Imagine,” as, morally, it’s the right thing to do (and a good way to avoid lawsuits). Nevertheless, this likely falls under the Fair Use exception (which would, FYI, reduce the price that Expelled would have to pay for the work), so Yoko can yap at someone else.

    Like

  7. I do not think you are morally required to pay for the use of a song if your purpose is to comment on it, especially when it is as widespread and influential as “Imagine”.

    If you are using it merely for the purposes of entertainment, then yes, you should pay for it.

    Like

  8. Logan,

    Please define “comment on.” I’m not trying to be obtuse; just trying to point out that you could have a “comment on” a song that is tangental to the fact that you are using most of the song for commercial purposes.

    I do not believe that copyright owners ought to be penalised – legally or morally – for having more popular work.

    Like

  9. http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    To my mind the information the Copyright Office give on their website is quite clear:

    1. the fair use doctrine does not expand to the commercial use of any copyrighted material.

    2. “There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.”

    So it is no excuse that they only used some 15 seconds of the song.

    As Neil rightly ponts out the fair use doctrine is not that complicated. Even the people who made “Expelled” should have been able to understand it.

    Like

  10. Interesting article on Einstein at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355323,00.html

    Brooke said Einstein believed that “there is some kind of intelligence working its way through nature.”

    It also says that “it is certainly not a conventional Christian or Judaic religious view.”

    So, Einstein believed in intelligent design, but not religion as we would call it.

    All the more reason that we should teach different theories in school.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s