US Judge says filmmakers can use John Lennon song

Yoko Ono loses bid to prevent its use

Yoko Ono lost a lawsuit today (June 2) that attempted to prevent the makers of a film about intelligent design from using John Lennon‘s song ‘Imagine’ in it.

Ono contended that the makers of ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ did not ask for her permission to use her late husband’s famous song, and have thereby infringed on the song’s copyright.

But US District Judge Sidney Stein said today that if the case went to court, the filmmakers would probably win under the fair use doctrine.

“That doctrine provides that the fair use of a copyrighted work for the purposes of criticism and commentary is not an infringement of copyright,” Stein wrote in his decision, reports the Associated Press.

The filmmakers admitted they did not ask Ono for permission, but argued they are protected by the “fair use” doctrine, which permits small parts of a copyrighted work to be used without an author’s permission under certain circumstances.

The film supports the intelligent design theory, and argues against the lyrics in Lennon‘s song: “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too”.

Ono has said that she is not asking that the film be removed from theatres, simply that the song be removed from the film. “It is a pity that this decision weakens the rights of all copyright owners,” she said in a statement.

Lennon‘s sons, Sean and Julian, were also named as plaintiffs in the suit.

The film, starring Ben Stein, was released in the US in April and is due to come out in Canada on June 6.

–By our Los Angeles staff.

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