Abbie Smith at ERV has the scoop on this: XVIVO has made the opening legal salvo with a cease-and-desist letter to Premise Media accusing them of copyright infringement concerning the animation showing the interior of a cell used in the film. They request that the disputed animation be removed from the “Expelled” film *before* it makes its commercial debut on April 18th.
Now, that’s a short schedule. Somebody’s going to be out a packet of change over this. It may not even be feasible for Premise Media to alter the film on that timetable and have their big opening, too. There’s speculation that Premise Media may say, ‘damn the lawyers, full steam ahead!’ and simply figure on writing off the financial end of this as a big loss, hoping that they’ll gain martyr cred by doing so. The thing about martyrs, though, is that they not only need to be oppressed, but they are supposed to somehow convey at least a dollop of righteousness along the way. Funny, though, how righteousness just doesn’t seem to be any part of the operating mindset behind the writing, production. or promotion of this film. Getting caught cheating doesn’t make you look like a martyr, it makes you look like a crook.
Hey, maybe Ben Stein will finally get to use Nixon’s most famous line that Ben Stein claims he, Ben Stein, didn’t write.
Update: If the “Expelled” folks think about this for more than five minutes or so, they will do everything in their power to comply with the XVIVO request, including screwing the distribution deal and holding off the premiere for another several months. Why?
Pause and consider.
“Expelled” is a production linked into the persecution stories at the heart of IDC. They have had months of discussions and correspondence with the principal figures of the IDC movement. They likely have recordings of discussions in meetings and other places where all these folks felt free to chat.
There is a serious line of inquiry as to whether there was collusion to infringe on the copyright of XVIVO.
Lawsuits come with the subpeona power of the courts for discovery. Depositions of witnesses are taken under oath. Cross-examination of witnesses is not restricted to a delimited field of questions; anything that could bear upon the credibility or trustworthiness of witnesses in court is fair game for inquiry. The court can compel answering awkward questions with contempt citations if needed.
If this goes to court, what witnesses can Premise Media put on the stand who *wouldn’t* potentially be tainted by the revelation that every single “persecution” story in it is overblown, misleading, or simply false in its particulars?
Premise Media could accomplish what outsiders never have hoped to do: bring about the complete public discrediting of the IDC movement in its most basic claims to personal integrity and suffering in the face of persecution. And it would be a completely self-inflicted wound. All Premise Media needs to do is blow off the XVIVO letter and continue with their opening schedule unaltered.