Major FAIR USE showdown coming in DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK copyright lawsuit! (part 1)

Many Fans down in Fanville like mash-ups a lot.
But Dr. Seuss Enterprises, or DSE for short, did not.

DSE owns the rights, it isn’t in question,
to the late Dr. Seuss’ entire literary collection.

So when David Gerrold, the man who created the tribbles,
tried to mix Seuss and Star Trek, DSE had their quibbles.

In fact, they filed a federal suit,
for infringement of copyright…and trademark, to boot!

The defendants were Gerrold and his artist, Ty Templeton.
They also named the publisher, to add to their fun.

The publisher’s name, by the way, was ComicMix,
and if you ask me, DSE is a real bunch of…

Okay, I’m going to stop blogging in rhyme now.  Instead, let me tell you about some major developments in the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up lawsuit.  On December 11, both the plaintiff and defendants filed 20-page briefs (memoranda) supporting their latest motions before the judge.  A hearing is scheduled for January 31 at 1:30pm in the San Diego courtroom of  Hon. Janis L. Sammaritno, federal judge on the Ninth Circuit (the same circuit that had jurisdiction in the Axanar lawsuit, although a different judge than Axanar had).

Judge Sammartino’s rulings on these pre-trial motions could affect this case in VERY significant ways.  If she grants the defense motion for summary dismissal, the case could be over or potentially cut off at the knees for the plaintiffs.  On the other hand, if she grants the plaintiff’s motion, “Team Mash-up” (as I like to call them) could lose before ever going before a jury.  The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been.

As usual, I’m happy to break this down from legalese to English for those who want to know the score…

Continue reading “Major FAIR USE showdown coming in DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK copyright lawsuit! (part 1)”

Update on the AXANAR attempted hacking…

Earlier today, I reported that an attempt had been made to hack into the AXANAR YouTube channel…pointing out that the prime suspect(s) was/were most likely one or more detractors.

Very quickly, one of my readers, JOE DIAZ, forwarded me the following tweet from one of the people managing the channel…

Other comments on my previous blog entry were now pointing to this tweet as proof that there was no hacking attempt. Naturally, if I’ve misreported something, I need to issue a retraction. But I first needed to verify that I had, in fact, misreported it. So I contacted ALEC PETERS and the aforementioned THE REAL STOGGY to ask what happened.

Here, as far as I can piece together, is the order in which things happened…

December – After uploading a series of quick “Axanar -Live” update videos shot with a cell phone over the previous months, Alec began posting higher-quality Axanar updates to YouTube, generating tens of thousands of views. One update from December 27 is currently up to 96K views.

January 5 – With the videos being so popular, Alec decided to create two YouTube channels: Axanar and Ares Studios. Actually, there had already been an Axanar YouTube channel, but it had been mostly dormant for a long while. Last night, three volunteers were given Manager status (Alec remained the channel owner), and began adding videos to the channel. There was a LOT of activity.

January 6, 8:43am EST – The two channels were suddenly shut down by YouTube. The only manage working on them at the time was the aforementioned Stoggy, who had pulled an all-nighter, and panicked when he was suddenly locked out. Here’s what he told me…

Continue reading “Update on the AXANAR attempted hacking…”

Attempted HACK of the AXANAR YouTube Channel!

Earlier today, the AXANAR YouTube Channel was temporarily “terminated” (according to messaging displayed when users visited the web page). Numerous recent video updates with tens of thousands of views each were suddenly gone and inaccessible…along with Prelude to Axanar, the Vulcan scene, and numerous behind-the-scenes videos.

There was immediate conjecture that some kind of violation of the YouTube community guidelines or terms of service led the the termination of the channel. Needless to say, the fan film community exploded with activity as Axanar detractors salivated at the possibilities for happy dances and supporters panicked among uncertainty and confusion.

And then, less then three hours later, the Axanar YouTube channel was back up and running as though nothing had happened.

So what did happen?

All of this kerfuffle occurred while ALEC PETERS was at the gym on Sunday morning. When he got home—amid countless emergency IMs and e-mails from concerned supporters and team-members—he logged into his YouTube (Google) account, and all was restored instantly. Alec never received any notice or warning from YouTube or Google about violations. However, he did receive the following message (e-mail address redacted)…


In addition to the Axanar YouTube channel, the new Ares Studios YouTube channel was also deactivated and then reactivated with Alec’s sign-in. Most members of the fan community weren’t even aware that there was an Ares Studios YouTube channel (it’s still being set up), and so didn’t realize the extent of the hacking.

Although not confirmed, it seems that YouTube’s takedown was pre-emptive in avoiding the potential damages of a more serious, successful hack. Once the account was secured by the user (Alec), the channels were reactivated.

Naturally, the prime suspect(s) is/are one or more of the detractors, although there is currently no proof who specifically is behind the hacking. Obviously, Alec has changed his password and will continue to do so regularly.

But if I may speak freely for a moment, my friends…

Continue reading “Attempted HACK of the AXANAR YouTube Channel!”

Are video pirates LOSING INTEREST in CBS’s new SHORT TREKS?

Have video pirates lost their enthusiasm for the new SHORT TREKS mini-episodes being released by CBS…and possibly for new Star Trek in general?  If so, then it’s a sorta good news/bad news situation for CBS.  The good news is that video piracy hurts the bottom line for CBS.  So if folks are downloading Discovery and Short Treks without paying a subscription fee (to either All Access or Netflix), that’s potentially money out of CBS’ pocket.  So less piracy is a GOOD thing, right?

Well, here’s the bad news.  Video piracy is also a barometer, of sorts.  Does decreased interest in Short Treks by pirates imply that the general public is also not interested?  And what makes me say that video pirates are losing interest in Short Treks in the first place?

It all began early last month while I was having dinner with a friend (who shall remain nameless) who illegally downloads Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks.  For the record, I personally do NOT do this, and I subscribed to CBS All Access from October 2017 through February 2018.  Here’s my e-mail receipt from them…

So just to be clear, I am NOT endorsing video piracy in any way.  This blog is simply looking at an existing trend from a journalistic perspective.  Video piracy (or any kind of digital piracy) is illegal and should not be attempted by anyone reading my blogs.

And now that that’s out of the way, back to my story…

Continue reading “Are video pirates LOSING INTEREST in CBS’s new SHORT TREKS?”

2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!

Remember the good, old days? Back in 2015 and before, Star Trek fan film crowd-funders were as common as lens flares on a JJ Abrams movie set! They’d easily take in thousands, tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of enthusiastically-donated fan contributions.

We all know what happened. Axanar was sued. Six weeks later, Tommy Kraft was told by CBS to take down his $250K Kickstarter for Federation Rising. And then in June 2016, the fan film guidelines came out. And while they didn’t forbid crowd-funding, they did put a $50K cap on it and severely curtailed what kinds of perks could be offered.

Fans (including me) predicted the complete demise of Star Trek fan films. It turned out that we were wrong. Fan films found a way to not only live on but also to prosper, working within the guidelines (mostly) while still being pretty decent—in some cases even quite excellent.

Ah, but crowd-funding…therein lied the rub! While the days of the six-figure Kickstarters and Indiegogos for Trek fan films were obviously gone, maybe fans would still donate five-figures or even just four-figures. Maybe? For a while, it wasn’t looking good.

For the remainder of 2016, only Renegades (with Star Trek surgically removed) attempted a crowd-funding campaign for “The Requiem” (reaching $146K). And Starbase Studios raised $3,500 for a move from Oklahoma to Arkansas for their TOS sets. But beyond that, the only crowd-funding even peripherally connected to Star Trek fan films was a $19K successful Kickstarter by Star Trek: Horizon creator Tommy Kraft to fund his NON-Star Trek fan film Runaway.

Would 2017 fare any better for Trek crowd funders? Well, not so much…

Continue reading “2018-in-review: The return of the Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDER!”

Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?

During our marathon 3-hour “Blogger Battle of Axanar,” Australian Trekzone.org blogger MATTHEW MILLER and I discussed many things, including telling the truth about Axanar…something that I noted the detractors seldom do. It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time correcting the record here on Fan Film Factor, because if I don’t, and the lies get told over and over without challenge, they can insidiously supplant the truth.

One such example came early in Part One of our podcast debate when Matthew asked me about “most” of the main cast and crew leaving after PRELUDE TO AXANAR when ALEC PETERS decided to build a studio. I challenged Matthew’s choice of the word “most,” as that’s one of those lies that’s been told and retold so many times it’s taken on urban legend status. So I counted the people who left and those who didn’t. The final score: 5 people left and 15 stayed. So “most” actually stayed. Matthew admitted in the discussion that I had “schooled” him. But really, I just stated the truth and backed it up with facts.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, and the latest Axanar lie…this time directly from the mouth of Matthew Miller himself. It came at the end of an re-edit of our 3-hour discussion, awkwardly trimmed down to 26 minutes of “best of” clips taken mostly out of context. This was followed by a two-minute editorial wrap-up where Matt ended with a massive false statement regarding Axanar and Alec Peters. It was such an obvious lie that I had to rewind and listen a second time to make sure I hadn’t misheard…

“Irrefutable fact,” huh? In what alternate universe? Did Matthew not watch this video tour of Industry Studios…?

Did he not see the Vulcan Scene…?

But according to Matthew, the $1.5 million went towards neither [the studio nor the film]. Really, Matt? None of it??? It was WTF time…!

Continue reading “Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?”

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 3 of 3)

Congratulations, folks, you’ve made it to Part 3!  I’m assuming you’ve already sat through Part 1 and Part 2 of the debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australian blogger MATTHEW MILLER of Trekzone.org.  The first two parts have received a few hundred views each, with lots of comments made on both sides of the Axanar controversy.  But now it’s time to wrap things up with some of our most controversial discussions yet…

We begin by shifting our focus from CARLOS PEDRAZA and Axamonitor to Matt’s own Trekzone.org blog?  Is he providing fair coverage, or does Trekzone suffer from the same skewed “telling only half the story” that Axamonitor (and some would say Fan Film Factor) suffer from?

Then we move onto one of the most controversial hot-button questions: have the Axanar detractors gone too far in their stalking and cyberbullying?  How far is too far?  And is the behavior just as bad on the supporter side, or is that sinply the false equivalency of “what aboutism”?  And what does coffee have to do with anything?

Of course, we spend a little time debating whether ALEC PETERS paid himself a salary or just reimbursed himself for out-of-pocket expenses.  And did other folks like VIC MIGNOGAM or JAMES CAWLEY ever earn anything personally from money paid by donors?

Moving on to the future of Axanar, we discuss the USS Ares bridge set.  After hundreds of thousands of dollars in fan donations and out-of-pocket payments by Alec himself, and after thousands of man-hours in labor…will the bridge ever be used to film any scenes of the Axanar story?

And finally, even if Axanar never gets made, does Alec still deserve credit for making it as far as he did…despite all of the headwinds, a year-long lawsuit from two billion-dollar corporations, a move across country, and the almost constant attacks by dozens of detractors?

And what if Axanar does get made?  What will it take to get a positive comment out of a detractor like Matthew Miller or Carlos Pedraza?

Is there ANY common ground to be had?  Find out as the Blogger-Battle of the Axanar concludes…

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 2 of 3)

Last Wednesday, we debuted Part 1 of a three-hour discussion and debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australia-based Star Trek blogger MATTHEW MILLER.  We both have very strong feelings about the Axanar project and its show-runner ALEC PETERS, and we’ve never been particularly shy about sharing those feelings and opinions in various public forums.

But now we’re doing in it the same forum at the same time, voicing our disagreements directly to each other to see if there’s any common ground…or if the two sides of this controversy are destined to simply never come together.

Last time, we primarily discussed the building of Ares Studio, followed by some brief commentary about the fan film guidelines.  And just before ending Part 1, we left off having just scratched the surface of our next (BIG!) topic: the copyright infringement lawsuit.

In Part 2, we’ll be discussing the lawsuit in much greater depth, including…

  • Should Alec have fought the lawsuit as intensely as he did, or should he have just settled and moved on?
  • Did CBS and Paramount offer a settlement when the lawsuit was first filed?  If not, when did they first make a settlement offer…and what were their terms?
  • Why did Alec and CBS/Paramount finally decide to settle the lawsuit two weeks before trial?
  • Were the final settlement terms more favorable to Alec, to CBS/Paramount, or pretty much even?
  • What would have happened if Renegades, New Voyages, or Star Trek Continues had been sued instead of Axanar?

Then we shift gears to the Axanar supporter/detractor conflict…

  • Why have things escalated so much over the years?
  • What role have CARLOS PEDRAZA and his Axamonitor blog site played in exacerbating the tensions?  (Carlos tells us himself!)
  • Are Carlos’ blogs telling only half the story and thereby reinforcing pre-existing detractor biases?
  • Does Carlos rush to publish negative blogs and purposefully avoid reporting positive Axanar news like Axacon (which still hasn’t been covered on Axamonitor after six weeks)?
  • And what about Fan Film Factor?  Am I telling only half the story, too?

And now the Blogger-Battle of Axanar continues…

And check back Wednesday at 2:00pm Pacific Time for Part 3!

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 1 of 3)

Okay, folks, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  (Well, maybe not ALL of you…but at least a few hundred, I’m sure.)  Earlier this week, I revealed the “origin story” of this two-way interview where blogger MATTHEW MILLER from Trekzone.org and I discuss and debate all things AXANAR.  Now it’s time to put our money where our mouths are (Australia  and Los Angeles, respectively).

Today in Part 1, after a friendly introduction and a brief discussion of some of what we both feel are the inherent strengths of the 2014 fan film Prelude to Axanar, we jump right into some of the most controversial questions regarding this polarizing fan production, starting with the creation of Ares Studios with donor money…

  • Did “most” of the principal cast and crew abandon the project after ALEC PETERS decided to use crowd-funded money to build a “for profit” studio?  Or is that just a rumor-turned-urban-myth?
  • What exactly is a “for profit” studio anyway?  Is someone gonna go out and buy a 60-foot yacht with all the cash that comes in?
  • Was the decision to try to turn a Valencia warehouse into a soundstage a mistake in the first place?
  • Did CBS ever tell Alec (before the lawsuit) not to create a studio or not to make more Axanar?
  • Did the Axanar donors know (back in 2014) that they were donating to build a soundstage, or were they misled to believe they were donating only to produce a fan film?

And we finish up Part 1 with a couple of other hotly-debated topics…

  • Was Alec Peter sued by CBS and Paramount because Axanar was “too good?”
  • Were there “unpublished” guidelines for fan films before June of 2016?
  • Were the guidelines, once they were announced, intended to stop Axanar…or were they targeted on Renegades and the other “arms race” fan productions?

Sound intriguing?  Well, strap in for Part 1 of the Blogger-Battle of Axanar

Come back for Part 2 on Monday and Part 3 next Wednesday.

Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!

These days, I don’t typically engage directly with the AXANAR detractors.  There’s no point.  I’m not gonna change their minds, and they’re certainly not gonna change mine.  Any “discussion” we get into quickly breaks down into all the old beating-dead-horse accusations and rumors and criticisms—often with a generous helping of vitriol and vulgarity—and frankly, it’s just a waste of my time.

And yet, in just three days time, I’ll be posting (in conjunction with Trekzone.org) an epic 3-part discussion and debate between myself and noted Axanar detractor MATTHEW MILLER…and I do mean epic!  Take a listen to the teaser that Matthew just posted…

When we set out to have our across-the-globe (Matt’s in Australia) audio “smackdown,” we had no idea how long the discussion would last or how heated it would get.  There were no rules and only a loose outline of topics/questions to guide us.   Our intention was to keep things civil, and for the most part, we did…although not completely.

When all was said and done, we’d managed to go at it for nearly three hours over the course of two days of Skype calls!  On the second day, I’d caught my son’s cold, and if you listen carefully, you’ll probably hear from my voice the exact point when the day one conversation ended and day two began.

What makes this interaction between me and Matthew so interesting and enlightening (and dare I say “fun”?) is that we actually interview EACH OTHER.  Matt’s done scores of interviews with notable Trek people, as have I.  So rather than simply having one of us interview the other, we ask questions back and forth…and tough questions at that!  And best of all, unlike the recent pay-per-view Michael Hinman/Carlos Pedraza podcast on Alpha Waves Radio, this one is not only presenting BOTH sides of the controversial topic (rather than a simple echo-chamber), but it’s also absolutely FREE to listen to!

So how did this whole “Blogger Battle of Axanar” come to be?

Continue reading “Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!”