Thursday, April 17, 2008

Second EXPELLED Copyright Case 'Resolved'

'Inner Life' and all of its yellow permutations are out of EXPELLED.

No such 'luck' for The Killers:

"I just spoke to the band's manager, and adding to the confusion was the fact that they did authorize a project months ago with this request:

'The film is a satirical documentary with an estimated running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, exploring academic freedom in public schools and government institutions with actor, comedian, economist, Ben Stein as the spokesperson.'

She later added:

"The band asked the producers to remove their song from the film when they became aware of the true nature of it. They were told it is too late. That's all there is."
Well, you all can write the jokes from here. But something jumped out at me-- "1 hour 50 minutes"?

It was 97 minutes pre-XVIVO.

Now its only 90.

Its the incredible shrinking propaganda film.

Which even the TheoTARDS think is 15 minutes too long.


(H/T Quidam at AtBC)


Anonymous said...

Like the famous Project Steve, there should be a Project Deceivers. It can list all the lies to people about the film from its early days to the current shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly happened with the XVIVO animation - did Expelled have to pull their lawsuit?

Because the way I understand it XVIVO just sent a cease and desist, nothing about taking it to court.

I'm basically wondering what's the status of the case in Texas?

ERV said...

Anon#2-- Youll have to ask Premise. They filed their 'I LUV TX' suit, then went out to get tea and crumpets, or something. XVIVO hasnt gotten anything from them, and while I cant speak for XVIVO/Harvard/HHMI-- I would guess theyre relatively satisfied. Their animation (or its yellow spawn) arent in EXPELLED.

Dan said...

Wait... So they took the XVIVO animation out? When did this happen?

The reason I ask is because I took a peek at the Expelled Exposed site, and I couldn't find anything about the animation being pulled from the film.

Josh said...

I'm confused about this as well, Dan. Last I knew, things were being setup for a lawsuit against Premise, and possibly injunctions against launching the film tomorrow. But this doesn't seem to be the case?

It's almost worth going to the local showing just to see what is there.

Duae Quartunciae said...

It doesn't seem that complicated to me. They used to have a rip off of XVIVO's "Inner Life". This was probably pulled some time ago, after the publicity fall out from PZ Myer's expulsion and the hilarious Ours is brown image. The XVIVO cease and desist letter may have helped, but my guess is that had already removed the obviously plagiarized portion.

I don't think the court case will come to much. I give about 2 to 1 odds Premise will just drop their suit before anything is done; if it actually goes before a court then Premise will be in a world of trouble. XVIVO or Harvard might be able to bring a case in relation to the illegal use of their work in the promotional material, including DvDs. But I don't think they'll bother, given that the essential part of their demand has already been met: removal of the plagiarized segments from the movie before distribution.

Look for the whole thing to fizzle, and we can get back to focusing on the lies and distortions in the film's content; rather than on the shoddy sleaze in how they thew it together.

Keep us posted, however! Thanks for your useful coverage on the matter, ERV.

Lledowyn said...

So does this mean that William loses his $100 bet, that he had with some folks, since the animation is nowhere near Expelled?

angrynight said...

I'm a little disappointed the XVIVO thing didn't have it's day in court. Oh well, there is still the Killers. In the end though, seven minutes less is probably an improvement. Even a zombie can only take so much of the same argument over and over again.

Mod said...

Heh - it seems the Killer's were one of the only non-ID people who were approached half honestly about it all: A satirical documentary indeed.
Farce might be a better word though...

Anonymous said...

Copyright cases involving documentaries are old hat, and they have ben a subject of intense scrutiny for some time now. Basically, there is a considerable body of legal thought that says that documentary filmmakers are subject to excessive restrictions when it comes to copyright issues.

So darwinists shouldn't drool too much when it comes to the thought that "Expelled" might suffer as a result of copyright infringement.

Consider the following:

STANFORD, Calif., February 27, 2007—The Fair Use Project of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School announced that it has teamed with Media/Professional Insurance and leading intellectual property attorney Michael Donaldson to provide critical support for documentary filmmakers who rely on the “fair use” of copyrighted material in their films. . . .

“Documentary filmmakers who use copyrighted materials in their work under the ‘fair use’ doctrine of copyright law have come under tremendous pressure in the face of demands for huge licensing fees from copyright holders and overly-aggressive enforcement of copyrights,” explained Lawrence Lessig, founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

“The mere threat of a lawsuit can keep an important film on the shelf for years,” Lessig said. “This has been a tremendous problem for documentarians because their films depend on the inclusion of copyrighted material they seek to comment on, discuss, and contextualize.”

In order to help solve this problem, the Fair Use Project has announced that it will agree to provide pro bono legal representation to certain filmmakers who comply with the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use published by the Center for Social Media at American University ( Accordingly, the filmmaker will have counsel in place prior to the release of the film should the filmmaker face claims of copyright infringement. Media/Professional, in turn, will provide insurance coverage against copyright infringement liability in the event the filmmaker proves unsuccessful in defending the claim. In situations where the Fair Use Project is not in a position to promise pro bono representation, Donaldson and other leading intellectual property attorneys will be available to defend claims at favorable rates.

– from

Duae Quartunciae said...

Good point on excessive use of copyright, anonymous at 7:16 am.

Russell Blackford has an excellent and thought provoking analysis of copyright issues at his recent article: Expelled defended - on one point. He consider the use of Lennon's "Imagine" in Expelled. This song has become iconic in our generation, and Stein's juxtoposition of the song with goosestepping Nazis is a clear ironic comment on the song itself. It's not merely using the song as a nice accompaniment, but as a critical commentary.

It's a blisteringly stupid comment, of course; and one at complete odds with anything Lennon would have recognized. But that's part of what critical commentary is about. There's a strong case here that it is an overly restrictive application of copyright law to prevent this kind of use.

The XVIVO animation, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. IF they had used the XVIVO animation directly, clear that it was from Big Science, and with a kind of ironic (though stupid) intent to show how Big Science refuses to follow the implications of the complexity that they know of already, then it would be comparable to the use of "Imagine", and I'd be inclined to consider it plausible as fair use.

But it wasn't like that. They ripped of the XVIVO animation, with no attribution, and presented an obviously plagiarized version simply for the sake of a cheap way to get the footage they wanted; NOT as critical commentary on XVIVO itself. The animation has evidently been removed, and replaced with their own much inferior animation; so the copyright issue for XVIVO is now apparently only limited to the improper use in promotional material... which I doubt they will bother to pursue, unfortunately.

But the case of "Imagine" is another thing entirely. And ironically, John Lennon himself is sometimes credited the notion that "no one can really own a song". I don't have an original source for where he said this; but it sounds like Lennon.

JLT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Which even the TheoTARDS think is 15 minutes too long.

Well that was an interesting review.

"The movie is fun, fun, fun! Ben Stein is hilarious! But if you took teenagers to see it, they would probably fidget, so get the DVD and break it into 4 segments."

I guess teens these days just don't appreciate fun as much as they used to.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

The MP3 versions of Imagine are right around 3 minutes. So a 25 second clip would be about 14% of the total.

Rrr said...

I was going to quip about your faulty slide rule too, ERV, but I was slow as usual.

Ironic to see the good man Lessig on the "other" side here...

It might still be of interest to the creators of the original animations to sue for infringement even if the copying is a little less direct. Also, it might be of interest for the Lennon estate to react to that infringement, if that's what it is. Guess it comes down to how angry they got...
Imagine is another example of how the same song has been re-used (in my mind, to a better purpose and more in line with fair use, but IANAL). Personally, I like the audio (mp3) version from a couple years ago better, it feels more complete and less repetitious. Matter of taste. Skillful work though!

And ERV, do you have a favo charity to recommend for donations re: Monday? Maybe one with a PayPal acct ?:-)

jetmags73 said...

ERV why did you provide the link to that Christian Post article? ME DEPRESSED NOW. It was written by an illiterate! He could not even construct a coherent sentence. BAD BAD BAD CHI-ELD LIKE RIGHTING FROm A Growen-Up SAD MAKE ME!!!

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Not everyone in the Colorado Springs area is religious to the point of insanity:
The Colorado Springs Independent reviews Expelled

The Inoculated Mind said...

They can probably prevent Expelled from using the music for any DVD release. I hope they are aware of that potential option.

I have noticed that every single non-religious source that reviews this film rips it a few novel orifices. Not a good sign for their impact. We should vote on what place it holds relative to other films, and recent documentaries.

Nullifidian said...

I'm still suspicious. The cease and desist letter wouldn't have given them enough time to strike new prints for each of their alleged thousand screens. Unless the copyright infringing moments turned out to be somewhere near the end or beginning of a reel, I really don't see how they could have managed it without having had weeks beforehand.

And if they had removed it weeks beforehand, I would think they'd respond to the Irons C&D letter with something akin to "Ha ha! Stupid Darwinists! We've had that out of our film weeks ago!"

Chayanov said...

We should vote on what place it holds relative to other films, and recent documentaries.

My guess is somewhere between What the Bleep Do We Know? and Loose Change.

Jim Lippard said...

It sounds like they just filed the lawsuit for publicity value, since they didn't bother to serve XVIVO with papers, as ERV commented on my blog. (I assume that's still the case?)

Lowell said...

That's a good point, Jim. I just checked the docket in the Premise v. XVIVO case, and no summons has yet been issued.

There's just a complaint and a couple of administrative entries.

pcarini said...

From the Christianpost review:

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" pulls their fancy pants down and spanks em good.

Eek.. it doesn't help that the next sentence starts out "If I were a youth leader..."

William Wallace said...

"So does this mean that William loses his $100 bet, that he had with some folks, since the animation is nowhere near Expelled?"

First, there is an animation in the film illustrating a motor protein pulling a vesicle to the cellular membrane, and it looks as good if not better than Harvard's.

Second, ERV was too chicken to bet even at 10:1 odds.

Third, imagine was played in the film.

Fourth, DaveScot called it right...dopes were duped.

Lastly, the film received a sitting ovation, only the second film I've seen this happen.

ERV (and like minded members of "the Machine"), "Tear down this wall!"

Blake Stacey said...

Yo, guys, check this out (thanks to some other Abbie). From the microtubule formation alone, I'd say it was a rip-off.

Andrea said...

"and it looks as good if not better than Harvard's"
I know the IDists' concern for reality is not high, but I would think the first question to cross your mind would have been whether it was scientifically accurate, not how good it looked.

"the film received a sitting ovation"
"Sitting ovation"? Do you mean "clapping"? Because it sounds like a fancy euphemism for "laying an egg".

William Wallace said...


Hope this helps you understand another word:

1 : a ceremony attending the entering of Rome by a general who had won a victory of less importance than that for which a triumph was granted
2 : an expression or demonstration of popular acclaim especially by enthusiastic applause

Source: MW

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

I went to see Flunked! at the local multiplex along with 5 other audience members. The clip of John Lennon's Imagine was only about 10 seconds. I guess they clipped it due to Fear of Ono.

There was a video of cellular processes, but I am not familiar enough to know which one it was. No stochastic diffusion at all, molecules just magically fly to the exact spot at the exact time they are needed.

Bruce Chapman (president of Disclaimery Institute) gets interviewed. He complains about how wrong the media has gotten it all these years, with their mistakenly linking ID with religion. then the rest of the movie goes on to link ID with religion, and even to mock nontheistic versions of ID.

michaelf said...

It is always fascinating how the most ignorant among us (take a hint william wallace - a man who knows next to nothing about science and history - perhaps the same could be said about religion) are so snarky about other's ignorance.

Jay said...

Come on Will, you must admit, "sitting ovation" sounds like a pathetic attempt at spin --kinda like you REALLY wish everyone else had stood up and went wild! But instead, it was just you, and the rest politely clapped and left.

Andrea said...

Thank you for going through the trouble of dusting up your dictionary, I know what an ovation is. That's why I said that what you pompously called a "sitting ovation", most of us would have described as "people clapped".

But I do understand that for a pompom-waving little ID cheerleader such as yourself, for whom looking at someone cross is an act of repression and publishing a paper in a third-rate journal is a momentous change in the history of science, those people clapping were certainly delivering an "ovation". And if they were keeping their fat ass in their seats, thus depriving you of the usually de rigeur "standing" qualifier, it was just because they must have forgotten to stand, and a "sitting ovation" would have to do just fine for your cheerleading purposes.

Alas, the result of your clumsy neologism was to give the disturbing impression of the audience squatting down in choreographed ovoposition. But maybe it's just my imagination.

William Wallace said...

"But instead, it was just you, and the rest politely clapped and left."

I did not clap. But once again the Darwinists demonstrate the if they think it, it must be true.

John said...

Nice generalization, William Wallace.

Rrr said...

Hippy puppy burfday, ERV!

Anonymous said...,0,5859473.story

From the Los Angeles Times
'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed'
By Mark Olsen
Special to The Times

April 18, 2008

Someday, perhaps, it will be possible to look back on "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" as a relic and reminder of the rhetorical logic employed during the era of George W. Bush. Until then, it should be seen simply as a tiresome ideological bludgeon, an attempt to deceive audiences into believing it is one thing when it is, in fact, quite another.

Ed Darrell said...

I think the Killers need a bulldog lawyer with a bigger overbite. I mean, they are induced to grant permission via a fraudulent claim, and they don't make that argument?

Fraud is not a fun thing to lay before a court. If the producers knew what film they were making, they should have laid it out -- that description isn't what they claim it is today.

And I love the prospect of the producers having to fight a fraud charge.

It'd get the whole film posted on the FAIL blog.

Jim Lippard said...

I've heard from several people who have seen the film that the XVIVO-copied footage was still in it.

Anonymous said...

Yoko is officially suing!

Lowell said...

A minor update in the Premise Media v. XVIVO case. A summons was issued yesterday to XVIVO. That means Premise is at least making some effort to serve XVIVO with the complaint.