Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yoko Ono, Lennon Sons, Suing Producers of "Expelled" Over Use of Song

Yoko Ono and John Lennon's sons are suing the producers of the new film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for using some of John Lennon's song "Imagine" without permission. The claim is that the producers either knew they couldn't get permission to use the song or couldn't afford to pay for rights. Mrs. Lennon, the widow of the songwriter, who was killed in 1980, says the song is "closely associated with and is synonymous with John Lennon." They may also be claiming that use of the song, hence John Lennon's persona, is somehow endorsing the views in the film, since Mrs. Lennon has been receiving criticism from bloggers who have "accused her of selling out." (Think of the line "Imagine there's no heaven...".)The plaintiffs are asking for an injunction, and damages. The producers claim they have the right to use the snippet under the fair use doctrine. Read more here in a Globe and Mail story.

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