Last Saturday, the fan film world was shaken once again with the first fan project to publicly announce they were shutting down because of the situation regarding legalities with CBS and Paramount. They were not contacted by either CBS or Paramount; they simply decided to avoid the risk of getting a call. Although the new series Star Trek: Constellationhad not released any video yet (so it is difficult to know how far along they were), the project did seem to be fairly well into pre-production.
On Monday, another fan project in pre-production, Guinan: The Series, announced that, rather than shutting down they, they are re-branding themselves with a new title, The Listener: Spectral Awakening, and now only saying that they were “inspired by Star Trek.” In this way, they hope to avoid being perceived as using any copyrighted material, as they will be focusing their stories on Guinan’s home planet, a setting that was never actually seen on any Star Trek series. (And I doubt CBS can copyright frisbee hats.)
The first episode of Project: Potemkin‘s fourth (and final) season–the 8-minute “The Talinar Incident”–has just been posted online…barely two weeks after posting their previous episode! This fan series is beginning to proliferate faster than a tribble!!
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!
Yesterday, Star Trek Continues announced that they were selected as the 2016 WEBBY People’s Voice winner for Online Film and Video – Drama: Long Form or Series. Congratulations to this prominent Star Trek fan series.
The Webby Awardspresents two honors in every category — The Webby Award and The Webby People’s Voice Award. Members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) select the Nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the Winners of The Webby Awards. In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. Each year, The Webby People’s Voice Awards garners millions of votes from all over the world.
The Drama: Long Form or Series category is open to serial content dedicated to dramatic material premiered on the Internet. Entries must consist of one or more episodes over 5 minutes in total to qualify for this category. This year, in addition to Star Trek Continues and three other web series, the category also contained a nomination for NBC’s Heroes Reborn web series, Dark Matters.
The first episode of the TOS-based educational fan series Starship Grissom is now online. This series is written by a group of teachers from Highland East Junior High School in Moore ,Oklahoma and is designed so educators anywhere can download and use it in the classroom.
A complete set of lesson plans and introduction videos, in a variety of subjects, is also released with each episode. All lessons meet Common Core and STEM standards and can be modified for Advanced Placement or Special Education students.
The goal is to provide a complete teaching resource using science fiction to promote interest in science, technology, and education.
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…
Yesterday, fan rumors began furiously flying when two separate fan series websites were suddenly unavailable at the same time! Was this some new offensive by CBS and Paramount to shut down all fan films???
Stand down from red alert, folks. It turns out that nothing so earth-shattering happened. In the case of Axanar‘s website, the glitch appears to have been just that, and the site is back up and running normally.
In the case of Star Trek: New Voyages, the disappearance of their main U.S. website was explained on their international Facebook page: