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Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Expelled" to be pro-bonoed by Stanford Fair Use Project!




A news article says,

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono Lennon and sons Sean and Julian, along with EMI Blackwood Music, filed suit on April 22, 2008 claiming that Premise Media’s unauthorized use of “Imagine” violates copyright and trademark law. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Premise Media, C&S Production LP, Premise Media Distribution LP, and Rocky Mountain Pictures misappropriated the composition in violation of the Copyright Act, the Lanham Act, and New York state law. On the same date, EMI Records Ltd. and Capitol Records LLC filed suit against the same defendants in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleging violation of their rights in the sound recording under New York state law.

Premise Media contends it has the right to use the song under the fair use doctrine, which among other things permits the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of comment, criticism, and discussion.

“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 here, and we plan to defend them.”

Falzone will serve as counsel on the case along with Stanford Law colleagues Julie A. Ahrens and Brandy Karl. The Stanford team will be joined by Roy Hardin and April Terry, partners at the Dallas office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP. (emphasis added)

There is no question that Yoko and her coplaintiffs -- by trying to block the fair use of only about 15 seconds of a song -- are making war on the First Amendment.
.
Some argue that this is not really fair use because "Expelled" does not verbally and explicitly criticize, comment on, or discuss the significance of the words in the song in relation to the accompanying scene in the movie. But the movie leaves it to the viewers to decide that significance for themselves. IMO, that is still fair use. It's like a political cartoon where interpretation of the cartoon is left up to the viewer. If the movie tried to explain the song's significance in the movie, the effect would be spoiled.

I said that the "Expelled" producers have a strong fair-use case -- and now some bigshot attorneys in the field agree! Am I a legal genius or what?

I am not surprised that the Stanford Fair Use Project decided to pro-bono "Expelled" -- I thought that they must have been hungry for a high-profile test case like this.

Here is a collection of Limericks about the lawsuits --

There once was a lady named Yoko,
who had a mind that was quite loco.
When she tried to sue,
she later did rue,
'cause the lawyers she faced were pro bono.

There once was a lady named Yoko,
who had a last name that was Ono.
Because of her fame,
she has a new name,
it's now Loco Bozo Oh-No-No.

The following two limericks were written by Jim Sherwood --

One Yoko, who's Loco, said "No!
I IMAGINE I'm losing some dough.
My only obsession's
With all the possessions
That Strawberry Fields can grow."

This is a reference to the fortune in free advertising that Yo-Yo Dodo Oh-No-No gets from the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park while she is too chintzy to allow a few seconds of fair use of "Imagine."

Said Yoko, "I'm free of all greed!
I IMAGINE, as Johnny decreed,
I'll let property go.
I'll go Loco, and know
How to peck with the birds, as they feed."

This is a reference to the pigeons that inhabit Strawberry Fields.

Here is a new stanza for "Imagine" --

Imagine there are no copyrights,
it isn't hard to do.
Nothing to cause court fights,
no reason for to sue.
Imagine all the people
staying out of court
.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

>There is no question that Yoko and her coplaintiffs -- by trying to block the fair use of only about 15 seconds of a song -- are making war on the First Amendment.<

Of course there is. There are only two people dumb enough to believe that; you and "Jim Sherwood".

Friday, May 02, 2008 6:51:00 AM  

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