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'Expelled' claims withdrawn by plaintiffs

Oct. 12, 2008 at 4:12 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- EMI Records and artist Yoko Ono have both withdrawn claims of copyright infringement against the U.S. movie "Expelled," a producer says.

Producer John Sullivan said the two claims against Premise Media's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," were based on its use of a portion of singer John Lennon's hit "Imagine," a news release from Premise said Friday.

Ono, Lennon's widow, lost a preliminary injunction claim in June in a U.S. District Court case in New York in which she alleged the song's use violated copyright laws. Similar allegations by EMI Records and Capitol Records were also rejected in a New York state court Aug. 13.

Sullivan said the failed preliminary court dealings prompted the plaintiffs to file for dismissal in their cases.

For Sullivan, the end of the litigation against the movie starring comedian Ben Stein represented a victory for free speech.

"This legal action was about more than our film 'Expelled,'" Sullivan said. "What was really at stake was our basic right as Americans to free speech. While this was personally challenging, it was a fight worth going to the mat on because of the gravity of the issue."

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