Well, it's been an interesting time since I first published this. I never thought that someone, far less Ben Stein, would take a song as famous as "Imagine" and use it in his film without permission.
However, I have learned that in fact Yoko Ono did not license the song for use in the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and any use of the song in that film is being made without authorization.
Obviously, I apologize to Mrs. Lennon for my incorrect assumptions and statements in the article below which, of course, I retract completely. I will also find out more about the producers of the movie and what their motives are.
I like to think I've seen it all, or at least a good portion it. But this Friday, a new movie comes out; one that is nothing more than creationist propaganda in the fine tradition of cigarettes don't kill you and global warming is just a natural occurrence.
The movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, has been reviewed and reviewed and discussed.
But what hasn't been discussed as much is the fact that Yoko Ono either sold or gave the rights to "Imagine" to the producers of the film. In screenings around the country, and in copies of the movie reviewed, everyone notes the odd inclusion of the song.
I guess that the $20 million plus the estate earns every year isn't enough for Yoko Ono, not only does she feel the need to license the song out, she probably held out for the highest bidder, in this case, the money behind the movie, Walt Ruloff, who made over one hundred million dollars selling his company to Microsoft. (Irony is that a company who makes computers, perhaps the ultimate daily example of the higher power of science in our lives, indirectly funded a movie that doesn't believe science should be taught in schools.)
Of course, it wasn't just Yoko Ono that sold out, the Killers did too (and I am a bigger Killers fan than I am fan of hers to be honest.) Their song, "All These Things That I've Done," is also in the movie. I hear that the going rate for a song like this is a million dollars, again, why can't the Killers be happy with the tens of millions they are making every year? Who knows?
"Imagine" and "All These Things I've Done" are great, great songs -- maybe one day they'll get sold to a movie I actually am going to see.