It’s “High Noon” in the Axanar lawsuit…and we haven’t even gotten to trial yet! But that ominous background music is playing, and the two gunfighters are facing off for a showdown in the middle of a dusty street in a western town. More specifically, the CBS and Paramount lawyers at Loeb & Loeb are facing down the Axanar lawyers at Winston & Strawn (and vice-versa!), and the entire case could be won or lost right now by either side–months before trial even begins–and both teams of lawyers know it!
Last time: well, last time there was just way too much to summarize, so just click here to read it if you haven’t already.
Basically, with a trial date set for January 31, 2017 and no settlement announced yet, the case has entered the discovery phase. (So yes, “Star Trek: Discovery” now means two totally different things to CBS!)
During discovery, both the plaintiffs and the defendant must provide the other side with any piece of evidence they ask for that is relevant to the case. Witnesses are questioned (deposed), documents are collected and shared, and queries are submitted in writing requiring honest and open answers…and all this months before a jury is ever seated and the clerk says, “This courtroom will now come to order.”
Last week, former Axanar marketing director and tech guru, Terry McIntosh, posted on Facebook that he had just been subpoenaed by CBS and Paramount to be deposed as part of the copyright infringement lawsuit against Alec Peters and Axanar. Terry is not in any legal peril himself, as no other defendants other than Alec Peters were named in the lawsuit. Instead, the studio lawyers will probably just ask for copies of all of Terry’s correspondence (e-mails, IMs, chats) with members of the Axanar team, and the studios might set up a deposition to ask Terry some (maybe even a lot of) questions either in person or over the phone.
And this means that the (coincidentally named) DISCOVERY phase of the lawsuit is now in full swing. So what does that mean?
Before I begin, I’d just like to go on record that I’ve had the time of my life here in Las Vegas for the last five days. And CREATION ENTERTAINMENT founders Adam Malin and Gary Berman (and their many employees, volunteers, and celebrity guests) have outdone themselves in putting on a superb 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek. I laughed, I cried, I kissed about $250 goodbye in the dealers room. It was the best of times; it was an incredible gift to the 6,000 fans who could afford to make it to Las Vegas and ordered their tickets before they sold out. So well done, I say to all of Creation!
And then came the “but.”
Wanna see and hear what the guy who types all these blogs looks and sounds like? Last week, I was contacted by a news producer for ReasonTV and asked if I’d be willing to come in for a half hour or so and discuss Star Trek fan films. Well, gee, twist my arm!
I’d never heard of ReasonTV, but it turns out it’s the latest offering from the Reason Foundation, which was founded in 1978 and publishes the monthly Reason magazine (voted one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune…for whatever that’s worth).
I was told the news feature would be about 10 minutes long and focus on the CBS/Axanar lawsuit and the new fan film guidelines. Alec Peters and Richard Hatch would also appear in the piece. We’d all be interviewed separately and edited together later.
I drove to the studio (conveniently located only about ten minutes from where I live) and sat for a very pleasant interview. The reporter, Zach Weissmueller, was well prepared with some great questions. This wasn’t just a fluff piece, and my job wasn’t to talk up Axanar. In fact, I think I only even said the word “Axanar” once during the entire interview. Instead, I was asked about the history of fan films and the introduction of the new official guidelines.
You can watch the video below (it’s very well-produced and informative) or click here to read the text piece that goes along with it.
Four weeks ago, I wrote a very impassioned op-ed decrying that Trekkers should be fans and not lawyers. I am now going to turn myself into a complete hypocrite and become an armchair attorney myself…partly because of the shameless reason that it seems to boost readership of one’s blog but also because I think there’s a fascinating details about the latest Axanar lawsuit news that’s not being reported at the moment.
Last time: we continued our in-depth discussion of crowd-funding with Alec Peters (Axanar executive producer) and Mike Bawden (Axanar director of public relations), two veterans of Trek fan films who, together, have raised nearly $2 million through multiple Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns for various projects.
Alec and Mike possess a wealth of knowledge about running successful crowd-funding campaigns. And whether you’re planning to do a campaign of your own someday or simply thinking of donating to one, we now conclude this compelling conversation on the realities of crowd-funding…
Just when we thought it was winding down…
Three days after J.J. Abrams announced that the copyright infringement lawsuit against AXANAR and Alec Peters was “going away,” the Axanar attorneys at Winston & Strawn filed a legal Response to the most recent amended complaint and ALSO filed a Counterclaim for Declaratory Relief.
Now why would they go and do a provocative thing like that just when the studios were about to start playing nice???
I decided to ask Axanar‘s lead attorney in the case, Erin R. Ranahan. It turns out there was a filing deadline on Monday that, if missed, could have severely and negatively impacted Axanar‘s ability to successfully navigate this lawsuit. Ms. Ranahan explained the situation…
Last time: we began our fascinating discussion of crowd-funding with two of the most successful campaigners in the history of Trek fan films, Alec Peters (Axanar executive producer) and Mike Bawden (Axanar director of public relations). Together, these two men have organized Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns for multiple productions that have raised nearly $2 million combined (including $1.3 just for Axanar alone).
If you want to know how to run a successful crowd-funding campaign, pay attention to these guys. This discussion isn’t just a Crowd-Funding 101 class; it’s a graduate-level seminar with some amazing insights from two people who’ve actually walked the walk. Their experiences have provided them a unique perspective and many insights that, to me at least, should be considered pure gold to anyone looking to be a part of a successful crowd-funding campaign.
Last time: we looked at some of the factors that might have affected the recent Indiegogo campaign from Star Trek Continues (which just wrapped up last week).
Now it’s time to continue our discussion of crowd-funding with two crowd-funding experts: ALEC PETERS, show-runner of Axanar, and MIKE BAWDEN, director of public relations for Axanar, who has also worked on the Kickstarter for Space Command, an early campaign that raised $242,000. Mike has been involved in over a dozen crowd-funding campaigns, and the two men together have helped to raise nearly two million dollars of donations from fans for various projects, including $1.3 million for Axanar.
If you’re thinking of doing a crowd-funding campaign of any kind, then get out your pen and start taking notes! The following discussion is a crowd-funding “how to” guide that you’re not likely to get anywhere else…