So after a little digging around on the whole imbroglio involving Ben Stein's dubious pro-creationist film, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," and the fact that two tracks by The Killers and John Lennon ("Imagine," no less) may have been licensed for the film - which as many have pointed out would be an odd association for Yoko Ono, Lennon and the Killers to be a part of - we've found some answers.
Publicists for Ono, her lawyers and people have told us the the track was not licensed for the film and a statement on the matter would be forthcoming (see below). Will be interesting on Friday to see this film and John Lennon's "Imagine," playing "over B&W scenes of what looked like communist China, with a parade of soldiers."
Thanks to the Swarm, we found another update over at the Wall Street Journal. They talked to Ono's lawyers and it looks like the filmmakers are using the Lennon track anyhow even though they do not have permission to use the song, "for any amount of money."
Ms. Ono's lawyer, Jonas Herbsman, of Shukat, Arrow, Hafer, Weber & Herbsman, said in an interview Wednesday: "It was not licensed." With respect to the filmmakers, he says: "We are exploring all options." It is not clear what remedies if any may be available to Ms. Ono.Lawsuit in, 2, 3, 4... Check this: the producers are trying to justify the usage of the track under the first amendment.
The film's three producers -- Walt Ruloff, John Sullivan and Logan Craft -- acknowledged that they did not seek permission, but they called the use "momentary." "After seeking the opinion of legal counsel it was seen as a First Amendment issue and protected under the fair use doctrine of free speech," the statement said. A spokeswoman said under 25 seconds of the song are used in the movie.Yeah, someone is soon to be sued into the grave.
However, a statement at the end of the article concludes that the Killers, did give their permission to use the song (or at least their label or publishers did, but we can assume, these matters are passed by management at least?)
A spokesman for Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, which owns the band's record label and music publisher, said licenses had been issued.
Update: An interesting addendum to this story. The Huffington Post blogger who started this brouhaha by calling out Yoko in the first place, has run a retraction in his story. We feel like we've done our job. He writes, "I apologize to Mrs. Lennon for my incorrect assumptions and statements in the article below which, of course, I retract completely. I will also find out more about the producers of the movie and what their motives are."