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Star Trek: Axanar avoids copyright trial

Star Trek: Axanar avoids copyright trial with CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures.

By Nesta Sun 17 Sep, 2017 9:31 PM
A number of days after the federal judge appeared to open the door to Star Trek: Axanar's financial records, CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures, who sued Axanar and it's head Alec Peters in December 2015, came out with a statement that the case was settled.

CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures, who sued Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters in December 2015 for copyright infringement, issued a joint statement on Friday, January 20th 2017, to GeekNation saying the lawsuit was now over and that Axanar was admitting it “crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.”

"Axanar and Mr. Peters have agreed to make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation, and have also assured the copyright holders that any future Star Trek fan-films produced by Axanar or Mr. Peters will be in accordance with the ‘Guidelines for Fan-Films’ distributed by CBS and Paramount in June 2016."

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Alec Peters
CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures sued Axanar and it's head Alec Peters after Axanar had raised some 1.4 million to produce a short called Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar, but also produce a feature film called Star Trek: Axanar. The studios accused Axanar and Peters of using the money to seed a commercial studio outside Los Angeles, paying himself and people close to him salaries and covering some personal expenses, all of which breach the guidelines CBS and Paradox released in June of 2016.

The guidelines CBS published assured fans that they would probably not take legal action if they were breached by something.
Those guidelines included limiting films to just 15 minutes, capping crowdfunding at $50,000, and not including cast and crew who had previously worked on Star Trek television series or movies.

The vice-president of development in CBS, John Van Critters, later said that the guidelines were simply just that. Guidelines. (like the Prime Directive in Star Trek), and CBS/Paradox would likely not take legal action, but if you were to breach them, you would take the risk of legal action.

CBS and Paramount did, however, stop short of taking a harder line on fan-films, similar to other media companies and major intellectual property they own. Any fan-film made outside of copyright’s “fair use” could be subject to lawsuits and damages. The guidelines were, however, designed so there would be a small, but vibrant community that would continue to celebrate Trek in their own way, instead of the “arms race” that had hit some fan-films in recent years over who could raise the most money, or get the biggest Star Trek names involved.

"Paramount and CBS continue to be big believers in fan-fiction and fan creativity. They encourage amateur filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek. Paramount and CBS will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional, amateur and otherwise meet the guidelines."

The federal judge in the case, R. Gary Klausner, had recently ruled the Axanar projects were objectively substantially similar to intellectual property owned by Star Trek. He left only the question of if they were subjectively similar to a jury, who also would then find for damages if Axanar had lost the case. Klausner also ruled Axanar could not claim fair use, as it did not meet the criteria as set by laws and the courts.

How Axanar will continue from here is unclear. Axanar still has possession of the studio outside of Los Angeles, there is little left of the 1.4 million dollars. Through the guidelines, however, Axanar could still gather up to $100.000 for two 15 minutes episodes.

What do you think of this production? Please let us know in the comments!

WRITTEN BY Nesta - EDITED BY Eaglesg
14 Comments
SCOOP
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 5:45 AM
Honestly, I can't fight that feeling CBS/PARA knew very, very well that they'll produce a turd with Discovery, so they went after the little guy who might actually be able to challenge them with a quality production.. That's oozing with pettiness if you ask me.. Just look at the ship at the top of the article's page, it's hilarious that Axanar can design more believable looking vessels of the TOS era than Discovery can who, naturally, went overboard with overly futurey looking technology..

I like that guy's commentary regarding the whole issue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it-6YP8e-B4

P.S.
'all of which breach the guidelines CBS and Paradox released in June of 2016.' Stellaris's ST NewHorizons mod, haha xD
Nesta
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 9:04 AM
You might very well be right. They are afraid of Anaxar, seeing its potential and the amount of peole willing to pay for it. They are afraid that we will leave Discovery, which they know will flop, and go watch, and support, Anaxar. So what do they do? They go after it, creating some guidelines along the way to "Justify" their claims. It is really sad to see this, Anaxar could have been contracted by CBS/Paramount, and been one of the best movies (maybe even series) Star Trek has ever seen! Anaxar was the boost Star Trek needed to return to its former glory. Sadly, Paramount and CBS don't see it that way.
Infinity
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 2:50 PM
Did they change the name to Anaxar or something, or is it just a typo?
Huh, I never noticed that. Blame the editor! (Which isn't me anymore!)

- - - Updated - - -

Did they change the name to Anaxar or something, or is it just a typo?
Huh, I never noticed that. Blame the editor! (Which isn't me anymore!)
Dark
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 1:56 PM
While I didn't care at all about Anaxar, I had a buddy who was real excited about it - he saw a bit and thought it was the next official Star Trek thing due to the major actors in the show. But he also thought it sucked - poor writing, poor acting/directing. When I told him it was actually a fan thing, his reaction was basically "Oooh, that explains it." He immediately assumed that it was a "one take only" budget thing, explaining why even veteran actors seemed to be of lower quality than their norm.

He's looking forward to Discovery now, which I'm also ambivalent about. I'll wait to see what he says about that. Tongue Out
Sammygm
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 2:47 PM
Did they change the name to Anaxar or something, or is it just a typo?
Nesta
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 3:18 PM
I seem to have made a mistake there, it is indeed Axanar. Shame on you, Eaglesg for not catching that! Big Grin
Sammygm
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 3:25 PM
Fight fight fight!

On a more serious note though. It's good to see that the case is settled, but I don't really have high hopes for Axanar anymore. Even before the whole lawsuit it was starting to get a bit iffy with another round of kickstarters after the first 2 were done.(I think?), and the whole mismanagment of funds. Prelude was cool, but I think Axanar's ship has sailed.
Nesta
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 3:32 PM
Indeed, I mean, 1.4 million and you still need two other kickstarters? I know it takes a lot of funds to create a movie, but still...
SCOOP
Mon 18 Sep, 2017 3:57 PM
While I didn't care at all about Anaxar, I had a buddy who was real excited about it - he saw a bit and thought it was the next official Star Trek thing due to the major actors in the show. But he also thought it sucked - poor writing, poor acting/directing. When I told him it was actually a fan thing, his reaction was basically "Oooh, that explains it." He immediately assumed that it was a "one take only" budget thing, explaining why even veteran actors seemed to be of lower quality than their norm.

He's looking forward to Discovery now, which I'm also ambivalent about. I'll wait to see what he says about that. Tongue Out
I agree that Axanar's plot isn't exactly very creative, it's, in fact, rather safe and conventional.. It's basically a war movie and an arms race where fed and klingons try to gain the upper hand by coming up with better and better ship designs all the way up to D7 cruisers and the constitution class..

That, however, sounds and looks way more reasonable to me than anything I've ever heard about Discovery.. Like disco being a prequel+reboot, out of place technology that isn't appropriate for the T0S era, awkward klingons, or new characters suddenly being related to famous characters like spock in a hilarious attempt to win over the hardcore Trek crowd, I suppose?? lol

This looks a million times more appropriate for Kirk:



than this:

Kinda looks like a ship you would see in Star Trek Online.

However,
what it is really all about you can read up here: http://www.startrek.com/fan-films.

This one, especially, drives me furious:
The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with NO additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.
Is CBS/PARA butthurt now or what? They could at least do it like unity engine and only start to charge them once they make actual money with it or straight up buy Axanar when it's that obvious (kickstarter campaign) that the fans wanna buy Axanar.
Scarlett
Tue 19 Sep, 2017 6:24 PM
I watched the prelude and had to put aside expectations. It was reasonably well-made for the budget (acting to the side). All Axanar had to do was not profit from it ...

If changes are going to be made so Axanar can be made without a lawsuit, then good luck to that project.
Eaglesg
Thu 21 Sep, 2017 7:35 PM
Did they change the name to Anaxar or something, or is it just a typo?
Huh, I never noticed that. Blame the editor! (Which isn't me anymore!)
I seem to have made a mistake there, it is indeed Axanar. Shame on you, Eaglesg for not catching that! Big Grin
My bad, I should stop editing articles so late lol
deuZige
Sat 23 Sep, 2017 7:20 PM
A lot of times when i read people saying they hate things in Startrek movies or series i wonder if that is really what they mean.

No one watches something they hate right? But i'm sure 99,9% of the people "hating" a certain movie or series did watch every second of it and enjoyed doing so. So i usually read hate as "would've liked it better if it had been some other way"

I personally loved prelude and was looking forward to the full movie. But i also enjoyed Enterprise, the new movies and a lot of fan productions.

Sure there's things about Enterprise that could've been better. Sure there's a lot about the movies i don't agree with and could've been a much better experience for me if done different. Yes most if not all fan productions have elements that emphasize the fact that they are amateur fan productions.

But that still did not make me not enjoy watching them. Okay, the Animated series has so much things that i actually dislike it. That's the reason The Animated Series contains to this date the only canon i have not yet seen. I hate the experience of watching it so i don't.


The prequel/betweenqual/sequel concept is actually fine with me. I love those actually.

But of-course there's a lot wrong with Discovery. I hate the whole reboot idea. It shows a premeditated disregard (if not disrespect) of the continuity and history of the universe and legacy you presume to want to be a part of. There are actually very few alternate universe/timeline stories (in or out of the Trek universe) that i like. The only one i actually could in all honesty call awesome is "in a mirror darkly".

So for Discovery to be a prequel but not in the universe/timeline of either Kelvin or the original universe doesn't sit right with me. This'll mean we're gonna get a Kelvin sauce over the original universe canon with a kind of JJ taste. Hardly a good thing.

But having said that i know i am going to watch every second, enjoy the hell out of it and will find things in the series that i'll find awesome and going to absolutely love. I can't wait to be spamming the F5 button waiting for the first torrents to pop up!
Nesta
Sat 23 Sep, 2017 7:43 PM
Oh dear, I ment to click on the "like" button but I misclicked and it became a "dislike", and it won't be cancelled...
deuZige
Sat 23 Sep, 2017 8:49 PM
Haha! Wooow.... phew... Well, that gets the blood flowing.. It's my first dislike!! Big Grin