Expelled without a license

Word on the street is starting to trickle in that the popular music was not licensed:

* John Lennon’s “Imagine” was definitely used without permission. The Lennon estate + EMI are suing. (See Reuters, 4/23 (link from pharyngula); the NYT, 4/24; and Paste Magazine. (I can just picture the graphic on The Daily Show: “Ono you di’n’t!”)

* I’m also hearing that The Killers (“Personal Jesus”) didn’t authorize. (See comments on earlier posts.) … And now I’m hearing that they did authorize, but were duped into doing so. See the playlist.

Updates as available.

4/28 update: It looks to me as if copyright infringement was at least anticipated and planned for, and the case that the copyright infringement was an intentional gambit by Premise Media to inspire litigation is considerably stronger: Check out this press release by Premise. They’re trumpeting the litigation, and note that they reference it as litigation by the “beloved Yoko Ono.” Tapping into popular dislike of Yoko Ono — which had significant racist and sexist over-, under-, and in-the-middle-tones — Premise Media continues to demonstrate that they are a class act. Their behavior reflects on the religion they profess and promote, of course.

Other discussions on the issue:
* metamagician
* Lippard Blog

creationist & religious violence against science & education

Just a list of links for the flurry of postings on this topic:
* Bug Girls’ Blog, Weekly WTF: More threats by Creationists, 2007/7/12; related Pharyngula, 2007/7/11; Bug Girl’s blog, 2007/7/20
* Bug Girl’s Blog, Creationist Death Threats, Part 2 (2007/8/24)
* Pharyngula, Another example of amoral religiosity, 2007/8/24
* Sunclipse, Creation, Power and Violence (2008/4/18)

music inspired by Expelled

So at the end of this long post about Expelled and copyright infringement, I appended some rewritten lyrics to the tune of “Spirit in the Sky” :

When I copy and they tell me “desist”,
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I get caught in a lie,
Goin’ up to Designers in the sky
Goin’ up to Designers in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I lie
When I lie and they tell me desist
Gonna go to the place that’s the best.

DJ actions might come a bust
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you lie
He’s gonna recommend you
To Designers in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To Designers in the sky
That’s where you’re gonna go when you lie
Steal in God’s name but they tell you desist
You’re gonna go to the place that’s the best

I sorta copied and I maybe infringed
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I lie
He’s gonna set me up with
Designers in the sky
Oh set me up with Designers in the sky
They’ll protect me when I lie
Texas judges might not let me rest
But Designers will protect me the best
Gonna go to the place that’s the best.

I thought it was free will but it was all part of some greater cultural zeitgeist. Today, PZ Myers linked (in a post called “RIAA bait” — boy, their reputation sucks, doesn’t it?) to two others that must be read and hummed along to:
* Imagine (Ben Stein’s Ethics) (from MJS on Corrente)
* Bensteinian Rhapsody (from MartinC posted on Stranger Fruit)

And then in the comments thread many people started posting their own rewritten lyrics — there are some amazing ones. (I posted these there too.)

Do I sense a phenomena? Will Expelled inspire all the rewritten lyrics the way Fellowship of the Ring (1) inspired a gajillion rewritten poems? (I still love the one I did based on Whitman’s Song of the Open Road).

apparently i’m married to pharyngula

Yesterday I excitedly pointed to this io9 blog entry about vat-grown meat: “You see!” I told my partner. “You see! I was right. We are going to have vat-grown meat, in our lifetime !!!”

The “I was right” or “you were right” is the gold ring of our relationship. The ch-ching it makes when one gets one — ah, I live for those moments.

We had previously argued about this a few times. My partner — a biologist, like P.Z. Myers (aka “Pharyngula”) — has long held that it is impractical, that you need medium to grow it in, blah blah blah technical objections that impede my vision, blah blah blah. I think this technology will provide us transplantable organs, vat-grown meat, and perhaps external uteruses (eventually). She has argued instead that for things like organs and vat-grown meat, we should be cloning humans or animals without brains [and other stuff, that I can't remember right now] , and harvesting organs from those living brainless creatures. Needless to say I find this utterly repulsive, frightening, and vaguely unethical. “But,” she points out, “the thing that makes us human is our brain [etc]. A clone of ourselves without a brain is just a bag of organs.” Then I bring up the birth of severely disabled children, and we get going on yet another round of the unsolvable discussions that occupy our time.

But lo, today, in response to the same vat-grown meat story that I trumpeted, Pharyngula posted this response arguing that instead of building brainless humane meat from cellular matrices & tissues & then adding support structures, we should be building it top-down — stripping the sentience from our food animals. Needless to say, this is as disturbing as my partner’s vision of brainless clonal twin organ farms. Isn’t this basically what Brave New World did to the various classes of people? If we do accustom ourselves to get over the squick factor about this, isn’t that actually — well, risky and scary?

My partner accuses me of falling prey to Bushian “culture of life” mysticism. Sentience, pain perception, fear, anxiety, happiness — all the things that make killing animals for food inhumane would be irrelevant if the food stuffs had the biological capacity to feel those things removed. I admit my arguments get a little weak around this time. “Muscle memory,” I counter, suggesting that our sentience, while centered on the brain, is perhaps also holistically grounded in our entire body. She mocks the “muscle memory” argument mercilessly.

Anyway, the real point is that their arguments are disturbingly similar (and similarly disturbing). Possibly related to the fact they’re both biologists. On the other hand, I never have seen them in the same place at the same time.

(Also, all this reminds me of Rudy Rucker’s Software, Wetware, etc. — which my partner introduced me to. Cloned human meat was popular — also vat-grown I think — and one of the characters actually made a ton of money from allowing herself to be cloned into one of the most popular burgers. While funny and thought-provoking and all the other good stuff that Rucker & SF generally are, I gotta say that this squicked me out more than almost anything else I’ve read in SF.)

Expelled copyright infringement, cont’d

update 4/16: Both a commenter here and also P.Z. Myers have reported that Expelled filmmakers Premise filed on Monday a DJ (“declaratory judgment”) motion on XVIVO‘s copyright claims against them — i.e., asked a judge to look at the evidence & say that they are not infringing. Premise v. XVIVO, N.D. Tex., 4/14/2008.

Here are links to the PDFs of the
* complaint , and
* the statement of interested parties.
And may I just note that PACER is a pain in the ass?

Also via that same post @ pharyngula, Sarah S @ ERV reports that they copied not just the XVIVO video but other sources as well. Quel surprise.

Previous posts:
* Copyright claims against Expelled
* “Expelled” music licensed or not?

Thoughts on reading the complaint below the fold:

obedience & expelled

Obedience has never been my forte but every now and then I try it out just for fun. Or else, just because the radio waves directly into my brain will stimulate the pain center unless I do as told.

So, direct from central squidelicious headquarters:

This dumb movie named Expelled is being released the eighteenth of this month, I’m told, and this post is a G00gle-b0mb to help out. You too can play by adding the following text to your blogs and other sites:

<a href=”http://expelledexposed.com/”><i>Expelled</i></a>

and to help your less HTML-nerdy friends play, you can also include instructions for them to further instruct other bloggers … a vast game of peer-to-peer obedience to the evil athiest conspiracy:

&lt;a href=”http://expelledexposed.com/”&gt;Expelled&lt;/a&gt;

Obey … obey … obey … obey … obey …

update 4/16: On the 14th when I posted this I noted that Expelled Exposed was 16th-ish on Google search for “Expelled”. Today on the 16th I checked and it’s 10th. (At least for me; Google twinkles its algorithm depending on what information it has on you.)

“Expelled” music licensed or not?

Josh Timonen wrote a detailed synopsis of the movie “Expelled”, the creationist film that tries to argue that creationist views are “unfairly” excluded from the academy.

What piqued my interest about this particular post (there have been hundreds by now about how bad the movie is, the deceptiveness of the filmmakers, P.Z. Myers’ being prevented from attending, the NCSE’s excellent “Expelled, Exposed” website, and so on) was that Timonen noted the proliferation of popular commercial music, including John Lennon’s “Imagine”, and a song from “The Killers”; maybe others. Timonen says:

Either Expelled has a disproportionately-large music budget (for how bad of a film it is), or they are using songs they haven’t paid for in their Director’s Cut private screenings (that may be changed before the official nationwide release). John Lennon’s “Imagine” is played (original version) over B&W scenes of what looked like communist China, with a parade of soldiers. The lyrics to the song were subtitled on the bottom of the screen. I think I remember a shot of Stalin saluting somewhere in here as well. The part of the song played was of course “…and no religion too…”, implying that no religion equals communist China. Does Yoko know about this? I doubt she’d be pleased.

The excellent “Mad Hot Ballroom Dancing” got dinged for a lot of money for a lot less music use than this. Could the Expelled filmmakers really not have known they needed to license music? Did they have a giant music budget? Are they relying on fair use? Maybe one could make a fair use case for using “Imagine” to illustrate communist China, although it seems a bit of a stretch to me since the point of the film isn’t China or John Lennon, or even atheism per se.

I’ll be interested to see what happens when it’s officially released. Same music? And what’s the story with the licensing? Does Yoko Ono not control the Lennon estate? Would she really license the music for that purpose? Questions, questions.

Supposedly, the film also includes animations of cellular functions. There have been lots of such animations made in the last few years. P.Z. Myers of Pharyngula described one such animation out of Harvard and XVIVO being edited and used without in creationist lecture tours. What’s the licensing on these, I wonder? Studio Daily describes the animation process and says they can’t provide it, because it belongs to Harvard & XVIVO; there’s a version at Harvard’s MCB website. These were funded by the HHMI and the licensing notes the copyright to Robert Lue & Alain Viel, Harvard University, and says “For educational use only. The use, duplication, or distribution of this material for any commercial purpose is strictly prohibited.” Well, creationist lectures are arguably “educational”, at least in the broadest possible sense, but editing it to create a derivative work — that seems a bit different.

atheist’s creed

i like this atheist’s creed pretty well. it was posted at pharyngula and i suspect that pz myers wrote it.

An atheist’s creed

I believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.

I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

I believe in the power of doubt;
I do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.v

I accept human mortality.

We have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.

I rejoice in this life that I have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me.

The post was in response to a sad illustration by someone who thinks that atheists are sad people and that atheism is depressing. In response, Myers titled his post: “Actually, it’s theists who believe in nothing, quite fervently”, which is a nice point that unfortunately didn’t get followed up on in the post itself. But it’s such an elegantly expressed truth: Theists believe in non-existent things, or no-things; theists believe in nothing, and that belief in nothing crowds out so much of what there is in the world.

religious in Turkey block wordpress.com

Pharyngula said it well: “Turkish ass shuts down a slice of the Internet” (well, as far as Turkey is concerned, anyway). Muslim creationist was unhappy with some critical blog commentary so he got a judge to block the entire domain.

Best comment from Pharyngula thread:

Wonder Twin powers activate. Form of A Google Bomb

PZ Myers speaks for me*

David Klinghoffer @ the National Review is confused, perhaps willfully, about the Kitzmiller decision. He describes the decision thusly:

If ID is bogus because many of its theorists have religious beliefs to which the controversial critique of Darwinism lends support, then what should we say about Darwinism itself? After all, many proponents of Darwinian evolution have philosophical beliefs to which Darwin lends support.

Well, see, right there is the problem. If Klinghoffer is wondering about Kitzmiller‘s statement as to religion — a statement which Judge Jones repeatedly said he was not making — then he needs to frame his question correctly. The court did not say that ID is bogus because its theorists have religious beliefs, or because it lends support to its followers’ religious beliefs, as Klinghoffer would have it. Rather, according to the court, ID is bogus science because it is not conducted scientifically and has nothing scientific to say.

Klinghoffer was trying to frame the question in this inaccurate way so that he could then analogize to the atheism of “Darwinists”, implying an unequal favoring of atheistic godless secular humanism on the part of Judge Jones. He thus implies that the examination of the role of religion in this case was somehow inappropriate.**

Since his initial framing of the question is completely inaccurate, his follow-up analogy to “Darwinism” is completely meaningless.

I was going to thoroughly fisk every part of this really irritatingly stupid article, but PZ Myers and What Culture War have already looked into the article. In particular, I urge you to read PZ Myers’ post at all costs. In his post, he effectively rolls his eyes at the specifics of the Klinghoffer article, and then addresses the faith-science question that the Klinghoffer article so badly misconstrued. I really think I am going to print this post out and possibly frame it.

* Non-Bay Area folks may not be aware of the popular Bay Area bumper sticker, “Barbara Lee speaks for me“, which proliferated after she was the only vote against HJ Res 64.

** Okay, I couldn’t entirely resist responding to the specifics in the article. Klinghoffer seems offended that religion was brought up at all. Another instance of irony. “Intelligent design theory” was developed, not by scientists, but by religious adherents who wanted to sneak creationism back into the schools. Creationism was an avowedly religious belief, and teaching it in public schools therefore violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on establishments of religion.

Since plaintiffs alleged that ID proponents were trying to disguise their religious belief as science, the court had to evaluate it to see whether or not it was actual science (no) and if not, was it religion because that would violate the First Amendment. Courts regular evaluate the quality of science in Daubert hearings and voir dires so this is nothing new.

Religion was relevant because if it’s religion then teaching it as fact in public schools violates the First Amendment. In fact, the religious background of ID proponents was scarcely mentioned. Although the backgrounds and beliefs of the witnesses and parties was rarely discussed in the discussion, the court did rely upon statements made by the School Board, the publishers of Of Pandas and People and other relevant figures. Statements by those people expressing an intent to foster religious belief were significant evidence — exactly as they should be in an Establishment Clause case. ID followers’ stated religious beliefs and affiliations were relevant to the following determinations: 1. Evaluating the intent and knowledge of the School Board, for the Lemon test’s purpose prong; 2. Tracking the historical evolution (ahem) of the specific text Of Pandas and People to assess whether or not the text was a religious text presented deceptively to appear nonreligious; 3. Likewise, tracking the scholarly foundation and historical evolution of the “theory” and the phrase “intelligent design”, to determine whether ID truly is a legitimate scientific theory, or whether it is actually a deceptive attempt to portray a particular religious doctrine as science. (The latter, as was obvious to all.)

Intelligent design is a sham theory devised to get around the First Amendment’s prohibition of state establishment of religion, so that some religious adherents might have the opportunity to indoctrinate children in their particular religious belief. What I find interesting is how persons ostensibly dedicated both to the law and to a religion which forbids bearing false witness — such as Phillip E. Johnson, Boalt Professor of Law — rationalize to themselves this elaborate deception. Do they really believe in a science with less support among scientists than, say, psychic abilities and UFOs? Or have they adopted for themselves an ends-justify-the-means philosophy which says that God won’t mind a little lying if it spreads the Gospel? Very strange.

chortle: atheist meetings

Pharyngula tears up a Christian apologetic, which was fine and entertaining, but it was the commenter Oneiros Dreaming who made me laugh out loud:

pharyngula: Personally, I’m a little bit miffed about this frequent assertion that atheists are just that way because they want free sex. I’m an atheist, and I never got to take advantage of all that free lovin’ hedonism; all of the atheists I know seem to live rather ordinary, conventional lives. I got married, have been faithful ever since, have had three atheist children who haven’t bothered to shoot up their school or muck up their lives with drugs, and as far as I know, my freethinker wife hasn’t been participating in any Black Masses behind my back. Is it all the other atheists who have wild and degenerate private lives?

Comment #35656 Oneiros Dreaming: Dude, you really have to start going to the meetings.