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Topic: CBS sues crowdfunded Star Trek producers (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 23 June 2016 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 1  

I'm always afraid something like this is going to happen to comic
sketches and commissions. A year or two back, an artist attempted to
put out a set of prints of his art using Marvel characters through
Kickstarter. Marvel shut him down, and the artist tried to argue that
what he was doing was no different than the prints being sold at artists'
alleys at conventions, ignoring that either those artists had explicit
permission from the respective copyright holders to sell those prints, or
those artists were selling prints without permission and the companies
were turning a blind eye. It's completely idiotic to force the comic
companies into a position where they can no longer turn a blind eye.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 23 June 2016 at 7:31pm | IP Logged | 2  

No alcohol use?  A good chunk of existing Star Trek would fall under than ban, wouldn't it?
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 24 June 2016 at 6:27am | IP Logged | 3  

So much for Scotty's decanter of Romulan Ale!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 June 2016 at 9:58am | IP Logged | 4  

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/06/23/axanars-alec-peters-r esponds-to-the-star-trek-fan-films-guidelines/


Y'see, there's a big chunk of the problem--TREK fans have long had a misplaced sense of entitlement and ownership. Fact of the matter is, fans and fanfiction have not "sustained" STAR TREK during lean times. The early, grassroots fan movement may have led to Paramount seeing a potential profit in resurrecting the franchise, but all the fans have ever done is show that there's a market to be tapped by the actual owners of the property.

And, really, FAN productions should not be "major", should they? That crosses the line.
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 26 June 2016 at 12:44pm | IP Logged | 5  

Meanwhile, the official Star Trek Facebook page asks this question:

Edited by Tim Cousar on 26 June 2016 at 3:10pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 June 2016 at 1:40pm | IP Logged | 6  

Uh........
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 26 June 2016 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 7  

They've taken down the post now.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 26 June 2016 at 9:19pm | IP Logged | 8  

Greg>> Fact of the matter is, fans and fanfiction have not "sustained" STAR TREK during lean times. The early, grassroots fan movement may have led to Paramount seeing a potential profit in resurrecting the franchise, but all the fans have ever done is show that there's a market to be tapped by the actual owners of the property.<<

I don't disagree with your analysis Greg, because Paramount is clearly well within their rights.  However, it's kinda crummy advertising to keep reminding the fans they are only customers, isn't it?  They could've framed their legal challenge in much more fan (customer)-friendly way.

While that particular art form is only sustainable if it has a sufficient market, that market kinda depends on the fans thinking they are part of the experience.  Identifying with the characters and settings almost as if they were real.  You have to stay in their imagination, just like baseball or any other fandom.  What if Baseball sold "The Great American Pastime" as just a product for you to consume without a reason for you to consume it?

Baseball Tonight:
Watch grown men play a boy's game and get a HUGE check!  Even though it truly doesn't matter!

Personally, I think Trek has been sliding off the road since DS9.  High production values and some clever writing have made them more or less palatable, but the one thing you can say about many of the fan films is they portray a Trek that more resembles TOS than JJTrek.  Some very explicitly so.

While Paramount are the legal guardians of the IP, having morphed it into progressive unrecognizability, can they really be said to have protected it?

An interesting analysis is here.

I don't agree with everything (on either side), but the point about  "free" art talent rankles me.  I just did some VFX for a Star Wars fan film (for the Lucasfilm contest), and while I did indeed do it for free, if it wasn't a friend of mine's project, there's no way I would do that much work for free for someone who wasn't a buddy, and his was only 5 minutes long.  Bear in mind I was "only" required to do some modeling (of the sort I enjoy) and produce about 8 seconds of animation!  <-many hours of work went into this!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 5:09am | IP Logged | 9  

A mistake being made here -- and one that is common with a lot of fan groups -- is taking the minority as representative of the whole. Most people who read comics, for instance, know little or nothing of what is happening "behind the scenes." And very few STAR TREK fans are involved in creating fan fiction, whether it's written or produced on film.

This situation does no represent a reminder to fans of how "unimportant" they are. It's more about maintaining proper order.

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 4:00pm | IP Logged | 10  

JB>>Most people who read comics, for instance, know little or nothing of what is happening "behind the scenes."<<

That's certainly a good point.  Even in the Internet age, that should help limit the damage.  A concern I have for the present litigation is just how much of it is being aired in public on major fansites.   Claims, counterclaims, etc.  Justin Lin and JJ Abrams speaking out of turn (or out their ass) at major events, etc.

There's plenty of tarnish on the brand, and I'm in no hurry to see more on it.

While I do think Paramount could be doing a better job at fan relations in general (and everything else in general), even if Peters and company want to use a film as a demo-reel, they are clearly talented enough to just roll their own thing.  They don't need to use Star Trek and someone else's IP as a crutch.  Indie films are actually a thing, after all.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 11  

The "tarnish on the brand" comes mostly from civilians not giving a f*ck. They're tired of STAR TREK, which is why Jar Jar Abrams was able to foist his drek on the world and be lauded as the Second Coming.

This whole business is a blip most of the paying audience will not even notice.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 8:00pm | IP Logged | 12  

There's another point that needs to be considered here.

In something of a dream come true, I have been working on STAR TREK projects thru IDW for a few years now. The fan inside me sings! And I am sure the same is true for most of the people who put together these fan projects. (Especially those who cast themselves in previously established roles.)

But the BIG difference is, I have to submit all my story ideas, plots, scripts and finished books to Paramount and CBS for approval. Every step of the way, in other words. (And that's not even counting that Ryall guy, who has to stick his big thumb in everything!!) This is not the case with fan fiction.

And, sure, we can assume most of these fan projects would treat the material with the utmost respect. There would rarely be an actual intent to do harm. But what is it they say about the road to Hell?

This list of guidelines is Patamount's way of saying "you can't do this" without demanding script approval on every fan project. (And, remember, once that was set in motion, it would have to be EVERY fan project.) A kind of pre-emptive strike, that will hopefully diminish the damage -- especially in the YouTube era, where civilians might very easily mistake a fan project for the real thing!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 10:08pm | IP Logged | 13  

They're tired of STAR TREK, which is why Jar Jar Abrams was able to foist his drek on the world and be lauded as the Second Coming.
++++++++

The thing which really drives me nuts is that people declared STAR TREK to be good for the first time after the first Abrams film came out. And that it "captured the spirit of the old show".

I'm reaching a point where I think that fans will embrace literally anything stamped with the STAR TREK or STAR WARS logo on it, as long as it's bright and shiny and new. Remember, even the less-than-beloved INTO DARKNESS has a whopping 87% rating at Rotten Romatoes, and made nearly half a billion dollars at the box office.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 11:34pm | IP Logged | 14  

Greg>>I'm reaching a point where I think that fans will embrace literally anything stamped with the STAR TREK or STAR WARS logo on it, as long as it's bright and shiny and new.<<

Perhaps Chris Pine's cynical pronouncement about the current market isn't at all off-base?

Personally, I suspect it is off-base.  Looking at the box-office may seem empirical, but I think there's a certain "self-fulfilling prophecy" thing going on instead.  I.e., the Studios think this is what sells, therefore this is what they'll make, and the audience gets trained into thinking this is what they want when it happens to be the only choice they were given.

It's not like marketing types are being scientific about it.  The Studios don't make a "control" Star Trek movie to be simultaneously released with a movie that follows their New Direction, then see which one does better.

While I think it's very obvious much of the audience just wants a couple hours respite from A Hard Day's Work, I don't think the escapism has to be vacuous, and I think they are more likely to become fans of the material if it was fun *and* had some meat on the bones.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 27 June 2016 at 11:51pm | IP Logged | 15  

Perhaps Chris Pine's cynical pronouncement about the current market
isn't at all off-base?

Personally, I suspect it is off-base. Looking at the box-office may seem
empirical, but I think there's a certain "self-fulfilling prophecy" thing
going on instead. I.e., the Studios think this is what sells, therefore this
is what they'll make, and the audience gets trained into thinking this is
what they want when it happens to be the only choice they were given.

-----

I thought Pine was way off. I don't think the issue is that there is no
audience for a cerebral Star Trek. It's that theater viewing has changed.
With the windows between box office release and home video
shortened, the advances in home theater technology, the rise in box
office prices, and the increased production values in television, people
don't need to see EVERY movie in the theater. The theater experience
provides added value for loud, effects driven, tentpole action movies or
comedies with audience response. For anything else, you can just wait
three months and avoid the $6 popcorn and obnoxious texting
teenagers.
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Doug Jones
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Posted: 28 June 2016 at 12:15am | IP Logged | 16  

JB: And, sure, we can assume most of these fan projects would treat the material with the utmost respect. There would rarely be an actual intent to do harm. But what is it they say about the road to Hell?

--

...That, in this case, it is paved with a comprehensive line of AXANAR merchandise...?
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 28 June 2016 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 17  

Zooks!

AXANAR:  I don't see what the problem is, we built a lovely house of the sort you'd make yourself!

PARAMOUNT:  But you built it on my lawn out of parts from MY house!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 June 2016 at 1:03am | IP Logged | 18  

Yep. 

STAR TREK CONTINUES and the like were, shall we say...skirting the edge of CBS/Paramount's good graces by producing fanfilms with 'STAR TREK' in the name, and making use of actual characters/music/misc. from the official show(s). However, this AXANAR stuff lept several meters over the edge, what with its clearly for-profit merchandising setup.

It's maybe not quite so clear-cut as one bad apple spoiling the whole barrel, but that's the essential gist of it.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2016 at 5:36am | IP Logged | 19  

There are echoes here of the Private Commissions and Sketches situation.

I do private commissions, as do many artists working in comics. This is something that goes back almost to the beginning of the business, and for as long as the process has been extant, it has operated under a kind of "gentlemen's agreement." The Companies allow the use of their property in this way, without recompense, provided it's all kept "small," and, most of all, provided those commissions (and sketches) are not for publication. Really a pretty simple arrangement.

But in recent decades, more and more artists, it seems, are intent on pushing the limitation. More and more "sketchbooks" are turning up for sale, where those copyright characters are used to generate an actual revenue stream. For several years now, I have concerned that this will sour the deal for everyone, even those who play by the rules.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 June 2016 at 8:05am | IP Logged | 20  

The more I read about Alec Peters, the less surprised about this situation I am. The guy sounds more and more to me like a classic conman, trying to take advantage of the unspoken "gentleman's agreement" and turn a major profit. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 29 June 2016 at 10:52pm | IP Logged | 21  

...fascinating.

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 4:17am | IP Logged | 22  

Why does this sound like a plot of some love-sick guy to impress a girl who is "out of his league?"

Judging by Prelude to Axanar (as an end-result), he's not untalented.  He could have taken the Shane Carruth route and just done his own thing and totally pulled it off.

A personal bias on my part, I expect.  


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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 7:13am | IP Logged | 23  

Judging by Prelude to Axanar (as an end-result), he's not untalented

---

If you take the interview at face value, he was talented at finding
someone talented to produce his fan fiction.
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David Miller
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 11:46am | IP Logged | 24  

One does not need to study many career trajectories to understand that distinguishing oneself on an original project, even a television commercial, is going to attract more and better work than making an inferior counterfeit. The guy who directed Jurassic World did not get his start making Jurassic Park fan movies. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 25  

A piece of advice I have been giving would be comic artists for decades goes something like this:

If you want to impress an editor with your work, don't do samples based on the hottest books. Odds are they are hot because they are being done in a way that fans already like, so you don't want to set yourself in direct completion with what's already there.

(And even if you think what's already there sux, you're not going to win a lot of brownie points with the editor by effectively saying "Look! I can do it better!")

Instead, take something that is generally agreed to be bad, and do THAT better!

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