TREKZONE Speaks to Axanar’s Alec Peters

Axanar producer Alec Peters spoke to TREKZONE’s Matthew Miller in a wide-ranging video interview about the film and some of the questions surrounding it.

In part one of a two-part interview, Miller speaks to Peters about Axanar, other fan films, what he considers to be ambiguous guidelines from CBS, and more.

Those hoping to get Alec’s perspective on the copyright lawsuit filed against him by CBS and Paramount are going to be disappointed – due to the ongoing case, the interview stays away from any direct discussion of it.

Part two of the interview, where things get heated when Miller presses Peters about banning people from Axanar’s web pages and social media, hits the interwebs later this week. A preview of it can be seen at the end of the interview.   Also appearing will be Axanar‘s PR representative Mike Bawden and AxaMonitor‘s Carlos Pedraza.

Miller gives more background about how the interview came about here.

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I feel bad about this whole situation. On the one hand, I liked prelude a LOT. It was awesome. On the other, the Axanar team clearly crossed the line that the other fan productions hadn’t: they started paying themselves and building for profit assets. When you start doing that kind of thing, you are asking for trouble, and I can’t get mad at CBS for going after them any more than I can get mad at a cop for pulling over somebody going way over the speed limit. All of the fan productions may have been speeding a little, but Axanar was going so fast it was reckless.

And her is the other bad part. Even though I intellectually understand that CBS is only doing the right thing from their position, I wanted to side with Axanar. But I have just read too many arrogant and nasty things that Alec Peters has said to be able to support him any more. It’s sad, because the project itself is awesome, but he has pushed me away with his attitude. So, it’s all just a damn shame.

Love it when you and Cygnus do threads where you guys have conversations with yourself!

Very entertaining and funny. :-)

A person isn’t allowed to add a thought to their original point? There isn’t an edit function here. You nee to lighten up or go away until you mature a lot. You make these irrelevant posts that do nothing but attack other posters for no reason. How small you must feel to be compelled to do that.

Relax, kid.

Don’t worry, TUP, this rule doesn’t apply to you since your juvenile thoughts are only counted at 50% each.

Kappish, son?

And yours don’t count at all, and haven’t for years.

Never heard of you….welcome to the site.

Like, who are you? We have NEVER corresponded before.

But if I ever need help sounding out “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” I will seek you out.

Prodigal, I’m not sure why your comments should be considered any less juvenile than those you targeted. In your current incarnation and your previous life as MJ, you’ve always had a tendency to speak condescendingly of other posters.

Unfortunately, the snarky comments tend to overpower than many substantive comments you’ve made.

Based on our history over the years, I doubt you will heed this, but my advice is to take the high road – more substance and less insults.

Regards.

Sheesh, you all are anally-retentive today.

It was obviously a joke…I specifically said: “Very entertaining and funny. :-)”

Lighten up, people.

@Prodigal Son of…

Shut up, you clown. No one cares about your stupid comments. The man explained to you already, people sometimes comment their comments because they want to add something to their comment. The reason is the absence of the edit option. We also need the thumbs up/down option as soon as possible, so I can give you 100 thumbs down. :P

Temper, temper. Let’s leave it on the playground, people.

Thanks Numenosium. Yea, I won’t respond to that hate. That dude is always angry.

@Lostrod Thumbs way up. Hopefully he gets the point.

That was a relevant contribution Prodigal, as usual. Thank you.

@TUP

Your act lately as “the voice of reason” really, really entertains me, dude. Keep it up…LOL

It’s “Capisce”…Capisce?

I haven’t been listening nor reading much about what Peters has been saying about the Axanar lawsuit. But from his comments that I caught occasionally, here at trekmovie as well, didn’t strike me as arrogant. He was defending his position and logically explaining all the alleged inconstistencies and copyright infringement claims that he has been accused of. I will listen to this interview.

The_Grand_Nagus,

I like the clarity of your latest analogy.

However, Peters’ case is being heard in California and over here we have the Basic Speed Law which quite a few speeders like Peters, educated in that Law, use to get their speeding tickets thrown out.

Peters claimed there is no fan film project out there that doesn’t pay everyone. Not that I believe him, but he’s arrogant enough that he thinks he knows everything. I pointed out the fact there are productions where the people involved are volunteering their time & money to get it done. He proceeded to insult me & suggest I was ignorant & didn’t know what I was talking about. On the contrary, I and my friends have done exactly that, but Peters knows better…

Yes, that preview does show something donors are going to have to face.

On the one hand, Axanar Productions says anyone who is not a donor “does not have standing” to ask questions or express any dissatisfaction, and therefore such arguments are invalid. On the other hand, Axanar Productions “de-stands” (refunds) and bans anyone who is a donor and who asks inconvenient questions within the tippy top secret walled garden donors site where, for donors, “all in print is news that fits”.

How could this possibly go wrong?

He repeatedly says how happy the donors are…..however, I think by banning anyone questioning what’s going on the donors are only getting ONE side of what’s going on. Every other day I am seeing people popping up claiming they’ve donated and then were banned from the Axanar pages for asking questions….That will work only so long.

Yeah… not interested in Peters’s propaganda. Damn I wish he stood a chance at jail time on this.

@Who cares

lol

I gave Axanar 140 USD. I’ve also asked for a refund and was denied. Couple of thoughts: “Rules” – CBS doesn’t have to provide any guidelines. It’s a business, and no-one has any rights to make anything with Star Trek except for CBS and it’s licensees. For Alec to assume that because Lucasfilm does X, and CBS must do X is complete foolishness. “Finances” – Agreed that he doesn’t have to provide clear financials. As a donor I have a vested interest in where my money is spent. Alec ‘shares’ the space for Axanar with Propworks- a profit generating business which was re-created as being bankrupt the exact same day as Axanar. While we could argue it shares space at Alec’s personal expense to help offset Axanar’s costs, it’s being called into question. If they do become a true non-profit we’ll also get to see where all 20,000+ donations went. If Alec has taken a salary or had his businesses in any way benefit from Star Trek’s IP – he can be sued. T-Shirts as rewards for donation is one thing. Using the same money to build a business to distribute t-shirts is wrong. Selling models based on Star Trek IP – or even coffee – without licensed rights from CBS creates a situation where CBS has to react. “Gene Roddenbury’s Principles” have absolutely no bearing on the ownership of the IP, or the publics rights to use them. CBS owns Star Trek – and while I liked Prelude and… Read more »
The Watcher - @TrekSentry47
So what makes Lucasfilms so different when allowing fan films. Since Axanar’s Alec Peters keeps bring this point up and how many of Axanar’s fans also like to reiterate it along with the argument of “why can’t CBS and Paramount do the same” I have decided to break down the Star Wars fan film rules. Firstly I would like to point out that like Star Trek there is NO written rules for Star Wars beyond the ones given to you for the fan film awards which is held yearly but Lucasfilms and Disney. This means that to make a Star Wars fan film and have it distributed online (or given away free) unless it is the one you have made and entered into the fan film awards carries the same risks as making a Star Trek fan film and like CBS AND PARAMOUNT’S stance it is NOT permitted and is in the same “grey” area that Star Trek fan films are as there is not one written rule saying it is ok! Or condoned by Lucasfilms or Disney. The Star wars Fan Film Awards are held yearly and have a long range of do’s and don’ts supplied in a pack that you get when signing up for the awards ( a copy that you can obtain simply from signing up to http://uk.starwars.com/star-wars-fan-film-awards ) Some of the Do’s and Don’ts include: = DO NOT make the film longer than FIVE minutes – Now how can anyone say this is a good… Read more »

“I gave Axanar 140 USD. I’ve also asked for a refund and was denied.” – Lootcritter

It is to be hoped that now that you know the proper refund procedure is to go to Axanar’s donor forums and continually point out inconsistencies said by Peters, that you will received your refund post haste.

Apparently not any more. Alec replied via email – calling me a liar and that I wouldn’t get a refund.

He then admitted that if I wanted patches I could buy them from the store, and that no one from the indegogo campaign has gotten anything yet.

So I can buy the patches (for more money) or wait until he feels it’s right to fulfill his perk promises. Something is odd.

Nothing odd about it. Alex is going to run out the clock on the $1 mil — payments to himself and staff and legal support — and there will be $0 left when the lose the lawsuit…then he has his company declare bankruptcy, and he will not be out $1.

@ PS 4/4 3:19. I’d be surprised if the guy didn’t have a couple MM in liability coverage on the studio, as they had organized it as a business…

The people who donated to this project would have to get together and file a class action lawsuit against Axanar and Alec Peters (he’s try to shield his personal access by incorporating Axanar) that’s why CBS/Paramount filed the lawsuit against both the company and himself – there’s no where Alec can hide ! That’s the only chance that anyone was to recover any donations back, even then the attorneys probably would get most of the funds left – at least Alec wouldn’t get to enjoy that money !!

Paramount/CBS is smarter than that and that’s why Alec Peters himself is included on the lawsuit, there is no back door for him to escape – he’s screwed with any judgement ! This backfired on this clown, he incorporated the Axanar project to prevent lawsuits against the doomed project, shield his new for profit business, and liability issues which come from his mismanagement (he has a track record of failed projects) however with CBS/Paramounts legal team he never thought about them coming after his personal assets – another over site by this idiot !!

That might have been his idea, but CBS/Paramount attorney’s are smart enough to include Alec Peters and 20 others into the lawsuit – a great legal strategy which provides no exit with folding up the company, he’s liable if found guilty !

Nobody who contributed to this scam project of Alec Peters is today, tomorrow or ever going to get a refund !! This outfit hasn’t even filled any of the perks (junk) which they promised to there donated fans !! You can still buy there junk in there store, but they don’t have it available yet to the suckers who donated to this failed project – what a joke !!

The only chance the crowdfunding fans have of recovering some of there money is to institute a class action lawsuit against Axanar (which Alec has Incorporated to to protect himself) and Alec Peters ! The attorneys would probably absorb a majority of the crowdfunding money, however at least this crooked bastard (Alec) wouldn’t have it !

@LootCritter – Peters has struck me as Trump-like: self-serving and narcissistic. I never entertained the idea of donating to his project for several reasons, but the narcissism is my #1 reason.

Should I have heard of Trekzone???

Is an Australian site, so if not from there guess not

Thanks

Well, they got an interview, though Peters does run his digital mouth here as well.

Does Cawley still visit? I seem to recall he got a little bent out of shape over some of the comments directed his way a while back..

Law 101 – When someone has started a lawsuit against you, you keep your mouth shut until the case is resolved.

Kira at Bashi.
Donors, their arms open.
Donors, their eyes closed.
The beast at Ares.
Alec, his army with fists open.
Loeb and CBS, at trial.
Alec, his face black, his eyes red.
Axanar, when the walls fell.
Alec, with sails unfurled.
Donors, their eyes opened!
CBS, their arms open!
CBS and fanfilms, on the ocean.

The fans, their wallets empty

@AxaWatcher

ha, ha!

Peters at court – the court of silence.

Peters with fans
in mirror

Alec, on the island

Peters at court, court of silence.

lol that’s awesome!

Did it to themselves. Now trying to rules lawyer and reference other productions will do nothing but get those other productions shut down. Gods help Peters if he manages to do that. Fans will not forgive or forget that.

Al Jalaikakik, Apparently fans DO forget. Circa 1996: https://web.archive.org/web/20060616182022/http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/17/12/News/tech.html “I want them to give me a list of copyright infringing materials. I want specifics.” — Jeff Rhind, host of Loskene’s Tholian Web ”0FFICIAL SITE Rhind and others note that the clampdown came just as Paramount launched its own official site, titled Star Trek: Continuum (http://startrek.msn.com/), on the Microsoft Network, which charges subscription fees for full access. … To many observers, Viacom’s move is a puzzling one, as most of the webmasters in question derive no remuneration for their efforts. In contrast, the sites cost them money and provide free advertising for the program.” — ‘Trekkies orbit around copyright turbulence’; By COLMAN JONES; NOW; NOVEMBER 20-26, 1997 “Viacom doesn’t seem to understand the property they have. We’re not making any money — we’re there to promote the program and get information out about it.” — Michael Brown, Vidiot, computer systems administrator “We understand fans’ desire to communicate and share information about Star Trek, and we support fan-created Web sites. But, Paramount has asked Star Trek webmasters who are selling ads, collecting fees, selling illegal merchandise or posting copyrighted materials on their sites to refrain from these activities.” — David Wertheimer, president of Paramount Digital Entertainment, a division of Viacom ”FAIR USE At the centre of this fracas is exactly what constitutes copyrighted materials. Legal experts like Jennifer Granick, a San Francisco criminal lawyer, feel that the unofficial sites should fall under what’s known as the “fair use” doctrine in U.S. copyright… Read more »

I tried to quote from this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060616182022/http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/17/12/News/tech.html

to show that apparently fans DO forget.

But it had too many links and went into moderation.

Love how he’s wearing a Millennium Falcon T-shirt. All Trek fans should embrace the Force :D

Good interview.

It is very tempting to play armchair lawyer and speculate about all of these issues, but what we really need (as fuel for further speculation and armchair lawyering) is to see CBS’s response regarding which of their copyrights they are alleging to have been violated and how.

Yes, CBS isn’t an Axanar donor, so everything they have filed in court cannot possibly have having standing with the court, and therefore doesn’t exist.

Guess they have to donate; oh, wait… they are claiming someone donated the CBS wallet to Axanar…

AxaWatcher,

That depends. From your reporting on his donor forums and their posts, it doesn’t sound like Axanar has a mechanism for accepting truly anonymous, to them, donations?

But that doesn’t mean Brad Grey never demonstrated the ability to hire an “investigator” who could donate $10 and join up to monitor Peters’ pronouncements there.

I give Axanar Production $10 watch my baby while I away. I come home, my baby gone and all my furniture too! I go to Alec Peter office get my baby back, and he punch me in the teeth! I wake up strapped to chair in dungeon, my pants unbuttoned. I curse Axanar and Alec Peter!

Eh?

To some people Peters IS the Antichrist LOL

P.S. I’m still waiting for a refund for my 50 Yen donation!

Ahmed,

So you yen for your Yen?

Exactly, Ahmed.

This reminds me of stoning. A person (man or woman) committed a “sin” and the crowd gathers. Everyone is cheering and trying to throw a bigger stone and to hit harder than others.

If there were stonings, you’d be the dude with the stone truck business.

If there were stonings, you’d be the one suggesting burning at stake.

LOL

Nope, he’s not that bad.

Macus Junius Brutus or Judas Iscariot, perhaps?

You have a long wait for that refund !

You paid Axanar to babysit TUP?

;-)

I’m beginning to get better insight into all of this.

Merchant of Vulcan,

If it ever gets out of moderation, take a gander at this:

http://trekmovie.com/2016/04/03/trekzone-speaks-to-axanars-alec-peters/#comment-5299376

Cant you shoot just about everything on green screen?

Hugh Hoyland,

Well, obviously the images that you replace the green screens with in post can’t be shot on green screens. Can they?

usually created in the computer, or combined with other stuff shot greenscreen or in a set. Why you’d choose to do it all greenscreen is a better question, the results are crediblity wise about brewery-engineering level at best, BABYLON5 spinoff CRUSADE at worst. In other words, Bad no matter what, unless you’re making a stylized SIN CITY kind of thing.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Alec Peters seems to be either living in deep denial or just doesn’t care about the legal trouble he is in.

“We’re hoping to get some guidance from CBS” he says.
Isn’t a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed against him pretty clear guidance?

Mr. Peters full well knows that the way CBS has held open a copyright loophole for fan films is by NOT being specific point by point, because this would permanently hand over rights that CBS would like to allow as it pleases case by case, and it would probably trigger corporate “better safe than sorry” legal reactions shutting everything down. This is common knowledge among fan film managements, discussed for years in many public places on the net.

The hope seems to be that this vagueness can be spun by attorneys into some sort of precedent which shelters Axanar’s actions, and retroactively supports the assertion that they cannot be held accountable for their judgments in this matter since they “cannot get an answer” from CBS.

It looks not unlike if you were letting a few neighbor kids pick a few fruit from your trees, but then someone shows up one day with a panel truck and baskets and ladders and friends, and starts in on whatever they can grab, while answering your protests by demanding you grant a permanent quota for every person who may wish to show up, since you let some kids have some amount.

CBS is doing the right thing by pursuing legal action rather than having this debate.

Peters is an arrogant douche.

GIVE US THE THUMBS UP/DOWN OPTION.

It’s not fair that only the moderators can use the option and others cannot.

“Fair” is irrelevant since no one pays to use this site.

Dandru,

What exactly are you saying? Treating non-human lifeforms on the planet fairly is irrelevant since none of them pays to use it?

No, fairness before tribute?

I said nothing remotely like that. Reading comprehension is an important skill. I suggest you bolster yours.

Dandru,

And you, yours. Fairness is not irrelevant nor does its relevancy depend on payment or the lack thereof.

Thank you very much for enabling the thumbs up/down option again! It’s a handy and nice option that everyone will appreciate, I’m sure.

Just Another Salt Vampire April 3, 2016 7:28 pm

Isn’t a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed against him pretty clear guidance?

Actually, it isn’t. And the lack of clarity is the basis of the Axanar legal team’s response thus far. Which copyrights is CBS alleging to have been infringed and how? The only thing that CBS has communicated thus far via its lawsuit is that it doesn’t approve of something that Axanar has done. Exactly what CBS doesn’t approve of is still a mystery.

The multi-million dollar lawsuit is first and foremost a scare tactic. There’s a basic principle in US IP law precedents that you can’t police your IP selectively, meaning I let Joe produce derivative works but I don’t let Alec. The lack or presence of profit motive is meaningless in this context except insofar as setting damages.

You’re confusing copyright with trademark. Trademark requires vigorous enforcement. Copyright confers on its right holder exclusive control over their work and its derivative work. That means they get to choose who to go after and who not to go after. http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=copyright_infringement

Only an idiot wouldn’t understand what CBS has a problem with.

@ Dandru

Agreed

Hmmm. I thought they made it pretty clear after they met with Alec Peters in August 2015:

“CBS has not authorized, sanctioned or licensed this project in any way, and this has been communicated to those involved. We continue to object to **professional commercial ventures trading off our property rights** and are considering further options to protect these rights.”
https://www.thewrap.com/how-1-1-million-star-trek-fan-movie-has-escaped-studio-shutdown-so-far/#sthash.gXoaVBqO.dpuf

And again right after the copyright suit was filed in December

“The producers of ‘Axanar’ are making a ‘Star Trek’ picture they describe themselves as a **fully professional independent ‘Star Trek’ film.** Their activity clearly violates our ‘Star Trek’ copyrights which, of course, we will continue to vigorously protect.”
http://www.thewrap.com/star-trek-fan-film-produced-sued-cbs-paramount-crowdfunded-indiegogo/

CBS clearly objects to Axanar as a professional, commercial venture trading off its property rights. Axanar is much more than fan film. It is a full commercial operation with its own full line of merchandise (including apparel, coffee, posters, art, patches, starship models and books), digital fulfillment services and planned movie production studio and subscription video service.

http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=merchandise

Star Wars has a fan film festival? Wow.

YES BUT with very strict guidelines that would make every fan film director cry if they had to limits to 5 mins

Man listening to all of this I never really realize how deep this stuff gets to fund basically a free film. You do have to wonder what exactly is the point if you’re not seeing a dollar of it. And yes I get it you’re not suppose to make money it for the ‘love’ of the franchise but it just sounds like so much work and effort and no gets ANYTHING out of it? Well I guess thats the issue of the lawsuit lol but in general it seems like a lot of work and dedication so you can toss it on Youtube.

I hope it works out in some ways though because it sucks all the people that have put in the work may not even get to see it shown and yes thats a shame.

Hmmm… It makes you wonder what benefit the project might offer its producers beyond slapping a free movie up onto YouTube. http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=change_in_character#commercial_activities

…. and CBS is still suing the fans…. oh joy.

Congrats on entirely missing the point of this whole situation.

Dandru,

Congrats on completely missing the point that history plays in the whole siituation:

http://fanlore.org/wiki/The_Viacom_Crackdown

Congrats to myself for getting all of this.

We already talked about this, it isn’t news, and it does not address Peters and his ilk.

kmart,

How so? CBS Entertainment labelled him a life long fan and Orci’s already saw fit to make sure that we all know that not all fans of STAR TREK are as stellar as the best ideals it espoused.

I must admit never in my long trek as a fan had I ever before considered that a shunning or expulsion of some sort might be possible. And I would have thought it might have occurred to me when Bjo introduced me to the concept that some fans were better human beings than others. In fact, it was at a con that she organized, where a friend of mine on her security had his communicator prop replica stolen that I first realized the depths that such conniving might reach…

My bad, I thought from the first part of that this was about Par being jerks, not about how trek fans are just like everybody else, demonstrating sturgeon’s law. Yeah, there are lots of trekjerks.

Congrats on having no idea what’s going on.

Dandru,

Likewise, I’m sure.

“12 people”, hunh? So, not only is Peters an a-hole he’s either lying purposefully to downplay those who disagree with his methods or he’s delusional.

Early on, I asked him about the funding issue out of concern as a backer of the project. He responded with insults & name calling. The man checked into my backing history on Kickstarter & attempted to use that limited information to insult my intelligence. Apparently, he forgot there are other sites & means of backing a fanfilm project. He also evidently removed my email from their list, so to sit there & claim those who have a problem with it all are simply those who don’t follow the project is laughable. I WAS following it…AS a backer…and YOU, Peters, are the one who changed that fact…all because you can’t handle it.

You know, the guilty are usually the ones who scream defensively the loudest.

Have fun with my money, Peters. Spend it wisely. It’ll be the LAST you EVER get from me.

Dandru Today 6:28 am

Only an idiot wouldn’t understand what CBS has a problem with.

Well, looky here… We got ourselves a bona-fide Nostra-daymus. Why don’t you use your E.S.P. (that’s Extra Special Powers, for those who ain’t science-learned) and tell us all exactly what CBS is gonna say in their response, Soothy.

And if you don’t nail that prediction 100%, we tar ‘n’ feather ya.

We got a deal, partner?

There’s no need for ESP (which stands for Extra Sensory Perception to everyone but you, Cygnus). What is needed is basic reading comprehension. See, CBS and Paramount already responded in excruciating detail about EXACTLY what is being infringed upon. TrekMovie already reported on it (http://trekmovie.com/2016/03/22/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-current-state-of-the-axanar-lawsuit/).

There are 28 pages in CBS’s amended complaint that detail the copyright violations. We don’t need predictions to know what CBS is complaining about. We already know BECAUSE THEY TOLD US IN EXCRUCIATING DETAIL.

So, yeah, only an idiot wouldn’t understand what CBS has a problem with.

Actually PaulB,

CBS did nothing of the kind. CBS and Paramount Pictures filing JOINTLY as one, i.e. the plaintiffs, listed all sorts of things but they NEVER said which claim was for what company that was violated.

For example, THEY mentioned a character from FILMATION’S STAR TREK series but then claimed they listed all 6 series and their first episodes and copyright registration numbers but they only so listed 5 series in Appendix A. Neither YESTERYEAR nor its series, “Star trek (animated)”(sic), was named or designated. Part of the problem is likely because they chose to call by its colloquial designation “The Animated Series” rather than the actual NAME the series is designated as in The Copyright Office records. Also in the Appendix’s 6th entry where that should have been delineated, as they themselves claimed it was, they instead note transfer of copyrights from Paramount to CBS making it clear as mud as to who ended up with “Star trek (animated)”‘s copyrights?

If THEY can’t get stuff like that straight, in their claims, how can the judge be expected to rule that Peters should have known he would be violating the April character’s copyright and whose copyright between the two he was violating?

DIS, Just to be clear here, are you just itching on this because CBS isn’t dotting all their Is or because you actually think Axanar has anything approaching a valid point? The former, I can understand, though I don’t think it helps here, and the latter gives me cause for enormous concern. This guy is and probably always has been a con artist and a bully. There’s probably not enough pain in his body to make up for the damage he has caused to lots of people, and while the legal system, being what it is, is not set up to make him answer for that (you’d need an actual JUSTICE system instead), the very least is that he get his (probably stolen) wings clipped, and clipped hard.

kmart,

Well, my concerns are that both Brad Grey and Les Moonves can be accurately described with the exact same appellations for halo tarnishing actions each are personally responsible for.

In those regards, I’m not desirous of, nor expect, a lopsided win for any one of those three parties. I’m more interested in the pain being evenly spread around with, it is to be hoped, the long time fans that helped create the STAR TREK phenomenon that led to this even being a concern on this side of the millennium ultimately prevailing just a skosh ahead of them, for once, from some sensible copyright rulings and precedents coming out of all of this.

And perhaps this extends a bit back to my schoolyard experiences with bullies, I most definitely do not want to see a one of them benefit if they can’t get their own homework done right.

I recall experiences with bullies too, but I also remember one who as it turns out was goaded into being one (temporarily) by other genuine monsters, and who at one point later actually saved my bacon (and fledgling little league career) by engaging his much older stepbrother (in same grade as us) and getting the crap kicked out of him (and really wasting the other guy) as he rather bloodily managed to get my baseball glove back after the other guy had copped it.

Sometimes force IS the way when dealing with monsters, and the little guy in this instance may be the biggest monster of all. Gonna take the road that this is like CBS nailing the pentagon back in the 60s when the latter accused network of faking news, and CBS retaliating by putting the soldier in question on-camera (it is in one of Ellison’s GLASS TEAT books, pretty good story), and the installment concludes with Ellison saying, good job, you otherwise useless ______, CBS.

Excuse me, but Paul B started off his post saying, ” CBS and Paramount,” so I am at a loss where you are going with this? You seem to nitpick his second sentence where he just says CBS, but it’s completely obvious in his introductory para where he covered them collectively.

LOL — you are not a prosecutor, and this is not a court. :-))

Prodigal Son,

In the second, he didn’t just replace ”CBS and Paramount,” with “CBS” but “CBS’s amended complaint” as if there was some clear delineation between the two parties in the amending which would support a false notion that CBS made it ALL clear, which it did not as it worked in consortium with another party, Paramount, to amend the complaint as one unit, “the plaintiffs”, never clearly indicating which of the two parties was most directly harmed in each of the infringements listed.

I wanted to make sure no one mistakenly thought that in the amended complaint that there were separate CBS and Paramount sections, which is probably what they should have done but neglected to so do, making everything clear.

OK, thanks for the explanation.

Yeah, I loved how they claimed “Science Fiction Action-Adventure” as something they own the copyright on. I’m sure George Lucas, Joss Whedon, J. Michael Stracynski, the creators of the Stargate franchise, Glen Larson, and a whole host of others apparently had no idea this was true……

HubcapDave,

While I agree with you, did you realize that ALL your examples happened AFTER STAR TREK first aired?

Teaser poster revealed for Trek 2917 TV series:

comment image

900 years is a bit of a wait….
Star Trek, proudly sponsored by Depends! Boldly Going, pretty much anytime you need to!

LOL

Phil,

LOL

Depends still dependable for 900 years! Now THERE’S an environmental disaster awaiting future generations.

Interesting part of the interview — the claim that they have no asset worth selling. Yet, Alec Peters announced an asset sale due to bring $400,000 to help fill the $745,566 hole in Axanar’s production budget. Read more about the contradiction at this AxaMonitor article, “Investor Group Plans to Buy ‘Ares Studio’ Assets.” http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=investor_group

Carlos Pedraza,

Does this mean that the sale of sets from Farragut to Continues was likewise an asset sale?

Since the sets have value (indicated by the fact they exchanged money for them) it’s clearly a sale. Like any asset, you’re allowed to take depreciation on it in assessing value. However, I can only answer in general terms since I have no personal knowledge of the terms regarding the sale of the sets from Farragut to Continues. You would have to inquire with them.

The problem is that when fan films started to emerge on the web, they tended to be affectionate tributes like Troopers or Chad Vader rather than epics and the likes of Star Trek: New Voyages weren’t intended to be much more than some fun among friends, initially more about enthusiasm than mega-sized production values. Something happened along the way, though, and fan films became an industry; something deadly serious. There were big egos, Dynasty-esque fallings out, fans taking sides over which of the many competing productions they prefer (I’m as guilty of that as anyone!) and, in effect, gang turf wars over someone else’s property. I don’t believe for one minute that CBS/Paramount/Viacom/whatever reps thought that effectively telling Team Cawley to ‘have fun but don’t take the proverbial’ would lead to the saturation level of massive-scale unofficial productions we now have. Lucasfilm handled things very sensibly by setting down their rules and Trek’s owners must be wondering if it’s time for them to do the same. With a new movie and show on the horizon, the sheer number of amateur, semi-pro and ‘professional-but-not-for-profit’ productions runs the risk of brand confusion and damaging perception of any official series. Inevitably, someone was going to go too far and we’re seeing things escalate unpleasantly now. It’s the rights owners’ faults: they should have kept a warier eye on this. But this case is important to anyone who has created something: are fans allowed, in effect, to take control of someone else’s property if… Read more »

Actually, Dom, it’s a common misconception that LucasFilm has established rules for Star Wars fan films. They haven’t.

Apart from a formal contest with highly restrictive rules (including a five-minute time limit and limited use of pre-authorized sound effects) most Star Wars fan films exist in the same legal gray area of “tolerated use” as do Star Trek fan productions.

http://www.starwars.com/star-wars-fan-film-awards

The point is, there are established rules out there of some description and the culture in Star Wars fandom tends more towards fun, affectionate parody than remakes and continuations. No one’s trying to make ‘Episode 4a: Another New Hope,’ while Star Trek fandom is making massive-scale productions that are a direct challenge to the owners, with a culture in fandom that says ‘We know better than CBS/Paramount.’

There’s little question things are getting out of hand. What next? A direct sequel to TMP with duplicate sets and uniforms?

A point comes where ‘daddy’ has to tell the ‘children’ to put leave the sandpit and let the grown ups get on with things. Because, right now the kiddies are running riot.

I hope Axanar gets to be made. It’s a story I want to see made by these guys. I don’t really know about the legal side of things. Yes, CBS owns Star Trek. But, the law is malleable and open to interpretation. You never know. I’m glad that Alec and Axanar are fighting the suit. As for all the faux outrage and personal attacks on Mr. Peters…it’s like a Republican Convention or a Trump rally here! You guys are annoying, but I can’t help but watch the train wreck.

Hey, that’s a really nice car you have in your driveway. But you know, I appreciate it a whole lot more then you do, so I’m going to take it. Besides, I’ve never actually seen your pink slip, so, who knows, it might be mine anyway…

You are missing the point. Peters is Trump here, dude.

PaulB Today 4:12 pm

“ESP” was a joke, dummy. (Do I really need to say that?)

And if you’re such a non-idiot, and the rest of us are idiots, then why don’t you tell us specifically what about the Axanar film, which was not in the “Prelude”, prompted CBS to file suit? Because the items listed in that complaint by CBS—“Garth of Izar, the battle of Axanar, Vulcans and Romulans, etc…”—were already manifest in the “Prelude” short film long before CBS decided to file suit. If timing means anything—and I think that it does—then, something happened between the release of “Prelude” and the CBS filing to motivate the lawsuit at issue.

So, tell us, genius jurist, what, exactly, was (were) the motivating factor(s)?

Cygnus, you’re a moron. You’ve been spouting the same histrionic horsecrap and ignoring all the facts. You are ignorant of this case, of basic law, of basically everything you try to talk about. You’re a idiot. You’re ignoring all the explanations, all the answers to your questions, because you just want to keep spouting off your idiocy. By all means, feel free to do so. You’re free to do that.

And the rest of us are free to label you as the idiot a-hole that you are. You pollute this site with your PS/PPS/PPPS ramblings, and you embarrass Trekkies by claiming to be one of us. You show all the intellectual capacity of a paving stone.

Now, go ahead and have the last word–or last several thousand words, based on your past verbal vomiting on this site. Knock yourself out, kiddo. The rest of us are over here in reality, laughing at your idiocy.

Cygnus, PaulB –

Enough with the name calling.

TUP, please stop fanning the flames.

…the flames of love?

Seems like a good time for this old gem, the best music video that NIN never did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uxTpyCdriY

P.S. Who knew that post-scripts were a controversy?

P.P.S. Certainly not I.

If you want real escalation, use Supercripts….and stay turned for the new movie, Superscripts v Subscripts. LOL

Prodigal Son,

SUPERSCRIPTS V SUBSCRIPTS:
Dawn of The Justification

Yes — good song choice!!!

Cygnus, LOL — yes, he does kind of fawn over you and tries to protect you a lot here…your Guardian Angel. :-)

You’re confusing the roles in your own metaphor, but that’s OK.

This site should set up some sort of account whereby everytime Prodigal makes a post that is irrelevant, off topic or condescending, they get a penny. It would fund the site for generations.

Prodigal…please stop with the irrelevant posts. You dont have to scan through and make a comment about every post made by the people you dislike. Grow up.

Don’t answer to you Prodigal. But you bring up a good point. Please follow your own advice from now on. Thank you!

Sorry, all. My apologies, no excuses, gonna shut back up again. Peace, all! Again, apologies all around. LL&P

@PaulB – despicable post. Only an intellectual inferior would resort to such verbiage. You have been roundly defeated by your own hand. Please go away.

Really? “Intellectual inferior”?

Did you not see what I wrote? Cool it.

His post was so pointlessly inflamatory and insulting it is deserving of wide spread public ridicule if its not being deleted. There have been some minor insults around here but that was way over the line. :)

@ TUP

Settle down, son.

Well, he’s certainly on about something.

Carlos Pedraza Today 5:16 pm

We already covered all of those items here in great detail back in December—the coffee, the allegedly for-profit Ares Studios, Alec Peters’ salary, and so on.

The point is that CBS, for some reason, has avoided citing specific infringements, opting instead to list generalities and categories of alleged infringement—“trading off our property rights,” and so forth. And again, the specific IP alleged in the complaint (“Garth of Izar,” “battle of Axanar,” “Vulcans,” etc…) were already present in the Prelude to Axanar TWO YEARS PRIOR TO THE COMPLAINT.

So, what, specifically, motivated the lawsuit of 12/25/16? Give me a specific, time-relevant answer, or none at all.

Thank you.

P.S. I’m not saying that CBS has no cause for complaint. I think that they do have a colorable claim. But the story elements complained of in this lawsuit were present in Axanar’s “Prelude” two years ago, when CBS apparently had no cause for complaint. So, what changed in the intervening period and motivated this recent lawsuit?

That is my question.

P.P.S Yes, I see that “Soval” and other specific story elements are alleged by CBS to have been infringed upon. But, those were present in the “Prelude” two years ago.

P.P.P.S Was it the coffee? Peters’ salary? Ares studios? What specifically? This is the shoe that we’re waiting to drop.

Seems to me Paramount was content to allow “fan films” to exist and “infringe” but this project is too large in scope, too professional and is a vehicle for the owners to launch a professional studio with profits generated through the production of the infringing works.

The issue might be that they cant selectively enforce their IP. Which Im sure Peters will argue. Which will mean he wins or ALL fan films are gonzo. Burn the oil fields, Alex!

TUP, that’s what I’m thinking, too. It’s all very interesting, and also kind of disturbing in its potential implications. And again brings me back to the question of why CBS waited over a year after the finished product, “Prelude,” had been made public before they even said anything about it.

If I’m CBS, and I want to keep things friendly, low-key and non-confrontational, I’m going to say something to Axanar as soon as I’ve seen the “Prelude.” And if not then, certainly when the pre-production and fundraising began on the full-length feature. It seems to me that waiting a year was not good for anyone, unless it was CBS’ intention to bring down all indie/fan productions, which I have to assume is not their intention.

…which brings us back to the issue of the “trigger” of the lawsuit from CBS’s point of view, and why that trigger isn’t listed in the complaint. If the problem was the coffee, why not list the coffee in the complaint? If the problem was Peters’ salary, why not mention it in the complaint? Likewise with the studio, the film school, etc…

Let’s say Paramount stopped making Star Trek films after Beyond. If they had no films in the pipeline, no obvious attempts to utilize their IP, does that impact the lawsuit?

In other words, does the fact they are currently releasing a movie impact their desire to go after Axanar and is it possible they have a short window to do so before responsibility would shift solely to CBS?

TUP Today 6:53 am

does the fact they are currently releasing a movie impact their desire to go after Axanar and is it possible they have a short window to do so before responsibility would shift solely to CBS?

I don’t think so. The temporal limiting factor on copyright infringement is decades into the future for Paramount’s Trek movies, even if they make no more movies after STB.

Of course they can selectively enforce their copyright, as well as decide when to litigate. CBS can sit back and wait and see if the infringement makes money for Peters and sue him then, years after the fact. This is a pointless discussion, and ultimately one that has no bearing on the suit. Anyone hoping that the reason for the timing of the lawsuit will be revealed in the course of this case will be dissapointed because it’s irrelevant to the infringement. Peters wants to force answers but he won’t get them, nor will anyone else.

I know the timing is not relevant to the case, but it’s what is most interesting to me about the case. As many people have noted, CBS could have gone after many fan film productions, but didn’t. After all of the speculation about what, exactly, triggered this lawsuit, I’m very curious.

Cygnus, I get that you’re frustrated that CBS/Paramount doesn’t spell this out to your satisfaction, however you are not a party to the suit (nor am I), and the specific trigger for the lawsuit actually isn’t relevant or it would be listed among the causes of action in the suit. What we do know is that Alec Peters had a meeting with CBS officials in August, which was immediately followed by a statement saying they were considering legal options against a “professional commercial venture trading off our property rights.” CBS echoes that sentiment in their statement that followed the filing of the lawsuit in December, this time using the term “fully professional independent Star Trek production.” What might have Axanar had done in between those two dates that would add evidence to CBS’ concerns about being a professional, commercial venture trading off their property rights? How about the release of Axanar’s Annual Report on December 15 two weeks before? A report that lays out with some degree of clarity not only the scope of the infringing film venture but ancillary commercial activities, both existing and planned (merchandise, film school, studio rental, additional film productions, a streaming video service), some of which themselves are derivative works using Star Trek copyrights. It’s likely the August statement may have signaled CBS’ beginning to amass the information they believe they needed to file a legal complaint. The annual report may have been what was needed to fill in the right blanks for them to… Read more »

Carlos, I don’t disagree with your speculation. But, the August warning from CBS came over a year after “Prelude to Axanar” had been released. Why wait a year to warn an ongoing production to cease and desist if that production is doing harm to CBS’s business operations?

I mean, CBS didn’t start to amass information about the alleged infringements until a year later? Really? The information needed to list most of the infringements alleged in the complaint is all attainable by just watching the “Prelude.” And yet CBS waited over a year to say anything to Axanar. In fact, the “Prelude” was released over a year after the fundraising efforts had begun and the initial act of infringement had occurred—recording the infringing elements in a “fixed medium,” i.e. the “Prelude” script. And yet CBS waited over a year after the release of “Prelude” to say anything to Axanar.

It just seems to me that the trigger, as you say, of the complaint is not actually listed in the complaint. Doesn’t that seem the least bit odd?

Cygnus-X1.

It think the timing of this is less determined by CBS and more about Paramount’s marketing fears and superstitions.

Just think: If Paramount is so fearful of competition from a CBS Trek experiment in streaming delivery of a new Trek TV series affecting their box office, is it THAT difficult to see how they con conflate Axanar’s raising PBS television production budget fund numbers as representing the same threat?

Cygnus-X1.,

con = can

Disinvited Today 12:57 pm

I think the timing of this is less determined by CBS and more about Paramount’s marketing fears and superstitions.

This, too, could be the main issue or one of them.

Cygnus-X1,

Perhaps, the voodoo involves this “technology”?:

“Viacom, Inc. Launches Vantage Target Discovery and Vantage Instant Audience
Mar 30 16

Viacom, Inc. has announced the launch of Vantage Target Discovery and Vantage Instant Audience. Vantage Target Discovery uses sophisticated data-mining techniques to help marketers identify ‘persuadables’, the consumers who are not currently using a particular brand but have the propensity to be receptive to the advertiser’s messaging. By starting with an ideal set of goals and working backwards, Target Discovery enables marketers to take a fresh look at their potential universe of consumers. Vantage Instant Audience makes the power of Vantage accessible to a broader array of clients by simplifying the data-driven targeting process. This product delivers audiences based on unique insights about Viacom’s fans and allows for more flexible campaigns. With the addition of Vantage Instant Audience (VIA) and Target Discovery, Viacom Marketing & Partner Solutions brings to the Upfront season a total of five of the most advanced data-driven products in the industry. All five offerings can stand alone, but also have a strategic connection to each other as exemplified by the Velocity Content Network (VCN), a virtual network of custom creative branded content programs informed by data that will be distributed across social platforms. VCN weaves in two of the other recently announced ad products: Viewprint, which enhances the level of visibility into consumer segments and helps focus creative aspects of a campaign; and, Echo Social Graph 2.0, which measures a campaign’s effectiveness.” — Bloomberg, VIACOM Snapshot

I suspect that CBS didn’t start off from the “let’s sue the pants off them” approach. I think they were content to let them fly under the radar, like so many other fan productions. As some have observed here, Star Trek (as intellectual property) benefits from the fan film phenom and therefore, indirectly, so does CBS. I suspect they know that, which is why literally dozens of productions have continued for years without so much as a cease and desist letter. But once it became clear that a business was being constructed around their IP, a decision was obviously made that Axenar would have to be dealt with more directly, so they started amassing evidence.

Who knows what specific item was one straw too many? We may never find out. But, since copyrights holders can pick and choose when and how to defend their IP, I don’t know if that final straw is relevant to the case. Any straw might do (to belabor the idiom a little more), at least as far as the court is concerned.
I’m hoping that this doesn’t foul things up for the other fan productions, that CBS doesn’t decide it’s stood on the sidelines too long and needs to crack down on all the IP violators. As others have said, Peters would have a real popularity problem in the wake of something like that.

nscates Today 1:07 pm

But once it became clear that a business was being constructed around their IP, a decision was obviously made that Axenar would have to be dealt with more directly, so they started amassing evidence.

This seems to be the prevailing hypothesis, and it’s mine as well. But, when did it “become clear” to CBS, as you say? Their warning of August 2016 to Axanar came prior to the release of Axanar’s annual report, which revealed Peters’ salary. So, had CBS already heard about Peters’ salary through the grapevine? Were they troubled by some other aspect of Axanar (the studio, the coffee, etc.) and then the salary reveal was the final straw? Or, was the salary not as big an issue as people are making it out to be, and it was more the cottage industry appearance of Axanar that was the main issue? And again, whatever it is that motivated CBS’s intervention—the coffee, the studio, Peters’ salary, etc…—why isn’t it mentioned in their legal complaint?

There may not have been any specific trigger, other then Peters telling CBS to go f**k themselves when the numerous C&D letters started landing on his desk. CBS/Paramount legal don’t just wake up some morning and decide to sue someone. Once CBS decided that the C&D letters were not producing their desired effect (which could have been anything from ‘stop’ to ‘we’d like you to make some changes’), then CBS Legal probably got the green light to prepare the filing. In all likelihood there’s no motivation to a 12/25 date other then that’s when management gave legal the thumbs up to file.

I’m looking forward to all of these details coming out, and how Winston and Strawn are going to argue the case. At least, I hope that we get to see them make an argument. It may be settled before that point. Peters’ arguments thus far have seemed odd to me. He denies infringement based on issues that are not typically dispositive of infringement—like whether the full-length film has been made yet, or whether his company has made “profit.” I’m hoping that we get to see his lawyers make a more cogent legal argument.

I don’t think the Christmas Day filing is significant in any way, other than perhaps being a poor PR decision on the part of CBS. Nothing would have been lost to file on a day not associated with kindness, giving, peace and turning the other cheek—like December 26, for example.

Cygnus-X1,

December 7th being too on the nose?

heh—I wouldn’t have picked that date, either. Though, the public reaction doesn’t seem nearly as united as it was on that date.

@ Cyg 4/5 3:06 pm I can certainly see the potential for drama there, or it could be that once the potential for conflict became apparent that inertia just carried it to its conclusion. A friend is a attorney, and while we’d all like to think that reason and adherence to rule of law will rule the day, he’s observed that frequently a trial can be a clash of ego’s and personality. I’ve not met Mr. Peters, but if he’s as abrasive as he has come across in print, his legal team would be well advised to keep him off the stand.

There have been some pretty smart summaries posted here, I read the original complaint, and that was a level of wonkishness that only a lawyer could love. At this point, I’m not sure how they plan to argue, as based on the requests for dismissal it seems that all they are trying to do is bury this in procedural filings and crossing their fingers that CBS settles. Anyway, there is more to be disclosed that can effect how I, or anyone, can hold to whatever conclusions have been arrived to so far…
Cheers

Phil Today 4:05 pm

I’ve not met Mr. Peters, but if he’s as abrasive as he has come across in print, his legal team would be well advised to keep him off the stand.

I agree. I admire his moxey and industriousness in getting the whole project together and managing to raise $1 M for it—no small achievement. But that same aggressiveness may have been his undoing. He may have too much fight in him for the merits of his case, the latter of which seem to be lacking.

@ Cyg 4/6 5:07 I don’t fault Mr. Peters at all for his drive to pull it together. I don’t actually believe that he set out to engage in TM and CR infringement as well, nor do I believe that misappropriation of funds is a charge to be levied. That said, some of the venom aimed his way for implying deliberate action is misplaced. Clearly, though, some diplomacy on his part was called for, particularly when you rely on the good graces of others to pursue your own activities. So, while that aggressiveness would be an asset as a (trial) lawyer, it proved to be a liability as a businessman – hence, we find ourselves here debating how this train derailed so badly.

After CBS/Paramount win this lawsuit hopefully this piece of shit Alec Peters fades into the trash where he belongs !!

Um, Phil, where are you getting information that Axanar was served ANY C&D letters? I haven’t seen that written anywhere.

Hard not to imagine that THIS:

“I almost feel like I’m making the biggest-budgeted fan film!” — Justin Lin

might have been a Paramount motivation?

The following article is pretty good. The only thing I don’t think is realistic is word of this affecting box office take drastically,
https://kryptonradio.com/2016/04/05/paramount-lawsuit-becomes-studios-kobayashi-maru/

Thanks My Two Cents, Watkins covers much of the same ground as my musings on the Paramount half of the claim. Except I point out that Paramount’s own past views on such matters challenges their own logic in choosing to chase after this white whale swimming in the Kobayashi Maru Seas, as Watkins pointed out, they face absolutely no chance of recovering any financial compensation even if they absolutely prevail in court:

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

“This decision is a victory for Paramount and clearly a loss for Buchwald and Bernheim. Their lawyers spent more than $2.5 million and three years for this award.” — John Scanlon, Paramount spokesman

“It cost them $3 million (in legal fees) and (we got) $1 million . . . and they call that a victory? They have to change every contract they ever made and they call it a victory? . . . Look, (the decision) might stop those guys from stealing–but I doubt it.” — Art Buchwald

TECH TIMES interviews the Axanar team:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/147873/20160406/interview-axanar-team-responds-to-cbs-star-trek-lawsuit.htm

“Any ruling in this case may provide guidance to Axanar and other fan productions about what elements from the Star Trek universe can be used in future fan films, especially if certain elements are deemed to be unprotected by copyright law. As far as any fair use determination, that involves a balancing test that is hard to predict and fact specific, so a ruling either in favor of or against fair use may not necessarily provide precedent about whether another fan film may be considered fair use in another case (by another jury or judge). Our goal in defending this case is to ultimately encourage more creativity within fan communities rather than stifle it.” — Erin R. Ranahan of Winston & Strawn LLP, law firm that represents Axanar

Personally I don’t like Peters – this has already had ripple effects on other fan films – ones who HAVE great relationships with CBS Legal and Consumer Products.

The biggest things – some of the TREK Fan Films have been having problems raising funds – a reluctance and worry of fans about donating for fear this will happen to Continues,New Voyages,etc.

Peters has endangered the entire fan community of film making and there’s not been a judgement yet!

Does anyone know if Matt Miller is going to air part II of the interview with Alec Peters he said “later in the week” and its been 10 days. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Whoa. Did he say they were selling Axanar merchandise? I suspect there is the beginning of their troubles. Those are Star Trek related items; no matter how you slice it that merchandise is a part of the Star Trek brand, and therefore legally, I would assume, a big no-no.

I apologise if I am wrong. But selling merchandise struck me as being a bit iff, legal-wise.

Peters has blocked MANY donors and fans from the main site simply for asking questions or having the gall to actually support Paramount/CBS having IP rights. I am on of those. I supported Axanar, but I questioned Peters on his tactics and his approach to IP. He makes it sound like it is only a handful of “haters” when the number is much, much larger. He is what Picard referred to as a “film flam man”. He has reached the point where he actually believes his own bullshit. Peters is not a nice guy and he has no honor.

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