Puke Sues Paramount

According to this article and this more direct source, Harlan Ellison is suing Paramount. This stupid script was written 45 years ago. It had to be rewritten because Harlan Ellison submitted a script with massive crowd scenes and other BS impractical for a 48 minute teleplay for a show where they had fist fights instead of laser battles because laser battles cost too much. Somehow he cajoled them into taking the script but they had to rewrite it to make it useable. In retrospect, they should have paid for it then burned it.
If you look at Harlan Ellison's influence, it's peppered throughout Hollywood. Not the successful part of Hollywood, but the part of Hollywood that struggles for a 1.0 Nielson rating. He's the patron saint of stilted scripts and cliche regurgitation. If characters are doing something ridiculous on a show no one is watching, expect to see Harlan Ellison in the credits.
Maybe there's a tinge of envy on my part. I have bad ideas! I can be mercurial! I can be mediocre and turn nothing worthwhile in. Why can't I be as famous as Harlan Ellison?
After hearing that he's suing over many elements, including that Hallmark Christmas ornament (the talking glowing archway thing), I want to go buy that and other doo-dads to pump cash into the coffers of Paramount and vex Hollywood's huckster, Harlan Ellison.
What galls me the most: the royalty and intellectual property system has become a road block, not a set of rules. Ditch diggers dig day-after-day to earn an income. Doctors mend flesh for their livelihood. Writers and Hollywood studios hope to make a cash cow, then milk it for generations. Disney is willing to shed blood to keep Steamboat Willie out of the public domain. Almost all of our pop-culture is post-modern: built on a foundation of known elements. There is a fantastic documentary on this topic (click here). The studios owe their existence to grabbing public property and putting a fence around it. Harlan Ellison is doing the same in suing the studio regarding work he got paid to do almost HALF A CENTURY ago. He did work for them, they paid him and since then he's bitched and whined: he's already had legal battles over this story and published his own version. Give it a rest: you got paid. I hope the descendants of Gutenberg track you down, Ellison, and sue you doubly: first, for the how much you've made use of the printing press; and second, because of how much your writing has besmirched their invention. Of course he's suing over Star Trek: it's a cash cow. No one is going to do "A Boy and His Dog" brand dog food and risk getting into a lawsuit: Ellison's central work is unpopular with the general populace. All of the Ellison's chaff gets churned into Hollywood's output while much better writers (Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge and dozens of others) couldn't have one of their works made into a film or TV production to save their lives. If it weren't for this one Star Trek episode and being a canker in the maw of the Hollywood studio system, Harlan Ellison would be the grumpy guy running a secondhand book store in some Cleveland strip mall. Harlan: sit down at your typewriter and hack out something worth reading. That's how real writers earn a living.


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