Axanar Trial Date Set For May 2017 Unless Agreement Reached – Fans Counter Over Klingon Language Copyright

Conflict over fan productions is creating such a legal argle-bargle that to sort it out would require either an obsessive crackpot who’s escaped from his keeper or Samuel T. Cogley, attorney at law.

At the forefront is, of course, the ongoing Axanar lawsuit, with Paramount and CBS coming down on the fan production for potentially millions of dollars worth of damages. (We talked about it at length on the Shuttlepod podcast here.)

Yesterday, CBS/Paramount and Axanar Productions issued a joint statement agreeing to a year-long schedule of “discovery and motion” before a trial begins next May. A settlement might come sooner as Judge R. Gary Klausner issued an order in March that attorneys find an alternative way to resolve the dispute, thus avoiding the cost of a trial, such as settlement overseen by a federal magistrate (which both parties say they would prefer).

Regardless, this climate seems to have put everyone on edge about the future of other fan productions, with some already being asked by CBS to shut down.

Moreover, with only two days left in its Indiegogo campaign, Star Trek Continues has raised less than half of its $350,000 goal for the next several episodes. The reasons for this may be many, but its clear that the Axanar lawsuit is a big factor – STC has reportedly received several inquiries asking whether or not the suit would affect ongoing production of Continues and expressing anxiety over donating. Making things worse, recently William Shatner himself came down on STC via Twitter for using his image without permission.

Will Fictional Polyglots Be Saying Qapla?
And now some fans are pushing back against Paramount over the Klingon language, one of the sticking points where Axanar had allegedly violated Paramount’s intellectual property.

As reported by UPI, the Language Creation Society has filed an amicus brief and exhibits in the case of Paramount/CBS v. Axanar over the studios’ claim to copyright of the Klingon language from the various incarnations of Trek, arguing you can’t copyright a language.

The group’s lawyer, First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, argues, “Paramount Pictures lacks the ‘yab bang chut’ or ‘mind property law’ necessary to claim copyright over the Klingon language.”

Paramount’s attorney, David Grossman, shot back that, “This argument is absurd since a language is only useful if it can be used to communicate with people, and there are no Klingons with whom to communicate.”

The outcome of this case could have ramifications on other fictional languages, such as Game of Thrones’ Dothraki and Tolkien’s Elvish.

(Yes, I know there is no “Elvish.” Technically Tolkien created multiple Elf languages, like Quenya and Sindarin, and even multiple scripts. The most famous is Tengwar. But we’re talking about Star Trek here, people. Focus.)

If only this dispute could be settled as simply as a Ferengi explaining finances to a group of Klingons!

With reinvigoration in the franchise – the upcoming Star Trek All Access, a third Abrams-verse movie, a potential fourth down the road – the opportunity for Paramount/CBS to monetize the 50-year-old brand is greater than it’s been since the 1990s. Given new opportunities available in the modern market with online sales, web series, and social media, Star Trek could be at its most profitable ever. And as Quark might remind us, “A wise man can hear profit in the wind.”

What that means for the relationship between the fans and the studio remains for the courts to decide.

Update and correction: We have edited this article to clarify that the LCS has not created a new lawsuit against Paramount and CBS. Rather, they have filed an amicus brief to the already ongoing Paramount/CBS v Axanar lawsuit.

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Well, they aren’t *suing* per se, but they did file an amicus brief–they aren’t party to the litigation, but they do believe the outcome of the suit could affect their interest. The Court can decide whether or not to accept it.

Yeah, the language in the linked article on the Klingon language piece is misleading – they didn’t file an actual lawsuit over Klingon. Regardless, what a mess. God help us if this case drags on for another year. Everyone involved should find a way to settle, even if that means some tough concessions for Axanar.

CBS has only asked one other fan film to shut down. And there isn’t a countersuit. Could you please get your facts straight?

In fact, they haven´t even shut it down, they only asked to delay it.

NO Horizons sequal has shut down.

Bill’s response to Vic Mignogna:

@vicmignogna This is not the first time it’s happened but it BETTER be the last. Am I clear? @jvancitters

“Making things worse, recently William Shatner himself came down on STC via Twitter for using his image without permission.”

I assume it was the image of William Shatner and not him as Captain James Kirk that William Shatner was objecting to?

@Keachick,

I think Shatner was objecting to the use of his image regardless if it was as Kirk or himself. Apparently the ‘Star Trek Continues’ people used Shatner’s image in their fundraising a few times without getting his permission first.

But is it Shatner’s image or is it James T Kirk’s image? Does the image of Captain Kirk belong to Paramount/CBS or to the actor who was paid to play the part of a fictional person? If Vic Mignogna had used an image of William Shatner that clearly had no reference to the Kirk character, then Shatner would have a point, but he didn’t. He showed an image of James T Kirk from the Corbomite Maneuver episode, which belongs to Paramount/CBS. Since the companies have allowed use of their copyright/trademark (provided certain stipulations are met, ie the films made be NON-profit), then Vic no doubt felt that it was OK to use the image.

Some clarification is needed here.

Keachick,

In reply to youre comment linked to here:

https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5303685

If I remember correctly Shatner had a contract that gave him a piece of the original tv show too. So to some degree he has a say-so in both for his unique situation.

No clarification is necessary. Actors own their own likeness rights. Even though Paramount/CBS owns Star Trek and Kirk, Shatner owns his own likeness and can allow or deny others the right to use it. That’s why some of the older comics don’t have exact likenesses of Kirk and other characters–likeness rights were acquired.

Keachick,

Here’s what was reported back then, the Optical Character Recognition translation into text is a little wonky but I believe I’ve patched it up adequately:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=897&dat=19660805&id=VapMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6872,4593771

”On another front — show categories — there is also semantic confusion. Press agents for a new NBC entry, “Star Trek,” recently issued a release proclaiming that it was not, definitely not, science fiction, but “real action-adventure in tomorrow’s space age.”

“It is good science fiction,” declared the star of the show, William Shatner as he sat, dressed in a modified “Batman” costume, explaining that he plays the captain of a military spaceship that “patrols the outer reaches of the galaxy.”

Shatner, last seen In television in a short-lived CBS disaster called “For The People,” is another In the growing group of actors Who, while still bowing reverently to Shakespeare, has made an adjustment to commercial television with its rewards and security. His “For The People” two seasons back was received well by the critics but as a midseason CBS entry it never managed to surface In the important Nielsen ratings.

Shatner, a Canadian, got his start in Ottawa’s National Repertory Theatre, moved on the Stratford, Ontario, Shakespeare Festival. He has played on Broadway and starred in live television drama. But now as Captain Kirk of the space ship in “Star Trek” he owns a piece of the action, which, if the show is a success, is like a lovely annuity. ” — Prescott Evening Courier – Aug 5, 1966, Cynthia Lowry (AP), ‘Here’s The Way I See It

I was a screenshot from The Corbomite Maneuver in a tweet about that episode, but then they linked to their fundraising page on Indiegogo. Shatner wasn’t happy about his image being placed next to the fundraising link, implying some connection.

The Shatner Tweet is actually referring to a facebook private group discussion for Star Trek Continues.
In that posting, the author was noting that the 50th Anniversary of “The Corbomite Manuever” was occurring.
More importantly, the photo in Shatner’s tweet was FROM STARTREK.COM. That photo was not from STC but was from startrek.com because the posting person was discussing the start of filming of the entire show.

I specifically recall that Facebook group posting because there were also LA Times clippings in the thread which were from June 1966 where the LA Times reported on the beginning of filming of Star Trek.

Shatner misinterpreted the original Facebook posting because someone must have communicated with Shatner information which was wrong. There was no copyright infringement when in fact the “fair use” is dealing with the history of the production. It was clear that the posting was not a solicitation but in fact a historical retrospective honoring the start of filming of the original series.

Despite this rather innocuous posting, the STC people honored Shatner’s request. I just want to clarify that Mignogna et al did not inappropriately use Shatner’s image (as a person above insinuates). I saw and participated in the specific thread and discussion in question.

Good for the the Shat !!!

Yes, there is a counter-suit. I thought that Axanar/Alec Peters was counter-suing. Then there is:
“As reported by UPI, the Language Creation Society is suing Paramount over its copyright of the Klingon language from the various incarnations of Trek, arguing you can’t copyright a language.”

Apologies all, we have corrected the article. There is not a second lawsuit, rather an amicus brief filed over the Klingon Language issue.

No, neither Alec Peters nor Axanat has not countersued CBS or Paramount. Heck, he hasn’t even filed an answer to the original complaint, much less brought a countersuit. Everything up to this point that his team has filed has been to avoid even filing the initial answer. And what exactly what would he have grounds to countersue for anyhow?

You haven’t been following have you?

The reason why Klingon is in the brief at all is because of Axanar’s answer to the complaint. They’ve been in mediation for a long time. Their attorneys submitted a huge response to the court overseeing this. It’s the reason why the lawsuit is going the way it is. Please pay more attention to the entire story before saying something.

“No, neither Alec Peters nor Axanat has not countersued CBS or Paramount.”

Which makes sense, since they have absolutely no leg to stand on.

“Yes, there is a counter-suit. I thought that Axanar/Alec Peters was counter-suing.”

No, there isn’t one.

“If only this dispute could be settled as simply as a Ferengi explaining finances to a group of Klingons!”
Just watched the video. Now that would be something to see – Alec Peters duking it out Klingon style with Paramount/CBS executives…LOL

Nice one, Jared Whitley!

This makes me more optimistic that we might see some version of Axanar! I hope!

They will settle long before next May.

My goodness, to have the time and money to file a law brief over the Klingon language…man I would love to have the free time and resources that some of these fans have. I am struggling enough this week to come up with some video for this contest.

This amicus brief is coming from the Language Creation Society and one of the created languages happens to be Klingon.
http://conlang.org/
http://conlang.wikia.com/wiki/Create_a_Language

Wonder how I know the trial wouldn’t start for a whole YEAR from now. We all know they won’t come to an agreement before that, but whatever, I stopped caring about Axanar a while back.

“William Shatner himself came down on STC via Twitter for using his image without permission.”

William Shatner is really acting like a dick.

…using Shatner’s image, without his permission, to pump up contributions, isn’t exactly being saintly.

It’s a screenshot of TOS that Shatner happens to be in. Big difference.

Shanter is protecting his best interests from a business stand point. His likeness brings him in millions of dollars per year. So for him to warn STC is the nice thing to do, because he could take them to court.

Oh my God, he’s going to lose a few bucks because his image was used somewhere. What a disaster, I know.

Don’t the signing of his images cost like $40 at conventions? Isn’t The Shat the highest price signer in attendance at conventions or something?

Yes, Shat is the greediest of all.

“William Shatner is really acting like a dick.”

In other words, you have absolutely no knowledge of how likeness rights work.

Well, other actors in the image would’ve had just as much reason to complain then. But I don’t see Anthony Call is complaining nor do I see George Takei complaining. Shatner is the only one being a dick about it.

Please defend yourselves by letting a GRANDE JURY know that Paramount and CBS were derelict and in fact abandoned their claims on TOS styled Trek 40 – some 40 years ago!

It’s really your best and only defense. Why else would all these TOS styled fan films be made? Paramount and CBS were not, and are still not making that product anymore! Its clearly been abandoned! From the style, the ship designs, the uniforms, the characters, the music and almost every design aspect, it has been abandoned.

Even WIKI spells it out quite clearly about this ‘enterprise.’ Even in their WIKI page Abandonment of property includes SHIPS!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonment_(legal)

Clearly TOS was FORGOTTEN long ago. It has only within the last few years with the Bad Robot pics that there has been any interest in making new products TOS style. AND even then, the writers and producers cast the new movies into an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE or TIMELINE. Again, clearly showing that they have abandoned their property or were DERELICT in their handeling of said copyrights and trademarks.

Case closed.

Now go watch one of my videos @ http://www.pitcleanup.com
You may learn another lesson about copyrights and litter there.

Remember…

Don’t Litter!

TOS continues almost uninterrupted n a variety of forms– including the following, with most recent examples in parentheses:

Books (TOS Legacies, 2016)
Comics (Star Trek/Planet of the Apes, IDW, 2016)
Toys (Mezco 1:12 series, 2016)
Tabletop Games (WizKids Attack Wing, 2016)
Video Games (Timelines, 2016)

Plus other assorted merch like clothing, costumes, props, housewares, collectibles and more.

All of these are either centered around or utilize characters, ships and situations from TOS.

TOS was not “abandoned” at any time, particularly in terms of comics and books, which were published continually throughout the 80s and 90s, from Pocket Books, Marvel, DC, and other publishers.

That’s YOUR opinion, Torchwood.

Let the Jury decide before trying to derail my sage advice.

There is nothing to decide. Paramount did not abandon Star Trek, otherwise there would be no Star Trek: The Motion Picture, et al.

Come on Kea, can’t you see the difference between these images?

Star Trek 1966
comment image
comment image

Star Trek 1979 – Present
http://www.leestringer.com/Images/MotionPicture/Enterprise_01_hr.jpg

I don’t see any of the style and color that the original depicts in any of the post 1979 images. Where are the similarities in the costumes? The music? The set design? The ship itself is a complete redesign and bears no resemblance to the original.

Just look at the images Keachick. THEY ABANDONDED THE ORIGINAL LOOK AND FEEL OF THE SERIES.

That to me is the reason these fan made productions were ever first considered to be made. The fans of the original understood that they were not EVER going to see “Star Trek” like we once enjoyed – as the series was depicted in the 60s.

Forgot one…
comment image

Those were really nice looking uniforms. I wonder if Paramount will sue anyone who produces pyjamas that look similar to those uniforms.

TrekMadeMeWonder, you clearly have no understanding of how the law works and are speaking about things about which you have no knowledge.

“That’s YOUR opinion, Torchwood.”

No, it’s undisputable fact. There is not one thing Torchwood said that isn’t obviously and provably true.

Don’t forget this timeline here… 1966-69 Aired originally on TV Mid 1970s – Reruns and the Animated Series 1970s – 2004 – The 7 TOS Star Trek movies (I count STAR TREK GENERATIONS in there as it was a “shared” movie with TNG. Not only that but it reused set pieces from TOS in the Armagosa Observatory) 1996 – DS9: Trials and Tribbleations (“Time Travel Year” as I’d like to call it) 2004 – 2006: TOS Remasters 2005 – ENT: “In a Mirror Darkly” – resuse of recovered TOS sets SO… “TrekMadeMeWonder,” your claim that CBS/Paramount abandoned TOS is not only false but an outright lie. Anytime the original property holder reuses its IP, it resets the time cycle. Star Trek will NEVER EVER (please register this in your mind: NEVER EVER) enter the realm of public domain in the lifetime of my 3 year old son! Besides, it’s creator’s death-plus-75 years for *individual* rights to expire and go to public domain. However, GR worked on Trek while Paramount owned his IP. Therefore, the copyright on the IP will never expire unless Paramount/CBS shelve Star Trek and the brand for 50 years. You’re looking at, if Trek were to survive to and stop in 2020, and they suspend all licensing deals with publishers, game companies, toylines and other merchandising (activity ZERO)… Death-plus-75, Gene’s individual rights expire in 2066. However, Paramount/CBS’s rights would expire in 2070. So once more… the whole “Trek was abandoned” is absolutely false. So long as the… Read more »

HUGE Correction: 1970-2004 – The 7 TOS Star Trek movies…

FALSE…

1970s-1994! Minus 10 years :(

Dammit…

Go and ask someone who is unfamiliar with Star Treks history and you will find they dont realize your points and in fact will not recognize the two treks are the same genre.

Ha! I just asked my Ma. She is in her 70s and she is honest as the day is long.

I asked her if the images above look alike. She said they do not.

Pick your Jury correctly and you will win this case… easily. Especially these days, where everyone seems to hate the “establishment.”

easy win. Indeed.

Remember, Don’t Litter!

Good points. But I still say star trek tos was left behind. Style music and content is all drasically different. Enough to make a sure argument for axanar. Imo.

TrekMadeMeWonder.

Or the TMP image is simply a progression of the TOS design, reworked for a large cinema screen as opposed to an 18-inch CRT..

Indeed, The Animated Series continued the TOS look with modifications. TAS’s 1970s’ bridge design is actually a hybrid of the look of TOS and the eventual TMP one. The image from TMP is from ten years later in real life, less in fictional terms.

The silhouette of the two Enterprises in the photos is broadly the same. The uniforms carry the same logo. And the design concept simply dials down the colour and uses the shirt colour on the trousers. TMP also uses the theme tune from the original show.

The design concepts continued almost all the way through all the Star Treks. Even TNG, which had the biggest divergence in bridge design, had a TOS-style battle bridge. And with TFF and TUC repurposing TNG sets, you can argue that there’s a through-line in terms of design and colour going from The Cage in 1965 and ST:Beyond.

Also, the cast photo on the TMP bridge, in terms of colour of costumes and the ‘greyness’ of the bridge is arguably not so different from that of The Cage.

“But I still say star trek tos was left behind. Style music and content is all drasically different. Enough to make a sure argument for axanar. Imo.”

Again, you have no understanding of how the law works in these matters. Star Trek has been in continuous publication for 50 years. There is no argument that can be made whatsoever that TOS was left behind. It’s a completely absurd assertion.

The reason a person refers to Star Trek TOS is the same reason that the same person may refer to, eg Star Trek TNG. It is in reference to a set of characters and era in which the series took place. They are both Star Trek!

TokyoGaijin, In reply to your comment pointed to by the following link: https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5303772 Your assertion ” Anytime the original property holder reuses its IP, it resets the time cycle. ” is complete and utter balderdash. The easiest way to prove you wrong is to cite the example of Sherlock Holmes and the Doyle estate. The character was not in the public domain as I enjoyed the adventures of Basil Rathbone portraying him then and despite new movies, TV shows, and novels using the character continually til this moment in time on this side of the millennium, the character has entered the public domain. As CBS observes, about its TV production, ELEMENTARY, featuring the character: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/jonny-lee-miller-to-play-sherlock-holmes-in-us-series-6939158.html “Our project [ELEMENTARY] is a contemporary take on Sherlock Homes that will be based on Holmes, Watson and other characters in the public domain, as well as original characters. We are, of course, respectful of all copyright laws and will not infringe on any stories or works that may still be protected.” — CBS No such reset exists. In the U.S., the courts have continually observed that if no way to enter the public domain exists, the copyright stops being limited and is therefore unconstitutional. Another mistake you are making, is assuming that the heavily bought and paid for lobbied extensions to copyright law in the U.S. delaying entry into the public domain, apply everywhere else on the planet. I assure you, they do not. In the corners of the world where copyright still has… Read more »

By my estimation, the copyright will start expiring for the TOS TV series around 2040. However, what happens to series like TNG, which is definitely a follow-on from the original TV series? Its copyright would not start expiring until about 2062. The last two BR films copyright will go until about 2084 and 2088 respectively.
TrekMadeMeWonder keeps saying that Paramount/CBS have abandoned the original Star Trek ideas, look and feel. That is an opinion and one I do not share. The other thing is that names from Starfleet/Federation’s past are brought up in later shows and movies, one of them being prime universe Captain James Kirk. His name was mentioned by prime Spock in Star Trek (2009). We saw Scotty (James Doohan) appear an episode of TNG, along with Dr McCoy (DeForest Kelley) appear in an earlier TNG episode. Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) name was also mentioned in Star Trek (2009) and, of course, mention and even showing of Vulcans, Romulans and Klingons, in particular, has occurred in virtually every TV and movie outing since the first Star Trek TV series began screening on 8 September 1966. Continuity has been variously maintained.

It IS a matter of opinion. And like or not, Paramount and CBS did alter what they thought trek was. And the fans seem to think the original IS what Star Trek should be. Not the continuations that never honored the original.

Its a matter of opinion at this point and I think that is more than enough for Axanar to win this case.

Hell, I even asked my daughter who is 22 about the above images. She is not too familiar with Trek and she said the images do not seem to match the same series.

It IS opinion Keachick, and that was precisely my original point.

There is a reason they call it Star Trek TOS these days.
And come to think of it, trying to protect a trademark that has not been used for almost 50 years seems FRIVOLOUS and ABSURD!!!

Don’t Litter!

“And like or not, Paramount and CBS did alter what they thought trek was.”

Which is 100 percent their legal right to do so–and doing so does not constitute abandonment in the eyes of the law.

“Its a matter of opinion at this point and I think that is more than enough for Axanar to win this case.”

You have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Hell, I even asked my daughter who is 22 about the above images. She is not too familiar with Trek and she said the images do not seem to match the same series.”

Your mother’s, daughter’s, and grandmother’s perception of images is entirely irrelevant to this discussion. The only thing that matters is that Paramount and CBS own the Star Trek IP and have upheld that copyright countless times, never abandoning the franchise–fact, not opinion. The Axanar team used that IP illegally, by making tons of money (including $38,000 in the producer’s pocket) without permission to do so–fact, not opinion.

“There is a reason they call it Star Trek TOS these days.”

No one ever calls it “Star Trek TOS.”

“And come to think of it, trying to protect a trademark that has not been used for almost 50 years”

You have no idea how trademarks work. It has been used thousands of times. Just because ships or uniforms change in no way means that the trademark hasn’t been used.

The bottom line: You are speaking about things for which you clearly have no knowledge.

Dandru.
No one ever calls it “Star Trek TOS.”?

Seriously?!

You refer to it as Star Trek TOS in your next post!

No. I refer to the original series as “TOS,” as that’s its common abbreviation. I don’t refer to all of Star Trek as “Star Trek TOS.” No one does.

“I think that is more than enough for Axanar to win this case.”

You’re delusional. Axanar has no case whatsoever. Paramount and CBS own Star Trek. The Axanar team doesn’t. That is ALL that matters in this case. No credible argument can be made in Axanar’s favor that would counter their IP theft.

In NZ copyright extends for 50 years after the making of a film. In the US and UK, it seems to be 75 years. The time set is an arbitrary one but both times seem reasonable. In NZ, the expiry date on the copyright of an author’s work is far longer.

So, what you are saying, Disinvited, is that depending on which country you live in, it is possible for someone to make a “Star Trek” after their own image. They are allowed to use the same characters and possibly stomp all over them in an unsavoury way and the (original) owner(s) have no recourse. Is that what someone here meant by saying that fan film makers could come to NZ in the next year or so and perhaps “crap” all over the Star Trek franchise as we have come to know it. I know that I am being negative here, but given the little of what I have seen of the Axanar prelude, I can see such a possibility.

My – aren’t things interesting?…

Gosh for an edit button – if only for an hour…
On the positive side, the idea of being able to make a Star Trek series in NZ, and not being beholden to Paramount/CBS, does present some great possibilities. Star Trek with a downunder feel and Starfleet with a more civilian look etc – yeah.
What’s more, it’s about time that some of these big corporations/monopolies got taken down a peg or two. There is a place for the injection of the kiwi “tall poppy syndrome” on occasion.
Indeed – aren’t things interesting?…

Sorry re:edit button, Keachick. I’m working on it, but it is not an option that comes standard in the comments system we are using the way we have things set up. I may be able to cobble something together, but not anytime soon I’m afraid. But, we’re looking into it!

“Please defend yourselves by letting a GRANDE JURY know that Paramount and CBS were derelict and in fact abandoned their claims on TOS styled Trek 40 – some 40 years ago!”

That is an absurd and entirely unsupportable statement, not only from a legal standpoint from also from a factual standpoint. Star Trek, including TOS, has been in continuous publication as books and comics since the ’70s. Saying Paramount/CBS abandoned their claim on TOS is beyond ridiculous.

I’m pretty sure he’s having fun with us. My bad for falling for it. :)

You may be right, Torchwood. What TrekMadeMeWonder is claiming is so ridiculous that he HAS to be trolling. There’s no way he actually believes what he’s saying. I feel silly now for falling for it as well.

Well played, TrekMadeMeWonder. You got us.

Not really trolling. But I was trying to make a salient point about Trek’s style and music changing so radically after the success of the 60s show.

Look. I think its best to be at least a bit controversial when I am trying to make this point.

We are all so familiar with Star Trek that I think we sometimes miss the point about the fan productions and their seeming allegiance to the style of that 60s show.

I say it was the style that made Star Trek so successful and iconic, and that is the primary reason I tune into the fan made TOS styled productions. THOSE TOS SHOWS ARE JUST NOT BEING MADE ANYMORE!

Once you seriously consider what I have written in this post, you may possible come to the conclusion that I am right, and that Star Trek never really did honor its original depiction. You may say, “Look, Trek used a set design in Relics” or, “But we saw the original Enterprise ship design in Star Trek IV onscreen.” or, “Trials and Tribulations depicted the TOS style quite well.”

I say that may be true, but overall it left, and did indeed abandon it’s original styles and designs in the past.
This leaves a vacuum in the genre that was filled with the fan-made creativity it deserves.

Now go watch one of MY videos @ http://www.pitcleanup.com. ; )

You’re not making a salient point. You are seemingly utterly clueless about trademarks, the legal system, and reality. Show a little humility and realize that the countless people disagreeing with you doesn’t mean you’re an iconoclastic freethinker, it just means you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Perception is reality. And the reality is that they left that colorful sci-fi show in the 60s. And the fans decided to pick up what they left behind. Where is the harm in using what was discarded and forgotten about?

kind a like my website.

Remeber. Dont litter!

“Perception is reality.”

Well, it’s pretty clear how everyone here perceives your understanding of the situation. So there you go.

“Perception is reality”– not in the eyes of the law. There is a third reality, beyond that which is known to you: legal reality.

”“Perception is reality”– not in the eyes of the law. There is a third reality, beyond that which is known to you: legal reality.” — Torchwood

Hmmmm…, Torchwood, if perception plays as little a role in “legal reality” as you suggest, one wonders why so many judges ban live video feeds of their proceedings to the public claiming that playing to the camera indeed changes it?

“I say that may be true, but overall it left, and did indeed abandon it’s original styles and designs in the past.”

…which is entirely irrelevant to this legal case.

Well I am still waiting on any constructive idea better than mine will help the makers of Axanar, and others, avoid a bad outcome with Paramount or CBS.

But it does not sound like many are REALLY favor of these original fan-made productions.

Very telling.

Don’t Litter!

Personally, I have no problem with fan-made productions. The Axanar case is entirely different, though. This is a guy who pocketed $38,000 and sold products. It’s a clear copyright violation for profit.

“But I was trying to make a salient point about Trek’s style and music changing so radically after the success of the 60s show.”

But you didn’t. All you succeeded in doing was to demonstrate a lack of understanding of copyright law, since none of your points matter from a legal standpoint. Music and style changing on a TV show have NOTHING to do with whether or not a corporation has abandoned a property. There have been THOUSANDS of Star Trek tales told since 1969–not just in five additional TV shows and 13 movies to date, but also in a boatload of novels, comics, video games, and RPG books. No court would EVER see that as abandonment, because it’s not. Again, this is fact, not opinion. Just announcing “They’ve abandoned it” is meaningless if it is 100 percent demonstrably provable that they didn’t.

OK, Dandru. I get your point about my point. But that crew still needs a good alternative.

Lets keep mine as a fall back. They do have that term abandonment for a reason.

you’re not using the term remotely correctly.

It didn’t change radically at all. It wore a different shirt, profoundly minor details in the scheme of things…

All opinions.

Mine are just as valid. Lets hear it in Court! With a Grande Jury of logical people. They will see the difference between these fan films, made for no profit, and the commercial entities.

Don’t Litter!

No, your “opinions” are not valid because they are not opinions. They are gross misinterpretations of the law. The law is factual. Now, maybe there is some wiggle room in the law to allow Axanar to proceed, but any claims of “copyright abandonment” will not be among them.

That’s why such a claim is not a part of Axanar’s defense. Their defense is, essentially, that their film doesn’t constitute copyright infringement, as they claim fair use doctrine.

A claim they will also lose, and yesterday the first blow was struck, as their motion to dismiss was denied.

“They are gross misinterpretations of the law. The law is factual.” — Torchwood

Torchwood, I thought you had him nailed until you undermined your point with that “The law is factual.” crack. Talk about gross misinterpretations. The one constant in US jurisprudence is that the law is subject to interpretation with the preponderance of that being heavily influenced by previous rulings even to the point of those precedents set before its creation.

But even at that whole swaths of precedents can be overturned, I’m certainly glad you weren’t around during the 1960s to remind everyone of my generation that the Civil Rights movement was futile because “The law is factual.”

As the great legal observer Yogi Berra noted: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

I believe that is where things are right now… in court.

It wasn’t very salient. Don’t argue copyright law. It’s not your strong point.

Just face it. Trek is so popular that is is viewed by many big companies as existing “in the public domain” and can/is in fact being used freely almost wherever you look. And you guys sit here and argue about vilifying a silly fan-made production.

You are all off.

If you are all right, and if this case had such merit then why doesn’t Paramount sue the the IRS for their use of Trek’s IP? They surely created a script, made sets, and infringed on Paramounts important intellectual property. RIGHT? Surely that special private little company – the IRS – would have some bucks to payback Paramount. RIGHT?

You people amaze me on when – ON A TREK SITE – you still try and stifle a fan’s creative effort.

Whether or not they have a claim, I can’t figure out what Axanar’s strategy here is. Winning an IP dispute over a company like Paramount and a property like Star Trek is damn near impossible. It’s clearly a fan film, they clearly exist at the pleasure of Paramount, whether we like it or not, and Axanar is going to get CREAMED – they’re going to get damages, legal fees, the works. Why are they insisting on a trial? Do they care that much about Klingon? Are they deciding to go out guns blazing with all their money? Are their lawyers giving them terrible advice in order to get more money out of the gravy train before it goes away?

IP judges are massively deferential to companies, as is IP law. It’s not built with the little guy in mind, it’s built to protect corporate interests, having been shaped and lobbied by corporations for ages while the rest of us weren’t looking. Even if Axanar has a point on Klingon (and they might), winning that bit would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. There is NO WAY CBS or Paramount allows this movie to get made. If they lose Klingon they’ll win something else.

There won’t be a trial. It’ll be settled out of court.

Yup. Once they have to start defending themselves for real, it will get really expensive, really quick. It’s hard to imagine any legitimate law firm waging a pro-bono case to clear up existing case law over fan film productions. There’s no money in it whatsoever, for anyone.

It’s old-fashioned sabre-rattling. CBS/Paramount decide they need to clamp down on fan productions in general as they’re cranking up production of an ongoing TV show, as well as Paramount looking to continue nu-Trek past the third film. Therefore they take the loudest loudest fan film in the pack, in terms of what it’s claiming to be and proceed to decapitate it. All fan productions are rattled. All fan productions lose revenue. Some might have to shut down. Ultimately, fan films reduce in scale and presence. CBS/Paramount start pumping out their franchise and control what gets shown on YouTube and social networking.

Axanar should be made, and be sold to CBS as part of the 50 anniversary celebration. That will be a satisfactory agreement for everyone

Axanar should not be made, it should be burned, and Peters forced to ingest the ashes. That sounds satisfactory to me.

@kmart,

Sounds like you have a beef with Peters!

He helped Cushman with the sorta-phony kickstarter campaign for the third THESE ARE THE VOYAGES book. The one where Cushman explained the publisher wanted to hold off releasing it but he wanted it out at xmas – but the publisher and he are one & the same!

Any friend of the antijournalist Cushman could not possibly be a body I’d want in my camp … all the stuff about the Peters auctions and AXANAR just confirms the ‘bad feeling’ I had about him. (and no, I’ve never met either of them, or read any of the TATV books. Their rep precedes them, much like a skunk’s aroma. See STARTREKFACTCHECK blog for accurate historical info.)

@will,

Perhaps but since a new official Trek series is coming out in 2017, I think fan-films will come to an end.

Ahmed,

Nah, the TOS fan films will continue bc people feel there’s so much there in TOS. And they have sets built and a huge love for making their own Trek films, with no profit to themselves either.

@Marja,

That will depends on CBS. So far, they shut down Axanar, told ‘Horizon’ to stop. The makers of a third fan-film called ‘Star Trek: Constellation’ took the hint & shut down their project last week.

Bill Burke, Senior Vice President, Marketing at CBS Consumer Products, told Tommy Kraft of ‘Star Trek Horizon’ to “not go forward” with his project & that CBS is reaching out to the other fan-films as well.

TOS fan films are no threat to Paramount or CBS — unless they are planning some kind of nostalgic anniversary TOS relaunch, and even then: As long as they are made “authentically” with a 4:3 aspect ratio, 1960s camera and lighting techniques, vintage set construction, bad acting, kludgy scripts, and generally don’t compete with modern professional productions in any way, CBS is not going to care. If nothing else it helps fuel fan interest for the “real” thing, and drives CBS merchandising machine. For other audiences, it’s completely off the radar.

You are absolutely right.

Add to the list you had below, STC is taking a huge financial hit in donations. No one is giving to the project and they’re almost at the point of total collapse. Star Trek PII/NV has also gone absolutely silent. Nothing has come from them either.

With Renegades also effectively shut down, the last man standing is Star Trek: Captain Pike. It’ll only be a matter of time before they get the memo too. Once the Captain Pike series goes down, STC (if it hadn’t collapsed by then) will be the only Star Trek fan film series remaining.

But just like Ted Cruz, they’ll have to give in sooner or later as well. After that, there will be a grand total of ZERO Star Trek fan films in active production.

#ThanksAxanar

STCs crowdfunding is going pretty well, considering they switched to Indigogo, which has only 1/3 of the users and reach of Kickstarter. Their goal was just too high. Axanar back then experienced something similar. Who said Renegades is dead? As far as I know they will produce at least one more episode to bring the story to an end, something that was decided last winter when the CBS news of a new series came out. STNV has gone a bit silent (as far as I know the reasons had nothing to do with the CBS/Axanar issue), but is still producing stuff – they just had a shoot.

So far, aside of Horizon getting the call to hold on production no other fan production has heard from CBS – and I doubt they will. Both Horizon and Axanar had a couple of things in common – both are movies and not episodes – and both are technically very well done and could be confused by the normal viewer.

nah, fan films will continue but the days of asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars is OVER

Ibling Caesar,

In reply to your comment uniquly identified by the following URL:

https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5304008

I agree. The day of headline grabbing funding of fan projects is all that is over. Fan films will now merely chart a road through their inflating production costs by breaking said projects down into smaller chunks whose individual fundraising will not gain notoriety. And they are going to learn from the studios not to release or open their books so that the actual total monies raised and spent on getting their productions realized is ever acknowledged to the press.

It would set a very bad precedent legally.

And dialogue- and acting-wise, it would set back the franchise considerably

@Marja,
“And dialogue- and acting-wise, it would set back the franchise considerably”

Actually the acting in ‘Prelude to Axanar’ is far better than the usual stuff that we see in STC & the other fan-films.

“It would set a very bad precedent legally.”

And yet, you have no problem with STC infringing on Trek copyrights!

Is/are the makers of STC building a big studio using Star Trek’s IP, or the maker awarding himself a salary of $38,000 for what exactly?, while the actual film proper was constantly delayed from being made and shown to those many people who donated so that they could see a fanmade Star Trek film? The delay was happening well before the Paramount/CBS lawsuit put a halt to what proceedings were occurring.

Of course, from one perspective, every fanmade film, could be deemed an infringement, but only if the IP/copyright/trademark owners deem such infringement to be of concern. The fact that the fanmade films could only happen is due to the goodwill and interests of the franchise owners. Alec Peters is too arrogant to see that. Other folk weren’t and aren’t.

It is not about the little man or a big corporation, per se. It is about the rights of those who own the copyright to a work of fiction/non-fiction, like me.

@Keachick,

“Is/are the makers of STC building a big studio using Star Trek’s IP”

They bought Farragut Studios, over 18,500 square feet & rename it Stage 9! It’s a bigger studio than the one Axanar is renting.

Our “Stage Nine” (an 18,500-square-foot studio named after the original soundstage at Desilu) houses the largest, most complete standing TOS sets in the world — including the bridge, corridors, turbolifts, quarters, sickbay, briefing/rec room, transporter room, Jefferies tube, engineering, auxiliary control, and shuttlecraft sets — precisely constructed using the original Star Trek blueprints (see our interactive virtual tour above).

http://www.startrekcontinues.com/aboutus.html

“or the maker awarding himself a salary of $38,000 for what exactly?”

Don’t know, unlike ‘Axanar’, the folks at STC & the other fan-films didn’t release their financial statements.

In the end we can speculate all we want as to what Paramount and CBS’ motives really are– to shut down one fan film, to shut down big fan-films, or all fan-films– but until this case is settled, it’s really just guessing.

But to me, the fact that STC is ongoing (with another big crowdfunding completed) and new episodes of others continuing with no opposition or notice from P/C, i’d say the motive is NOT to shut down ALL fan films.

Ahmed,
“Don’t know, unlike ‘Axanar’, the folks at STC & the other fan-films didn’t release their financial statements.”

Unlike Axanar and ALL other fan films, the STC group released all pertinent documents to the IRS for review. The IRS deemed the project a non-profit 501c3. Is that not good enough for you?

BonesMcCoy,

In reply to your comment uniquely identified by the following URL:

https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5304225

Not sure if that’ll ever be good enough as most of those concerned with open books seem overly preoccupied that such an operation can have salaried employees on the payroll that can raise and control said funds, and the IRS allows such salaried employment for non-profits.

Marja,

In reply to your comment uniquely identified by the following URL:

https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5303746

You mean the same bad legal precedent that the worst written of the novels being published set the franchise back considerably, which was NOT?

It would be satisfactory only to Axanar’s creators and supporters.

will,

Your idea has merit in that CBS has set the precedent of publishing the non-canonical STAR TREK novels. Updating that notion to include non-canonical filmed works would be a winning idea in that would allow CBS to take the best ideas and practices that could emerge from that, just as similar high-quality ideas were eventually lifted from the best of the non-canonical novels, CAN be used to improve the “official” canon product. Also by getting ahead of this and providing the outlet that you suggest, CBS can mentor and stimulate the next generation of filmmakers that they are going to need eventually to make their future official STAR TREK filmed products.

@Disinvited
“include non-canonical filmed works”
This is what I have been arguing in many Trek discussions.
But, there seems to be a dedicated few (seems to be four people) who are actively insulting this concept. Their insults are ridiculous because they’re not even with CBS and have credentials only as involved with their own fan film project.

My bottom line has been that if CBS does find a mechanism to allow fan films to do Star Trek themed films, then CBS can have an entire new program model and revenue stream.

Keachick,

Actually, in absolute proof that copyrights and other i.p. laws are NOT needed for Paramount to realize STAR TREK megabucks: China does not recognize the United States’ copyright and trademark laws. So, Paramount uses the cheap labor their to make the blu-ray and dvds to sell to the rest of us in the U.S., who they threaten with lawsuits if we copy them, while within China’s borders unauthorized copies of those same discs flood the STAR TREK MARKET there legally with impunity.

All the while, Paramount plans for theater ticket sales in that same China to save their bacon.

It would be tragic for us fans, but big time karma to throw in CBS/Paramount’s faces, if the superstorm created by this lawsuit stuff and the cascading fallout from it, alienates so many Star Trek fans that Star Trek itself self-destructs.

Not enough hard core fans. Trek’s ultimate success on the screen, both movie and television, will bank on the mainstream acceptance not the fringe elements of fandom. Merchandising will survive regardless.

jonboc,

In reply to your comment uniquely identified by this URL:

https://trekmovie.com/2016/05/03/axanar-trial-date-set-for-may-2017-unless-agreement-reached-fans-countersue-over-klingon-language/#comment-5304027

In the case of CBS ALL ACCESS, Les Moonves has made it more than abundantly clear that he believes the success of THAT hinges NOT on mainstream acceptance of his new STAR TREK episodes but the preexisting fans that you are somehow attempting to marginalize by labeling “fringe”. Whether they have whatever the quality you call to your mind when you call them that or not, Les makes one thing very clear: they have enough numbers to add to his CBS ALL ACCESS subscriptions to make THAT and its STAR TREK a success and he is NOT counting on mainstream acceptance alone to generate enough revenue to make it a success without it.

I have heard two Les Moonves interviews – one on CNBC and one on Bloomberg in the last 2 days. In both interviews, Moonves says that All Access will only have one new run series, Star Trek.

I concur with the statements of Disinvited in the entry above.

I’m getting less and less interested in Star Trek lately and all this doesn’t help…

@DarExc

As a former complainer who no longer really gives a rip about “canon” vs.”non-canon” and/or “real” vs. “faux” ST, the ship designs, costumes, phasers, new vs. old special effects, and on and on…I agree! Life’s too short to spend it bi*ching and moaning about piddly details, ST “authenticity” vs. rip-offs, arguments ad infinitum, etc. etc. etc. I have too many other things to do while I’m still above ground to worry about all this nonsense. Sure, there’s stuff about ST that I like and other stuff that I still dislike, but as the Disney cartoon movie song sez, “let it go, let it go, let it go…!” It’s like getting all up in arms upset about the people down the block who decide to paint their house a pastel green, bright yellow, and salmon color. That’s not a “them” problem, that’s a *me* problem. And me doesn’t give a hoot anymore, because as long as they’re not knocking down my door, slashing my tires, or keying my car, I do not care.

LLAP!

I suppose just how heavy-handed Paramount and CBS expect to take in this and other legal action threats might be gauged in their reaction to this:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/2016/05/08/university-iowa-library-beams-up-star-trek-fans-exhibit/83967242/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

The UI library, as a large part of its Trek 50th anniversary exhibit, is featuring unauthorized fan publications and artwork. Even, gearing up to fundraise via an ersatz “Build A Tribble” gimmick.

Axanar and other fan productions are actually a great oppertunity. In stead of fighting legal battles Paramount / CBS should use these productions to their advantage. That way, both sides win. Now, I only see losers.

The new TOS based expansion to Star Trek Online has a ship design which is a clear visual and name dig at Axanar’s “Ares” class. The ship has the name of a being who defeated Ares and similar design, pretty funny. Also I would hazard that Star Trek Continues is not on CBS/Paramount’s bad side as CBS has given consent for Chris Doohan and Vic Mignogna to do voice work for Star Trek Online as Spock and Kirk.

Lol, this site needs an edit comment function, obviously Chris Doohan will be voicing Scotty not Spock.

Paramount/CBS have totally missed a trick with the whole thing. Not only could they have licensed the film for $1 with the agreement not to make a profit, they could have produced merchandise off the back of it and made a tidy profit.
Not to mention that every time Beyond is talked about, the lawsuit will also be mentioned.
I won’t be watching the film upon it’s release or buying anything Trek related until it has been resolved and Axanar can be made.

“By making these technologies available in the public domain, we are helping foster a new era of entrepreneurship that will again place America at the forefront of high-tech manufacturing and economic competitivenes. By releasing this collection into the public domain, we are encouraging entrepreneurs to explore new ways to commercialize NASA technologies.” — Daniel Lockney, NASA’s Technology Transfer program executive

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/nasa-releases-patents-for-moon-dust-fuel-bio-gaming-and-laser-engines

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