In an interesting development, U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein (no relation to “Evolution Doesn’t Explain Gravity!” Ben) has ruled that Expelled can use the 15-second clip of John Lennon’s “Imagine” under the fair use doctrine. Over at PT, commenters are pointing out that this isn’t an end to the lawsuit, but it may be moot at this point. I disagree with the decision — I think it could open the gates to all manner of dodgy copyright infringement — but at this point it really has no impact either way for Expelled, which is already out of theaters in the US after tanking with a pitiful $7.5 million haul after six weeks. The movie simply wasn’t the takedown of science its producers were hoping for. But since they’ve created a nice little insulated world to live in, only exposing themselves to tightly controlled pre-release screenings to which the scientifically-illiterate choir were exclusively admitted, they’ll never know that. So it’s on to the church-basement DVD circuit, where it was going to end up anyway — while, off in the real world, science marches on and people with brains are actually learning new things.
I did find this part of the MSNBC article enlightening.
At a hearing last month, Falzone had argued that the segment of the song in the film — “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too” — was central to the movie because “it represents the most popular and persuasive embodiment of this viewpoint that the world is better off without religion.”
The film, he said, is “asking if John Lennon was right and it’s concluding he was wrong.”
It’s a nice admission that religionists wouldn’t think the world a happy place unless they had absurd ideologies and irrational beliefs to kill and die for.