Two days ago and just after its release, the latest episode of Star Trek Continues, “The White Iris” was pulled from YouTube with a message saying that it had been taken down due to a copyright claim by CBS. Rumors as to why this happened have spread like wildfire along with speculation about who was next and whether a big crack-down on fan productions was about to happen. We’re here to clear things up. CBS did not pull Star Trek Continues. Read on for details.
CBS is not ruining fan films
Quite the opposite, actually. While CBS may not be as open to fan productions as Lucasfilm has traditionally been with Star Wars, they have actually been quite generous, allowing fan productions that today can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to use the Star Trek name, logos, and characters.
Two days ago, episode 4 of Star Trek Continues was taken off of YouTube. The official word has come down that this was a mistake. Don’t panic! Vic Mignogna, creator and star of STC, posted to the official facebook page:
I am pleased to report that, contrary to speculation, STC episode IV was not deliberately pulled from YouTube by anyone at CBS. Several members of our production have regular contact with CBS Licensing, and I spoke personally with a V.P. of CBS Legal over the past couple days. She’s assured us that the takedown was not intentional, and YouTube has been instructed to reinstate the episode immediately. We have enormous respect and gratitude to CBS for their help in resolving this matter.
Live long and prosper!
What really happened, then?
Lots of rumors went flying over the past few days, including but not limited to the popular theories that the episode was taken down for use of a screen cap from the Original Series episode “The Paradise Syndrome”. Or that CBS pulled the episode due to the use of music from TOS. However, some Trek fans pointed out that both of these likely fall under fair use. Not to mention the fact that no other fan films, which use screen caps, moving images, and sounds from Trek and other series, have been affected.
What we do know is that CBS was not responsible for the takedown, meaning other fan films can rest a little easier knowing that they are not in any immediate danger of being shutdown. What we don’t know is what actually happened. We see three possibilities: an overzealous YouTube or CBS intern who incorrectly took down the episode; someone spoofed a CBS account and make the request to YouTube to take down the episode; or, most likely, YouTube’s automated Content ID algorithm wrongly flagged the episode for removal due to copyright claim. This would not be the first time the algorithm has screwed up. Lots of content creators who host material on YouTube complain about wrongful takedowns of their videos.
While you’re waiting for the episode to be reinstated on YouTube (which should happen any time now), you can just go ahead and watch on Vimeo, where it has been the entire time.