Everything You Need to Know About the Current State of the Axanar Lawsuit

axamonitor

It has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride for those of us watching the ups and downs of the lawsuit filed by Paramount and CBS against Star Trek fan film Axanar. The huge amount of new information and new (or amended) court filings peppered with celebrity commentary has left a lot of the fans wondering – what’s the deal with the Axanar lawsuit anyways, and how should I feel about it? AxaMonitor.com’s Carlos Pedraza catches us up on the latest facts in the Axanar saga, including where the suit currently stands legally, a move by Peters to sell Ares Studios, plus the latest reactions from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin and TNG’s Wil Wheaton.


The past week brought an amended lawsuit expanding copyright allegations against the embattled Star Trek fan film, Axanar, while celebrities began to weigh in, and a secret group of private investors offered to buy the production’s new studio.

In the beginning…
On December 29th, 2015 Paramount Pictures Corp. and CBS Studios Inc. collectively filed suit against the successful fan film group, Axanar Productions and its owner Alec Peters plus up to 20 unnamed “Does”. You can read the official document here. In short, Paramount and CBS allege that Axanar has infringed upon their copyright of Star Trek and asked for the statutory $150K in damages for each work infringed upon (this would include characters, locations, etc.).

Axanar pushes back
Axanar and Peters, represented on a pro bono basis by the high-powered Winston & Strawn, responded to the lawsuit by filing a Motion to Dismiss, asking the court to completely dismiss the suit on the grounds that Paramount and CBS were not specific enough in their original complaint as to what elements were infringed upon, saying in the motion “…while Plaintiffs allege ownership of “thousands” of copyrights relating to Star Trek episodes and films, Plaintiffs fail to specify which of those copyrights Defendants have allegedly infringed.”

The new amended complaint from CBS and Paramount
In response to Axanar’s Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs CBS and Paramount Pictures filed a 48-page amended complaint, 28 of which presented detailed copyright violations. The defendants have until March 31 to respond to the new complaint.

EXTRA AxaMonitor offers a backgrounder on copyright infringement.

Celebrities take sides
The detailed copyright violations got national headlines — a public relations win for the plaintiffs — until the studios’ copyright claim for the Klingon language got a headline in The Hollywood Reporter. That inspired a tweet from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, who wrote, “This is getting ridiculous! I support the fans. Trek belongs to all of us.”

Axanar producer Alec Peters basked in glow of Lin’s attention, blogging, “You got to love it when you wake up to the Star Trek Director Tweeting that Paramount suing Axanar is ridiculous.”

But the tides of the P.R. battle changed the very next day when Star Trek actor and famed blogger Wil Wheaton took Axanar’s producers to task on his Tumblr.

“[They] raised a TON of money,” Wheaton wrote, “and spent it to build a studio, which will (presumably) be used to turn a profit from other productions once Axanar’s production is completed. They also sold unlicensed coffee, using copyrighted Star Trek names, and have generally been epic douchecanoes about the whole thing.”

Wheaton said Axanar has “put all fan films at risk, because they exploited the passion and love that Trekkies have for Star Trek to get money, and now they’re acting like they’re innocent victims of big bad CBS. … They are morally and ethically and legally in the wrong.”

On Facebook, Battlestar Galactica actor Richard Hatch posted support for Axanar: “I sincerely hope the Studios can come on board and support these fan efforts and make them a partner in their success.” He is slated for a principal role in Axanar.

His post sparked an intense debate that soon had the admins on Hatch’s page admonish: “This page is NOT a debate forum for Axanar.”

Meanwhile, Wheaton’s words prompted Peters to address what he called detractors’ three myths — 1. that Axanar Productions is making a profit, 2. that it built a profit-making studio (“Ares Studios”), and 3. that money is at the center of the lawsuit.

AxaMonitor examines each of these claims in its piece “Axanar Myths”, demonstrating that Axanar uses a specific definition of profit, while the lawsuit itself does not use that word to describe Axanar’s alleged commercial exploitation of Star Trek copyrights. CBS and Paramount instead assert defendants gained a “direct financial benefit.”

Axanar’s 2014 Kickstarter raised $638,471, much of which went to build Ares Studios, initially intended for producing Axanar and eventually a subscription sci-fi film production business.

“I could see us having ten channels in the future of not just Star Trek programming but all kinds of programming that we’re going to create,” Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett said on the Official Axanar Podcast.

Plans to sell Ares Studios?
Meanwhile, Axanar Productions owes another two years’ studio rent ($250,000). Buried in his Mythbusters-style blog post, Peters announced that a secret private investors’ group intends to buy out the studio improvements paid for with donors’ money — at least $400,000, according to Axanar spokesman Mike Bawden — and that this group would manage the facility in the future.

In his final point, Peters asserts, “the plaintiffs have told us this [lawsuit] is not about money, it is about copyright infringement.” However, two of the suit’s causes of action deal with revenue: That “defendants enjoy a direct financial benefit” from the production, and they believe they are entitled to “offer for sale derivative Star Trek works.”

What’s next?
Also last week, presiding federal Judge R. Gary Klausner declared the defense’s dismissal motion moot, sending the case to its next step: a pre-trial meeting on May 9 where the two sides will meet to agree on plans for gathering evidence in the case.

The week wound up with a notice on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) that Axanar had reverted its production status from ‘preproduction’ to ‘in development,’ a backwards step on its road to making the film.


AxaMonitor.com is a journalism wiki about the copyright lawsuit against Axanar. Its mission is to inform readers about what’s at stake, and the suit’s possible impact on fan productions and copyright law. Among its resources are the Axanar FAQ and a timeline of the case. On Twitter @AxaMonitor.

Carlos Pedraza is a screenwriter and independent film producer, a former Associated Press reporter and non-profit consultant, and a former writer-producer for the fan productions, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and Star Trek: New Voyages.

Sort by:   newest | oldest

I liked Axanars premise and would Love to see it realised, but it really looks like they made a profit in building the studio. Instead If they would rent a studio I think it wouldn’t be a big deal, but using the studio for other productions is profit. Now I need to watch Renegades again, oh no.

Here is a new example I came up with. Lets say you have someone who is really passionate about the work the Red Cross does. That’s great, right? Now let’s say that person has a great idea for a new project they want the Red Cross to do. Well, unfortunately, the Red Cross isn’t interested. They already have their plate full. So this passionate guy decides he’s going to start his OWN organization to do his project. Good for him!

Here is the problem: instead of coming up with his own original name and logos, he uses the Red Cross name. Without permission. He uses the Red Cross logos. Without permission. He then raises money using name and those logos. Without permission. He then keeps some of that money to pay himself for his “hard work”. And you know what? Maybe he did work hard. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t PAY YOURSELF money you raised using SOMEONE ELSE’S brand name WITHOUT their permission.

That’s a decent analogy.

Raising money in the name of someone else and using it for your self is fraud! Especially in your exemple is it not just fraud but immoral. Trekkies or Trekkers should be above that.

I get it Axanar looked awesome and i still wish they could do it but i wont let my wishes for some good Trek cloud my vision and judgement.

And Star Trek fans are being described as bein cerebral but when it coms to something we want we can get blind like children when they want something.

Sorry i was to fast whit my answer. I just saw we agre on this topic :) Like you im pasionate about Trak and was to fast ant to Furiose whit my answer.

The_Grand_Nagus,

My aunt worked for the Red Cross, and if you knew the history of that Organization then their solution, which you suggest would apply here, is for Peters to rename his production THE CALIFORNIAN STAR TREK.

You know, I was quite frankly on the Pro-Axanar side until I read this analogy but this actually is quite convincing. Ultimately, I think Axanar would have out produced any of the trash we’ve been seeing since 2009 (or likely will see over the next few years) but, you’re right about the branding issue.
I suspect this could have been handled much differently than it was and flown under the radar like New Voyages or Continues. Oh well. Hopefully a lesson learned for future productions.

You are all right and have fantastic points. But you know what, I just really want to see the film! I know studios and copyrights don’t work that way but goddamn it Paramount and CBS already have all the money what do they care…. it’s not asbif theyvwere evee actually going to do the Axanat story ANYWAY….

Hey Mellvar. I too was looking forward to seeing this. But the blame for any disappointment is squarely on Alec Peter’s shoulders. He made the decisions that led to this situation. As others have noted, plenty of fan films have been made, but Axanar is the only one getting sued. And that is because the people at Axanar, led by Alec Peters, *choose* to do things that broke whatever “rules” the rest of the fan films were following. So yeah, it sucks that Alec and his crew ruined it with their bad decisions.

It’s kind of like speeding on the highway. Sure, it’s technically against the law to go even 1 mile over the speed limit. But there is sort of an “unspoken rule” among cops that *most*(key word) aren’t going to bother pulling you over unless your going 10 or more over. So yes, all of the fan films may be speeding a little. But Axanar was going 20 miles over the speed limit. And you know what? It’s not the cop’s fault for pulling them over.

what bad decisions and what rules?

The Axanar studio is rented. Not built or owned.

I love how, in defending themselves against infringement claims, the Axanar team went ahead and infringed Mythbusters.

The bottom line is this: Axanar’s producers infringed copyrights and made a ton of money at it, and they were caught and rightfully called out for it. There’s nothing debatable or ambiguous about that, and the incredible dishonesty they showed in trying to obscure that fact behind technicalities says much about them. They lack integrity or respect, and they’re ruining things for all the other fan films whose producers haven’t pocketed tens of thousands of donated dollars or tried to sell merchandise containing Star Trek IP.

They made a ton of money… Quite a claim. Please prove it if you make this kind of statement.

They paid people for their hard work – there is nothing wrong with that. What did you think the money was for? If you want to deliver the kind of quality Axanar aimed for, there is no chance to do it on purely non-pro (means non-paid) work – or it will take decades to finish.

I have no problem if the producer get a little bit of that money as well – its a full time job and I think he´s been doing that for a couple of years. So 38K for 3 or 4 years of work does not seem to be too much to me.

All other big fan productions take almost similar amounts of money (Renegades, STC, NV) and they are also selling merchandise the same way Axanar did (through donations).

The biggest expense of Axanar is likely the rent of their soundstage and the rebuilding they did with that. That was a specific Kickstarter that was especially for that reason.Now, if they are going to sell this equipment I would expect them to put any financial gain into the movie again (whatever form it may take).

Pedraza clearly has some beef with the Axanar production, I don´t know why. But I wouldnt rely solely on Axamonitor for the truth or news about that matter.

It’s not “quite a claim.” It’s well-documented. I have nothing to prove to you. Feel free to do your own research. Nothing I said was outrageous or false.

Star Trek Continues, New Voyages, Renegades etc

All of which made a “ton of money” using the same crowdfunding systems that Axanar did. Why aren’t they being sued? Answer: They will be (not yet). First, CBS/Paramount needs to make an example of Axanar (i.e setting a precedent).

There is a big difference between Axanar and those productions. That has been well documented on this and other sites. CBS/Paramount won’t be going after the others–this is specifically about how Axanar went about things. CBS/Paramount are not the ones in the wrong here.

They do not sell Trek branded products or skim off the donations to pay themselves.

“They do not sell Trek branded products..” — Ian Finney

You only think that because you think calling getting such things in exchange for money a “perk” makes it somehow something else.

Dandru,

If it’s well documented, show us. Your inability to easily so do in your responses suggests that it is merely something you want to believe true and not something so well documented that you can readily demonstrate it under the Paramount net profit accounting standard.

Paramount’s net profit accounting standard does not apply. Who told you this? And Axanar insists they are not a studio. And insisting that every poster restate every well documented fact in order to have validity is also an unsound argument. Respectfully, go read Axamonitor.

AxaWatcher,

Facts are constantly being claimed. But if they were as self-evident as all that claim them to be facts say that they are to the court. The Judge would have given Paramount everything they wanted and not entertained motions to the contrary and we would NOT be discussing it.

I don’t need restainments by everyone of what they believe to be true. I want links to the data that show what is asserted IS true to the court. So far only this article’s author has supplied links.

@Disinvited The normal required process for a lawsuit in the USA is NOT that the plaintiff (in this case Paramount/CBS) files a case and the judge immediately decides the merits, as you suggest. This is a misunderstanding on your part of basic legal process. The judge MUST entertain “motions to the contrary” (the defense filings). There are a sequence of back and forth filings allowed both sides to protect their rights as the case approaches trial. In fact, the defense (Axanar) filed a motion questioning the completeness of the lawsuits’ proofs, and Paramount/CBS exercised their right to amend their filing with more detail and refile. Which is all the farther things have gotten so far. It is part of the normal sequence of steps. It is too early for the judge to rule in favor of the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial, so it would be a jury that makes any decision in favor of the plaintiffs in any case. This would be months down the road in all likelihood. So it simply is not accurate to suggest that if Paramount/CBS had a factual case, things would already be over. You need to adjust your understanding about this in order to follow what is going on effectively. As far as links to facts you seek, the Axamonitor site is pretty comprehensive. When people here assert facts they are probably documented with links on Axamonitor, and posters here do not feel they need to repeat the… Read more »

AxaWatcher,

I am well aware of the course of normal civil litigation. But this is copyright law which the MPAA has strewn with requests for takedowns, injunctions and summary judgements granted far quicker than you suggest.

The plaintiffs themselves, requested in their initial filling a request for an immediate injunction that, as yet, has not been granted despite many claims of self-evident uncontestable facts from many who post here. It is to that with which I am specifically addressing that.

@Disinvited

Thank you for your clarification. It is interesting.

But didn’t Paramount/CBS *get* the injunction for the first 30 days, until they were called upon to refile with more detail? That was my recollection, Axanar was stopped by the judge from working on the film… And aren’t they asking for the injunction again?

AxaWatcher,

I am aware of, as they say hereabouts, “tons” of reports of Paramount/CBS DEMANDING an injunction. I am unaware of any report that the Judge had done so.

Disinvited,

You are right. Axanar agreed to stop production in exchange for the 30 day extension they requested so they could file their first response, in effect giving the studio what they wanted, temporarily. However, the judge has not ruled on the injunction request itself. I guess that could come soon.

@Disinvited. It hasn’t been to court yet.

Jack,

See what AxaWatcher said just prior to you posting.

Requests of the Judge, including the injunction, were and are being made. The Judge has made some rulings, granting motions, etc.

I’m NOT saying there’s absolutely no reason to grant injunctive relief, but what I was saying is that if all the evidence was so overwhelmingly compellingly self-evident as all the Sam Cogleys around here would have us believe, a preliminary injunction would’ve been granted right off the bat.

It has been well-documented in many articles. Do your own research. I really don’t care whether or not you believe it. It’s fact.

northstar: “They made a ton of money… Quite a claim. Please prove it if you make this kind of statement.”

The Axanar Kickstarter raised approximately $638,000. According to the Axanar annual report, it resulted in a net total of around $571,000. Approximately $33,000 of this was spent on perk fulfillment (estimated as perks + shipping + shipping supplies from the annual report), giving them a remainder of approximately $536, 000. (Note that the financial information in the annual report was not prepared or verified through an independent audit. There is no guarantee the information is accurate.)

The Axanar Indiegogo raised approximately $574,000. The net total has not been released, but they estimate in the “Indiegogo Financial Basics” section on the campaign page that the production takes roughly 75% after fees and fulfillment. This would give them an additional $400,000 or so.

These numbers do not include whatever was raised directly at conventions, through the direct donations or retroactive donor packages on the website, and through the donor store. No numbers regarding monies taken through those avenues have been released thus far.

Axanar has indeed made “a ton of money” by fan film standards.

And according to those records about 10% was skimmed by Peters for “salaries”. Something that was NOT divulged upfront.

It was divulged a long time ago. It is not a surprise to anyone who was actually paying attention

If I pay people to work, and that job includes stealing cars, it’s steal illegal. Paying someone to do a job doesn’t make it legit.

Anyway, they’ve admitted to raising over a million dollars. That’s not in question.

I’ll ask you to prove your odd statement that the other fan productions make “almost similar” amounts of money – in the hundreds of thousands of dollars? Really?

YOU might not have a problem with production staff being paid but CBS and Paramount appear to have a really big problem with it, as well as the funds spent to procure and develop a studio. Those funds, remember, were raised on the back of IP owned by CBS and Paramount.

I did not contribute to have part of my funds skimmed off the top and put in Peter’s pocket. I DO NOT agree that he should be paid. The other fan films DO NOT pay themselves a salary.

“I DO NOT agree that he should be paid.” — Ian Finney

What person exactly did you think was going to cash your metaphorical check when you handed it to him?

You knew upfront that you were handing your funds over to Peters and NOT to an impartial Axanar Trust Fund whose only reason for existence was to ensure that an Axanar movie got made.

How can they have made a ton of money when the movie isn’t even finished yet, let alone released.

@Silvereyes

They ran two highly successful crowdfunding campaigns. People gave money to create a product. In essence, they paid for something that doesn’t exist yet on the hope that their money would be used to make it exist.

That’s how you make a ton of money with no product in hand: you sell hope and a promise. The history of crowdfunding is littered with such sales.

Actually, three successful crowdfunding campaigns, raising a total $1,314,076. You can read more about Axanar’s fundraising here: http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=crowdfunding_platforms

Kate,

I believe that’s a “Blind Bid Auction” when paramount does it. Raised $35 million [Some say $50 million.] for STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE before one frame of footage was shot.

And Kate,

Iin the decade that followed, Paramount asserted to all that TMP never made any money.

@ Disinvited

“I believe that’s a “Blind Bid Auction” when paramount does it. Raised $35 million [Some say $50 million.] for STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE before one frame of footage was shot.”

Source?

“Iin the decade that followed, Paramount asserted to all that TMP never made any money.”

Point?

My posts were not about profit, but about funds available for filming.

Kate,

http://www.in70mm.com/news/2012/trumbull_interview/index.htm

”…there was a process called Blind Bidding, that was used largely in all theatres, but maybe even more so in European theatres, where the theatre chains would have to pay in advance for the right to show a certain movie before they could even see the movie – and it was called Blind Bid. So that was a way for the Studio to get money in advance, and so the Studio had received something like $35 million in advance payments for “Star Trek”[THE MOTION PICTURE].” – Doug Trumbull, special effects TMP

“Point?” – Kate

“That’s how you make a ton of money with no product in hand” – Kate

Paramount had $35 million in hand and claimed it never made a ton of money from TMP.

Silvereyes,

Exactly, there are no “fan film standards” accounting as Kate and others suggest. Other fan productions don’t open their books. Paramount, on the other hand, has used and argued vociferously in several lawsuits for a net profit accounting standard where Peters would have to raise a lot MORE money than has been to show a profit.

What’s good for the goose….

@Disinvited

What’s good for Paramount is only good for Axanar if Axanar is also a for profit professional studio operating off of Trek IP. You are making the case for Paramount.

AxaWatcher,

Balanced books are balanced books whether to show zero profit or billions in profit. There’s not one type of accounting for non-profits and a different accounting for the profit attempters. Which is why the court ruled Paramount’s accounting methods “unconscionable”.

Keep in mind I regard the plaintiffs and the defendant all likely to be equally slimy.

Think of it this way, in all its court accounting proceedings made public Paramount’s net accounting works out that none of its Trek films have made a profit. If Peters team can show in discovery that by Paramount/CBS’ own accounting with all their resources can’t realize a profit with a Trek movie, how are they going to convince the judge that Peters will?

We are only discussing this because so many [24 by my rough count] posting here are convinced that this guaranteed Axanar “profit” is the reason for the claims and a part of the legal wrangling. I have my doubts.

And in the long run I believe Peters, like Paramount in Buchwald, will eventually lose. I just think his defense is entitled to wheedle the damages awarded down now every bit as much as Paramount did then.

In the mean time, I’m interested in seeing if Peters team can get the Plaintiffs to explain why the Copyright Office records show that about 30 of the first 34 episode scripts, including COURT MARTIAL, were common law copyright registered in 1975 by DESILU, when I’m certain that entity didn’t exist in 1975?

@Disinvited

Your observations about tricky bookkeeping are interesting. I think that the word profit is a red herring introduced by Axanar, they constantly speak about being “nonprofit” and “not making a profit”, when in fact the standard for them as a fan film was stronger, “dont make money (financial gain)” — which excludes acquiring business assets or personal wealth through salaries as well. In fact the lawsuit doesn’t speak of profit, it is more precise it speaks of “financial gain”, thus showing the “don’t make money” guidance was important to the studios.

As far as specifics of what is defensible as owned by Paramount/CBS, someone with a copyright legal background might have a view on this outside the courtroom. If you are interested in this a good resource you may wish to read is written by an attorney at the website thegandtshow.com. Look in the blog postings for analysis of the revised lawsuit filing.

AxaWatcher,

Excellent. Thanks for that link.

AxaWatcher,

Also, ” In fact the lawsuit doesn’t speak of profit…” is exactly why I am asking for citations when others claim profit is a “fact” which spurred the lawsuit. It is, at this time, a fact, yet to be determined by the court, as to whether it is germane to the plaintiff’s assertions in their claim and whether the defendant has, in fact, “made a profit” using the plaintiffs’ copyrighted characters, etc., if it is.

@Disinvited

I honestly think that people talk of “profit” in a vernacular way most of the time in this discussion, to be what the attorneys more precisely call “financial gain”.

It seems to me its really only Axanar in this whole scene who have gotten very insistent about using the word “profit”, in the sense of claiming they are “not for profit” and “nonprofit”, when in fact nothing has emerged yet about even any applications made let alone structuring of their operations to conform to these business models.

There could be nonprofit filings in progress but Axanar has not done anything proactive like posting their 501(c)3 or similar application for anyone to see. Axamonitor has more on this.

AxaWatcher,

I couldn’t get “thegandtshow.com” to work are you sure it isn’t “gandtshow.com”?

@Disinvited

Yes, you are right about the site name. Sorry for any confusion. Look in the “blogs” section.

@Disinvited

“… there are no “fan film standards” accounting as Kate and others suggest.”

Where, exactly, did I suggest this?

Kate,

When you said, “Axanar has indeed made “a ton of money” by fan film standards.” The only method by which to determine THAT is accounting. And it is impossible to accurately determine that “standard” as the other fan production books aren’t as open as Axanar’s.

@Disinvited

I believe you’re interpreting “made a ton of money” as “made a profit.” This is not how I am using the phrase. I am referring to nothing more than the net amount of money collected from donors after fees and perk fulfillment. In short, I am referring to the amount of money available to put on the screen.

@ Disinvited

Furthermore, I did not use “fan film standards” as a reference to some official benchmark. I was using it as “by the standards of what other fan films have raised” or “in relation to what other fan films have raised.”

Renegades, for example, raised the most with $242,000 (KS) for their first film. That is far less than Axanar’s one million for one film. (Renegades then raised $378,000 (KS) for their second two episodes.)

Horizon raised $22,000 (KS) for its feature film. This is far less than Axanar’s available one million for one film.

STC had two KS campaigns. The first raised $126,000 and the second raised $214,000. (Currently STC is running an IGG campaign with a target goal of $350,000.) STC has released five episodes to date, with a total run time equal to two feature length films.)

If you look at the other fan films then, yes, Axanar has been more successful in raising donations. (I’m not even including Prelude.) They have raised (or made, if you prefer) a ton of money by fan film standards.

Being overly literal is not helping you out here, dude.

Kate, The Plural noun “standards” in your context only has two possible meanings and “in relation to” is not one of them. You seem to want to suggest what other fan productions may serve as a guide but that is impossible to evaluate in a meaningful way as their books are not open: 1. a level of quality or attainment. “their restaurant offers a high standard of service” synonyms: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence “the standard of her work” * a required or agreed level of quality or attainment. “half of the beaches fail to comply with EPA standards” synonyms: guideline, norm, yardstick, benchmark, measure, criterion, guide, touchstone, model, pattern, example, exemplar “a safety standard” 2. an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. “the wages are low by today’s standards” * principles of conduct informed by notions of honor and decency. “a decline in moral standards” synonyms: principle, ideal; More code of behavior, code of honor, morals, scruples, ethics “a standard to live by” * a form of language that is widely accepted as the correct form. * the prescribed weight of fine metal in gold or silver coins. “the sterling standard for silver” * a system by which the value of a currency is defined in terms of gold or silver or both.

Kate,

Oh you meant “raised” a lot of money. “Made” has slightly different suggestive meaning as in “We’ve got it made.”

Peters/Axanar raised a lot of money. They used part of it to start building a studio. They used part of it to pay Peters a salary.

Neither of which, I believe, are things Cawley (Phase II) or Mignogna (STC) have done. The money they’ve raised went into what we see onscreen.

👍

Marja,

For me, the problem is what constitutes a “studio”?

I know prior to PRELUDE other fan productions reported building sets. How many of those does it take to make a “studio”?

Disinvited,

Mr. Peters said that the other fan sets are “standing” (permanent), and that in comparison, Axanar/Ares Studio was not building standing sets, but sets that could be taken down so that other productions could use the space. According to Axanar, it is not the quantity of sets, but the type made.

AxaWatcher,

Even though the other sets may be “permanent” I am aware that other productions use those permanent sets. Off the top of my head, I believe Farragut used Continues’ sets. So I’m a little fuzzy on why that wouldn’t make them likewise a studio. I get it Peters thinks his has superior qualities, but I’m not getting a clear sense of distinction in the sense of exclusivity of use.

And while I’m pondering that, as a taxpayer I’m wondering whose sets did the IRS use for that “training” video?

The soundstage was intended to be an asset for future for profit productions/rentals benefiting the Axanar Productions corporation. They stated this. They say it is ok “because we told fans we are doing it, and they donated”. Except, fans don’t own Trek IP and can’t give that permission. They say its ok because fans agreed to donate for the Axanar staff to be paid, except Axanar fans didn’t have the right to grant a non-licenseholder a paid position doing Trek-IP content.

Expect all sorts of colorful webs of misdirection to be thrown over the profit taking now, to conceal it and morph it into something not nameable or recoverable in the lawsuit or future donor actions, into something that “never happened, was never intended, nothing to see here, move along please”.

Except they did do it and did crow as exemplified in the article above about what their for-profit intentions were, and no amount of shapeshifting now change that record.

Dandru,

And what? You don’t find anything equally infringing Mythbusters about that graphic from the AxaMonitor site prominently featured at the top of THIS article and Axamonitor’s response?

Why is it fair use for one and not the other?

That’s an excellent question. Fair use entails a balancing test of four factors: Purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Most works of journalism fall well within those parameters. As an ostensibly commercial venture, Axanar’s wholesale use of the original logo, however, is potentially problematic. My use of it was transformative, since it’s a comment on Axanar’s ironic use of the logo, plus by inverting the colors and adding the AxaMonitor logo, I’m making a comment on how the mythbusting in the original blog post is itself propagating myths subject to their own busting.

Carlos Pedraza,

“As an ostensibly commercial venture, Axanar’s wholesale use of the original logo, however, is potentially problematic.” — Carlos Pedraza

Possibly, but given that the courts have ruled bloggers/blogs as journalists/journalism as well as editorials likewise journalism, no matter how self-serving, not very likely.

Well, it’s up to Discovery Communications to decide how they feel about the use of their logo, and up to Axanar to justify how they would defend their use of it. I can only speak for myself in asserting that my use of it falls under fair use under the balance test.

Huh? I said it WAS infringing.

“I said it WAS infringing.” — Dandru

You said it was ONLY infringing for Peters to use it. I was pointing out that he did so in a blog, which the courts have determined is journalism which makes him a journalist. I was asking how is it that you find infringement and no “fair use” in his journalistic use of it, but find use of it by Axamonitor and TrekMovie not equally worth noting as infringing.

If Axamonitor was raising money from fans while using the Mythbusters name, seems like THAT would be grounds for infringement. To me it’s the fundraising to make things FOR PROFIT (building a studio for other money-making productions, paying a producer/star) based on a copyright or trademark that’s problematic.

Marja,

As Curious Cadet would no doubt point out: raising money’s got nothing to do with it.

But if it did, why would money coming from the fans be more germane as opposed to say, site clickthrus and ads?

Absolute FACTS: 1) Axanar raised $1,000,000+ by using the Trek IP *without* permission. 2) The Axanar team then paid themselves a salary with some of that money. 3) The Axanar team then used some of that money to build a sound stage that they stated they planned to rent for profit. —————– Now, my editorial: For most fan productions, number 1 isn’t usually an issue as long as as all of the money is being invested in the project, and no PROFIT is being made. Although, admittedly, most fan productions don’t raise anywhere near that much money, and the more money raised the bigger the red flag. That said, numbers 2 and 3 are where the real problem starts, so here goes… No, it is NOT wrong for a non profit organization to have paid employees. Organizations like the Red Cross are examples of non profits with paid employees. However(and this is the key point), if you don’t actually work for the Red Cross, you can’t print off their logos, then go down to the mall and raise money, then keep some of that money to pay yourself. You cannot profit yourself using the Red Cross brand without their express permission. Likewise, you cannot profit yourself using the Trek brand without the IP owner’s express permission, which Axanar did not have. The same logic described above also applies to the sound stage. They cannot use funds raised by using the Trek IP without permission, then use those funds to build… Read more »

Yeah, hard to see how the court would favor the defendants on this. I’m not a lawyer but it seems like a pretty solid case of copyright infringement. I’m not sure how debating who held which copyright is even a solid defense unless they can prove no one holds the rights to the characters and locations they’ve used – and I don’t think anyone was arguing that.

Seems like a delaying tactic at best, but to what end?

“”We violate CBS copyright less than any other fan film,” said Alec Peters in an interview.

http://1701news.com/node/1001/peters-axanar-quality-spurred-lawsuit.html

That’s probably a plaintiff exhibit. I know it made it into their lawsuit complaint.

The purpose of the delaying tactic is they hope they can get enough UNinformed “big names” like Justin Lin on their side that Paramount will back down.

Btw, I don’t mean that as an insult to Lin, I just don’t think he really understands the whole story.

A lot of people don’t seem to understand the situation. Here and elsewhere, fans keep acting like CBS and Paramount are being bullies, and that the Axanar team did nothing wrong and should be given a license for their film. That is incredibly ill-informed and naive.

But even celebrity opinions don’t change the law, so that’s a pretty weak legal strategy. And how long do they really think their pro bono legal team will hang around? Paramount and CBS have a cadre of lawyers on retainer – they don’t care how long this thing drags out, it’s just more billable hours for them.
I think they don’t have a credible defense against the suit. Claiming they “violate CBS copywrite less than other fan films” is both irrelevant and an admission of guilt. Not sure what all the rest of the hubbub is except wasted motion.

I’m sure very few people have all the facts. I was initially on “Team Axanar” when the lawsuit first hit the news but now I’m staying neutral. The “big names” should do the same unless they feel like they know “the whole story.”

“However(and this is the key point), if you don’t actually work for the Red Cross, you can’t print off their logos, then go down to the mall and raise money, then keep some of that money to pay yourself. You cannot profit yourself using the Red Cross brand without their express permission. ” — The_Grand_Nagus Tell that to Johnson & Johnson: “A decision by Johnson & Johnson, the giant health care conglomerate, to sue the American Red Cross last year for commercializing the Red Cross symbol may be turning into a bit of a disaster for the company. This week the company lost the second round in its trademark dispute against the disaster relief agency when a federal judge in Manhattan threw out most of the case. In a decision late Wednesday, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court said the Congressional charter for the Red Cross gave it the right to use the symbol — a Greek red cross against a white background — even for business purposes. The company and the Red Cross had amicably shared use of the symbol for more than a century through an agreement signed in 1895. Johnson & Johnson has also used the symbol on packaging for many of its consumer health products, like Band-Aids. But the Red Cross angered Johnson & Johnson beginning in 2004 by licensing the symbol to other companies for use on commercial items sold in stores as part of the organization’s fund-raising program.” — ‘Judge Sides… Read more »

@Disinvited: You seem confused. Let me break it down for you:

1) My post said you can’t use someone else’s brand/logo without their permission.

2) You posted something seemingly trying to refute my point.

3) However, in the text you copy/pasted, it said that the Red Cross and J&J had a SIGNED AGREEMENT for brand sharing, which *agrees* with my point.

So, what point did you think you were making?

The_Grand_Nagus,

You are confused. Johnson&Johnson always owned the trademark. The American Red Cross never contested that.

The American Red Cross did not license the ip of the Red Cross Network nor did Clara Barton work for J&J but they ultimately did usurp J&J’s legitimate trademark while exceeding the bounds of their licensing agreement which restricted its use solely for non-profit purposes. AND got the court to rule in their favor in spite of that legitimizing the usurpation!

My point is that reality was stranger than the fiction you were trying to create to make a point. And undermined it.

BTW, the end result was ARC and J&J settled out of court which is pretty much what I expect to happen in the Trek case once a few inconvenient truths from all the parties involved start risking coming to light after all the chest thumping is done

@Disinvited

Thanks for the background on the (Johnson & Johnson) J&J / Red Cross logo ownership case, it is a good qualification to the analogy.

That said, it does seem to me that the further detail seems to make the analogy stronger. J&J owned the logo, Red Cross had an informal permission to use it for nonprofit purposes, and when Red Cross started using the logo for profit (financial gain), J&J sued.

I guess it was a trademark case not copyright so the analogy may not perfectly reflect the differences in case types, but one still does see a similar progression: informal permission granted for nonprofit purposes, but enforcement of rights if the grantee crosses a line and starts to exploit the asset for commercial purposes.

Interesting for sure.

AxaWatcher,

Well, more than just trademark law is involved, i.e. an act of Congress which is where I think the argument derails. J&J still has their trademark rights grandfathered in but usurped as far as The Red Cross activities itself goes.

If you liked that one try this:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/09/03/blue-cross-warning-sends-nuns-to-court.htm

” DENVER (CN) – It takes some doing to provoke a lawsuit from nuns, but Blue Cross has done it: by warning the Sisters of Charity, who run eight nonprofit hospitals, that they are violating its “blue cross” trademarks.
The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System sued Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Federal Court on Tuesday, seeking declaration of non-infringement and cancellation of a Blue Cross trademark.” — ‘Blue Cross Warning Sends Nuns to Court’; By EMMA GANNON; CN;Thursday, September 03, 2015 Last Update: 5:54 AM PT

Yep.

Wondering if Mr. Lin might have spoken before knowing all the facts.

No, if you reread the comment, he’s just saying it’s ridiculous. How much does he have a motivated self interest in this remains to be seen – if I raised a million five to make a Fast and Furious fan film, because I really love Paul Walker, you know, and got some guy named Jusstin Lynn to direct it, I suspect he’d be a bit put off by that.

Not sure how the observation that Mr. Lin is ‘just saying its ridiculous’ allows one to conclude anything about how much Mr. Lin may or may not have been informed about Axanar’s business history before making his tweet.

Mr. Lin didn’t say “Trek *IP* belongs to the fans”, so the tweet sounds more like an emotional argument than one informed by the business aspects of what Axanar seems to be doing, taking material benefit specifically off of the IP, not just making a fanfilm.

KingDaniel01@Hotmail.com

Question for Axanar supporters: Would you mind if someone took something of yours, and made their living off of it the way the Axanar people have from the Star Trek name? Because if you can take from big companies like CBS and Paramount in this way, you can take from anyone at any level – and what about the authors and artists who can’t afford to prosecute the ones who are hijacking their creations for their own benefit? Those are the consequences of supporting Axanar.

Happens all the time. just ask Jack Kirby’s heirs

….or Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

How is that a response, though? Murder happens all the time. So does burglary, arson, rape, abuse, etc.

The family of Jerry Siegel brought a lawsuit against DC Comics over the character of Superboy. Based on the fact that during WWII Seigel, who was overseas fighting for the US, he sent a character proposal to the company for the character of Superboy, which was rejected, but when he returned from the war he found that they were publishing the character. This lawsuit lasted for decades with the Seigels eventually being given the rights to the character, which resulted in said character being killed off in the comics. When DC tried to counter with the contention that Superboy was a natural extension of Superman the Seigels were, according to reports, handed the rights to Superman as well, and both sides were ordered to come to an agreement.

Didn’t Siegel and Shister work under a binding agreement with the publisher that their work was property of the publisher? Or did they sell rights to their characters for an obscenely low amount?

*Shuster*

Gotta side with CBS/Paramount on this one. Axanar can try and argue legal semantics but its clearly infringement.

Exactly. The Axanar team are very clearly in the wrong here. There is no credible argument anyone can make that CBS/Paramount are the villains.

It’s transformative enough to be considered fair use.

It’s still Star Trek and is made in the same realm of those TV shows and movies as an entertainment product. It would have to not be entertainment such as a movie review or a parody Fan Films are not fair use.

Quantum47,

That is the argument that will have to be made against the studio claims. Here is a detailed analysis of the amended filing by the studio: http://www.gandtshow.com/axanar-plaintiffs-file-amended-complaint/ It is a good reference point for one to evaluate whether the ‘transformative’ argument could actually fly with a jury.

quantum47,

Is that how the IRS got away with using Trek ip in that training video? I thought it was so bad that it counted as a parody.

Axanar, I don’t care how bad you want it, Star Trek isn’t yours. If you want to use the Star Trek’s brand to make money, you need the owner’s permission. It’s really not that hard to understand. If you are so void of creative original ideas and insist on profitting from other people’s efforts, then try aiming for something in the public domain. It’s free and no one will bother you.

Here’s what I can neither fathom nor stomach. I have been a fan since I was in the third grade; I came on board right before TNG premiered, and have been an avid, loyal fan since then. So I’ve come to know Star Trek fandom pretty well. The Axanar kerfuffle is proving to be the latest in a string of some of the most disturbing exchanges I’ve seen between Trek fans worldwide. Never before have I seen so many people, in theory dedicated to the same “cause,” but who have been so ready and willing to be at each others’ throats (metaphysically, of course). Are we not fans of a multimedia franchise which has always endeavored to, at its core, try to highlight the BEST of humanity? Maybe I’m being naive here (entirely possible), but does it not seem completely counter to the precepts Gene Roddenberry originally laid out about peace, prosperity, and common human decency? I love coming to TrekMovie to keep up on Trek news. Love it. But more and more, all I invariably see are fans absolutely treating each other like crap…like utter, pure, 100% trash. I love the fan films, good, bad, or indifferent. They’re fun, if nothing else. Did I want “Axanar” to succeed? Of course…just like I wanted “Exeter” and “Farragut” and “Intrepid” and “New Voyages/Phase II” and “Continues” to succeed. Why? Because we’re all in the same boat…we’re looking for quality Star Trek themed entertainment! Ought that alone be enough for us to… Read more »

I was looking forward to seeing Axanar, but I always thought it was very strange that CBS/Paramount would even let them do this, even while they’re continuing to create their own movies and now a new series. The case is so incredible cut and dried, I think I could represent CBS/Paramount, and all my legal knowledge comes from Perry Mason and Boston Legal. Still, if the issue is “copyright infringement,” then why have these other fan films been allowed to exist for all this time?

“why have these other fan films been allowed to exist for all this time?”
Because fan works is usually win-win for everybody. ‘Copyright infringement’ is tolerated in most cases for a reason (and it is NOT an easy legal term). You would only sue if you fear that other production is taking away your profits or hurting your brand. In most cases fans films are creating positive buzz. Some have said that CBS/P has just been ‘generous’, but a franchise that sparks a world of fan works is incredibly valuable. That being said, ‘Axanar’ might have gone too far with their studio and trying to be competitors. And we have to keep in mind that CBS/P consist of various departments and interests and can also change their philosophies.

“Are we not fans of a multimedia franchise which has always endeavored to, at its core, try to highlight the BEST of humanity? ” No. We are fans of a multimedia franchise which has always attempted to make money. When it no longer made money, they axed it (vis a vis Enterprise). Don’t think for one second that Gene Roddenberry would not have sided with the studios (Desilu, CBS, Paramount) for a fan film that profited from their his/their Intellectual Property. The fans being at each others’ throats is simply a difference in opinion. There is the proper legal side and the “want side.” The legal side is 100% correct in this. For all the “want” in the world, Axanar Productions crossed the line. Sure, it’s getting heated, but I wouldn’t go so far as to compare this to a Trump rally. Here’s my take: I’m sure that Paramount and CBS were willing to look the other way for crowd funding. They realize films are expensive and if many fans want to contribute to make a cool product, fine. I’m sure they were willing to look the other way when the cast were getting paid. There are probably some union issues for the actors, but if the fans want to see the actors, then find; pay them. It’s when the production company decided to take some of that crowdsourced money, build a studio with it and inform everyone that it will be used as a making venture going forward. Well,… Read more »

@Jason upvoted!

Don’t make your assessment off of what people argue in forums. Make it off what people achieve in life based on being inspired by Trek. Each of those things outweigh a million^^million superficial web comments :-)

Just a few observations….
No, Justin, Trek doesn’t belong to ‘all of us’. It belongs to Paramount/CBS, and I choose to spend my money to enjoy it.
No, Alec, Trek suing Axanar isn’t ridiculous, the entire situation is. Wheaton’s observation is spot on yet you refuse to own up to your responsibility in this debacle.
Peters has been a weasel about how he defines ‘profit’ from day one, and several sharp eyed readers here foresaw problems in the future with that a long time ago.
Richard Hatch – I’m very emotionally attached to BSG now. How about sharing some of the royalties? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way, all being a fan entitles me to do is buy your IP, not share in the ownership of it.
I wonder how long Peters lawyers are going pro bono on this, now that it looks like the studio is going to play hardball.

Oh, there’s some irony in a blog on a studio involved with TM/CR litigation …ahem…borrowing another TM to headline their blog. Buster would not be pleased.

You know what the really funny thing about Justin’s comment is? By *HIS* logic, *HIS* own movies belong to the fans too. And if that is the case, then it’s completely fine for people to download them for free, instead of buying them. Oh, but he doesn’t want that. He actually wants to make his money.

Yeah, I suspect that if we plugged in ‘Fast/Furious’ in place of ‘Axanar’, Mr. Lin would have no issue with the studio defending their IP rights. That suggests one of two things, Mr. Lin hasn’t really bought into the concept of Trek, which could be bad for STB. Two, he was speaking very generally about the debacle as a whole, and Mr. Peters grabbed onto that to make some self-serving statements to prop up his position.

Maybe this is a case of culture. Axanar is LA based. The rest of the fan operations are out there – upstate NY and Atlanta and other places where it is not Hollywood. Axanar features not just one old ST actor, but many. This is totally being made like a real independent film. If production concluded and the product would be marketed there would be profit in the future. And that – that is probably what Paramount/CBS is distressed about – more than the initial “payment” made to the creators. It’s about the profit that would come later based on a good business plan. None of the other fan series seem to have that. – Anyway, this is just a guess.

Axanar is LA based because as described by Alec Peters, his director felt they needed their own studio, and they chose the LA location.

One can observe that this location serves the organizations business goals of expanding into being a general SF production company and renting out the facility as well. Causative? Maybe they said something that shows they chose LA for these reasons, or maybe not. There’s a lot said on the podcasts.

The lawsuit speaks to CBS motivations, it claims copyright violation and unauthorized material benefit and unlicensed vending. Would CBS be quiet about all this if the Axanar studios were in Ohio instead? Seems somewhat unlikely.

Any sensible person would have gone and changed all the names and likenesses before deciding to make any money off it, like 50 Shades of Gray.

But, you know, sensible…

didnt bite that hard.

I am quite sure that this will come back to bite Lin in the butt just as hard if not harder than Bob’s “f— off” comment did him. As for Peters, I’d tell him to enjoy living in his car, but after this is over he won’t even have that.

meant reply to this

Wasn’t so much a dig against you Bob as against the people who like to claim that’s why you got dropped from the current film (not that I’m saying that’s what happened there either). I personally felt you were entirely justified in that statement and have no ill will towards you at all. But in Lin’s case I think its a very bad idea for him to be making statements like this when employed by the people he currently works for.

@Who Cares, you think a professional film maker is entiteld to tell fans who disliked his film to go F themselves? Well, he *is* entitled to do that but must accept the consequences for such immature, unprofessional behavior.

@TUP. Yes I do in fact think that a professional filmmaker/actor/whatever is entitled to tell a fan to go F themselves if they feel it an appropriate response, just as it was fine for Sir Alec Guiness to ramble on about how stupid and ridiculous the lines his character had in the stupid Star Wars (his words) film. Why should Bob be held to a higher standard than Sir Alec or any other Hollywood professional?

In this case I simply feel that Lin is, to quote Alex Kurtzman talking about Pegg, going off reservation. Bob is probably right that Lin will be fine, but I wish he would not have muddied the waters with that comment.

As I stated, he sure has the right to say anything he wants. But coming under fire for it, being forced to apologize and having people view him as unprofessional and immature are the consequences.

Im not sure Bob Orci has the same level of stroke, respect, jam or whatever term you want to use as Alex Guiness did. And ofcourse, different times dictate different things.

I dont believe for a second that Bob telling off a fan had anything to do with him getting fired. That’s absurd. But I would certainly believe that his public interactions didnt go unnoticed and perhaps lost him some support in less than direct ways. The good thing for Bob is, most of the time he was a jerk was here and I doubt there is too many other Hollywood types reading everything here.

Bob’s posts when the news was breaking were far worse in my opinion. A bigger man would have issued a few mea culpa’s to the affected parties. But alas…

I understand. Fun bit of trivia for those who think that. I was aked to direct long after I told off one PERSON (didn’t see their fam badge;) I wish it were the reason, The reason is that we couldn’t agree on what Trek 50 should be.

Point is, Lin will be fine. Trust me.

OK, while I have a few nits to pick with Mr Orci regarding some choices made in ‘Into Darkness’ ( I am a fan, after all), honestly, the one thing I agree with him on is his ‘f___ the fans’ bit. I am a fan, and I can attest that fans in general, and star trek fans specifically, have a long history of being arrogant, smug, entitled, infuriating jackasses.

Case in point: Alec Peters, and various of his supporters, who throw this childish tantrum regarding them wanting to play with other people’s toys, and spending a while crapping on the guy who got to play with the toys.

“Into Darkness” was not my favorite Star Trek film; it is in the bottom half of my personal list but not all the way at the bottom. it was a solid film, did well mixing the right elements of morality and action to have broad audience appeal, and ‘fans’ respond with pettiness and vitriol. then they go and praise a movie that steals most of its action shots from Mr Orci’s Bad Robot version of star trek, and ahil the low budget version of scenes he helped storyboard as ‘the greatest film ever’?
So, yeah, he got the ‘F__ the fans’ part right. (maybe he could have been a bit more diplomatic about it…but then again, he is ALSO a fan himself, so….)

“have a long history of being arrogant, smug, entitled, infuriating jackasses. ”

That’s pretty silly. Every franchise that is popular and/or long lasting that has hardcore fans will have some that are negative. But this trend to trot out insults and derogatory remarks about fans who simply didnt like a specific film is nonsense. The fact Trek fans are generally willing to spend lots of money on the Franchise could be perceived as a negative in that Paramount hasn’t had to try *that* hard. If your position is fans should be happy to have Trek no matter the quality, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Besides, when it comes to Bob responding to fans who act in a way you describe, you must realise that at various times, Bob has acted that way too.

“But this trend to trot out insults and derogatory remarks about fans who simply didnt like a specific film is nonsense”–actually, it isn’t JUST a specific film. plenty of trekkies hated TNG when it came out: folks saying things like ‘this isn’t real star trek’. same thing happened with DS9 and VOY (only those fights got REAL ugly as accusations of racism and sexism got tossed into the mix). then ENT came on, and it got REALLY ugly….and when the producers of that one tried to appeal to the fans by tossing in their favorites (there wee online polls and contest where the fans go to choose what sort of alien they’d run into in a future episode) the episodes that came out of that were some of the most trite and poorly conceived fanservice imaginable. and each successive iteration had a louder and louder insistence by a bigger group that ‘this isn’t real star trek’. “If your position is fans should be happy to have Trek no matter the quality,”–well, considering that the quality of trek has always been a bit shaky over the last 5 decades, ‘quality’ isn’t the appeal. we are talking about a franchise based on cliches, stereotypes, hackneyed acting, ridiculous plot devices, and often rather obvious and not-so-subtle preaching….and we loved every godawful minute of it. no, my position is that fans completely missed the point of trek and never learned the right lesson. they deserve the trek they do not like, because they need… Read more »

But you’re being hypocritical. You’re taking the position that these negative people deserve to be called out because they call out that which they dont like. Who are you to decide what is and isnt “real” Star Trek?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think generally its when we cut down into the details that people tend to disagree more. I think *most* of us disliked Voyager and Enterprise in general. We can argue over why, but we share the same sense that they simply werent good enough.

Sure, some people disliked TNG. I think they are the minority. So what. There are people here who loved STID even though it sucked. So what.

Bob “starting out a fan” is not an excuse for unprofessional behavior. If he was a fan on Monday and somehow chosen to write and produce a major motion picture on Tuesday, then so be it, I’d say he hasnt learned. But he’s an adult and his behavior here has been well short of professional and mature many times.

That’s not to excuse fans who have been just as bad, but there is a different standard and rightfully so.

“You’re taking the position that these negative people deserve to be called out because they call out that which they dont like.”–this is not hypocrisy. hypocrisy would be if I complained about them disliking some trek, and then went and bashed other trek.

” Who are you to decide what is and isnt “real” Star Trek?”–you missed the point, or weren’t paying attention…I can’t blame you, because I do tend to ramble on. *I* have not made any declarations of what is or isn’t real trek, and actually said that most complainers–the ones that give the fanbase a bad name–are the folks who did exactly that.

but i’ll answer this question since it is a key point to the whole affair: neither myself, nor any other spectator, can decide what is or isn’t trek. the only folks who CAN decide that would be the folks that OWN the franchise: namely, CBS and Paramount. so, Mr. Orci’s Trek IS real Star Trek. TOS, TNG, VOY, DS9, ENT, even TAS….and the twelve motion pictures and hundreds of novels, is REAL Star Trek.

on a personal level, some of it I like, some of it I dislike. but even if I don’t like it, it’s still real Star Trek.

Well that’s true. I just think we often get too caught up in arguing over semantics and trying to convince everyone to come to our opinion. I’ve debated the TOS films with people here who didnt like them. I engage in the debate because the reasons they give dont seem overly relevant to me. I tend to understand the dislike of TNG more without sharing that opinion. I can see why some didnt like it. Enterprise is another good example. GREAT concept. Failed execution. The final season was fun. It wasnt great Star Trek and more fan servicing then anything but at least it was fun and interesting and laying down historic canon, filling in the blanks per se. So I can see why some loved it and some hated it. When someone says “this isnt real Trek”, its poorly chosen words used to summarize their dislike. They shouldn’t word it that way. They should verbalize their issues. JJ’s films are obviously Star Trek. So we cant say they aren’t real. We can debate whether they will every truly matter. There is the possibility that they will be a footnote, sort of like the Mirror Universe. And we can certainly discuss their tone and quality. But they exist. So they are Star Trek. I’d have a harder time defending them as capturing he spirit of Star Trek which I think most people would describe in similar ways relating to adventure, morality plays, human spirit etc. I dont think the writers… Read more »

“I’d have a harder time defending them as capturing he spirit of Star Trek”–actually, in that regard, I felt they got it right. The 09 film was basically a primer on existentialism…an origin story is essentially asking those questions ‘why am I here?’ and it managed to do that.

ID had plenty of flaws (and I think the 09 film was overall better), but they actually did better with getting those morality aspects into play. Kirk, Khan, and Marcus all embodied different views of Consequentialism: different answers to ‘does the end justify the means?’

what throws folks off is that in the old trek, the metaphor for that ethical or philosophical point was typically your generic alien of the week. the new films used different metaphors, internalizing it to the main characters.

@Bill Allen: Agreed!

TUP, I hope I don’t disturb the thread here, but wrt “true fandom,” you yourself have declared things “not real Trek” (the two Abrams movies) and have also written on the threads with “conduct unbecoming.” Some of your remarks to one fan in particular beggar explanation. I’m afraid you are “living in a glass house.”

Marja – you per-emptively ask that I not “disturb the thread” followed by cheap shots and irrelevant comment on a discussion that didnt concern you. You offered nothing to the core discussion. Par for the course for you. I dont recall ever saying the JJ films were “not real Trek”. The problem with people like you who seem to exist here simply to argue and derail is that you arent concerned with truth, just with mud-throwing. I’ve repeatedly expressed my detailed thoughts on both films (liked 09, disliked STID). So please shove the nonsense. Secondly, I’ve never referred to “true fandom”. Im not sure I’ve ever written the word “fandom” before to be honest. Thirdly, You can white knight your pal Rose all you want to but when you martyr her without admitting she has been, at best, equally as ahem negative to people here, then you lose all credibility. And ofcourse, that last point has nothing to do with the argument that a professional film maker who interacts with fans should be and would be held to a higher standard of professional conduct then the fans he’s interacting with. Its silly to keep rehashing because Bob’s been more or less a joy around here for quite sometime. But the argument was that there are certain fans who are jerks, so its okay for a writer to be rude to fans who disliked his film, many of those fans with strong arguments for their dislike, not merely being jerks. Does… Read more »

Well, I guess you were just so busy leaping to your own defense you missed my first few words. “I hope I/b> don’t derail the thread.”

when you martyr [Rose] without admitting she has been, at best, equally as ahem negative to people here, then you lose all credibility.

Actually I have said that Rose has been rude, but any anonymous mention of “a poster you have addressed disrepectfully” instantly brings her to your mind! I wonder why.

I know she’s perfectly capable of defending herself. I am not “white-knighting” anyone; I am writing about what I, personally, find offensive. No matter what thread.

Gosh, I’m awfully sorry to have taken cheap shots at you. You’ve never done that to anyone, have you.

Oddly, you seem to veer between quite reasonable posts that I enjoy reading for their relevance and intelligence, and total jerk.

The contrast is very interesting to observe. I’m observing.

Also, just want to let you know, your opinion that I’ve “lost all credibility here” really worries me. This is a charge you’ve leveled at several people, now including me, and I worry so much about what you think of my credibility that it keeps me awake nights. Not.

Meh, should know better than to post when sleepy, mangled my point. What I was trying to say was even highly respected movie/tv industry professionals like Sir Alec were known to be rude, dismissive, and profane to fans when they felt it appropriate. Not just to fans either, but also to each other, many of these people won’t ever work together again. Look at Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds. The entire cast of Hook was known to call Julia Roberts “Tinkerhell” on set. How about Christian Bale’s rant? Calling out 1 person with an “F off” is not and will not be a big deal, nor should it be. Frankly when these people feel the need to let fly with a bit of profanity of even a punch to the face of a paparazzo, I say let fly and good on ya.

I shocked not one person commented on the “Sale” of the studio to Pvt investors…

This alone shouts I’M UP TO NO GOOD Sorry but that’s like borrowing money off a friend (donors) buying something then selling it on for more or less but never giving back the money to your friend(THE FILM)

They seem to be saying they will put the money back into the film (put the uneaten cookies back in the jar).

I wondered about that. Could his end game be to sell the studio and show that he, in fact, is not building a studio for future for-profit ventures, is leasing this now private studio for the fan film? Although, whatever revenue is derived from sale of the studio would be open to litigation by CBS/Paramount, no?

@TUP

It does kinda seem like that money could be a target. It will be interesting to see where any settlement gets paid from and what donors have to say about it.

Hmm. Wondering, if the film “Axanar” doesn’t happen, shouldn’t Peters et.al. return the remaining money from the production and sale of the studio to their donors?

That is a thought that has occurred to more than one person. And if CBS/Paramount walk away with damages, they could do worse than to set up a mechanism to reimburse donors too. But neither apparently has any legal obligation to do so.

I’m curious whether there’s any legal ammo for Paramount in Peters and Meyers Burnett’s constant crowing that Axanar is not a fan film but a professional production by professional filmmakers making a professional Trek film and launching a professional studio to make non-Trek films.

If there was a drinking game where I had to take a shot every time Peters wrote “professional,” I’d have died six month ago.

And Peter’s also said he used Trek because they knew donors wouldn’t give them money for non-Trek – and they could use the IP as long as they didn’t make a profit on paper.

So the selling of the studio doesn’t surprise me one bit.

All I know is that under the same net profit accounting Paramount championed here:

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-03-17/local/me-3895_1_net-profit

There’s no way they can show Peters’ production made a profit.

If you are saying that CBS’ terms for fan films has been “make no net profit, like the studios do”, then you’d be presenting the same arguments Axanar has been making as to why they conform to CBS fan film requirements.

There are a couple problems with this.

One is that CBS terms are “make no money”, which is more inclusive, and what any reasonable person would expect to be the extension of copyright objectives – to receive the material benefits of the copyright. CBS is gracious enough to allow some funds raised from their IP to pay some expenses of fan films. But ongoing salaries for staff of a ‘professional’ production, and acquisition of permanent assets with future profit making value for that production, while fitting the net profit accounting model, don’t seem to pertain here, and it isn’t hypocritical to set different terms for fan films than professional studio productions.

The other is, well, Axanar’s vehement insistence that they are NOT a studio, and NOT in the studio business. Yet they *want* to use studio accounting definitions.

They don’t have to show a new profit all they have to show is some sort of financial gain which is why they specified “Financial Gain” in the lawsuit a salary is a financial gain, the studio as an asset is a financial gain. The money that Kickstarter and Indiegogo made off of the crowdfunding campaigns is profit and financial gain and they could be dragged into this fight as well for not following their TOS etc. I do believe that the guys were just trying to make a great fan film at the start however it’s gone so far with the money, the need for a studio, unlicensed merchandise (U.S.S Ares Model kit I am looking at you) and at one point calling themselves an Independent Star Trek film. The moment that was said it was obvious they were going to get sued. The moment that was said and CBS/Paramount let them get away with it that would be opening a whole new can of worms for lots of companies wanting to protect their investments. With the money Disney has spent on Star Wars there is no way they would ever allow for example an Old Republic movie with a profession type production and over a million dollars in funding to get made. No one will ever make an independent Star Wars film. The same can be said of other franchises. I do believe that they originally wanted to make a cool amazing fan film and had they stuck… Read more »

CBS/Paramount isn’t claiming Axanar ‘made a profit’ – they are claiming Axanar ‘enjoyed a financial benefit’ which Mr. Peters did (paid himself a 38K a year salary as the ‘producer’ – and while CBS has allowed fan films to pay members of Hollywood unions for their work on a fan project, Mr. Peters was/is NOT a member of the PGA – therefore not entitled to a salary.)

If you’re wondering, that in itself is a HUGE difference between Axanar and the other Star Trek fan film groups – as none of the other heads/producers pay themselves an annual salary<– and that in itself is most likely one on the reasons C/P decided to drop the legal hammer.

As others have said, Mr. Peters misinterprets one of the unwritten CBS rules that other Star Trek fan film group abide by and that's – outside of Hollywood union people involved – NO ONE experiences a 'financial gain/benefit' as a a result. By paying himself (and Diana Kingsbury); AND using donor funds to lease/retrofit a studio space which Mr. Peters has said many times in Axanar podcasts "would be used for other 'for profit' projects" – he and others in the Axanar group HAVE enjoyed a 'direct financial benefit' <— And that's what triggered the legal action by CBS/Paramount against Axanar Productions.

Mr Peters paid himself 38K ONCE, not per year. For like 4 or 5 years of work. After investing a huge sum upfront by himself. And how do you know the “other” fan film producers or team members don´t get a share of their respective donations? Because they say so, rrrright. I´d be interested to see their financial breakdown…

It doesn’t matter, northstar. Fan films are supposed to be a hobby from which global-you gain no financial benefit. If you have to pay yourself something for working on one then there’s a problem somewhere. If you want to be reimbursed for money you put into a fan film then there’s a problem somewhere.

If you can’t follow the unwritten rules of playing with someone else’s intellectual property then you need to stay out of the sandbox. Seriously, fan work creators have known about and discussed the financial benefit limitation for years.

As for other fan film makers, you’re right. No one does know how their financials turned out (with the exception of STC, which disclosed theirs as part of their application for nonprofit status with the IRS). The difference between those fan films and Axanar is that those teams actually finished and released a fan film. So far, Axanar Productions has raised a million dollars and returned only three minutes of footage. When you’re return is that poor, people are going to start asking where the money went.

Which it not the point of the lawsuit. I think they had originally planned to have the shoot in january or february, so the first half of the movie would likely have been finished in the first half of 2016. But then the lawsuit interrupted that process. It´s probably in the best interest of the Axanar people to not continue with any shoot until this situation is resolved.

Fan films have long gotten from purely a hobby to a hobby where some people get paid. E.g. the actors get paid, the landlord that these guys rent their warehouses get paid, the materials get paid, probably some other people get paid too. Which I have no problem with – if they don´t get rich from it. Axanar probably was the first to make that public and tried to go the more professional route by paying more of their staff, in order to get a timely and probably a more professional result.

It is puzzling that Axanar maintained to donors and the press right up to the lawsuit that they were ready to start shooting in January or February, yet right after the lawsuit, Axanar maintained they didn’t have anything like a completed script, no actors had been signed, and various other preparations also weren’t *really* far enough along to say that they there was any movie asset to sue against.

Axanar actually asserted in their defense filing, in my understanding of it, that to attempt to sue against such a planned but not actually realized concept of an Axanar film would constitute “prior restraint” (censorship in advance of speech).

Is it realistic that if the true state of Axanar was so unprepared, they would have begun shooting in January or February if not for the lawsuit’s restraint on production?

“Is it realistic that if the true state of Axanar was so unprepared, they would have begun shooting in January or February if not for the lawsuit’s restraint on production?” — AxaWatcher

AxaWatcher,

You haven’t been following Paramount’s BEYOND — have you?

Not to see a comparison, no, but of course there could be info there. I am just not clear how Axanar could say to donors that Axanar is ready to shoot in a month, and then tell the court there’s not even enough of a production to identify as a target of a lawsuit, both in practically the same breath. Has BEYOND done something similar?

AxaWatcher,

All I am saying is month out from BEYOND’s initally slated production start date (early April 2015) they didn’t have any sets and only what generously could be called a half-baked script to start building them by.

But Peters has been saying this whole time that Axanar os not a fan film at all — and certainly not a hobby — it’s a professional production. He keeps using the word professional, as in “we’re using Axanar to show we can make a professional film for far less than they do.”

Jack,

For we here who are of a science bend, what constitutes a “professional” is not a very distinct line. For example, in astronomy we are aware of many “amateur” astronomers whose contributions were so extraordinary they became regarded as professionals in the field.

Other fan films HAVE had their books looked at by TBTB. The reason it isn’t discussed is that they were found to be following the guidelines. Peters wasn’t.

Ian Finney,

TBTB?

Absolutely irrelevant here. Copyright infringement needs no justification other than infringement to defend, regardless of whether money was made or not. The damages phase of the ruling may take any potential profits into consideration, but this will be settled long before that.

Curious Cadet,

As I have explained in other posts here, agreed.

I’m totally on board with Axanar and Mr. Peters. I just want to see the Axanar movie! I don’t care who thinks what or if poor old CBS or Paramount are all hot and bothered. These guys are making the best Trek in the last 10 years or so.

Don’t know much about the law do you?

He said he doesn’t care. And that’s ok. But fortunately, we have a legal system that will sort this mess out regardless of whether some people care or not.

Then your opinion is irrelevant, since this is a legal discussion.

Well, that’s part of the problem – asides from a short teaser, they haven’t made any Trek. At all. They’ve opened a studio, creating merchandise, and set themselves up in business under a banner of Axanar, richly adorned with Trek trademarks and copyrights.

Well, a good piece of art always takes time, Phil.

You know what takes a long time? Empire building – which is how most of Axanar reads to me. But you can shoot a feature film VERY quickly if you’re motivated and have preplanned the thing.

I see a lot of Quantum47 in this thread all of a sudden, should we be waiting for all these torpedoes to be detonating soon? Or will that also be something that ‘always takes time?’

I think it was the Paramount who initiated the lawsuit and brought CBS into the game. The copyright holders at Paramount are clearly more adverserial towards and less tolerant of fan productions than CBS. So far CBS never made any problems to any fan productions as long as they adhered to some of the outlined rules (it’s not allowed to make any profit off the products, it’s necessary to clearly state that the Star Trek name belongs to CBS/Paramount, etc.). I think something in Axanar’s production caught the eye of those Ferengis at Paramount and they didn’t like it.

Considering that a number of the documented infringement claims are for the TV shows in CBS’ domain, its a bit hard to discount CBS’ participation as somehow coerced by Paramount. It would be pure speculation to guess in this matter anyway.

AxaWatcher,

Help clarify this in my mind. I know Judge Hand ruled there’s varying degrees of strength of copyrights. If CBS were not on aboard, wouldn’t the bulk of Paramount’s copyrights be considered derivative and aren’t those “weaker”, i.e. subject to less severe penalities?

If CBS had given Peters a license, how strong a case would Paramount be able to muster without the primary copyright holder backing them up?

Disinvited,

At this level of detail, it is hard for me to give any substantive answer. I think though that it is examination of a path which has not been taken. No one gave Axanar a license per se. The studios are joint plaintiffs. This seems pretty strong to me. Maybe a defense could find some legalities within the area you are pointing to that could affect the case because of a technical legal matter. I guess we need to wait and see if the Axanar defense amounts to pointing to nails sticking out an inch here or there on the ship of copyright, snagged to mooring ropes.

@My Two Cents: Are they? What’s actually so great about it? It hasn’t even been shot yet. It’s been all talk and promises and hype — and a CGI-filled Prelude that, while slick, looked like a teaser for a sub-SyFy offering.

‘Axanar’ is starting to suck all the energy out of the 50th anniversary. It helps that CBS & Paramount are providing no energy at all, but, really, this should be just an asterisk on the year in Trek, and not the main attraction.

Sadly very true – it could have been such a fantastic beneficially situation for all involved, including CBS/Paramount. Now everbody is pissed at somebody.

The sticking point for me is the fact that the producers are taking a salary and have bought a studio and are renting offices. Based on that simple fact they have gone from “fan films” to “professional” fan films. I can see WHY Paramount/CBS would be up in arms. However, it seems to me that both sides will come to some sort of mediation.

Mediation may limit financial loss but one has the impression that the studios are not likely to allow Axanar to exist in the Trek universe. If you let one “professional independent [Your Property]” production company to set up under your tent and “not sell” their [your] products for “donations” [of money], you will have 100 such companies next year. And how much would the entire industry welcome this, not just Paramount/CBS?

I really hope it doesn’t get through mediation. there’s a lot of…’passionate’ opinions…on both sides of this issue, and often enough, settlements behind closed doors tend to have gag orders attached to them. if that happens here, spectators on both sides of the fight will insist their side ‘won’, and it’ll be permanently damaging to the trek fanbase specifically and fandom in general. better to have this go all the way. in the end, it’ll be ugly, but there will be some kind of closure that will aid folks in going forward.

Bill Allen,

I know what you mean. I’ve been following the industry surrounding this as an A/V geek since the 1960s.

Personally, I am curious to see if the Peters discovery explores the possibility that Desilu was so cash-strapped in Trek’s first season that they likely entered into those script work for hire contracts back then in bad faith, i.e. they didn’t have the resources to hold up their end of the deal. There’s tantalizing hints that outside of the episodes derivative of the two pilots shot, Desilu never properly registered with some contract guiding authority [WGA? Copyright Office?] that those episodes had ever been made or aired from those scripts. The Copyright Office has records that seem to indicate Desilu in 1975, when Desilu no longer existed and past the California statute of limitations for those contracts, registered the scripts as unpublished works. How did an entity that was defunct accomplish that?

Also, Desilu seemed to have a radically different approach to their copyrights and the fans than Paramount did after they took over.

It would be interesting if some of those script authors would have their copyrights restored.

Meanwhile, the game’s afoot. Stay tuned.

5 billion people who know Spock, vs maybe 5000 (probably less) solid Axanar fans who might carry an opinion forward. Don’t really think it will tear the legacy apart in the long term.

Mike and AxaWatcher,

Are any of those absolutely necessary or in and of themselves sufficient to have a “professional” film?

If I recall the early films of Roger Corman correctly, many of those didn’t have studios [He relied heavily on location shooting with no permits.] nor offices. He financing was so wobbly, I’d be surprised to be shown that he paid himself a salary while shooting back then. And yet, those films were commercial and made money for him thus making them “professional”?

Disinvited,

Its fun to think of those again, thanks. Wrt/ the current situation I think one needs to look to what Axanar claimed and did, because they didn’t take that shoestring approach, and so, don’t seem comparable to it in defining what they mean by “professional”.

Axanar said they intended to build out their production company to produce and distribute SF in the modern on-demand media technology environment as an alternative to subscription services. That certainly is an industrial, professional goal.

They said ‘professional’ meant they pay staff and do things like professionals do, for example professional quality facilities, and they proceeded to build a significant element of that goal and pay themselves. They said they are professional because they employ professionals. They said they are professional because the quality of their work is comparable to professional studios.

The rationalizings of a company like this targeting your IP and saying they are free to reuse it because their books “show no profit” and they “don’t sell” (just give away things in exchange for donations) would probably seem, to an IP holder, to be more like the script of a Corman movie than anything else, imho.

It’s in eeryone’s best interest to settle this. For Axanar to go away, so that other fan films can live on without setting some precedent CBS has been careful to avoid setting so that fan films can co-exist with professional productions. That’s why Trademark is not likely an issue here yet, because once they cross that line, CBS will have to explain why they are not defending it with other fan based films, and that will be the end of that.

I suspect Axanar will go away, not pay a penalty but possibly lose the rights to “their” film. Paramount will take possession and lock it away in a vault somewhere until such time as someone includes it as an extra on some DVD release in 10-20 years.

What film? Apart from that Vulcan scene, it hasn’t been shot yet.

What puzzles me is how such projects are allowed on initiate campaigns on crowd funding platforms. If projects like Axanar are illegal– and the IP rights holders certainly think they are– doesn’t their funding campaigns violate the terms of service for both Kickstarter and IndiGoGo? I understand that some fan films have received notice from CBS that their funding practices do not warrant litigation but that they are still technically illegal.

If some Axanar donors eventually take this to the California Attorney General to get consumer protection, it could attract attention to this matter.

Keep in mind that Peters is not unfamiliar with bankruptcy.

every time i buy a star trek movie i am paying for paramount studios. so when i donate money for a fan film to be made i do not have a problem with them building a studio as long as i get a movie out of the deal. and don’t you need a studio to build sets in.

Mistylake, that’s an absurd argument. The fan films dont own the rights to Star Trek. Would you feel the same way if MGM just made a Star Trek movie and said to heck with copywrite?

Would you have cared if Axanar management had told you up front that spending this money on a studio and salaries could be against the intentions of CBS for fan film fundraising? Might you then have said, “well then why are your doing this, and no you can’t have my money?”

Peters doesn’t like when you call Axanar a fan film.

Sounds like there is a lot of details that need to be sorted out. I initially was on Axanar’s side on this one but I have began to read stuff about the building of the studio (which will be used for profit in the future) and the paying of the people in charge of it. Sounds like it could be fishy but I think I need to know more. I’m going to stay neutral for now.

If you had a chance to pay a tribute to the idea of Star Trek, an homage to what its ideals have done to make you who you are, how would you do it? However, you want to make the greatest contribution possible to the Star Trek universe that you can with the resources available too you, now how would you do it? Now remove all aspects of your contribution that have any relationship to Star Trek. Whats left?

What ideas? It’s a shoot-em-up war movie.

Jack,

And WW II was what? Just an excuse to let the bullets fly because absolutely no ideas are in conflict or ever thrashed about in wars?

A well lived, charitable life.

GALAXY QUEST?

kmart,

Good answer, given that it too got a series greenlit within a similar time frame.

And a healthy rivalry between the two productions could do wonders for both.

*thread winner* :-)

Axanar is a sufficiently transformative work that it could fall under fair use. It does borrow some elements of the Star Trek franchise, but so do many other movies, shows, fan series, etc. Axanar is no doubt a fan film, it’s just that its production values are significantly better than the rest of the fan films. There’s no reason why the production of this fan film, which takes place in the Star Trek universe and is transformative enough in terms of copyright, shouldn’ be allowed.

You have no idea what fair use is fan films are not fair use and Axanat had admitted to infringement. The designs of the ships in prelude are taken from JJ’s films. Read the 48 page lawsuit explaining why its infringement and look up fair use law because fan films are not.

Fan films CAN be fair use.

Fanfiction (fan films) is not infringing if it constitutes fair use of the underlying copyrighted work. In determining whether a particular use constitutes fair use, following four factors are taken into consideration by courts:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

(source is the Copyright Law of the United States)

—–

Screw the JJ designs, they suck anyway. I don’t know why they bothered with those crappy necelless at all…

So basically, without performing any analysis of any of the specifics of the claims filed against Axanar to assess whether in this particular case there is fair use, you are saying it may be fair use because a definition of fair use exists.

This is not a terribly helpful analysis. One way you could hone your argument would be to read this analysis of the amended complaint, and then see what specifics you can cite that meet the fair use criteria: http://www.gandtshow.com/axanar-plaintiffs-file-amended-complaint/

I’m sure people would be interested in your explanation of what is transformative and fair use in Axanar, after allowing for the facts in the complaint.

Like I said, Axanar uses elements of Star Trek, like many other fan productions, but the work itself is not a copy. They did not recreate the TOS series, or TNG series, or any other series or movie. What they did is use the elements to create a sufficiently different work from what has previously been created by the copyright owners.

When we consider whether a work is transformative, we have to take into account following factors:

a) has the material taken from the original been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?
and
b) was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights

I think the answer to both in regard to Axanar is ‘yes’.

quantum47,

Thanks, it will be interesting to see what the jury thinks, if it gets to that. I haven’t read more than the excerpts of script cited in recent articles, so obviously I cannot know if that material contains ‘transformative’ content sufficient to meet the criteria. But the *very, very large quantity* of utterly un-transformed, reused components of Trek, to me, weighs against winning that argument. We will see…

“[They] raised a TON of money… blah, blah, blah” Wheaton wrote.

Oh, shut up, Wesley!

http://www.sideshowcollectors.com/forums/general-collectibles-statues-props-etc-/48973-bsg-auction-warning.html

Shows that those who don’t learn from history wind up being exploited for all their worth — this guy really seems to have the LA CONFIDENTIAL Rollo Tomasi complex, as the guy who keeps getting away with it, even prospering despite all-over-the-place business practices. I wonder why RMB hooked up with this guy of all people. To me, this would be like having the only guy willing to bankroll you be John Landis, and choosing to accept that help instead of slapping the guy and saying he should be in jail.

kmart,

And 3 years later:

http://business-bankruptcies.com/cases/propworx-inc

and a year after that UPI, who I assume knows how to properly vet sources, reported:

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/08/02/Star-Trek-Galileo-shuttle-on-display-at-Houston-Space-Center/8931375455459/

“Alec Peters, who runs the CBS archive of Star Trek props…” — “‘Star Trek’ Galileo shuttle on display at Houston Space Center”
By Kristen Butler, UPI.com | Aug. 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Which is why I think all the parties in the lawsuit are evenly matched.

Can somebody tell me the legal ramification of the item “Original Garth Costume” using a photo from NEW VOYAGES and not Axanar?

Drew,

One presumes Peters defense will point out such errors as that, the omission of the asserted copyright registration for what the plaintiffs identify as “The Animated Series”, etc. and try to build sympathy from the judge that their other claims are similarly slipshod and piled on.

We’ll have to stay tuned to see what, if, or how that develops.

At the very least, one imagines the judge will strike claims demonstrated to be built on lacking or defiicient “factual support”.

Drew,

I should point out that this is not to say the plaintiffs can’t
revisit the Axanar Garth costume claim if they uncover evidence of it in the information supplied by Peters in their discovery phase of this that wasn’t already available prior.

I’m a little lost as to where the discovery phase of this is at as Paramount/CBS amended their claims after the due date in which they were supposed to respond to the Peters team’s motions.

Lawsuits seem to be messy business any which way. I’m sure there’s plenty more mess left to come before this is over.

Though the claim also doesn’t seem to itemize which of the individual claims are brought by CBS and which are brought by Paramount (and which are brought by both), which appeared to be one of the main points of Axanar’s request.

Disinvited, we have a timeline for the lawsuit that tracks where we are in the process. http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=anatomy_of_the_case

Carlos Pedraza,

Yes, as I found out seeking answers before I saw your reply here. But your reply does gives me a chance to thank you, et al, personally for your excellent work on that. Brought me right up to speed. Also gave us a chance to get the word out and for me to endorse it.

Again, thanks.

Nothing has changed. Axanar is still on the losing side of this.

Finally watched the Kickstarter-funded Veronica Mars movie and it was quite good. I’m actually going to buy it and watch the old TV series, I liked it so much.

Once again, I speak for ALL Star Trek fans on this site and all other sites when I call upon CBS/Paramount to license the Star Trek canon of premises to these high end fan productions so that they can legally produce in this sub-medium.

Are you crazy? You’re not speaking for all STAR TREK fans, that’s for sure! Did you mean you were speaking TO all trek fans? There’s absolutely no reason for TPTB to offer any legallized opportunity to these outside agencies, and probably good reason not to (diluting of brand, misrepresentation, if you can imagine it, it will happen.) And this is absolutely not the case to be making policy on, with the long history of behavior by Peters that has made ‘getting away with it’ seem like his middle name to me, when his middle name OUGHT to be something about the quality of the work (sub-medium might be a good one.)

Am I crazy?

My doctors all tell me I’m perfectly sane. They’re pounding on the office door right now, in fact, trying to get in. Hey, I WARNED them repeatedly that the door lock to the common room has a stiff latch, and that the nurse HAS to pull it shut behind her to make sure it locks — or else some of the nuts they have locked up in this place can get out into the administrative areas. But they never listen to me, and I’M the crazy one???

Okay, I admit it. I can’t speak for all Star Trek fans. I just wanted to see, by what kind of indignant reaction that got, who needed a six pack.

Goofing aside, that’s a proposal I’ve seriously made before, and I’ve encountered the same objections. Let’s take “brand dilution” as a theoretical argument about why what I suggest should not be done… No one argues that fan films should not continue, or even not multiply beyond the frequency with which they currently appear. The argument against Peters turns on his abuse of the “rules” under which fan films have been allowed by TPTB to exist, i.e., had he too followed rather than abused those rules, he would not have triggered a lawsuit, we would have another good looking fan film entitled “Axanar” in production right now, and no one would be fearing for the future of fan films in general because of what he had done. So…given the substantial number of fan films that do exist and whose production we would continue to support even beyond the trickle we get, how would the Star Trek brand be “diluted” by fan films which were made with CBS’ and Paramount’s legal approval, that is NOT happening now under the current look-the-other-way policy that CBS/Paramount practice, and about which films no fans raise the identical objection that they are “diluting” the Star Trek brand? Licensing a fan film does not imply equality with official studio productions, and yet at least the perception of such an equality must exist, it seems to me, to make the “brand dilution” argument, and yet there has been no compelling reason to suppose that such a licensing scheme… Read more »

Well I think “consumer exhaustion” would become an issue. Look at the oceans of content on youtube. If an IP holder of a popular storyline were to license to every comer, there would be so much material using those characters and stories that fans would get fed up. You can’t expect your entertainment IP to retain value if you allow unlimited instances of it to be in the world.

And how are they going to get “exhausted”? You are assuming that the market for fan productions is the same market that the official productions are trying to draw in. In reality the market overlap probably only works one way, with established diehard fans consuming both professional and fan productions, while the new markets CBS/Paramount are trying to reach are largely oblivious to fan films. Established die-hard fans that are likely to consume both are not going to get exhausted, particularly since the fan productions are going to vary more widely in quality and content than the official productions will, and the fan productions will experience natural barriers to overproduction of whatever Star Trek flavor they are purveying. In addition, different fan productions will want to explore different areas or premises of Star Trek canon which the studios are never likely to explore, again creating a greater variety of Star Trek productions than the studios will create, again diminishing the opportunity for exhaustion. Finally, even if fans got exhausted, they’d be getting exhausted of FAN productions, not official productions, and it would have no negligible impact on the official studio brand.

I’d probably be better off trying to build a sixpack than hanging on some of these sites.

No doubt!

If the authorized novels, which are not considered canonical, don’t “dilute” the brand, then I don’t see how changing such stories’ canvass from pulp to film would somehow cause the same tales to do so, as long as it is likewise clear that they too are still non-canonical.

The big boys can say what they want. IMO Axanar is managing to do what Paramount/CBS has failed to do in over 20 years and that’s produce a project the fans can get behind. If TPTB hadn’t continuously mismanaged and took for granted the legacy they had then they wouldn’t have to be in the position they’re in now.

Agreed

Fans can get behind? Maybe they’re lining up now to deliver kicks to AP’s behind. I still can’t believe anybody was thrilled with the short promo film, let alone invested in any of this.

Ok, if you stipulate Axanar as better for the sake of discussion, then what “position” is it which the studios brought upon themselves, which they wouldn’t be in if they had done better?

A position where fans feel they have the right to declare the studio boundaries on financial benefits taken by fan films “null and void”?

AxaWatcher,

Now that we know for a fact that Paramount had a non-compete agreement with CBS all along, and I recall that Paramount was also responsible for CBS pulling the first wave of 2009 novels spun-off from their movie, I don’t think it IS about the money. It’s about the FOCUS. This Paramount’s hypersensitive to having to compete for the media’s attention for their Trek product.

So Axanar’s “crime” isn’t so much about the amount of money but rather, the media attention its being a record breaker brought it. I think.

It might not be all Paramount. I recall JJ wanted to clear the merchandising shelves of TOS product as well, claiming “confusion” harming his merchandise moving. But I wonder if where he first got that notion was some in-house Paramount marketing presentation for his film?

Disinvited, “There’s nothing to see here behind this curtain concealing a pile of studio money because look over there”, when the lawsuit is explicitly saying “hey, we see you have that money, and the laws says you can’t have that money”, isn’t really speaking to what is happening in court. That said, the implicit argument here if I read it correctly is that Axanar would not have drawn a lawsuit, not really, if they weren’t attracting so much attention. E.g, this is an attack on its merits of Axanar rather than its business conduct. Usually the next step in this reasoning technique is to say that the accused is justified in their action, because the accusation is corrupted by the hidden agenda. Since everyone lies, the reasoning goes, nothing anyone says ever has to be faced up to, it can always be dismissed. The way out of this rabbit hole as I understand it is to acknowledge that there are some agreed upon standards that people are expected to meet (laws), and agree that disputes on those standards will be addressed by those standards unless there is an egregious misuse of the mechanism for some end that harms society (i.e. arbitrarily imposing laws that have the effect of sending people to prison for political reasons). C’mon, really, is Axanar really a political prisoner, with “being so much better” their crime, and therefore all concrete charges are not “really” violations because those charges are motivated by political reasons? The common impression… Read more »

And yes, I know that the law really is about the copyright usage violations, not the money, the money issue in copyright cases is used to weigh damages.

But please, correct this, insist that the case really is about copyright violation. Because, it is.

AxaWatcher, An interesting set of replies. And I think you know from my other postings that I don’t think Peters is “better” than Moonves or Grey. If I thought Peters was “better” at something in this, it would be in the obvious one that I already said I thought Paramount’s motivation (Not CBS’) was “more” concerned about. Note I didn’t say “all” about. Obviously Peters ability to raise more money than any other fan production prior indicates that he’s better in comparison to those other “fans” at using and attracting media attention to his ends. I mean CBS’ own StarTrek.com says he worked for CBS as its own prop archivist. It is not as if he came out of nowhere for the plaintiffs in this. Now, as for your desire that I endorse this action as solely being precipitated by them about the copyrights, the problem I have with that is those plaintiffs in this have a history when operating together in the past as one unit known as Paramount of going after the fans with their copyright bat, and I’m not certain that in those history of actions, there is a track record that entirely backs this notion up? Heck, if indeed, it was “all” about the copyrights for them I would have imagined that the plaintiffs would have brought a far more polished and less fuzzy initial complaint against Peters. And their response to the defense motion to dismiss, was to ask for more time as if they… Read more »

Yes, I mean the latter interpretation you offer. Technically, the case is a copyright case. Defenders of Axanar have frequently responded to analysis of the cash diverted into startup activities as an inaccurate analysis about the path of the cash because the case “isnt about the money [technically], but about copyright”. That juxtaposition is rhetorical trolling, and I just didn’t want to see it sapping readers’ minds again. Not that many readers are still in this thread :-)

Money (i.e., commercial impact of the infringement) is also an issue in the balance test for Fair Use as an affirmative defense against infringement.

This is NOT Fair Use. There’s no basis for it whatsoever.

Curious Cadet,

But what if the intent was to replicate the copyrighted look and feel:

http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/tax-practice/irs-keeps-a-lid-on-conference-spending-after-star-trek-video-uproar-77559-1.html

but the execution was SO poorly done that it became laughable? Is THAT what transforms it into a “fair use” parody work that gets a free pass? And if so, then Axanar’s qualifications for fair use can’t be determined until it is completed and we can see how poorly it will be done.

I agree with Richard 100%! Prelude was was the best bit of Trek in over a decade and I’m confident the movie will be great, as well. I don’t understand the anger, real or simply for the sake of trolling, over a group of guys trying to get Trek done right.

How can a 99% war movie be “Trek done right” for all the fans, or even the majority? Did you poll all fans to find out what they think “Trek done right” is? This is called confirmation bias to conclude as you do by looking at the small percentage of fans who funded Axanar and draw the conclusion you draw.

As far as effects, yes the effects approach studio quality. But no operation running on 1/100th of a movie budget is literally going to be better in special effects, only perhaps approaching it. A fine achievement, but not “better”.

And the “group of guys just trying to do Trek right” are more accurately described as documented in many places, including their own statements over more than a year, as a “group of guys just trying to [fund a streaming video industry startup including its facilities and] [maybe, eventually, after hundreds of thousands of dollars are diverted into the startup] do [one fan film] right”. It simply isn’t doing you any good to overlook this part, which derailed everything.

There can be smart, idea-filled war movies – but Prelude to Axanar certainly wasn’t one.

I don’t see the appeal of Axanar. I don’t see this greatness. It’s like the opening montage to a mediocre video game.

To claim Axanar will fix all these perceived problems with Trek is a little claiming Donald Trump will fix all of these perceived problems with America.

truer words were probably never spoken, especially that last ‘graph.

Thanks Carlos, there’s more in that report than I can take in, but what I did take away from it is extremely helpful. Let’s just hope that all of this information gets properly disseminated — and WIDELY disseminated. I keep thinking we need something equivalent to the SEINFELD ep with Kramer creating a bus to show off the Peterman Reality Tour, but about Peters & co (and there’s a lot to the ‘co’ that bears closer scrutiny, extending to the print world as well as the AXANAR one.)

“There can be smart, idea-filled war movies – but Prelude to Axanar certainly wasn’t one.” — Jack

Indeed. There’s no logical way that a prelude to war could be the actual war itself. And PRELUDE, itself, could only be, with some generosity, described as a short subject and definitely NOT a movie.

A DEEPER LOOK at Axanar’s Annual Report. It took some time to transcribe, code, sort and analyze the data, but a pattern of possible problems emerged — from unreported salaries to ballooning costs and repeated deficit spending. Read more » http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=annual_report

Carlos Pedraza

Fascinating. But if both campaigns operated in the red aren’t the plaintiffs going to have an uphill battle in trying to demonstrate a financial benefit?

Remember that the report does not cover any spending from Indiegogo proceeds. Also, “direct financial benefit” does not mean the same thing as “profit.”

Carlos Pedraza,

Oh, I very specifically did not mention “profit”. My point is a negative balance makes it harder to show “DIRECT financial benefit”. It has been my experience that deficit financing, like the kind my governments employ, makes it very hard to find DIRECT relationships to financial benefits

Apparently Axanar has responded to the amended complaint?:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/star-trek-lawsuit-explores-what-878837

We have a summary of the new motion to dismiss on AxaMonitor: http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=motion_to_dismiss

Carlos Pedraza,

After posting that, I immediately went to AxaMonitor’s timeline page but couldn’t find it because it didn’t occur to me to look for an updated line in the first paragraph. I was looking for it in the body of the timeline.

Eventually, I did find it, but I definitely appreciate you posting that summary link here. Thanks.

wpDiscuz