STANFORD, Calif. The Fair Use Project of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society today announced that it is signing on to defend Premise Media’s right to use a clip of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” in its documentary, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” for the purposes of commentary and criticism.
Premise Media contends it has the right to use the song under the fair use doctrine, which among other things permits the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of comment, criticism, and discussion.
“The right to quote from copyrighted works in order to criticize them and discuss the views they may represent lies at the heart of the fair use doctrine,” said Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project. “These rights are under attack here, and we plan to defend them.”
The clip of “Imagine,” which is audible for approximately 15 seconds, is used in a segment of the documentary in which the film’s narrator and author Ben Stein comments on statements made by Myers and others about the place of religion. In the documentary Stein says: “Dr. Myers would like you to think that he’s being original but he’s merely lifting a page out of John Lennon’s songbook.” This is followed by an audio clip of Lennon’s song “Imagine,” specifically, the lyrics “Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too.”
“We included the ‘Imagine’ clip not only to illuminate Ben Stein’s commentary but to criticize the ideas expressed in the song,” says Logan Craft, chairman and executive producer of Premise Media.
About the Fair Use Project
The Stanford Center for Internet and Society’s Fair Use Project (“the FUP”) was founded in 2006. Its purpose is to provide legal support to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries of “fair use” in order to enhance creative freedom. The FUP represents filmmakers, musicians, artists, writers, scholars, and other content creators in a range of disputes that raise important questions concerning fair use and the limits of intellectual property rights. In doing so, it relies on a network of talented lawyers within the Center for Internet and Society, as well as attorneys in law firms and public interest organizations that are dedicated to advancing the mission of the FUP.
About the Center for Internet and Society
Founded by Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig in 2001, the Center for Internet and Society is a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School which engages students, academics, technologists and policy makers in exploring the interactions between technology, law, and society.
A judge will decide, but the involvement of the Stanford Fair Use Project sends a message that top-notch lawyers think this is valid fair use and that this case is important for the protection of filmmakers' rights.