Paste Magazine: Expelled uses John Lennon’s “Imagine,” doesn’t say please

| 26 Comments

expelled movie exposedIn Paste Magazine we read:

The filmmakers confirmed that they did use the track without permission, but they insist that their legal counsel told them it was fair use protected under the First Amendment due to the fact that they only used 25 seconds of it.

26 Comments

Priceless.

(I wouldn’t want Yoko Ono mad at me.…)

due to the fact that they only used 25 seconds of it.

The entire song is about 3 minutes.

On the ‘Lennon Legends’ album, ‘Imagine’ runs 3 minutes and 4 seconds. ‘Only’ 25 seconds of the 184 seconds therefore amounts to 14 percent of the total.

Legal counsel? Would that be those legal geniuses at the Disco Institute.

I’ve come to the conclusion that lawyers owe a lot to bloggers :-)

Most TV commercials run only 30 seconds, and they can’t use a song without permission. So why is 25 seconds OK again?

And does anyone else get the feeling that all those church groups saving up their tickets stubs may not see a dime of reimbursement once the lawsuits get filed?

Who is their legal counsel?! This is insanity! Even I know there is no such explicit “amount of use” clause in copyright law. They took almost 10% of the overall work in a derivative way to make a profit. This use clearly devalues the licensing rights for the song.

If they knew anything about the law, they wouldn’t be talking about “the First Amendment.” They’d be talking about “fair use” in copyright law. Yoko can and should eat them for breakfast.

It is also rumoured that the filmmakers used intelligent thought for one clip in the film without warning the audience that they were going to do so, but they insist that their legal counsel told them it was fair use protected under the First Amendment due to the fact that they only used 25 seconds of it.

Imagine there’s no lawyers It’s easy if you try No rules to hold us Oh aren’t we so sly Imagine all the suckers Buying into this

Imagine there’s no science It isn’t hard to do Nothing to study hard for It’s all religious news Imagine all the people Ignorant and fleeced

You may say that I’m ID-ist But I’m not the only one I pray someday you’ll join us And thinking will be all gone

Imagine no evidence It really isn’t deep No need to know your subject A clueless flock of sheep Imagine all the people Afraid to know the world

You may say that I’m ID-ist But I’m not the only one I pray someday you’ll join us And thinking will be all gone

Ex-drone: AWESOME.

The New York Times also has a review up:

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/04/1[…]d&st=nyt

The review notes that as a freelance writer, Ben Stein writes for the NYT. Despite contributing to the paper, the review concludes:

“Mixing physical apples and metaphysical oranges at every turn “Expelled” is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike. In its fudging, eliding and refusal to define terms, the movie proves that the only expulsion here is of reason itself.”

In other news, Ben Stein was assaulted by muggers this morning. Police have identified the assailants, but declined to prosecute on the grounds that Stein was only a bit dead.

AndrewR: And does anyone else get the feeling that all those church groups saving up their tickets stubs may not see a dime of reimbursement once the lawsuits get filed?

Sadly, I think you’re right. After how the folks at the Disco Institute so obviously used the church-going people in Dover, PA I wouldn’t put such a slimy manuever beyond them.

This is why I think at least some of the people involved in the ID-creationism movement are bascially scammers (no doubt there are also many “true-believers” as well). The scammers have found a population gullible enough to buy into whatever swill they promote, and the cash keeps coming in.

Every time you see a new screed come out of the Disco Institute, if you listen carefully you can almost hear the “ka-ching!”

“Imagine” lasts for 3min04sec. 25sec is a very large part of the song, particularly since it repeats itself several times (the tune not the words, though the verses are based on a similar pattern). I hope they did include “Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too” as a delicious irony.

Ian:

Imagine there’s no lawyers It’s easy if you try No rules to hold us Oh aren’t we so sly Imagine all the suckers Buying into this

Imagine there’s no science It isn’t hard to do Nothing to study hard for It’s all religious news Imagine all the people Ignorant and fleeced

You may say that I’m ID-ist But I’m not the only one I pray someday you’ll join us And thinking will be all gone

Imagine no evidence It really isn’t deep No need to know your subject A clueless flock of sheep Imagine all the people Afraid to know the world

You may say that I’m ID-ist But I’m not the only one I pray someday you’ll join us And thinking will be all gone

Oh, that’s delicious! I’d do that for karaoke!

I saw the movie today, and checked my watch. The “Imagine” clip seemed closer to 10 seconds. I wonder if they did some trimming to avoid a potential lawsuit.

IANAL, but I work with the Fair Use doctrine in an educational context. The amount of a work used is but one of four factors determining fair use. Perhaps the most important factor is the commercial or non-commercial nature of the referencing work. “Expelled” is a commercial film. Another factor is the nature of the copyrighted work itself. “Imagine” is a commercial work, too. So you have a situation where a commercial work is using another commercial work without permission. That’s why TV commercials get permission to use brief clips of songs.

The fourth factor is “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work,” and I think it should be pretty easy to demonstrate that the effect in this case is “negative.”

The length of the work used would probably be considered completely irrelevant in light of the other infringing factors.

Jim Loter:

IANAL, but I work with the Fair Use doctrine in an educational context. The amount of a work used is but one of four factors determining fair use. Perhaps the most important factor is the commercial or non-commercial nature of the referencing work. “Expelled” is a commercial film. Another factor is the nature of the copyrighted work itself. “Imagine” is a commercial work, too. So you have a situation where a commercial work is using another commercial work without permission. That’s why TV commercials get permission to use brief clips of songs.

The fourth factor is “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work,” and I think it should be pretty easy to demonstrate that the effect in this case is “negative.”

The length of the work used would probably be considered completely irrelevant in light of the other infringing factors.

That’s what I like to hear :-)

Yoko can and should eat them for breakfast.

That could lead to a bad case of indigestion.

Henry

The Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project has agreed to defend the Explelled producers use of the words of Imagine. So they must agree that there is something there to defend.

Stanford Fair Use Project

Who wrote the press release at Stanford…?

About Premise Media

Premise Media Corporation [www.premisemedia.com] develops, finances, and produces independent films, books, and DVDs for the domestic and international marketplace, producing world-class media that stirs the heart and inspires the mind to truth, purpose, and hope.

Did Stanford actually research what they were about to step in, I wonder?

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 3, column 14, byte 118 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

My apologies for the syntax error. Proper reply to follow.

Andy G, its your angle brackets that are invalid. Use < and >.

Thanks for the tip, Reed:)

Let me try this again.

Neil wrote (but emphasis mine): “The Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project has agreed to defend the Explelled producers use OF THE WORDS of Imagine.”

I’m rabidly curious where Neil got this info, because everything I keep seeing says that SLS-FUP has agreed to defend the Expelled proucers for the use of THE SONG in their film. And the point I am trying to get out to as many people as I can is that use of the WORDS is not the same use of THE SONG.

So if what Neil is saying is true (and I hope to God it is), it actually explains something that seemed improbable to me - that the good people over at Stanford who, if they have a Fair Use Project, should certainly know what has a chance to be considered Fair Use in a lawsuit, agreed to represent the producers of Expelled. Under any test that I see, such as, say, the very wording of the Fair Use clause in U.S. Copyright Law, the claim to the use of the lyrics can be supported, but the claim that they had a right to use THE MUSIC as well does not, in this case.

If the film had been a documentary about birds and the producers had not licensed the use of, say, a whopping 15 seconds of Kenny G’s “Songbird” under a film montage of seagulls flying, there’s no way that SUL-FUP would defend such a case. They KNOW it’s not fair use. But this case is no different because you can’t argue that you MUST use, say, the particular melody of “Imagine” (everybody hum along with me … C C C … E E .. D ..) to “make your point”. It logically follows that if you CAN make your point without using someone else’s property (here, their music), then your 1st Amendment rights to Free Speech are not being violated.

No doubt when they lose, they will cry “foul”. I would not be surprised if they blame the “Godless executives” at “Big Music” for their “repression”.

Ofcourse you are right! For sure.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 18, 2008 11:21 AM.

Salt Lake Tribune: Review: Stein shuns intelligent debate in dishonest ‘Expelled’ was the previous entry in this blog.

Manufactroversy: ExpelledMovieNews.com is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter