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Axanar Files Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint.


Yesterday, acting on behalf of both Axanar Productions and Producer Alec Peters, Winston & Strawn filed a Motion to Dismiss the first amended copyright complaint of CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Corporation. The motion explains that in multiple respects, the deficiencies in CBS and Paramount’s original complaint are still not sufficiently addressed in their amended filing, and that in some ways the amendments have created new defects.

The motion provides examples as to how CBS and Paramount overreach in what they claim are elements protected under copyright, and fail to be specific as to exactly which copyrights have been infringed upon; and, in the case of the potential feature film AXANAR, claims of alleged copyright infringement cannot be made against a film that doesn’t yet exist.

One issue discussed in the Motion to Dismiss is the lack of specificity about allegedly infringed works at issue raises the question of whether or not Paramount Pictures Corporation even has standing in this lawsuit given that copyright extends only to new elements in derivative works like Paramount’s films, and the allegedly infringing elements at issue may ultimately all be from works that CBS claims to own.

Axanar Productions hoped that any amended complaint filed in response to its prior motion to dismiss would help narrow and clarify the scope of the case to put the parties in the best position to negotiate a fair and reasonable outcome. In the view of Axanar Productions, CBS and Paramount’s efforts failed in that regard. According to Axanar Production’s Alec Peters: “So as not to distract from Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary year, the best thing for all parties to do is to sit down and work out a settlement that address both the interests of Paramount and CBS and the desire of over 10,000 Star Trek fans who donated to support this project.

You can download the Motion To Dismiss here:

2016-03-28, Dkt 29, Defs’ Motion to Dismiss or Strike FAC

Winston & Strawn


Many fans ask about how a lawsuit works.  So here is the latest from Axanar lead attorney and Winston & Strawn star Erin Ranahan.

Plaintiffs can’t amend their complaint freely now because they used their one “free” amendment previously.  So they will have to file an opposition to the motion.  The court could still grant the motion to dismiss in part and let them amend– another amended complaint would just have to be court  approved or court ordered.  Some cases have several amended complaints (could have third, fourth, etc), which can come about because the court orders an amended complaint in response to a motion, or the plaintiff files a motion for leave to amend, which the court can then grant (and the standard there is liberal).  Or the parties can submit a stipulation with a proposed court order to permit another amended complaint.  The court will actually set a deadline for amending the pleadings several months out, and once that passes, the standard is much higher (meaning it’s harder to amend).

Join the discussion 33 Comments

  • Tanya Loser says:

    Based on the reading . I continue to hope all will be worked out .. a Big Thank you to the Legal team and to Alec for keeping us up to date on all this .

  • Tanya Loser says:

    Please thank the legal staff for all their good work

  • Wade B. says:

    Since I am a backer of this effort, once the court dismisses this case as they should do, can the backers then sue Paramount/CBS for the legal fees they took away from our production budget?

    They wasted our time/production budget, and they should pay.

    • Alec Peters says:

      We have Pro-Bono representation, so we haven’t paid legal fees!

      • al says:

        I am so rooting for you guys, I don’t even care if you guys did dirt, the fact of the matter is, CBS and paramount are some greedy corporations, and I hope Star Trek Beyond fails at the box office.

      • Michael Miyabara-McCaskey says:

        As they say “time is money” – or as you mentioned before a month is ~$13k of rent… perhaps you all should take on other work in the meantime – hate to see the only person “WINNING” being the Landlord.


      • Robert says:

        I wish there was a way to file a countersuit preventing the release of Star Trek Beyond claiming that until the so-called proprietary issues are in dispute so no one should be able to use them.

  • Mike says:

    In CBS and Paramount “clarification” on what exactly was being infringed upon, they used an image of Alec Peters dressed as Garth, on the set of Star Trek New Voyages (aka Phase 2). New Voyages as far as I know, has nothing to do with Axanar.

    • Mike W UK says:

      That is just one of several items in the complaint where they have used inaccurate references. Note also, the attempt to claim breach of copyright on use of Terra (Earth), Bridge (in reference to the command deck of a vessel) and Drydock. Talk about overreaching.

  • Duane Royal says:

    I can’t see what damages CBS would ever suffer. ST fans like myself are always thirsty for more. When I watched the trailer I saw some great acting and an impressive story line. ST movies are one of the few I’ll make a point of seeing in the theater. Prequel, seaqual, it doesn’t matter. There’s so much material in the ST universe to explore no one can touch all of it. Why do you think lots of old episodes and movies are rerun when newer movies are due? It enhances interest. ST fans will watch Axanar. Non ST fans may not look for or view it. Either way I don’t see anything but more interest generated by the release of this fan film. Good hunting!

  • I wish CBS would just drop this nonsense. The Axanar project has been so interesting and exciting to me because it’s an untold story of Star Trek someplace the movies have refused to go. I would have a tough time going to ST Beyond while the fate of this kickstarter was still in question.

  • Michael Miyabara-McCaskey says:

    hahah… now that I’ve had some time to read the full 31 pages of goodness… I just want to say, I may consider using this as bedtime reading to my daughter who loves Cosplay and Fan Films!! hahaha… this is great stuff… KUDOS to your Legal Team!! and DOUBLE-KUDOS for you picking them!!

  • Robert says:

    This is starting to feel like the Caldera Linux lawsuit.

  • Bob says:

    Thanks for the update Alec. And thanks to the legal staff and the Axanar staff. I did wonder how a non-existent film could violate copyright? I hope Star Trek Beyond does well. Even if it is not that great, bad Star Trek is better than “NO” Star Trek. Fingers crossed for an amicable outcome.

    • Peking Homunculus says:

      I would like Beyond to do well, I just don’t see it happenning. With Rogue One coming out around the same time, it seems doomed, given that Disney and Star Wars individually were giants in marketing, and now that they are combined, well… CBS/Paramount aren’t doing themselves any favors with the bad press this lawsuit is getting them.

  • JSR says:

    Thank you for posting this. It was certainly one of the most enjoyable reads I had in a long time, and, despite the fact that this is a serious matter for sure, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud a few times. The listing of all the names in conjunction with real, established history, including context and citing other cases in which a decision has already been reached; brilliant. Utterly brilliant. I will say this, without wanting to even remotely make any predictions, but, I am glad I am not that judge right about now. If (I was tempted to say ‘when’) you guys win this (or settle), then this has the makings of becoming a precedence case for the future and other, similarly bullied, fans wanting to just show their appreciation for the great idea that is Star Trek.

  • Bob Franklin says:

    & each time CBS/Paramount pulls one of these ducking maneuvers – sorry – “amendments” – they’re gonna look progressively weaker in the judge’s eyes. They probably think they’re performing The Death Of 1,000 Chinese Paper Cuts, without realizing Who’s actually getting sliced. Right on. Diggin’ it.

  • DL says:

    Thank you for the update! As much as I hope that Axanar will finally be made for everyone to enjoy, I wonder what the implications of a successful dismissal will be for the franchise as a whole – it sounds like this would set a precedent that CBS/Paramount will no longer hold the copyrights to many aspects of Star Trek, might this adversely affect the financial impetus for CBS/Paramount to make additional Trek shows and movies? (I admittedly have no legal training/knowledge though!)

    I realise that you probably can’t comment on this publicly but seems like the best outcome would be for an amicable arrangement to be made behind the scenes between Paramount/CBS and yourselves, fingers crossed that any negotiations will work out!

    I wish you all the best but do hope that there aren’t any unexpected complications for Trek as a whole in the end! LLAP 🙂

  • Michael MacAllister says:

    Thanks to all the people putting so much effort in the defense. I hope it works out well, soon.

    My biggest fear is that CBS/P will manage to drag this out until the rent for the studio “breaks” the project’s bank …

    • Danny says:

      “Breaking the Bank” doesn’t seem likely because of pro bono representation and significant fan support. My biggest fear is that CBS/P is doing this all to delay production on Axanar indefinitely to the point where the people working on the project, especially the actors, eventually drop out to pursue other endeavors.

  • Brian Meyer says:

    Wouldn’t a fan made film, if it’s good enough, be something that could be distributed by the copyright holder? I don’t see the issue if no one is paying to see it, and yet at the same time the actual owner of the franchise could take it and put it in the movie theatres. They could even add some lense flares so it looks like it has hollywood production values.

    Best of luck to the legal team, hopefully common sense will prevail and this movie can see the light of day.

    • JSR says:

      I do not think there is anyway that anyone could make Axanar better. It’s pretty on par with what is currently possible as far as visual effects are concerned. Also, and that as a side note and personal opinion, I find it quite sad that nowadays ‘adding lens flares’ is considered adding value to a production. That is how all this JJ-Abrams ‘Trek-down-the-drain’ problem started in the first place. Visual Effects =/ Production Value in a movie.

      Star Trek always has been foremost about character development and story, and not about how much glare the next photon torpedo produces; which is precisely why JJ-Trek isn’t so popular. It’s eye candy for sure, but not much beyond that in depth. In fact, Axanar conveyed more story line with the interview sequences in twenty minutes of Prelude, than some other feature movies I’ve seen in recent years; and with style.

      • Leonard says:

        I couldn’t agree more. Lens flares are visual ‘noise’. I’ve never been able to get the inserting-camera-optics-artefacts-makes-cinema-better thing. I thought that the idea was to (as far as possible) present the viewer with something that makes them forget the technology between their eyes and the scene. The ‘suspension of disbelief’ principle.

        For me, the insertion of these visual artefacts is akin to someone standing at my side while I’m watching, and slapping me … SLAP … this is not real … SLAP … you’re in your living room, not in space … SLAP … you’re seeing this through a camera … SLAP … this is artificial … SLAP.

        • JSR says:

          I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are visual noise. I use them, too, in my artworks; it’s just a matter of quantity. I just don’t think they are ‘the thing’ to improve upon a bad script, or to use them to cover up production inadequacies. Also, you don’t necessarily have to view it through the camera, you could be standing on another ship looking out the window. That would also produce distortions and glare; in fact, professional photographers refer to their various lenses as ‘glass’.

          I do still believe that story is more important, and that too much of a thing is not the best idea. Visual effects should be subtle when necessary, and bold when needed. Balance is the word of choice here.

  • Claude says:

    The dialogue with humility and respect are the better way to ensure the copyright of CBS/Paramount!

    Please CBS/Paramount, sit down, take a cup of coffee and speak face to face with Axanar Production and you will find the best solution for the two sides.

  • Donald H. says:

    I find all of this very interesting. But, have any of you considered this single fact. The Axanar production has taken a direction not envisioned by the Movie powerhouses. While fan films were almost cartoon like and many comical. The actual production of the Axanar pre-lude shows excellent film quality. That is enough to make the big boys afraid. If fans can finally make this type of product? How can they make money? I hope the Axanar film continues..

  • John Reeves says:

    Is there someone at CBS/Paramount that fans can contact to express our dissatisfaction with how they’re handling this? Maybe the fans could/should start speaking for themselves… I would definitely take the time if it meant improving the odds of this project moving forward. And I know I’m not alone.

    • Alec Peters says:

      We have yet to start any campaign like that as we hope to reach an amicable settlement with Paramount/CBS. If things change, we will of course, let you know.

  • Dan H. says:

    I just finished reading the MOD, it is a thing of beauty!
    Good luck Alec, I hope for the most positive outcome for Axanar!

  • Wayne says:

    I tried to follow the link to the pdf and reader displayed nothing. Is the file no longer available, or is there some other issue with it?

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