[NetBehaviour] Is Fair Use decided by who has the most money?

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Oct 10 10:29:10 CEST 2008

Is Fair Use decided by who has the most money?

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira, The Industry Standard.

Anthony Falzone, Executive Director of the Fair Use Project, was 
involved in the defense of the suit brought by Yoko Ono and EMI Records 
over the use of John Lennon's Imagine in Ben Stein's documentary film 
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. As a result of his involvement in the 
suit, defending the filmmakers pro bono alongside the producers' 
lawyers, he came to a frightening conclusion: fair use is guaranteed 
under U.S. copyright law, but it's becoming too expensive to actually 
take advantage of what is supposed to be a guaranteed right.

As Falzone points out, the film's producers were able to take advantage 
of the Documentary Film Program, which provides Media Professional 
Insurance and the availability of legal vetting of fair use of media 
before a movie is released. Even with that vetting, however, Ono and EMI 
sued over a 15-second section of a song used in a documentary, and the 
DVD version of the film was released without that section because of the 
pending lawsuit. If a film with Hollywood producers has trouble using 
media clips, what hope does an average citizen have of using something 
without worrying about huge legal expenses that could result?


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