They don’t like it.The latest gaffe in Expelled is the use of a famous song written and recorded by John Lennon shortly before his death. (See “Yoko-O-noz!” at Upright Alice.) The line, “Imagine no religion,” is played over scenes of marching soldiers, presumably to imply the false corollary that lack of religion would cause more war. (Tell that to the Crusaders, Hitler, or the Serbians.)
But back to copyright: think of old movies. You might recall that, when there’s a birthday party on screen, they always cut in at the end of the traditional song. The most they give it is two words, “…to you!” or sometimes just the last note.
That is because the tune, “Good Morning to You,” was written by a couple of schoolteachers and they held the copyright. If the producers of those movies had used any more of the song, they would have had to pay royalties—and, being cheap bastards, they didn’t want to.
I believe the 50 years since death of a composer has now passed, so you’ll be hearing more of the song from now on.
Compare that standard practice, for a song that could arguably be called a traditional part of popular culture, with way that the producers of Expelled used “Imagine” with its lyrics, instrumentation, and all. Any copyright lawyer worth his salt would tell them they way over the line into forbidden territory.
More and more, the producers of Expelled and their advisers seem like spoiled children who think they can just grab whatever they want just because they want it.