RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,959
Posts: 5,391,494
Members: 24,722
Currently online: 459
Newest member: Jadakiss

TrekToday headlines

Forbes Cast In Powers
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

Dorn To Voice Firefly Character
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

No ALS Ice Bucket For Saldana
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

Free Star Trek Trexels Game
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

New Trek-themed Bobble Heads
By: T'Bonz on Aug 21

IDW Publishing November Trek Comic
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Pegg/Wright Trilogy In The Works
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Star Trek: The Compendium Rebate Details
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Gold Key Archives Volume 2
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19

Takei Documentary Wins Award
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old December 19 2008, 07:43 AM   #46
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Brendan Moody wrote: View Post
Given ... Ellison's ... history of (not unjustifiably) regarding himself as ill-treated by Star Trek...
Oh, it's completely unjustifiable. They treated him better than any other writer would've been treated in the same situation. He spent months laboring on a draft and was unable to come up with anything filmable...
Channeling Roddenberry, eh?

I've read Ellison's 1st draft City. Even it is filmable. I'm tired of this nonsense about the script. Ellison wrote many times for TV and flipping won the WGAw award FOUR TIMES (a record). He certainly knew how to write for TV.

MY OPINION, having studied film for years and read tons of screenplays, is that what the Trek staff didn't like was some of the content that Harlan wouldn't budge on (Kirk hesitating to let Edith die), and they decided to make the script into something they wanted (which is not unusual in TV). But they've used these dumb excuses about the budget and "unfilmable" and "Scotty selling drugs" to justify what they did, rather than just flatly say: "we wanted a different ending and we wanted a different tone."
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:52 AM   #47
TGTheodore
Writer
 
TGTheodore's Avatar
 
Location: TGTheodore
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Ellison has continually failed to enforce his perceived copyright. You don't enforce it, you lose it. 40 years later?

He's lost it. (In more ways than one, and if he ever even had it in the first place).

--Ted
__________________
Writer/Composer/Lyricist/Librettist
SNW IV, V, VI

Last edited by TGTheodore; December 19 2008 at 08:32 AM.
TGTheodore is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:58 AM   #48
Therin of Andor
Admiral
 
Therin of Andor's Avatar
 
Location: New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
View Therin of Andor's Twitter Profile
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think the intent behind the question was, why did he get worked up about that particular usage of the Guardian as opposed to its earlier Trek-lit appearances? I.e. what makes Crucible more objectionable to Ellison than the others?
Ellison, IIRC, claimed that DC Fontana ("Yesteryear"), AC Crispin ("Yesterday's Son" and "Time for Yesterday") and Peter David ("Imzadi") had (magically/luckily) known to ask Ellison for permission to use the Guardian in their novels.

I wonder about Barbara Hambly ("Ishmael"), because no one thought to get clearances for "Here Come the Brides", let alone Harlan. Or did Hambly know to ask Harlan herself?

How would Pocket Books or Paula Block, David George or Marco Palmieri, who all worked on "Crucible" - know that Ellison had what he claims was an atypical contract from Desilu, especially after numerous Guardian sequels passed through production over several decades without a whimper?
__________________
Thiptho lapth! Ian (Entire post is personal opinion)
The Andor Files @ http://andorfiles.blogspot.com/
http://therinofandor.blogspot.com/
Therin of Andor is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 09:21 AM   #49
Trent Roman
Rear Admiral
 
Trent Roman's Avatar
 
Location: The Palace of Pernicious Pleasures
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Damn, but I don't think I've ever seen a thread not on politics or religion turn so nasty so fast. It's as though mentioning the name "Ellison" is like tossing a grenade. I am the only one who doesn't get why this person stirs such passions? Did he save you from drowning? Rape your dog? Holy cow - how does one guy get to be best buddies or sworn nemesis with half the Internet?

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
__________________
Obdurants and Amusings - Behind the Shampoo Curtain
Trent Roman is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 10:34 AM   #50
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Admiral James Kirk wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Brendan Moody wrote: View Post
Given ... Ellison's ... history of (not unjustifiably) regarding himself as ill-treated by Star Trek...
Oh, it's completely unjustifiable. They treated him better than any other writer would've been treated in the same situation. He spent months laboring on a draft and was unable to come up with anything filmable, but they gave him every chance to keep trying, staying patient with him far longer than they would have with a typical author, because they had so much respect for him and his work. Bob Justman even let Ellison sleep in his office and eat leaves off his plant. And when they finally did have no choice but to assign the rewrites to someone who was capable of turning in a logistically feasible, filmable script, they nonetheless allowed Ellison to retain sole credit and thereby get all the money, even though as a rule Roddenberry was never loath to stick his own name on someone else's work. They treated him like royalty, and the so-called "wrongs" he's been screaming and whining about for 42 years are just par for the course in the TV industry, in any collaborative enterprise. Ellison's complaints are about as "justifiable" as someone who applies for a coal-mining job and then complains that his rights were violated because he was required to get his hands dirty.

What shit! Just because something's always been a certain way that doesn't make it right!
No, but the fact remains that if you're writing as a freelancer for someone else's show, you have a professional obligation to turn in a script that they can both use and that is consistent with the creative vision for their show. If Ellison wanted to do something that was unfilmable on their budget or that was inconsistent with their creative vision, he should have started up his own TV series.

They treated him like royalty, and he treated them like shit back.

Of course, all of that is separate from the question of whether or not his contract from 1966 gives him ownership of the characters he created for "The City on the Edge of Forever."

The entertainment industry's treatment of writers has been notoriously abusive. There's a real resentment towards the creators of filmed works. Especially once the fucking autuer theory migrated over to the United States. Autuer theory made sense when it was directors writing their own flicks but never every directory happened to be a writer. Unfortunately ever goddamn directed wanted to be known as an autuer whether or not they were the actual author of the fucking work. Over and over again the credit for the work if it was successful got heaped onto the director and denied the writer. Yeah the writer got credit if the work was unsuccessful because hey, that's the way it's always been!
You are now ranting about something that has nothing to do whatsoever with Ellison's failure to live up to his professional obligations.

Let's go ahead and villainize Ellison for having the balls to stand up for himself in a industry where most writers would just lube up and bend over. Let's hate on Ellison because he refused to spin the Hollywood wheel of abuse that keeps on spinning because writers agree to it because that's how it's always been done.
No, let's criticize him -- no one has villainized him -- for being unwilling or unable to fulfill his professional obligation to write a filmable script that was consistent with the TOS producer's creative vision and for then pretending that he was a victim for it.

It's responses like your Christopher that make it clear to the world why the WGA is a fucking joke.


Not one writer in that town has the balls to actually call the studios bluff and strike.
There was a WGA strike not a year ago. Brought Hollywood to a stand-still. Hell, it's SAG that's balking at striking right now.

To withhold their much needed creative services until they're given the power, the respect and the money that is their due. It is patently unfair that the director's get creative credit when their art is purely interpretive. It's unfair that directors get the big money when the people who create everything that they put up on the screen get peanuts.
It's completely fair to say that the writer ought to get both credit and money that's on par with the director, but it's not accurate to say that the director's work is less important than the writer's. Anyone who's ever seen how a bad director can butcher a good script, and how a good director can add to a good script, knows this. Directors and writers need to work in partnership, not rivalry.

I especially don't understand how a writer who has had no success in the entertainment industry could be anything but appalled that someone who has had success is standing up for his rights. I don't understand that at all.
That sentence doesn't make sense at all. If you don't understand why Christopher isn't supporting Ellison, it ought to read, "... could be appalled...," not "... could be anything but appalled."

And I think it's pretty classless of you to call a professional author with several novels to his credit "a writer who has had no success in the entertainment industry."

You attitude almost makes me want to have the word "writer" removed from my custom title and have it replaced with "whore" or "chump" or "pussy" since according to you the words should all be recognized as synonyms.

Then again maybe I should have the word "writer" replaced with the name "Ellison" because that's a name that deserves a lot more respect that any mere job description.
Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

ETA:

TG Theornament wrote: View Post
Ellison has continually failed to enforce his perceived copyright. You don't enforce it, you lose it. 40 years later?

He's lost it. (In more ways than one, and if he ever even had it in the first place).

--Ted
It's my understanding that it's a trademark that you lose if you don't enforce it, not a copyright. Given that, Ellison's lack of enforcement on previous copyright violations is actually immaterial to the validity of his legal reasoning.
__________________
"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it." - George Orwell, 1946
Sci is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 03:24 PM   #51
Dayton Ward
Word Pusher
 
Dayton Ward's Avatar
 
View Dayton Ward's Twitter Profile
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
Rape your dog? Holy cow - how does one guy get to be best buddies or sworn nemesis with half the Internet?
"Hell hath no fury like the uninvolved."



(Quoting another writer from an e-Mail loop, but I can't remember who said it.)
__________________
www.daytonward.com

"tlhingAn HoL, Mother F*cker! Do you speak it?!"
Dayton Ward is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 03:55 PM   #52
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

trevanian wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
Certainly Ellison has written stuff that is considered novel length; screenplays are considered by most to be such.
It's not considered by anybody to be such. Novels are much much much longer (by any definition of the word) than screenplays.
Not to split hairs, but I suppose you haven't been to the Maibaum archive in Iowa to see the 900 page screenplays written for many of the Bond films before they were broken down into conventional shooting scripts? STARLOG covered this with Richard Maibaum also, during the 1980s.
But as you yourself say, those weren't remotely conventional shooting scripts. So what's your point? How does an admitted exception refute the rule?

Script format is generally assumed to be roughly one page per minute, or a little more. So a feature-length screenplay is typically around 100-120 pages. And script format typically comes out around 250 words per page, give or take. So we're talking something in the vicinity of 25-30,000 words. That's the length of a novella. Novels tend to be three to four times as long.

Ellison himself has said a few times he considers screenplays to be the equivalent of novels...
So you're using his own personal opinions as support for his position? That's entirely circular. If you want to cite evidence for one person's claim, it needs to come from independent sources to be meaningful.

Of course this forum seems to be fairly light on screenwriters ...
As others have stated, that's not true. I've written spec scripts myself, including a feature-length script, sort of.



DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Oh, it's completely unjustifiable. They treated him better than any other writer would've been treated in the same situation. He spent months laboring on a draft and was unable to come up with anything filmable...
Channeling Roddenberry, eh?
No. My main source is Inside Star Trek by Solow and Justman. Nobody who's read that book could believe they were simply mouthpieces for Roddenberry.

I've read Ellison's 1st draft City. Even it is filmable.
As a very expensive feature film, sure. As an episode of a tightly budgeted 1960s television series? Not a chance.


MY OPINION, having studied film for years and read tons of screenplays, is that what the Trek staff didn't like was some of the content that Harlan wouldn't budge on (Kirk hesitating to let Edith die), and they decided to make the script into something they wanted (which is not unusual in TV).
And there's nothing wrong with that. These were their characters and their universe. They had the right to have the final say over what was done with them. If I'm going to write in someone else's universe, then I understand that they know the characters and world better than I do, and I would defer to their judgment rather than arrogantly trying to tell them what to do with their own creations. That's just common sense and professional courtesy. If Ellison didn't want to defer to anyone else's opinions, then he should've never agreed to work on someone else's series in the first place. He should've stuck to anthology shows or created his own show. If you're playing in someone else's backyard, you agree to play by their rules.




Sci wrote: View Post
No, let's criticize him -- no one has villainized him -- for being unwilling or unable to fulfill his professional obligation to write a filmable script that was consistent with the TOS producer's creative vision and for then pretending that he was a victim for it.
Just to be clear, I'm not criticizing Ellison for being unable to produce a filmable script. There's no shame in that. Prose and screenwriting are different media with different requirements and limitations, and not every writer can adapt to a different medium. The way I see it, Ellison's imagination was simply so grand and far-reaching that he was unable to constrain it within the limits of a television budget. If anything, that's a compliment. The problem was that the medium was simply too small to fit his brilliance.

The thing I'm criticizing him for is reacting to a routine part of the collaborative process as though it were some kind of personal assault on his liberties, and for retaliating with a 40-year-long campaign of vilification. I'm criticizing him for his egomania and hypocrisy: he was one of Star Trek's most fervent boosters and defenders until they rewrote his words, and then suddenly it became the worst show ever made in his eyes (or at least in his rhetoric). His ego was bruised and he's spent half his life overreacting to that perceived slight. And that's just pathetic. Ellison's a great writer (or was in his heyday, before he started devoting more of his energy to rants and lawsuits than to prose fiction), but that's no excuse for being childish.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 04:34 PM   #53
OmahaStar
Disrespectful of his betters
 
OmahaStar's Avatar
 
Location: OmahaStar
View OmahaStar's Twitter Profile Send a message via Windows Live Messenger to OmahaStar Send a message via Yahoo to OmahaStar
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

William Leisner wrote: View Post
in fucking Iowa
Excuse you?

You got a problem with Iowa?
__________________
"Sorry. Wrong movie, buddy."
OmahaStar is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 04:52 PM   #54
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

OmahaStar wrote: View Post
William Leisner wrote: View Post
in fucking Iowa
Excuse you?

You got a problem with Iowa?
I do. I'm sick and tired of them getting to weed out candidates for president that I like before I get a chance to vote for 'em. But that's neither here nor there.

His point is that Iowa is not a center of film-making, and that the remoteness of a script from Los Angeles is an indicator of the irrelevancy of that screenplay to accurately characterizing the nature of script-writing.
__________________
"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it." - George Orwell, 1946
Sci is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 05:44 PM   #55
Admiral Buzzkill
Fleet Admiral
 
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

TG Theornament wrote: View Post
Ellison has continually failed to enforce his perceived copyright. You don't enforce it, you lose it.
Copyright does not require vigilant enforcement action to remain in legal force. Trademarks do. Big difference between the two.

A copyright is in force for the natural life of the copyright holder plus a period after their death (at least fifty years under the Berne Convention).

There is a three-year statute of limitations generally imposed from the last infringing act, and court rulings have varied concerning whether damages can be recovered from the entirety of the infringement or just the last infringing act. Not being a lawyer (unlike, apparently, a considerable number of fans who dislike Ellison or his cause) I'd be guessing if I said that Ellison's lawyers might argue that any abuse of his copyright by Paramount would be part of a single "pattern of infringement").

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
"Hell hath no fury like the uninvolved."
Who do we see about making that the official motto of the Internet?

Is it copyrighted?

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; December 19 2008 at 05:57 PM.
Admiral Buzzkill is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 06:04 PM   #56
Steve Roby
Commodore
 
Steve Roby's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Ah, another fun Ellison thread.

To the pro-Ellison side:

For the benefit of the people who are saying "what's so bad about Ellison not being a novelist?" -- the point is that Ellison has sold to publishers novels that he has not delivered. Back around 1981 I saw a publisher catalogue with a reproduction of the finished cover art and copy for the forthcoming Ellison novel Blood's a Rover. That's just one example.

To the anti-Ellison side:

It's entirely possible that Ellison had a non-standard contract on "City" that allows him special rights regarding the Guardian and Edith Keeler. He certainly seems to have had that kind of deal for his Outer Limits episode "Demon with a Glass Hand," given that he use material from that story in his own fiction and announced that there'd be a sequel to it in the form of a Babylon 5 episode.

To the pro-Ellison side:

But then, that B5 episode never materialized, did it?

To both sides:

IANAL, but this is one of two things: a copyright dispute or a contract dispute. I suspect that the contract issue has to be cleared up before the court can determine who actually owns the copyright in the story elements and characters. As for enforcing copyright -- i.e., why hasn't he made a fuss before -- ISTR that you don't lose a copyright by not defending it; that only happens with trademarks, not copyright. You don't sue people for violating your copyright because you might lose it, you sue them because they're making money on something you own and they don't. But again, I Am Not A Lawyer.

ETA: I see Starship Polaris made the copyright point while I was writing this. Anyway, the point is, this is a legal dispute, there are plenty of precedents, things will be sorted out by the courts. It doesn't matter whether Ellison's an asshole or a victim. Or both. If he thinks he has a case, and he can produce his contract to support it, he has every right to take this to court, regardless of his motives or his personality.
Steve Roby is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:01 PM   #57
William Leisner
Scribbler
 
William Leisner's Avatar
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
View William Leisner's Twitter Profile
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Steve Roby wrote: View Post
To the anti-Ellison side:

It's entirely possible that Ellison had a non-standard contract on "City" that allows him special rights regarding the Guardian and Edith Keeler.
Yes, it's entirely possible -- I'll even take the extra step and say it's probable -- that Ellison negotiated a non-standard contract with Desilu way back when. I don't know this to be true, of course, or what that special language might say.

The thing is, though, there are people whose job it is to know. People in the Paramount/CBS legal department, and people in Paula Block's office. If there is something different about Ellison's contract, then any novel proposal crossing their desks touching on TCOTEOF should set off red alarms. Even if this old contract was forgotten for years after, Ellison's publication of his scripts and essays should have sent them digging through the files.

CBS recently released The Fugitive on DVD with newly recorded incidental music, because they no longer have the documentation about which seconds-long piece came from which source, and who if anyone needed to be paid. There had not been a suit or threat of a suit, but they opted to commission new music out of an abundance of caution. I tend to doubt that the same lawyers would then opt to fight an actual black-and-white contract over unless the feel confident that is doesn't say what Ellison thinks it does.
William Leisner is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:45 PM   #58
Rat Boy
Vice Admiral
 
Rat Boy's Avatar
 
Location: Home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants!
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

This mean he'll come into my house and rip my Guardian ornament off my Christmas tree?
Rat Boy is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:53 PM   #59
Ward Fowler
Commodore
 
Ward Fowler's Avatar
 
Location: Lucerne's Parlor of Mystery
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Yes. Then he'll scream at you like a crazy man and grab your female companion's tits.
__________________
"Playing is for pleasure." -Master Shake
Ward Fowler is offline  
Old December 19 2008, 07:55 PM   #60
Allyn Gibson
Vice Admiral
 
Allyn Gibson's Avatar
 
Location: South Pennsyltucky
View Allyn Gibson's Twitter Profile Send a message via AIM to Allyn Gibson Send a message via Yahoo to Allyn Gibson
Re: And Back To The Ellison/City Lawsuit...

Arm yourself with jelly beans; that will keep Ellison at bay.
__________________
"When David Marcus cited the great thinkers of history -- "Newton, Einstein, Surak" -- Newt Gingrich did not make his list." -- 24 January 2012

allyngibson.net
Allyn Gibson is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Tags
crazy as a soup sandwich, harlan ellison

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.