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Anti-Evolution Doc Uses "Imagine"?!?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs EMI Music
Lennon, Julian
Lennon, Sean
Ono, Yoko
Defendants Film Distributor(s)
Film Producer(s)
Other Lennon, John
Short Description Yoko Ono and Sean and Julian Lennon sued the makers of "Expelled," a documentary about the absurd pseudo-science called "intelligent design," when the filmmakers used clips of Lennon's song "Imagine," which famously invites listeners to imagine there's "Nothing to kill and die for, no religion too." Lennon was well-known for his criticisms of traditional religious doctrine. Plaintiffs sued for copyright infringement and federal trademark infringement. Though the documentary used other songs, "Imagine" was the only one for which no license was sought. On Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction regarding their copyright claims, the court found that irreparable harm was imminent and that Plaintiffs stated a prima facie claim for copyright infringement, but refused the injunction on (arguably shaky) First Amendment grounds. The court cited the doctrine of "fair use": the song's presence was loosely commercial but "transformative," only 15-seconds long, and only minimally impacted the song's potential market for Plaintiff's exploitation. Since the balance of hardships did not tip decidedly in Plaintiff's favor, the injunction was denied. Given how courts have held on issues of admitted sampling, no matter how insignificant and unnoticeable the samples are, this holding seems a bit odd. - LSW

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure Interlocutory Orders Preliminary Injunction
Constitutional Law First Amendment Fair Use, Parody & Artistic Protection
Copyrights Infringement Copying & Distribution/Dissemination


Opinions Lennon v. Premise Media Corp.
556 F. Supp. 2d 310
S.D. New York , June 02, 2008 ( No. 08 Civ. 3813(SHS) )


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Related Searches Parties
EMI Music ( Plaintiff )
Film Distributor(s) ( Defendant )
Film Producer(s) ( Defendant )
Lennon, John ( Other )
Lennon, Julian ( Plaintiff )
Lennon, Sean ( Plaintiff )
Ono, Yoko ( Plaintiff )

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure / Interlocutory Orders / Preliminary Injunction
Constitutional Law / First Amendment / Fair Use, Parody & Artistic Protection
Copyrights / Infringement / Copying & Distribution/Dissemination

Courts
S.D. New York (highest court)


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