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Paramount, CBS Cite Multiple Copyright Infringements Against ‘Axanar’

Paramount, CBS Cite Multiple Copyright Infringements Against 'Axanar'
Paramount, CBS Cite Multiple Copyright Infringements Against 'Axanar'

The ongoing saga of Paramount Pictures and CBS versus the producers of the independent film project Axanar continues. On Friday, Paramount and CBS filed an amended complaint, which noted specific copyright infringements.

Some of the violations, according to the complaint, include the look of Vulcans and their pointed ears, the gold uniforms seen in the Original Series episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the Klingon appearance and language, the use of Andorians, Tellarites and Romulans, the Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS, Federation starships — including the Enterprise, and several more.

Vulcan ears

For those interested, you can read the amended lawsuit in full here.

Last December, Paramount and CBS released a joint statement to THR explaining their side: ”Star Trek is a treasured franchise in which CBS and Paramount continue to produce new original content for its large universe of fans. The producers of Axanar are making a Star Trek picture they describe themselves as a fully professional independent Star Trek film. Their activity clearly violates our Star Trek copyrights, which, of course, we will continue to vigorously protect.”

Axanar’s co-writer and producer Alec Peters later released a statement, saying: “Axanar is a fan film. Fan films – whether related to Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Batman or any other franchise – are labors of love that keep fans engaged, entertained, and keep favorite characters alive in the hearts of fans. Like other current fan films, AXANAR entered production based on a very long history and relationship between fandom and studios. We’re not doing anything new here.”

The Axanar project has raised more than $1 million in crowdfunding through Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

On Monday, Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin tweeted:

RELATED: ‘Axanar’ Producer Alec Peters Responds To Paramount/CBS Lawsuit

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for the latest news related to the Axanar lawsuit.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. jackson roy kirk

    March 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I feel really bad for all the Axanar folks that have worked so hard but I think they crossed a fine line if they really did call theselves professional….

    • Adam Brashear

      March 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Yeah…that’s one of the problems/inconsistencies they will have to face. On their development podcast, they constantly boast about how professional they are (which is true because of their careers) and how they aren’t a “fan film” or typical fan film. If you listen to their catalogue you understand somewhat of the context they come from, but it’s going to be tough to counter that when they said it so often.

  2. David Moss

    March 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I have to say that I LOVE the fan films. There have been some really great fan productions, from ST Continues, ST New Voyages, Horizon, and yes Prelude… I don’t want them to stop.

    That said, I have to say, I see and understand the CBS/Paramount issue with Axanar and how it differs from others – as much as I’d like to see it produced. CBS/Paramount owns the rights to Star Trek, and no one should EVER profit from them unless CBS/Paramount allows them too. It is their property.

    In all of the fan films I mentioned above, no one has profited except in Axanar. And before anyone jumps down my throat, yes people have profited from Axanar. Actors have gotten paid, production people have gotten paid, etc. Even though pay may have been minimal, people HAVE gotten paid, and therefor people HAVE profited from CBS/Paramount property, without CBS/Paramount’s permission.

    The other fan films, to the best of my knowledge have not paid anyone. Actors and others have worked for free. While they’ve raised money, that money went to expenses, NOT to people’s pockets. I think this for me is the drastic difference between what Axanar is doing and the others.

    My personal opinion (and hope!!!) – If you want to make a fan film, I hope you can and go for it. If you want to raise money for expenses, I’ll pitch in (and have for many), go for it. But if you want to pay ANYONE and allow them personal profit, that is the same as anyone making profit on someone else’s property and I believe you’ve crossed the line.

    Also, as a contributor, another area I see issue with is that the money was raised (and yes I donated) on the back of Star Trek to profit in other areas when Axanar is theoretically finished. I helped pay for a studio, equipment, and more that will further profit with non-Star Trek property on the backs of raising it for a fan film. This to me is also why they’re different, and why I believe CBS/Paramount has an issue. Raising money using their property, and then profiting from the money rasied in their name for other ventures.

    I am not a lawyer, but to me the issues seem very clear.

    That said, I hope they can finish Axanar. They are amazing people, with an amazing vision, and unbelievable capability. I just have to say that it can’t be by violating CBS/Paramount’s property and allowing profit for anyone, or potentially using donar money to profit further down the line.

    Maybe the new way will be for the studios to license property to filmmakers like they do book rights, and get a royalty – I don’t know. What I do know is that I see the issues clearly as much as I love what Axanar is about.

  3. The Grand Nagus

    March 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    For anyone new to this subject, allow me to summarize:

    1) Axanar raised $1,000,000 by using the Trek IP without permission.

    2) The Axanar team then paid themselves a salary with some of that money.

    3) The Axanar team then used some of that money to build a sound stage that they stated they planned to rent for profit.

    ————————–

    For most fan productions, number 1 isn’t usually an issue as long as as all of the money is being invested in the project, and no PROFIT is being made. Although, admittedly, most fan productions don’t raise anywhere near that much money, and the more money raised the bigger the red flag. That said, numbers 2 and 3 are where the real problem starts, so here goes…

    No, it is NOT wrong for a non profit organization to have paid employees. Organizations like the Red Cross are examples of non profits with paid employees.

    However(and this is the key point), if you don’t actually work for the Red Cross, you can’t print off their logos, then go down to the mall and raise money, then keep some of that money to pay yourself. You cannot profit yourself using the Red Cross brand without their express permission. Likewise, you cannot profit yourself using the Trek brand without the IP owner’s express permission, which Axanar did not have.

    The same logic described above also applies to the sound stage. They cannot use funds raised by using the Trek IP without permission, then use those funds to build something that will make them a profit.

    So, the part where they absolutely screwed themselves was where they decided to start profiting. Now, here is their defense: the project was taking all of our time, and we needed money to live on. This is an excellent example of a fake problem. The project was taking all of their time…because they *DECIDED* to spend all of their time on it. No one was forcing them work on it. So they cannot create a fake problem, then use that problem as an excuse to break the rules.

    Long story short, epic fail.

    • Adam Brashear

      March 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Very good summation.

  4. Spencer Perdriau

    March 15, 2016 at 5:03 am

    The issue here is money, pride and greed, on both sides. If this fan based production was doing this for non-profit, then they would not be getting their asses sued by the copyright holder, who is far too greedy and prideful as it is about all this. At least with my fan work, I am ethical and humble enough to rightly do it all non-profit wise. Take a look here… http://www.FaceBook.com/SpennysEnterprise

  5. j4m3S

    March 15, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    1 – They used donor money to pay themselves a salary – Peters himself was paid in excess of 38k + repayments for out of pocket costs plus his acting fee (for prelude)

    2 – They retro fitted a studio using donor money to make it a for profit studio with free standing sets unlike other fan productions this allows them to take them down at will and go on to produce further FOR PROFIT productions when or if Axanar is shot (unlike other fan productions who use standing sets not only to cut down costs but because they do not normally plan this move)

    3 – They reproduced and sold unlicensed merch both Trek and non Trek related to directly gain money from items they do not own to help fund the studio (Coffee, ships, Badges etc)

    4 – Axanar Productions, Inc., is a registered for-profit corporation in the state of California. You can look it up yourself

    5 – As of Jan 2016 this was NO CAST, NO SCRIPT and incomplete sets

    6 – They only have 44% of the amount they require to shoot Axanar and thus will need further donations to complete their goal.

    7 – Alec Peters’ Prop Company is registered and run out of the same unit as Axanar Productions blurring the line further from profit/non profit due to the fact If Axanar had not used the Trek Ip then there would be no studio at all.

    8 – Tony Todd left the project in September 2015 but the production didn’t acknowledge this until Late December. In a series of tweets, he expressed concerns about Axanar’s continuing production delays and accountability for its crowdfunding.

    9 – Due to the direct benefits Axanar have made using the Trek IP CBS are seeking $150.000 Per infringement – Where will this money come from???

    10 – They have publically announced on social media people’s donation amounts in order to publicly intimidate people when someone raises questions over what’s going with Axanar or asking one or two of the above points The Axanar team then proceeded to ban them from all fan pages, twitter feeds along with returning their donations for being a unsupportive fan when all they have done is ask genuine questions.

    • eric peacock

      March 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Wow. Did not know any of that.
      Tony Todd being in it was one of the main highlights.
      Very disappointing all the way around.

      • j4m3S

        March 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

        I’ve been called a troll all over but it was just a case of reading Axanars own published information and finding other info on Google lol.

        took me about a day to find out what every axanar and trek fan should know about this

  6. ZOD

    March 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Star Trek, as intellectual property, doesn’t belong to all of us. It really doesn’t. It belongs to Paramount, CBS and any of the writers that retain ownership of their ideas. It’s really up to them to decide when a fan film crosses a line that makes them feel uncomfortable. Other than parody & criticism, we the people don’t get a say. Paramount & CBS have historically been very cool with fans. If this production was too big, the “amateur” filmmakers should back off.

    • The Grand Nagus

      March 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Justin Lin saying Trek belongs to all of us is like saying his movies belong to all of us and we should be able to download them for free without paying. But I have a funny feeling he wouldn’t agree with that, now would he? =P

  7. j4m3S

    March 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Update from https://www.axanarproductions.com/mythbu … oductions/

    After AXANAR is produced, we will still have a roughly $ 250,000 liability on the books for two years’ rent. Someone needs to pay that rent.

    As a result, a small group of backers and fans have developed a plan to set up a separate company to take over the management the sound stage, pay the rent and reimburse Axanar Productions for the cost of the build-out. That company will assume the $250,000 liability for the remainder of the lease. To do that, the new company will need to be a for-profit entity and raise investment dollars for capital.

    We consider this to be a win-win for everybody. The new entity will reimburse Axanar Productions all the money that was spent on upgrading the building and those funds will go into the production.

    SO BIG question to all you Donors DID YOU KNOW about this and are you happy that Alec etc have decided to sell the Studio that you paid for to some unknown parties ???

    When all said and done was it not said that you were paying for it to be a ongoing unit for years to come??

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