Yoko Ono, EMI drop suits over Lennon song

Wed Oct 8, 2008 1:15am EDT
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(Reuters) - John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and EMI Records, the world's fourth largest music company, dropped copyright infringement lawsuits against the makers of a documentary that used the portion of the song "Imagine" without permission.

The news was made public on Tuesday by a Stanford Law School's Fair Use Projects release.

The dismissal follows unsuccessful attempts by Yoko Ono in federal court and EMI Records in state court to enjoin Premise Media Corp's documentary, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," because it uses a 15-second clip of the song.

"We think it was clear from the beginning that our clients had every right to use the 'Imagine' clip as they did, and we're happy we've vindicated that right," Anthony Falzone, a Stanford law professor and lead counsel for Premise in the case said in a statement.

The documentary looks at alleged discrimination against scientists and teachers who support so-called intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution.

In his blog, Falzone said the song won't appear in the DVD version of the documentary as the move came too late.

"The mere tendency of these cases caused the film's DVD distributor to shy away from releasing the full film -- the version that includes the Imagine segment," Falzone said in his blog.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Louise Heavens)

<p>Artist Yoko Ono looks up during a visit to Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, northern England May 25, 2007. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis</p>