I love this guy, and I love his work, but goddamn is he wrong sometimes. I'm not saying he's wrong for copyrighting his work, he's just incredibly wrong in her fervor to "take down" someone who isn't making any money off stealing his work. And it's not like Harlan was ushered into the poor house by this dude. What a dick. What a talented, amazing dick.
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Harlan Ellison is a terrible writer and his fans are up there with Hunter S. Thompson groupies in terms of insufferable idiots.
His "Angriest Man in Sci-Fi" stage act has way surpassed what ability and talent he has and for decades there really has been nothing left to Ellison but over-the-top anger and overblown self-aggrandizement, aided and abetted by his online nerd posse.
Counterpoint, courtesy Neil Gaiman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI
I think that if I got into a debate about copyright with Harlan Ellison, we might disagree about some of the fundamentals more than we'd agree (judging this solely on the tone of this clip, and the car analogy at the end), but if he does actually reach out to people before sicking the lawyers on them and they actually give him a hard time about that, I wouldn't be especially sympathetic with whoever's doing the distributing. I wouldn't froth at the mouth to destroy his LIFE though.
I can't help but feel like he made that story up, or at least enhanced the antagonists in both cases. I was kind-of-named in at least one suit related to distributing copyrighted works (baselessly, and on another continent, thankfully), and had less formal "Hey, do you mind?" emails related to a music news site I run as well as a message board I help out with. In those less-formal cases (two or three times from publications, once from Harmonix), the request was super reasonable, and our response was too, because they never sicked legal on us.
Artists create things and if you enjoy them, you should probably reward the artist. However, the extent to which copyright law has been mangled to serve greed on the parts of heirs and corporations is absurd. And those more greedy, entitled types who thrive off this generate some of the most vitriolic, antagonistic propagandist arguments about it. And on the other side, you get folks like Neil Gaiman and Mike Masnick, with their transparent facts and figures, and I find them much easier to get behind.
I see the greedy corporations and the pirates as essentially being on the same side - the other side from me. The actual creative types have varying opinions, some of which are reasonable, some of which are terrrrrible.
One problem I have with Gaiman's argument is that while it's cool that there is an upside to piracy for him (ultimately more sales), that's actually a pretty selfish view - all that leaves the legit buyers with is a book they could have just swiped and ... what? A hollow sense of satisfaction that they did the right thing, but are still at the bottom of the pile? No doubt he sincerely appreciates his most appreciative fans, but that leaves me a little cold.
Watched a minute of the Ellison clip - that man is insufferable.
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The guy's a dick, but I love his Star Wars novels.
Yeah he's a total asshole, but I still have to 5 star the author of "Jeffty Is Five".
Big business has conned this generation into believing that information wants to be free? Big business?
What an idiot.
The thing about Ellison is that he made his bones when the writing game was much, much different than it is now, and he sees any intrusion to him getting his rightful money as something very insulting, because it was considered that way back the in day. He's not unreasonable, I think, but he's out of touch with the modern world which is basically death to a writer of his type and style. He assumed he could live like that for his entire life without fully realizing how much it would alienate people around him. I don't think he would ever admit this or admit to regretting it, but I think he knows this is the case. It's too bad this happened to him because he is/was a great writer with tremendous insight, but his hatred of youth and upcoming writers and basically his fans is unreasonable and ultimately has cost him his position in the pantheon of great writers or at least part of his reputation. I think his work will hold up over time, but that the man himself won't.
That said, I'm sure he's losing tons of sleep knowing he doesn't have the approval of the cool kiddies who are far too edgy for him.
Whenever I hear him talk, his cadences morph directly into Mr. Lebowski's.
"You got a car? Do you have an automobile, sir?"
Kids these days.
When I pirated stuff back in the day, at least I knew what I was doing was illegal.
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