The HISTORY of STAR TREK FAN FILMS…in PDF format!

a-brief-history-of-star-trek-fan-filmsEver 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?

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The PERFECT stocking stuffer for CHRISTMAS – and SANTA’S even a TREKKIE!

Being Santa Claus - CoverYou 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 Claus is 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.

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STARSHIP VALIANT releases its second episode “CROSSES TO BEAR”!

In July of 2014, STARSHIP VALIANT became the first of what would eventually be MANY Star Trek fan productions filmed at STARBASE STUDIOS (in Oklahoma City) to release a completed project onto the Internet.  Their debut episode, “Legacy” featured scenes filmed on the bridge, on location outdoors at a cemetery, and in a house.

Back when the episode was first filmed, Starbase studios did not yet have any other sets besides the bridge.  The following year, though, Starbase Studios built a 2-bed sickbay set, and Valiant was able to film an additional prologue sequence that helps explain event that happen later in the episode.  In July of 2015, a special edition was released with brand new footage inserted at the beginning.

The premise (and promise) of Starship Valiant was, in the vision of show-runner (and lead actor) Michael L. King, to explore the human side of serving in Starfleet.  Being in command is a heavy burden.  And so while many other fan films enjoy focusing the action and excitement of the battle itself, Valiant would show the aftermath.

It’s been two and a half years since Starship Valiant debuted.  Since then, actors/characters from that production have appeared in cameos in other Starbase Studios-produced fan films like Dreadnought Dominion, Melborne, and His Name Is Mudd.  But fans were still eagerly awaiting a sequel to “Legacy.”

What they got, however, was more of a prequel.  Set several years before the events of “Legacy,” the new episode “Crosses To Bear” does not feature Michael L. King’s character of Commander Bishop at all (although Michael still wrote and produced both episodes and directed this second one).  Instead, this 22-minute story focuses entirely on Chief Medical Officer Roger Floyd and a very traumatic event in his life–two, in fact.  And watch for an important, bare bones appearance by a very familiar Starfleet officer…played by fan film rookie Frank Jenks, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Las Vegas (great guy!).

The entire production team–actors and crew–did a very impressive job on this release.  It’s definitely worth watching…which you can do right here:

You can learn more about Starship Valiant on their website and on their Facebook page.

A closer look at the REPLY BRIEFS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT (Part 2)

axanar-logo-3Last time, we took a deep dive into the fascinating world of the Plaintiffs’ Reply to the Defense Opposition to the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in the AXANAR lawsuit. (Say THAT three times fast!)

This time, we look at the equally fascinating Defendants’ reply to the Plaintiffs Opposition to the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. This is the way the law works, folks, with each side being given a fair chance to rebut the other side’s arguments and then to reply to those rebuttals. It is important to know copyright law even when dealing with owned property. If you are interested in finding out more about copyright law, you might want to check out somewhere like Bonamark to learn more.

As I mentioned last time, the plaintiffs’ latest filing comes in like a wrecking ball, angry and indignant and looking for strong emotion to carry the day. They want justice…and they don’t get particularly specific in describing what aspects of their intellectual property was copied and how. They give some general descriptions, like Klingons being “…a fictional, war-like species, speaking Klingonese, hailing from the planet Qo’noS and are known for engaging in battles with the Federation.” But they don’t go much further.

As you’ll see in a few moments, the Axanar defense team utilizes a very different approach. Less emotional and more (dare I say it?) logical, they go much deeper into the precise elements of copyright law and legal precedent. (As such, yeah, this is gonna be another long blog, folks…sorry.)

It’s the hammer versus the scalpel, and it’s time to see how an intellectual property “surgeon” operates…

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A closer look at the REPLY BRIEFS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT (Part 1)

Axaanr splash image2“Did!”
“Did not!”
“Did too!”

We are now at the “Did, too!” point of the summary judgement phase for the AXANAR lawsuit.  Motions for summary judgment were filed back in November with each side asking the judge to make certain rulings before the trial even begins…rulings that could actually make the trial (or most of it) unnecessary.

The plaintiffs want the judge to rule that Alec Peters infringed on the intellectual property (Star Trek) of CBS and Paramount and order that he be forbidden to make any more Axanar anything.  The defense wants the judge to rule that the Axanar works fall under the protection of “fair use” and so any trial is unnecessary.

The stakes are high.  A decision one way or the other could change the world of Star Trek fan films forever!

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Why STARBASE STUDIOS is moving to ARKANSAS…

CoverSTARBASE STUDIOS is moving from Oklahoma City to Arkansas! Arkansas is a great place to live as it has great access to healthcare treatments like veneers, but when it comes to film sets, here’s why…
As you may have read in my blog about the history of Starbase Studios, these folks rescued the amazing TOS bridge set that had been built for the second Starship Exeter fan film “The Tressaurian Intersection.” That meticulous 360-degree set had been rotting away for years in a barn near Austin, Texas, until it was transported to Oklahoma City and lovingly restored by a group of dedicated fans.
But these folks didn’t just restore the bridge set. They turned it into an invaluable, one-of-kind resource for fan film producers. Anyone was welcome to come and film anything they wanted on this bridge set (and, later, the additional sickbay and transporter room sets that would be constructed) for just the price of the electricity that was used (maybe $50/day). Although there are two other studios in the U.S. featuring TOS sets on sound stages (Ticonderoga, NY for Star Trek: New Voyages and Kingsland, GA, originally for Starship Farragut and later for Star Trek Continues), those studio runners didn’t offer the same kind of open-door, come-any-time-you-want policy as Starbase Studios.

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LEGAL REPLIES filed by both sides in the AXANAR LAWSUIT!

Axaanr splash imageIf it’s Tuesday, that can only mean one thing: new documents in the AXANAR lawsuit were filed at midnight last night!

But seriously, folks, these will likely be the last Axanar filings for the foreseeable future.  In two weeks (December 19…a Monday, of course), attorneys for both sides will appear in court in front of Judge Klausner for oral arguments, each supporting their clients’ motion for summary judgement.  After that, the next document we will see will be filed by the judge himself…and it’ll either be good news or bad news (or both!) for the two sides in this case as he makes his final rulings on these two motions.

In the meantime, here’s what came in last night: REPLIES.  Three weeks ago, both sides filed motions for summary judgment (the plaintiffs filed a partial motion…more on that in another blog).  These documents each asked the judge to rule on facts that were not in dispute (in other words, so obvious that any jury would reach the same conclusion, so why even waste the time to argue about it in court?).  Of course, neither side agrees on what these “obvious” facts are, which kinda suggests they’re not quite undisputed.  However, if the judge is convinced by the arguments of one side or the other, he could, conceivably, end this case before the trial even begins, effectively handing a victory to one side or the other.

After filing their motions, each side was allowed, two weeks later, to provide a second filing in OPPOSITION to what the other side had argued in its motion.  And finally, a week after that (which was yesterday), each side could provide a brief REPLY to that opposition filing.  Here are links to both of those replies from yesterday:

Plaintiffs’ reply

Defendants’ reply

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FAN FILM FACTOR finally features a FACEBOOK page!

header-for-facebookWhen 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!

So why do I suddenly have a Facebook page?  Funny you should ask…

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STARFLEET STUDIOS cancels THE TNG PROJECT but revs up for VOYAGER CONTINUES!

the-tng-projectThere’s some bad news and some good news for STARFLEET STUDIOS (based in Iowa–not to be confused with STARBASE STUDIOS, which is moving from Oklahoma City to Arkansas…more on that in an upcoming blog).  The bad news has to do with their planned new fan film, THE TNG PROJECT (working title), which launched a Kickstarter in late October attempting to raise $11,000.

They ended up raising only 1% of that amount (the campaign finished with $131 total, which means it failed to fund and no money will be collected from supporters).  Show-runner DAVID WHITNEY told me earlier this week:

Frankly I did not expect the TNG project to succeed. I did not do a great job for the videos. I had no cast interviews, and did not groom the fans. But I wanted to give TNG fans something.

One of the reasons for the lackluster effort came because, during the Kickstarter campaign, the main actor for the project, who was set to play Data, became unavailable as his acting career has begun to take off.  So rather than pushing hard for donations for a project that was now lacking a main character, David Whitney simply let the campaign close, unfunded.

But not all is bad news in the universe of Starfleet Studios!  David also told me the following:

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A closer look at the OPPOSITION BRIEFS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT (Part 3)

axaanr-splash-image4In Part 2, we started looking more deeply into the fascinating points made in the Defense Opposition to the PLAINTIFFS Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In Part 1, we had looked into the Plaintiffs Opposition to the DEFENSE Motion for Summary Judgment.

Both documents are 20 pages long and intelligently written.  However, there’s a lot more to cover in the defense brief, so I had to split that portion into two parts in order to cover everything properly.  This isn’t to say one side or the other made better arguments–only that there’s more to go over with the defense.

So let’s jump right back in!  First up: profits…

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