Judge Denies Axanar Its Fair Use Defense

While a Federal judge denied summary judgment January 4, 2017, to both sides in the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit, he dealt a major blow to the defendants’ hope to use fair use as a defense in the case.

Going to Trial

The 15-page decision moves the case forward to its scheduled January 31 trial date, striking out a central part of the defendants’ case. While Klausner found Axanar was indeed substantially similar to Star Trek using an extrinsic test, despite the defense’s protestations to the contrary, he left to the jury the intrinsic, or subjective, decision over whether the “total concept and feel of [Axanar and Star Trek works were] substantially similar.”

‘Objectively Infringing’

The extrinsic test Klausner used examines “specific expressive elements: the plot, themes, dialogue, mood, setting, pace, characters, and sequence of events in the two works to determine if articulable similarities exist.“

Here, Klausner wrote, the “Defendants [producer Alec Peters and Axanar Productions] intentionally use elements from the Star Trek Copyrighted Works to create works that stay true to Star Trek canon down to excruciating details. Defendants even touted that ‘Axanar feels like Star Trek.‘”

Willful Infringement 

While Klausner found it likely Peters indeed infringed on Star Trek’s copyrights, he decided to leave it to a jury to determine whether Peters willfully infringed — whether what he thought he was doing was all right. The jury’s decision makes a difference only in the extent of Peters liability — how much he might have to pay in damages.

For that, Peters had relied on a long history of Star Trek fan films unhindered by copyright disputes. And even though Peters repeatedly stated Axanar was not to be called a fan film, his lawyer, Erin Ranahan asserted the claim was made only to distinguish Axanar’s quality from other fan works. Klausner held that state of mind is something the jury must examine in order to determine whether his infringement was willful.

Peters’ Reply to Judge’s Ruling

Peters issued the following statement on his surrogate’s blog following the judge’s order:

This morning, Judge Klausner made a ruling that the case will go to jury trial to determine if Axanar is “substantially similar” to the CBS copyrighted works. If it is, then the jury will have to find if the infringement is “willful” or “non-willful”, and Judge Klausner already stated that “Peters’ actions demonstrate a respect for Plaintiffs’ intellectual property that makes a finding of willfulness on summary judgement inappropriate.” If the jury does not find “substantial similarity” then the case will be dismissed.

Depending on the outcome of the trial, Axanar may choose to appeal the verdict to the Ninth Circuit, where Erin Ranahan is 5-0. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is also known to favor artist rights. So the story of Axanar continues…

Not Premature

Ranahan had repeatedly argued CBS and Paramount had no case for copyright infringement because Axanar had yet to be produced, existing insubstantially as a series of ever-changing screenplay drafts.

Klausner had found that line of argument unpersuasive when Ranahan first made it in the dismissal motion he rejected in May 2015; he found it even less persuasive when having to deal with it yet again in her motion for summary judgment:

The Court explained its rejection of this argument in the order denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.. … The Court will not repeat its rationale here, except to note that evidence of a final shooting script satisfies the judicial standard for summary judgment.

Copyrightable Elements

The defense had long argued that many of the items CBS and Paramount had claimed were protected by copyright were actually in the public domain or so vaguely drawn as to not merit protection. Included in that claim were the Star Trek aliens Vulcans and Klingons, and even the lead Axanar character himself, Garth of Izar.

Klingons and Vulcans

The judge rejected those arguments with regard to Star Trek’s most prominent alien species:

Klingons are a militaristic, alien species from the planet Qo’noS. They are long-time enemies of the Federation. Klingons have distinctive physical features including ridged foreheads, dark hair and skin, and upward sloping eyebrows. Klingon men have facial hair.

Vulcans are a part of the Federation, a species that suppresses emotions in favor of logic and reason. They are advanced technologically. Vulcans have pointed ears and upswept eyebrows. Vulcan men usually have a bowl-shaped haircut. Taken together, these characteristics of Klingons and Vulcans are not “elements of expression[s] that necessarily follow from the idea” behind the expressions (visual expressions, for example) and may be entitled to copyright protection.

Garth of Izar

And with regard to Garth, Klausner applied the same three-part test to determine his copyrightability: That the character must demonstrate both physical and conceptual qualities; that he be sufficiently recognizable as the same character whenever he appears, and that he be especially distinctive with some unique elements of expression:

Since Garth has appeared as a live character, he has physical as well as conceptual qualities. As stated above, Garth was a former starship captain and was famous among Starfleet officers for his exploits in the Battle of Axanar. In fact, his exploits were required reading at the Starfleet Academy. He charted more planets than any other Starfleet captain. In the episode, Garth discussed his victory in the Battle of Axanar with Captain Kirk, the Captain of U.S.S. Enterprise. In addition, a 2003 novel, titled Garth of Izar and copyrighted by Paramount, further developed the character. Garth’s identity as a Federation hero sufficiently delineates him and sets him apart from a stock spaceship officer.

Why Fair Use Was Denied

The central part of the defense case was the idea that Axanar’s approach to Star Trek was to transform it, to give it new meaning because of the way Peters and his team portrayed a Star Trek story.

That notion of transformativeness lies at the heart of fair use, a provision of U.S. copyright law stating that certain uses of others’ intellectual property should be allowed because of the public interest in its examination, scholarship or criticism (including the idea of parody).

Fair Use Analysis

The law provides for a four-part test for a court to determine whether any given use of copyrighted material is fair. Those four parts are: Purpose and character of the infringing use. Nature of the copyright work. Amount and substantiality of the portion used. Effect of the use upon the potential market.

Klausner found CBS and Paramount prevailed on all four counts.

Purpose and Character

Klausner examined whether Axanar was intended as a nonprofit or commercial work, and whether its use of Star Trek was transformative.

Commercial Nature of Axanar

The judge found Axanar was plainly commercial, despite the fact Peters made his videos available for free on the Internet:

It is undisputed that Peters hoped to derive non-monetary benefits, for example, other job opportunities, from the Axanar Works. Defendants profit from exploitation of the copyrighted material without paying the customary price. The Axanar Works are commercial.

Peter’s attorneys made a big point of claiming that Axanar was making no profit, but the judge found that even the indirect benefits Axanar realized from its infringing activities were sufficient to call the production commercial:

Common experience suggests that [the defendants] stood to gain at least indirect commercial benefit from the [viewership] boost which [they] had reason to hope would (and in fact did) result from the Axanar Works. … The successful fundraising campaign leveraging the popularity of Prelude is an example of such indirect benefit.

‘Not Transformative’

The judge also plainly declared, “The Axanar Works [Prelude to Axanar and Axanar] are not transformative”, a designation key to what Axanar’s attorney had argued made Peters’ use of Star Trek elements fair use under U.S. copyright law.

Not a Mockumentary

Ranahan’s argument for transformativeness hinged on Prelude‘s presentation as a fictional documentary (“mockumentary”) set within the Star Trek universe, further relying on Wikipedia to assert that such a format was inherently a form of parody.

Klausner was not persuaded:

The threshold question when fair use is raised in defense of parody is whether a parodic character may reasonably be perceived. Here, the Court has difficulty discerning from the Axanar Works any criticism of the Star Trek Copyrighted Works. This is not surprising since Defendants set out to create films that stay faithful to the Star Trek canon and appeal to Star Trek fans.

Nature of the Copyrighted Work

The judge found the creativity of Star Trek as expressed in 13 movies and six television series “have transported the hearts of a legion of fans to the Star Trek universe. … They are the type of works that are given broad copyright protections.”

Amount Used of the Copyrighted Work

Peters had long claimed that his use of Star Trek was minimal, far less than that used by fan films generally. The judge found this argument unavailing:

Copying is not excused merely because it is insubstantial with respect to the infringing work. As Judge Learned Hand cogently remarked, “No plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.”

Potential Market Harm

Peters’ attorneys spent many pages in their briefs alleging Axanar had caused no past economic harm to Star Trek and that its activities posed no future harm, particularly since Axanar only promoted the Star Trek franchise and would be distributed for free, thereby not competing with the studios for consumer dollars.

Klausner dismissed this line of reasoning as well:

This factor requires courts to consider not only the extent of market harm caused by the particular actions of the alleged infringer, but also whether unrestricted and widespread conduct of the sort engaged in by the defendant would result in a substantially adverse impact of market substitution for the original and for derivative works.

The judge found Prelude was exactly the kind of derivative work to which copyright holders hold exclusive ownership, pointing to a CBS-owned Garth of Izar novel and role-playing game depicting the Battle of Axanar.

Market Substitute

Klausner also rejected Axanar’s claim of no past harm because Prelude wasn’t a finished work itself, but a promotional work intended to raise nearly $2 million for the never-produced Axanar feature:

Prelude in that sense cannot be a market substitute of Star Trek television series or motion pictures, just as a trailer does not substitute for a feature-length film. The Axanar Motion Picture has not yet been made or released and its script is not yet released. Hence it cannot have any market impact. On the other hand, Defendants have successfully raised over a million dollars from Star Trek fans at Defendants’ prompting of funding the Axanar projects instead of “dumping hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on . . . cable channels” on which the Star Trek Copyrighted Works are shown. … He wanted to create “a whole new way that fans can get the content they want, by funding it themselves.”

Klausner concluded that unrestricted and widespread conduct like that of Axanar would hurt the market for Star Trek:

The fact that Defendants distributed Prelude and the Vulcan Scene for free online and intend to likewise distribute their future works may likely increase the risk of market substitution as fans choose free content over paid features.

Trek References in Judge’s Order

As he did in his May order denying the defense’s motion to dismiss the case, Klausner snuck in several Star Trek references into his ruling:

Like many other Star Trek fans, Peters wants to make his own Star Trek production. However, going where no man has gone before in producing Star Trek fan films, Defendants sought to make “a professional production,” “with a fully professional crew, many of whom have worked on Star Trek itself,” and raised over a million dollars on crowdsourcing websites Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their projects.

Also:

There is no dispute that Plaintiffs have ownership of copyrights to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works, and that Defendants have access to these Works. Thus, the copyright infringement claim can live long and prosper if the Axanar Works are substantially similar to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works.

And:

Peters “was interested in creating alternative ways for fans to view Star Trek” – the way to Eden perhaps.

 

This article as originally posted on AxaMonitor.

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If you try to make money from a fan film, you’re going to pay the piper!

No matter what “side” of the Axanar issue you are on, there are some undeniable FACTS:

1) Axanar used the Star Trek brand, WITHOUT permission, to raise money.

2) The people in charge used some of the money that was raised using the Star Trek brand WITHOUT permission, to raise money.

3) You cannot use someone else’s brand without their permission to raise money for yourself.

I don’t think the Axanar people set out to do anything “wrong”, but they made a pretty obvious mistake.

Unfortunately I can’t edit, but my number 2 above was supposed to say “to pay themselves” at the end, not “to raise money”.

trekfanman,

Re: the Star Trek brand

The brand’s defense can only be litigated under trademark law by the trademark holder, the CBS plaintiff, who chose NOT to pursue it. Instead, they joined Paramount in copyright litigation which has as no aspect of it defending CBS’ brand.

Your point isn’t germaine to the law being litigated in the case this article discusses.

That’s not really an argument. CBS Corporation owns the Star Trek brand, and Paramount Pictures owns film and video distribution rights to the Star Trek brand. So it’s clear that Paramount has a stake in defending the Star Trek brand.

Roberta Lincoln

Re: CBS’ Trademark

It’s a fact; there’s nothing with which to argue. Paramount can only defend trademarks it owns, not CBS’ or anybody else’s for that matter, in court.

Again, this fact of who has STAR TREK and its various marks trademarked is posted at the bottom of this web page and all of trekmovie.com’s pages for all to see:

“STAR TREK® and its various marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.”

And CBS Studios Inc., the trademark owner, chose not to take legal action to defened its trademark, the STAR TREK brand, against Peters. It’s simply NOT being litigated in the current legal action at this time, and it is a lie to mischaracterize a defense of copyright as a brand defense which is something entirely different, and specifically is NOT being pursued in this court case.

Alec Peters is free to make that argument before the court. He will lose that argument, but he is free to make it. It is a matter of case law that an assignee of rights, such as a licensee, can bring a suit for infringement.

Roberta Lincoln,

Re: a matter of case law that an assignee of rights, such as a licensee, can bring a suit for infringement

All of which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the STAR TREK brand which I now point out for the third time is NOT being litigated in this court case.

Peters doesn’t have to make that argument in this court because CBS has NOT charged him with violating their STAR TREK brand.

If you do not understand the very clear difference between copyright and trademark litigation in the US, you should educate yourself before making further irrelevant observations.

Disinvited, are you always so obnoxious and holier-than-thou? You’re like the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons.

Dwayne,
Dis provides good info, and substantiation for same, which is a helluva lot more than can be said for most posters here. He has managed to correct ME a few times, and I can only think of one other poster on this forum who has achieved that, though plenty of disinformers have sought to muddy those waters.

kmart,

Thanks.

And it is humbling to discover that in any small way that I managed to return the favor to an author who, it turns out, was the same one who gave me such a great education in my town’s locally published FX magazine, and for the Wise info [Pun inended in that both the proper name and the English language word meaning are meant to be conveyed.] when we first began our exchanges here.

Look Alec, you need to give this specious line of reasoning a rest. The federal judge says you’re wrong. And since he’s the judge, that’s the end of that.

You keep telegraphing your legal moves by posting here, Alec. The attempt by your lawyer to get the term “Star Trek” removed from the court proceedings and considerations is a vain ploy to confuse the proceedings, the jury, and muddle the outcome. It simply isn’t going to work. You used “Star Trek” everywhere in your literature, web pages, fundraising, filming, and merchandise. You can’t then try to disengage it from the court proceedings. Juries are not that stupid. The case is about copyright infringement. Your attempts to muddle it with trademark infringement is a desperate gamble that will fail.

http://www.trektoday.com/content/2017/01/axanar-defense-remove-star-trek-name/

Disinvited is NOT Alec Peters.

That’s for sure! Dis does research and backs up his claims, while AP seems to be dismal at just about everything except running his mouth.

Brian Drew & kmart,

Thank you.

I couldn’t agree more. The key words here are money and profit.

Mick Adam Noya,

Re: The key words here are money and profit.

If you read this Variety article that I quoted in another comment in this very comment chain:

http://trekmovie.com/2017/01/04/judge-denies-axanar-its-fair-use-defense/#comment-5332410

Apparently not. Something else must be the reason.

That’s why I don’t even try to make a profit… It’s all about the LOVE!

DON’T LITTER!

Well, Disinvited is making legal arguments which are which either the court has ruled differently on, or are not relevant in this case. Disinvited is trying to say the plaintiff lacks standing since CBS owns the copyright, but the fact that the case is being hears means the court feels they have standing. If, however, the defendant tried to use “standing” as a defense, they would lose, because it’s a matter of case law that licensees (in this case, Paramount) retain the right to sue for infringement.

In short: Paramount has rights to Star Trek, Peters violated those rights, and the court will invariably rule that Peters must be punished for violating those rights.

Roberta Lincoln,

Re: Disinvited is making legal arguments which are which either the court has ruled differently on, or are not relevant in this case

I am doing nothing of the kind. I merely pointed out that these specific charges:

“1) Axanar used the Star Trek brand, WITHOUT permission, to raise money.

2) The people in charge used some of the money that was raised using the Star Trek brand WITHOUT permission, to raise money.”

made about the BRAND by trekfanman were not made by the plaintiffs or ruled on by the court as this is a copyright ONLY lawsuit and not a TRADEMARK one where such misuse of BRAND charges would be made and litigated. For whatever reason, CBS, the BRAND owner chose to make absolutely NO claims of BRAND misappropriation against Peters in this lawsuit.

If you honestly believe I missed something and that these BRAND charges were made by the plaintiff and ruled on by the judge in this case, please cite them in the published court documents so that I might be enlightened.

Again, the judge says differently. So your grasping at straws is moot.

Helen Hill,

Re: the judge says differently

Prove it. Cite the location in the publicly available court documents and quote the Judge.

Meanwhile the author of this very article explained in the following quote why CBS chose not to pursue a Brand case:

http://trekmovie.com/2016/04/03/trekzone-speaks-to-axanars-alec-peters/#comment-5299409

“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.” – Carlos Pedraza

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

If CBS had gone after Peters for Brand infringement, Trademark law would require them to have to justify in court why they didn’t pursue other similar fan misappropriations of their Brand and allowed Peters to offer that up as a defense. By making solely copyright infringement charges against Peters they sidestep Brand charges’ requirements that they go after all the fan Brand infringers en masse.

Disinvited, you’re saying “prove it” but the facts require the defendant, not the plaintiff, to prove it.

It is already established case law that Paramount, being the brand licensee, has the right to sue for infringement. The defendant will need to “prove” that Paramount does not hold that right, but they can’t. Interestingly, the defendant has not raised the legal argument that you have, likely because they’re fully aware that no such legal argument exists in this case.

Roberta Lincoln,

Re: Prove It

No, I have proven via the author of this very article that the case before the court is SOLELY a COPYRIGHT one. You keep insisting that it is TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT CASE which it is NOT and NEVER was.

You are the one who keeps insisting that irrelevant rulings and facts about BRAND which are TRADEMARK Law and therefore not before this court, were made. I am asking you, Roberta Lincoln to cite the rulings that you claim this Judge made on BRAND, BRAND licensing, BRAND infringement, etc. to prove YOUR CLAIMS, not the defendant’s or the plaintiffs’, that he made these rulings are in fact based in the reality of His Honor’s court record.

You can keep on irrelevantly saying that Paramount as a brand licensee has a right to bring a Trademark case against Peters until the cows come home and it will not change the FACT that neither Paramount nor CBS brought a TRADEMARK case against him.

Paramount as a possessor of derivative STAR TREK copyrights from STAR TREK films its film library brought solely charges of copyright infringement against Alec Peters via their right to protect same regardless of whether or not they possess a brand license. CBS again likewise ONLY filed a copyright case against Peters to which all this bandying about Brand facts and Brand rights are irrelevant as this court case is not hearing arguments on or making rulings of Trademark law ONLY on Copyrights.

In:

http://trekmovie.com/2017/01/04/judge-denies-axanar-its-fair-use-defense/#comment-5332465

“Paramount as a possessor of derivative STAR TREK copyrights from STAR TREK films its film library brought solely charges of copyright infringement against Alec Peters via their right to protect same regardless of whether or not they possess a brand license.” should be “Paramount as a possessor of derivative STAR TREK copyrights from STAR TREK films IN its film library brought solely charges of copyright infringement against Alec Peters via their right to protect same regardless of whether or not they possess a brand license.”

re: “I am asking you, Roberta Lincoln to cite the rulings that you claim this Judge made on BRAND…”

The Judge in this case has made no ruling on brand, and I never said the Judge did. What I said was it’s already case law that Paramount has the legal right to sue for infringement of intellectual property. Alec Peters has so far not made the “brand / CBS / Paramount” issue a defense, so at this point it’s irrelevant. Peters violated intellectual property rights, and Paramount has the legal right to sue on that cause of action. Period.

Roberta Lincoln, re: Judge in this case has made no ruling on brand Finally, thank you. The first replier, trekfanman, to the OP, made claims that Brand facts and Brand infringement were pertinent to this copyright case. I responded directly to him pointing that out, i.e. the judge is making no rulings on brand, and you have been on my case ever since with irrelevancies and obfuscations not pertinent to my post in which I have been consistent and clear that I am addressing the irrelevancy of brand claims and facts to the legal case currently against Peters. To wit: “That’s not really an argument. CBS Corporation owns the Star Trek brand, and Paramount Pictures owns film and video distribution rights to the Star Trek brand. So it’s clear that Paramount has a stake in defending the Star Trek brand.” — Roberta Lincoln This response strongly indicates that you believe Paramount IS defending the BRAND, i.e. bringing brand infringement charges against Peters, in a copyright court case. And nothing in your replies after, ever indicated that you were diverging from that. “What I said was it’s already case law that Paramount has the legal right to sue for infringement of intellectual property.” — Roberta Lincoln Again, here you use the obfuscating term “intellectual property”. The US Constitution doesn’t use the term “intellectual property” and no such US Federal case law exists recognizing a right to sue for the infringement of same. It is commonly used as a catchall for Patent,… Read more »

You’re twisting again Alec. I am a voracious reader. If you need help on what’s happening with the court and the lawsuit, use this search:
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=star+trek+axanar&oq=star+trek+axanar&gs_l=news-cc.3..43j0l3j43i53.1308.3976.0.4567.16.12.0.4.4.0.155.1127.7j5.12.0…0.0…1ac.1.e3Np4nYK3Ew

Helen Hill,

Re: Again, the judge says differently.

“The Judge in this case has made no ruling on brand,…” – Roberta Lincoln

Two against. The balls in your court.

Picking at nits, Dis. The judge is not dissuaded by Axanar’s argument to leave trademark out of it. Hence, he is not considering this an issue.

No surprise at all. All that remains to be seen is how far Axanar is going to take this losing case. Probably, until all of the funds they raised are exhausted, and can declare bankruptcy without having to pay their creditors or donors.

All the funds raised were exhausted months ago. http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=summary_replies

Exactly. I still think Peters was poking the beehive on purpose.

According to the latest accounting, they have already spent all of the money and are five grand in the hole (as of late 2016, I think.) Man I so want to see some real accounting go into the audit when that happens.

What a douche Peters is.
Someone ought to slap him silly.

The only douche here is you, for such a pointless contribution to the discussion.

No, he’s right. Peters is a douche.

We may not have gotten a proper 50th anniversary celebration, but at least we got the galactic trial of the century.

It just makes me sad that the feature film didn’t get made because the quality of Prelude was outstanding. Everything else aside. It was very good Trek in my mind, superior to Into Darkness, without a doubt.

So true! And some of the bootleg Prada handbags I bought in China were much higher quality than the more expensive legitimate ones sold in the US!

Bester Langs,

Re: higher quality than the more expensive

How true. The biggest lie in capitalism is the implication that paying MORE for something means you always get something better; encapsulated in “You get what you pay for.” If you don’t carefully educate yourself before deciding upon your purchase one often ends up with a box of empty promises no matter how much is spent.

Education is the currency that get one true value.

Re: Education is the currency that get one true value.

Education is the currency that GETS one true value.

LOL.

Dis,
I agree wholeheartedly with that, but also think you can fit the ‘newest is always best’ misrepresentation of things in there, too. Newer tech is often faster, but may not guarantee the same quality, especially when it comes to visuals (look how long it took for digital video to even remotely approach the quality of film.)

Of course, I also think the ‘newest is best’ idea arises FROM capitalism, since it is a kind of ‘buy me, I’m fresh’ mentality (and why companies starting adding the word ‘digital’ to their names back in the 90s.)

kmart,

Re: New and Improved

Amen to that. Being cursed with an eidetic memory in my youth I learned very quickly to dread the words “new and improved” on my beloved edibles or tasty amenities. If I still had that kind of recall I’m certain I could count on my hand the number times, in my long life, that actually meant that it would at least equal, not to mention better, the taste of favorite items.

Every time Apple comes out with a new version of the iPhone the “news” media jump on the bandwagon to give it “news” coverage. Sure, it’ll have some economic impacts, and impacts on workers in China, and impacts to rare earths in Africa, but breathlessly describing the new features — or even pretending to discuss those in a “journalistic” manner — still seems like advertising to me. SSDP [same s— different packaging]

I thought that the judge was making an interesting, though unrealistic, point in the discussion of “Market Substitute”. The implication was that if there were sufficient quantities of quality “free” Trek, we would see the mass dumping of subscriptions to BBC America, SyFy, CBS All-Access, etc. Personally, I think this is a flawed argument on a couple of counts.

First of all, are there really people who subscribe to various cable channels, etc. just to watch Trek? That seems inaccurate though I will concede an interest in subscribing to the CBS service just because of “Discovery”.

Second, the argument shows an ignorance of the nature of a fandom. Having “free” access to Axanar, New Voyages, ST Continues, etc. is not going to replace the canon episodes for the fans, it is just going to feed a hunger for more stories featuring beloved characters.

This is where Axanar and the various fan productions differ from a Chinese knock-off of a Prada bag. If I buy the knock-off bag, it is likely to satisfy my need to buy a real Prada bag. If I watch Axanar, however, it is not going to replace my desire to watch a TOS rerun.

Personally, I think the Axanar folks poisoned the well with their dubious definition of “not-for-profit”, etc. The real victims, though, are the legitimate fan productions (New Voyages, ST Continues, etc.) and we, the fans.

Remember when jj Abrams said this was all done last year?

He might have misread the memo. . . It may have read his version of Star Trek was done. . . ;)

Adam,

Re: Remember when

LOL.

Also, remember when JJ said he wouldn’t do STAR WARS out of loyalty to Trek, or that he learned to stop hating 3D conversion and now it was the greatest thing since sliced bread?

And people still try to put out that Roddenberry was somehow unique in this industry with his carnival barkery and that he alone deserves to be vilified for it over all others?

Remember when JJ said he was going to fix Star Trek and make it better? Dont trust JJ.

Lol exactly. JJ isn’t someone to put your trust in.

It wasn’t JJ’s fault, he made his statement, CBS/Paramount announced they were opening settlement talks with Peters the next day & then 2 days later Peters shot himself in the foot by countersuing, which ended any chance of a settlement. JJ is blameless.

Who cares,

Re: they were opening settlement talks

You are conflating two unconnected events. The defendant and the plaintiffs have been in Judge ordered calendared settlement talks from the beginning in exchange for discovery considerations and additional time to respond to each others motions.

CBS/Paramount never made an unscheduled overture to Peters outside of the court’s mandated settlement meetings calendar that they were both mandated to attend.

There was nothing for Peters’ legal filing to screw the pooch over. The directors may have announced cessation but CBS/Paramount never initiated proceedings, as you assumed, to follow through.

Bye Bye Axanar.

Imagine the court finding that Axanar is so faithful to star trek that CBS owes them money for the free labor!

On a more serious note perhaps it is time for a supreme court case to grant unprofitable* fan films parody level protection as a natural form of expression in a free society. This might be more fruitful than the highly dubious technicalities Axanar was hoping will work. (*This is where Axanar got itself in trouble of course.)

I like the market substitution judgement as it demonstrates Star Trek is essentially dead with only pastiche fan films providing any enjoyable content to a significant percentage of viewers.

Put the Kool-Aid down and slowly back away…

Not a valid argument at all. That’s like saying Tonya Harding should get paid a portion of Nancy Kerrigan’s earnings, since Kerrigan gained the attention of sponsors and resulted in a net financial benefit.

Not gonna happen. You’re having fan boy fantasies in your basement again.

wi-kiry-lan,

Can’t speak for non-US laws but the US constitution makes clear that it’s grants of copyrights exist to advance the arts and sciences and NOT to grant open-ended unlimited monopolies.

I don’t think you are going to find a court that will change the law as you dream but it is definitely possible for a political movement to rise up and get the law restored to its original limits in service of its original intent.

But til that day, Les seems interested in seeing it happen through some artifice:

http://trekmovie.com/2007/01/11/cbs-wants-trekkies-to-get-a-second-life/

“eSheep is currently building out our very own StarshipEnterprise to allow the Second Life community to mash-up a slough of StarTrek episodes. It’s a great way to give back to the fans who make the show as successful as it is. Who knows, maybe some day we can even broadcast one of their [the fans’] virtual works on one of our television networks.” — Les Moonves, CBS

That’s irrelevant, since the monopoly/constitution/copyright issue doesn’t grant Alec Peters use rights (except for “fair use” which this case clearly falls outside of).

Roberta Lincoln,

Re: irrelevent

Since changes to US Copyright law have now set the precedent for retroactive changes to the law, I do not believe you can definitively claim that as “fair use” would likewise be broadened, or it could totally be rewritten.

It is stuff like this that I wish I never been a ST fan…

It’s people like Peters that make me wish I’d never been a TREK devotee —

it’s like the guy makes a living on ‘there’s a trek/sf fan sucker born ever minute’ and make me glad that I didn’t fall for his con-man act.

Wasn’t ever impressed by PRELUDE either … one-speed space battles in CGI don’t engage, they just make for InterStarfleet Geographic background filler (if you don’t believe me, rewatch BALANCE OF TERROR, like I did last night for the umpty-umph time — that’s a space battle, with all the proper emotional content as well.)

kmart,

Re: make me wish I’d never been a TREK devotee

Surely you don’t believe that the other fandoms are free of the likes of what you make of him?

OK, maybe the others are a tad bit smarter in that they aren’t being dragged into court … or is that your real issue, i.e. that Peters lowers the STAR TREK fan IQ average? ;-)

I’ve found some folks with very unsupportable opinions about 007, but I’ve not seen anybody like AP over in that universe (perhaps because Eon is nasty enough on its own — they cracked down on a high-school kid making a Bond parody, which is pretty absurd to me), but then again I”m not as immersed in that as I am Trek.

Basically I’m not fond of Rollo Tomasi types, the ones who get away with bad stuff. I know they’re everywhere, but this was a case of somebody who has been doing this a long time and still folks are holding him up as some kind of hero.

Love the LA Confidential reference.

Tomasi has been getting a lot more play in our household post-election …

Surely you aren’t that ignorant, Kmart.

dejected,
About what exactly?

Cap’n, the shields are buckling! We’ve lost engines and weapons, life support failing on decks 5, 12, and 13! Casualties reporting from all decks. Prepare the escape pods.

quantum47.

Careful, quantum47.

With posts like your’s, TrekMovie may be in violation of Fair Use. ; )

TrekMadeMeWonder,

You know the weird thing is that even as his “Fair Use” shields gets torpedoed and his AXANAR goes down in flames, “Fair Use” under news likely will end up allowing Peters to sell his personal story of this trial to be made into a docudrama which can end up incorporating all of the disputed STAR TREK elements appearing in the open court record without Paramounts or CBS’ permission.

The Axanar Case – The Trial of the Century

@quantam47,
Well, it is a pretty short century so far.

@Marja
True

Alec, you old sea dog, always looking for an angle to make money off Trek.

I think, at this point, it might be time for the people attempting to make this fan film to give up. Is it really worth all the hassle?

Chain of Command,

For the law degree-ed Peters, it’s difficult to say what his angle may be at this point. I’ve floated perhaps selling his story of the trial? For his pro bono lawyer, there are many nuances of copyright law that could be overturned or recast that could gain the firm prestige or at least a footnote in legal texts even if they fail to win.

And there’s a risk for the Plaintiffs that something about the way they do business that they’d rather not have made public gets out.

These factors are usually what drives one or both parties toward an out of court settlement before the trial ends but for some reason, even with both directors supposedly lobbying heavily for it and guaranteeing evaporation, it has yet to disappear.

Anything you say, Alec.

Disinvited is not Alec. I don’t always agree with him but to claim he is Alec is just being a jack—.

Who cares,

Thank you. And I agree Helen Hill would be wise to follow your implied suggestion that she heed Wheaton’s Law:

http://trekmovie.com/about/comments-and-moderation/

Well, he gets his name known and he gets out having to make a Trek film (or pay people back?) yet can still say that it was going to be the greatest ever. Maybe he thinks it’ll somehow lead to another venture? No idea.

I still think he antagonized Paramount on purpose.

Or, he’s trying too hard at method acting. This is all very Garth of Izar “I will rule the galaxy” sort of stuff.

It’s sad since Axanar was the most exciting thing to come out of Trek in the last 20 years. I’m 35, so probably older than the target demographic but I have three kids and am an executive. Thought we were finally going to see some TOS / movie era “wagon train to the stars” excitement with starships in the final frontier. Given how many previous fan films (most of which waste the opportunity in my opinion with bland TNG bore-Trek style stories) were allowed it’s amazing how Paramount/CBS have gone after this one with a vengeance (and some weird anti-fan campaigns). Quite frankly while Trek goes off a cliff did go see Rouge One… why is it that Star Wars how can it be that they got an action packed movie that respects the original canon from the 80s filled with an exciting universe of three dimensional factions and capital ship battles where as we will never see a true Constitution class starship again let alone see it take on a D-7 battlecrusier over something of consequence? It’s sad since I used to be the one in the elementary school wanting to play Star Trek with the playground as the TOS Enterprise while everyone else wanted to play Star Wars. It’s almost like everything Trek after TNG has been designed to force us to abandon Trek for Star Wars.

“It’s sad since Axanar was the most exciting thing to come out of Trek in the last 20 years.”

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I disagree. Axanar looked interesting. Enough for me to make a small contribution to the Kickstarter. But it still was just a glorified fan film with a lot of nobodies and a few has-been actors. I thought it would be a nice little program to watch while waiting for the official movies (which Abrams & Co. have been dragging their feet on for years.)

I would disagree – I found Axanar more entertaining than every episode of TNG and VOY put together.

You just want to see capital ships slug it out in zero-gee. Don’t mind a little of that myself on occasion, truthfully, but it has very little to do with the legacy of TOS, let alone what makes it great.

Michael Hall, Sir, you have BINGO!

I did not find “Prelude” all that interesting myself. Peters is a terrible actor, and the scripting was not terribly original. In short, a fairly typical fan film — maybe it looked better than some, but not that much — and certainly not “the most exciting thing since TOS.” Criminy.

Cmd. Bremmon… Well, that just goes to show that every sample of sufficient size will have an outlier! :-)

I agree with you Cmd.Bremmon, Axanar renewed my love of Trek. After Enterprise bored me and JJ almost made a Trek movie I wasn’t interested anymore. Some of the other fan film efforts were nice, lacked something I wish I could put my finger on. When I saw Prelude to Axanar (still on Youtube) I was reconnected to a unvierse I had loved for decades!
I’m not sure why some people here speak so horribly of Alec Peters. He might be a really wonderful guy or he might be an obnoxious dick. I don’t care one way or the other. He was showing us new and wonderful Star Trek! I hope that he gets to make Axanar in some form or other. A 90 – 120 minute feature would be nice! I’ll donate again if it helps get Axanar made!

Even if his version of TREK was decent (it wasn’t), that doesn’t excuse the brat behavior of Peters and RMB in the slightest. You don’t care one way or the other about whether Peters is a dick? I’d say that makes your opinion on everything else worth about two cents, based on that alone.

@My Two Cents A wonderful Star Trek full of Action, Ships exploding and swooshing across the Screen with little to no original Story or Design? And you piss on the New Trek Movies?
I am missing something here… I mean, what?

Also: Maybe the whole Mess he created is the reason people speak so horrible about this Clown and his Circus… and maybe the fact that he managed to destroy the Fan Film for absolutely everyone because he couldn’t get enough and somehow felt the terrible need to be right…

kmart and selorkiith, oh my. First, kmart is right, Axanar wasn’t decent…it was awesome! It would, indeed, excuse any alleged brat behaviour. But, of course, no brat behaviour actually occurred. Kmart, your lies make your opinions worthless. Selorkiith, Axanar improved upon tried and true Trek storytelling. And, I didn’t really piss over JJ Trek, just a little tinkle. Talk about lack of originality! Justin Lin did a fine job recapturing the spirit of Trek and I encourage everyone to check that one out! Peters didn’t destroy anything, as far as I can tell. CBS and Paramount did that all by themselves. You guys can’t seem to get your point across without name calling and insults which eliminated any points you might have. Have a good night guys!

Just do something different. Make something of your own. Create something original. Then you won’t have these copyright hassles, you can legitimately make money off it, and guess what, you’ll have created something original and you’ll have all the satisfaction that goes with that.But you want to do Star Trek because it already has an audience and a fanbase? Then you owe it something.

Nomad,

That’s one way to approach it. But copyright being a total artifice is NOT a part of natural law so it is just as easy to relocate somewhere else on the globe where STAR TREK entered into the public domain or no such laws exist, and do whatever the heck one wants to with it if one feels that passionate about it.

In other words, just do it some place different.

Somewhere with no copyright laws or where Star Trek is in the public domain? I wonder if there is such a place? Even if there is, you’d have to be pretty passionate about your hobby to move your whole life there.
I can understand the impulse to make fan fiction, it just seems like when you start doing it on this sort of industrial scale you have to expect problems.

Nomad,

Re: Somewhere with no copyright laws

In 2015, the US Copyright Office identified Eritrea, Ethiopia, and San Marino as such.

https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ38a.pdf

Nomad,

Re: Somewhere with no copyright laws

I found where that document that I cited was revised in 2016 so it’s more up to date than I thought.

There’s an issue with Canada ‘authorizing’ a remake of the Bond film FOR YOUR EYES ONLY because the book (from 1958, I think) is now somehow in the public domain up there. Have no idea how that works, it sounds like a crock to me, but apparently they can make the film, but only show it in that country and in China without being in violation. For once, I’m on Eon’s side, I hope they keep it from being made.

kmart,

Re: sounds like a crock to me

It’s not a crock but an example of how changes to the copyright law in the US bought and paid for by corporate influence peddling and lobbying don’t automatically change all copyright law the world over. Canadian law adheres to the Berne Convention minimum of the life of the author plus 50 years and the copyrights for Fleming there has expired. It is as simple as that. Copyrights were never originally created to remain in perpetuity but rather to transition creative works into the public domain after a limited time allowed for exploitation by the work’s creator.

Amazing. Of the three, if I decided to relocate, I’d opt for San Marino. Very small potential audience though.

Nomad,

Re: Very small potential audience though

With a singular exception for child abuse, the last I checked the US is not China and we don’t block internet servers based in other countries because they don’t conform to our laws within their borders; so the potential audience would be as big as it was for the domestically produced fan product.

Well, I just guess that you’ll be hoofing right on over to Ethiopia to shoot Axanar, eh Alec?

I made this argument to Peters in some comment section – I have screen grabs of it somewhere – and he said, and I might be paraphrasing slightly, that he did a Star Trek film (not a fan film, but a professional production, he noted) because fans wouldn’t donate to an original production.

In other words, he needed Trek fans to pay his bills.

Jack
…he did a Star Trek film because fans wouldn’t donate to an original production.

That may well be, but he already had the donations by the time of the lawsuit, and had already invested a substantial portion of them into the AXANAR film project. Converting that project into an all-original film (albeit one perhaps influenced by Star Trek in tone, look and/or style, as so many sci-fi shows and movies since 1966 have been) would be a credible use of the remaining funds. He could even have said that he was going to supplement the donations with private funds in order to see the project completed. That way, while fans would no doubt be disappointed, he’d at least be giving them a legitimate-sounding reason for not returning all of the donations. Or, if he wanted to be more democratic about it, he could have taken an online poll offering donors the choice of what would become of their donations: return the remaining donations, though nobody would get 100 cents on the dollar back (as a portion of the funds had already been spent); or let the funds ride on an all-original film, which I will supplement with private funds. If the majority voted to let the funds ride, that’d be his greenlight. Of course, not everyone would be happy about it, but if his all-original film turned out at least decent, that would validate his decision, and greenlight the franchise going forward.

Nomad
Just do something different. Make something of your own. Create something original.

This is actually what I thought that Peters’ master plan should have morphed into, a year ago when this whole lawsuit began: (1) CBS/Paramount, by their lawsuit, force Axanar to change their premise to all-original sci-fi. (2) Peters’ explains to his loyal followers and donors that he has no choice but to change the Axanar premise, but he’s got some great writers on board and the new concept is gonna be fantastic. (3) Then Peters et al produce and release a totally original sci-fi movie, which stars all of the professional actors who were already on board, and the thing turns out well enough to evoke interest in a sequel. (4) And, just like that, Peters has the beginnings of a sci-fi franchise to either sell to a studio or continue independently for a while. (5) And, perhaps best of all for Peters, this plan would allow him to go forward with all of his ancillary plans——Ares studios, as much merch as he could sell, the sci-fi school, etc….

But, instead he chose to squander all of the money and (one has to imagine) much of his supporters’ goodwill on a futile lawsuit to legally exploit an intellectual property that was clearly owned by another party (and has been for 50 years).

Looks like the judge has a clue AND a Trekker background. Cool!

Certainly I’m not surprised that this is a losing case for the Axanar fan film and Paramount has every right to exercise the established copyright that they own (much to my chagrin, but that’s the way the business is run), but I am nonetheless saddened at the effect it has had on the entire fan film community.

I for one have enjoyed much of these fan films overall…much moreso than the Abrams movies which I found to be lacking (and I’ll just leave it at that).

But now so many are either slowing down or just quitting given the guidelines that were published that were simply unworkable and the understandable fear of being similarly sued. I recently searched to find that New Voyages/Phase II stopped production, and I don’t know what my favorite of them all (Star Trek Continues) is up to as they have been pretty quiet of late.

Well, hopefully Discovery will be worthwhile and bring back the Trek magic. I remain optimistic especially upon hearing that Discovery will not be set in the Abrams ST universe.

Last I heard, the “Star Trek Continues” people were still doing their thing. You can check them out on their Facebook page, where they post regularly: https://www.facebook.com/StarTrekContinues/?fref=photo

Corylea,

My understanding is that, regrettably, STC is only doing two or three more episodes. I think just two. It’s too bad because I feel the cast was getting really good together [with one or two exceptions].

I hope they change that plan and will, er, Continue.

Keep up the good fight, Axanar! You’ve got CBS/Paramount on the ropes! Time for the knockout blow!

“Now that we’ve got them right where they want us.” -Kirk, ST:TMP

Thorny

“Now that we’ve got them right where they want us.” -Kirk, ST:TMP

Ha! Exactly.

Axanar is dead. Deal with it.

I think he is being sarcastic …

It’s always a bit strange to see fictional stuff (like in this case the distinguishing features of Klingons and Vulcans) to be discussed in a real court…

Haha Love the Star Trek references by the judge! The way to Eden indeed!

I heard that his clerk’s name is “Herbert”… :)

lol We Reach!

I feel like JJ and Justin only said the lawsuit was going away was to get more fans to stop being angry and go see the movie. Those comments now seem very self-serving and selfish.

Mike C.

Re: Those comments now seem very self-serving and selfish.

Stop, before someone mistakes you for talking about the Great Bird of the Galaxy or some other 1960s entertainment executive. In other words, nothing surprising about that and I agree.

It probably was supposed to end when they said it but Alec didn’t get enough and had a temper tantrum and now we’re here :)

Blah blah blah! Bring on Kelvin Trek IV!

Re: a trailer does not substitute for a feature-length film

Unfortunately for me, I have seen quite a few films where not only does the trailer substitute for the feature, but the trailer is, indeed, a substantially BETTER film.

@Dis, Fortunately I have learned to recognize those trailers and avoided spending my money on the longer, lamer versions :-)

What amazes me are the bad trailers made from good movies (especially back when producing trailers was a little more of an art form than a cookie cutter exercise.) Saw one for HANNAH & HER SISTERS last night that, with the exception of an excerpt from a cut scene I hadn’t been aware of, had just about no redeeming qualities at all (made it look like a turgid drama instead of a splendid comedy.) Out of context excerpts do not (by themselves anyway) a trailer make!

It was clear from DAY 1 that fair use would never apply, at least to anyone who knew about fair use, the nature of, and what is legally defined as “transformative” and “parody.”

It was NOT transformative by the legal definition, and it certainly was not parody. Though I will agree with the defense of some that “not all parody has to be comedy” (that assertion is true). That said, even though that is true, Axanar definitely does not qualify as parody.

Torchwood

Re: Parody

You definitely have a point, but I wonder how the Judge, who seems so savvy, can make that determination when even with a supposedly locked script normal film production can cause all sorts of extensive script changes and rewrites right through filming [BEYOND comes to mind although I am not entirely clear what script Paramount signed-off on.] and in the case of many films after focus group screenings can result it in totally transforming it into something completely different.

GALAXY QUEST certainly bears little resemblance to its CAPTAIN STARSHINE script and it certainly isn’t its initial R-Rated cut.

http://collider.com/lindsey-collins-john-carter-r-rated-galaxy-quest-interview/

Well common sense tells us what this is. If Peters wants to alter it to make it a parody I guess that’s his prerogative. Would all the people who showered him with money have the option to get their donations back if he substantially changed the project? it clearly wasnt a parody when he solicited donations.

Peters is looking for a way out. He’s a jerk who tried to make money off someone else’s work. So I hope they bankrupt him.

I hope they don’t let him declare bankruptcy this time, that is his usual out. There is some kind of deal where if it is determined he was very malicious in his attempt, that the debts will stay on regardless of what he files, and I hope that is followed by a class-action, and really hope that California looks into going after him too (somebody on trekbbs notified the attorney general, and the folks in the office said they were already aware of this case.)

kmart,

Re: Bankruptcy [Take 2: Moderator Bot didn’t like first attempt]

Once he filed for bankruptcy he’s restrained from filing again for another 7 years.

If this site’s information is correct:

https://businessbankruptcies.com/cases/propworx-inc

he can’t get out from under that for two more years but he may have in$ulated himself from Propworx in its incorporation in which case it’ll depend on how tangled up he got Propworx with his movie production. I seem to recall somewhere reading about a Propworx bank account used for something in his film’s production.

Pedraza probably knows more about that than I. Amidst this reporting of his:

http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=propworx-email

there are hints that Peters has indeed co-mingled his two non-profits’ accounts and Pedraza reports that in an email from an Axanar spokesman that it is admitted that the “public” accounting inadequately accounts for the transfer of funds between the two.

Just end it and let it go. Star Trek doesn’t belong to you. You tried playing with it to long and the owners came knocking. Move on.

Good God, what an immense waste of federal resources!

What federal resources do you mean?

Ah, Axanar! You little thought!!!!

This is all because of the big plan that the studio has for Discovery’s storyline. If it wasn’t, I doubt this case would have gone as far as it did.

i.e. Look at Volkswagen:
Before their diesel scandal, the sued anybody, & everybody that used a V-Dub logo on their aftermarket hubcaps. Now that they are in the hot seat, they willingly allow their logo to be stamped onto all sorts of reproduction parts; & just recently allowed several lesser known musicians to write songs about their vehicles

………………………………………..all in the name of PROFIT.

The Grand Nagus would be proud of both those auto enthusiasts, & Alec Peters.

Xplodin_Nacelle,

You make a fair point. CBS and the Paramount of old that it actually is, have a track record of clearing the field of fan weeds before they plant their next Trek whatever.

Axanar bragged about a “professional” and “independent” Star Trek film. Axanar stated their intention to use the funds for a for-profit studio.

If that isn’t throwing down the gauntlet, then I don’t know what is.

Helen Hill Re: throwing down the gauntlet From VARIETY, July 18, 2006: http://variety.com/2006/scene/markets-festivals/fans-trek-into-future-on-net-1200339592/ ”Fans feel safe as long as they don’t charge auds to view their films, but as long as the threat of legal action obstructs any way of recouping their investment, those making underground “Star Trek” pics will abandon ship as they run out of funds. This is the seventh and final season of “Hidden Frontier”[fan “Star Trek” Web-only spinoff series]. “Sprint PCS is trying to talk to Paramount right now to see if they can license this for their phones,” says Caves. After nearly 50 episodes, each costing roughly $500, Caves hopes the “Hidden Frontier” fans will follow him to his next project, an original sci-fi story. In Finland, the team behind the feature-length parody “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning” gave the movie away for free (more than 4 million downloads) but made enough selling T-shirts and other tie-ins to finance an original sci-fi feature, “Iron Sky.” … Doug Drexler, a veteran “Star Trek” designer who creates visual effects for “New Voyages,” views the project as an ideal training ground for filmmaking talent. “From show to show, you can see the quantum leap in the quality of work. I see this evolving into a production company that will do other stuff,” he says. Drexler was impressed enough by Jack Marshall, who directed the “New Voyages” pilot, that he recommended him for a job on “Battlestar Galactica.” … Gabriel Koerner, one of the most enthusiastic fans profiled in… Read more »

Axanar could have been substantial; unfortunately, it wasn’t.

Here’s a good article that goes in-depth about the issues. It looks like a couple of the biggest issues were that Peters paid himself a salary and boasted he was starting a production company with the crowdfunded money.
http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=fan_films_breaking_the_unwritten_rules_and_defining_profit

This is a lot of much ado about over a fan film that about that will run for free on youtube.

I really don’t watch fan films, but for them to tickle any part of my fandom, they’ve got to do one very specific thing: capture the spirit and feel of the franchise.

No fan film, Axanar included, boasts Hollywood-level effects, acting, writing, directing, or production. The reason they succeed is because they are made with LOVE and CARE and it shines through in the final product, even if the results aren’t super-professional.

Prelude (and what I saw of Axanar) did not give me the impression that they were made with love and care, by fans trying to live out the dream of Star Trek.

They struck me as projects made by someone trying to use Star Trek to show off whatever skills they thought they had. A “look at me” project, something to impress people. A demo reel, at best; a self-gratifying ego-project meant to leverage someone else’s IP to take money from fans to fund a studio, at worst.

But whatever it was, it was NOT a project that oozed with the love and passion that the likes of CONTINUES, HORIZON, and other projects did. I may not have enjoyed those fan films (because they’re just not my thing) but I respect them.

Axanar not so much.

That’s a really good assessment of AXANAR and the motives for it, in my opinion anyways.

I really think the short film rule can help bring about a more trek-like fan film, in the vein of three guys dying slowly in a shuttlecraft or something equally intimate, where the characters’ thoughts and actions exemplify more of the Trek feel than a fleet of pretty starships.

I’m sort of hoping that the push towards litigating fan films might have a positive side effect: creative hopefuls creating THEIR OWN stories. “Renegades” is now it’s own series, without Star Trek.

After all, Star Wars rather famously exists because Lucas couldn’t get the rights to Flash Gordon. Perhaps the next Lucas, the next Abrams, the next Whedon, will be a fan-filmmaker with his own ideas who, knowing he can’t make “Star Trek: Fan Film Adventures” instead creates his own new property.

Torchwood,

Re: positive side effect

One thing’s for certain:

http://trekmovie.com/2017/01/04/judge-denies-axanar-its-fair-use-defense/#comment-5332410

in 2006 BEFORE this lawsuit, fan films were having your stated positive effect without the squelching.

That is not the positive effect i’m talking about. It’s awesome these guys got jobs and careers out of fan films, but what i’m referring to is the creation of NEW sci-fi franchises.

If the guys behind NV, Horizons and a dozen others can no longer make Trek fan films, maybe they’ll make their OWN stories, their OWN characters and their OWN properties that one day could become the next Star Trek, the next Stargate, Firefly, Babylon 5 or X-Files.

So instead of another reboot, sequel or adaptation, maybe we’ll start getting more original fare, from up-and-coming filmmakers.

Again, just a hope.

Torchwood,

Re: I’m referring to is the creation of NEW sci-fi franchises

I was hoping to avoid needless repetitive quotes, but allow me, through emphasis by capitalization, to show you where you are mistaken and that, indeed, the fan activity reported in 2006 led to the same “positive effect” that you are talking about:

”This is the seventh and final season of “Hidden Frontier”[fan “Star Trek” Web-only spinoff series]. “Sprint PCS is trying to talk to Paramount right now to see if they can license this for their phones,” says Caves. After nearly 50 episodes, each costing roughly $500, Caves hopes the “Hidden Frontier” fans will follow him to his next project, AN ORIGINAL SCI-FI STORY.

In Finland, the team behind the feature-length parody “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning” gave the movie away for free (more than 4 million downloads) but made enough selling T-shirts and other tie-ins to finance AN ORIGINAL SCI-FI FEATURE, “Iron Sky.”” — ‘Fans trek into future on Net:Trekkies create own pix but legal action obstructs recouping coin’ | Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic | VARIETY | July 18, 2006 | 10:00PM PT

Lucas tried to buy STAR TREK too, though I don’t think he pursued it that intensely.

kmart,

I seem to recall in some ancient interview that Lucas said when he was looking for a next project after wrapping AMERICAN GRAFFITI, he tried to see if there was any interest in doing a STAR TREK motion picture, but was rebuffed and so just polished off his STAR WARS scribblings?

Here’s a source for your Lucas’ buy:

https://archive.is/XWJDk

“George Lucas is a good friend of mine. He told me before he made STAR WARS he’d made inquiries as to whether STAR TREK was available to be bought. I thought George had a great thing going.” — Philip Kaufman from THE REMAKING OF STAR TREK, PART 5: INTO THE BLACK HOLE by Edward Gross article on http://www.mania.com in December 15 of 2000

Also hasn’t Disney been interested in STAR TREK ever since Eisner came on board?

So all of that back-and-forth just so you can point out Iron Sky and an unnamed, unproduced, potential sci-fi project? My comment was just a hope for a positive side effect, a silver lining. Nothing to argue, but you found a way! Kudos.

As for Trek and Disney, I can find no reference to Disney ever being interested in Trek. It is true, however, that Michael Eisner was President of Paramount Pictures at the height of the Trek film series in the early 80s, so his interest would not hard to believe.

Of course, if Disney’s supposed interest is thanks to Eisner, then it’s worth mentioning that he hasn’t been at Disney since 2005, when he was ousted under very contentious circumstances.

That said, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, I don’t think there’s much to interest Disney at this point, and certainly no reason for Paramount/CBS to sell. Brands with name recognition and history are honey pots, and not pried loose from a competitor easily. Disney couldn’t even buy back the rights to Spider-Man, and only pursued a partnership for them at all because they’re part of the Marvel family.

I do hope, someday soon, the concept of cinematic universes expands to inter-company crossovers, and something like a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover could be produced on film.

I think it usually takes a near-impossible event, like the Spielberg-level intevention back in the 80s, to get any cross-studio action happening, like how he got Warner characters into bg scenes in ROGER RABBIT.

Totally agree, but I believed for a long time that Sony would NEVER do a deal with Disney to share Spider-Man! Many thought the Hobbit would be impossible because of rights issues between MGM and New Line. Nodoby every thought the 1966 Batman series would ever be put on DVD because the rights were split.

One potential solution? Two separate films for a crossover. Example, Disney releases “Avengers/Justice League Pt.1” and controls all financial aspects, with a royalty going to the WB. Warners then releases ‘Pt.2’ with the reverse arrangement. this is how Marvel & DC ran the Avengers/JLA comic crossover, in fact, with Marvel publishing issues #1 and #3, DC publishing #2 and #4 and controlling collection rights.

Obviously there’d be LOTS to negotiate, and loooong contracts needed… not easy, and granted, something probably not likely to ever happen, but if two studios want it enough, something like that could happen.

Two struggling properties might be a good start. And if the first one to do it is a huge hit, everyone would want to copy it!

In the case of The Sony/Marvel deal,
The deal really happened because of the leaking of the Sony emails.
Had that not occurred, I don’t think that deal would have ever took place.

And it was more than background scenes in RR– Daffy Duck and Donald Duck had a pretty big scene together, if you recall. In fact, it’s pretty remarkable how they got the rights to so many different studios’ characters, from Disney, to WB, to King Features, Fleisher, Universal and many others.

I don’t remember if it was CINEFEX or PREMIERE or what periodical I read it, but it was somebody saying the Warner thing just wasn’t going to happen, and then Steve just got on the phone and it was a done deal, like that. Could be that the others were already secured, or they all fell in line when Warner did.

I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I remember always thinking the movie was practically CHINATOWN with toons, given the background of how freeways would replace the electric tram and all those other historic bits.

Torchwood,

Re: Nothing to argue

I didn’t view it as an argument so much as pointing out that that special token, you thought you had to get, caused you to miss the train that you were waiting for, as it had already stopped and left the station. Closer to an opening of your eyes, if you will, such as in my pointing out that IRON SKY wasn’t unnamed; IRON SKY is its name.

Also, Jack Marshall and Gabriel Koerner DID go on to contribute to the making of actual completed and released commercial original SF but they also return to their fan projects as well — they aren’t quite the impediment that you believe them to be to new original SF.

Re: Disney couldn’t even buy back the rights to Spider-Man, and only pursued a partnership for them at all because they’re part of the Marvel family.

And yet, with all those headaches, Disney still purchased Marvel and valued it as being worth as much as Lucasfilm. And you still think STAR TREK has too MANY headaches towards getting all its bits together if Disney found it filled – what was it Disney called it? – ah yes, a void?
comment image
Photo taken at Disneyworld by enterprisedavid:

I find the Enterprise visiting an Apeworld plausible and share your hope.

What headaches?

Disney bought Marvel because of the film franchises and the merchandising.

More for the merchandising. As I stated elsewhere, Marvel had for the prior 4-5 years been among the top licensors in the business, earning BILLIONS in merchandise and licensed products across THOUSANDS of manufacturers globally. All of that revenue is now Disney’s, regardless of who owns the film rights to Spider-Man (and their merch rights DID include Spider-Man AND the Spider-Man films).

And putting aside merchandising (which, again, is the biggest reason to buy them), the films released since 2009 have netted IN EXCESS of 5 BILLION DOLLARS at the box office. That and that alone would be enough for the buy, and on top of that they got a $5B annual licensing business and the #1 comic book publisher.

You’re just not making sense anymore.

Please explain, using actual knowledge of the industry, what void Star Trek would fill for Disney. Star Trek does not rank among the top brands at the box office or in merchandising. If they did, I could see a case to be made, but even THEN they wouldn’t fill a void. Star Wars didn’t fill a void, but it was so lucrative a business, it didn’t matter. Marvel filled a MASSIVE void. Right now, Star Trek fills NO void for Disney (that they want to fill– I don’t see them desperate to capture the aging, 35-65 male demographic) and offers them LITTLE upside. Plus, it’s among the biggest known-quantities for Paramount and CBS, so they’d have no reason to sell. If they were in dire need of cash infusion, maybe I could see Disney offering $500-750M for it. Maybe. I could, potentially, see a smaller rival studio making a Billion dollar+ offer to buy Star Trek in an effort to put them on the map, and CBS/Para thinking, “well, for that amount of cash, and a cut of future profits, fine.” But right now, Trek is Paramount’s biggest film franchise that they own and control (rather than just distribute). It’s CBS’ most recognized brand. So please, stop with this stupid “Disney has every reason to buy Star Trek” nonsense. Not only is there no justification with presently known facts, there’s no evidence to suggest there is any chance of it happening, so I don’t even see the purpose in your… Read more »

Torchwood,

Re: Disney has every reason to buy Star Trek

Pretty easy to accommodate you in this as that was some other person’s position and not mine. My contention is only that it is plausible – NOT that Disney has no other options or that the market mandates it happen NOW.

But I do note that I get from this trial just how much of a monopoly Copyright and Trademark holders have, and I have to wonder if Disney’s ever considered what would happen if they could steer all those Trekkin’ convention and cruise goers to exclusive engagements in Disney’s hotels, ships and resorts. And by that I mean those would be the only facilities where such activities would be sanctioned?

Torchwood,

Re: What headaches?

The headaches that you yourself idenified in this and earlier discussions on Disney assembling the Marvel Universe of film characters under their one umbrella, i.e. X-MEN, Spider-Man, The Hulk, and then the ones under Paramount’s distribution deal for the rest of the Marvel Universe.

In past STAR TREK buyout by Disney discussions you indicated that Disney could not get the merchandizing because of the split. You used it as an example of why STAR TREK would be unattractive as a purchase. I’m just pointing out that getting STAR TREK assembled clearly wouldn’t be much harder dealmaking than what Disney went through with Marvel and Lucasfilm. In fact, if I recall correctly doesn’t 20th Century Fox still own the first STAR WARS film?

Alec Peters is a giant con man and spent all the money on himself.

Man, oh man, I like this judge!

Is this AXANAR (or whatever the name is of AP’s latest shadow company) trying to sell off their greenscreen?

(from facebook) ooops, can’t get it to show here. well, look on facebook under the name Tom Konkle and see what you see. It’s a 30 ft x 10 ft three-sided curved green screen cyclorama in Los Angeles. Guy caims it was custom built and worth about 17 grand originally.

This whole sorry state of affairs is dreadful. But for me the whole point is this; I watched “prelude to axanar” only recently for the first time and enjoyed it far more than Star Trek Beyond. Looking around the net, it appears so did a LOT of other people. From where I’m sitting it looks like CBS/Paramount aren’t really bothered by copyright or infingements (if they were they would have acted much sooner on other fan shows I could mention). Rather they are bothered by the potential loss of revenue as people tune in to watch Axanar and it’s like for free, instead of watching what they (CBS/Paramount) produce, given that general opinion across the world seems to be that the fan shows are superior in content to the official product. Which no doubt they are aware of. Its an oversimplification, I know, but I will say it. If CBS/Paramount made the sort of Trek the fans are making, instead of the action over content pap, this issue wouldn’t even exist.

General opinion across the world? You’re talking a very small fraction of trek fandom that has even seen it or is aware of it (actually a smaller percentage is all that matters, those that actually like or support the talking heads/CG mashup that is PRELUDE), they just happen to be be big social media folk.

Michael

Fair points.

I made a movie. Hey, it looks like Star Trek! How’d that happen?

Yeah, the jury will buy that as ‘non-willful’. Sounds like Peters has the appeal all ready to file.

Here’s a poser:

Is a so-called voracious reader credible, if said voracious reader doesn’t notice a motion filed last month:

http://geeknation.com/paramount-cbs-say-removing-star-trek-from-lawsuit-is-absurd/

“Erin Ranahan, who represents Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters, made the demand last month, saying that invoking the Star Trek name would not only turn a copyright infringement case into a trademark infringement case, but it would also confuse a jury.” — ”Paramount, CBS Say Removing ‘Star Trek’ From Lawsuit Is ‘Absurd’”; By Michael Hinman January 9, 2017; GeekNation.com

until today and claims it was “telegraphed” in this comment chain that didn’t exist prior to 1/4/2017?

Why doesn’t he just make his own sci fi series ? I mean, I love what peters have done….lot better than many episodes and some Trek movies. It’s a damn shame.

Agreed on all points….except one. I, as a Trek fan, would be happy to watch Axanar AND any & all official Trek films/series produced by Paramount and/or CBS. It is not, never has been, nor will it ever be a choice between the two. This isn’t the same as pirated material where some people would rather watch for free than pay to view/own any show/film…Axanar would be an additional piece to enjoy, not a replacement.

Numenosium,
Well said, I agree whole heartedly!

This is too funny! Alec Peters copped a plea!
“According to a joint statement, “Paramount Pictures Corporation, CBS Studios Inc., Axanar Productions, Inc. and Alec Peters are pleased to announce that the litigation regarding Axanar’s film Prelude to Axanar and its proposed film Axanar has been resolved. Axanar and Mr. Peters acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS, and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.””
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/cbs-paramount-settle-lawsuit-star-trek-fan-film-966433

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