Just when you thought you were out, I pull you back in! Yes, it’s AXANAR lawsuit time again…and I really didn’t expect this part to be quite so significant. Man, was I wrong!
As you may recall, the next major event in the Axanar case was supposed to be oral arguments for the motions for summary judgment in front of Judge R. Gary Klausner on Monday morning. But the judge canceled the in-person hearing and will be making his pre-trial rulings based solely on the documents filed by both parties. (This is not unusual. I’m told that Judge Klausner usually cancels oral arguments and rules based on filings.) This means that the judge’s rulings could come at any time…and this lawsuit could possibly even be over before it begins!
But if this case does go to trial on January 31, then yesterday (Friday) was an important deadline. It was the last chance each side had to challenge evidence and/or witnesses that the other side wants to use in court and present to the jury. This can potentially be pretty big. Imagine going into the big game with a few of your best players disqualified and benched. That could happen if the judge excludes one or more pieces of potentially key or damaging evidence from being used at trial!
The plaintiffs are challenging TEN different items of evidence and potential witnesses (like little ol’ me!) while the defense team is challenging NINE. I’ve consolidated all those separate motions into two huge PDF documents:
You probably don’t want to read all 140 pages (although there’s some interesting stuff in there!), so I’m gonna help ya out and do a summary…later this week. Assuming the judge doesn’t end the case before then, I’m gonna need at least a few days to parse through all this!
Except for the motion about me (starting on page 25). That one I wanna tackle right now because, dammit, it’s my frickin’ blog and I should be allowed a bit of self-indulgent righteous indignation every once in a while!
So let’s take a look at why the plaintiffs don’t want me ruining their case…
Ever since the AXANAR legal team released my Executive Summary of “The History of Star Trek Fan Films” during the the discovery phase of the lawsuit, readers have been asking me to upload the document here on FAN FILM FACTOR. And here it is! Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah).
I had initially written “The History of Star Trek Fan Films” to help out Alec Peters and Axanar. At the time that the lawsuit was first filed a year ago, I didn’t yet understand the intricacies of the case as I do now…and so I almost immediately confused copyright with trademark. I was wrong about that, and so my efforts wouldn’t help Alec win the case outright. But my document would still end up being useful in helping to argue for non-willful infringement if the jury found Alec Peters guilty of infringement.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, willful infringement carries a penalty of $150,000 per violation. Non-willful infringement carries penalties as low as $200 per violation. So the difference between the two types of infringement in a verdict could literally be millions of dollars! And how can my document help to prove non-willful infringement?
You can rediscover the magic and wonder of Christmas in the pages of a touching and inspirational book…a book with my name on the cover!
Being Santa Clausis a heartwarming collection of memoirs from one of the world’s most dedicated, professional real-bearded Santas, and it’s the perfect gift to get for someone you love.
And I’m not just saying that because I co-wrote it! Santa Sal is truly one-of-a-kind, and in the pages of this book, you’ll learn why he is one of the most special and amazing Santa Clauses that you will ever read about.
What does any of this have to do with Star Trek fan films? Nothing, really (except that Santa Sal does happen to be a huge Trekkie, which we mention in the acknowledgements at the end). But no, this isn’t a blog post about fan films. However, I hope you’ll indulge me with some holiday goodwill, because I’d like to tell you about my white-bearded friend and the wonderful book we wrote together.
When I first started up FAN FILM FACTOR, I didn’t really feel the need to have a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (or whatever else) presence online. Simply organizing a blog site, writing articles and interviews, and answering comments is more than enough work, thank you very much!
Well, it looks like there isn’t a settlement yet in the AXANAR copyright infringement lawsuit. And how do I know this? Because I now have confirmation that the defense will be filing a motion for summary judgment with Judge Klausner of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court later on today. (I don’t yet know if the plaintiffs are planning to do likewise, but if a settlement hasn’t been reached, then it’s a pretty sure bet.)
And how did I get confirmation that the defense will be filing their motion later today? Because yesterday evening I was asked to sign this declaration:
I’m a designer, not a programmer, dammit! Well, I’m also a writer and a usability specialist…but coding? That stuff is HARD, man!
You might remember that, a couple of weeks ago, I announced that FAN FILM FACTOR was no longer living as a sub-domain at fff.trekbloggers.com. We had migrated this entire blog site–all TWO HUNDRED blog entries plus graphic files, videos, PDFs, etc.–onto my own domain server at fanfilmfactor.com. And there was much rejoicing.
Some of you may know the not-so-secret origin of FAN FILM FACTOR. Back in 2015, I was writing a regular weekly blog for the Axanar website called “Fan Film Friday,” and it was becoming quite popular. Shortly after the infringement lawsuit was filed, however, a couple of my interviewees requested not to appear on the Axanar website. Other fan filmmakers were fine with being featured on the Axanar site, but I lamented the fact that I would no longer be free to feature all the fan producers that I wanted to.
I mentioned this concern to Alec Peters, and he suggested that I create a separate blog site independent of Axanar. That way I could talk about anything I wanted…and arrange my content any way I wanted. “But I have no idea how to set up a blog site,” I told Alec. “Oh, don’t worry about that,” he said, “Mike Bawden can do it for you.”
Late on Thursday night, I accidentally spilled water all over my keyboard. As you can probably guess, this was not appreciated by my computer all that much, and I won’t see the trusty ol’ gal again until late Monday or Tuesday at the earliest…along with a $500 repair bill.
For those commenting on the Friday legal filings in the AXANAR case and the bombshells contained in them–like Paramount not providing ANY emails for discovery or the late news that CBS does, apparently, own Star Trek (oh, well)–yes, I’ve seen all three filings. And I plan to write up a blog on them just as soon as I have a decent keyboard again. I just can’t whip out a 2,000-word article on an iPad keyboard!
In the meantime, I’m researching what I can (what does President Gerald Ford have to do with AXANAR???) and getting ready for our next dive into the legal swimming pool.
The interview also addresses the confusion and misinformation currently circulating about whether Axanar is behind the SMALL ACCESS campaign…which it is not. While I happily support Axanar and write this fun blog on the Axanar website, I’m way too busy with FAN FILM FACTOR and SMALL ACCESS to run everything past Alec Peters, and he’s way too busy to micromanage me. So we’re two ships in the same fleet fighting the same enemy, but Alec has his battles, and I’ve got mine.
Anyway, here’s the full interview for your viewing pleasure. Let me know what you think…
Now that the SMALL ACCESS campaign has grown to nearly 1,300 members and 85 packets of the Focus Group Report have already been mailed out to CBS and Paramount executives, it’s time to try to spread the word far and wide…or at least try my best to do so.
And thus was I pleasantly surprised and excited to get the following e-mail from Matthew Miller of Trekzone in Australia:
Hi Jonathan, just wondering whether you’d like to join me on a Trekzone Spotlight podcast to discuss Project Small Access?