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David Gerrold on CBS vs. Axanar – Part 1

David Gerrold

Star Trek Legend David Gerrold chimes in on the CBS lawsuit vs. Axanar.

So let me talk about the lawsuit against Axanar, by CBS and Paramount.

I will qualify my remarks by saying I have no dog in this particular fight, I am only a knowledgeable observer.

I’ve known several people in the Paramount legal department, most of whom were honorable. I also have known several fan film productions, most of whom were not only honorable but enthusiastic about Star Trek in a way that should embarrass some of the people who were paid to produce actual episodes of the series.

That said, I think the lawsuit was filed without sufficient consideration of the situation.

Fans have been making Star Trek fan films — and crowdfunding them — for fifteen years. There’s Star Trek New Voyages, Star Trek Farragut, Star Trek Renegads, Star Trek Continues, and probably a few others I’m unaware of. These are all recreations of the original series, with fan actors playing Kirk, Spock, McCoy et al. These are all filmed on recreations of the original series bridge and corridors and other sets. They are filmed with replicas of props, costumes, makeup, and set design. They are such accurate recreations of the original series that bootleggers overseas have sold copies of the episodes as if they are the real thing.

All of the fan film productions operate under the same general guideline — have fun, but you’re not allowed to make a profit. So all of the fan film productions are freely available on YouTube.

Part of the reason so many professionals, like myself, have participated in fan productions is the desire to make and see more Star Trek. Those who were too young (or not born yet) to participate in the original series, have come to the fan productions as an opportunity to be a part of the magic.

All of this has to be seen as a measure of the kind of enthusiasm that Star Trek fans have and that should be available to any new Star Trek movie or TV series.

Now, Axanar — Axanar is not a recreation of the original series. It’s about a battle referred to in passing, in only one episode of the original series. It’s about a minor character in one episode and how he became a Starfleet legend. It does not take place on the Enterprise. It does not use any of the characters of the original series. Its closest relationship to the original series is that it takes place in the same universe, many years before Kirk and Spock.

Now … I am not a lawyer and I have not been approached by either side to function as either a consultant or an expert witness (although, if this ever goes to trial, I expect I will be called in) — but, if Axanar represents an infringement on the copyrights of Paramount and CBS, then so does Star Trek New Voyages, Star Trek Farragut, Star Trek Renegades, and Star Trek Continues. And whoever else.

Based on the number of views that all these separate iterations have earned worldwide — possibly more than a hundred million — Paramount and CBS could file for damages of a billion dollars.

And the resulting fannish firestorm would go on for years.

As I have heard the story, the first New Voyages episode was a private adventure, never intended for internet distribution. But one of the participants did upload it to YouTube — and shortly thereafter, James Cawley received a call from Paramount legal, the gist of which was: “Have fun, but don’t sell tickets, don’t sell copies, don’t make a profit.”

Now, that was smart, it recognized fannish enthusiasm — but at the same time, it planted the seeds for today’s situation, because it created a de facto license for all Star Trek fan films.

Which brings us to the lawsuit against Axanar. The lawyers have to prove two things:

1) That this fan film represents a significant usage of Paramount/CBS’s property.


2) Axanar is a profit-making enterprise. (Ohell, it isn’t even THE Enterprise.)

Both will be hard to prove, especially the latter, because of all the fan films, Axanar has been the most transparent with its fund-raising and its accounting.

There is a third point that would likely be made in such a court case:

If Axanar represents a threat to the copyright, why haven’t Paramount and CBS taken steps to shut down New Voyages, Farragut, Renegades, and Continues? What makes Axanar different? What makes Axanar a threat?

Paramount/CBS’s response would likely be that Axanar represents a professional level of production. Well, yes — but so does New Voyages. (I can’t speak for any of the others on that, although I do know that many professionals have been involved with Continues and Renegades.)

There is a way out of this mess — and if people on all sides of this are smart — it could be resolved in a matter of days.

Lucasfilm is the model. They created an award for fan films and even arranged licensing and distribution.

Paramount/CBS should do the same. There are people at CBS who would love to put out a DVD or Blu-ray distribution of Star Trek fan films, but have so far been unable to get approval for the idea. But it’s a good idea. An official distribution of fan films would generate money for both the copyright owners and for the filmmakers to use in future efforts. The fan-films would be officially licensed as fan productions.

To make this work, the studio would have to hire a qualified liaison to work with various fan films to make sure that they follow appropriate guidelines and in return would receive the blessings of legal distribution and protection.

By keeping the fan films in a specific licensed venue, a kind of voluntary garden, Paramount and CBS would benefit from the good publicity of being seen to promote and foster great fan efforts — the fans would benefit from having a specific legal venue for their individual productions.

Yes, there would be a lot of paperwork to be settled — and I expect the cooperation of various Guilds might be necessary as well — but the goal here is to produce a win-win situation for everyone, but especially for the fans.

Because if it weren’t for the fans and their loyalty for the past 49 years, there wouldn’t have been a franchise in the first place.

Feel free to share.

David Gerrold

David Gerrold (born January 24, 1944)[1][2][3] is an American science fiction screenwriter and novelist known for his script for the popular original Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles“, for creating the Sleestak race on the TV series Land of the Lost,[4] and for his noveletteThe Martian Child“, which won both Hugo and Nebula awards, and was adapted into a 2007 film starring John Cusack.

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • DJDouglas says:

    That is an excellent explanation of the current situation and possible resolution. I have been trying to come up with the same words for the resolution which is to set up a fan film distribution system much like Lucasfilm. There is so much opportunity for the Studio and the fan film organizations. So much untapped potential in this world with the availability of technology. So many artists that generally don’t have an opportunity to express their vision in a professional realm would have the freedom and potentially an opportunity if Paramount/CBS were to setup a division for licensing fan films and legal distribution. I think it would be a win win for both sides. It would also give Paramount/CBS access to so much more valuable content and ideas without the financial risks.

  • David, you may not be aware of Star Trek: Hidden Frontiers. There are several series under that umbrella and NONE of them are on the Enterprise. These series have gone on for YEARS.

    You also did not mention the Renegades team original endeavor, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, which had a relatively professional staff, gave DVDs, and had original actors playing in it.

    The list is endless and goes on for years, decades. Shall we include books and games, most for profit. William Shatner wrote a book (as did others) and made a money. The lawsuit is virtually without merit and any merit that it had was left decades ago. You said the situation best with what Paramount said to James Cawley. By the way, CBS/Paramount invited him to do a cameo in the reboot showing that they knew of his work, which featured Walter Koeing and George Takei at the time.

    I like your idea for an official distribution, which would offset further production costs of new material. That is a great idea.

    By the way, these works are listed on IMDB, which makes them official for years now. The various guilds have never complained, even though IMDB lists the works.

    The real problem is that fan films are better with a more enthusiastic staff than anything produced by CBS/Paramount in recent time.

  • John Carter says:

    “Lucasfilm is the model. They created an award for fan films and even arranged licensing and distribution.”

    Star Wars short films can’t be longer than 5 minutes and they cannot use union members.

    • Jaster Mareel says:

      Most Star Wars fan films are between 12 and 30 minutes. There are several Star Wars fan films that are as long as one hour:
      Dark Resurrection
      Reign of the Fallen
      The Emperor’s New Clones (01:14:29)
      The Dark Lord (01:24:00)

      So, I don’t think the length of the not-for-profit fan film would matter.

  • JazzCat says:

    IMDB has literally no authority over what is constituted as “official” in any capacity. It is a user-maintained site that is good for record keeping but little else.

    The real problem Sarah is not that fan films are better with more enthusiastic staff; that’s just fandom masturbating to it’s own fantasy of controlling the franchise. Which production is “better” is entirely subjective and there’s no single, blanket answer to the question. Alec and Axanar fans are fond of pontificating that “Axanar is the Star Trek we all have been waiting for” — well, maybe for you guys, but not for everyone. Certainly not for me. I have enjoyed every single official production from CBS and Paramount (the only true authority on what constitutes “official” content here) and found Axanar to be lacking.

    It is this precise fanaticism you are demonstrating, the precise lack of any kind of realistic or rational perspective with respect to CBS/Paramount’s rightful, legal ownership of the Star Trek brand that is putting everything Axanar has attempted to do at risk. Take a step back. Take a deep breath. Consider this from every angle. Star Trek is not yours. Star Trek is not Alec’s. Star Trek is not mine. It belongs to CBS and Paramount and they’re going to do whatever they want to do with it and the only say we have in the matter is whether or not we will spend our money to purchase what they produce.

  • Vincent Cenni says:

    Sarah, I think your last point is the most important one. CBS/Paramount did not care about previous Star Trek fan films precisely because they were good but still obviously made a degree short of totally professional productions. They were no threat to eclipse what the studio was capable of putting out with its access to a completely A-List cast and Academy Award winning F/X, Make-up, set designers, musical scores, etc. Axanar the way it is coming together is looking like it could easily be released as a regular theatrical production and make a profit at a fraction of a normal studio budget. For studio execs, producers, and others that live off bloated budgets and pay scales this has to be scary as they try to justify the next official movie with a budget several hundred times that of Axanar. How embarrassing would it be if Axanar performed better in any metric, whether it be Amazon sales or fan buzz in the blogosphere.
    I say this as an Axanar supporter who really wants to see it made. I am old enough to have seen the original series during its initial run, as a Desilu production, at first, on NBC. I also went to the early conventions and wrote to keep it alive in syndication until the movies, with mixed results, came out. I also watched all the new TV series and even the animated series. With all that said I think Axanar as currently being discussed seems closer to the original vision of Star Trek than most of what has come from CBS/Paramount for many years. Maybe the real crux of the problem is that they fear that they will no longer be the keeper of the proverbial flame accept on paper, while others surpass them as the fan acknowledged vision of Star Trek.

  • Brian Heite says:

    David, and excellent, well thought out, possible solution. I proposed something similar using a 503C non profit status for Ares, and CBS joining in to help foster high quality material that could then be possibly seeded into their new service as a “Star Trek” Channel. These ideas illustrate the fact that there are numerous and varied possibilities that just ed to be hashed out and a firm set of guidelines produced so ST can be made by whoever has an interest and an idea. Some of the Facebook groups have avoided any discussion of this issue, yet is is central to the survival of Star Trek. I wonder how many modelers and artists have also crossed the :IP violation” line, even with stuff they built from scratch? This issue should be rationally discussed by all the community, without resorting to lawyering (as you did very well) just to brainstorm a whole selction of options so a small group do not have to rack their brains for one. Great opinion piece, sir!

  • Marcase says:

    Good piece.

    Now correct if I’m wrong, but Axanar is also called exactly that, and not “Star Trek: Axanar”. All art is original (including the Ares class starship) and so far I’ve sees none or very little actual use of previously established intellectual property – except for names like Vulcan and Garth of Izar and such. All uniforms, props and designs are based on TOS Trek, but again not a direct copy of TOS visuals.

    So theoretically Axanar could be called Star WARS Axanar or even Battlestar Axanar, if you get my meaning.
    (Obviously I could be totally wrong as I’m just spitballing as a fan and am no industry expert).

    Also Axanar fully discloses its entire monetary flow, and this openess surely sets a standard for future fan productions.

    This suit may have reprecussions for all of Trek’s fan productions in particular, and perhaps fan produced media content in general, so no doubt it will be closely watched.

  • Scott T. says:

    Great article here. Also, Vincent hit the nail on the head with his explanation. The real reason CBS is filing a lawsuit is because they’re worried that a fan-made film with such a low budget, could match or exceed the quality of a CBS/Paramount “official” Star Trek film. They’re also concerned that enthusiasm and ratings/opinions for Axanar will be much more positive than for Star Trek Beyond, of which the Beyond trailer has already gathered over 23,000 dislikes on YouTube alone.

    CBS and Paramount are spending hundreds of millions of dollars producing the theatrical Star Trek reboot films (2009, 2013, 2016), and they still can’t get it right with the storylines, the attitudes or the atmosphere. God forbid someone else can do an equal or better job for just $1 million. Think of all those highly-overpaid CBS executives whose jobs could be put at risk if Axanar were to succeed in being the first REAL entry for Star Trek since Enterprise ended back in 2005. Say what you will about Berman and Braga, but at least when they were in control, they wrote and produced Star Trek the way it was meant to be — none of this JJ Abrams nonsense timeline.

    David offers up some interesting tidbits here in the article, with the fact that CBS/Paramount have to succeed at proving one of those three points, of which they’d be hard-pressed to do so. This is especially true with the other productions not being sued. Look at all the other fan-made series that CBS had no problems ignoring — Excelsior, Starship Exeter, Starship Farragut, Continuing Mission, Continues, Hidden Frontier, Intrepid, Odyssey, Phoenix, Phase II, Of Gods and Men, and Renegades. Tim Russ, for example, who produced Of Gods and Men and Renegades — those films featured Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Gary Graham, Robert Picardo, Manu Intiraymi and even Tim himself as Tuvok — look at all of these “official” Star Trek actors reprising their “official” Star Trek roles, yet CBS never had a problem with those 2 films, and they were just as professional and of the same high quality that Axanar is aiming to be.

    Also, do you think it’s just a coincidence that CBS is only now filing the lawsuit? Why didn’t they file it months ago? Why didn’t they file it on the same day that the trailer for Star Trek Beyond went live (Dec. 14th)? The reason CBS is filing the lawsuit now, of all times, is because almost 2 weeks after seeing how negative the reaction was for the Beyond trailer, they didn’t want Axanar to succeed — the sort of bullying attitude of “Well, this is the NEW Star Trek, so take it or leave it.”

    I would fight this to the bitter end. Just like you said in one of your previous posts Alec — get the best lawyers you can, and kick CBS/Paramount’s butt to the curb, literally. Even Les Moonves needs to get off his high horse. It’s sad that in the post-2000 era, everyone seems to love suing other people any chance they get. We don’t live in a dictatorship — if CBS/Paramount won’t give us the kind of Star Trek films or TV series that we enjoy watching, then we have the right to create and produce our own, as long as we don’t make any money from it.

    To close my long essay of a comment here, I want to address Jazzcat’s comment. You’re right. Star Trek is not David’s creation. Star Trek is not Alec’s creation. Star Trek is not your creation, nor is it mine. You’re also right in that it belongs to CBS and Paramount. But that being said, where CBS/Paramount does have rightful, legal ownership of the Star Trek brand, you’re forgetting the main point that everyone is making here, which is that as long as you’re not defaming the property, and the movie/series itself is not making any profit, then there is literally no issue with the fan-creation existing. By your flawed logic here, the next time you shoot and upload a video with a box of Raisin Bran in the background, maybe Kellogg’s should sue you for using their brand in your video without their explicit consent. As you can see, once you go down this route, you open a Pandora’s Box of sorts when it comes to anyone and everyone filing lawsuits against everyone else for absolutely absurd reasoning.

  • Edward J Cox says:

    Excellent. A well thought through solution that might well be the foundation for a agreement enabling Axanar continuation. Such a agreeable framework might also include the proviso of a path to actually produce works into a quasi profit makeing mode that somehow pays back fans who might initially fund an effort… I do like the spirit of his statements….

  • Daniel Press says:

    I only heard about this film because of the press around the lawsuit. I am only half done with the “Prelude” video and now I understand why CBS is very worried. Even the prelude film felt far more like watching Star Trek again than anything the JJ Verse has done. It is truly fantastic and I couldn’t be more excited to see it.

    What I don’t understand is that this cast has enough star-power to easily succeed as a made for TV star trek movie on one of CBS’s properties. I can’t understand why they don’t license it right away and roll out a marketing campaign geared at fans of all the series and movies prior to JJ’s involvement. It would be incredibly successful IMO. Enterprise grew a following well after it’s cancellation and expanding that story has a built in market. Furthermore, the dissatisfaction that has arisen over the new films will certainly push the traditionalist fans to watch this should it ever be aired on cable.

    I mean honestly, this is the network whose 2015 stable of new shows includes Supergirl, Code Black, a ridiculous remake of the Odd Couple, another formulaic Jane Lynch comedy and CSI Cyber, so they’re obviously a little desperate for some quality programming.

  • Daniel Press says:

    Minor follow up thought, sure is nice to watch an impressive space battle without lens flare, just saying…

  • JSR says:

    I think one point we can all agree upon is, that fans should be treated far better than they are. Absolutely agreed on the point that without the fan(atics), there would be no franchise. Ultimately, if anything, aren’t well made fan productions a source of talent that should be taken seriously, or potentially job offers extended to? Law is such a grey area in terms of what’s doable and what isn’t. I for one have been making science-fiction, and in particular, Star Trek fan art since the 1990s. I’ve always respected, and still do, that I cannot sell any of these, even if, and I say this because of feedback I receive, are quality wise on part with professional works, and I’m absolutely a big fan of sharing credit where it’s due.

    That being said, there are many producers, directors etc. that endorse fan projects, even request them (e.g. Joss Whedon). A sanctioned fan project by the big copyright owners would definitely go a long way. Having a liaison who oversees such productions would definitely be a good idea; they shouldn’t constantly interfere and shoot down ideas, but definitely make sure that fan projects stay in line with established time lines within the respective franchise. I will be honest, there are some fan productions I don’t like. Stories that go outside the established rules within the franchise, particularly with junk like cross-overs (I admit, I’m a hater of those), would not be acceptable.

    Still, there are so many unexplored Starfleet ships and their crews, some of which were only ever mentioned by name, there is so much story line to be had; kind of something I wish they had done instead of the reboot back in 2009. There was no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s a shame that a franchise like Star Trek, that was built on the idea of humanity having evolved beyond the need for greed, material gain and selfish accumulation of wealth, is used for precisely that. Granted, realistically that is what film and TV productions are, are business, and as such it has to render a profit. I’m not one of those deluded fans that live a fantasy life, but I do wonder which course Star Trek would have taken, and how the explosion of fan projects in the last decade would have been received, if Gene Roddenberry were still alive today. I have a feeling much, much differently; for the better perhaps, and maybe some worse?

    • Bill Jasper says:

      I think CBS was treating fans fine (they hadn’t interfered in fandom) until someone got the idea to sell coffee with CBS IP on it.

      • Alec Peters says:

        No one sells coffee with CBS IP on it. We are very careful to not use any CBS IP Axanar characters are not CBS property outside of Soval and Garth, neither of who appears on the coffee.

    • Tamsin D says:

      ‘The fans should be treated better than they are”
      What does that mean!?! What are you talking about? Us fans buy something because it gives us pleasure. Like a beer or a round of golf. We pay because it brings us pleasure. If we feel it won’t, then we don’t have to pay for it. On that theme- one of the things fans love about fan films is that they are FREE. THAT doesn’t sustain the franchise.
      Whats this self important notion that some Fans have? ST has always been plagued by a clamoring for ‘ownership’ – everyone that’s ever touched it wants to claim it’s ‘theirs’, that THEY are the true essence of it, that THEY understand the world better than the next person. It’s kind of pathetic. And I say that as a major fan.
      You say you don’t live in a fantasy world but then you start opining the fact that Trek has been used to make material gain when Trek is supposed to be set in a time where humanity has evolved beyond that. You are confusing a fantasy world with the one we actually live in.

      • JSR says:

        I’m not confusing anything at all. And no one says anything should be for free. If you put effort into something, you should be able to, if so desired, to receive something in return. I’m well aware of the economy, and the need to make money to sustain something. I agree that a lot of people seem to think they know better than others, but if I compare Axanar for instance to the 2009 reboot, I’d go with Axanar any day. That’s just my personal opinion based on preference and remaining within a well established time line that didn’t need re-inventing.

        I would have no problem paying for Axanar, and I am a supporter on the various campaigns to raise money by the way, so that is not my issue at all. My problem is that usually lawsuits boil down to the fact that a copyright owner is not making money from a fan project, and they don’t like that. This has nothing to do with intellectual property. If you want to go down that route, then Gene Roddenberry’s family should receive all the proceeds, or anyone that ever played a part in the development of any of the shows, or were the creative masterminds behind them. We are talking about a huge media company who happens to have purchased the license for the franchise, and wants to slap down a fan production; and yes, Axanar is of high quality, but if they were to work with them, money could be made (and there’d be enough to go around for everyone involved), and there would be no issues. The problem is the bigger the media company, the least ‘working WITH’ happens.

        That being siad, I’m not someone who places money at the top of my list of priorities in life; to me it’s a necessary evil. I don’t live in a fantasy world, but I’m an idealist for sure. I wouldn’t mind being able to sell prints of my sci-fi artworks though, not to make money, because unless you’re hugely popular you won’t make money from art anyway, but because I know a lot of people would be interested. I can’t do that due to licensing. What would it hurt a big media company if a few people make a handful of pennies here and there, and allowed them to do so legally? That’s my point. To slap lawsuits in everyone’s faces just pollutes and hinders creativity, and without that, we wouldn’t be having any kind of entertainment in the first place.

        That is what I mean by ‘the fans should be treated better than they are’. Of course we buy merchandise, I do as well, and that’s fine. But if fans want to be creative, because ultimately imitation is the greatest admiration there can be, then it shouldn’t be such a scary adventure, always in fear of a lawsuit. Even if there was some kind of tiered licensing. I wouldn’t mind paying a licensing fee (if reasonable) to be allowed to legally create fan art without having to adhere to and understand legal terms such as ‘fair use guidelines’.

  • Qwho51 says:

    Re; Trials and Tribblelations:
    Finally, a cool head prevails. David, you are a breath of fresh air. A sensible solution that also could open the door to a return to
    Star Trek as envisioned by The Great Bird of The Galaxy. Indeed, the human adventure continues. May all the parties involved consider the words
    of Mr. Gerrold seriously.

  • Luke Casipe says:

    The “LucasFilm” model is the answer. As one who has worked in the legal field for years, I say lawsuits are not the solution for this issue. Anyone know about the “Star Wars” vs. “Battlestar Galactica” lawsuit? It went on for years and was finally settled. A big waste of time. “Star Wars” was not affected. Neither was “Battlestar Galactica.” Both have become big successes anyway. The fans have become a huge factor in Science Fiction movies and T.v. today. So let’s have an equitable solution that includes them and move on.

  • Silas J. Marner says:

    Renegades in fact, does not take place on the Enterprise, has an original ship design, and has a limited number of characters that were created for ST:TOS and ST:VOY. At first glance at least, a very similar situation, albeit that effort is set at a different point in the prime universe timeline.

    There is also Star Trek: Horizon, due out soon, with a story set soon after the events in ST:ENT, but before the events that will be in Axanar. I’m starting to wonder if the new series that CBS is working on, might be set in the same era that Axanar is.

  • Ymar Sakar says:

    I See BS is using a passive income milking technique, often seen in Triple A PC game title producers.

    It’s the mainstream marketing method, that puts a lot of money in, to get a lot of money out, relying on the mainstream, the 51% of the market, to buy the product.

    But that means the fans, the fanatics, are left out. The niche markets, are ignored. That is rather ironic, since it was the fans who maintained the culture around the universe, the fictional world, being sold for entertainment. The word of mouth value, of the brand, is priceless. It cannot be rated, if CBS tried to pay someone to advertise to that extent, CBS would go broke immediately.

    In a Kickstarter, the fans are the investors, the people pushing the money to pay for the production. They are not merely the consumers who can be ignored, because the investors, stock owners, and directors of CBS have determined so.

    The economic article covers the history in greater length. Content creators have higher priority in the world market these days, than passive income mainstream status quo powers that be. The mainstream large title holders can buy rights to whatever they want, because they can outbid other people, but they cannot enslave the creative imaginations of the human population. They cannot lay claim to what original content creators produce, merely because they “own a license”. That would be like claiming one owns the “right to fire” because you killed the inventors behind human made fire, and now claim that everyone who uses fire and who makes fire, is using your “property”. It’s the difference between 1830 Democrat slave barons and 1930 corporate employees. It’s a moral difference, not merely an economic one, nor a legal fiction.

    If people who like Star Trek’s post scarcity dream of a human society built upon cooperation rather than competition, first they will have to demonstrate that de-centralized communities, fandoms, are more efficient and more competitive than the large conglomerates and corporations at large. That is ironic in one sense, but also fitting. If “ownership” and “property” is no longer necessary in Star Trek’s universe, what then is left for people to do? Find challenges to overcome and improve their own selves.

    Of course it isn’t easy figuring out the solution that benefits everyone. It’s meant to be easy. It wouldn’t be worth anything if it was easy. If it was easy, you could just have a CBS buy it out and it would now be a “franchise” you can consume, but it is not and it won’t be.

    Japanese visual novels have been brought to the US market through liasion services, using Kickstarter and crowd funding. This is with a LANGUAGE and cultural barrier. With a distance barrier and enormous licensing issues with many different US or Japanese factions. Yet it was the “fans” that created the company, Sekai Project and others, and it was the fans that did the translation. They acquired “negotiation leverage” because they had demographic data and a significant amount of funding, to offer Japanese companies that are starving for money.

    Entities like CBS only care about the money. Stockholder issues and CEO prestige. If the fans seem weak and gullible, CBS will extract an appropriate extortion fee every once in awhile, when they need the cash. If people wish for a more equitable relationship, they will have to bring some serious cash and leverage to the negotiations table. That’s how human society works, before it ever becomes post scarcity, post property. Fortunately for them, it has been done before, and it’s not like Star Trek communities lack the organizational infrastructure. They are merely… too beholden to the ideal of a property less ideal, that they probably don’t want to think about how to make money or exploit their own asset advantage (creating content). That’s why CBS doesn’t get it. They care only about the money and maybe their own ulterior motives. It’s not merely a lawyer problem, but also a cultural problem. Even if the factions speak the same language.

    If you want a company that licenses and produces films by sub contracting out to fan organizations… then do it yourself. Relying on corporate top down hierarchies, isn’t going to get the job done. Top down hierarchies are extremely inefficient, especially when it comes to projects of passion and creativity.

  • David Brin says:

    David you are a wise guy. Yes… in addition to being a wiseguy! 😉

    Trek forever!

    David Brin
    author of Star Wars on Trial… wherein Trek is lauded as much, much much better!

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