Atlas Shrugged Part I

Fired Atlas Shrugged Director Sues

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My feature for Reason's May issue on the making of the Atlas Shrugged movie discussed the question of who could properly call the movie "mine." Now Stephen Polk, who was hired then fired before shooting began as director of the film, is suing:

Filmmaker Stephen Polk says the creators of the movie adaption of the Ayn Rand novel "Atlas Shrugged" replaced him with another director and then used his ideas without payment or credit….
     Polk says Kaslow hired a new director and produced the movie "using all the elements" that he had put together for the project.
     Polk demands $6.5 million for "oppression, fraud and malice" from the defendants' false promises that he would "be compensated and credited as producer."

When I contacted Polk for the story, he wasn't talking suit; as I quoted him in my story:

Polk, in an email interview, refers merely to "complications," adding that he was impressed with Aglialoro's willingness to spend whatever it took to make the movie's production values fit the subject. "It's always been John's movie," Polk said, adding "I hope it is all he hopes it will be and inspires people to read more Rand."

Kaslow declined to discuss the whys of Polk's firing.

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  1. To the courtroom, go!

  2. Who will solve shit like this in Libertopia?

    1. He’d get dragged to the nearest airlock and get cycled for bringing frivolous lawsuits.

      1. I wouldn’t bother wasting Heinlein references on rectal, dude. Her reading experience extends about as far as The Family Circus.

        1. Fuck you epi. Your palm flower crystal has changed color to black: you’re fucked
          BYE BYE

          1. Oh god, a Logan’s Run reference. I hope your medicare doctor learned surgery playing the game of Operation (TM)

              1. Jenny Agutter πŸ™‚

                  1. She looks kinda old in those pics. How ’bout some screen grabs from Walkabout? Or are you afraid of getting vanned and put on the registry?

          2. Wow, you watched a mediocre cult scifi movie. That’s just so impressive, rectal. Maybe you could quote Caddyshack as well.

              1. epi tell us all about your gourmand purchases; I need a good laugh my tacky guido

                1. God, you’re pathetic. It’s fitting, though; if someone like you wasn’t utterly pathetic, there’d be something wrong with the world.

                  1. Are you on meth?

                    I thought you a misanthrope yet now realize you are just a crank-head.

                    1. The irony of a hyperactive spaz like shriek accusing me of being on speed is almost too much for me to handle. Projection just became too perfect of a word.

                    2. Yes baby, projection is too perfect of a word.

        2. “The Family Circus is not funny.”

      2. He’d get dragged to the nearest airlock and get cycled for bringing frivolous lawsuits.

        It was eliminated – he’d be dragged to the nearest airlock and be eliminated. And the reference is to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

        1. Well, I meant “they would cycle the airlock”, but it didn’t come out right.

    2. Who will solve shit like this in Libertopia?

      Shit like what?

      1. Shit like what?

        Shit like the shit that is happening here and now in our socialist light state.

        The answer is pretty simply really: libertopia would handle it better.

        1. In libertopia will we all have unicorns too? I want a pink one with a spring green bow and and matching nail polish; I also want mine to fly

          1. I’d be happy to sell you one. let me know.

            1. Did I say I want an abused Unicorn? I’d have to put the poor thing down

          2. Re: rather,

            In libertopia will we all have unicorns too?

            Notice how rather, instead of at least explaining the problem that so-called “Libertopia” is supposed to “solve,” she goes directly for a unsuccessful attempt at witty repartee.

            For your information, rather, in Libertopia or anywhere else, the guy has NO CASE. Period.

    3. Ayn Rand didn’t believe in libertopia. She wanted a strong, albeit small, government. At least that’s the impression I get from her.

      1. I wish more folks would think of that as libertopia (“small” being key), rather than trotting out the usual anarchist strawman. /bitter mumbling

    4. Whoever steps in shit like that, that’s who.

    5. You shut your whore mouth when men are talking

  3. Good! Cause it ain’t Amurcan until someone gets sued.

  4. So was Polk not paid for his work? Otherwise I’m confused as to the nature of the lawsuit. Even if they used completely different sets, actors, schedules, etc, he should have been paid for what he set up. And if he was paid, if he didn’t have a previous agreement that his coming on the project had some sort of clause that entitled him to certain profits, etc, I don’t see the merit in his lawsuit.

    1. Re: Lost_In_Translation,

      So was Polk not paid for his work?

      If filming did not start before he was fired, what work? If he was paid for his time and then shown the door, I don’t see what the hell this guy has that can be called a “case.”

      1. Pre-production is costly and time consuming

        1. Re: rather,

          Pre-production is costly and time consuming[.]

          Love your redundancies, rather. What the fuck did you say that modified in any way what *I* said: “If he was paid for his time and then shown the door, I don’t see what the hell this guy has that can be called a ‘case.'”?

          1. He was contracted to be director of the film, and they fired him without good cause.
            The dismissal harms his professional reputation. Using his material is theft, and further he has a case for loss of income for the firing, and the fact that he was not available for other work

            1. Re: rather,

              He was contracted to be director of the film, and they fired him without good cause.

              Earth to rather: Unless you happent to be privvy to the particulars of the contract, you can’t say he was fired “wihout cause.” You’re just saying he was.

              The dismissal harms his professional reputation.

              He would have to prove damages – good luck with that.

              Using his material is theft,

              False – he does not own the material: the nice people for whom he was working own the material, and if you mean his ideas, let me get you in a little secret: ideas are NOT PROPERTY. Again, good luck.

              […]and further he has a case for loss of income for the firing,

              Sure, I have a few cases of lost income after being terminted from jobs in younger years.

              You’re giving a new face to the phrase “laughed out of the courtroom.”

              and the fact that he was not available for other work

              Only if he was not paid for his work up to the date of termination; otherwise: Welcome to the wonderful world of OPPORTUNITY COSTS.

      2. In all fairness, we do not know the terms of his contract. If this is a case of contract dispute, then, by all means, it belongs in court. If it is deemed to be a frivolous lawsuit, he should pay all legal fees.

  5. It’s obviously a publicity stunt.

  6. Maybe the reason he got fired is because he’s the type of person that would sue.

  7. This whole affair sounds like a Rand novel.

  8. He should wire the film with explosives and blow it up in protest.

  9. I don’t even want to imagine the NYT story if he wins this lawsuit.

    “MOVIE IDOLIZING CAPITALISM FAILS TO PAY FOR SERVICES RENDERED”

    by Paul Krugman

    I’ve been reading a lot of comments by The Truth lately, and let me tell you maybe it’s time we looked into this communism thing again…

  10. Filmmaker Stephen Polk says the creators of the movie adaption of the Ayn Rand novel “Atlas Shrugged” replaced him with another director and then used his ideas without payment or credit…

    Which is kind of ironic, since I believe Ayn Rand was a believer in I.P., regardless of the fact that IP is a government-sanctioned monopoly on a non-rivalrous, non-exclusive “good.”

    1. Her stated reason for casting Murray Rothbard to the Outer Darkness was that he supposedly used an idea of hers in an article. Which of course Rand got from the Reader’s Digest Condensed version of Aristotle.

      Objectivists are fanatical when it comes to Intellectual Property because of the “property” part. They truly believe that since government calls it property then it is their A=A given right.

  11. Polk demands $6.5 million for “oppression, fraud and malice” from the defendants’ false promises that he would “be compensated and credited as producer.”

    “Oppression”????

    I guess the producers were not mistaken in firing that fruitcake, after all – he sounds so… so… I don’t know… so rather!

    “Oppression”… fuck.

    1. watch them settle-winner πŸ˜‰

      1. Re: rather,

        watch them settle

        And? A settlement would only show the producers value the settlement more than a day in court, not that it is evidence for IP.

    2. Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

      King Arthur: Bloody peasant!

      Dennis: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, Didn’t you?

  12. “Oppression”????

    It’s the proper lawyerly term for when your boss is an asshole (of the thieving or imprisoning sort, traditionally, but nowadays it mostly shows up in lawsuits over non-compete contracts).

    He had to say it.

  13. Oops! They might make some money on this movie. How can I get in on it?

    “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

    1. Mikey Moore should sue Stephen Polk for stealing his lawsuit thingy idea…

  14. Nobody owns the movie. It is not scarce, and hence it is not property. Some director owns this movie as much as I own the air I breathe.

    There is no such thing as intellectual property!

    1. I find your belief system fascinating.

      Why do you say scarcity is the sole determinant of property?

      1. Why do you say scarcity is the sole determinant of property?

        Most libertarians would allow for the existence of a legal system that recognized intellectual property, though this would be one system in a marketplace of others. Government fiat is entirely different, however.

        The general argument against I.P. is that things like music and movies are not scarce (I can make as many copies of a song as I want), and therefore don’t need to be rationed by the price mechanism. The counter-argument, of course, is that getting rid of I.P. would remove a great deal of incentive for, well, directors to direct and writers to write.

        1. Thanks, I thought maybe he would dismiss that very counter-argument in an interesting way.

          But now that I think about it, I’m not so sure a movie is not a scarce good simply because it can be reproduced at near zero cost. After all, it was infinitely scarce until someone made it. That would seem to qualify it as property, even under his extreme definition.

          1. It did not exist before it was made, and once it is made it is not scarce. Something that does not exist is not property, and neither is something that is not scarce.

            For instance, if I come up with a way to hit a baseball that no one has ever though of before, do I own it? Is anything stolen from me if someone copies the idea?

      2. In all seriousness, it would seem there are a lot of people around here who read N. Stephan Kinsella from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. He bases his critique of IP on a general theory of property that argues that property rights exist only if the property is scarce.

        Is that about right, or have I missed it?

        http://www.stephankinsella.com…..-scarcity/

        There’s a regular commenter named Jim who alerted me to this.

        1. Interesting. Kinsella does indeed dismiss the utilitarian counter-argument in an interesting way.

          Now I see how Tony’s premise (scarcity necessary for property) is defensible. It’s his conclusion (no such thing as IP) that’s invalid. If I make a movie, it’s scarce until I show it, and therefore I’ve a right to make the buyer’s agreement not to copy it a condition of the viewing. However, I’ve no right to restrict someone else from making a similar movie. In other words, software license good, software patent bad.

          I’m cool with that.

          1. I’m actually for a limited IP framework. I’ve said elsewhere here — and at too much length — that I’m not sure about this scarcity thing. But I need to sit down and really read what Kinsella is saying.

          2. It’s fine if you try to secure it yourself. For instance, if you are filming the movie and make everyone sign some kind of confidentiality agreement that’s fine.

            But yes, scarcity is a prerequisite for property. Air is not scarce, hence no one can own the air.

        2. Thank you for the hat tip : ). I was honestly converted to the anti-IP camp by reading and agreeing with Kinsella’s theories.

          1. No sweat. I enjoyed studying IP in school, so I remember your recommendation pretty distinctly. Now I’ve got three things I’m really interested in reading on my list.

      3. Re: Middle Age Crazy,

        Why do you say scarcity is the sole determinant of property?

        Try selling air. Atmospheric air. You’ll find out quickly.

        http://mises.org/etexts/hoppe5.pdf

        1. Thanks, I’ll read it.

          1. The best part is that you don’t have to read the whole thing: Hoppe gives you a good definition of property in the very first pages.

            1. Are there any other anti-IP cats around here, OM? I’ve only really noticed you and I beating this particular drum.

              1. Re: Jim,

                Are there any other anti-IP cats around here, OM?

                Is that important, Jim?

                1. Perhaps not to you, but to me, it is. It’s a subjective value. I’d like to know if an anti-IP message is fairly widespread in this community, as it is in the mises.org group.

        2. The problem there is a particular piece of IP is scarce before it is created. No human mental or physical effort is put into deliberately creating air, considerable human effort can be put into developing a new book or movie or mechanical design.

          1. Re: MJ,

            [a] considerable human effort can be put into developing a new book or movie or mechanical design.

            What makes things property is their rivalrous and exclusive nature. When you consume one unit of it, there’s one less available for others (exclusivity), and two cannot consume it at the same time (rivalry.) IDEAS ARE NON-RIVALROUS AND NON-EXCLUSIVE, unless you keep your ideas to yourself.

  15. I am actually starting to miss articles about Four Loko.

    1. Yeah, Reason’s AS coverage has definitely jumped the shark.

      1. speaking of Happy Days, the cast is sueing the network for unpaid licensing fees-over thirty years worth!

  16. You guys almost had me ready to swallow my disbelief and see AS1. But now I’m saving up my money for a better capitalist movie.

  17. Second handers were The Fountainhead, right?

  18. lol, in come the bottom feeding, blood sucking attorneys.

    http://www.total-privacy.int.tc

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