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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 6:37am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

After a dozen or more Star Trek fan projects have been made in the past decade or so with basically no interference, CBS is suing the producers of the upcoming Axanar project which apparently features Garth of Izar.  Copyright infringement. 

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Paul Greer
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The biggest hurdle CBS/Paramount will have in this lawsuit is
explaining why they didn't issue lawsuits or at least cease and desist
orders for previous Star Trek "fan" films. It is why Disney shuts anything
down at the slightest copyright infringement. You protect your copyright
100% of the time. You don't pick and choose.

The best thing they have going for them is this project used the Star
Trek name to raise over a million dollars. Many legal questions pop up
when you are using a copyright to raise that kind of money.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 7:43am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The best thing they have going for them is this project used the Star Trek name to raise over a million dollars. Many legal questions pop up when you are using a copyright to raise that kind of money.

And there it is in a nutshell!

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 10:11am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Much or most of the money from previous projects was self-financed so the million plus dollars raised from donors this time is a difference.  It does seem like CBS should have sued sooner, though; the kickstarter campaign began in 2014 and was well publicized.  I'm guessing they had no idea it would generate that much interest.  It sounds like future fan films are going to be a much trickier and more problematic proposition.
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Axanar was using the crowd funded money to establish a film studio that was intended to do other projects after Axanar; so that was another issue.

And some of their staff were being paid to work on Axanar.  You can't use a copyrighted property to create a paying job for yourself and then cry that you are just making a fan film.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 11:35am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Okay this situation is apparently more complex than I first imagined.
I don't like how CBS is now slamming down on the Axanar team now after the project has been publicized for long (it wasn't kept a secret from CBS legal department), but some of their grievances/complaints are genuine or founded thus they have a real case.

Most of my annoyance about CBS' actions and behavior towards the team comes from the fact that they or Paramount have done very little of quality or importance with the franchise themselves. (I feel that the new movies neither embody the Star Trek spirit or were meant to continue on what the shows were about, rather wanting to re invent it as another Star Wars franchise with a similar marketing potential such as toys, bedsheets, lunchboxes and so on).
For that reason I would be on the side of the Axanar team as they seem to be making something out of fan love for the franchise.

But CBS is legally in their right. I just hope they are not going to use the 'we need to protect the quality of our property' routine.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 11:48am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Most of my annoyance about CBS' actions and behavior towards the team comes from the fact that they or Paramount have done very little of quality or importance with the franchise themselves. (I feel that the new movies neither embody the Star Trek spirit or were meant to continue on what the shows were about, rather wanting to re invent it as another Star Wars franchise with a similar marketing potential such as toys, bedsheets, lunchboxes and so on).

For that reason I would be on the side of the Axanar team as they seem to be making something out of fan love for the franchise.

WAY too subjective!!

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

WAY too subjective!!

*****

Sorry that I have to ask you to clear this up for me but because English is not my native language I miss out on what you are saying.
Have I said something stupid?

Edit: I confess I am somewhat anti CBS/Paramount but not because it is a fad to be 'against the man/big companies', but rather because I really don't like what they are doing with something I like a lot.

Of course that does not apologize to be immediately on the side of the 'opposite side' though I don't think that is an appropriate description for the Axanar team.
For me it looks like a bunch of fans making their own product based on a franchise we all really like in such a way that feels more like what attracted us all to it in the first place. And then the big company suddenly stepping in as their legal department told the people in charge that it could affect their property and its sales.

Of course it is not as simple as that. I really wish I had a better picture on this all.
In the end I would just like to see good Star Trek.


Edited by Marten van Wier on 03 January 2016 at 12:06pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 11:57am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

You've expressed opinion as fact, and, as an extra sin, extrapolated emotions in the parties involved based on your opinion. You like what you see of Axanar, so you imagine it to be a labor of love. Based on the available information -- using crowd funding to start a new company -- Axanar could as easily be a cold blooded grab for cash.

Most likely somewhere in the middle, but only those on the "inside" really know.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 12:11pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Setting aside some of the points involving money that have already
been made, I can't help but wonder if another reason for this is because
there's a new movie coming from Paramount, this year, and they don't
want competition from a fanfilm.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 12:12pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

You've expressed opinion as fact, and, as an extra sin, extrapolated emotions in the parties involved based on your opinion. You like what you see of Axanar, so you imagine it to be a labor of love. Based on the available information -- using crowd funding to start a new company -- Axanar could as easily be a cold blooded grab for cash. Most likely somewhere in the middle, but only those on the "inside" really know.

* * * * *

Sorry for that. You are right that I that I have been quickly convinced that this was done as 'a labor of love' that I forgot to look at it from an objective point of view.

As I mentioned in the edit of my post, it is not because I seek to be sort of 'anti establishment/anti big company'. If a big company makes a product or a service that I think is good or enjoy than I will admit that.
And fans can be as much flawed as any professional writer or producer, sometimes even more so (Mary Sues for one).

I am just very dissatisfied with the current producers of Star Trek.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

After reading the above link I looked in on "Prelude to Axanar", the 20 minute short designed to whet fans' appetites for the project and thought it was interesting.  The downfall of these films for me has been uneven acting and/or weak scripts and pacing but the "interview" approach here effectively sidestepped these issues.  What storyline we saw (the leadup to Garth's famous battle at Axanar mentioned by Kirk in "Whom Gods Destroy" and a hint at the surprising role the Enterprise might play) was effectively teased and overall it wasn't half bad, particularly given the context.   I wonder now if the project will ever see the light of day. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 January 2016 at 2:44pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

...thought it was interesting.

If you don't mind yet another erasure of TOS.

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Doug Jones
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 2:54am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

In addition to the reasons listed above: no way CBS wants a free, high-profile fan production sharing space next year with its $5.99/month flagship streaming series. 




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Mike Devlin
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Interesting story. I`ve been following this via a looong thread on The Trek BBS website.
There`s indeed the issue of the Axanar team raising all that money thru kickstarters, for what they`ve referred to several times as a "professional" Star Trek film, using of course, copyrighted IP.
Also, I imagine CBS was none too pleased with the Axanar folks creating merchandise associated with the film. T-shirts, starship models, posters etc...there was (is?) even an Axanar coffee brand!

Check post 2220 ,on the linked page, for some merch pics...


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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

It seems that what we're seeing here is a violation of the same unvoiced "gentlemen's agreement" that covers commission pieces using copyrighted characters. All is kosher provided the artist does not extend the use beyond the initial sale, as thru the production of t-shirts, sketchbooks, etc. So too, in this case, CBS (and Paramount) are willing to look the other way provided it's "cardboard sets in somebody's garage." When it turns into a profit-making venture, tho...

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Brian Skelley
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I may be missing something, but I really don't understand what case the makers of Axanar think they have. I've seen a few places where the makers are claiming they're going to fight this legally and have hired lawyers. I'm really confused as I thought copyright laws in cases like this were pretty cut and dry. Does a company only have a set amount of time to say no on something like this? Do they need any other reason other than "this is my IP, you can not use it" ? I get the whipping up the fan boys to protest Paramount but I am so lost on what else they could do...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 1:58pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I may be missing something, but I really don't understand what case the makers of Axanar think they have. I've seen a few places where the makers are claiming they're going to fight this legally and have hired lawyers. I'm really confused as I thought copyright laws in cases like this were pretty cut and dry. Does a company only have a set amount of time to say no on something like this? Do they need any other reason other than "this is my IP, you can not use it" ? I get the whipping up the fan boys to protest Paramount but I am so lost on what else they could do...

The Axanar people seem to be presenting themselves as living Keane paintins, with big dewy eyes gazing up at us as they whimper "But we were just having fun. . . "

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Joseph Greathouse
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

"I really don't understand what case the makers of Axanar think they have."

They are basing their response on the point that other fan films have been made. The difference between those films and this one is the profit motive, showcased by the amount of merchandising available.

"Does a company only have a set amount of time to say no on something like this? "

Kind of.  The statute of limitations for civil action on copyright infringement is only three years based on when the infringement is "discovered". So, the Axanar team could have been selling t-shirts at conventions and all over the place for the past decade, but if it was reasonable that the action was out of sight of Paramount till now, they would have three more years. If it could be proven that the Axanar project was brought to the attention of Paramount five years ago, and they didn't act, then they would be out of luck. The deciding factor on statute of limitation is based on reasonableness. 

On a side note, the statute of limitations of criminal action on copyright infringement is five years. 

"Do they need any other reason other than "this is my IP, you can not use it" ?"

No, that is the only reason needed. 

Currently the Axanar group is also claiming that the first they heard of this was with the injunction and claim for damages. Generally in such a case of trademake infringement, the first step is a simple cease and decist. But, as mentioned before, the volume of income has forced Paramount to a bigger reaction. 

On a side note, it almost looks like Alec Peters likes using other people's stuff.  I came across a reference to "Trekyards" from 2014 and could only think the series cover is very familiar, if not as good.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4475864/?ref_=nm_knf_t4

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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 2:46pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4475864/?ref_=nm_knf_t4

sigh

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Paul Greer
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 3:36pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Double sigh.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 04 January 2016 at 9:19pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Has the Axanar team actually been selling merchandise based on their movie project/Star Trek?
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 05 January 2016 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Yes, you can buy resin models of two of the ships from Axanar from Starcrafts. I see this morning as I looked for a link that Starcrafts website is down (hmmm...maybe they are removing some contraband from their offerings), but here is a Youtube clip of someone unboxing one of the models:

http://wn.com/starcraft_models_uss_ares_model_kit_from_star_ trek_axanar

Originally, models were offered if one donated a certain amount to the Axanar fund raiser. But later, they went on sale like any garage kit.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 05 January 2016 at 8:35am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

David Gerrold has some thoughts on the subject:
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 January 2016 at 9:44am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Gerrold seems to have missed the point.
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