A federal judge on Monday freed the producers of a movie promoting intelligent design to continue using a 15-second recording of John Lennon's "Imagine."
A New York judge said the makers of Expelled had a right of fair use under copyright law to use a small portion of the work without Yoko Ono's permission.
I'm not going to get into the controversy surrounding the subject of this film. But in terms of the fair use/copyright issue, this is great news indeed.
I am not so sure this is good news. I think what is shows is that fair use does have a posse, but not the one we like. When it suits a conservative agenda such as Intelligent Design, fair use is allowed to happen. But when someone is trying to make a more liberal or radical statement such as Michale Moore Fahrenheit 9/11, a lot of suits of people claiming that rights were not cleared, and Moore claimed fair use. I know the scope of these to cases are differnt, but on the surface, there appears to be a double standard.
The judge has the same last name as Ben Stein, Sidney H. Stein. However, according to Wikipedia, this judge was appointed by Bill Clinton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_District_Court_for_the_Southern_District_of_New_York
I am not aware of any successful copyright suit against Moore. His fair use claims are just as strong as those for 'Expelled', and he has successfully defended his rights as such - so I think your attempt to transform a copyright abuse issue into a partisan political issue falls flat.
I agree that copyright lawsuits are often brought for ideological reasons to suppress speech that people disagree with (rather than an attempt to 'protect rights' or spur creativity) - but that happens on all sides of the ideological spectrum. Since fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis, it also allows for ideological abuse by the individual judge involved (subject to his or her personal political whims). But that is a case for reforming copyright law, not proof that it is somehow biased against the Left. The Right has endured just as much copyright abuse.
Well said Justin, but I think it's safe to come out of the closet and agree with me that copyright's constraint of what would otherwise be natural cultural exchange is a case for its abolition - not merely its reform.
If unconstrained cultural exchange is right in fourteen years' time, why not today?
It's not like all these nearer lines people would draw in the sand aren't already submerged into irrelevancy by the instantaneous diffusion of the Internet anyway.