Flunked, Not Expelled: “Imagine” Use is Fair, Judge Rules

Yoko Ono’s lawsuit went nowhere in Judge Sidney Stein’s courtroom. The judge ruled that “Expelled”‘s brief use of the John Lennon song, “Imagine”, was permitted under “fair use” exceptions to copyright law. [Update: It appears that the ruling was just on the preliminary injunction, which is now lifted. The full case is still pending.]

Hopefully other judges elsewhere will be on that same wavelength when it comes to people criticizing snippets of “Expelled” in video segments.

Wesley R. Elsberry

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

6 thoughts on “Flunked, Not Expelled: “Imagine” Use is Fair, Judge Rules

  • 2008/06/02 at 4:11 pm

    As much as it pains me to say it, if, (and I haven’t seen the film so I don’t actually know) but if they actually used it as an example of what they are talking about in the film, it does seem like it falls within fair use. Perverted fair use but still…

  • 2008/06/02 at 8:24 pm

    I’m all for “fair use” being more expansive. I’m also all for whoever can legitimately argue that “Expelled” infringes their rights to nail those folks to the wall in court. I guess we’ll see when the full case goes before the judge how this particular dustup plays out.

  • 2008/06/03 at 10:04 am

    Yoko’s suit had no merit, period end of discussion. Glad she had to forfeit her bond (20k)and possibly more as there has now been a question raised about whether she actually owns the rights to Imagine. GO BEN !

  • 2008/06/03 at 1:05 pm

    If the case had no merit, then I’m sure the judge would have entertained a motion to dismiss it. That doesn’t seem to have happened.

  • 2008/06/05 at 1:45 am

    It’s possible the Judge did entertain the idea of dismissing the case, but when it comes to high profile cases or cases which involve famous people, Judges tend to take more time with those cases than the average ones.

    More than likely the full case will be ruled the same way.

  • 2008/06/05 at 5:48 am

    The judge would be overstepping things a bit to dismiss without a motion. Maybe it is an act within his power, but procedure usually requires a motion to that effect.

    I’m willing to wait to see what the full arguments are. The striking of the preliminary injunction is certainly a sign that Ono and the record company have their work cut out for them, and one expects that they know it.

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