Does James Cameron Owe Poul Anderson Money?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by The Comedian, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. The Comedian

    The Comedian Captain Captain

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    Don't get me wrong, I loved Avatar but something about it struck me as very familiar....then I looked around and found this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_me_Joe

    Huh. So, whatcha think? Should Cameron be writing out a check to Anderson's estate?
     
  2. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I don't think so. It also sounds like Clifford D. Simak's "Desertion". So there's really nothing original here.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    There's nothing original anywhere!
     
  4. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There are only supposed to be seven "core" stories to be told and everything derives from them. I've never read Poul Anderson's stories but I doubt that Cameron plaguerized the guy either. Convergent ideas and stories crop up all the time. It's unfortunate that Cameron had to give Harlin Ellison money and credit for a similar idea. Harlin is the kind of guy who sues at the sniff of an idea similar to his and Cameron's was just close enough he sued for money and credit.
     
  5. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    As I writer I never agreed with that. It's all very vague "Man vs. Nature"; "Man vs. Man" etc. In the case of this story and the movie, there are details that are the same - man in a wheelchair; using artificial lifeforms to explore planet; etc., although I'm not sure how far the details go having not seen the movie.

    I had heard that James Cameron admitted to using Harlan Ellison's episodes from The Outer Limits as basis for Terminator. Harlan Ellison appears in the credits of Terminator now, so obviously the studio agreed with Harlan at least on some points in the end or they wouldn't have put a credit for him in.

    It's the details that are the key, not vague "man vs. himself" descriptions.
     
  6. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ellison had a pretty open-and-shut case against Cameron, which is why he won easily. Ellison is not the sort of person who "sues at the drop of a hat," which is why he usually wins.

    The only shame is that Cameron didn't have to pay more than he did.

    Anyway, as far as Poul Anderson is concerned - it's true that Cameron's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar before, but this idea is so widespread and repeated in fiction written by white guys that Anderson has no claim on it.
     
  7. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    This is the correct motorcycle.
     
  8. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've been asking this question since I first heard of Avatar lol... :D
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't recall Cameron saying or admitting to stealing from Ellison but Ellison has had a great many lawsuits in the past. He's quick to sue and you can't deny that. Whether or not all those suits were because people stole his idea directly is another matter I suppose.

    Anyhow back to the original claim, I agree the very simple 7 stories remark is vague but it is true. It's whether someone stole the framework used from another person that matters and again, this idea is not new either. If you looked hard enough you can probably find it predating Poul Anderson too.
     
  10. MeanJoePhaser

    MeanJoePhaser Admiral

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  11. TemporalFlux

    TemporalFlux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep. I've never tried to find proof because I wasn't really interested, but it's been alleged to me that Sliders co-creator Tracy Torme' testified for the case that he and Cameron were in a bar one night, and a drunken Cameron openly bragged about how he ripped off The Outer Limits and Ellison. Allegedly this testimony included Cameron spouting off, "Easiest money I've ever made!" among other things.
     
  12. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always take such open bragging claims with a grain of salt. Especially when the words "drunk" and "bragging" are used. Not saying Cameron didn't or it's a lie but such openly brazen remarks to stealing from someone else sound like something you'd hear in a movie, not from a movie maker.
     
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Cameron gave interviews citing OL as an inspiration, and presumably he wasn't drunk during the interviews, so maybe he just thought he was above the law.
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course you can - you know of several Ellison lawsuits, so you declare him "quick to sue." That's bullshit.

    Whether you recall Cameron "admitting to stealing" is no more relevant than whether you recall O.J. Simpson "admitting to armed robbery" in 2007. Both lost in court, and for good reasons. :)
     
  15. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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    That seems unlikely, depending on when this was, seeing as Cameron sold the rights for The Terminator for a dollar.
     
  16. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Cameron than hopped on top of the bar and bellowed "I'm King of the World!"

    I never thought Terminator was that close to the sources that inspired it, I don't know all the ins and outs of legalities and all but I've seen plenty of movies that we're way more rip-offs than what Cameron did with that movie.
     
  17. TemporalFlux

    TemporalFlux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The bar deal was supposed to have been in the mid-80's before Cameron had really gotten a "name". Again, I've never dug into the allegation to see if it's accurate, and I've never thought to ask during the times I've talked to Torme'. Only reason it popped to mind now is because of this thread.
     
  18. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can point to a list of lawsuits if you like. It's not like it's a secret.
     
  19. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Harlan Ellison... Does he even write anymore?

    Or does he just make his money on lawsuits these days. His Wikipedia entry has an interesting paragraph on the topic.
     
  20. Peak

    Peak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And Ellison didn't really win...

    "he production company that made Terminator, Hemdale, and its distributor Orion Pictures, settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, "gratefully acknowledging" Ellison at the end of the film."

    Sound more like they wanted to get rid of Ellison than anything else.

    And, as earlier mentioned, the plot of the episodes (allegedly) ripped off isn't really the same at all.