IT IS WELL KNOWN by now that Yoko Ono has sued the producers of Expelled, the Ben Stein “documentary,” over allegedly improper use of certain copyrighted music and lyrics. For a typical example of news coverage regarding this dispute, see Yoko Ono to sue over use of John Lennon’s Imagine. Excerpt:
Yoko Ono is suing the makers of a ‘creationist’ documentary for using John Lennon’s song Imagine without permission.
However, makers Premise Media are defending the action and saying it was “fair use”.
Ono claims they didn’t ask for permission to use it as they didn’t want to fork out to pay for the rights – and she would have said no anyway.
Very well. The litigation will proceed as such matters always do, and if the case isn’t settled, a court will decide if there was indeed copyright violation, or if the film made “fair use” of the material. There is nothing remarkable about this — except for the behavior of the people involved with the film.
Motive Entertainment, believed to be involved in the marketing of Expelled, has issued this press release: EXPELLED Producers to Yoko Ono: Let It Be. Excerpts:
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.
That’s just a wee bit over the top. But let’s continue with the press release:
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.
Relax, guys! Copyright infringement suits are hardly attempts to “ban free speech.” Rather, they are suits to protect property rights. You got a problem wid dat?
The press release goes on, and concludes with this (emphasis supplied):
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.'”
So now, besides being a lap-dog for creationism, Mr. Stein is also — or so it certainly seems — opposed to the concept of private property. Ah, Ben … we hardly knew ye.