Going against my better judgment (that’s screaming at me, “Jon, stop typing NOW!”), I’m going to jump head first into the latest controversy surrounding a recent comment claiming that Axanar has “poisoned the well” for all other fan films.
And just when you thought we were done with pre-hearing filings in the Paramount and CBS copyright lawsuit against AXANAR, in come the Klingons!
In what has to be one of the strangest amicus briefs (a “friend of the court” opinion submitted in a case by a party not directly involved) to ever come across U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner’s desk, Marc Randazza of the Language Creation Society has argued that Paramount and CBS’s claim of ownership of the Klingon language should be dismissed because Klingon is, in fact, NOT copyrightable!
In what is likely the final documentation containing legal arguments to be submitted before the court hearing on May 9, 2016, the attorneys representing Axanar have just filed a Response to Paramount and CBS’s Response to Axanar‘s latest Motion to Dismiss (itself a response to Paramount and CBS’s Amended complaint for copyright infringement).
Although Fan Film Factor is taking a neutral stance regarding this lawsuit, I do have to admit to being fascinated as I read each of these documents. If one can get past all the legal language and case references scattered throughout, what amazed me most was how thoroughly convinced I was each time I read the arguments of one side or the other. Just when I thought, “Oh, man, they’ve nailed it!” I would read the response and think, “Okay, well, that convinced me the other way!”
In other words, I’m glad I’m not the judge on this case! He’ll have to study all the main legal documentation filed in this case so far…
How’s this for a first? A parody fan film of another fan film! And not just any fan film…it’s a parody of Prelude to Axanar!
Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are is a love letter to the amazing fan production that has become so popular… and it also doubles as a bit of light-hearted satire on this whole copyright infringement controversy. Oh, and it’s pretty darn funny, too!
So how did this Axanar parody come about? Who can we blame?
Last time: Having raised $126,000 from their first Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2013, Star Trek Continues now had enough money to produce three new episodes. Indeed, by the time their Kickstarter ended in early November, they were about to start a seven-and-a-half day shoot at their 9,800 square foot studio in Kingsland, GA.
But work on their second episode had started many, many months before their Kickstarter campaign even began. The first thing required, of course, was a script…and for that, they needed a story.
Last time: Star Trek Continues burst out of the starting gate in 2012 and immediately delivered on the promise of its name: continuing Star Trek…quite literally starting from the last moment of the last episode of the original series.
Before I go any further, though, I’d like to humbly issue a SPOLIER ALERT. If you’ve never seen an episode of STC (seriously…what are you friggin’ waiting for???) or if you’ve missed one or three, I’m going to be talking about the offerings that STC has produced thus far. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but this won’t be spoiler-free. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog, already in progress…
I always found it eerily appropriate that this two-word piece of dialog, spoken by Captain Kirk at the end of the final TOS episode “Turnabout Intruder” in 1969, was the last line uttered for the entire original Star Trek series run.
Kirk was referring to the tragic descent into hate-filled insanity of his former love, Dr. Janice Lester. But for me, these two words were so much more powerful: If onlyStar Trek hadn’t been canceled. If onlyStar Trek could have…
On April 11, the attorneys representing Paramount and CBS in their copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions and Alec Peters filed a Response to the latest documents that were submitted by Axanar‘s attorney’s on March 28, 2016. Those documents were themselves a Response to the Amended Complaint filed by Paramount and CBS on March 11.
In their Response on March 28, the Axanar attorneys again argued for the case to be dismissed due to Paramount and CBS not meeting certain requirements that would make their complaint valid. The plaintiffs have now responded to most of the points made by Axanar, meaning the ball is once again in Axanar‘s court (no pun intended). Should Axanar choose to respond to this response to their response (yeah, I know!), they have two weeks to file.
In the meantime, enjoy the long parade of documentation…
And finally, I was not able to find a PDF of CBS/Paramount’s most recent Response, but I did find an analysis of their filing by a retired attorney that includes linked graphics of all 26 pages of the Response as well as a Request for Judicial Notice.
Last week: we looked at the trailblazing fan series Star Trek:Hidden Frontier, one of the harbingers of the “modern age of Star Trek fan films.” From its humble beginnings as just a fun activity for the STARFLEET fan club chapter USS Angeles, Hidden Frontier turned into a fan film production dynamo for more than a decade, going on to produce 50 episodes over seven seasons plus five spin-off series and even cross-overs with other fan series. Hidden Frontier broke new ground in using green-screen compositing, generating home-made 3D visual effects, recasting established characters from Star Trek canon, and even featuring the first gay Starfleet officers in a fan film series (sorry, New Voyages, HF beat you to it). Continue reading “STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER (interview), part 2”
As I mentioned in a few of my previous articles, the dawn of the “modern age of Star Trek fan films” arrived in the year 2000 with the release onto the Internet of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier. It was the quintessential fan film: Trekkie actors with little or no formal training, cheap store-bought or home-made costumes, zero budget, minimal sets, basic-level storytelling (that’s a euphemism for kinda sucky writing), and dubious sound and image quality.
But Hidden Frontier also had heart – a great deal of heart – plus a deep love for the franchise and determination to create fun and original Star Trek on a fan level.