One of the myths being peddled by some in the fan film community is that CBS has issued “guidelines” for fan films. Some bloggers have suggested, incorrectly, that CBS distributed these guidelines to “all fan film makers”. And Rod Rodenberry even went on a video blog from Australia insinuated that Axanar had “broken the rules”.
The fact is CBS has not issued any guidelines (although they need to).
In fact, their policy is to neither tell fan films what you can do, nor tell fan films what you cannot do. They stated this specifically in my meeting with them in August at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention. CBS will not set down any rules because they are concerned about giving away IP rights. And creating rules, they feel, may do this.
Now there are a set of “guidelines” that were posted on the TrekBBS a few years ago by Patty Wright, who was at the time a producer for Star Trek: New Voyages. Patty published these “guidelines” claiming they were from CBS, but when challenged to produce the emails proving this was true, she refused to, and claimed she was under an NDA. Exactly why she felt it was OK to print what she claims she was under an NDA for is unclear. In fact, these “guidelines” were not verbatim from CBS, but were most likely made up by Patty. The mere fact that the “guidelines” claim you can’t fund raise, something a dozen or more fan films have done without ever being contacted by CBS, proves they are a fraud.
Sure, the guidelines had some good, common sense rules: Don’t make a profit. Don’t sell anything with Star Trek IP on it, etc. But again, these were common sense suggestions and not actual rules provided by CBS.
So, let’s be clear, when other fan film producers or people who have connections to Star Trek but no direct contact with the people who actually review the use of and license the IP claim that Axanar Productions should have “followed the rules” to stay out of trouble. They’re wrong.
CBS has not issued any “rules” or “guidelines.” Their existence is a myth.
There is nothing that the Axanar team would like to see more than a set of guidelines from CBS so all fan films can operate in a way that benefits everyone.
– Alec Peters
Also check out Axanar Mythbusters
Join the discussion 7 Comments
The reason why CBS/Paramount has not issued guidelines are very simple. CBS/Paramount doens’t want to give fan production the pass key
to produce movies with profit. I think that the quality fan production year by year will be very high, this is the big problem. I good fan movie can have
more success as a movie of CBS/Paramount. No distribution, no marketing, nothing structure cost. I fan movie can arrive dirrectly at home with
cheap cost. But this is the futur, in or out CBS/Paramount
Alec, I think you speak for a large group of fans, Axanar supporters or not. To operate in a vacuum, and just “hope” you do not run afoul of the dragon, is not only poor customer relations (and every ST fan is a customer, something CBS and Paramount seem to not be too clear on), but limits the amount and quality of material that some of the outstanding non-professional people are capable of. I can see the corporate side of establishing guidelines as a risk, however, a well thought out (and bring in the various fan groups to help develop it) guideline would help reduce or eliminate all this needless agitation and legal efforts on all sides. Take a page from the Star Wars folks (who have pointed this out), and encourage and support fan activities and you make a more loyal, commercially reliable group of customers.
Thank you Alec, for another great mythbuster! A real shame that Rod Roddenberry made the misinformed video blog. 🙁
…a suggestion from “Kobayashi Maru” discussion:
i’m thinking that Axanar should perhaps be pro-active on the paramount / nu-trek side?
i think you should go back right now, and scrub out anything that could be construed as “nu-trek IP”… like, isn’t the deflector on USS Ares kinda nu-trek-lookin’? …stuff like that.
This probly means no Capt. Robeau, but maybe just change his name…?
this will make for a more enjoyable film, for me, actually! =D
After watching Prelude to Anaxar, all I can say is Wow. You guys have truly capture the essence of Gene Roddenberry’s dream and brought to life a history of Starfleet that should be told. It is truly sad that CBS/Paramount cannot see the truly brilliant story that you guys are bringing to life and at this point, I will probably not go see any more of the Nu Startrek movies that I never really cared for anyway. I am a complete fan of true Star Trek story telling and hope that you guys are able to reach an agreement with Paramount and CBS to move forward with the production with the current cast. You have my best of wishes and thanks for at least producing Prelude.
Firstly , I have never really been a fan of fan made stuff i found it was always really poorly made and the acting was rather “hammy” but after watching the prelude to axanar and seeing the cast you have assembled i was really impressed .!!! it is by far the best fan made star trek i have seen. Well produced great cast great story. I have been a fan of Star Trek as far back as i can remember its always been there to enjoy i have lost years of my life watching reading and talking about it. when the NuTrek Movies started to come out i was rather upset they appeared to have written over the top of the already well established time line .. But i thought that this was just a temporary thing to keep the story moving but we are now nearly 3 movies in and still the time line hasn’t snapped back i feel they are trying to forgot all the stuff that happened in “TV land ” star trek and write faster more intense story lines that non trek fans can understand and enjoy trying to make a summer blockbuster type thing, which could have been done without the meddling in the time line. I think what I’m trying to say is Paramount /CBS missed the fact that TV today has a gaping whole where star trek should be.. These People at Paramount have got some nerve they have messed with our beloved trek too long and when guys like you write some good trek they shut you down for it . Instead of slapping lawsuits on you guys they should be sending you someone as a consultant not only on legal boring stuff but to help you guys make the best trek yous can i for one support you and your team and hope to sit back and enjoy Axanar Very Soon Good Luck ..