It was pretty obvious that when the trailers for the Justin Timberlake movie ‘In Time’ began appearing on television that the lawsuit brought by author Harlan Ellison’s had probably settled but no details had been given. Now, it seems that Harlan Ellison did win his case.
If you recall, Ellison was suing New Regency, director Andrew Niccol, and several unnamed John Does over plagiarism claims that the movie ‘In Time’ was based on his short story ‘Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman.’ He requested that the movie not be released on October 28 as scheduled and that all copies of the film be destroyed.
Apparently the case was settled in Ellison’s favor and his name was added to the film credits. Other than that, no other details of the lawsuit outcome are known. As with all legal matters such as these, there was no doubt some sort of gag order or clause that both parties are not to discuss the matter. New Regency has not admitted guilt nor has there been word of Ellison’s triumphant win other than his name seen at the end of the film.
If one were to speculate on this, the timing of Ellison’s lawsuit (a month before the film’s opening), the gross similarities of the movie and his short story, and the outcome he wanted in the suit prompted the studios to do some fast and major negotiations. In exchange of not having to admit guilt, the studio might have had to add Ellison’s name to the credits. One could also presume that some monetary compensation was given to the author whether in a lump sum or as a percentage of the film’s box office receipts. Of course, again, this is all speculation as neither side is talking at the moment.
Remember that this is the world of movie making, so just because all we see from this lawsuit is his name in the credits, much more work was done behind the scenes to make that happen. Regardless, Ellison won and that’s good news when it comes to the protection of intellectual property.