[04.28.08] Yoko Ono, the former wife of Beatles legend John Lennon, has filed a lawsuit against the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, challenging the film's use and critique of her late husband's song “Imagine.”
The film, a documentary starring Ben Stein, which claims that proponents of intelligent design are being cut out of the scientific community, plays 15 seconds of the song while showing the lyrics on-screen and criticizes its message to end religion. Premise Media, which produced Expelled, claims its use of the clip is protected under fair use.
“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,” said Logan Craft, executive producer and chairman of Premise Media. “While some may not like what we have to say or how we say it, we have the free speech right to do so.”
Box office numbers continued to be strong for Expelled despite the criticisms. The film, which has tapped into the Christian retail channel for promotions, finished at No. 13 in its second weekend, taking in more than $1.3 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. It has brought in a total of $5.28 million so far.