Wednesday, January 30th, 2015
The day started with finding out that we were being sued by CBS! By now you all know about this, but I found out by reading Facebook. Yep, CBS filed papers the Christmas/New Year holiday week. It sparked immediate outrage from our fans, and memes like this…
We went with a simpler one based on the hashtag that took off…
Meanwhile, I actually got served for the first time ever!
So how do you deal with getting served a lawsuit by CBS? Celebrate with Sushi!
A lot of fans expressed their support today and to all of you, THANK YOU. It means a lot to us. But don’t worry, we have a great attitude and I was on the phone with one of the top Intellectual Property law firms in the US today discussing taking on Axanar Productions on a pro-bono basis. I can say they were quite interested in representing us as they knew about the law suit and had already decided that this was going to be a very high profile case that could shape intellectual property law for the entertainment industry.
Nothing has changed here at Axanar. We are moving forward!
Join the discussion 80 Comments
To quote Tim Allen from Galaxy Quest…”Never give up! Never surrender!”
When I read about this lawsuit, I was furious. CBS / Paramount in their infinite stupidity have finally gone over the edge. For well over a year know, they knew about Axanar and what you and the gang planned on doing. Prelude to Axanar couldn’t have been a bigger hint of the direction and scope that you planned on taking this massively popular fan film toward. As I read the article about the lawsuit, and then your response, I thought to myself…”Why would they (CBS / Paramount) do this now? After they were well aware of what you intended to do long before this point?”
Then it hit me. Timing is everything.
You’ve talked about how long it would take to film Axanar, and generally, you’d said that it would be late 2016 before it would be finished. So let’s think about this for a minute…what is coming out in late 2016? Star Trek Beyond? The golden child of the Star Trek movie series that wants to turn their fortunes back on course after a disastrously ill-conceived Star Trek Into Darkness that they are only now admitting was a huge mistake in terms of how much it mirrored Star Trek II TWOK? Or what about the announced new Star Trek TV series that they plan on putting on their own Pay-to-view site in 2017?
Axanar has proven that it doesn’t take CBS or Paramount for good…no…EXCELLENT Star Trek stories to be created and brought into creation for fans of all ages to watch and love. Axanar, with just the Prelude short film, has garnered such a large fan-base, that it probably terrifies the big-wigs in their suits and big offices, who think they can throw something together, slap the ‘Star Trek’ name and logo on it, and we’ll eat it up. Thanks to folks like George Takei, who came out and stated emphatically that the Abramsverse Star Trek has NONE of the heart and soul of the original Star Trek, they (the ‘Suits’) are worried that this cash-cow that they’ve been milking for everything they can get out of it for decades, may no longer solely be in their hands alone. If Axanar can, with the backing of fans AND even actors who have played a part in the previous incarnations of Trek, pull off something as grand in scope as what we’ve had a taste of in Prelude to Axanar…they should be afraid!
It is my belief that the reason they’re leveling this lawsuit against Axanar and you personally is because they’re afraid. Afraid that if you and the Axanar gang pull off what you have stated you want to do, it will impact the ability of the next Star Trek movie, as well as the planned Star Trek TV series to garner the financial return they want. How would it manage to do this? Simple. If you can pull off Axanar, against the wishes of CBS / Paramount, it will prove once and for all that we don’t have to shell out $15-20 each to sit in a movie theater to watch the next Abramsverse attempt. It will also call into doubt whether support will be strong enough for the Star Trek TV series they have planned. And that’s something they don’t want. So how do they stop this nightmare from occurring? Simple…they turn on those who want to do what has never been done before…producing a fan-film that will be of the same production quality as any cinematic movie, or budgeted television series. They can’t afford for Axanar to be successful, so now that they see the potential impact of Axanar’s planned release around the big-screen movie and the small-screen pay-to-view series, they have to take Axanar out or risk the fall-out it could have on their financial gains.
It sounds far-fetched, but I think it has merit. Up until now, fan-films that were expressly not-for-financial gain have been allowed to do as they please, because while they may be ‘good’, they were never deemed to be on the same level as the big boys. Axanar threatens to change that. Funny thing…other Star Trek projects like Renegades and others that your have showcased in your blogs have shown the same kind of quality, but they haven’t been touched (yet).
I still think it has to do with the timing of Axanar’s release against the big-screen release and the television series’ planned release date.
Regardless, you have my support 100% You already had it, actually, but now you’ve got it even more.
“Never give up! Never surrender!”
You said everything perfectly, Troy, and hit the nail SQUARELY on the head. CBS and Paramount are afraid. The JJverse films are terrible, to say the least. WE SUPPORT YOU, ALEC! As well as the entire team! “Helmsman, hold your course. Stand by all phaser banks”.
I didn’t need Axanar to impact my patronage of the Abrams Trek, the first film was rubbish, I had no hopes for the next, or the 3rd, or any future TV series. I was already watching the Trek New Voyages and Trek Continues on YT, which is how I came across Axanar. Full steam ahead Alec, there’s lawyers on the starboard bow!
You made a good case for CBS and Paramount. I don’t think It matters whether CBS makes a better movie or whether the crowd-funded Axanar production team makes a better movie.
I’m not a copyright lawyer, and I don’t know how copyright laws are written; but I think if the Axanar team releases a Star Trek movie and its release affects the revenue stream of CBS’s Star Trek movies, then CBS has a case. Well, I think they have a case whenever they decide to excursive their rights. CBS owns the franchise, built the franchise and the Axanar team is leveraging off their goodwill. There is no doubt the Axanar team is doing excellent work, and the work is hard!
The decision to make a movie, define a timeline for production and release is more fluid than it is static. It takes time to build momentum and agreement on projects. Other production houses releasing movies in similar categories (additional momentum) will influences the already fluid nature of the business.
So it doesn’t matter whether the Axanar team has been in production one day or one year.
Maybe CBS and Paramount would allow the Axanar team to push out the release date three, six or nine months? And if the Axanar team delivers the high quality Star Trek movie, maybe an understanding could be reached whereby the Axanar team can cover their costs-plus to continue to producing leveraging the Star Trek brand, and the CBS and Paramount team could package/distribute two cuts of their movie. Maybe one special edition cut would include the Axanar teams’ movie?
I would like to see the Axanar team complete Axanar!
Good luck Axanar team!
Pssst! Not Tim Allen! It was Professor Snape’s character.
You would think that CBS/Paramount would feel this out a little more. Axanar is not a load of drivel whipped up by people with a peripheral knowledge of the ST Universe or an assumed understanding of the fan base. Look at the recent Trek Movies; they have no real desire to provide what the fan base wants. They create a couple of scenes that look like a battle and they put it in a commercial and air the hell out of it in order to get the anticipation to its peak. Then we show up at the movie only to be disappointed. Axanar looks to show the fans what they have been looking for: a solid story, a lot of battles, and some awesome ships that kick ass. Give me that 7 days a week and twice on Sundays instead of a corporate conglomerate pushing sewer out and telling fans its the new chocolate. Stay the course Alec, and if CBS execs are reading this : dont make the same mistake the so many before you have done- destroy creativity in pursuit of the dollar. Let the fans have what they want instead of what you are willing to afford.
I say paramount buy Axanar, with the condition to leave its present team intact. The film will then be finished the way it started, by the same cast and crew. They then take the concept and cast, and use it as its new TV Series. This is a much better idea than anything they have planed, I’m sure…
While I agree with much of your post, I would like to take issue with two of your points. First, Star Trek Into Darkness is far and away the highest grossing Star Trek film of all time. That hardly seems “disastrously ill-conceived” to me. Second, Star Trek Beyond is scheduled for summer release, not late 2016. So, the whole competing releases is a bit of a reach. That said, CBS / Paramount has, of late, taken a more serious position on intellectual property, due in no small part (I imagine) to the continued emergence of easy-access, on-demand content. With so much competition for audience attention, high profile brands like Star Trek become even more valuable. In other words, CBS / Paramount is looking to maximize brand efficacy. At present, Axanar benefits more from association with the Star Trek brand than the brand benefits from Axanar. It generates no income for the IP. It is non-canonical. And it has the potential to dilute the franchise. There is also the troubling possibility that Axanar could inspire a new wave of crowd-sourced fan films with the legs to compete with their commercial counterparts for the attention of an increasingly saturated market. That, my friends, is a very scary proposition for IP holders like CBS / Paramount. And that’s why they’re suing.
Troy said things very nicely, but I wanted to give my 2 cents. I have watched and enjoyed the various incarnations of Star Trek my entire life, okay most of them. Enterprise was questionable and the last couple of ST:TNG films sucked. Nemesis and Abramverse showed in full focus what George Takei said. CBS/Paramount does not understand or want to understand Star Trek or give the fans what they want.
In these past few years, I have seen the productions of the various fan film productions (Continues, Renegades, Phase 2, Axanar, and a couple of others). Most of them have brought to screen the true essence of Star Trek, namely a vehicle by which to explore and discuss social issues of our day, by recasting the topic in a slightly different light, such as the original Star Trek episode of half a species being white on the left and black on the right, while the other half is black on the left and white on the right. The Enterprise crew could not understand the difference. There are many such examples.
Nemesis sucked at the box office for the same reason that Insurrection sucked at the box office. The film stank, IMHO. The JJ Abrams verse, as I stated on my Facebook page in a repost of a Phase 2 video, needs to go bye-bye. The real life Acme Time Correction device that would suck up the Abrams verse with Spock saying “Timeline restored Captain” can happen. We the fans, the real ones, can make that happen.
CBS/Paramount is afraid that they can no longer produce ST films that have a huge financial impact on their bottom line and they also fear of losing the narrative in defining Star Trek. CBS/Paramount created the void, namely they did that to themselves, and now they fight back using money and power. I just hope that justice will prevail.
Fan films have been around “professionally done” for more than a decade now. Phase 2 is no sprint chicken. The Renegades team is no spring chicken too. Their Of Gods and Men came out years ago, so CBS/Paramount getting “shocked” does not pass anything. Each fan film endeavor met with CBS/Paramount.
Troy said it best. CBS/Paramount just wants us to watch ST:Beyond and pay them to watch their new Abbrams era series. Sadly, I am not interested in JJ Abrams verse Star Trek. I might check it out, but that depends on CBS. I definitely do not plan to if they win the law suit.
Star Trek belongs to the fans, not CBS/Paramount.
By the way, one thing people forgot is that for how many decades have their been Star Trek books released, which have not been sanctioned by CBS and have been for profit? CBS/Paramount have merely stated that works by others are not part of the official timeline. For instance, CBS/Paramount killed off Kirk, so William Shatner wrote a book bringing him back to life. The book continued the story of Star Trek: Generations. William Shatner made a nice profit on the book.
The “books” today are films. If CBS/Paramount had a beef, it was decades ago. Their (CBS/Paramount) true complaint, which they cannot say in court if all absolute honestly were to come out on the table is that fans can produce better ST works then the big wigs can. CBS/Paramount should have rather put their money behind Renegades and Axanar helping rather than hurting both series. They could have said that if that is what the fans want, if that is what the fans truly want, then at least we should pay for the venture and be involved in the narrative/story. They could have helped, rather than just act as stuck up bully that got their pride hurt.
I agree with what you said wholeheartedly, except for one thing: Star Trek may belong to the fans but the rights/intellectual property of Star Trek belongs to CBS. But I also agree that although they have every right to defend their intellectual property, including trying to shut Axanar and other fan films down, by doing this CBS would be majorly shooting themselves in the foot.
Make no mistake, this is about money. The fan films given us our Star Trek fix and they are the kinds of films that CBS/Paramount will never make. CBS may actually be quite aware of what Star Trek fans want, they just aren’t interested giving us this. Star Trek Into Darkness made $228,778,66 in domestic profit and more than double that worldwide ($466,978,661). The Star Trek spin may be a hook but the key demographic they are looking for inhales the action-adventure drama. Action-adventure also kills in the foreign market, where more cerebral content bombs. That’s what stokes the engine of profit.
Loyal Star Trek fans–the ones that still follow the old TV series, buy the merchandise, buy the books, and keep Star Trek in the public consiousness in the 10 years from TOS to Star Trek the Motion Picture or will ensure the success of a new, network TV series 10 years since Enterprise wrapped up–are the core audience that keeps Star Trek alive. This is all free publicity for CBS. The fans feed the fire for CBS, keeping the franchise alive and build the hype that CBS leverages into marketing.
Small, independent fan films only help CBS. Mabye a big studio can’t justify making a big film or high-line TV series without concentrating chase scenes or violence anymore. Mabye they just can’t justify doing a real Star Trek story, where the core of the story is about overcoming our human frailties, our relationships, and optimism for the future and writers spend more time developing a plot than a series of fight scenes. But fan films can and do.
If CBS is smart, they’ll take this as an opportunity to partner with Axanar and some of the higher line fan productions. Axanar, Star Trek New Voyages, Star Trek Continues, Renegades, and some others don’t cost much from a studio perspective, but if CBS decides to make some of these productions somehow official, they might work the more savvy fan productions to generate quality, internet TV at a fraction of studio costs.
Imagine what Alex Peters and crew could do with even an nth of the money that CBS might spend on a single TV episode! Now that would be amazing…
Great guys! If we need a legal fund, I will put the first 25.00 into the jar. To differentiate between Axanar and other fan films is weird logic, especially when they seem to be offended by the silly idea (in their heads) that it is “professional” quality. Isn’t that what every fan film tries to achieve? The fact Axanar is actually using a lot of volunteer help, and fan financial support should only encourage them to produce more quality Trek, not kill off what is being done. Your work is awesome and I think you have a huge base of support for you. Thanks for all you have done, and will do for us.
Cry havok and let slip the dogs of war!
Is there a petition the fans can sign to show our disappointment at CBS and paramount? What more can the fans do to help? There are a lot of us after all, you could say you have an army behind you!
At least one 40+ year fan of Star Trek, who has seen all of the movies in the theater and bought most of them on tape, DVD or BR (including the last two terrible ones) will be letting Paramount/CBS know he’s not spending another dime on StarTrek films in theater or on media if they continue this direction. I’ll still see them but I’ll wait until they are at my library. I always respected Paramounts/CBS stance toward fan films, but they are working hard to lost that respect and future patronage.
If we could get someone who is a HUGE name with the Trekkers, (Bill Shatner, Patrick Stewart, George Takei, Rod Roddenberry, etc.) to look at the Prelude film, they might have a way to convince CBS/Paramount. Better still, why not contact the two topmost “Trek-sperts”, Mike and Denise Okuda? “The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!”
Hey Folks 🙂 Great to see you´re still happy and looking forward ! This Copyright thing is soooo stupid … The Fans kept Star Trek alive for all these years … I think they forgot that Star Trek isn´t just only a Trademark. We are a BIG Family. I hope this will work out good for you and can be solved quickly. If they drive the Fans angry at this point, the next CBS Star Trek Series will most likely be the shortest one ever 😉 But maybe the new Series is the main reason for all of this ?! Who knows … Anyways, best wishes from Germany !
What did your lawyers advise you before you began this undertaking? Surely they provided a Fair Use defense that you could have at the ready should Paramount decided to come after you. Will their advice assist in your legal strategy going forward? And would losing this case also put you at risk with Kickstarter as well since it may violate their ToS? Yikes. What a mess.
Wishing you the best of luck.
I’m curious about this as well.
Good for you guys. What a beautifully civilized was to deal with the news, you’re an example to us all.
Long live axanar.
I think the law suit is a gift in disguise. I’m a soft fan,I do some crowd funding but my thing is usually high-end tech. My job has gotten me on some digital comp lists, including, billboard, Hollywood reporter, variety, ad age, etc. I saw the line item come across about the law suit, preceded to spend the next 60 minutes learning all about your project and backing it.
I’m quite sure there are many folks like myself. I’d be curious if you all of a sudden get a backing spike.
Funny, but I get the captains log emails and I found out from Arstechnica, so you are likely right about a boost in support.
I think they are worried that Axanar will be better than star trek beyond (from the trailer they released that appears to be a pretty strong bet!) Hope you all weather this storm though as I’m looking forward to Axanar more than anything cbs or paramount are likely to do with the franchise any time soon.
I just watched the STAR TREK Beyond trailer. It looks more like some action movie that has very little to to with STAR TREK. I’m more excited about the full Axanar movie as well!!!
“We shall defend our trek, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in orbit and in the deeps of space, ; we shall never surrender.”
It’s strange they would do this now ..or maybe not? This makes me want to support your efforts even more. CBS/Paramount is scared, keep it that way..If your opening a support fund I’m in.
I suspect CBS is doing so because they fear they will be competing against fan-generated streaming videos. In my opinion, this is short-sighted. History has shown us that when producers are not respectful of the fans, it always ends badly for the producers (e.g. Fantastic Four, Lone Ranger). We all know how tight the fan communities can be–Star Trek more than most. If the fans decide on a boycott (formal or informal) of the CBS series, it would be an expensive failure for CBS and a shame for fans who are hungry for a return of Star Trek to television.
If they were smart, they would notice someone has made a high-quality Star-Trek product without the budget or resources of a major studio and hire them to do the CBS series instead of taking them to court.
People tend to have a hard time thinking beyond the short term. You’re not wrong, but all CBS/Paramount can see is a fan production threatening to take revenue from them. And the suit could also be a bit of petty bloody mindedness due to the fan reaction from the Beyond trailer.
I won’t even speculate about what they are trying to do or what results they were hoping fore. Suing Axanar can only be a decision that has nothing to do with what is best for star trek. Axanar alone, not to mention all the other great fan-film projects that might be sued in the future, have done so much to revitalize the star trek franchise and to keep a big fan base. At the same time, they are in no way a thread to any “official” star trek. If a new series comes out, a new movie, will people NOT go there because of axanar? Of course not. They will watch axanar and anything official worth watching too.
It is really not worth the time to speculate – all I can do is continue supporting Axanar as much as I can and tell as much people as possible about it to spread the word! Axanar is one of the greatest fan projects ever created and nothing will change that.
I am not sure if there are any ways for us to help you all out, but if you post anything here with any way to help you get through this ridiculous suit I know I will be amongst the first in line. I wasn’t a big fan of new JJ Trek, but I did plan on going to see it, I now have no plans to pay to see either the movie or the new show. I am positive those are the reasons they are going after you now, and I find it sickening.
Keep up the great work, I am glad to see you are all still in good spirits.
Let us know if we can help beat this.
I’m not a legal expert, but I’ve read enough to know copyright law is badly broken. It’s gone from protecting authors to a tool for large corporations to beat the little guy over the head with. I think Axanar has a case, and I’d love to see it force some legal changes, or at least create a precedent.
Best of luck to you all. I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is, and donate towards legal costs.
Just supported your campaign. I hadn’t been keeping up with the project and it was actually the lawsuit making the news that made me take the time to really get invested. Hopefully the lawsuit will ultimately just bring more support in and cause interest to be more widespread. I see crowdfunding as the future for quality content, especially for fan-driven ecosystems like Star Trek. Thanks so much!
After reading the previous well thought out comments and opinions. All I can come up with to add is “May the Great Bird of the Galaxy drop a big duce on the suit monkey who thought this was a good idea.”
Although I don’t agree with Paramount/CBS’ suit against you. I have been looking forward to your production for quite some time. I was excited that someone was finally going to tackle the story of the Klingon/Federation war that was talked about in TOS. But after thinking about the situation, and seeing the footage you have released showing the amazing effects and the superb acting and cinematography. Getting the to real root of why Paramount/CBS would do this, well, you have to look at the situation in a different way.
Here you have a start up production studio comprised of some of the most talented and brightest minds in the industry. They are working in one of the most cut throat locations and industries in the world. In a state where labor unions protect the people that work in this industry. Where a general production budget can range from $100M to $350M. Most well produced fan films range in cost from $15K to $35K and it shows in the end product. I have seen some well produced fan films but at the end of the day those films do not stand up to the level that is being produced by Axanar.
So here we have a Studio that by reports from some news agencies was able to raise over $1M, although the kickstarter page itself show half a million. They are producing a Movie at the level of a professional production that would generally cost $150-$200M. The effects are going to be superb should all the effects stand up to the content that has been released so far. The acting is of a very professional and experienced level. So far the directing and cinematography in the Prelude and the Vulcan scene has been excellent.
Paramount/CBS, along with Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, and any other Studio that dishes out $150M-$350M per production has a real problem on their hands should this $1M production prove to be a success, and not only that. This great production would be free for all to see. No residual income, no royalties. This is a huge undertaking that could send shockwaves through Hollywood and seriously jeopardize the status quo when it comes to production budgets, salaries, and ultimately profits.
On one hand you have the industry made up of the Studio, FX houses, Editors, Directors, Actors, etc. who’s salaries are set and protected by the labor force and unions. It costs a Studio $150-$350M to produce a big budget movie because of these protections and guarantees to the artists. In order for them to work and survive in an area that has such a high cost of living they need these protections. Please understand that I am not knocking the industry for this. There is a reason for these very talented individuals to have these protections and guarantees, in fact I think there should be more protections for them such as royalties, etc. that they don’t already receive, but that would have to be another discussion.
On the other hand you have a small start up studio filled with great artists and collaborators that just want to produce something out of love. They would not have had this opportunity had it not been for the silent understanding between Paramount/CBS and the fan film groups. Axanar however although a fan film is comprised of industry professionals. These professionals are now producing a big budget style movie with big budget quality for around $1M.
This eventually will lead to the question of “WHY”. Why do Studios waste so much money on big production budgets when a startup studio can raise $1M and produce a Theatrical Quality Feature Film. Why do Studios pay Producers, Directors, Actors, and FX people so much money if a small studio could do it for $1M.
Obviously the reasons are the people involved with Axanar are not asking for standard pay. They will be compensated for what they agreed upon which is small simply because they are doing it out of love for this production. They are not in it for the money. They are dedicating their time to a hobby, not a job. That is different when they work for the Studio as they have to fight and scratch their way into a production.
So to me, I don’t think Paramount/CBS are particularly worried about copyright infringement. They know this is a fan film. I think they are worried about the status quo and I believe that they are obligated to do whatever they have to in order to protect this status quo regardless of whether it is the right or wrong thing to do. They just have to put a copyright infringement wrapper and bow around it.
So glad I refreshed before posting because you struck all the points that took me 45 minutes compose. I thank you and hate you at the same time 😉 .
…well, this certainly is not classy, they way they put it to you =(
…conjecturing re: motivation – i smell the sickening stench of jj / boborci / kurtzman =(
they DO fear competing with a production that has heart and soul driving EXCELLENCE <3
Conspiracy Theory: TPTB *hate* what REAL Star Trek is about… they want to kill it and supplant it with negative, crappy, mindless nu-trek =(
Well, one solution (or stopgap), should this go to court, could be to offer up the Axanar movie/series to be published and distributed by Paramount/CBS to recuperate their so-called “injuries” in the form of Theatrical and/or DVD/BD releases. They can’t turn down a sweet deal of making even more money off it (the star trek franchise), even while you guys are doing the heavy lifting of the production work that they don’t have to spend a dime on. Heck, if things can be turned around to the point that you can get them to invest into the project, then it could automatically be considered legal use at that point. Though get that in writing if the right executives at Paramount/CBS can be convinced their time and money would be better spent in pushing the project forward than trying to stop it.
I hadn’t heard about Axanar until after the news of the law suit came out. I’ve now watched Prelude and donated on Indiegogo. It has got me over the disappointment of the Star Trek Beyond trailer. So thanks CBS for letting me know about it!!
Keep up the good work Team Axanar.
As a Fan , I thank unto thee a fellow Fan , now we can all wait patiently for Axanar .
PS: my own first reaction to Star Trek Beyond’s trailer was Whisky Tango Foxtrot !
This is so unprofessional of CBS. Finding out about a lawsuit against you on Facebook is pathetic. Shows that CBS didn’t have the stones to just tell you outright. This whole thing stinks! This case is going to blow the door wide open on the property intellectual laws. I hope CBS feels the burn from this whole thing. I bet they are sweating bullets because Axanar is such a great production, built by fans for fans. They are probably scared witless that their “Star Trek Beyond” is going to be such a failure, along with nobody wanting to pay to stream a stupid TV show they pretend will be “Star Trek”. What next, are they going to sue the other fan productions? In a way, it is good they sued you in that this will be a very high profile case. I am with everyone else here. Fight the good fight! We Stand With Axanar!!!
Unite the fans against CBS. Threat of boycotting the series all the way to the movie. It’s fan stuff like this that keeps star trek alive since they allowed it to stagnate. They even took 4 years to bring out another film after the great Star Trek 2009, and by four years any interest in star trek had waned again. Star trek 2009 was very good and they waited for years, and brought out the crap that was into darkness. This time they moved up the schedule to 3 years with Beyond, but its beyond rubbish.
Also being a lawyer myself. The reason they are suing you is simple. Old vs New. They are pushing star trek into a new direction, action/glitz/stylized. Your project reminds them too much of the ‘old trek’. And they want to move a new generation forward on new star trek, not your vision of it. They feel that your project will cause them a loss on that front. Because it is so professionally looking.
Also your description kinda hurts as well. Drop all professional from the description and just call it an amateur production. THey’ve actually cited your self cited description that you are professionally produced.
And your project is popular, hence why it hurts.
No matter what the outcome of this may be, you guys will have my support.
I had to search for an email address by which I could communicate my displeasure with CBS regarding this stab in the back. They’ve known about the Axanar project for how long? I’m furious with CBS for doing this, and will be questioning supporting any product they are associated with. You don’t mess with Star Trek fans. I’m awaiting a response from CBS to my complaint. We’ll see if they ever do respond, or just cower behind a big corporate wall. They sure wouldn’t be able to wield so much power in the Federation.
(All comments framed by the IANAL proviso.)
Sorry, but I don’t see any great conspiracy here, whether by Abrams & Orci & Company, or by some putative suits in the big office at CBS. Whatever one thinks of copyright law and intellectual property law, that’s all this is, and I believe was mostly initiated by CBS because they have a new TV series in development. I don’t believe it has anything to do with Star Trek Beyond simply because if it did, Axanar would have been landed on a very long time ago. I can’t find the actual docs to read online anywhere, but everything I have read in the various media seems to indicate it is the television people (ie, CBS) not the movie people (ie, Paramount) suing Axanar.
I suspect this has only to do with CBS exercising due diligence and protecting the IP that is Star Trek. They aren’t really interested in shutting Axanar down, or taking it away, or anything else. Because there is a new TV series in development for the first time in a decade, and because technology has come a long way in that decade, some lawyer somewhere determined that in order to properly cover their collective asses, they had to (re-)draw some pretty thick lines in the sand, and Axanar- by virtue of its own success- became the focus of that legal effort. Any precedents established by this suit generally become binding in future actions, and may/can/will act as legal guidelines for subsequent fan-made productions.
The timing is skeezy, sure, and CBS has certainly bought themselves a bunch of bad holiday press in the fandom, but there’s never a good time to do this, really. The American legal system doesn’t lend itself to gentleman’s agreements, either (I don’t think Alec Peters or anyone else involved is really surprised). I expect it will bubble away for a few months, a settlement will be reached, and we will still get Axanar. The next fan film will have a few more hurdles to jump over, however.
“I can’t find the actual docs to read online anywhere, but everything I have read in the various media seems to indicate it is the television people (ie, CBS) not the movie people (ie, Paramount) suing Axanar.”
It starts: “Plaintiffs Paramount Pictures Corporation (‘Paramount’) and CBS Studios Inc. (‘CBS’) (collectively, ‘Plaintiffs’), by their attorneys, hereby bring this complaint against Axanar Productions, Inc. […]”.
In less than two months, CBS has gone from being a hero to Star Trek fandom for announcing the launch of a new Star Trek TV series to being a villain for filing suit against Axanar.
I’ve seen lots of people express outrage at CBS’s lawsuit and wonder why they did it. I share their outrage, but not their puzzlement. It’s not about copyright infringement. It’s about competition. Axanar has created an excitement and an anticipation among in-the-know Star Trek fans that I haven’t seen since 1979 or 1987 or 2009. No one who has seen the multiple award-winning “Prelude to Axanar” has any doubt whatsoever that Star Trek: Axanar, if and when made, will be an outstanding and extraordinary series. It is not at all uncommon to hear hardcore Trek fans say that they’re looking forward to Axanar far more than they’re looking forward to the next Abramsverse abomination.
And CBS has heard those voices. And they’re scared. They’re scared that Alec Peters and Team Axanar are going to produce a film that is far superior and far more popular than whatever it is they’re planning to launch in January 2017. And they can’t risk that. They have to put a stop to it. It’s not about copyright infringement. It’s about competition. They can’t have a tremendously popular, award-winning Star Trek series produced by fans while they’re producing their own new “canon” series. But they can’t sue on the grounds of competition. They CAN sue for infringement. And they have.
I have seen what Paramount has done with “my” Star Trek in the hands of J. J. Abrams and I am horrified and disgusted by it. I have also seen what Alec Peters has done with “my” Star Trek in his little 20-minute teaser film and I am ecstatic. I have no faith in CBS whatsoever to create a new Star Trek series that captures the spirit, the essence, the je ne sais quoi of the original. I have EVERY faith in Alec and Ares Studio that they can do exactly that.
I support Axanar and think your concept is fresh, but frankly, after watching everything and seeing the materials they are producing since the beginning, I was surprised CBS didn’t file a lawsuit sooner!
Axanar is pushing the boundaries of what is permissible under the NFP allowance. I agree with Alec Peters, like Lucasfilm, they (CBS) need to create a guide or bible to fair use of Star Trek IP.
I could care less how many aliens, images or characters they think it infringes on, because I could name 10-20 fan based productions that have used the same aliens, images and characters. Geez, some of them even use the same background music. No one is in a lather about those.
Most people tend to forget that lawsuits aren’t always about undoing a wrong, it is also a way to establish the negotiation position of the claimant against a defendant.
When I read the suit, my perception is that CBS now wants to cut a deal and this establishes their opening position.
Even though CBS told Alec “you will never make money” you see they already have missed the point because Alec already has the money, duh.
CBS has had more then enough time to review Axanar during the entire media hype over the crowd source funding that happened about 6 months ago and they did nothing then and I think that the courts will look very strongly at that fact when reviewing any lawsuit.
As to CBS and the fans, well I think it’s time to show CBS who REALLY owns Star Trek… THE FANS!!!
Now why do I say that it’s the fans that own it and not CBS? Because we are the ones PAYING FOR IT! We are the ones that decide if we want to take our hard earned money and hand it to them, so… A small message to CBS
“WE THE FANS, WE HAVE THE POWER AND THE CONTROL AND YOU, CBS, WILL DO WHAT WE SAY OR ELSE YOU WON”T GET OUR MONEY!!!!!! NOW CBS GET ON YOUR KNEES AND BEG, LIKE THE WORTHLESS DIRTY SLIME YOU ARE, FOR OUR FORGIVENESS!!!”
I’m so sick of this rhetoric. CBS/Paramount owns the property, they own the characters, images, music. They own it. They could literally decide to put it all in a vault, and prohibit ALL amateur productions. Fair use? There is no “fair use”, they own it. That’s the law. They may lose this lawsuit, because they have allowed other productions to happen, and don’t appear to be making any efforts to shut them down. That being said, they could shut it all down, and they may, and if they chose to do so there is absolutely nothing the “fans” could do but sit and complain. Don’t like what CBS/Paramount is making? Fine, don’t go. Just be aware, they could take it all away.
I am a huge Axanar fan ever since I first saw Prelude, and I am a donor, of course.
I am sincerely disappointed about the lawsuit from CBS and Paramount: I can see some reason in their willing to protect IP, but it is not clear why Axanar is the only fan-film being sued, in contrast to the several ones published up to now.
I still think they should license you and partially fund you, instead of suing you.
Anyway, I wanted to point your attention towards this post http://trekmovie.com/2015/12/30/star-trek-axanar-fan-film-sued-by-paramount-and-cbs-over-copyright-infringement/ and the related user comments: there are several serious accusations towards you and the production, and words from Mr Todd are used as proofs.
While I am confident this is all a minsunderstanding, I think is in the best interest of Axanar that you look at them seriously and that you dismiss them on fair ground once and for all.
Thanks and keep up the good work!
…yeah, no …don’t worry about the mudslinging at trekmovie =(
what they are doing is hateful and untrue …i suspect that some of them are paid gov’t trolls / jj’s ass-kissers …Prodigal Son / MJ is truly a piece of shyte ..they take whatever they can and twist it into lies …a few of the trekbbs a-holes came over to pile on too! =P …they DELIGHT in trying to throw AXANAR under the bus =(
…I was already boycotting Paramount / nu-trek, now CBS / trek merchandise is boycotted too! the same goes for trekmovie and trekbbs! they suck! =P
Instead of suing you guys for actually making something meaningful, maybe CBS/Paramount should offer financial backing and then do a theater release. Then at least they could guarantee profits for themselves, instead of suing a bunch of hardworking people who don’t have the money to fight back.
Don’t quit guys, You’re saving Star Trek.
…if you have to COMPLETELY re-brand / re-reference everything, i.e. “klingons” become “the warrior race”, UFP becomes the “Galactic Federation”, etc… I’ll still stand with you!
CBS / Paramount can kiss my Star Trek lovin’ass goodbye… =P
The term “Streisand Effect” comes to mind. Too bad it’s too late to send CBS a Christmas card, because this level of publicity would cost you millions of dollars otherwise.
It got me to see the trailer. As a lukewarm movie fan and a so-so Trek fan at best, my reaction was something along the lines of HO. LEE. CRAP. If CBS has any intelligence, they’ll do some kind of quick deal with you that lets everyone make money.
Which is why I expect a long legal battle.
Keep putting out clips is my advice – in fact, have a couple in the bag, so you can pull a new one out after each publicity-generating attack from CBS. The more buzz you buy this project via an antifragile media strategy, the higher the stakes get for CBS. Continuing their legal moves will keep raising the risks of having Abram’s mega-investment look weak by comparison, and trying to compete with trailers using a full-length feature is like trying to compete with a girl’s hot first boyfriend: halo effect + imagination means you have to be 2x hotter to win. At the same time, raising the movie’s profile and fan base means that the rewards for CBS if they cave and do a deal would keep rising. At which point, both the risk and reward sides of the equation begin to push them toward a deal.
I wish you all luck. This looks like a really good movie.
I think CBS made a massive mistake – there actions reflect everything that is wrong with the corporate mindset and remind all of us what the dream of the federation means.
You have my support, and some financial backing from me too.
The irony is that they’ve actually improved your visibility and publicity with this ill-advised stunt. And also, I don’t think they can reasonably argue that this is infringing their copyright when they’ve outright ignored productions like Star Trek Phase 2 and others mentioned here in the comments.
The leave all other Star Trek fan films alone, most of which have been around much longer than Axanar, and the decide to sue you!
Makes a person wonder what makes you Such a tempting target?
I find the news of this lawsuit unfortunate and disheartening, though I don’t share in the opinion that CBS/Paramount is scared what the release of Axanar will do to their upcoming movies/TV shows. My speculation would be more along the lines of this being a fan production on a scale heretofore unseen, particularly the attempted level of quality and the attendant amount of money that’s been raised to support this endeavor.
What I don’t get (and correct me if I’m wrong), but I could have sworn that you (meaning Mr. Peters) had been in communication with Paramount and/or CBS regarding this project. If I am right, then it surprises me greatly that they would serve such a suit without any prior expression of reservations regarding your project.
This is so Ridicilous, CBS/PARAMOUNT, who do you Guys think that you Sue / Attack here?……you Attack US the FANBASE, those who PAY your Buns! You knew EXACTLY what was going on from the begining, yet you did NOTHING, you watched Progressing this FANMADE Project (like SO MANY other Projects similar to this) and now that it gets close to completion you decide that you want to shut it DOWN?! People Donated their Hard earned Dollars to make this Promising Project come true, because this is 1 Million Times MORE STAR TREK than all your, JAR JAR ABRAMS FAIL Movies!
So now that you see that FANS are able to Produce something that again FANS like more than EVERYTHING that came after Nemesis or even the Enterprise Series, you are Scared and decide to KILL IT off?…well how about using your BRAINS and instead of DESTROYING what FANS Love, and SUPPORT it?! Support those Talented Guys, Hire them WORK with them, show them, show US that you are not a BUNCH of Clueless MINDLESS Idiots, ever thought about that?
You think its such a good Idea to shut down what you see as a threat to your new Series and Movie? so you want to TAKE away what FANS Created for FANS, and than expect those FANS to pay Money to see your New Movie and watch the New Series on your All Acces Service?? What are? 5 Years old little KIDS who have NO idea of how economics works? Treat your Customers BAD and those Customers will show you the MIDDLEFINGER.
WAKE UP CBS / PARAMOUNT, playing with FIRE will cause SEVERE BURNS, be GOOD to us and we will be GOOD to you (with our Money) treat us like SHIT and we will respond the same way.
100% SUPPORTING you Team Axanar and looking Forward to see the Finished Movie, if i cant due the THICKheads over at CBS / PARAMOUNT shutting you guys down than, 100% BOYCOTT for EVERYTHING that has to do with those IDIOT Companys!
I heard about the Axanar project because they sued you. I can’t thank them enough!
Big licences such as Star Trek and others exist because their fans feed the universe, trying to send you to court is just too wrong while your film is part of this universe and serves the (millions dollars budget) next official movie…
It came to my mind that maybe they know their new movie is too action-oriented while yours seems to respect the Star Trek spirit.
I wish you the the best for 2016 (and the forthcoming years), keep on going, Axanar looks great on every aspect !
(Apologies for the mistakes if any, english is not my native language)
This may not be all as bad as everyone thinks. The whole IP issue has been bubbling around for years, and a good answer is needed that satisfies all parties, and provides wins for all as well. This is almost a Ferengi type situation. I know you guys have a thousand “suggestions” but here is an idea:
An optimum solution is for Ares to go 503C with all their assets, with the current staff, and CBS join them as cofounders. Then, they provide a professional platform for all fan film ideas. You go to Kickstarter with your idea, get funded, and use the Ares Studios as your platform to film. That way, a whole lot of material could be made within reach of fan money, we get lots of really good Trek, CBS is lauded for supporting the poor masses and being so nice, and CBS gets a lot of pilots to look at, and whatever strikes a chord, gets made into a series for their streaming system. They get lots of material inexpensively, we get lots of Trek, we pay 5.99/mo for it, CBS gets a solid base to start their streaming system with. This is win/win/win for everyone. Disney immediately follows suit with their own startup studio for SW material and we have 2 new streaming systems. Lots of actors, artists and techs get work and experience, and a Renaissance occurs in entertainment.
Just a thought….
This is a tone-deaf move by CBS and Paramount. Fans have kept the pilot light lit when the franchise arguably should have fizzled on multiple occasions. Fan films kept Trek going between the NEM/ENT failures and the cinematic reboot. That they target this particular project when they have allowed so many others stands to do them more harm than good: it’s arbitrary and bullying and fans know it. Enough actors and other talents who work the convention circuit are connected with Axanar that the alienation created could be devastating to future franchise promotion. It’s one thing to undertake reboots and new series to grow the brand, but quite another to smack one’s base. Axanar strikes me as a not-for-profit labor of love, not a heist of intellectual property. I hope a settlement is possible and wish the Axanar cast and crew – and legal team – luck.
To the Axanar team, I say keep on chugging! As a fan, I’m quite eager to see the finished Axanar movie…..and I agree it seems to have, as George Takei has mentioned, the ‘heart’ of a good Star Trek story!
To the Axanar team, I say keep on chugging at warp speed! As a fan, I’m quite eager to see the finished Axanar movie…..and I agree it seems to have the ‘heart’ of a good Star Trek story…something we’re missing for a long time!
In addition to my previous backing of Axanar, I’d be more than willing to exchange the upcoming cinema admission for “Star Trek Beyond” into a small contribution to your legal fees, should the need arise. 😉
Hey, CBS+Paramount, you should hire and fund these guys instead of suing them. [Angrily waves his Bat’leth]
to the law firm defending axanar – may the great bird of the galaxy guard you and protect you as you defend the dream
If you’re getting sued, you must be doing something right.
My understanding is that CBS never gave their blessing; but that there has been a long-standing, unspoken gentlemen’s agreement that between CBS and all fan-created material that CBS will allow some things to fly under the radar. The popular interpretation has been that CBS doesn’t care as long as nobody is profiting. Axanar is too big and too good to fly under the radar, many people are making money (even if it is a pittance compared to a major studio-backed Hollywood production) and even though it won’t have a box office presence, it could be seen as a threat to the new Trek series planned for launch. Axanar is really blurring the lines across the board. I, like many others here, am an Axanar backer and I will be furious if an amicable resolution cannot be reached, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I saw this coming months ago. Alec has long held that this is not a fan film, but a professional production. It’s doubtful his statements had any significant bearing on the decision to sue; more likely the actual production quality seen thus far, along with the dollar amounts being raised, were the critical factors.
One of the conditions of IP law is that you must actively defend your IP in order to retain your rights. If CBS does not sue over a large, high-quality production such as Axanar, it could hinder CBS’ future ability to defend their rights over the Star Trek universe. It very well could be that Alec’s contacts at CBS were either unaware that the suit would be filed, or they were told in no uncertain terms that they would keep quiet if they valued their jobs. Perhaps they even already knew this was coming down the pipeline at the time Alec approached them. Either way, it’s irrelevant. The legal machinery of any large entity has a mind of its own. This is not the work of anyone at CBS who has any understanding of Star Trek or the community built around it. This is 100% the work of the lawyers doing what they think is necessary to preserve CBS’ future interests.
There are many possible ways this can play out, but ultimately there are only a few possible outcomes:
1. Axanar loses and the project is canceled.
2. Axanar wins and new legal precedents are set, possibly weakening CBS’ rights over Star Trek, as well as the rights of other IP holders over their respective IP.
3. A settlement is reached and Axanar proceeds.
Possibility #1 would be a crushing blow to all high-profile, high-end productions. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.
Possibility #2 isn’t necessarily good. It will be extraordinarily expensive for all parties involved, and a pro bono defense does not necessarily mean that business can proceed according to plan. First, CBS could file an injunction pending a decision on the case, in which case the production could be halted and Axanar could go bankrupt paying rent while waiting for the legal battle to be resolved, which could easily take several years. Second, if CBS’ rights are weakened, they may have less incentive to allocate money toward new Star Trek projects. As much as we love to hate so many things about JJ Trek, it has made Star Trek a household name again. I’m pretty sure Axanar would have have had the same level of support if it weren’t for JJ Trek. I’d rather have JJ Trek than no Trek.
Most people don’t consider possibility #3, but it probably holds the most promise. There are so many possibilities, but there are a few that immediately come to the forefront:
a) CBS licenses Star Trek to Alec for as little as $1 but stipulates that the terms of the settlement never be disclosed lest the agreement be rendered null and void, unleashing the full fury of CBS’ legal department. There could be other stipulations, as well, such as no fan-funded sequels or follow-ups for anyone involved with Axanar. But even if there are many undesirable stipulations, if Axanar is allowed to be finished in its full original glory, that absolutely counts as a win.
b) CBS buys Axanar. This could be good or bad in so many ways (also note that a common legal tactic is to first sue the defendant into the ground, then buy the property at a bargain price). Either CBS could launch it as an official property of the Star Trek universe, or they could bury it. The Axanar team could go to work for CBS or an authorized production team, or they could all be let go with a warning never to work on another fan-backed production again. Maybe some stay and others leave or are let go.
c) Some hybrid–perhaps CBS licenses Star Trek for $1, puts various stipulations in place, and in the end receives 100% of residual profits after production is completed–i.e., they receive all profits from future DVD/Blu-ray/streaming sales, T-shirts, posters, etc. Although we would all prefer to see the Axanar team produce many more works within the Star Trek universe, this would not be all bad. In fact, it also doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of Alec & team producing or supporting other Star Trek-derived works as originally envisioned.
All said, I was very happy to see that a major firm has taken the case on a pro-bono basis. I’m definitely rooting for Alec and the rest of the Axanar team, and I hope wisdom prevails and we see a swift and decisive resolution which is equitable to Star Trek fans, the Axanar team, and CBS alike.
…Rob Z gives the best (conjectured) analysis that I have seen so far: EXCELLENT! =)
…i think that “they” have decided (for whatever reasons) that Axanar, as an “independent” “professional level” “fan film” can no longer be “ignored”, as it becomes more and more evident that Axanar is what the “core fans” desire, hands down over their corporate version(s)…
…and where u see desire, u see potential for profit 😉
…so, i’m hoping that “they” will choose path #3, where they want to (share in and) profit from Axanar’s obvious appeal: by giving license and additional funding in exchange for ownership rights… 😉
…the alternative (shutting Axanar down), seems unimaginable given the bad PR it would generate… but i sure don’t see any love coming from these corporate bastards… =(
…so, unfortunately, i cant discount the rat-f*ck scenario: TPTB *hate* REAL “Star Trek” =(
What I want to know is how Axanar is different than the many other Star Trek fanfilms that have been being made for many years, not to mentions the thousands of fanfic stories that have been written over the last few decades. Why is CBS now claiming IP infringement on Axanar and not all the others that have been made? Take a look at the recent “Renegades” and “Of Gods and Men” films made with crowdfunding – very similar to Axanar. And of course, that doesn’t count Star Trek: The New Voyages, Star Trek Continues, Starship Farragut, etc. (Of course, as some have alleged, if Axanar is making $$$ off the Star Trek IP, then they should be held accountable! Note: Crowdfunding in order to pay the bills doesn’t mean they’re making $$$.)
As several talked about above, could this be about quality & timing? If Axanar is released roughly the same time as when the new CBS Star Trek series starts (after the next Star Trek movie) and Axanar lives up to the quality as their 20 minute prelude, it could really embarrass both CBS & Paramount. (IMO, it doesn’t seem like those two companies care about the quality of Star Trek product they produce. As I told a someone else a few years ago, throwing a couple of pencils on a turtle and calling it the Enterprise doesn’t make it Star Trek.)
Paramount…We are The Trek. Remember that you work for us, not the other way around. No “Axanar”??? Then no “Beyond”. We will protest. We will boycott. You will lose. It’s that simple. Oh, and lest ye forget…resistance is futile. Fix this now.
Wow ……… leave it to CBS to “F” things up ……..
I call for a boycott of the planned CBS series and their terrible big screen trek movies if they don’t get their head out of their hind end and drop their law suit …….. comm’on out there ! WHO IS WITH ME !!
If CBS / Paramount folks only want fans’ money let then have it.
Allow them distribuite the movie in Cinemas / DVDs and digital media and have all the profit from it.
Tell them you are non interested in money but only in creating a great experience for core Star Trek Fans.
Just keep to right to shoot the film as you like with the money you have crownfunded and to cover all the expenses in doing so.
Make a public statement on this. For your opponents it would be very very difficult to refuse.
And it could give you an edge during the trial.
Sorry for the mistakes, i’m native Italian speaker.
Fight the good fight and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know. Also will the patron program launch as scheduled?
Greetings from Plymouth, England
Alec, count on support from me here in the UK
Keep up the great work you are doing !
Warp Speed, Team Axanar!
With fan productions like New Voyages and Axanar, I was finally seeing the Trek I always loved. CBS and Paramount are the biggest D!(k#34d5 in the known Galaxy! First they let Jar Jar Abrams reboot Star Trek with Lensflare Generators and Star Wars physics, that the only thing missing was Midichlorians and Lightsabers. Then after Into Darkness, they still can’t admit that they royaly fu(k3d up the franchise. Now they whine because the fans are doing a better job then they can.
So for now, I will not support any new Star Trek projects from CBS and Paramount if they stay this course, and I hope the true fandom of Star Trek will do the same.
I truly hope that this takes a good end for Axanar. Good luck, and may the winds be in your backs.
Alex, just because CBS gave you a verbal okay to do a fan movie does not make you contractually liable for their profits. I don’t think you signed anything that exclusvely said that. There is no minimum criteria for a legal conplaint but I doubt they can prove that you violated any obligations since no written contract was ever signed. You are NOT legally responcible for the performance of their CRAP shows. It’s a free maket out there. They are just bullying you with B.S. It is common law that the people and corps are held to the standard of care within that industry as far as is customary. You have not broken any law and they cannot PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that you did. They know this. The lawsuit is a joke. There is only TORT law (criminal) or commercial law. Give us some details so we can get a good laugh. J.P.
Now that I’m basically over my immediate emotional over-reaction, I’m more than willing to leave it in good legal hands. “Today is a good day” to fight and WIN.
tlhIngan Hol: leghlaHchu’be’chugh mIn lo’laHbe’ taj jej Q’Plah
(A sharp knife is useless if the eye is unable to clearly see. Success.)
Interestingly, I had never even heard of your project until the law suit. Now I am a real fan of your efforts. I have watched your videos and am feeling hungry for more. Just a thought, but is it possible this could actually work towards your benefit?
The new ‘TV Series’ is actually a TV pilot followed by a serialized streaming service production. It will directly compete with Axanar. (Unless the big wheels realize it’s not actually competition, but synergy that Axanar brings to the table.)