Sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison has filed suit against New Regency and director Andrew Niccol in order to block the release of their film IN TIME, writes The Hollywood Reporter. Ellison is claiming the Fox release is an infringement on his 1965 story REPENT, HARLEQUIN! SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN. He goes onto claim that he is working on a film version of his story and IN TIME would damage the prospects of that project as well.
Ellison insists the similarities are obvious. Both stories are set in a future where a corporate run government gives each citizen an allotted amount of time to live and "Timekeeper" agents are tasked with watching to see if someone's time has run out.
The trade points out that one advantage Ellison has in this copyright suit, where so many others have failed, is how much the defendants had access to the allegedly stolen material. REPENT, HARLEQUIN! is one of Ellison's most well known stories and he even points out in the suit that critics, such as Richard Roeper, have commented on the similarities in early reviews.
Ellison is demanding that all copies of the film be destroyed and that he receive all profits from the film.
Ellison is not new to filling suit against films he believes are ripped off his work. His suit against the producers of THE TERMINATOR was settled out of court, resulting in Ellison receiving an acknowledgement in the credits. Ellison claims James Cameron lifted the story from his THE OUTER LIMITS episodes "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand."