Yoko Ono's Legal TKO Vanquishes Ben SteinA couple months ago, when Ben Stein's documentary Expelled stunned industry and cultural observers alike by selling $7.6 million worth of intelligent-design hokum to its conservative Christian base, you might remember he found an unlikely foe in aggrieved widow Yoko Ono. Disapproving of Expelled's inclusion (and criticism) of the John Lennon classic, "Imagine," Ono and Lennon's publishers at EMI filed an injunction temporarliy preventing the producers from including the disputed scene in their DVD release. The courts ultimately tossed it, but today we're learning that Stein's persuasive copyright-law revisionism was too little, too late to vanquish a nemesis as crafty as Yoko:
The mere pendency of these cases caused the film's DVD distributor to shy away from releasing the full film — the version that includes the Imagine segment. So the film goes out on DVD on October 21 in censored form, illustrating the damage that even an unproved and unsupported infringement claim can do.
Right. We know better, though: If Stein and Co. aren't pushing Expelled: The Unrated Fair-Use Director's Cut by next Chrstmas with the tagline, "The Version Yoko Ono Couldn't 'Imagine' You Seeing!", then these guys aren't nearly the savvy, ruthless market witches we took took them for.