Harlan Ellison Sues Again; Because No One Could Have Possibly Came Up With The Same SciFi Ideas As He Did

from the how-much-does-he-get-paid-to-piss dept

People keep telling me that I might like the books of Harlan Ellison, but I won't go near them, since the man appears to be a total and complete wackjob when it comes to intellectual property. The guy likes to sue everyone, often without much understanding of the law. He famously sued AOL a decade or so ago, after he discovered some random people online had posted some of his content on Usenet. Yes, he sued AOL because of content he found posted on Usenet. But since he found it via AOL, somehow it must be AOL's fault. A judge had initially determined that, as per the DMCA, AOL had no liability, but after another court ruled that AOL lost its DMCA safe harbors for being too slow, AOL decided to simply pay Ellison to drop the suit.

In a video from a few years back that has made the rounds time and time again, and which we've posted before, Ellison discusses how "I don't take a piss without getting paid" and bitches about all those damn amateurs undercutting his rates by giving stuff away for free.
A few years ago, Ellison went legal again, suing Paramount over Star Trek. He'd written an episode of the show in 1967, and was upset that some Star Trek book included elements from that show. Oh yeah, also there was a Christmas tree ornament that was sold, and he felt he deserved a cut of the profits. As he said at the time:
It ain't about the 'principle,' friend, its (sic) about the MONEY! Pay Me! Am I doing this for other writers, for Mom (still dead), and apple pie? Hell no! I'm doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!
So it's not surprising that he's suing again. This time, he's suing 20th Century Fox and trying to stop the release of a new sci-fi movie, In Time, which he claims is a pure copy of one of his most famous works, "Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman" Of course, as we've discussed plenty of times, copyright is only supposed to cover specific expressions, and not ideas... and the "similarities" he lists certainly sound like ideas, not expressions:
Both works are said to take place in a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live." In both works, government authorities known as a "Timekeeper" track the precise amount of time each citizen has left.

The complaint goes on to list similarities in the features of the universe as well as the plot surfaces -- the manipulation of time an individual can live, the type of death experienced by those whose time runs out, rebellion by story protagonists, and so forth.
Of course, as Julian Sanchez points out, there are lots of sci-fi stories that have a very similar storyline (perhaps even more similar), including Logan's Run and The Quantum Thief. Maybe Ellison will sue over those too.

Unfortunately, these days, courts have really blurred the line between what's an expression and what's an idea, so perhaps something comes of this. But, once again, this really is just about money... and competition. It turns out that Ellison recently sold the rights to "Repent Harlequin" and another movie is being made. So, Ellison would like to censor this competition. But, really, it's pretty ridiculous for Ellison to think that no one else could have possibly come up with similar ideas on their own. And even if they were built off that bit of an idea from his work, is it really such a problem that people created a different version of it? Does Ellison really believe that none of his work was built off ideas influenced by others?

I jumped over to Ellison's website to see if he'd put up any more colorful statements about the lawsuit (not that he'd want me to use them without paying him), but instead I find a splash page that just says:
"Why do people keep insisting that I join the 21st Century? I *LIVE* in the 21st Century! I just don't want to be bothered by the shitheads on the internet!"
Seems like such a sweet guy.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Ellison

    He's always been a rectal flambe.

     

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    ashley sheridan (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    I actually think he has a lot of good points though in his interview there, although he is taking it to an extreme (why should he get paid for pissing?!)

    The movie studios are hardly short of a few bob (unless pirating really is a problem and that money they make from lawsuits barely covers costs) so it's not fair they expect not to pay for content they're including on their own releases. It's clear to anyone with a braincell that the studios have double standards.

    Of course, I don't agree with his latest suit, he's basically just being an ass and expecting to be paid for his shit as well as piss...

     

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    Richard (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Due

    I think he's due a vist from wowbagger the infinitely prolonged.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    "But since he found it via AOL, somehow it must be AOL's fault"

    The type of person who uses AOL to access the internet believes that AOL is the internet.

     

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    sehlat (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:07am

    Pay him for being a horrible example?

    Sounds like a very bad idea. Then they'd ALL want something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    http://thepiratebay.org/search/harlan%20ellison/0/99/0

    Harlan Ellison is a first class A-hole, that is all he is at the moment.

    Maybe he was great, but that has passed.

     

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  7.  
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    A Dan (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Describing the man

    "...the man appears to be a total and complete wackjob..."

    If Mike puts it this way, this makes me wonder how colorful the description would be if written by Dark Helmet.

     

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  8.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    Ummmmm

    The video and this article appear to be at odds with one another. This guy may be an asshole for suing AOL and 20th Century Fox, but he appears to be spot on in that video clip. All he is ranting about is wanting to get paid by the media companies for his work. Warner Bros. would rant just as bad about piracy (give it away for FREE?!?!?!).

    Harlan is just being smart about the industry he serves. He wants to be paid just like Warner Bros does. Maybe he should have asked if Warner Bros was distributing the DVD for free with his interview as, "publicity" for something else.

     

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    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    SciFi is first and foremost an expression of the human experience as is all fiction. The only real difference is that some advanced technology is thrown into the mix to give the story a hook.

    Everything Ellison has written is based on the same thing every other story is based on: human experience that is explored in different scenarios and environments.

    Should he now be able to sue any/all writers who dare to also explore various aspects of human behavior and political/social beliefs?

    Here's a clue: there is nothing new under the sun where humans are concerned. Maybe the scenes change, but even Star Wars was based on the proverbial son...

     

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    JP, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Another potential customer who will never purchase a book

    Does Harlen not realize that anyone who visits his website is one of those "shitheads on the internet" ? Why go through the hassle of putting up a page just to offend people who are interested in your work. Those people are very likely either customers, or potential customers.

    I'm an avid Sci-Fi fan... While the idea behind "Repent Harlequin" sounds really cool to me, because the author called me a shithead he will NEVER get a dime of my money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    http://ereads.com/ecms/book_title/Troublemakers

    ""THAT KID'S GONNA WIND UP IN JAIL!"

    No use pretending: too many of the "young people" (whatever that means, 4-6 year olds, 10-13, 15-20ish?) I'm thrown into contact with these days are, in the words of Daffy Duck, maroons ... ultramaroons. Dumb, apathetic, surly, dumb, arrogant, semiliterate, dumb, disrespectful, oblivious to what's going on around them, ethically barren, dishonorable, crushed by peer pressure and tv advertising into consumer conformity, crude, dumb, slaves to the lowest manifestations of cheap crap popular culture (as, for instance, WWF wrestling; boy bands; idiot Image comics featuring prepubescent fanboy representations of women with the vacuous stares of cheerleaders, all legs and bare butts, with breasts like casaba melons grafted to their chests at neck level; horse-trank home-made mosh-pit Xtasy kitty-flippin' dope; and Old Navy rags that make everyone look like a bag lady or wetbrain bindlestiff with a sagging pants-load), inclined to respond to even minor inconveniences with anger or violence because they've been brainwashed into believing everything they want, they ought to have, and everything ought to be given to them free, and oh yeah ... did I mention they're dumb? Did I mention, also, that they're ignorant as a sack of doorknobs? Which ain't exactly the same as dumb."

    If Dark can beat that it would be funny.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Ummmmm

    It's one thing to demand to be paid for work you do. It's another thing to demand to be paid for ideas you don't own. And for taking a piss.

     

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    adambanksdotcom, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Intellectual property isn't so simple

    It's true that copyright generally protects the expression (ie the actual words) and not the ideas, but if that were the end of it there would never be any need for movie studios to pay to adapt books. In fact, this case http://supreme.justia.com/us/222/55/case.html established in 1911 that movie adaptations can infringe. If the film does follow Ellison's story closely and reproduce scenes from the book, even without a word of the copy, he may have a point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Repent, Harlan Ellison! Said The Techdirtman

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Intellectual property isn't so simple

    "If the film does follow Ellison's story closely and reproduce scenes from the book, even without a word of the copy, he may have a point."

    And if that was true, I'm pretty sure Ellison would be shouting that from his roof top. Instead he talks about mere ideas that were copied.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Harlan Ellison ..... tl;dr

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Re: Ummmmm

    He wants to get paid for things he had no connection with. Thats like me asking you to pay for your comment because I posted under it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Don't pay him to take a piss...

    He'll explode and problem solved.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Vinegar and p*ss

    Being a jerk is no way to develop a fan following. Sure a few writer wannabes will become your groupies. However most everyone else will just think you're a jerk.

    After I actually saw the Outer Limits episode that Ellison gave Cameron so much grief over, I just wanted to punch Ellison in the nose. He is a character with zero likability. He's the sort that always seems destined for a horrible demise early in the picture.

    Harlan probably thinks that Boxleightner is some sort of "chump" for "working for free" in some cases but I bet you all of Bruce's "free labor" has paid dividends in the end.

    Harlan Ellison is the posterboy for why copyright terms should be no longer than 28 years.

     

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  20.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Due

    He's due a visit from the Narn Bat Squad and a whole succession of Terminators.

     

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  21.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Pity

    It really is a shame, because I think he's a pretty good writer. I really enjoyed "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

    I actually kind of agree with him about dumb kids, too.

    Unfortunately, his ideas on copyright are completely antiquated. They obviously come from a long life lived in the trench warfare of traditional publishing, and not from the digital world, where "infringement" basically means "talking."

    A few years back, I wrote an opinion piece on my site called Why Musicians and Labels Should Embrace Filesharing. I wrote this about anti-filesharing musicians:

    I think that traditional musicians are so used to dealing with labels, they simply can't wrap their heads around the notion that people getting their music without payment could be anything other than people screwing them over.

    This seems to fit Harlan Ellison to a T. Combine that with his admitted hatred of "young people" and their newfangled thingamabobs, and you have a recipe for douchebaggery.

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    "If Dark can beat that it would be funny."

    Oh, I could totally beat that....but I don't write anything ever unless I'm paid for every character (including the spaces)!

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Another potential customer who will never purchase a book

    Ge it from the library.

    It is pretty cool, and he does have a point that the similarities are stunning - but derivative works should be protected!

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Highly Illogical

    Sci-Fi writers that have a hatred of "young people" are simply "fascinating"...

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Attention Internet Shitheads!

    I too am an author, but unlike Harlan (really? Harlan?), I am happy to have you as readers and friends alike. So are plenty of other good, young, shithead authors.

    And we don't just have shitheads, either. We've got assholes, dumbshits, freetards, whackjobs, scumbags, and I think there's even a few jackwagons, too. So join us. Don't buy Harlan (I mean seriously, what kind of a name is that?), buy Helmet & Co....

    This message brought to you by the Read Dark Helmet Foundation, a division of Seriously, You'll Like It Productions and benefiting the Tim Could Use Some Money For Good IPAs Charity....

     

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  26.  
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    Matthew (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Ellison

    Ellison came up in an era when publishers, studios, and corporations in general really were out to screw artists...so really no different from now. His broad claims of ownership are (in his view) really just defensive measures against a predatory industry.

    He also has an ego the size of Jupiter and assumes that not just companies, but pretty much everyone is out to get him. The internet generally validates these views by providing him with equal measures of ass-kissing and abuse. Maybe it's because the present doesn't match his visions of how the future should have turned out, but for whatever reason, he just seems kind of incompatible with modern life.

     

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  27.  
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    Matthew (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for writing this for me. The check is in the mail.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Due

    I infer that you don't even know that Mr. Ellison is on good terms with J. Michael Straczynski, was paid to serve as Creative Consultant for Babylon 5 from the first, with an on-screen credit, and did a cameo on the program as a member of the Psi Corps.

     

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  29.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's kind of you, but you have to pay me to open the letter and deposit the check.

    Oh dear, this could by one of those spiral to disaster things emo bands are always on about....

     

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  30.  
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    Trails (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Mixed bag

    The lawsuit stuff is definitely douché, but I can't say {I fault him for not wanting to give stuff to WB for free.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    "Both works are said to take place in a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live." mmm who wrote "LOGANS RUN" from the 70s don't think it was this guy.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Intellectual property isn't so simple

    That would be true if they were adapting his book, but they're not adapting his book, but either another book or screenplay which is similar to his book.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    Mr. Ellison does not use AOL, and never has. He has a webmaster who maintains his website, prints out for him comments which he might want or need to see, and inputs his typewriter-written text for him. This has served his needs for several years, as he is too busy actually writing to spend the time on the net. Someone else informed him that his copyrighted works in their entirety were being posted to Usenet through the AOL gateway and another, now out of business, and his lawsuit was based on the fact that AOL made no effort to monitor that particular user after being informed of his violations of federal law. If you are prejudiced against people merely because of their choice of ISP, at least know who it is on whom you should spill your bigotry: the copyright violator who used AOL, not Mr. Ellison who does not.

     

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    jackwagon (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Attention Internet Shitheads!

    This jackwagon isn't an author, but I'm a consumer. Haven't started Midwasteland yet but I'll definitely read the work of an author that 'gets it' before one that decidedly doesn't.

    That said, I agree with his assertion in the Troublemakers intro that the majority of people consume entertainment that is banal, lowest common denominator crap. The major media outlets know this and pump it out money hand over fist.

    Tyler Perry was the highest paid person in Hollywood this year. Talented artists and consumers with a modicum of taste should weep.

     

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    kenichi tanaka, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Let me start off by saying that I actually agree with what Harlan Ellison said in this interview. However, he comes off sounding like a mentally disturbed and deranged person and he starts to sound like many of those "assholes" that he eludes to in this video.

    In this retrospect, Harlan Ellison is a fruitcake and he does come off sounding like a nutjob.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Ellison

    What an insightful comment to make, and from anonymity, making it even more of value! You certainly are not wasting anyone's time, bandwidth, or server space!

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Attention Internet Shitheads!

    "That said, I agree with his assertion in the Troublemakers intro that the majority of people consume entertainment that is banal, lowest common denominator crap. The major media outlets know this and pump it out money hand over fist."

    Look, if given to the thought, I'd probably agree with you here as well. The truth is I don't give it that thought, because I couldn't care less what type of entertainment others enjoy. I may have an opinion when the girlfriend asks me to watch an episode of "What To Wear" or whatever (that opinion is usually punctuated with a valiant cry of "what the fuckballs were YOU thinking?"), but until it effects me, I don't care.

    P.S. I'm mildly proud of Midwasteland, but much more so of Digilife. Start w/that one :)

     

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  38.  
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    A Dan (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Attention Internet Shitheads!

    It is weird that I had to look up who he was?

    Some of that surely has to do with being both actor and director in several films.

     

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    Gee, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Harlanocrite

    Its funny in the video how Harlan goes on and on about how important it is to get paid for one's work, then he switches right into talking about how he demands a free copy of the dvd or else he will "come to her office and burn it down."

    I don't think the hypocrisy even occurs to him, or maybe in his mind, he owns any dvd in which he plays any part at all. Harlan, a question for you... Does any one of the 1000 or so people involved in the creation of a dvd deserve a free copy? Or just you?

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    Dude, I was just ripping on AOL users. Calm down.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    Being "paid for pissing" is merely Ellisonian hyperbole', which is clear from his manner of saying it if you look and listen to the video.

     

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    theDude, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    I dont get the angst

    Im not sure why Im supposed to be angry with this guy? He is simply attempting to enforce his property rights and get money at every possible opportunity. This is the American way. I don't agree with his philosophy, but we have a system were people can get paid over and over and over again for the same work. Hes used this system and intends to keep enjoying its benefits as long as possible. Hes honest about it, frankly I find refreshing. I dont see an argument from him about being "morally" entitled to anything, all I see is an argument about being "legally" entitled.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm quite calm, thank you. I was merely informing you of the facts as I know them and that your apparent bias, plus lack of knowledge of those facts, are leading you to a false judgment of who was in the wrong in the lawsuit by Mr. Ellison against AOL: the opposite of a federal appeals court judge who was aware of the facts, and the law.

     

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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:08am

    The Story As You Have Posted It

    Your story appears short on facts, and long on negative bias. As a news report it lacks objectivity and appears more of a smear than news. You don't work for Rupert Murdoch, do you?

    Those interested should go back to the original story posted in the Hollywood Reporter, as well as subsequent reports by actual journalists, if they wish to know the reality behind the fanciful fiction above.

     

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    Jeffhole (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    For the lulz...

    The works of Harlan Ellison are available for free via bittorent.

    They weren't available this morning.

    I guess I'm one of those internet shitheads, huh?

     

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    crade (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    "Those interested should go back to the original story posted in the Hollywood Reporter, as well as subsequent reports by actual journalists, if they wish to know the reality behind the fanciful fiction above."

    Yeah, thats why the post includes a link to it. It's a post discussing that article from Hollywood Reporter so of course you should go read that for more info!

     

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    crade (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: I dont get the angst

    Not property rights. those are about property. He's trying to enforce government laws that he hopes will let him take your money without having to earn it. It's pretty standard, still but very different than actually earning money.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Re: Vinegar and p*ss

    Maybe it's not the term of the copyright, but the life of the author that needs to be shorter? This guy certainly makes a good case for that! /sarcasm

     

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    blaktron (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You've infringed on Mindless Self Indulgences copyright for spirals to disaster and on Charlie Brown's copyright on 'oh dear'.

    Please have your payment ready for when the SS show up to collect.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Re: Intellectual property isn't so simple

    There is absolutely a reason to pay the author of the book, so you can use the name in trade... you can't copyright ideas, but you can trademark brands and thats what matters to the movie industry

     

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    chuck, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Hmm good advertising!

    Hey that "In Time" movie sounds pretty cool.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    Did you just make the claim that the Hollywood Reporter is staffed by 'actual journalists'? A future where private companies control our life expectancy is fairly realistic, but a hollywood trade magazine staffed by 'actual journalists'?? Thats unpossible!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    Wait, what?

    I just read the source article at THR.. what was I supposed to learn there that I didn't here? And BTW, that article was linked in the post, so I'm not sure why you took the time to mention it. Anyone interested already knew they could click the links Mike provided. The "fanciful fiction" as you call it is just as it is reported on THR.

    Short on facts? Not sure how you came up with that either, as there are plenty of links to other facts, like the lawsuits he has filed in the past.

     

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  54.  
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    MM_Dandy, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    In related news...

    In related news, the writers of Goryeojang and The Ballad of Narayama sue Ellison based upon similarities between their ideas and his.

     

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  55.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    I love how in the video clip he harangues the lady on the phone who asks if they can use an interview he did (and was probably paid to do) in their DVD for having the audacity to not offer him gobs of money for work he already did and was likely already paid a fair wage for. I can understand if he doesn't want to them to use the clip, but to get so indignant that they didn't flash the cash when they brought it up is just groan-worthy. Talk about entitlement! "I should get paid over and over, for the rest of my life, for something I did one time, long ago!" Good grief, I think they were being very polite by asking first, but he had to go ape-shit on her for not sucking his dick. They might very well be protected by fair-use to use the interview without permission. The fact that they asked politely to work out an equitable arrangement is going above and beyond the minimum call for respect.

     

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  56.  
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    ASTROBOI, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    An unpleasant man.

    If you have seen "Dreams With Sharp Teeth", possibly the source of some of the clips other posters are discussing, you know that Mr. Ellison seems to be a very angry and unpleasant man, someone who will eventually fall out with anybody he knows well, a megalomaniac, and a man with a case of severe paranoia. Much of the documentary consists of Ellison rambling on, trying to act important, issuing silly threats and at times being incoherent. The rest of the time he is reading from his own works as though only he can do them justice. If you somehow identify with this fellow you would probably like the documentary. I believe he is a man with a severe personality disorder and should have begun receiving professional help for his problem long ago. There is nothing funny, clever, cool or admirable about a raving, disturbed, near-insane man making a fool of himself

     

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  57.  
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    Eric, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Ellison

    Actually that's the kinda thing Harlan would say...

    E

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    People sue movie studios all the time for copyright infringement and almost never win. The last 20 years of jurisprudence are almost entirely defendant victories on summary judgment or motions to dismiss, judges finding that no reasonable juror could believe the two works in question are substantially similar in expression. I expect Harlan will join that club soon, unless the studios feel generous enough to give him a small settlement.

     

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  59.  
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    Deirdre (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Due

    You might as well have linked me to TVtropes-- I lost over an hour of work time wondering around the minor characters of Hitchhikers Guide.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    I used to work in factory that made Maytag washing machines. I want a cut every time somebody does washes their clothes.

     

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  61.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Ellison

    Hi Harlan.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    He got old.

    It'll happen to us all one day. Old farts sneered at his generation, and we will sneer at the next. I'm already seeing it some with the skinny jean thing.

     

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  63.  
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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ellison

    Your presumption is 100% incorrect. Mr. Ellison lives in Sherman Oaks, California. I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I've met him, but I have no other connection. I don't speak for him, but for myself only.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Due

    I infer that you don't even know that no one gives a shit. In my opinion, he's a douchenozzle. Less than nothing. Not because he wants to get paid (hell, we all do!) but because his name is Harlan.

     

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  65.  
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    Davidkevin, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Vinegar and p*ss

    Wishing for someone's death -- especially since Mr. Ellison is sick to the point of saying that he in fact has a fatal illness -- is inappropriate to the point of hate speech. You should be ashamed of yourself, presuming that you do in fact have a sense of shame. Calling it "sarcasm" doesn't mitigate the viciousness of your statement.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Ellison

    Just because he's paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get him.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    Sadly, no one is really interested in the douchenozzle's side of the story. In my opinion, he's an old, broken down has-been who should be set loose on an iceberg since his allotted time is up.....oh damn....does that mean that it doesn't have to be a dystopian future for things like that to happen?

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Ellison

    Yes, and your point, also made from anonymity? How are you not wasting anyone's time, bandwidth, or server space?

     

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  69.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re:

    Does anyone need any more reason to understand why I will not support this man in any way? He's a hack. A dried-up, angry old man whose time has come and gone, if you could ever say that it truly did come in the first place. An elitist snob who thinks the world owes him for everything, and he should return nothing. Die, Mr Ellison. Stop wasting our oxygen.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Harlan Ellison's works are some of my favorite of all time, but the man has a well-earned reputation of being one of the most irascible pricks you could ever meet. His relations with other authors varied wildly between high professional courtesy and complete childishness. Amazingly, he's become even more cranky with age.

    You should read all of Harlan Ellison's books. Just don't ever have lunch with him.

     

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  71.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    You do realize this is a discussion blog and Mike is not a reporter, right? That isn't a 'news article' you read, it was Mike's take on the articles that he's linked to within his post. Please, learn to read AND to click through. It will save us all a headache.

     

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  72.  
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    Owen Lock, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Harlan Ellison

    I was for many years an editor. At times I associated with Harlan Ellison. Not closely enough that we were friends, but we spoke at length. Professionally, he could be a real pain in the ass, and more than once I had to tell a tearful office assistant to hang up on him when he was haranguing her about some facet of book production. But he could also a very nice guy, a great raconteur. I never read much of his fiction because it didn't appeal to me. I should add that one of Harlan's early mentors was my partner at Del Rey Books, Lester del Rey. And something of the thornier bits of Lester's personality seems to have snagged on Harlan.

    All that said, I think Harlan has a point about Hollywood's ripping people off and that, when it does, it should be made to pay up. Harlan seems very good at that. Lord knows, he probably has to be; doesn't seem to have written much for decades.

    It is interesting to watch people who insist that a problem can be reduced to a simple principal of law even though life is a great deal more complex. It doesn't matter whether Harlan is right or wrong on this occasion. What matters is that he can or can't bend the studios to his will for a perceived transgression. Screw the law; perception is what counts here and Harlan is a master at manipulating it. And if you think the Hollywood folk don't themselves think of what they frequently do as "theft" then you haven't spoken to them often enough or worked with them.
    There are wonderful people in the movie industry and there are talentless turds. Perhaps Harlan is pursuing some of the turds. I hope so.

     

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  73.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Doesn't make him any less of an internet shithead, though.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Harlan Ellison

    I once met Harlan while working as a men's room attendant. He was very polite to me, and even tipped me very well for not describing what happened in the men's room that fateful day........

     

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  75.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Vinegar and p*ss

    I would never sincerely wish death upon anyone. It was a harmless joke. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so foolish. Grow up and grow a little thicker skin while you're at it.

     

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  76.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Vinegar and p*ss

    > is inappropriate to the point of hate speech

    What a bunch of nonsense. 'Hate speech' is nothing but speech someone else doesn't like.

    Thank god we haven't gone down the road of criminalizing it like much of Europe has. (Not that some haven't tried, however.)

     

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  77.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    AOL

    > A judge had initially determined that, as per
    > the DMCA, AOL had no liability, but after another
    > court ruled that AOL lost its DMCA safe harbors
    > for being too slow

    Granted this case is long over with, but how did AOL get gigged for being too slow to respond to DMCA takedowns? AOL can't control what's on Usenet, so it doesn't matter how fast or slow they respond to a DMCA takedown, they have no power to actually take anything down that's on Usenet.

     

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  78.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > Dude, I was just ripping on AOL users. Calm down.

    Sounds like 'davidkevin' is one of those sycophantic fan boys that has a shrieking meltdown the moment you trip their particular fuse. Whather it's Kirk vs, Picard, Greedo shot first, or in this case, Harlan Ellison's batshit crazy attitude toward IP, the reaction from types like this guy are usually pretty uniform.

     

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  79.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    He's a raging dick but

    1.) I respect anyone that doesn't mince words and speaks directly. We seem to believe that not being "mean" is more important than being candid and up front about your intentions, opinions, etc. Ellison may be supremely hate-able but you know where he stands.

    2.) he does kind of have a point in the video about WB wanting a freebie while they continue to collect cash. Of course I think Ellison should have done it but I can understand why he didn't.

    3.) Most of his writing is really good shit.

     

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  80.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Attention Internet Shitheads!

    "...I'll definitely read the work of an author that 'gets it' before one that decidedly doesn't."

    Then may I recommend Baen Free Library?

     

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  81.  
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    Gwenny, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Ellison

    Exactly! A racist asshat whose only talents are irritating people and claiming offense at shit.

     

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  82.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    What about this one:

    Ray Bradbury's Frost and Fire (1946)

    Jeesh, I can play that game too.

     

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  83.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Re: He got old.

    I sneer at you all.

    But Ellison sneers at me.

    I've been working on getting old for decades but I'll never be so old that nobody is older than I am. So I guess I'll always be a young punk.

     

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  84.  
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    ken (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    The guy has a point

    I don't mean to be a contrarian but I agree with him that he should be paid for his services, especially by companies like Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers don't like to give their services for free so even though the guy is brutally honest he is correct.

     

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  85.  
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    Jeff Flowers, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 4:38pm

    Regardless of the merits of this suit, I can't stand Ellison because of his stupid lawsuits against Fantagraphics.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    Your comment appears short on facts, and long on negative bias. As a comment it lacks objectivity and appears more of a smear than news. You don't work for Harlan Ellison, do you?

     

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  87.  
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    Travis, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Describing the man

    It would have been a post for the ages.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Ellison

    So you say. IP addresses don't mean squat and neither do the affidavits of anonymous posters like you or I. Not that I believe you are Ellison, though looking through the posts I can see that you do seem to share some of the better known characteristics (IMHO).

     

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  89.  
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    Rekrul, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 6:38pm

    People keep telling me that I might like the books of Harlan Ellison, but I won't go near them, since the man appears to be a total and complete wackjob when it comes to intellectual property.

    I read a few of his short stories many years and didn't care for them at all. Half of them were like reading a description of a Salvador Dali painting and the other half just had random stuff happening for no apparent reason. I get the impression that Ellison is one of those people who thinks that he's putting some deep, philosophy into his writing, but it just comes off as bizarre and non-sensical(sp?).

    Ellison also bitched about the film The Terminator copying some of his ideas, specifically an old episode of the Outer Limits in which two (human) soldiers from the future are accidentally transported to the present. It really had nothing in common, other than a soldier being displaced in time, but the studio gave him a buttload of money and altered prints of the film to give him an acknowledgment in the end credits. You can easily tell it was added after as it seems to "float" around as it moves up the screen.

     

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  90.  
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    Travis, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    Sorry, I'd rather read books written by people that appreciate their fans. Not narcissistic, entitlement-complex pricks like Mr. Ellison.

     

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  91.  
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    Travis, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 6:49pm

    Re:

    From the video interview and previous interviews of his, I'd say he goes out of his way to be offensive. That's way beyond candid.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Attention Internet Shitheads!

    Shut_up_and_take_my_money.jpg!

     

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  93.  
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    Terry, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 8:35pm

    I've looked through the comments and while it's gotta be impossible that everybody missed the point, I didn't see it anywhere so here.

    Ellison said the interview was already done, right? "I did a very long, very interesting on-camera interview" that the small company then wanted to include in the film. Since he must have already been paid for that interview (because he doesn't get piss without getting paid), what he wanted was to be paid again for something he'd already done, right? The issue I have with him is that his writing may be good but he's not different than any other writer that wants to sit back and have his past works reap profits.

     

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  94.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2011 @ 8:51pm

    I went to ellisons web site it seems rather geocities-ish with odd little dancing rodents top and bottom.

    Not the type of up to date web presence one expects from a so called grand master sf writer.

     

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  95.  
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    McFortner (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 9:52pm

    Dear Mr. Ellison

    Mr. Ellison, here is a freebie for you:

    You, sir, are a dick.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We should defend Harlan the deprived dude that sexually assaulted his female colleague on stage :)

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Now you are talking, because the other one was not a good example of "before".

     

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  98.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 1:39am

    Re: Hmm good advertising!

    Until you watch the trailer, then it gets scary.

     

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  99.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 17th, 2011 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: The Story As You Have Posted It

    Sadly, no one is really interested in the douchenozzle's side of the story.

    It is a tragedy. That's why I've started the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Douchenozzles.

    Please consider donating now. 100%* of the profits will go to preventing cruelty to douchenozzles.** They definitely will NOT go towards drinking IPA*** at the local pub.****

    Think of the douchenozzles!
    _________________________________________________

    * ...or so

    ** me and my friends

    *** okay, that's a total lie

    **** Not affiliated with the Tim Could Use Some Money For Good IPAs Charity

     

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  100.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 17th, 2011 @ 3:12am

    Re: Re: Due

    See how much Harlan Ellison is costing the economy ;)

     

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  101.  
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    Androgynous Cowherd, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    His website should just say

    "Damn kids! Get off my lawn!"

     

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  102.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 17th, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Re: Pity

    "I think that traditional musicians are so used to dealing with labels, they simply can't wrap their heads around the notion that people getting their music without payment could be anything other than people screwing them over."

    On top of that, of course, is the inability to realise that this is what has *always* happened, it just wasn't so public pre-Internet...

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Due

    You missed Ellison's voicing a robot elevator in B5.

    I heard Ellison speak years ago at a Comics convention in Philadelphia on 1993. Ellison is and always was an irascible fellow. He has never been one to favor computers. His wife did what ever got done online in his name in the early nineties. He made her hide the demonic device away from his view.

     

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  104.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Sep 17th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    Great Stories

    Very disappointing that he is doing this.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    When I saw the preview for that movie, the FIRST thing I thought of was that it was TOTALLY ripping off "Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman". Why would anyone here think that was OK to do and that Harlan Ellison shouldn't be upset?

     

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  106.  
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    WTF, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Dumbass

    Wasn't the ORIGINAL idea for the timed-limited life span brought out by "Logans Run"? Shouldn't the creator of that movie sue HIM "for the money"?

     

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  107.  
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    Jan D, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    I knew Harlan way back when

    I meet Harlan at the Baltimore World Con, early 80's. He had already stopped writing anything worth reading and made it his life's work to burn any and all bridges behind him.

    He was once okay, but now he is just a joke. A sad little joke.

     

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  108.  
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    Cordwainer Smith, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Harlan's curse is that he won't be allowed to die until The Last Dangerous Visions is published.

     

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  109.  
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    Tony Braggadocio, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: I dont get the angst

    If Hollywood took his work, changed it some but stuck with the primary ideas and plot, and cranked out a schlocky multi-million dollar film, why shouldn't he get a percentage?

     

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  110.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 18th, 2011 @ 12:47am

    Re: Re: Re: I dont get the angst

    If Hollywood took his work, changed it some but stuck with the primary ideas and plot, and cranked out a schlocky multi-million dollar film, why shouldn't he get a percentage?

    Mostly because copyright, by design, does not cover "primary ideas and plot."

    The purpose of copyright is not to reward authors, it's to "promote the progress." In other words, others are supposed to take the author's "primary ideas" and create new works from them. That's the entire point.

    I'd also like to point out that he's not just asking to "get a percentage," but to actually get an injunction on the film. That is, he wants to block its release altogether.

     

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  111.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 18th, 2011 @ 2:09am

    Re:

    The question is: Was the film ripping off Ellison, or is it just a similar idea?

    If the film has a host of similarities such as a similar setting, characters, plot developments and so on, then there may be a similarity large enough to warrant a lawsuit.

    If, on the other hand, the film is completely different in every way save the central concept, then Ellison is just being a reactionary fool. A simple idea can occur to people completely independently, and Ellison does not deserve to be paid because he happened to have it first, unless perhaps it can be shown that the writer had even read his story.

    From the quote and description above, it seems that whatever is being sued about not only falls directly into the "simple idea" category, but that this idea had also been used in numerous other movies. If that's the case, Ellison shouldn't be upset if the writer got the idea after, say, rewatching Logan's Run, just as the writers of Outbreak shouldn't be upset that the recent Contagion had a similar theme...

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2011 @ 2:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I dont get the angst

    That is not entirely true, copyright is so vague that that line is fuzzy.

    http://www.coolcopyright.com/cases/fulltext/nicholsuniversaltext.htm

    NICHOLS v. UNIVERSAL PICTURES CORPORATION, Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 45 F.2d 119; 1930 U.S. App. LEXIS 3587, November 10, 1930

    It gets messy when "substantial similarity," or "nonliteral copying." starts to crop up all over the place.

    The law was not meant to deal with such scenarios so judges mostly got their own ideas and expanded on that over the years to include anything that "was taken" from some thing or somewhere.

    Copyright has become a monster, a true nightmare for culture, but that is the states of things today.

     

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  113.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2011 @ 2:35am

    Re: Re: Re: I dont get the angst

    Mostly because he didn't do the work.

    Nobody should be paid for something they didn't do, being the first to be known to have an idea should not be used to stop others from being able to have their own ideas or appropriate others ideas for implementation, each one should compete on the market and see who can do better, that was the original plan for allowing laws to be passed to "incentivize the creation of new works", the constitution doesn't say we need to protect profits, families, revenues, that BS came after and it is mostly being done on the bench apparently.

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2011 @ 2:38am

    Re: Re:

    The real question is why judges created "non-literal" copyright infringement, the law doesn't say that, it was totally done in the courts, as some may say that is legislating from the bench.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 18th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Harlan Ellison

    And his victim tipped too? If not, that was rude!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 18th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    I never met the man.

    From what I can see here, he is quite a unique combination of douchebag, piss-pot, and a colostomy bag, as well as an emesis basin, all of them completely full, and stinking up the jungle under the hot tropical sun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    identicon
    Jeff Rife, Sep 19th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Due

    I love the fact that JMS paid homage many great sci-fi writers (Alfred Bester and Walter M. Miller were the most obvious) in various B5 themes, but I suspect that something in the Babylon 5 universe was close enough to something Ellison wrote that JMS decided it was cheaper to pay up front than deal with the lawsuit.

    BTW, I went to Texas A&M, where Ellison is quite a part of the sci-fi history there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 19th, 2011 @ 6:00pm

    Shit My Author Says

    He sounds like the guy from "Shit my dad says" on Twitter.

    The Shit My Dad Says guys should sue Ellison. Gotta protect their trademarks and fanciful characters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Re:

    Harlan's curse is that he won't be allowed to die until The Last Dangerous Visions is published.

    I once heard that the best way to make him blow his cool is to ask him when that book will be out. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Some guy, Oct 23rd, 2011 @ 7:47pm

    Who the **** is Harlan Ellison?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    identicon
    Clay, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Hey, Mishnik, do YOU work for free? Fuck no!

    I also love how you dismiss Ellison's claims of copyright infringement right after bragging that you've never read his work. Shut your mouth unless you have some idea of what's actually going on. I have nothing against jerking off per se, but you could maybe do it less publicly? :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 1:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Vinegar and p*ss

    You have a fatal illness also --- it's called life.

    I wonder if a significant number of people will show up at Ellison's funeral just because they hated him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    identicon
    magicguy, Sep 22nd, 2012 @ 6:49am

    I love his work

    For all of you who are basing your choice to read his work based on this clip and the article I must admit I feel sorry for you. He has never said he should be paid for things that have no connection to his work. Even in this video clip he is just saying he needs to get paid for his work.

    He can be a cantakerous jerk at times but his work speaks for itself. Check out some of his short story collections:

    I have no mouth and I must scream.

    Shatterday

    Paingod and other delusions

    Ellison Wonderlad

    Just to name a few.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    identicon
    magicguy, Sep 22nd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    I love his work

    For all of you who are basing your choice to read his work based on this clip and the article I must admit I feel sorry for you. He has never said he should be paid for things that have no connection to his work. Even in this video clip he is just saying he needs to get paid for his work.

    He can be a cantakerous jerk at times but his work speaks for itself. Check out some of his short story collections:

    I have no mouth and I must scream.

    Shatterday

    Paingod and other delusions

    Ellison Wonderlad

    Just to name a few.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    To the Ellison Apologists

    Your favourite author is wrong in this case. Here's an example of why: Last year, I wrote a Harry Potter fanfic where he got knocked up with eggs by an arachnotaur, then changed sufficient details that I could post it on epubbud.com as an original story. Just two days ago, I came across a story that I had never read before where a male character gets knocked up with eggs by an arachnotaur. Now, if the author of the earlier story and/or E.L. James was to sue me for copyright infringement, that would be exactly like what Harlan Ellison is doing now. Get it? Got it? Good!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    Mishnik, Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re:

    fuck you Clay. I'll jerk off right into your face bitch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
    identicon
    Mishnik, Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re:

    fuck you Clay. I'll jerk off right into your face bitch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
    identicon
    wordwan, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    A writer should be paid for his work; that's all the man is saying

    It amazes me how an old man can inspire so much ire.

    If Harlan is so unimportant to you, why are you posting/pirating his work?

    There are plenty of writers ready to give you their mediocre work for free.

    Shouldn't that be the kind of reading you do?

    Harlan always seems to have brought out the freaks--pro and con--on the internet.

    Long live Harlan Ellison

    Heather
    wordwan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 9:59pm

    off his fecking nut

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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