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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

PR of the day: arguing against precedent Expelled's theft of "Imagine" is "fair use"

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PR, as received: “EXPELLED Producers to Yoko Ono: Let it Be
( Dallas , TX ) – A new front has been opened in the culture wars. Ben Stein’s EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed stunned detractors by opening as the nation’s #10 movie last weekend. Out for less than one week, it has already become one of the top 25 documentaries of all time.
Opponents of the film have attacked everyone and everything in it. They have attacked the producers, the star, the music, and film itself. They have even attacked those who have seen it. Now they want to change the Constitution.
Yoko Ono and others have now filed lawsuits challenging the film’s use and critique of John Lennon’s song Imagine. One of the suits seeks to ban free speech through preliminary injunctive relief which essentially means that they are trying to expel EXPELLED as it is now being shown in theaters.
“If you really listen to the lyrics of Imagine then you realize that it represents everything that the Neo-Darwinists want. ‘Imagine there’s no Heaven…No hell below us…Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too…’ That’s exactly what the Darwinist establishment wants to do: get rid of religion. And that’s what we point out when we play less than 15 seconds of the song and show some of the lyrics on screen,” said Walt Ruloff Executive Producer and CEO of Premise Media.


Executive Producer and Chairman of Premise Media Logan Craft explained, “The fair use doctrine is a well established principle that gives the public the right to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary and criticism. While some may not like what we have to say or how we say it, we have the free speech right to do so – just as other political and social commentators have been doing for years.”
Premise did not pursue a license for the song and had no obligation to do so. Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the Imagine clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech. The brief clip – consisting of a mere 10 words – was used to contrast the messages in the documentary and was not used as an endorsement of EXPELLED.
But the irony of this lawsuit was not lost on the film’s star Ben Stein, “So Yoko Ono is suing over the brief Constitutionally protected use of a song that wants us to ‘Imagine no possessions’? Maybe instead of wasting everyone’s time trying to silence a documentary she should give the song to the world for free? After all, ‘imagine all the people sharing all the world…You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the World can live as one.'”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch