Interesting and familiar cautionary tale today from Michael Hinman, the Tampa, Florida keeper of sci-fi news blog Airlock Alpha.
After initially picking up on a November 2 news item, as did Syfy’s Blastr.com and the Orlando Sentinel, Hinman did a little digging and found there was no truth to a report that author Harlan Ellison has settled his lawsuit against the writer-director of the Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried thriller In Time. The problem in this case is that the item originated, without attribution, within the nebulous confines of Yahoo!’s Contributor Network. Writes Hinman:
No one from Yahoo! has responded to a request for comment on whether Shirey developed this story on his own, or picked it up from the Yahoo assignment desk. Shirey himself has not responded to a request for comment. He has since posted another story on one of his aggregator websites, but has not removed his Ellison story…
Adam Thurston, an attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath in Los Angeles who is representing Ellison in his case against Andrew Niccol, said the case had not been settled, and no agreement was made to provide Ellison with credit in In Time. “We have no idea where the story came from and have no further information,” Thurston said. “As for Mr. Ellison, he has not and will not be commenting on litigation while it is pending.”
Which likely explains why Ellison has not responded to several congratulatory messages posted on the only corner of the Internet he is known to regularly frequent – the BBS on his official website known as “Unca Harlan’s Art Deco Dining Pavilion.” Good detective work by Hinman.