There may yet be hope for the First Amendment and common sense copyright.
Yoko Ono Lawsuit Expelled!: Judge Rules in Favor of Expelled Producers; Film To Be Re-Released In Theaters This Summer
(PRWEB) July 17, 2008 — The producers of the controversial film, Expelled, are celebrating their first legal victory in the lawsuit brought against them by Yoko Ono, for including John Lennon’s song Imagine in their documentary. Last month, a federal court in Manhattan denied Ono’s request for an injunction against the film that would have forced it out of theaters nationwide. The producers are celebrating this victory by announcing that the film will be re-released theatrically this summer across the United States.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary exploring one of the nation’s most contentious and longest running battles, the argument over where and how life began, starring author/actor/economist Ben Stein debuted at #10 at the box office but saw its theatrical run marred by the Ono lawsuit. “. . .While we’re thrilled with the film’s having earned nearly $8 million dollars during its first run, we’ve heard from enough people and groups who want to see it in their theaters that we’ve agreed to re-release it-this time without an undeserved cloud over its head.”
Shortly after the film’s release, Ono filed a suit against the film’s producers, Premise Media seeking damages for alleged copyright infringement because the song had not been licensed for use in the film. On May 19, 2008 the parties agreed to a voluntary temporary restraining order while they awaited Manhattan U.S. District Court Judge Sydney H. Stein’s ruling on Ono’s motion to enjoin the showing and distribution of the film. The restraining order prevented the producers from making additional copies of the film for distribution. However on June 2 Stein denied the injunction and noted that Premise Media was likely to succeed on its fair use defense. In his decision Stein wrote, “the doctrine provides that the fair use of copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and commentary is not an infringement of copyright.” . . .
The court ruling prevents Ono from interfering with the national re-release of the film this summer and the company has come up with an ambitious plan to make the film available to any group which would like to bring the film to a local theater. Working in conjunction with the film’s distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures, Expelled will be made available to any group of 250-300 people at a cost of low as $6 per ticket.
“We have 1,000 prints ready to be shipped out to any group that would like to bring the movie to their local theater,” noted Premise’s EVP-Sales Tripp Thornton.
For more information or to schedule a screening please contact: Premise Media at (678) 546-5580 or email: Tripp @ premisemedia.com For media inquiries or to schedule an interview please contact: laurakobbs @ gmail.com.
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