Yoko Ono 'Expelled,' Judge Denies Injunction Against Documentary's Use of 'Imagine'

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Yoko Ono 'Expelled,' Judge Denies Injunction Against Documentary's Use of 'Imagine'

Tue Jun 03, 2008 @ 11:33AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Onoyoko A Manhattan federal judge has denied Yoko Ono's request for an injunction against an anti-evolution documentary that used John Lennon's "Imagine" without her consent.

The makers of the documentary, "Expelled," used a 15 second clip of the Lennon song to criticize its anti-religious message as naive. Represented by copyright guru Anthony Falzone at Stanford Law School, the producers argued that the use of the song was fair use.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein agreed in this opinion, stating that "defendants are likely to prevail on their affirmative defense of fair use."

Ono has had some success in court recently in attempts to use copyright to shield her late husband's legacy, but not this time.

We'll see whether EMI Music drops its own suit in New York state court on the matter, which claims that makers of the documentary harmed EMI’s ability to license the song.

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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 Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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