Flunked, Not Expelled: Expelled Enjoined

There was a hearing in the Yoko Ono copyright infringement case this past week, and Premise Media has been enjoined against further distribution of “Expelled” until the case is settled next hearing on May 19th.

That means that theaters that already have a copy may continue to show it, but no further prints may be sent out to other theaters, and no CD or DVD versions may be distributed, either.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

8 thoughts on “Flunked, Not Expelled: Expelled Enjoined

  • 2008/05/03 at 3:20 pm

    When I stopped chortling, it occurred to me that for the most part the damage has been done. Would there be a massive DVD market? Will the court find for the plaintif?

  • 2008/05/03 at 4:35 pm

    When I visited the AiG Creation Museum, the store there had a big DVD section. There were shelves and shelves of DVDs, offering up general Gish Gallops down to expansions on pretty much every Creationist Claim available. Pop culture has embraced the DVD. Witness the ability of Josh Whedon to wangle at least one major movie deal based on the sales of the “Firefly” series DVD set. While that doesn’t guarantee that any specific DVD project, such as “Expelled”, would do well, it certainly doesn’t foster complacency about the business they might do with it.

    Good question about the court. I’m thinking that some of the plaintiffs’ arguments will be set aside, but I am less confident that all of them will be. Is it fair use? The claim is arguable, so it will depend on how well the sides argue and what the judge’s interpretation of the precedent is. But that’s not all that was in the complaint. Essentially, they are also asking for damages due to the forced association with the piece of dreck that is “Expelled”. Can they do that? I’m not sure, but it isn’t a simple application of intellectual property law that is at issue for that claim, so I’m not at all sure whether the Stanford legal folks will be applying themselves to that part of the case. I would tend to think that they would have to, on the basis that “fair use” is hampered if unpopular speech cannot be based upon it.

    I tend to think that our current copyright situation is broken. Stuff should be entering the public domain at a brisk clip, and we shouldn’t have to wait a significant part of a century past the life of the artist for that to happen. “Free Winnie!” was a great slogan. “Fair use” should be pretty broadly applicable. You may have noticed that my blog doesn’t feature much in the way of graphics ripped from other sources. Certain other bloggers take the attitude that if someone complains they’ll take stuff down. I try to be cognizant of copyrights. I tend to be less fussed about making available things like recordings of public events, though there are issues there as well. To me, though, “fair use” is best defended when there is clearly no profit motive involved, and that is where “Expelled” simply can’t claim that particular virtue. I don’t know that if I were involved in a group like the Stanford Fair Use group whether I’d have given more than a moment’s consideration to the Premise Media case; it’s obviously a commercial use and just as obvious that they singled out “Imagine” to be treated differently in their clearance procedures. But I am not a lawyer, and they will have their own ideas about what principle of “fair use” excites them in this case. I just don’t see anything here but a knee-jerk response to Yoko Ono suing someone Yet Again.

  • 2008/05/03 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve always thoughtn the Expelled strategy was not so much to do well at theaters, but to be a church basement show which allows people to be whipped into a state of victimology. Conservative Christianity has a habit, a history, of presenting themselves as victims and they gain and hold members with this method. So if they did well at the box office, that would mean lots of public showings with unindoctrinated people seeing just how crazy their ideas are. That would not be good for them. (The money would be fine, but conservative Christianity is awash in money and doesn’t really need to make a profit.) Failing at the box office would prevent their ideas from being seen by too many regular folks, allowing them to hide their craziness, and open up the victimology angle. Then they’d probably also sell plenty enough DVDs to people in private showings anyway.

  • 2008/05/03 at 5:56 pm

    Just as a point of interest, I looked up the Order and Premise Media agreed by stipulation to the temporary restraining order until May 19, 2008, when there will be a hearing on a whether to make it permanent.

  • 2008/05/03 at 5:59 pm

    “Fair use” should be pretty broadly applicable. You may have noticed that my blog doesn’t feature much in the way of graphics ripped from other sources. Certain other bloggers take the attitude that if someone complains they’ll take stuff down. I try to be cognizant of copyrights.

    A while back I moved to strictly Creative Commons licensed images for illustrating my posts, then created a FireFox search bar plugin for searching Flickr for just those images.

    It works rather well for Blogging, and I don’t get in trouble for violating someone’s copyright.

    It’s also handy for toilet graffiti images for AtBC.

    I agree that copyrights last entirely too long as it is, though.

  • 2008/05/03 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks, John; I’ve amended the post to reflect that information.

  • 2008/05/06 at 7:00 am

    not being a believer in copyright (keep your institutionalized ethics, please) but being a believer in individual responsibility and acting like yer maw raised ye (also a believer in that being part of the problem), if there has ever been a case where I’d like to see copyright protected, it is against this IDCreationist PR machine. The idea that this dog might not make the intended market (DVD) is killing me.

    Having escaped the church dungeon youth group world myself all I can speak for is one hillbilly missionary baptist church dealing with the new SB Convention, our church basement flicks were very similar, in vein, to Expelled. You can describe the bulk of these movies as “An ‘insiders peek’ at Cathylicks (both flavors), Jehovah Witness, Mormonites, Jewry, especially SDA, with the critical eye of the curious christian onlooker wishing to protect his children.”

    Expelled fits neatly into this vein. Amazing, church basement youth DVD night all the way.

  • 2008/05/08 at 8:31 pm

    Copyright issues aside, I’d still like to get my hands on a dvd or torrent of this film. I think the local Darwinist brethren would find it amusing. With the incompetence demonstrated by the producers so far, I can’t believe (that’s probably my problem, I just can’t believe) no one’s been able to get a copy out. I imagine I’d even take one with “Imagine” muted.

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