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Topic: CBS Kills Star Trek Stage 9 Fan Project Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 28 September 2018 at 5:05pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 September 2018 at 8:27pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Just remove the last four words from the post title, and thatíll nicely sum things up.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 28 September 2018 at 8:41pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Pretty much. Iím on a hunt now to find this program. I downloaded a long walk-thru and it looks amazing. Wish I had known about this before it was taken down. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 September 2018 at 9:31pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Of course, CBS is perfectly free to defend its copyright. However, the fatal flaw with this sort of thing is that a lot of fandomsóSTAR TREK, in particularóhave survived via grassroots efforts designed to pay tribute rather than make profit. A fan project like STAGE 9 is about love, not money.

AXANAR ruined fanfilms for everyone by growing beyond a mere fanfilm project. Now, though, CBS seems to be going after everyone, even those who are not trying to profit off of the characters and concept which CBS legally owns.

Keep shouting down passionate fans for showing their passion, and youĎll eventually lose the fans. And this keeps happening with one fandom after another. Greed, identity politics, and flipping off loyal fans who perhaps love and understand the material better than the current IP holders.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 7:01am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Can you cite some examples of fan enthusiasm dying due to such projects being shut down?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 8:22am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Mind you, Iím not saying that fans who engage (TREK pun!) in these sort of projects lose their enthusiasm, necessarily. Donít really have specific and quantifiable examples of that sort of thing. But, fans do seem more inclined to spend their money elsewhere and lose faith in brands when they get slapped down by corporations. Certain older properties (like TRANSFORMERS, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, etc.) which have experience a nostalgia-based resurgance in recent years would not have done so without fans keeping enthusiasm for them alive. The market determines the market, yíknow?

The AXANAR lawsuit was a big deal which ticked a lot of fans off. Shortly thereafter, STD came along and really ticked people off, because it seemed like CBS killed a fan project people were actually excited about just to replace it with an official project which got a lukewarm reception, at best. 

I was reading awhile back about some of the fanmade video games which Nintendo shut down, ZELDA games in particular. Iím by no means a gaming expert, but Iíve gotten the impression that certain characters and properties like that have been kept afloat by fan enthusiasm more than blockbuster sales.

Lucasfilm has also certainly cracked down on people making non-profit fanfilms and other products, in recent years. There have been a decent number of lawsuits and controversies. And, considering the all-out culture-war which has been raging between Lucasfilm and fans, these lawsuits and C&Ds are not exactly causing fans to reconsider their animosity toward the copyright holders.

Of course, CBS has been cracking down on TREK fanfilms and other fan projects, too. Itís a fine line to tread when fans are technically violating copyrights, even in a non-profit way. Legally, CBS and other copyright holders are in the right to defend their trademarks, but slapping fans down for displaying their passion doesnít exactly engender a sense of goodwill for the brand. 


These things do work out, sometimes. The fans who recreated the TOS sets for the STAR TREK CONTINUES fanfilms series managed to work out a deal with CBS so as to use the sets for an officially-licensed tour.

Itís a murky gray area, thatís for sure. Fans can cross the line between eager consumerism and an over-the-line sense of entitlement. And corporations can reasonably be expected to defend their copyright, but will also go out of their way to slap down people who have little or no chance of profiting or causing brand confusion, despite their use of trademarked concepts.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 29 September 2018 at 8:56am
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Listen to the response from the project founder and read between the lines a little bit.   The 'no compromise' stance of CBS leads me to believe that a legitimate license holder complained about similarities of their project to some other licensed product (possibly one still under development).   Even if the similarities are broadly vague there's still a chance of CBS getting sued down the line for a breach of contract with the licensee or a lawsuit from the other end where fans allege that their ideas were stolen.

And yes, I'm aware of the irony of these actions given how there are complaints (and possibly pending lawsuits) about DISCOVERY plagarizing elements from a non-TREK computer game.

It sadly boils down to this:

When ethusiastic well-meaning fans tussle with what's essentially fans-turned-pro who are taking home a paycheck the winner will always be the ones with the deepest pockets bolstered by those of the rights holder.

Of course the optics of these situations make the rights holder look bad but the corporations holding the purse strings have learned that fan/nerd outrage tends to blow over in time (anyone grousing about AXINAR and RENEGADES these days?) and even if it doesn't then you can just retool your product to court other, possibly more lucrative demographics.   The most blatant example: DISCOVERY has been designed from the ground up to alienate long time STAR TREK fans (all the while paying lip service stating the opposite).


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Steve De Young
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

CBS doesn't have the 'right' to defend their copyright, they are required to defend their copyright.  If they start letting people use copyrighted material without license, then when someone comes along and uses it for something legitimately bad/offensive, CBS will have lost the ability to shut that down by failing to defend their copyright.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 12:30pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Of course the optics of these situations make the rights holder look bad but the corporations holding the purse strings have learned that fan/nerd outrage tends to blow over in time (anyone grousing about AXINAR and RENEGADES these days?)

-----

Did the average STAR TREK fan give a shit about AXANAR? That was more a superfan thing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 1:41pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Did the average STAR TREK fan give a shit about AXANAR?

ēē

I didn't. But, then, I suppose I am not "average", since I was busy doing my own STAR TREK fanfic with the consent (and encouragement) of CBS and Paramount.

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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 29 September 2018 at 7:04pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The AXANAR lawsuit was a big deal which ticked a lot of fans off. Shortly thereafter, STD came along and really ticked people off, because it seemed like CBS killed a fan project people were actually excited about just to replace it with an official project which got a lukewarm reception, at best. 

***************************

I get that DISCOVERY is not beloved on this board in general and by Mr. Kirkman in particular, but I don't know how this last part can be said with a straight face. 

If one is talking about critical reception, well, it got majority positive reviews and is at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hardly a unanimously positive critical reaction, but a very strong one nevertheless. 

If one is talking about audience reception, DISCOVERY is a massive success for CBS. For $8 million an episode, they wouldn't have greenlit season 2 if it weren't, not to mention adding the Short Treks and the Picard series.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 30 September 2018 at 10:28am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

If one is talking about audience reception, DISCOVERY is a massive success for CBS. For $8 million an episode, they wouldn't have greenlit season 2 if it weren't, not to mention adding the Short Treks and the Picard series.

It wasn't costing CBS $8 million an episode though.  Netflix fronted the entire production costs to secure the non-US broadcast/streaming rights.  

So of course it was a massive success for CBS.  It was always going to get a second season -- the existence of which many are now using as 'proof' that DISCOVERY is a raging success in all demographics with rainbows and unicorn frosting on top.

Worth noting that Netflix isn't ponying up the same kind of money for Season 2 so we'll really get to see if that witch floats.  IMO, the Picard series greenlight isn't due to the success of DISCOVERY but CBS doubling down on both Stewart's and the Franchise's good names just in case DISCOVERY doesn't perform like it did in Season 1 -- we'll soon know if it's $8 million/per well spent or not, when CBS actually has to spend it.

But this isn't the DISCOVERY discussion so I'll steer the ship back to fan projects...

I keep thinking back to the JBF thread that was the genesis of ST:NV.  The Chief started out doing it in his spare time for his own pleasure and it grew from there into a viable licensed product -- one of the truly rare examples of a fan project (because that's technically what it was) becoming something more than it's humble roots.   

So what if another STAR TREK fan who is not a JBF member (and not a comic artist by trade) independently got the idea to use his mad photoshop skills to make new stories using stills taken from DVD and decides to publish these as three-panel web photocomics on his own site?   At this point ST:NV isn't even a thing yet, JB is still giving JBF members a peek at what kind of hijinks he gets up to in his free time.  Months pass ST:NV then goes into production and the home office later discovers the fan's page with the web comics.

So what happens next?

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 30 September 2018 at 1:49pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

So what if another STAR TREK fan who is not a JBF member (and not a comic artist by trade) independently got the idea to use his mad photoshop skills to make new stories using stills taken from DVD and decides to publish these as three-panel web photocomics on his own site?   At this point ST:NV isn't even a thing yet, JB is still giving JBF members a peek at what kind of hijinks he gets up to in his free time.  Months pass ST:NV then goes into production and the home office later discovers the fan's page with the web comics.

óó

If it was being published as a web comic, I think it would have been shut down regardless of whether ST:NV was in production or not. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 30 September 2018 at 9:49pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Important note, here: Iím not saying that fan projects necessarily have a right to exist, nor that copyright holders are somehow stepping out of line by taking legal action to shut them down. 


Iím just asking the questionóWhere is the line drawn, here? When do fan productions stray too far, and, on the flipside, when do corporations come across as Goliath unnecessarily beating down David rather than merely protecting their assets?


I donít really have an answer, myself. However, Iím interested in seeing what yíall have to say. And, of course, JB has worked on actual licensed STAR TREK products for CBS, so he has an insiderís perspective.


Personally, I vote with my wallet. I have zero interest in STD, and therefore I havenít subscribed to it or purchased any related merchandise. Nor have I resorted to extralegal means to watch it without paying for it. Meanwhile, I DO support officially-licensed products like NEW VISIONS, because thatís the sort of STAR TREK product I want to see more of. So, Iíve purchased both the individual issues as well as the trade collections. 

I may be a passionate STAR TREK fan, but Iím not the type who would go off and create his own, unlicensed fan production. Nor would I pay to support such fan productions. Iíd rather support the official productions when I deem them worthy. AXANAR didnít do anything for me, and I donít have a dog in that race. I enjoyed STAR TREK CONTINUES, but was a bit uneasy at the showís use of actors, writers, and directors from actual STAR TREK productions. That really blurred the line between amateur fan production and unlicensed, illegal production which could generate brand confusion.


The Internet is full of unlicensed fan art, merchandise, video clips, etc. The bulk of which are non-profit and therefore ďharmlessĒ. So, the question then becomes, ďWhich sort of non-profit projects step over the line into territory thatís potentially harmful to the IP and its owners?Ē. Most of these non-profit projects (fan art, etc.) are just paying tribute to STAR TREK, or are artistic expressions of fans who love the IP. Others are deliberately and illegally profiting from copyrighted material.


Obviously, there are a ton of passionate fans out there who A) Are passionate enough and inspired enough to want to play with toys which are legalled owned by someone else; B) Are so dissatisfied with the official product that they begin producing their own versions so as to fill that void. 

Of course, STAR TREK certainly owes its continued existence and longevity to the grassroots fan movement of the 70s. All of those unlicensed fanzines, props, costumes, and artwork kept the flame alive, and convinced Paramount that there was a market out there demanding new STAR TREK. 

Fans could certainly be inspired enough by their love of STAR TREK to create their own derivative works, merely inspired by STAR TREK. Heck, Seth MacFarlane pitched a TREK series to CBS, and, when they turned him down, he went an created THE ORVILLE so as to scratch that itch. THE ORVILLE is (in theory) protected, since itís a parody/homage, but it does at times skew pretty darn close to its inspiration. Close, but not too close.

On the flipside, you have fan projects like AXANAR and STAR TREK CONTINUES, both of which use characters and concepts taken directly from the IP owned by CBS. Alec Peters and AXANAR made the huge mistake of creating and selling merchandise based on their fanfilm, which they profited from. Which led to CBS rightfully bringing the hammer down. However, this also ruined the fanfilm gig for everyone, even the non-profit productions, since CBS subsequently deemed it necessary to establish a strict (and crippling) set of rules for all future fan productions.

Previously, both CBS/Paramount and Lucasfilm turned a blind eye to fanfilms, as long as they didnít profit from them, or misrepresent them as being an official, licensed product. And Lucasfilm even held fanfilm award events to celebrate both the films and the sense of community which they generated.

Now, things seem to have degenerated into pure lawsuit and C&D territory. And this isnít helping fan relations with these corporations, since numerous fandoms have developed increasingly contentious relationship with the holders of their beloved IPs. Iím not saying that IP holders should kowtow to fans who overstep their bounds, but this STAGE 9 thing, among other events, is not exactly generating warm feelings between the fans and the IP holders.


So...where is the line drawn?
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Ron Goad
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Posted: 01 October 2018 at 9:17pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

With CBS/Viacom/Paramount?

This ends in corporate suicide...
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