During the first ever Star Trek fan event at Paramount Studios this evening, JJ Abrams made a surprise announcement which could have wide ranging impact for the fan productions:
A few months back there was a fan movie, Axanar that was being fan made, and there was this lawsuit between the studio and these fans. And Justin was sort of outraged by this as a longtime fan. And, we started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing, we all [as] fans are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now within the last few weeks it will be announced that this is going away and the fans will be able to [continue] their productions.
To that announcement the audience broke into applause. Now it should be pointed out that there’s a wide difference between JJ making the announcement and Paramount and CBS making the legal filings to end the lawsuit. And even when and if that should occur, they may come back with some guidelines for fan productions to adhere to. However this could be the start of a new level of relationship between the studios and the fans.
The most immediate impact would of course to allow Axanar to resume production, but also for Star Trek Horizons, who recently shut down their crowdfunding efforts after being suggested by the studios that it would be their best course of action.
Update: CBS & Paramount have made a statement confirming that they are abandoning the suit, and that they are indeed working on a set of fan film guidelines