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  1. James Melin
    March 17, 2016 @ 11:31 am

    If CBS/Paramount were smart, they would grant license to the fan productions and take the very best of them and put them on their new streaming service. Axanar being among the most polished, there is the recently release Star Trek:Horizon set in the ‘Enterprise’ time period. That didn’t get sued. Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages, both very good original series, for lack of a better term ‘love letters’ to a beloved franchise that didn’t get sued.

    Paramount/CBS is being selective in their copyright enforcement and after establishing a very forgiving attitude towards fan productions, almost embracing lack of copyright enforcement as long as there were no profits made, this flies in the face of tacit approval.

    If paramount/CBS was smart, appreciated their customer base (The Star Trek Fans), they would put out a fan productions license that stipulated the restrictions (such as cannot make a profit, cannot be shown in a theatre etc), and also include a clause that Paramount/CBS gives the fan productions these rights with the caveat that paramount/CBS by way of this license reserves the right to air any and all such productions as they deem of sufficient quality. Paramount/CBS airs these productions, perhaps even with commercials in them as a small revenue stream generator to be shared with the productions paramount deems worthy of airing. CBS/Paramount would likely keep most of such revenue but what active fan production can’t use the occasional infusion of 5,000 or 10,000 dollars? If CBS/Paramount wanted to get distribution rights to sell DVD’s included in such a licenses so that the actors and crew got some compensation or recognition in things like the IMDB, that would also generate good will between the parties.

    To be antagonistic to your fan base is shortsighted and is the work of men in lofty towered that do not understand that without the fan base, they would have no product to stream to anyone because Star Trek would have died in 1968 and be no more than a footnote in television history. No third season would have been produced, no films, no Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise nor series to be named later for 2017.

    This would be seen as positive by the fans in that they get to see this content that is probably inaccessible for some people in any other way, be seen as embracing and nurturing the passion the fan base has shown over the last 50 years (without which you would have no property of sufficient value to sue over in the first place), and be seen as welcoming to audiences old and new. That kind of good will cannot be purchased. It cannot be litigated into existence. Paramount/CBS needs to have the good will of the fan base to make their new show succeed, as well as have their film franchises succeed. What better way to generate that good will, than by executing such a license agreement with the fan productions.

    • Kelcey Patrick-Ferree
      March 18, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

      James, a licensing route would be a great idea for the companies, although I suspect CBS and Paramount would have some trouble with administering it the way you’ve described. For one thing, since they each own a different aspect of the work, they would both have to agree about exactly what the terms of the license would be. They are different companies with different priorities, both financial and legal. It’s entirely possible that part of the reason no one has been sued before is that they never agreed about who to sue before. For another thing, they would also need to have figured out exactly where their lines are. How big a budget is too big? Who can make money on a fan production? I suspect that Axanar has clarified a number of things for both companies.

      I do agree, though, that it really is too bad that they didn’t have the foresight to formalize their policies into a fan license before Axanar started production. I would love to see a formal fan work license come out of this in the end. I think it would help everyone involved.

  2. Gordon Smuder
    March 17, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

    The Axanar folks have no leg to stand on. Their case is based on the same logic of a burglar who claims they should be able to rob a house without punishment because it wasn’t “locked enough”.

    It doesn’t matter if that burglar had been previously invited into the house.

    It doesn’t matter if the house owner had loaned the burglar (or other burglars) items from the house in the past.

    The house and its contents belong to the house owner. Not the burglar. no matter how much the burglar admires or desires the things he’s stolen. No matter how little the house owner cares for or appreciates the house’s contents.

    And the pressing of charges (or not) against the burglar is completely up to the house owner.

  3. Jason K
    March 17, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

    I am an Axanar donor, who started questioning the budget bloat/scope creep of the production when, after raising 640K said they needed another 1.3 Million.

    I appreciate and have donated to a number of fan films, and generally enjoy even the “Garage Trek” ones, as a labor of love of a passionate fanbase.

    CBS and Paramount have been gracious enough to look the other way, as fan films became better and better, but, these people have crossed some serious lines. They allowed a coffee maker to create, distribute and sell a line of coffee items based on the Axanar Brand, which itself is an unlicensed derivative work of CBS IP. The fact that someone actually thought they had the authority to do such a thing, not only shows contempt for CBS, but also every other fan film, who tries very hard to ensure that they do things in a way that gives the fans good stories, while paying difference to the owners of this storied franchise.

    It’s a shame that the actions of a few, could ruin fan films for all of us, as I am sure studios are watching this case very carefully.

    • Kelcey Patrick-Ferree
      March 18, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

      Jason, I hadn’t heard of the licensing. Do you have a link or more information about that? That certainly adds an interesting new twist to the story.

      I agree, studios very likely are watching this very closely.

  4. Ultrawoman
    March 18, 2016 @ 3:26 am

    Even the IRS made a STAR TREK movie. It can be seen on YouTube.

  5. Kelcey Patrick-Ferree
    March 18, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

    I had to see it to believe it. Amazing.