Expelled enjoined

Yoko Ono reportedly has won an injunction against Expelled. The movie can continue to be shown in theaters that already have it, but (quoting Ed Brayton)

no new prints can be sent out and they cannot distribute DVDs of the movie at least until they hold a hearing on a further injunction on May 19.

The injunction is being celebrated across the blogosphere by supporters of science and science education. I’m not sure I’m with Yoko on this one, though.

What’s at stake is the scope of “Fair Use” under copyright law. The film’s producers are being defended against Yoko Ono’s lawsuit by the Fair Use Project of Stanford:

The Fair Use Project of Stanford Law Schools Center for Internet and Society today announced that it is signing on to defend Premise Medias right to use a clip of John Lennons song Imagine in its documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,

As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in Whitney v. California (1927):

If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.

“Enforced silence” is not the answer. The fact that so many people cannot see through the many falsehoods and illogic of this movie demonstrates the failure of science education in this country. The answer is effective public education — not “enforced science,” which is at best an oxymoron.

Click here for more on this blog re: Expelled.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    When I wrote this post, I was thinking from my views on “Fair Use” in general. As I turn to thinking more about this case in particular, it’s even worse.

    If Expelled is squelched through legal action, it will only confirm the ideological message of the film. We’ve seen the TV promo of Ben Stein sitting outside the principal’s office, explaining to another student being disciplined that he’s there for making a film. “Must be quite a film,” says the other student.

    They could just re-edit the movie, replacing the Lennon’s lyric with a bit about the lawsuit. Ben moves from the bench outside the principal’s office to the defendant’s seat in court. Same thing though … the establishment can’t face the truth, so they suppress it through disciplinary power.

    Add to that the irony (which has not escaped the film’s supporters) of the lawsuit being brought to protect Yoko’s property interest in Imagine (of all songs), Lennon’s fantasy of a utopia with no borders or proprietary exclusions!

    Of course Yoko has every right to protect her property interests, but let’s just not pretend that any victory for her in this case is a real victory for the larger cause of public enlightenment.


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  1. […] Of course, that will be a matter of competitive fitness for survival in the film’s envivonment. My guess is that it will not survive out on the surface and in daylight. It might not be able to survive at all without some mutation to accommodate pressure from the legal environment. […]

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