So apparently HuffPo blogger James Boyce was too quick to assume that Ben Stein had acquired the rights to the Killers and John Lennon tracks for his apparently not so intelligently designed documentary Expelled, and the blogosphere, including us here at Prefix, were only too willing to oblige. In truth, the moderaters of the the Killers’ message board insisted that the band had never given the rights for the song "All these Things That I Have Done," which would leave you to believe that they didn’t bother to get the rights for "Imagine" either. At RichardDawkins.net, commenter Josh Timonen made the following argument:
"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. 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."
Stealing music for the film would not be out of line for the tactics Stein has used for the film, which included luring prominent scientists for interviews under false prentenses, and, ironically enough, expelling liberal biologist blogger PZ Myers from a screening of Expelled! (but still allowing Richard Dawkins to attend). All in all, with the financial hit the film is expected to take, society will be winning quite a bit of Ben Stein’s money.