Stanford Law School Wants To Teach Yoko Ono A Lesson About Fair Use

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Stanford Law School Wants To Teach Yoko Ono A Lesson About Fair Use

Mon May 05, 2008 @ 08:43AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Yoko_narrowweb__300x3960Premise Media Distribution might not have imagined they'd find friends in the mainstream academic arena when they released “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” a documentary about alleged discrimination against people who support such alternative theories of evolution as intelligent design. But then Yoko Ono sued, claiming that a clip of the song "Imagine" was used in the film without copyright permission.

Enter the Fair Use Project of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, which has announced they will be fighting on Premise Media's behalf. The song is played for roughly 15 seconds in the documentary, and according to Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project, "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."

Premise Media's First Amendment rights might not jibe with the film's notion of a conspiratorial oppression of free speech, but we're guessing they'll probably accept the legal help nonetheless.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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