The folks at XVIVO have argued that "Expelled" has engaged in copyright infringement by directly copying from their film, "The Inner Life of the Cell." The "Expelled" producers have responded by claiming that they constructed their film based on original research:
However, the latest claim concerning the copyright status of our proprietary animation is so ridiculous, bogus and misinformed that we must respond. Premise Media invested significant time and money into the research and original creation of the animation used in our film to illustrate cellular activity. Our own team of experts created the highest quality of animation that is available. In fact, the animation we use in the theatrical release of our movie is only a small portion of the animation we have created and plan to use in future projects.Darwin Central has proposed a paternity test in the form of a series of image comparisons. On the left hand side, images from a variety of sources showing a particular process in the cell that is depicted by "The Inner Life of the Cell." On the right hand side, a comparison image from the "Expelled" segment at issue. Surely, if the "Expelled" producers are correct, there should be no reason to find any special similarity between the image on the left that comes from XVIVO's film and the image that comes from "Expelled" versus any of the other images on the left.
See for yourself.
It also appears that other parts of "Expelled"'s animations have been taken from other sources, to which John Wilkins has a connection!
Yet Premise Media is suing XVIVO, seeking a declaratory judgment in Texas! This sounds like venue shopping or "forum shopping," since XVIVO is in Massachusetts.
UPDATE: ERV has a copy of the complaint and a summary. She also includes a new video, that she speculates has replaced the XVIVO-copied video in the final film.
UPDATE (April 19, 2008): The footage copied from XVIVO was apparently removed from the film before yesterday's public release.