AXANAR LAWSUIT – The Comic Book!

With things heating up in the AXANAR Lawsuit and trial set to begin in just 30 more days(!), there’s a LOT to keep track of.  In fact, I expect to be typing pretty feverishly over the next few weeks as summary judgments are announced and oppositions filed to motions to exclude evidence and witnesses.  So secure all stations and prepare for warp speed!

And what better way to get ready than…to read a comic book???  But it’s not just any comic.  My fellow blogger-in-arms, Carlos Pedraza, has proven once and for all that he has waaaaaay too much free time (and, hey I’m one to talk, right!?!?!) by producing a really well-done Illustrated Guide (in comic book form) to the major points and arguments in the Axanar lawsuit…from both the plaintiffs’ AND defendants’ sides.

Yes, you read that right.  I just paid Carlos Pedraza a compliment!  (And oh, look: there’s Satan skating to work!)  But no, seriously, for anyone out there imagining Carlos and me as the two Lazaruses from “The Alternative Factor” locked forever at each others’ throats in a chamber trying to keep the pro-Axanar and anti-Axanar universes forever separated…well, that’s just our day job, folks.

And while Carlos and I don’t agree on much regarding the merits of this case, we are–quite probably–two of the people on the planet (outside of the lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, and judges directly involved in the lawsuit) who know the most about this case at the moment.  Yes, Carlos and I are both Axanar lawsuit “groupies,” and that means that we have at least something in common.  But the other thing we have in common is the desire to “translate” this complex maze of legalese and court procedure into something that the casual fan can follow and understand.  Yes, Carlos tends to lean more in favor of the plaintiffs, and I lean toward the defense, but I like to think we bring balance to the Force.

Such balance is quite evident in Carlos’ new Illustrated Guide (which you can also access in multiple formats from his Axamonitor website).  And while some might have expected Carlos to weigh the content of his comic book explanation heavily in favor of the studios’ arguments (and if he had, I probably wouldn’t be sharing it), he actually did quite the opposite.  I’m not saying he weighed it heavily in favor of the defense (although Axanar does get twice as many pages of coverage as the plaintiffs, but that is mainly because they have more legal arguments to explain and summarize).  No, what I mean is that Carlos’ summary is quite fair to BOTH parties.  As such, I have no problem sharing the document.

Now, I’m certain people rooting for each side will look at Carlos’ guide and say, “It’s totally supportive of our arguments!” or “It shows how ridiculous the other side’s case is!”  But that’s the beauty of this lawsuit–it’s going to trial specifically because it isn’t cut and dried.  Both sides have a very strong and complex case.  And while a 12-page comic book can’t possibly explain every nuance of this lawsuit or demystify every legal argument being presented, it’s still an excellent primer.

So, yes, I just complimented Carlos Pedraza.  Hey, stuff happens, right?  But credit where credit is due.  (And yes, I asked for and received Carlos’ permission to post a copy of the PDF here on Fan Film Factor.  We do talk from time to time, y’know.)

Warp speed, everybody.  Things are about to get VERY legal around here!

23 thoughts on “AXANAR LAWSUIT – The Comic Book!”

  1. Rather than the reference to that spiritual, Kumbaya, I’ve reached back to my youth:

    This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
    The Age of Aquarius
    Aquarius! Aquarius!

    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revelation
    And the minds true liberation

  2. My husband and I bought the “Clinton Cash” graphic novel, so why not a graphic-novel summary of the Axanar lawsuit? Just got done reading through it, and the only quibble I have is that the “word bubbles” for defense counsel’s remarks on the last page lose the white background about halfway down the page, making them difficult to read. Otherwise, it seems to be a very concise, even-handed summary of the case thus far.

    1. When I first found out about Carlos’ comic, a reader IM’d me and said, “So, are you going to do one of these from the Fan Film Factor perspective?” I went to the link and took a look. I few minutes later, I wrote an IM back: “I don’t think I have to!” It really is quite impressive, and there’s no “perspective” necessary. The comic shows both sides of the argument pretty fairly. And to be honest, I’m glad I don’t have to do a Fan Film Factor version…I barely have enough time to blog as it is! 🙂

  3. One followup. I posted a link to this post on the Axanar Facebook page and it was not approved by the mods there. Sadly what I also saw as balanced and informative was not biased enough or maybe Carlos is automatically the devil there?

    This kind of thing bugs me and reduces significantly my respect for at least the Facebook mods if not Alec and others. I can understand and appreciate filtering out died-in-the-wool anti-Axanar folk but this cartoon was not of that ilk.

    1. I can’t really speak for the Axanar FB page. I used to have posting/admin privileges there, but it got confusing because I could only post as “Axanar” when I had mod privileges, not as “Jonathan Lane.” So we switched me back to “normal.” Now I control nothing that happens there.

      And hey, anyone who still thinks I’m just an Axanar surrogate needs to take note that I promoted Carlos’ illustrated guide while the Axanar FB page didn’t. It IS possible to blog positively and supportively about Axanar and NOT to be a puppet, folks. 🙂

      1. Posting one item from the opposition doesn’t make you “not a surrogate.” Sounds like you think you deserve a cookie.

  4. I like the comic, if it gets extended through the end of all of this, it will be a nice version of the Battle of Axanar.

  5. Compliments? What might this forebode?

    Is this case careening for a disaster of Biblical proportions? Old Testament? Real wrath of God type stuff? Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes. Volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice!! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!!! 😀

  6. Wow! Great material, very informative (they were what I need to update what I know), thank you! It isn’t a “comic book”, it would be a “graphic novel”, perhaps a “graphic documentary/summary”! 😉
    Less than a month to the trial… I’ll keep watching for news. The defense has the better arguments, although not on all the points, but I think the logic and common sense are in their favor.

  7. Credit where credit is due, that actually is a balanced layout of the issues of the case, with no editorializing. Would, that Carlos would spend more time with Axamonitor doing things like this, and less on trolling Burnett’s Facebook page for juicy bits…….

  8. I’m confused about the Defenses statement that CBS/Paramount cannot ‘own the universe Star Trek is based upon’…

    1. You can’t copyright a universe because it is too general. For example, within the Star Trek universe is the planet earth, the sun, and the eight (nine?) planets that orbit it. Does CBS own Mars? Does anyone ever showing Mars in their own sci-fi movie have to first license the planet from CBS? If so, then Matt Damon is gonna have to science the sh*t out of this lawsuit!

      No, CBS does not own Mars. However, they could, if they wanted to, register the Utopia Planitia shipyards orbiting Mars. That is a location specific to a few Star Trek episodes that could, conceivably, be worthy of copyright protection. (That said, it still could be a little iffy in court, as Utopia Planitia wasn’t really the “heart” of Star Trek…unlike the USS Enterprise or Captain Kirk. But that’s a subject for another comment response!) 🙂

      Anyway, you cannot copyright an idea–that’s pretty much Rule #1 of copyright law. Well, actually, it’s Rule #102 (b). You can only copyright a specifically defined EXPRESSION of an idea. That said, there is a limit there, as well, to what expression(s) of Star Trek can be copyrighted…which is kinda the core of this case. For example, you can’t copyright a word or phase. So simply talking about “Starfleet” is not violating any copyright. Simply saying, “The transporters went out” is not a violation of copyright. Both words are unprotectable because they are simply words. Also, the idea of phasers–essentially a powerful destructive beam emanating from a starship–is also not protectable as a concept because it is too general. other sci-fi stories have powerful beam weapons, so it’s too wide-ranging for any one creator to own outright. So even though Prelude to Axanar calls their weapons “phasers” and shows them shooting forth from the USS Ares and other Federation vessels, that does not constitute a copyright violation…even though every Trekkie knows that Federation starships shoot phasers!

      And yes, it sounds like I’m being counter-intuitive to everything that copyright laws are meant to protect the owner from…in other words: having their ideas stolen and used by someone else. But you have to understand that the core concept of copyright restrictions runs counter to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protecting the right of free speech. If you have too much of one (copyright protections or free speech) you risk having too little of the other. So the two dance and spin around a black hole of tyranny/anarchy–with many limitations placed on the scope of the constraints of copyright law. And infringement complaints tend to get adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

      And please remember, I’m just telling you what the defense most likely would tell you, as well…in an attempt to answer your question. I am certain the plaintiffs would disagree with much of what I just said. But hey, that’s why this case is going to trial, right?

  9. So if it was a fully fictional Universe, then yes they would be able to copywrite it, is that what I’m reading?

    1. Actually, no. An entire universe, no matter how fictional, is still too broad. Let’s look, for instance, at the Star Wars universe. Although you won’t see Earth or Mars, you will see stars, planets, a galaxy (far, far away)…none of those things is protectable because all are naturally occurring phenomena. Also, the people in the Star Wars galaxy all wear clothes. You can’t copyright clothes. Many carry blasters, which are just laser/ray guns…also too general to copyright. Now, you might be asking are TIE Fighters, X-Wings, the Millennium Falcon, or the Death Star copyrightable? The answer is probably yes, as all of those ships are at the “heart” of Star Wars…although it would probably be better to trademark the designs, as well, as Paramount did with the USS Enterprise refit in the 1980s (either instead of copyrighting or in addition to…I’m guessing Lucasfilm opted for both). But Lucasfilm could not copyright the idea of space battles in general or traveling at faster-than-light speeds and calling it hyperspace.

      As you can see, Allan, it’s quite complex. But no, Disney/Lucasfilm does not own the Star Wars universe. They only own specific items and characters WITHIN the Star Wars universe.

Comments are closed.