And so it ends…not in fire, not with a warp core breach and a huge explosion that rocks the very foundation of the world of copyright law, but with a quiet settlement between the parties with sparse details revealed to anyone not directly involved in the AXANAR lawsuit.
Press releases were issued separately by both CBS/Paramount and by Axanar Productions two and a half hours ago. They both said mostly the same things, each with a different “spin.” But details were sparse.
But Axanar just sent out an e-mail to donors with more specifics…and I’m a donor so I thought I’d share some of the details here. In addition to the studios allowing Axanar to be produced and released, we now know a few more key things:
- The Axanar fan film WILL be permitted to use Gary Graham as Soval! (Wow.) It will ALSO be allowed to use the other professional actors who appeared in Prelude to Axanar (J.G. Hertzler, Richard Hatch, and Kate Vernon…Tony Todd has previously announced he would not remain with the production).
- The new Axanar fan film will have to adhere to all the other guidelines, including being limited to only two 15-minute parts of a single story, not having “Star Trek” in the title, etc. No professionals can be compensated for their work on the production.
- Public crowd-funding campaigns will not be permitted, but private donations can be accepted (I plan to donate).
- Alec Peters and Axanar Productions will be allowed to create OTHER Star Trek fan films in the future beyond the Axanar sequel. (Whether these other fan films will be in the Axanar universe or the more general Star Trek universe is still unknown, but any future films will also need to follow the guidelines.)
That’s what we DO know. What was frustratingly absent from the announcements were two key pieces of information:
- Was Alec Peters required to pay any kind of financial penalty to the studios? (After all, by settling the case, he is avoiding a judgment in the thousands and perhaps even the millions of dollars.) I have yet to independently confirm that.
- What happens to Ares/Industry Studios? There was no mention of its fate in today’s announcement. I suppose if its still around in another month or two, we’ll have our answer.
But I want answers sooner than that…and I know you folks do, too! I’ve already left messages for Alec Peters (voice-mail, text, Facebook IM), and I’m gonna keep pestering him for an interview…today, if possible! And as soon as I get it transcribed, you’d better believe it’s going up on this website!
In the meantime, here is the full text for the announcement to the Axanar donors:
To Our Fans, Backers and Donors,
You have stood by us for over a year and today I’m pleased to announce that Axanar Productions has settled its lawsuit with CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Corporation.
Since the beginning of the lawsuit, over a year ago, we have expressed our desire to address the concerns of the studios, and our willingness to make necessary changes, as long as we could reasonably meet our commitments to Axanar’s over 14,000 donors, fans and supporters. We are now able to do exactly that.
According to the terms of our agreement with CBS and Paramount, we are able to share a little more detail with you than the general public. So, here are the highlights of the deal struck with CBS and Paramount (or, at least as much as we can tell you) …
- Our settlement was finalized late last night and early this morning; we are letting you know as soon as possible so you hear from us first. There are several things we can not disclose to the general public, although we’ve been given the okay to share some of them with you.
- Axanar Productions can continue to distribute PRELUDE TO AXANAR on YouTube and at film festivals and conventions – but not at official Star Trek events or conventions. All exhibitions of PRELUDE TO AXANAR must be non-commercial.
- Axanar Productions can produce the story of AXANAR, but not as a full-length, motion picture feature. Instead, we are limited (as all fan films are now under the Fan Film Guidelines) to two, fifteen-minute segments that can be distributed on Youtube, etc. We also have to stick to the guidelines regarding the use of the name “Star Trek” in the title of the project, the use of an approved disclaimer, etc.
- The two segments may use the services of Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, Kate Vernon and J.G. Hertzler but no other actors who have appeared in professional Star Trek productions. There are also strict guidelines put in place concerning the compensation for the production team (as in none) with regard to their work on the permitted segments.
- Axanar Productions will not publicly fundraise for the production of these segments – that means no more Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaigns to support the production of the Axanar story – although private donations may be accepted. That may slow things down a bit, but we’re developing options that fall within the conditions of our settlement with CBS and Paramount and promise to keep you informed when we’re ready to go.
- And finally, all of Axanar Productions’ future Star Trek fan film productions need to adhere to the “Guidelines for Fan Films” that were issued last June.
Also, according to the terms of the settlement agreement, there are still some legal details that require our immediate attention over the next sixty days. These aren’t major issues, but they are the first things we have to check off our list so we can get back into the business of making AXANAR. Once these issues are resolved, we will begin adopting the script to the new format and begin the entire pre-production process once again from scratch to match the new format.
All in all, we have a lot on our plate. And we’re happy to be back at the table!
Throughout this process, we will continue communicating with our fans and backers to ensure they are informed and involved until we reach completion of the production.
As you know, Axanar Productions was created by lifelong Star Trek fans to celebrate our love for Star Trek. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’ve done so far or realize our dreams for the future.
Together, we can work together to make our vision of Star Trek a dynamic reality. Thanks so much for your confidence and support.
Live Long and Prosper,
180 thoughts on “MORE DETAILS about the SETTLEMENT in the AXANAR LAWSUIT!”
It says this is for donors and not the general public. Should you be posting this?
Sorry my paste didn’t work.
“According to the terms of our agreement with CBS and Paramount, we are able to share a little more detail with you than the general public.”
See my previous comment. I’m also trying to set up an interview with Alec. I have a LOT of questions for him! (Not sure what he’s allowed to tell me, but it won’t stop me from at least asking him.)
Did the guidelines change at all?
Not that I know of…and not for lack of trying on my part! 🙂
time to kick Project SMALL ACCESS into high gear again!!
Yeah, I’m discussing things with some people, trying to figure out next steps. What we need, though, is a LOT more members of the Facebook group!!!
Just sent my “join” request for the Project SMALL ACCESS FB group! 😎
We don’t offer pie, but we do have Taco Tuesdays. Welcome aboard, James! 🙂
For those of us not on Facebook (really. I don’t have an account) I’d like to help Small Access, but can’t.
And our model for watching may actually dovetail with the intent of Small Access: When a new show comes out, we don’t watch. We wait for feedback from others we trust to let us know if the show is good enough to watch. (After throwing my remote at the TV set for a season of Voyager, I found the new approach to be much easier on remotes and my mental health)
If the show is good enough to watch, we wait for all shows to be available, either on streaming or DVD on Netflix, then we binge watch the entire season in the course of a few weeks.
So with CBS’ streaming, we can order it just for one month after the season has been aired, watch the entire season in the course of a few weeks within the one month we pay for, and then cancel the subscription.
This has the same effect as Small Access as only one month is paid for instead of 4.
Just a thought.
Yeah, and I think the studio realizes that. I also think they’re hoping that once people subscribe, they won’t unsubscribe because they will like the service and content so much. Of course, the “content” is “The Good Wife” spin-off, “Star Trek: Disco,” and all the reruns of “Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” that you could ever possibly want!
Good luck with that.
Other donors seem to be posting it, as well. I’m not bound by the terms of the settlement, and the e-mail did not say NOT to share it with others.
Interesting… I didn’t receive any email.
Have you been getting other donor e-mails, Jason?
My e-mail wound up in the SPAM folder for some reason even though I have been getting all my other Axanar e-mails.
At least you got it, Chris… that’s what counts.
That’s Great news and under the circumstances, as much as can be expected. I certainly hope everyone will be in the Axanar Fan film.
Well, “everyone” covers about 7 billion people a the moment. That might be a logistical challenge, Mickey. 🙂
Had a feeling this would happen. Here in Germany, we have a saying “In court and on the high seas, you’re in God’s hand”, meaning you have limited control of your own fate – and for a company, being so completely at someone else’s mercy with a major franchise is never desirable. As it stands, they still have control over the conditions at which people do Star Trek fanfilms. If the “unthinkable” had happened and a court had found for fair use, at whatever level, their hold over the franchise would have been less than before their guidelines, where everyone at least acknowledged a somewhat grey nature of fan films… with a stamp of “fair use” approval, it would have been a free for all….
Your analysis is pretty good, hydroxide, and I leave it at that. Wenn du recht hast, hast du recht.
…hmmmm, no pay for the actors is not good =(
…but at least they CAN be used! =P
(no capt. robeau = bummer) =(
No Captain Robbau played by the same actor. But the character IS allowed. And considering the amount of “harm” the studios claimed Axanar would cause them in the marketplace, allowing them use of any character is pretty huge.
Other than Hertzler I seriously doubt any of those actors have any desire to return and be in this “production”. I can’t believe you are fool enough to admit that you are going to give Alec more money, but as the saying goes!
Well, Richard Hatch has always been dying to play Kharn some more. And Gary Graham told me himself when I chatted with him in Las Vegas that he wanted to do more Axanar. I don’t know about Kate Vernon, though.
And I will totally give more money to this project! As much as I can spare!!! I stand with Axanar!
Do you expect there to be some announcement for a non-Kickstarter, non-Indiegogo means for private donations to be made?
Do I expect that? Yes. Do I have any kind of confirmation? No. But if I get an e-mail inviting me to donate, I will answer the call with a check or credit card! 🙂
OK, never mind, I see that you were given permission to share, but its just weird that the email says its for donors only, due to an agreement with CBS and Paramount.
Once it’s released to donors (and I am one) they/we can do as we please with it. I am not bound by any agreement made by/with the court or the former plaintiffs.
Hey Jonathan! Great blog, happy birthday, and thanks for all the coverage on this.
Glad to hear that things are significantly less bad than they could have been. Unfortunately, as long as these draconian fan-film guidelines are on the table, I still won’t be able to spend money on any CBS/P Trek related products. I wish I could say that I’m heartbroken, but Star Trek Online (the MMORPG) is the only official Trek thing in over 10 years that’s even remotely appealed to me, and I cancelled my membership at the start of this debacle. On the plus side, I’ve saved myself probably $200 that I’d have spent on it.
I suppose the Fan Film Guidelines were never really on the table with this lawsuit, and I suppose it isn’t impossible that CBS/P may change their mind (I doubt it, unless petitions and boycotts really gather steam). I guess, until then, I’ll rewatch all my DVDs.
Well, I do need to start figuring out what to do about SMALL ACCESS. I want to conitnue the movement, but this settlement puts a crimp into my “Plan B” of trying to just change a small part of Guideline #1 (getting them to allow ongoing series). We’ll have to see what happens…
Define “ongoing series”… what about say spin-off series? So we have Axanar, specifically about the battle of Axanar. Then we can have “Tale of Khan”, and “Tale of Sonya”, etcetera, really build into this Axanar universe as 2×15 minute mini spin-off stories, perhaps with crossovers, so that these separate stories interlace, but still fully self-contained, so that you can watch it as an individual 2×15 minute story, BUT, if you watch it together with the other stories interlaced in a specific order it creates an even more beautiful and elaborate story.
Of course this would get made easier if Guideline #1 gets relaxed, then the spin-offs can form much longer arcs, whilst Axanar stays at the agreed 2×15 minute production… ^^
Personally, I want to see the 120-second Axanar fan film, “So…How’d It Go?” We open on Admiral Slater sitting at his desk, battle plans on the wall; tiny starships scattered across a strategy table. He’s playing with a Federation starship and a Klingon D-6, pretending they’re fighting each other while he makes swooshing and ptew-ptew noises.
The door buzzer rings, and Slater says, “Come.” In walks a lieutenant, “Sir, the vote of the Federation Council has been taken and certified.”
“Oh, thank goodness!” says Slater with a relieved smile. “So…how did the vote go? Was it unanimous?”
“Um, yes, sir. It was unanimous….”
An even bigger smile as Slater spins around in his chair. “Great, now we can get back to work. I’ve got a whole bunch of really nifty new battle strategies!”
“Um, sir?” The lieutenant seems a bit uneasy. “About the vote…”
Cut to a shot of the exterior of Starfleet Headquarters. Slater is shoved out the door by two security guards. His suitcase is tossed out behind him. A bunch of aliens and humans standing just inside the doorway shout in unison, “And stay out!” as the doors swish shut.
That sounds like a job for your Stalled Trek buddy…..
Ah, yes, Admiral Scaredy can live again! (“He was a chicken.”)
Worst part about this whole mess, to me, is that it smacks of CBS/P protecting their legal right to produce sub-par content for as much profit as possible; and they’re going to do it using an IP that (in my opinion) tried to tell a certain kind of stories as well as they can, even when it wasn’t the most profitable way to do things.
After years of fan films that are (you have to admit) typically low quality (or at least obviously low budget) in one or more ways, along comes Axanar showing not just what fans can do, but what Trek was always (I think) meant to be. To make things worse, Axanar is telling a tale that CBS/P (perhaps after the fact) decided that they want to tell.
I really have to wonder if CBS/P would have even batted an eye at Axanar if the special effects and acting weren’t as well done. If CGI were to soon become dirt cheap or free, would CBS/P add more direct guidelines to limit the quality of their “competition,” such as limiting the number of rendering hours in a production?
Well, remember that the studios can still change the guidelines any time they want to…so don’t make your suggestions too loudly, Jacob! 🙂
Oh nuts, you’re right! Now I’m afraid all over again!
That said, if things get bad enough, perhaps it will embolden the fanbase to unite over this, especially now that the Axanar lawsuit is settled and CBS/P hopefully won’t be taking more steps against them.
Let this idiocy go back to concerning all of Star Trek and not just one fan film!
I have seriously mixed feelings, mostly sad. Mostly it seems CBS/P got what they wanted – crippling Axanar and I’m sorry that was the outcome. This settlement does nothing to revive any interest I have in official Trek. Instead my interest in any new Trek is now in the coffin with the burial ceremony happening momentarily.
I’m glad I’ll get to see a sketch of what the full movie would have been with all the key plot elements. I have to ask if it’s permitted to publish an Axanar book? I’d feel a wee bit better if I could get the entire story in text form.
I suspect we will all see the full story of Axanar in some form, Jerry. I’ve heard suggestions of audio drama (not subject to the guidelines), PDF novelization, PDF comic book, and interpretive dance. (Okay, I made that last one up.) But really, there are many ways to tell the rest of the Axanar story. Don’t think of this as a loss, my friend. The chances of a 100-minute long Axanar feature were very, VERY slim…and at best, three years away (more like five). Now we’ll get Soval and Kharn and Travis all played by the same actors, likely within the next year or so…and a solid 30 minutes, too boot! Remember how awesome Prelude was? Well, now it can be 50% longer! Will we get our feature-length film? No. Nor will I ever get all my hair back. But I still have a fair amount of it, and for that, I am grateful.
It Looks like Axanar is going to need a lot of volunteer labor.
How do they reconcile no payments and SAG actors with Union rules?
Unless they are being compensated by a percentage of the zero gross profit.
I’m actually going to be quite eager to see what SAG’s reaction is myself, Martin. Remember how I said Guideline #5 violates California law (Business and Professions Code Section 16600)? Well, that is still true regardless of this settlement.
You know what they say Karma .
Aren’t there parts of those guidelines that are illegal?
Personally, I hope Alex still makes the full story. As an old TV show said “only the names have been changed…”
I really want to see Guideline #5 “go away.”
(“I can make you all go away!” Quiet, Charlie.) 🙂
I’m going under the assumption (always a dangerous thing) that there is no prohibition to Alec Peters continuing in the role of Captain Garth, nor is there any restriction against using the Garth character (regardless of who portrays him).
At this point; you know what I know, George. I’m not assuming anything right now.
So the elephant in the room (at least in my room), is: where did the $1+ million raised in the Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowd funding efforts go? I was surprised to see Alec talk about further fund raising, especially since I assume the $50,000 limit from the CBS/Paramount rules now applies.
What am I missing?
Well, you’re obviously missing the financial statement and review. And I REALLY want people to see that!!! That said, it was supposed to be released late THIS week, but I’m guessing Alec has been preoccupied with the settlement negotiations. So…next week, Alec?
As for the $50,000 limit–John Van Citters specifically said in his podcast that if you have a rich uncle Alfred who wants to give you a million dollars, that’s fine. So the studios don’t have a problem with fan films raising more than $50,000…just not from crowdfunding campaigns. Axanar, however, has a mailing list of donors and no longer needs Kickstarter or Indiegogo to crowd-fund. They have 14,000 “Uncle Alfreds.” 🙂
I still marvel at the irony of how the rights to a forward-thinking ideology about a world in which money is irrelevant and for which the acquisition of wealth is meaningless is itself controlled by people whose sole interest in said ideology is to make money off it. Apparently the exchange rates for turning thirty pieces of silver into gold pressed latinum is a simple transaction.
As for the financials, Didn’t Alex release those on the Donor Site a few weeks ago ? I’m a donor and read something that was a breakdown of everything financial. Why would Alex settle when that info was already released ? Or is the Donor site considered non public.
The financials aren’t why he settled. I actually think it was the studios who settled. I’ll explain why in a blog next week.
No, Alec probably settled because he didn’t want the unredacted report of his financed entered into evidence. I say this because it came just a few days after Klausner’s ruling about it. I also know from a first hand account that the studios only very slightly modified their settlement conditions and the stumbling block was always Alec accepting them.
The settlement had nothing to do with the financials. Negotiations had been going on for quite a while longer than just 24-48 hours.
Also, I’m curious how you “know from a first hand account”…do tell, do tell!
Oh, and thanks for playing. Please enjoy this lovely parting gift.
I suspect that higher ups intervened because the lower level executives were risking not only tens of millions of dollars due to multiple appeals and trials that would take place but also risking losing any claim over uniforms and/or the Klingon language etc. etc. etc.
The fact that they were alienating the fan base as well was another reason to kill the lawsuit.
I don’t think it was tens of millions…but definitely millions.
Not trying to steal you blog for next week but allow me to put on my fathers legal cap for a moment.
1 – this settlement came from the studio to Alec, and not the other way around, this is evident because it was signed by the defense lawyers first, and then sent back to the plaintiffs for their signature the next morning. if it had been the other way around, then we can infer that the settlement came from W&S.
2 – CBS/P in their statement said “Alec agrees that he overstepped the boundries related to copyright” concerning star trek as opposed to saying “Alec admits that he violated our copyrights on numerous points”. This may seem small and perfunctory fluff, but it is a huge difference in legal circles. The fact that the films were not “approved” is rather meaningless as practically all fan films are not approved by the studios anyway.
3- Alec Peters and Axanar are allowed to make Axanar in accordance with the released guidelines, while also allowing the professional actors Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, Kate Vernon and J.G. Hertzler to reprise their rolls from Prelude. this is a big departure from the guidelines and a rather large win for Alec and the defense. Had they been forced to only use “amateur” actors, who knows if the filming would ever had taken place.
4- All of Axanar Productions’ future Star Trek fan film productions need to adhere to the “Guidelines for Fan Films” that were issued last June. this is one that really sticks in the craw of those who have a “bone to pick” with Alec. this means Alec and his team, can continue to play in the Star Trek sand box, and create as many fan films as they want(within guidelines, which i am sure will change at some point)
5- Axanar Productions can continue to distribute PRELUDE TO AXANAR on YouTube and at film festivals and conventions. this means Alec can continue to go to sci fi conventions and show Prelude, it also keeps Prelude up on YouTube for as long as Alec desires it to be there.
CBS/P could have gone through with the trial, and probably won damages in the thousands of dollars, then we would have had appeals etc. this would have incurred even more cost to the studios because unlike W&S, L&L were charging by the hour, and at some point on a balance sheet, having to explain to your shareholders why you spent 4 or 5 million dollars on lawyers for not even half of that in return, becomes a sticky proposition, one that no BOD(board of directors) wants to explain at a shareholder meeting.
CBS/P got its win in that Alec admits he “went to far”(he made to good of a product), they get to keep copyright for all things star trek, while not having to change the fan film guidelines, and they look “benevolent” by not going to trial.
Alec got his win in that he escapes monetary damages, Prelude can still be shown/screened at conventions(just not Trek ones), He gets to make a 30 min Axanar movie(as opposed to nothing at all), and most importantly he gets to continue to play in the Star Trek sandbox, which none of the detractors wanted(they wanted their pound of flesh, Alec drawn and quartered).
both sides gave something to get something. in the end Axanar and Alec gained more than they lost.
Yep, it looks like you just wrote my blog for me!
I might still take a crack at it myself next week. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂
Oh, please, Curly Boy, DO share who you got your “first hand account” from!
So Axanar will be asking for more money?
Sorry to point this out but hasn’t Axanar had over a million dollars in donor money already to make a feature-length film?
Where has that money gone?
So far, Axanar has delivered a court case not a fan film which isn’t what people donated for.
“As for the $50,000 limit–John Van Citters specifically said in his podcast that if you have a rich uncle Alfred who wants to give you a million dollars, that’s fine.”
So Axanar already intends to bend or break the rules of the settlement?
Breaking rules is not allowed. The two parties worked for weeks on the details of this settlement. Alec didn’t simply say, “Okay, anything you want! I surrender!” That’s why he actually got so much out of this deal. It truly was a compromise. Those rules allow Alec to seek donations…just not through open crowd-funding like Kickstarter.
As for the money itself, remember that Axanar was set to begin filming last February with roughly $230,000 still in the bank. About $200,000 of that has gone to rent and utilities over the past 13 months. Then there was postage on the shipping of perks after Ares Digital was finally completed. And I believe the new lighting system was installed after the complaint was filed about the time JJ made his announcement that the lawsuit was “going away.” So really, Alec shouldn’t need another $1.4 million…he should only need a couple of hundred thousand (if that). But I plan to ask him about that when we sit down for an interview.
surely crowd-funding encompasses sending a request to money to 14,000 people- that seems to me to be the definition of a crowd, whether you are using a particular web-portal or not.
There were weeks of negotiations. I’m sure the details of what is and is not allowed were mapped out VERY carefully by both sides.
Hopefully this will be the end of that small group of detractors, who have spent the last 12 months and thousands of hours making false predictions, assessments, retractions, and all out lies. Everything they said about Alec Peters and Axanar was wrong. Now I wonder what detracting fake news bloggers will do, as they have lost all credibility, and can no longer making money from their agenda. In the end, haters and liers, never prosper and succeed.
Did we not empower one this afternoon in DC?
Sorry couldn’t resist, as “resistance is futile”
Best news I have seen today. Thank you!
Not everything the fan community is hoping for .. but you never get everything you want in a negotiation. And *some* Axanar is infinitely better than no Axanar.
I do what to clarify one thing though. Is the allowance of professional actors (Richard Hatch and so on ..) only limited to Axanar, and the few people who are involved in Prelude, or is professional actors/actresses ok in fan film as long as they are not paid?
Certainly i hope some pro will be involved just for the fans. To be honest, it makes a world of difference in terms of the acting.
Some fan productions use professional or semi-professional actors despite the guidelines. But yes, this creates an interesting precedent.
I have said for a while that CBS/P really want to make on Star Trek Show.
Star Trek Infinite Profit
so all the players will be ferengi?
Among other things, I’m hopeful that Kate Vernon will be interested in returning… I take it as a very positive sign that “Prelude to Axanar” is still embedded front and center on her home page! (KateVernon.com)
I didn’t know that! COOLNESS!!
I’m glad that there’s a settlement. Neither got what they wanted but it could have been quite worse for both. Did Axanar production play fast and loose? Probably true on that. For that they should get as much heat from both the fans and corporate as possible.
All that said what CBS has done to the fan productions and to their fanbase is attrocious. They can spin it as much as possible but they soiled their collective pants when Axanar showed just how good others could do with Trek. Sure STD (yes that’s what it is) may have been kicking around but as we’ve seen. This story is still half baked at best. I as many of the disaffected fanbase have said. We will not stand for any of this outright money grab by CBS. This is a series that should never see the light of day.
If and at this point it’s an even bigger if they get this out. It’s going to crash soo badly. It will make people forget Troi’s crashing of the D.
I was going to message her through Twitter, but it doesn’t look like she’s using it. So I went to her web page and saw Prelude sitting there, plain as day!
I have to say, I mixed feelings about this. Out of the clear blue, a settlement is reached? What did we all miss? Why all of a sudden the evil empire decided it’s time to stop the idiocy of the lawsuit? Is it because it dragged on until production of the new series is set to begin, and a messy public trial don’t look so good in the press. Speaking of which, the story had reached the level of the Washington Post? Were other reporters were starting to dig into this potentially explosive trial, with an appeal ready to fire off too? Maybe other lawyers knew more than CBS/P hired guns and the story written here about all the ways Axanar could prevail unnerved people on the board of directors, or just the massive waste having been spent already? Questions, questions, questions?
Well, I guess if Alec and his attorneys are satisfied, then this agreement would not have happened, so for that reason alone, I wish them well. But, I really would have loved for it to have gone all the way to the Supreme Court ( – :
A lot of people seem to be saying this is a victory for Alec and Axanar, but it’s not.
The only winners are the Plaintiffs. They got what they wanted, a thrashing of the fair use defence, Alec admitting he overstepped, no crowdfunding, and Axanar fitting the guidelines. The only other winners are the “true believers” like you, Chucky, Davey, Krapp, and a few others. You get your Axanar in some form and get to claim victory against the studios and the haters.
Everyone else loses. I mostly feel bad for the majority of donors. They won’t get the film they wanted. There will be major script changes, it will be much shorter, while the actors are allowed to be in it there’s no gaurantee they will agree, all volunteer crew means less quality, no perks will be created and shipped, and there’s no money left to do anything anyway. From what I’ve seen on the fan page they are really pissed off about this.
The other loser of course is Alec. He has to publicly admit overstepping, he has to adhere to the guidelines he asked for and then decried, he can’t make his dream film as he wanted, the public record now shows he’s an infringer, and he’s stuck with a warehouse that’s not up to fire code that he still needs to pay rent on. His ONLY win is that his financials won’t be brought up in court.
Lastly us haters and detractors lose since we don’t get the joy of a trial and we will have nothing to fill our hopeless and empty lives now.
I actually think it’s a huge win for the Axanar side AND for fan films. Why? Simple. The studios have just lost a major justification for suing any fan film: damages. Their whole argument for suing Axanar was built upon the potential of “financial harm” in the marketplace. Now, that might well be true, but now it will be a LOT harder to convince a judge and jury of that if the studios are now ALLOWING Prelude to still exist and for Axanar to be made WITH the same actors and professional quality.
HUGE win for fan films! Now we just need to work on revising those guidelines…
Well there’s actual damages and statutory damages, as you know. You do not need to prove statutory damages, there are there for deterrence. Without deterrence, copyright law doesn’t work.
Actual damages not being provable didn’t just come up for this case, people have had to pay hundreds of thousands to the RIAA without the RIAA having to prove they lost hundreds of thousands in record sales.
I know you think that CBS had a weak case, but they did not. Alec Peter himself said he was making a professional star trek film. Also, he would not have settled if his lawyers thought it was a weak case.
But the reason why they went against Axanar isn’t that one 90 min movie it was costing them money in the market. It was because Peters was setting up to make a future business of making more movies, selling props, raising more cash, taking more social media bandwidth, selling services to others etc.
It would have become this parallel Star Trek franchise. It’s not just one guy making a movie and moving on. It’s that future running parallel Trek business that was the issue.
This lawsuit is like when the government used tax fraud to go against Al Copone. It’s not the actual problem, suing on the actual problem was difficult. It’s a lawsuit made only to get THIS SETTLEMENT, the goal of which is to cripple his ability to get this business up and running, which is what the guidelines prevent. It doesn’t prevent him from making fan films that infringe on star trek copyright.
How is a copyright infringement issue settled by allowing the other party to infringe anyway? It doesn’t, that doesn’t make sense. That’s because the infringement and the monetary damages it caused was never the issue. CBS has a case, a strong case, but they’re using it as a sledgehammer to get something else.
“It’s a lawsuit made only to get THIS SETTLEMENT, the goal of which is to cripple his ability to get this business up and running, which is what the guidelines prevent.”
And yet, this settlement doesn’t prevent Alec from getting his business up and running. He’s still allowed to take in donations…only from direct sources, not from crowdfunding websites.
Look, when all is said and done, I think both sides gave a little and got a little. And that’s what settlements are supposed to do.
No, their whole argument was that copyright was violated and the judge ruled that it was.
Nice to see that you have no empathy for the now very angry donors lighting up the Kickstarter page, the Axanar groups, and your Small Access group. The Axanar PR machine (you included) have for months and months been saying that they’ll absolutely win (either this suit or appeal) and that Alec would never surrender. This settlement looks like a betrayal to them.
Actually, Sandy, I spoke to Mike Bawden yesterday. Over 95% of the feedback that came from that donor e-mail on Friday was very positive. The number of negative response e-mails were countable on a single six-fingered hand. If the donors are unhappy (I mean more than a half dozen of them), they aren’t telling the central office.
did he though? he ruled that “fair use”could not be used as a defense. he also gave his “opinion” that alec infringed. but guess what Sandy, a judges opinion, does not make a guilty verdict, unless a jury agrees with that opinion. on this point we shall never know because of the settlement.
again CBS/P could have said “Alec agrees he violated our copyrights”, but they said “he overstepped the boundries related to how WE VIEW copyright”, that is nothing more than PR BS. Legally(which is the ONLY thing that matters) Alec did NOT VIOLATE copyright, because he was not found guilty of doing so.
You should never let accuracy get in the way of a good Curly Boy rant, Roadie!
Oh, no! Curly Boy has said this is a win for the Plaintiffs! I must go flagellate myself for daring to think otherwise!
But Davey, it is.
The Plaintiffs got exactly what they wanted.
1) Alec has to abide by the guidelines he asked for.
2) The fair use defence for fan films has been ruled against.
3) Alec cannot crowdfund any more for Axanar.
4) Alec had to publicly acknowledge that copyright was violated and that he overstepped.
That certainly sounds like a win for the Plaintiffs to me.
Actually, Sandy, Alec didn’t have to admit that copyright was violated.
And look, guys…both sides won a little and both sides lost a little. Can’t we at least agree on that?
Leaving aside whether this really is EXACTLY what they want (or even is a reliable account of what they got) for the moment, you’re trying to tell me that the plaintiffs are happy to have spent a million dollars to acquire this? A law firm named Loeb & Loeb should have been able to quote them Rule Of Acquisition #3 verbatim, “Never spend more on an acquisition than you have to.”
I believe they could have had a similar result much sooner, and for far cheaper, had they simply made a phone call, or sent a C&D letter before advancing to this stage. They may have possibly been able to have had it back in August of 2015. I know you don’t believe it, but the fact remains that CBS and Paramount DIDN’T EVEN TRY. They went straight to the lawsuit, didn’t pass go, didn’t collect $200.
And you can bet there were some very generous bonus checks paid out to the Loeb & Loeb partners last Christmas. 🙂
>>A lot of people seem to be saying this is a victory for Alec and Axanar, but it’s not.
>>The only winners are the Plaintiffs. They got what they wanted
Hello mr greenberg, I’m unsure why you’d make this particular statement, it doesn’t make any sense (unless you completely ignore history) seeing as I know you’ve been following events due to your comments in the past.
The plaintiffs wanted no axanar at all. Fail.
The plaintiffs wanted no professional actors. Fail.
The plaintiffs wanted money. Fail.
The plaintiffs wanted no future films made at all, by anyone involved. Fail.
There are other points where they failed but I think those are the big ones off the top of my head, with the biggest being axanar being allowed to even exist at all. That’s a pretty big one.
Sure, Axanar had to compromise. But those four points? The plaintiffs lost big on those, even though neither party technically ‘lost’ the case. Frankly I’m impressed by the mental gymnastics you’re doing when you try to paint that as the opposite.
Ultimately, Axanar is getting made. Neener, neener, and neener. =)
You had me until “Neener, neener, and neener.”
Look, folks, Sandy is entitled to his opinions. Many of us might think he’s off his rocker, but that doesn’t mean we need to be as disrespectful to him as he tends to be to others. Let’s take the moral high ground, shall we? Grifter, you made some excellent points. And yes, despite everything the detractors predicted about Axanar and Alec Peters going down in flames and ending up out on the sidewalk living in a cardboard box, things have actually worked out pretty well. That alone is enough of a “neener” to do the job for you. Don’t stoop down to their level. We’re better than that. Remember: Axanar support is based on love; detractor resistance is based on hate. Love is always the better choice. 🙂
(Cue cheesy 1960s folk music. “To everything, turn, turn, turn…”)
I mean, you’re right Jonathan. But let’s be honest for a second. If accidentally-on-purpose in a future Axanar production there just happens to be a “red shirt” character named Ensign Rand Greenberg or Ensign Carlos Hinman who meets that episode’s monster-of-the-week, you’ll have a secret giggle before being the grown up. After all, “thank you for playing, please enjoy this parting gift,” is a particularly delicious recipe of schadenfreude! 😉
Actually, why even give them that much exposure? Do you know how much I had to donate just to be a casualty face on a computer screen for two seconds???
Look, the “stallion” that used to be Axamonitor and CBS/PvAxanar is now essentially a gelding. I say we leave them with their memories of what was and now can never be and just move them out to pasture. We’ve got a horse race to finish!
I know, I know. You’re right. Sometimes a guy just wants to be Karma’s little helper.
I picture the Simpsons’ canine pet in my mind, but then it would be Dogma’s little helper. 🙂
And how exactly do you know what the Plaintiffs wanted?
It’s not like they spelled out exactly what they wanted in their legal fillings, right? 😉
I’m going to place my trust in Alec that this was the best that could be gained. It seems like a win for the studios and probably Alec. With the exception of using the actors, should they return, we’re back to the guidelines which were blasted when they were released.
The guidelines are definitely constraining. But we have to remember that, despite what Justin Lin said, Star Trek does NOT belong to the fans. The guidelines provide a safe harbor…it’s just a very SMALL harbor. But it is a harbor. Help me increase the membership of SMALL ACCESS, and we can try to embiggen that harbor. 🙂
Well 30 minutes total instead of full 90 min film is kind of weak. I just hope those “guidelines” (who are in fact not guidelines but requirements design to slowly kill any fan films and just make CBS/Paramout make few more bucks) will bite studiosit their collective bottom parts at some point. Just like they deserve.
Sign up on FB for SMALL ACCESS! I need numbers!!!
Not to be a wet rag on all this happiness, but isn’t there just some things askew here? A year burnt for nothing, a large sum burned away with an unused studio, a deal taking a promised 90 minute spectacle into 2 15 minute quick draws? “and our willingness to make necessary changes, as long as we could reasonably meet our commitments to Axanar’s over 14,000 donors, fans and supporters. We are now able to do exactly that.”I do not see how 2 15 minute “quickies” equate to a 90 minute spa. I am also not exactly seeing how this is anyone’s “victory” except as a Pyrrhic one. It has established CBS/Paramount as the sole rulers of the universe, and has basically thrown the fans under the bus, in that there is now no standing against the guidelines. So, it appears that all a good Trek fan can do is NOT spend any money on Trek, and NOT spend any money on a Paramount product of any flavor, and NOT spend any money on a CBS product. Vote with your pocketbook as they say.It’s too bad, as Axanar had the potential to rank right up next to ST2 as best Trek film ever.
Alec and Co ought to go talk to David Weber and go onboard Honor Harrington. There is enough material to make dozens of high quality, good stories, and showcase their talents, and prove you can make quality movies for a reasonable cost, as Richard Hatch has preached. Right now, the bloated Cows of Hollywood are blowing huge sums, and the result is their greed knows no bounds, to finance more of their crapware.
Don’t mince words, Bones, what do you really think? 🙂
He’s dead Jim!
Oh holy carp yes yes yes, I would *love* to see me some Honor Harrington! That would be beyond amazing! If you’re unfamiliar with HH, the first book is free to read from Baen’s free library, ( http://www.baen.com/on-basilisk-station.html ). It’s an amazing series in an amazing universe. Highly recommended!
Honor Harrington is such a gem for a whole series, it is ripe for a TV series, given there is enough existent material for easily 10-12 years. David Weber had a hard time finding someone to do it, and I think they ran afoul of the Richard Hatch defined “bloated movie syndrome” and it died a quick death. I would bet Alec and Co. could do it great justice, and the only big cost would be a bridge set (that could be sized up and down for different classes of ships, and some other set pieces that could be assembled as needs (staterooms, conference rooms etc. The rest could easily be green screened. Cheap, cost effective. Would just need to get DW onboard and either sell it to a service (like Amazon or Netflix) so as to avoid the “moron effect” that seems to permeat any project on TV or screen when studios or networks get involved. It is amazing how much evidence is now available that studios need big epic star studded monsters, or it tanks. Yet indies are making the consistently successful material because they still know how to manage their money, make stuff people want to see, and are not top heavy with self important gas bags. His Safehold series is also a Game of Thrones level treasure trove with the sci fi background. Either would make a great series for someone.
Well, at least Alec now has options. We’ll see what happens…
To paraphrase Lawrence Garfield in Other People’s Money–
“Lawyers are like nuclear warheads. They have theirs, so I have mine. Once you use them, they f— up everything.”
Um, Robert, my wife is a lawyer. And more often than not, she’s brought in clean up messes, not make them.
Sorry if I sound snippy. Being married to an attorney has given me a new perspective on the legal profession. And yes, while some lawyers are indeed a-holes, others truly respect the sanctity of their calling in resolving matters where two parties come into disagreement. Being a lawyer is often a hard life to live. Wendy comes home each night at 8:30 with just enough time to kiss and cuddle with Jayden as he gets into bed. Then after a quick dinner, she’s often back at work again for another hour or two. And at least one weekend day Wendy usually spends doing work, as well, sometimes both days. I don’t envy her, and I truly wish she didn’t have to spend so much of her life doing something so draining.
So forgive me if I get a little protective of lawyers. I know it’s not politically correct most times to advocate for the advocates, but they really do have a demanding and draining job.
My “best-case scenario” was for the “Axanar” production being denied and Alec Peters being fined for “non-willfull infringement”, so a settlement which permits two fifteen-minutes “Axanar” episodes makes me extremely happy.
I didn’t participate in the original crowdfunding campaign for “Axanar”, but I intent to do a private donation it that lets me add the “Servant of Alec Peters” qualification to my CV.
That’s LORD Garth! 😉
Well, sad for the shorter duration, but glad for the possibility to resume production.
Now, the job is to get that studio running again and release some fine independant fanfilms (Go aliza !). With luck, it would be able to become the training school it was intended to become and even produce non Trek-related contents.
To explain why I, too, would donate again, I shall say I was among the first shareholders of the tunnel under the channel between France and England, obviously not for the profit but for the fun of saying “I was there and thanks to me and many others, it became a reality”. I for one would be proud if Industry Studio would become a regular facility for other productions. Dare I to say Industry Studio should be in charge of filming the next official ST series ? At least it would be done properly. After all, Alec Peters has proven his ability to handle it. 😉
About the guidelines, the presence of former CBS/P related actors and technicians should be dealt with according to section 16600 or similar. But this is marginal for most fan films. The drama lies in the duration and series limitations. If crowdfunding campaigns are limited to 50k but donations are possible to complete, raising money is still possible. Other guidelines are quite reasonable and it is now up to the fan producers to show CBS/P they are no threat and that guidelines may be loosened a bit.
Among other things, I guess the negociations included droping the counter-strike from Axanar against CBS/P that was still pending…
I’m pretty sure the counterclaim got dropped along with the lawsuit. I can check with Alec.
Will any executives be fired for losing millions and settling now when they should have settled last year.
You do realize I’m just a blogger, right? 🙂
So where does this leave Star Trek Continues? Anyone know if they’re still planning on making their final four episodes?
The last I heard, yes, they were planning on making their final four episodes. That said, if I were they (and understand that I am only conjecturing here), I’d produce all four episodes and dump them onto YouTube all at once. That way, if the studios come back and say, “Shut it down!” then STC responds by saying, “Okay, we’re done. No more episodes. We promise.”
While I’ve loved every episode of Star Trek Continues (I actually sometimes forget I’m not watching a real Star Trek episode when watching one of theirs, because they’re so good), I’m still mystified they’re being allowed to continue when Axanar was targeted so heavily for a film they hadn’t even made yet.
Technically, STC hasn’t violated the guidelines…yet. “Embracing the Winds” was in post production when the guidelines came out and was “grandfathered” in. It’s not until they release a new episode that began production AFTER the guidelines that they risk trouble.
I guess I was basing that on their comments about their intention to finish their intended season’s arc. I hope they do, and I hope they can get away with episodes of the length they’ve been doing. But it will be interesting if they carry on as before and nothing happens.
The other fan films were not targeted because the producers did not make money off of their projects. Only Alec Peters has done this.
The reason why the professional actors were allowed as past of the settlement may be due to the fact that disallowing them would have been a violation of California law.
Well, preventing them from actually getting paid would violate SAG rules, so we’ll see what happens there.
So, Jonathan, what stops another fan film creator from doing a Kickstarter, renting Ares studios with the Axanar sets and actors, and making their own 15 minute film based on a script they just happened to find tucked away on the set?
Then we’d have 45 minutes of Axanar! Then someone else does segment 4. 60 minutes! (lather, rinse, repeat . . . )
Just a thought . . . .
While that sounds brilliantly conniving (or connivingly brilliant), I can’t imagine the big studios would be all that thrilled with the idea. I’m not touching this one!
I find it very interesting that a settlement was actually predicted just a few days ago on this blog, the entry “LEGAL EXPERT says AXANAR has more ways to WIN[…]”.
While everyone only remembered the possibility of a secret way to make the case for fair use, Moses Avalon actually talks a lot about how axanar’s lawyer would not want to pursue further.
” I think they will push him to make a settlement. […]This is fairly standard of all pro bono cases”
He said this TWICE. And explained the reasoning further:
“Well, the minute the law firm realizes they have a hostile judge, and they realize the case is gonna go against them, the social equity of their investment in this goes down substantially because they don’t want to go to trial and lose.”
It was all right there in front us.
Well, I for one was still surprised on Friday morning, Francis. 🙂
I suppose Alec cam always do a 2hr parody of Axanar, after filming Axanar 🙂
It was difficult enough just doing a 7-minute parody, dude!
It would have costed plaintiffs tens of millions of dollars if they had allowed the case to proceed all the way to the supreme court with multle jury trials.
Probably no more than $2-3 million, actually. One trial only put them into the $1 million range. Appeals would cost less (no discovery; only paperwork), and a new trial might barely make it to a million.
I’m ready to follow you on into the next battle: the hated guidelines…
…however, *i REFUSE to sign-up for FB* =(
…how ’bout an email list / online petition(s)? …like a political campaign?
Captain Kirk, I shall consider it!
Just my opinion but my way around the guidelines is a follows:
Follow The Avengers path – multiple units/paths go to making a combined finale
or a Netflix approach – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and finally the Defenders
1 – Make a 30 minute short on Kharn – could be done in the mockumentary style
2 – Make a 30 minute short on Garth
3 – Make a 30 minute short on Soval(?)
4 – Make a 30 minute short on the ACTUAL battle
All of the shorts are stand alone but all dovetail into the final conflict.
The actual total (120 minutes) would be more than the originally requested 90 minutes.
As for the funding:
If there is a donor base of 14,000 and we donate an average of $10 each they will get $140,000 which should be sufficient to finish
What was MOSES idea?????? Still dying to find out.
Sorry, really finally – We need to get the kickstarter for “The Battle For Axanar” started and that MUST be a for profit endeavor that HAS to be released into the cinemas around the world.
One thing at a time, Tim. One thing at a time. 🙂
I am glad a settlement was reached. It is better than nothing, and at least we get to see Axanar happen, even if it is only two 15 minute segments. I really hope that we will see other things come out of Industry Studios if it will still be around. It would be nice to see original, quality sci-fi type productions come from there. It is a bummer that there will not be a full length film of Axanar, but again, I’ll take what I can get! I still strongly believe that CBS/Paramount could have handled this whole thing better than they did. They really hurt the fan-base, which is vital to keeping the Star Trek franchise alive. It is bad enough that they “screwed the pooch” on the 50th anniversary last year.
I’m not sure CBS even realizes that, Lance.
Yes, they hurt the hard-core fan-base.
However, I disagree that the hard-core fan-base is what keep ST alive. Look at ST Beyond, which makes $343M. How many who went see the movie are hard core ST fans? Heck, half of the money was not ever made in the US (not that we cannot have “real” ST fans in China, though I highly doubt).
Like it or not, CBS is going after the mass market with ST. To be honest, i do enjoy ST Beyond, but more as an action movie, than a ST movie.
I think you are over-estimating the importance of hardcore ST fans to CBS.
There’s a big difference between the market for a summer blockbuster available at theaters and the first-ever pay-to-view Star Trek television series trying to be a tent pole subscription streaming service. I think hard-core fans will be the seed around which CBS desperately hopes All Access will grow. Good luck with that.
True, but the new ST tv is a much smaller bet than their ten pole big summer action movies, and guess which one is going to make more money (and hence receive more attention).
ST:Discovery is at best a small tv gamble (only a few episodes). No matter what the subscription service will do, it will be pale in comparison to the next movie in the JJ-verse. That is what keeping ST alive in the minds of the execs.
Two different studios, Narius, and two different goals. DISCO is being used to help launch a new subscription streaming service, so there’s actually more pressure on that than there was for ST Beyond. Also, the economies of scale are completely different. Television series have huge start-up costs to create all of the sets and uniforms and the such which can then be amortized over multiple episodes of a series. But each new feature film is a one-shot start-up with a budget that typically cannot be amortized.
So it’s kind of like comparing apples to blueberries.
I might have missed something but what about the “Vulcan Scene”? There soes not seem to have been any mention of it.
It can probably stand alone as its own individual fan film. Although the guidelines specify “no sequels,” the Vulcan scene predates the guidelines and can be considered to be “grandfathered in.” And Alec does have permission to keep Prelude up and make Axanar. Now, would Alec be able to expand the Vulcan Scene into “Soval’s Story” and have Gary Graham appear in that and NOT in the Axanar 2-parter? Would that be considered “horse trading?” I really have no idea. I’m not even sure that Alec knows yet!
Let me be the first to congratulate Jonathan on his whopping earnings of $3.93 off another mega Corp, Google (-; That’s awesome!
Now, in that same positive vein, I can’t believe how many people forget about that spectacular bridge set for Axanar and only think of the cost of the building being wasted. The huge Green Screen, and don’t forget all the filming gear etc, etc, etc. And all the volunteers work put into this whole thing. Do these Axahaters think that they won’t be seeing that bridge in more than just one fan film, or other FULL LENTH features? How about the documentary of this whole affair, staring ,… wait for it…THE BRIDGE!
Surely someone as creative, driven, and hard working as Alec, there are plans to do all kinds of great stuff, and that’s the best part. Rubbing it into the snotty faces of all the Crybabies.
I was a late arrival to Axanar, and never got the chance to donate. But think of all those who did. They got to be a part of something Truly Historical in fan film land. I won’t miss future opportunities to be able to share with the Grandkids how I was there for this life’s episode. Star Trek will be forever, as will it’s eternal fans. I’m excited for the future, and Axanar will be a real part of that.
Hey, I started as an Axanar groupie, then stalker, then volunteer, and now look at me! $3.93 baby!!! That’s retirement money there!!!! 🙂
Y’all wanna know what I think?
Damn, Dave, that was the blog I was gonna write in a couple of days!!!
I’d love to reprint it here on FFF as a guest blog entry. I’ll be sure to point folks back to the original page, but there’s a lot you wrote that really needs to be read by a lot of people who are complaining about this settlement.
You are more than welcome to do that, sir!
Dave, it is a valid analysis, and on just the Axanar level, is probably a fair summary. One thing that has not been clearly articulated is the angst most people feel with a system that allows a corporation to claim any and all control over something that has grown way beyond a “trademark” Star Trek became a cultural thing, a place that for 50 years people could fantasize their ideas on a wide variety of topics, from ships to aliens, to social structure and mores. Yet now, a Judge has basically taken that 50 years of growth and permeation into our culture around the world, and said “no, it is not your world, it is THEIRS” Lock, stock and barrel. So, when someone like Alec comes along, and makes the Trek people want, and have tried in their own way, to make, that goes down the tubes, and we are left with, what, whatever the suits at CBS DECIDE we can have? Essentially, they could have a cop at every door of every convention and require each person in costume to prove they bought it from a “licensed” place, that their phaser is a “Licensed product” that their Vulcan ears came from a “licensed dealer”, because, after all, a judge has said “it’s all theirs”. I have not heard anyone deny that CBS own the rights to Trek and the characters, but I believe most people saw Garth as a creation of Alec, that Kharn was a creation of Richard Hatch, not some CBS stooge in a cubicle. The way this came out, they can come sue me for having Ares on my computer screen, because they “OWN ALL OF IT” Those warp nacelles are theirs, that running light is theirs, even if you built it. There are still a lot of places they have not yet struck, such as model builders who have produced fan built designs. If they ever manage to make a mistake and actually release Discovery, even if it is filled to the gills with Axanar material, they will get away with it all, even if it was originated by Alec and Co, because “THEY OWN IT”. This ruling could add up to some scenario where the Goddard family sues NASA for making rockets, because “THEY OWN IT”, and they were there a heck of a lot earlier than NASA (assuming Goddard patented and trademarked his pee wee rockets. I think there is a lot of angst over just where fairness says “this is mine, and that is yours”. This will not be the last of it, more companies will see how this worked and roll onto similar vendettas, I am sure. The only bright spot is if Discovery is a flop because Trek fans refuse to give in (not to mention if they play the genius game of making the show so politically acceptable to every special interest group so no one is offended, or left out) and they are forced to quit year 1. That would be nice, and “just”. In other words, time to bail out of the Trek universe and do a slider into another, freer one (uh oh, I better be careful or the Sci Fi channe (or whoever “owns the IP”) will come after me ….
Okay, secure from general quarters, Chicken Little. The kind of legal attack you’re describing would cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars to enforce…and it’s not even necessary. The studios don’t care about fans wearing Spock ears and a monster maroon walking into a convention. And they don’t care about what you have on your computer desktop or what modelers are kit-bashing together.
Many years ago, John Va Citters told me, “Jon, unless they’re making more than $10,000 in sales of unlicensed merchandise, it doesn’t make financial sense for us to go after them in court.” A cease and desist letter is much cheaper and easier, and even then, it’s only there to protect against any obvious trademark (not copyright) infringement. And believe it or not, CBS owns very few trademarks on Star Trek (although the name itself is registered).
And of course, as CBS and Paramount learned with this lawsuit, it’s not really the best idea for public relations to sue your fans for loving your product too much! 🙂
CBS in an Interview after the guidelines came out, said they didn’t have a problem with fans making and wearing their own costumes and sets, but if you purchased props they prefer you buy licensed merchandise.
First off, my compliments to Carlos Pendraza and the others who sided with CBS/Paramount. THE rightful and legal owners of the Star Trek property. As well as providing factual information on the case. Much thanks.
And on that note – before leaving Star Trek fandom behind and moving on to other things – here is my final commentary in this year long issue.
The ONLY reason that settlement was reached was because the financial records – and the information contained there in – would have SERIOUSLY implicated Alec Peters. So in a moment of panic, he decided to settle, rather than face the VERY SEVERE consequences of his illegal actions.
At least there are two bright spots in all of this. Axanar will HAVE TO follow the new guidelines. And they will not be able to tell their story in two 15 minute segments. Plus the fact that Alec Peters will NO LONGER be able to show himself at ANY Star Trek and sci-fi related functions, because of what he did. His name and his reputation are ruined as far as many are concerned. It serves him right.
And even if he is allowed to continue, how many people associated with the Axanar fiasco will want to stick around, knowing that their funds are limited and that they won’t be able to tell the entire story of Axanar in two 15-minute segments? Unless they are like David Gerrold and willing to go down with the sinking ship, I seriously doubt that they will want to stay on board Axanar and the fraudulent farce of a production that it really is. No doubt, they will follow Tony Todd’s smart example and leave.
Despite Star Trek fandom taking a huge black eye on its 50th Anniversary and both parties settling out of court, CBS/Paramount still made its point and in a way is the winner in the case.
In a way, that is poetic justice.
LLAP Star Trek(1966 to 2016). You’ve run your course.
“And on that note – before leaving Star Trek fandom behind and moving on to other things – here is my final commentary in this year long issue.”
You’re leaving fandom, Michael? I know I should be sad, but it’s tough for me to lie.
Speaking of which…
“The ONLY reason that settlement was reached was because the financial records – and the information contained there in – would have SERIOUSLY implicated Alec Peters. So in a moment of panic, he decided to settle, rather than face the VERY SEVERE consequences of his illegal actions.”
I really love that mantra. It’s like the “Lock her up!” of Star Trek. So let’s take a look at this theory seriously for a moment, shall we? I mean as rational, thinking adults…
The judge’s order on the retractions was filed in the middle of the day on Wednesday. Erin Ranahan signed the settlement agreement sometime on Thursday. By Friday, two press releases were sent to the media before noon Pacific Time. So here’s what had to have happened in those 48 hours:
1) Erin had to get in touch with Alec.
2) Erin had to convince Alec to settle (not an easy thing to do).
3) The terms of the settlement had to be ironed out with the studios. I can all but guarantee you they were NOT offering everything that Alec got in the deal. There is no way the studios initially were willing to allow professional actors to be in Axanar. So there had to have been some negotiating.
4) Erin can only negotiate directly with the lawyers at Loeb & Loeb. So after convincing Alec to settle, she would have needed to reach Jonathan Zavin and/or David Grossman in New York before the end of their business day. Remember that New York is three hours later than L.A. where Alec and Erin are. So assuming Erin didn’t convince Alec to settle until, say, 3:00pm, that 6:00pm in New York, and very little time was left in the work day for the L&L lawyers to work late and iron out a settlement. Most liekly, they woudl have just reconvened first thing in the morning, but let’s assume they all decided to work through the night.
5) Assuming they were actually able to negotiate and actually reach an agreement before sunrise, that agreement needed to then be run past very busy executives at not one but two different studios, executives who don’t simply keep their schedules clear waiting for renegotiated contracted to come onto their desk for review–and certainly not nine days before the start of February sweeps!
6) These executives didn’t simply need to just sign the settlement that the lawyers hammered out; they needed to provide feedback. That’s their job. Just blindly accepting a settlement negotiated through an all-nighter is not fulfilling the executive’s fiduciary responsibility to the studios’ shareholders. So expect that they would convey their feedback to the L&L lawyers. They, in turn, would communicate that to Erin Ranahan, who would then tell Alec. Then Alec would would work with Erin and she would provide feedback to L&L. And so on. This doesn’t happen in just a matter of hours, folks! This kind of crap takes days or, more typically, weeks. But somehow Erin Ranahan signed the legal filing on Thursday?? Really???? Even if she signed at midnight, that is still a settlement moving at warp speed.
6) Meanwhile, the PR people at BOTH studios have to get the final settlement agreement the following morning, carefully review it, and then spin it properly for the media. Those PR people had, at most, six hours between coming into work on Friday morning (at least in New York for CBS; Paramount’s PR team is in Los Angeles and had three hours LESS time to work with) to discover a completed settlement on their desk, drop everything else, write the copy, send it to Loeb & Loeb, have L&L send it to Erin for review, have her submit changes and her own wording back to L&L, have them go back to the PR people, go back and forth a few times on it, not agree, and finally issue two DIFFERENT press releases, both of which still had to be approved by the other side.
Now, could all of this possibly have happened in less than 48 hours? Well, I suppose stranger things have happened…but not much stranger. Only two spring to mind: the spontaneous combustion of the Mayor of Warsaw in 1546 and that incident in 12th century Burgundy when it rained herring. (A lollipop to the first person who can tell me where THAT one’s from!)
Folks, these are two of the biggest studios in Hollywood. This did NOT happen in 48 hours.
But thank you for playing, Michael. Enjoy your retirement from Star Trek fandom, and please accept this lovely parting gift.
Oooh, so you’re a Dwarfer
I want to lie, shipwrecked and comatose, drinking fresh mango juice…
Thank a deity that the USA version version never made it past the second pilot otherwise we’d never have Terry Farrell as Jadzia.
Have you seen this?
Or this (but I prefer the previous one)
I wonder if Discovery will go with something like one of these ^_^…
They both kinda work!
“Only two spring to mind: the spontaneous combustion of the Mayor of Warsaw in 1546 and that incident in 12th century Burgundy when it rained herring. (A lollipop to the first person who can tell me where THAT one’s from!)”
Red Dwarf, Confidence And Paranoia. 🙂
You guys are so quick!
Why thank you Jonathan, smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!
I didn’t notice the part in brackets though, skim-reading, so many comments (my inbox now overflows) and this one just replying to “haters”, so even more reason to skim…
I hope you enjoy the latest seasons of Red Dwarf, I thought we had gone past the peak, but this last season (2016) has my sides splitting harder than ever!
I’m still a few seasons behind. Blogging is busy work!!!
Sorry, but the correct response should have been “What a guy!” :P.
Well, the season before last aired in 2012… Red Dwarf do it odd, they make a series, and then years go by doing nothing and then they suddenly, out of the blue, they decide to make another, and this time, finally, two series in a row, one for 2016, and one for 2017.
I don’t know how much you know, but RD originally got made by the BBC, but then they abandoned it, a new TV channel then popped up called Dave, named after Dave from RD, they only showed repeats for quite some time (of RD and other programmes), but eventually they got the money together to get the license for and start making new RD.
If Discovery sinks, then maybe the same thing can happen with Star Trek, CBS will give up on Star Trek thinking it a lost cause (at least for the kind of money they hope to make from it), so they have no intention on making anymore ST, someone can then (perhaps crowdfund) to buy the license to make new ST (why would CBS keep something if they can’t make money from), and perhaps the full Axanar feature film can finally get made to supplement the 2x15min thing, and this time, with no restrictions at all, and thus able to get screened in cinemas all over the world and on Movie Night in the far reaches of the galaxy, either on Red Dwarf, the NX-01, or perhaps Tom Paris digs it up, depending on which universe makes it to reality.
That’s interesting information on Red Dwarf that I most assuredly did not know, Jack. Thanks.
As for your conjectures about Star Trek following in RD’s footsteps, I personally feel that is very unlikely. Star Trek is a multi-billion dollar franchise. Even if no new Trek is coming out, old Trek still takes in tens of millions of dollars a year in licensing (maybe more). So even if CBS sat back and did noting for Star Trek ever again, it’d still be a cash machine for it. Even if DISCO falls flat on its face and All Access has an epic fail, the new series is still paid for by licensing revenue from Netflix. I can’t see CBS selling those ownership rights anytime soon (if ever!)–and certainly not for Kickstarter-level money (unless Kickstarter can display goal numbers in the eleven-figure range…that’s tens of billions of dollars, if you’re curious).
I have no idea about the legal side behind what and how Dave purchased about RD, whether they own full rights to RD, or what, I only know that the BBC were behind series I through VIII (1-8), i.e. up until the year 1999, then nothing new happened until Dave made a mini-series of three episodes in 2009. RD had always planned to come back, but they wanted to make a movie before making a new series. Over that ten years they struggled to find investors, and when they did, it didn’t take long those investors to fall through.
Anyway, to Star Trek, yes of course getting full rights costs a lot, but I wasn’t thinking full rights. CBS/P can still keep churning out merchandise for what they have already done, but why not obtain a partial license/rights, i.e. the rights to make new Trek with the ability to merchandise that new stuff. Perhaps set up a fan-based Star Trek organisation to run it, with a community based constitution that keeps it for the fans by the fans, and abiding by the ideals of Gene Roddenberry? Ooh, I get all excited now!
The studio is not likely to extend those kind of rights beyond Paramount because most licensees are exclusive to a particular media license type. That’s why there is only one literary licensee (Pocket Books) and only one comic book/graphic novel licensee (IDW). CBS runs the TV development, and Paramount is licensed the movie rights by CBS. Neither side wants to create competition for themselves in the same marketplace.
Sorry to rain on your parade, Jack.
Sure, but if CBS have given up, then no more competition, they sell all rights for future development of Star Trek to Axanar Productions, or some new organisation we set up, and Voila…
1) CBS given up! ***AND***
2) Only get rights to do new stuff!
Well, that’s the thing, I don’t think CBS will ever “give up.” In Hollywood, there’s a concept called “retaining the option.” That’s one of the reasons we’ve never seen a sequel to “Buckaroo Banzai” and why no third “Hulk” movie has happened yet despite Banners’ popularity as a character in the Avengers movies.
This is so full of win! You should post it as a comment on Hinman’s article at GeekNation. He’s really pushing that angle in his story.
What Hinman says is unimportant, and I do not hear his words. 🙂
I’d say that the 12th century Burgundy herring rain comes from “Red Dwarf”, but there is no merit in me saying that, because I googled that info.
Man, Google is the nemesis for any good trivia contest…
I kept expecting to see a sarcasm tag “/s” but apparently you are serious. Heh. Well, that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it, of course… there just isn’t much in the way of facts to support any of that.
On a general note there is a LOT of salt laying around everywhere since the settlement announcement, it seems. I will try to avoid stepping in any more of it even though it is great for my popcorn.
This comment is in reply to Michael Erickson.
I know it will disappoint the Haters,but those of us that have actually been to the studio, seen the sets and costumes, know the cast and crew, and have helped at conventions, have been congratulating Axanar and been asking how we can help make this the Best 30 minutes of Star Trek ever made.
I really think the donors just can’t understand our dedication to this project…simply because the word “love” isn’t written into their book.
Hey Jonathan, I put a rather lengthy comment on here just late last week, and I don’t see on here now – Thanks – Also, I took a bold step and emailed the presidents of both CBS and Paramount – I don’t know if it’ll move them to respond, but I’m just not ready to quit fighting for the full-length of this project – Too stubborn, I guess… P 🙂
Let me know if you hear anything back…and what you hear!
As for comments from you, Amilcar, I haven’t trashed anything expect stuff from that Tony guy (who really needs some anger management therapy, in my humble opinion). And there’s only one other short post from you in the queue right now. So if something didn’t get approved, feel free to submit it again, and I’ll make sure it gets posted.
…if i can’t see axanar crushed, and alec reamed; i’m quitting star trek!!
Hope – It’s all we have at this point, really… P :/
Hope is what will get me through the next four years, Amilcar. 🙂
Jeff, my take on that is that as a donor, I got the information. Alec shared it with us. He was bound by the terms of the settlement to share a few additional details with the donors. The donors are not bound by that limitation.
Comments are closed.