Premise Media

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Premise Media is the production company which created "Expelled", a documentary about the way evolutionists have marginalized supporters of intelligent design in academia

Controversy over Expelled

Flap over recruiting Dawkins

  • We are interested in asking you a number of questions about the disconnect/controversy that exists in America between evolution, creationism and the intelligent design movement. [3]

Cell animation flap

PZ Myers accused Premise of infringement, on the basis of perceived similarities between their animation of the cell and an earlier work created for Harvard University.[1]

According to the Richard Dawkins website, "XVIVO claimed that a segment of Expelled portraying the complexity of the cell is patterned upon segments of their well-known animation, produced on behalf of Harvard University." [4]

Jonathan Wells wrote:

Expelled does NOT use the Harvard animation. The producers paid a professional to create a new animation that is more accurate than the Harvard one (based on current knowledge of cellular processes). Any similarities between the Expelled animation and the Harvard one are because both animations depict many of the same processes. [5]

William Dembski wrote:

I’ve gotten to know the producers quite well. As far as I can tell, they made sure to budget for lawsuits. Also, I know for a fact that they have one of the best intellectual property attorneys in the business. I expect that the producers made their video close enough to the Harvard video to get tongues awagging (Headline: “Harvard University Seeks Injunction Against Ben Stein and EXPELLED” — you think that might generate interest in the movie?), but different enough so that they are unexposed. [6]

"Imagine" flop

In mid-April, 2008, Yoko Ono filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court, claiming that Premise Media and Rocky Mountain Pictures used a video clip of her late husband, John Lennon, singing "Imagine" without her approval. Ono maintains that the documentary's credits could mislead viewers about her having authorized Lennon's clip.[2]

  • Ms. Ono's lawyer, Jonas Herbsman, of Shukat, Arrow, Hafer, Weber & Herbsman, said in an interview Wednesday: "It was not licensed." With respect to the filmmakers, he says: "We are exploring all options." [7]

Premise Media issued a statement on April 23, 2008 regarding the use of Imagine in Expelled.[3] In it, they claim that they used a portion of the song under the principles of Fair Use, "based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism." They acknowledge that Ms. Yoko Ono did not license the song for use in the film, but claim that licensing was not required in this context.

On June 2, 2008, U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein (no relation to Ben Stein) ruled in favor of the filmmakers under the "fair use" provision.[4]


  1. Video available at
  2. [1] Yoko Ono sues over use of John Lennon videos
  3. [2] Executive Producers of EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed Statement on Lawsuit by Yoko Ono