Imagine there’s no copyright/It’s easy if you’re the Supreme Court

I live near the Strawberry Fields memorial with the mosaic of the word “Imagine” that is in Central Park opposite the Dakota. Yoko Ono Lennon funded and maintains the memorial. Almost every day, somebody asks me for directions to the site.

Yoko Ono Lennon, along with Lennon’s sons Sean and Julian, vigorously protect their copyrights in John Lennon’s works. Most recently, the Lennons sued the producer of a movie about intelleigent design that included 15 seconds from the song Imagine. Judge Sidney Stein (S.D.N.Y.) ruled in Lennon v. Premise Media that the producer was likely to prevail on a fair use defense and he denied the Lennons a preliminary injunction.

One can only guess how the Lennons feel about Justice Alito reproducing the entire lyrics to Imagine in footnote 2 of his opinion for the Court today in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum.

If the Supreme Court were not a slow adapter, Alito might have attached an audio file.

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5 Responses

  1. anon says:

    Given the attached video file in Scott v. Harris, the Court is not as far behind as you appear to think.

  2. Bruce Boyden says:

    Maybe they have a Tucker Act claim!

  3. A.W. says:


    Well, the rule is, if the Supremes do it, it has got to be legal. 🙂

  4. TJ says:

    Bruce, instead of the Tucker Act, try 28 USC 1498.

  5. Prof. Filburn says:

    This is hilarious.
    If the Supreme Court adapted faster, they’d actually be ‘capable’ of using newschool interwebz technology to actualize their severe obliviousness to the fact that they’d be nudging the Beatles further into the public domain.