Judge continues injunction against 'Expelled' film

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

A New York Judge ruled to continue an injunction against Premise Media, which effectively prevents Premise, the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, from further distribution. Expelled is a film about intelligent design and creationism starring Ben Stein, and is currently playing at 200 U.S. theaters. Since its April 18 debut it has received criticism from the scientific community, which considers both pseudoscience, and film critics.

The case Lennon v Premise Media was filed by Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, Sean Lennon, and EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. against Premise Media, C&S Production, and Rocky Mountain Pictures in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 23, 2008 alleging copyright infringement concerning John Lennon's song "Imagine". Premise is being represented by Anthony Falzone of the Fair Use Project.

EMI filed its own separate lawsuit against Premise in a New York state court alleging that Premise's usage of the song is harming EMI’s ability to license “Imagine,” which has only been licensed in one film (The Killing Fields).

In court, Judge Richard Lowe, according to the Wall Street Journal, "seemed skeptical" about Falzone's arguments. Lowe asked Falzone why the film's producers did not read the lyrics to the song or flash the lyrics on the screen. Lawyers also pointed out that Premise Media licensed all other music in the film except for Lennon's song. At the end of the hearing Lowe "decided to stay the original TRO pending his ruling, which means that Expelled, currently playing in theaters around the country, cannot be reproduced or otherwise distributed."

The judge promised a quick decision since the film will debut in Canada on June 6 and DVD rights must be finalized by the end of May for October distribution.


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