CBS contacts and delays the STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY fan film!

Okay, no one panic!  CBS isn’t going all lawsuit-happy again.  In fact, it’s possible that their experience in the Axanar lawsuit has resulted in a new approach to dealing with Star Trek fan films that concern them: Ask questions first, shoot later.

The first time post-lawsuit that CBS contacted a fan filmmaker with concerns was early in 2016 when Tommy Kraft was trying to raise $250,000 for Star Trek: Federation Rising, his sequel to Star Trek: Horizon.  CBS requested strongly (but politely) that Tommy shut down the project, and he complied.

CBS has been pretty quiet since then when it comes to fan films, until now.  SAMUEL COCKINGS recently released his trailer for STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY,  a fan production he has been working on for five years.  I interviewed him about that project here.  For reasons that will likely become super-obvious when you view the trailer, this planned fan film raised some red flags with CBS for not following a few of the announced guidelines.

Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly was supposed to premiere today on YouTube.  Instead, apparently CBS has asked for (apparently, again, politely) for some changes before it gets released.  Samuel Cockings just posted this announcement to the Temporal Anomaly Facebook page:

Hello Everyone,

While the intent was to release Temporal Anomaly today we were contacted by CBS and are now delaying release of the film until those discussions are concluded and resolved. These have been polite communications and we thank CBS for their approach in dealing with these concerns.

We had hoped to release the project in its pre-guideline state as Temporal Anomaly was written in 2013 and filmed in 2013/2014 however a public release of this now dubbed “Directors Cut” is no longer possible.

A public altered edit of the film may be able to be produced but we are in the early stages of that.

Thank you for the support and interest you have shown, there will be an update on Kickstarter for our backers shortly.

Samuel Cockings

More news as it becomes available…

86 thoughts on “CBS contacts and delays the STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY fan film!”

  1. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? CBS? Softening their stance in regards to fan films?

    JEEVES! Fetch my fainting couch…I feel a spell coming on!

  2. Surely, the film could be sent as a video file to the backers and a public cut out on YouTube, but then could it be certain that no backers would put it on YouTube themselves and get the film maker in trouble.

    Hmmm tricky.

    1. From what I understand, CBS is looking for ways that this project can but put on Youtube in a such law that doesn’t make them (CBS) uncomfortable. No, it probably won’t be the “director’s cut,” but it should still be an impressive accomplishment and a fun fan film to view.

  3. Well, the guidelines say what we can and cannot do. One of the things you can’t do is call your fan film Star Trek. From this, I would say that there’s no more “grandfathered in” clauses.

    1. One of the things this fan film is “testing” is the validity and extent of the legendary “grandfather” clause, of which there isn’t an official confirmation or denial ye from the studio…only an ambiguous comment by John Van Citters from a podcast back in July of 2016 referring primarily to the 1985 uncompleted fan production “Yorktown: A Time to Heal.”

      From what I understand, CBS wants to work WITH Samuel Cockings to help him complete his project in a way that doesn’t make the studio uncomfortable. That’s certainly their right, and it’s better than just suing him. One of these changes may or may not be the adjustment of his title. Another will likely deal with the TNG movie footage at the beginning. It’s possible he needs to change other things, as well. We’ll find out eventually, as I’m hoping to interview Samuel once the film is completed and released.

      1. Jonathan, I wonder if Samuel could have enlisted the aid of Sir Patrick when he interviewed him and helped his favorite charity awhile back. Don’t know if he would have been able to or not. I know, in return, I know he’s done an interview with him for Trekyards that is either in the can to be aired later or has already. He definitely would have had the chance ask at that time, but who knows. I guess only Sam would know for sure or there might be a professional courtesy not to do so.

          1. Jonathan, he could have POSSIBLY given his permision to use his image, probably in writing. I know a lot of actors, nowadays have in their contracts how they want their images to be used and that they have final say how it could be used. If Sir Patrick would have given his permission, I don’t think there would be a problem, since one of the guidelines requires getting permisions. I remember the big brouhaha over Vic selling his image of being Capt. Kirk and the Shat raising a big stink about it in his twitter feed.

          2. The image is Sir Patrick, but the costume, set, and dialog he’s speaking is all the intellectual property of Paramount Pictures. Getting sir Patrick’s permission to use his likeness wouldn’t cover the full extent of the copyright violation.

  4. Sigh. A foam covered sledgehammer is better than a “naked” one. But I was hearing potentially interesting things about ST:D’s 2nd season and my ire at CBS/P was weakening just a bit. This issue caused my shields to go back to full strength.

    Oh well, there’s The Orville to look forward to.

      1. Man your still watching that mess, I gave up after the second episode. I just can’t do it, it’s not good Star Trek and it’s barely passable scifi. I just have better things to do with my time. I mean netflix IS coming out with the new Lost in Space. Have to make room on my calendar right, Apr. 13th binge party at my place BYOB.

        1. I don’t think Discovery is a mess…which is probably why I still watch it. 🙂

          As for Lost In Space, my fingers are crossed on that one. I see one giant talking vegetable, I turn it off!

      1. Not sure “hatred” is accurate in this instance, Edward. “Hatred” is a VERY strong word. By using it in this minor instance, you diminish the word’s true significance and power if you want to use it later for something that truly shows hatred, like White Supremacists or violent religious extremists. Compared to acts of terrorism, I don’t think a irritated post on a fan blog constitutes “hatred.”

  5. They should release it as soon they filmed it BEFORE, based on the post here in this blog entry, the soul crushing guidelines even existed.

    Other films and shows have been exempted, why not this?

    1. As you’ll understand if you listen to my interview with Samuel (I’ve linked to it in the blog above), releasing the film sooner wasn’t an option. Samuel was trying to create something with a particular look and feel that simply wasn’t technically possible 2 years ago. It started to be possible, but it required a LOT of CGI modeling and texturing and rendering. Samuel worked as fast as a guy doing this all in his spare time could, but it wasn’t possible for him to beat the release of the guidelines…especially since no one in the greater fan film community even knew the guidelines were coming until they actually came.

      As for other fan films getting exempted (I’m guessing that you’re referring to Star Trek Continues), that seems to have come down to direct negotiations between CBS and Vic Mignogna. In the same way, Samuel Cockings is now talking directly to CBS. Perhaps he’ll get an exemption, or a partial exemption. Or maybe he won’t. We’ll have to wait and see.

      1. Jonathan, I hope does get the exemption. Considering the work he does for Trekyards, which is one of the reasons, besides going to film school, why it took so long, not to mention the two changes in software over the years to improve the film, he ought to have the chance to show it, with CBS’s permission, of course. It would be nice if the current amendments to the copywrite laws be changed back to the original limited term, not the currently indefinite time extensions, which Disney as well as others would like to keep extending indefinitely.

          1. Yeah, I know Jonathan, the chances of the second part happening are probably slim and none, and slim left town awhile ago, but we can dream can’t we? It’s given though, in the present climate, all we will get is Nightmares on Elm Street and everywhere else. :>)

    1. Vic has really good hair. CBS appreciates really good hair. 🙂

      Look, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes with STC. Maybe they did get contacted. Maybe they had discussions like Samuel Cockings is having. We just don’t know, and it’s a waste of time to conjecture or kvetch about it because it happened already, STC was allowed to be uploaded to YouTube, and that’s a very good thing in my opinion.

      1. Not arguing the concept of right or wrong. Given that both projects existed before the guidelines and one continued (no pun intended) while one is held up. It seems we’re back at square one when someone else asked “how do I know when I’ve crossed the line?” ESPECIALLY now that guidelines exist!

        1. Honestly, I think CBS is feeling their way here and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. As JVC said in the podcast when the guidelines were announced, his department doesn’t want to become an answering service for every fan film that wants to ask, “Is this okay? Can I include such-and-such? Will you have a problem if I blank the blank?” On the other hand, if they say nothing, then there’s a risk of something like “Temporal Anomaly” happening.

          In this case, I think CBS is monitoring the fan film world in a casual way, likely checking Fan Film Factor, Star Trek Reviewed, and James Hams’ blog for the latest news and releases. Likely, they can tell in the first few seconds whether they’re dealing with a red flag or not. Vance Major’s stuff…very low budget, not even worth an e-mail. Potemkin Pictures, same thing. But when they saw Temporal Anomaly—BING! Red alert. But instead of going to battle-stations this time, they opened hailing frequencies. And if discussions with Samuel go well, maybe it’ll encourage them to move more proactively with more fan films to find common ground. Maybe there’s even a chance of eventually adjusting some of the guidelines.

          Fingers crossed!

    2. Star Trek Continues got a negotiated shutdown deal based I believe on both the immense quality and popularity of the series and the work that was already in the can. It seems to be pretty clear however that that was all that it would get.

      1. There was never an official deal because CBS can’t and won’t do anything “official” or in writing when it comes to fan films. That said, it does seem that Vic Mignogna was in talks with key people at CBS and wasn’t told not to complete his final four episodes.

  6. All fan made productions should be kept in secret as much as possible before release. Then all releases should be uploaded from countries that are not part of international copyright laws. Releases should be uploaded to sites like pirate bay and other file sharing services. Avoid using YouTube, vimeo, or any other internet video providers under the thumbs of “big media”.

    1. That is, unless you have a cast of actors who worked very hard and were hoping to have exposure on YouTube to a wide Internet audience. Then you should do what Samuel is doing. 😉

    2. Are you kidding? I guess you don’t believe in the rule of law in the world you live in. Steal someone’s property and then release it in Bulgaria to avoid legal issues. Grow up.

      1. Or he believes copyright law as it is currently is unjust and not fit for purpose. Not everyone believes in following unjust laws. God your attitude gives me the Shats Edward.

        1. The thing about not following “unjust laws” is the question of defining “unjust.” Some people believe that having to pay taxes is “unjust” and, therefore, don’t pay them. That doesn’t stop them from getting in trouble with the IRS. What if someone felt that laws against public urination were unjust? What if someone believed that laws against robbing a bank were unjust when the robber was broke and trying to feed his family.

          Eventually, we have to acknowledge that, unjust or not, laws are still laws.

        2. You can use civil disobedience to answer an “unjust” law, BUT YOU MUST BE READY TO DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF DOING SO. (CAPS for emphasis) You must be willing to pay the price to change the law. (IMHO)

          1. Well, the price to change the law could be hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in a court case that few politicians will pay any attention to…that’s for starters. And for me personally, that’s also for enders. 🙂

          2. I hear you, Jonathan. It would be the same for me as well, but the way things are now, that might be the only way, but it still sucks!!!!!!

  7. Sigh….

    I wish there was something to say about this. But even Continues got busted for using a single frame screen grab from The Paradise syndrome. (I think that’s the right episode).

    For those who don’t keep the guidelines handy, they were in violation of guideline #3 for using images of the Next Gen Cast. including Old Baldy! Also the music seems to be taken from the motion pictures… So hopefully,,, the got permission for that….

    I suppose we should be gratified they chose not to use the stick again, right off the bat. (see what I did there lol)

    Anyway.. I would say that ends the uncertainty that STC created when they ignored all the guidelines.

    I bet now that people have had a chance to calm down, and they are clear of the Lawsuit Fiasco. That, this is the way they will handle fan film makers.

    Which is the way they should have handled Axanar.

    1. I think “the Axanar incident” didn’t go the way CBS and Paramount had hoped. And I don’t just mean one million dollars spent only to settle and allow the infringing fan film to be made after all…just 60 minutes shorter.

      No, I think the year of media coverage of “CBS Sues Trekkies” was a black mark on the studio marketing-wise. No one at CBS can ever be certain that support and enthusiasm for Discovery wouldn’t have been higher had the lawsuit not “soured the milk” for many Trek fans and even potential new Trek fans. So before the studio risks headlines of “CBS Sues Trekkies AGAIN!” has a chance to sour the milk for Discovery season two in ten months, the folks in legal (and marketing!) are treading a little more gently through this mine field and trying to work WITH the fans.

      Who knows what would have happened if they’d taken this approach with Axanar…

  8. My name is kenny Smith And i want to get everyone to know this that i am getting real to start up my project of this subject. I am getting real to get any one who want to help build a real star ship?, do anyone out here want to help with this project?.

  9. Oh my god you killed Kenny oh well.

    Anyways..
    I had a convo with Sam when he released the latest trailer. He figured he would be grandfathered in I told him yep maybe but they will get you for using footage from the show. EVEN BEFORE the guidelines this was one of those silent rules.

    1. I find the term “silent rules” to be rather dubious, Justin. Either there’s a rule/guideline or there isn’t. I can’t begin to count the number of mash-ups on YouTube that take multiple clips from Star Trek and cut scenes together. Those have been around for over a decade. The fact that, pre-guidelines, neither CBS nor Paramount stopped any of these leads to the conclusion that the “silent rules” were only silence, not rules.

      Now, of course, there’s a specific guideline. But back when Samuel first funded his project, and for the next three years, there was nothing confirmed by the studio(s) telling him he couldn’t do that.

  10. (Inspired by an earlier comment)

    It’s CBS legal, raise the alarm!
    Will they create nothing but harm?
    But it’s their property and their right,
    It’s not something we’re entitled to fight,
    Best to work with them and stay calm.

    All the best to ST:TA, hope it’s all sorted out amicably. 🙂

  11. All I can say is this sucks!!! This blows!!! I’m ready to say f— CBS. As others have pointed out STAR TREK CONTINUES was left alone.
    I suspect we’re not gonna like what happens with Captain Pike in the fall.

    1. If you mean Captain Pike on Star Trek: Discovery, I’m not certain season 2 will be premiering in the fall. More likely, it’ll be sometime in 2019.

      If you’re referring to Captain Pike the fan film, I haven’t heard any updates on that since 2016. If it’s the fan film, where did you see it was coming in the fall?

  12. It’s time to give up on Star Trek. They don’t want it to belong to the fans. And as long as we keep giving the money they’re going to keep holding us hostage.

      1. You know Jonathan, I totally see where he’s coming from… CBS has certainly given me a lot of PTSD.

          1. I don’t consider “pissed-off” to be swearing. It’s not one of the seven words you can’t say on television (which, at this point, is now probably down to one word). 🙂

      2. I can honestly say I didn’t expect you to agree Jonathan. I’m just observing the situation and speaking my mind. I’m sure Samuel is frustrated with this. This is quite the ambition. I hope it doesn’t end up like Axanar.

        At this point we’re paying to be bullied. They want us to essentially shut-up and watch and nothing else.

          1. Samuel Cocking is part of large Dual Presence for Star Trek on You Tube. That presence actively promoted Axanar and it actively promotes Discovery. Don’t be oblivious to the very real trepidation CBS has over up setting the fan base as they did before. 1. Beyond Flopped. 2. CBS and Viacom are trying to merge and they can’t agree on who will be the number 2 in charge once Moonves gets total control (God Help Us). 3. Discovery is unnecessarily decisive. 4. The Forth Film has 3 or 4 scripts and likely won’t get approved until after they can unite the Star Trek Franchise. They can’t afford to mess up again, Johnathan.

            They HAVE to defend their trademarks and copyrights otherwise the courts would easily rule in favor of the fans because they could effectively say that the IP was abandoned so I’m not saying they are end-all of all evil. I am saying actions speak louder than words and fans should feel twitchy when this company makes a move for their gun.

          2. Star Trek fan films, and Star Trek itself are so much lower on CBS’s radar than you could possibly imagine, MW. I know one of the people working on the merger (friend of a friend). Star Trek is the last thing on his mind at the moment…and fan films even farther down than that! We’re pretty much meaningless to CBS. Sorry to tell you.

    1. Star Trek does not belong to the fans ….where did you get that idea? We pay money got it because we like it and it interests up. Nothing more.

      1. Despite the typos, I agree with Edward. However, there is a difference between protecting your intellectual property and alienating your fans. Or rather, there should be. From a legal standpoint, CBS had every right to sue Axanar. From a marketing and public relations perspective, it was a horrible miscalculation—one that Paramount realized in May just before J.J. Abrams made his announcement that the lawsuit was being dropped. But CBS still wanted to move forward, and I think in some ways they paid the price for it. Obviously, they paid a million dollars. But I also think that fans were now feeling riled and indignant rather than enthusiastic and gung ho for the new TV series. Granted, many were going to be pissed off anyway for having to pay to watch Star Trek on TV for the first time ever. But at a time when CBS needed all the good will they could get going in, they kinda soured the milk by suing fans.

        1. Actually, if all Star Trek fans were to stop watching the movie releases, the box office wouldn’t take much of a hit (see below). As for Discovery, though, I suspect the vast majority of those subscribed viewers are, indeed, fans. That’s not what CBS was hoping for– they hoped Discovery would attract a wider audience than just Trekkies. Apparently, it didn’t turn out that way.

          So from 2005 to 2017, your statement was incorrect. Star Trek didn’t die and brought in enough at the box office to continue living long and prospering. When ONLY fans were watching a Star Trek movie (i.e. Nemesis), the film tanked at the box office with only $40M. When new fans and a wider audience of non-fans came to see it, the box office exploded by 500%.

          So it’s a complicated situation, Michaeux. Fans are important, yes, but not critical.

          Also, fans aren’t a cohesive “unit” or “collective.” We don’t all do the same thing. Anyone thinking fans will “all” boycott is naive. All Access still picked up hundreds of thousands of paying Trekkie subscribers, despite any “problems” or weaknesses with Discovery. Those fans likely gave CBS at least $15-$30 million in revenue.

          Star Trek is fan from dead.

          1. World Wide Star Trek Fans are estimated to range over 190 million people easily and here in the U.S.A larger than 30 million. While there are different levels of fandom the minimum gauge of such a fan is defined by those willing to go to the movie theater or watch it passively on TV and Streaming. Star Trek is the built in Fan base CBS both wants and needs. We you say Trek isn’t on their radar, I know that’s not true because we can gauge the behavior of CBS and Paramount. I won’t push that Trek is the most important consideration but it is part of the Grand Plan and that plan is a media Empire. All the Broadcast companies are looking for Franchises to milk and develop. I don’t want to make you believe that Star Trek is a major consideration of the merger. It’s not. But it should be. These rich people are more worried about their millions, whose going to be in control an what family has greater shares. That issue is separate from the company plan because it has nothing to do with making CBS money that’s just Power and Control or the Empire.

            The returns on Beyond were damaging. They didn’t have a long term direction for the franchise, they continuously lied and cheated on the quality of the writing. That word of mouth started small and gathered considerable strength through the media and it’s the reason why I told you that you needed stay the course to effect long term change. CBS underestimated the fans and I think you are too. Word of mouth of a few is powerful. It’s a ripple effect. They didn’t lock in those actors for long term deals. The fourth movie is going to be expensive with Tarantino, Saldana, Urban, Pine and Peg succeeding elsewhere. They’re also running out of time as the mediocrity awareness of Star Trek continues to set in.

            There is a reason why Star Trek lead UPN and why Discovery lead CBS All Access….It’s the tip of the spear for their advertising strategy.

          2. “World Wide Star Trek Fans are estimated to range over 190 million people easily and here in the U.S.A larger than 30 million.”

            Hmmmmm, I can’t find verification of those numbers anywhere on the Internet, Michaeux, so I’ll assume you just made them up. 😉

            WhileI don’t have exact numbers of Star Trek fans worldwide (not even sure how such a thing would be measured), we can certainly do a little back-of-the-napkin estimating based on some things we do know….

            1) Back in 2002, Star Trek: Nemesis had an opening weekend box office domestically of $18,513,305 (according to Box Office Mojo). At the time, movie ticket prices averaged around $6-$7 each. So we can assume that about 3 million people saw Nemesis on opening weekend. Some might have been friends and family members of actual Trek fans, dragged along, but I’m still willing to say it was about 2.5 million “true” fans on opening weekend. Total domestic box office ended at $43 million. Assuming some of those were the same fans seeing the movie a second or third time (like me), we can probably assume maybe 5 million Trekkers were around in the U.S. back in 2002.

            2) By the time Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled, viewership was much less than that…only 2.9 million per episode. Th pilot, “Broken Bow,” was watched by 12 million people. So maybe–maybe!–you could say there were 12 million Trek fans in 2001…although, again, I don’t think everyone watching the pilot of Enterprise was a “fan”; some may have just been curious. But even if you assume 12 million fans in 2001, that number had dropped precipitously by 2005…probably back to that 5 million number I estimated.

            3) Now, JJ Trek 2009 had a very respectable box office take of $257 million domestically. But by the time of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, total domestic box office had dropped to just $159 million. With average ticket prices up to $8.65 across America (I paid $14!!!!), that’s about 18 million tickets sold. I know my son and I saw it twice. Many of my Trekkie friends saw it multiple times, as well. And of course, not everyone who saw the movie was a “fan.” So again, at best, maybe 10 million Trekkies in America…but much more likely half that (about 5 million).

            4) CBS All Access subscription numbers are, by comparison, anemic. Only about 500,000 new subscribers signed up when Discovery was launched (actually, the real numbers of those watching Discovery is closer to 300,000…but don’t ask me how I know that). Now, yeah, not every Star Trek fan in the U.S. wanted to pay for Star Trek, but it’s hard to believe, if there are 30 million Trek fans in the U.S. as you say (or even 10 million!) that only 300K-500K would sign up to see Discovery on All Access.

            So my suspicion is that the number of Star Trek fans in the U.S. is probably closer to 5 million (if that), and internationally, I doubt it would crack 25 million (likely much less). Remember that Star Trek isn’t as widely available internationally as it used to be. Yes, it’s on Netflix, but not everyone who has Netflix watches Star Trek on it. And those countries with enough Trekkers to justify things like conventions seems to be limited primarily to Western European countries these days (mostly Britain, France, and Germany) and Australia and New Zealand. Sure, there’s sporadic cons elsewhere, but not nearly enough to make me believe there are anywhere near 190 million Star Trek fans worldwide.

            – – – –

            So please don’t make up statistics on my blog unless you have something solid to back up the estimate (see above). And i don’t just mean some random blogger saying it somewhere without providing a source.

            And as far as the CBS and Viacom merger goes, no, they’re not really worried about Star Trek. Star Trek is viewed by the CBS higher ups the same way as a very nice grand piano in their living room. It looks and sounds good, and it’s nice to have at parties when people come over and want to play and sing along. But in the end, it’s only one piece of furniture in a very large house. And when looking to value the property for sale, even furnished “as is,” the piano isn’t a huge part of the price estimate.

  13. I love how every fan content creator receives nice, polite correspondence from CBS EXCEPT Axanar.

    Alec claims to this day he never received a warning that he was overstepping and was sued out of the blue.

    You have to be a complete fool to believe that.

    1. Actually, since it was verified in the filings from CBS that Alec met with them four times and was never told not to make his fan film, you’d have to be a fool to believe that Alec WASN’T sued out of the blue!

      Of course, a fool and Gabe Koerner are not easily separated…unless there’s an “Enemy Within” type of transporter accident. 🙂

      1. If I were with CBS
        And I had to rein in fan films
        I would not treat them all the same
        Why sue all of them, when all that it would take
        Is the slaying of the biggest one
        To bring them all in line?
        That is how I’d handle the mess
        If I were with CBS

      1. Phew. If Trekyards was forced to shutdown it would be as bad as the time I ate 2 pounds of shredded pepper jack cheese.

  14. The bitter taste over Axanar being cut at the hype’ll never go away I think – If CBS really wants to be more flexible with the fans they’ll come up with less throat clenching guidelines – On a personal note though I am curious about this new film that’s coming out – Saddened that we may not be getting Pacific 201 or First Frontier though… :/

    1. I think Eric Henry is working hard to make sure Pacific 201 follows the guidelines. As for First Frontier…well, we’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

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