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Paramount and CBS sue the makers of the crowdfunded Star Trek film Axanar

12.30.2015

I suppose you can file this one under 'How Did It Not Happen Sooner?', but Paramount Pictures and CBS are suing the production team behind the Star Trek fan-film, Axanar. For those of you not up to snuff, a group of filmmakers created a pretty awesome little short film, Prelude to Axanar, in hopes that they could generate some revenue to do a feature film following Garth of Izar, the Starfleet captain who charted more planets that anyone else and was idolized by Kirk. They were successful in raising over $1 million through both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Production was set to begin next month and now Paramount and CBS have stepped in citing copyright infringements.

Despite claims that no profits would be made any any merchandise, Blu-ray or other item, it seems that's not quite enough. Given the magnitude of such a "fan-film", you'd think this would've been something that had been cleared far in advance. Hell, the short film, Prelude to Axanar, was released back in July of 2014. I'm not sure why Paramount and CBS waited so long to step in (the new TV show, perhaps?), but this certainly doesn't bode well for the filmmakers, backers and Trek fans looking forward to something outside of the new movie canon.

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Source: Variety

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9:00AM on 01/04/2016

Before suing fans for trying to make good Star Trek

They MIGHT try to make ACTUAL STAR TREK movies (No Star Wars/Fast And Furious rip-off, after rejecting a draft considered TO MUCH STAR TREK-ish) or QUALITY STAR TREK TV-Shows...
They MIGHT try to make ACTUAL STAR TREK movies (No Star Wars/Fast And Furious rip-off, after rejecting a draft considered TO MUCH STAR TREK-ish) or QUALITY STAR TREK TV-Shows...
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9:26PM on 12/31/2015
Paramount got litigious?? You don't say!
Paramount got litigious?? You don't say!
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8:33PM on 12/31/2015

Lame

So shouildn't every other fan film get sued too ?
So shouildn't every other fan film get sued too ?
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10:40AM on 01/01/2016
The ones that can muster some form of profit or continuing revenue probably will. I don't think profiting from something necessarily means that your money is made solely from people paying to see your product. Look at youtube for an example. The popular channels on youtube are sought out and offered advertising deals and plugs during each video's run-time. The owners of certain channels profit from the advertising as opposed to the actual videos, but the content of the videos still matters. If
The ones that can muster some form of profit or continuing revenue probably will. I don't think profiting from something necessarily means that your money is made solely from people paying to see your product. Look at youtube for an example. The popular channels on youtube are sought out and offered advertising deals and plugs during each video's run-time. The owners of certain channels profit from the advertising as opposed to the actual videos, but the content of the videos still matters. If someone was making bank on a youtube channel that featured them doing whatever the hell they wanted with a copyrighted franchise, as in using story elements and characters established in said copyrighted franchise, they're going to get sued. No one has the resources to police the globe, (even on the internet) and individually sue every person out there that made even 50 bucks off their Star Trek fan film, so the bigger cases are going to get prioritized. Make no mistake, a case involving a million dollar budget and a team of industry professionals is going to attract attention. Whatever your perspective on just how large a sum a million dollars really is, it's somewhat irrelevant. It's enough to attract attention, and it begs the question; So they made a million off donations for a budget, how much will they make in donations for future projects if people like the movie? That, right there, is the making of a company that could be a future competitor with already established studios. If they are successful in developing their own brand, it would have been due to the fact that their Star Trek fan film got them in the lime light, hence them profiting from the film somewhat indirectly.
5:18PM on 12/31/2015

My Hopes...

are that the parties involved can come to some type of settlement and this proceed forward.

I liked what I saw and found it to be very entertaining.
are that the parties involved can come to some type of settlement and this proceed forward.

I liked what I saw and found it to be very entertaining.
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11:33AM on 12/31/2015

None of you have a clue.

I don't know how many of you work in the film business, but $1 Million dollars is a really small budget when you factor in wages, rentals, construction costs, and everything else that makes up a film. Every penny of that money would have been put into that production and they'd still fall short of their goal to make it appear anything close to a big budget Hollywood Blockbuster.

So yeah, if the only stipulation that allows you to work on a fan film is that you don't get paid for you work,
I don't know how many of you work in the film business, but $1 Million dollars is a really small budget when you factor in wages, rentals, construction costs, and everything else that makes up a film. Every penny of that money would have been put into that production and they'd still fall short of their goal to make it appear anything close to a big budget Hollywood Blockbuster.

So yeah, if the only stipulation that allows you to work on a fan film is that you don't get paid for you work, then sure, this production company was "making profit". Based on Alec Peters' statement, he noted that "industry professionals" make up his crew -- I don't know about any of you, but as an industry professional, I work for money -- even if it's on something I'm a fan of. It is my livelihood -- I don't ask people at McDonalds to work for free cos they like hamburgers.

Anyway, Paramount is being an asshole in this -- They make 100s of millions a year -- and these guys are spending 1 million to make a for-fun movie.
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12:01PM on 12/31/2015
Copyright infringement 101 my friend. Secure the rights to anything not owned by you before you use it to protect your ass. The fact that Paramount or any other studio makes millions every year is irrelevant, these guys just went ahead and made the film feeling that their intentions were enough to keep them from getting sued. We all know that people have multiple ways to profit from filmmaking besides box office receipts these days. If this film receives positive reactions, then it's going to
Copyright infringement 101 my friend. Secure the rights to anything not owned by you before you use it to protect your ass. The fact that Paramount or any other studio makes millions every year is irrelevant, these guys just went ahead and made the film feeling that their intentions were enough to keep them from getting sued. We all know that people have multiple ways to profit from filmmaking besides box office receipts these days. If this film receives positive reactions, then it's going to inspire people to donate more money to the filmmakers for future projects. Tell me, how is that not profiting?
9:40AM on 12/31/2015
This, at first glance, seems like it was a really stupid move on the part of the filmmakers. Yes, people have been making fan-films for years, but that was before kickstarter and other crowd-funding organizations allowed small projects the chance to acquire large budgets with relative ease. I might be wrong, but I don't think anyone was collecting 1 million dollars for a fan film budget before these online crowd-funding sites came into existence. No studio is going to spend time patrolling the
This, at first glance, seems like it was a really stupid move on the part of the filmmakers. Yes, people have been making fan-films for years, but that was before kickstarter and other crowd-funding organizations allowed small projects the chance to acquire large budgets with relative ease. I might be wrong, but I don't think anyone was collecting 1 million dollars for a fan film budget before these online crowd-funding sites came into existence. No studio is going to spend time patrolling the globe looking for Batman films that were shot in people's garages on a 50 dollar budget, but a million dollars and a claim that no one plans to profit off of it? Those guys must be the most altruistic filmmakers in existence....
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8:51PM on 12/30/2015
STATEMENT FROM ALEC PETERS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF AXANAR

December 30, 2015

This morning, I was greeted with news that our production company, Axanar Productions and I, personally, am being sued by CBS Studios, Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation for copyright infringement of Star Trek.

First of all, I was disappointed to learn about this through an article in an industry trade. For several years, Ive worked with a number of people at CBS on Star Trek-related projects, and I
STATEMENT FROM ALEC PETERS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF AXANAR

December 30, 2015

This morning, I was greeted with news that our production company, Axanar Productions and I, personally, am being sued by CBS Studios, Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation for copyright infringement of Star Trek.

First of all, I was disappointed to learn about this through an article in an industry trade. For several years, Ive worked with a number of people at CBS on Star Trek-related projects, and I would have hoped those personal relationships would have warranted a phone call in advance of the filing of a legal complaint. Nevertheless, I know I speak for everyone at Axanar Productions when I say it is our hope that this can be worked out in a fair and amicable manner.

Axanar is a fan film. Fan films whether related to Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Batman or any other franchise are labors of love that keep fans engaged, entertained, and keep favorite characters alive in the hearts of fans. Like other current fan films, AXANAR entered production based on a very long history and relationship between fandom and studios. Were not doing anything new here.

Like all fan films, AXANAR is a love letter to a beloved franchise. For nearly 50 years, Star Treks devotees have been creating new Star Trek stories to share with fellow fans. Thats all were trying to do here.

Since the original Star Trek TV series, when the letter writing campaign by fans got NBC to greenlight a third season of Star Trek, fan support has been critical to the success of the franchise. It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago.

The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. Were very proud that the work weve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Treks fans.

Like everything related to Axanar Productions, we take this matter very seriously and remain open to discussing solutions with all parties that can be mutually beneficial.

Alec Peters
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3:17PM on 12/30/2015
Stupid people like this make fan film makers look bad. Of course if they are profiting the property holders are going to be litigious.
Stupid people like this make fan film makers look bad. Of course if they are profiting the property holders are going to be litigious.
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4:30PM on 12/30/2015
They aren't profiting off it. That's rule #1 of fan films. The problem is the production value and popularity is too good and its making them look bad so they have to stop it.

That's all, end of story.
They aren't profiting off it. That's rule #1 of fan films. The problem is the production value and popularity is too good and its making them look bad so they have to stop it.

That's all, end of story.
2:02PM on 12/30/2015
Paramount has allowed fan films & fan series for years, as long as they don't sell tickets or merchandise or profit from it. I guess because kickstarter raised more than enough money - it went beyond the needed production costs - Paramount saw that as profit.
Paramount has allowed fan films & fan series for years, as long as they don't sell tickets or merchandise or profit from it. I guess because kickstarter raised more than enough money - it went beyond the needed production costs - Paramount saw that as profit.
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1:57PM on 12/30/2015

To bad this is getting shut down.

I liked thereally history channel vibe they were giving it. And the story was interesting. It was kind of refreshing to see after the last two star trek movies. Personally I would like to see them move forward in the time line (post nemesis). Maybe even move up a few years The star trek destiny book series was amazing, to bad they couldn't do that with the range of characters in it.
I liked thereally history channel vibe they were giving it. And the story was interesting. It was kind of refreshing to see after the last two star trek movies. Personally I would like to see them move forward in the time line (post nemesis). Maybe even move up a few years The star trek destiny book series was amazing, to bad they couldn't do that with the range of characters in it.
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1:39PM on 12/30/2015
They waited until there was money to sue for. Duh! Just like what happened to Michelle Phan on youtube, the music companies waited till she a few million to take from her in a copyright lawsuit.
They waited until there was money to sue for. Duh! Just like what happened to Michelle Phan on youtube, the music companies waited till she a few million to take from her in a copyright lawsuit.
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1:37PM on 12/30/2015

clueless

What a bunch of assholes.
What a bunch of assholes.
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