The release of the upcoming sci-fi thriller In Time has just come across an obstacle that no one in their right mind ever wants to encounter, and his name is Harlan Ellison.
The prolific, award-winning writer who has been working his literary majesty in print, film, and on television over the course of nearly six decades has filed a lawsuit in California federal alleging that the 20th Century Fox film, which stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried and is written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War), is an uncredited adaptation of his classic 1965 short story “Repent Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman”.
In 1984 Ellison brought legal action against the producers of The Terminator claiming that the James Cameron film pilfered ideas from two of his short stories, “Soldier” and “Demon with a Glass Hand.” It didn’t help the defendants in the case that Cameron had publicly acknowledged this fact in an interview he gave while promoting the movie and it was this interview that brought the matter to Harlan Ellison’s attention in the first place. Ellison’s suit was successful and the writer was granted a special credit at the end of The Terminator. He has also sued America Online over the Internet provider’s pirating of his previous published works.
In his lawsuit against Fox and the makers of In Time Ellison is requesting an injunction to block the film’s theatrical release and for all prints of the film to be impounded and destroyed. To win his case the writer must be able to prove that his story and In Time are “substantially similar,” which means that the two works must share more than plot concepts. Ellison is no stranger to copyright infringement suits, but copyright laws only protect the execution of an idea and not the idea itself.
Both “Repent Harlequin!” and In Time are set in dystopian future worlds where time itself has become a valuable form of currency.
Barring another courtroom victory for Mr. Ellison In Time will be released on October 28, 2011.
[Source: Hollywood Reporter ]