Axanar Productions, Paramount, and CBS Settle “Star Trek” Copyright Lawsuit

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Star Trek fan film Axanar will now be going through substantial changes after an admission of guilt by producer Alec Peters, who has acknowledged that his company “crossed copyright boundaries.” While Peters did not get screwed by the studios financially, the fans who donated $1.4 million did, as the fan film is getting dramatically neutered—the full-length feature will now only comprise two 15-minute “films.” Additionally, court documents reveal that all the money is gone; Peters spent it all on personal expenses and a (now incomplete) studio.

    …a joint statement from Axanar and the plaintiffs noted that the defendants “acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.” A spokesperson from Axanar told Ars Technica in an e-mail “we’re not paying anything,” with respect to the settlement. The settlement will also require the fanfic producer to “make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation.” According to a statement from Axanar, this includes changing the proposed feature-length film into two 15-minute short film episodes, which will be posted on YouTube without advertising from which Axanar could earn revenue. The 20-minute Prelude to Axanar will be allowed to stay on YouTube.
     
  2. Babbster

    Babbster [H]ard|Gawd

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    Seems like what happened is exactly what should have happened. There was no realistic chance that a US court was going to offer a pass for this kind of civil disobedience given that the copyright violation was so blatant. It's not like there isn't a ton of Star Trek content available to anyone who wants to have it.

    As for the donors, they can be expected to have known the risk involved in contributing to a project based on a property to which the producer(s) had no legal rights (in addition to the risks already inherent in any crowdfunded project).
     
  3. Fun

    Fun Limp Gawd

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    That's not going to stop the lawsuits.
     
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  4. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

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    It could have been worse than this, so good I guess.
     
  5. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    All the money is gone. 'Personal expenses.' What a surprise.

    The whole thing was a scam.
     
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  6. Babbster

    Babbster [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think you'd need to have a budget breakdown before making that determination given that something was produced. After all, "personal expenses" would be part of any crowdfunding project since the donors are paying for the work that the people involved in the project are going to do. I don't think it's fair to expect that people should work as volunteers when there's money available to pay them.

    ETA: There have been crowdfunded projects which have produced nothing and the recipients of the donations have bought themselves fancy cars and such, but I haven't heard that this was the situation here.
     
  7. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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    To be fair of course it is gone. You think they are going to leave a ledger behind so the studios can take it all, that is if there was actually anything left? And then there's the cost of production for the material that got them into this mess in the first place.
     
  8. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Well you can't work on a project full time if your "personal expenses" are not covered. When something is crowdfunded that includes the salaries of the people working on it.
     
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  9. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    COKE AND WHORES, BABY! COKE AND WHORES!
     
  10. Cmdrmonkey

    Cmdrmonkey Gawd

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    This looked so terrible and so scammy. Who were the bozos who gave this guy $1.4M to make bad Star Trek fanfiction? Which of course was spent on hookers and blow instead.
     
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  11. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    same ones that gave Star Citizen millions
     
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  12. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Wish they could have come up with a licensing deal for the original movie. But dealing with these guys is probably risky.
     
  13. Shmee

    Shmee [H]ard|Gawd

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    A major movie company is never going to license a multi-billion dollar property to an untrusted/unknown outside studio without a ton of cash involved. $1.4 Million is not enough to even get them to shake hands.
     
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  14. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    You're right. The more I thought about it the more I realized the problem with dealing with this guys.
     
  15. Chebsy

    Chebsy Gawd

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    Alect Peters - "Beam me up Scotty, warp 10 me out of here to the neutral zone !!!"
     
  16. Stiler

    Stiler [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't think you watched it then...because it wasn't bad at all, and it generated enough hype to get that much money.

    It was a return to form classic Star Trek that we haven't really gotten for a long looooooong time and something we probably won't get in the new Discovery show now (at least since Brian Fuller isn't on it anymore).
     
  17. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

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    What is the point of a lawsuit if the person/company you are suing doesn't have any money? Answer: there isn't, unless you like just handing money over to lawyers and getting nothing in return.
     
  18. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    Heh, like most of Hollywood's accounting.
     
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  19. nightfly

    nightfly 2[H]4U

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    No, it's to dissuade others from doing the same thing. Star Trek is very valuable. But it is 50 years old. Time to go into the public domain.
     
  20. Stiler

    Stiler [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That's never going to happen.

    Disney owns copyright law in this country . Everytime Disney almost loses copyright they lobby and the law gets extended.

    First in 76', then in 98', and again in 2023 it'll get changed.

    What once used to be 14 years, then 28, then 56, is over 100 years now. Corporations don't want to lose copyrights cause they can keep making money and more money off of them.

    In the end this hurts creators though.


    It's ironic since Disney benefited so much by using other people's works.
     
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  21. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Depends on the personal expense. Also depends on what you are saying the money is for. If I say that I have designed a new widget and that I just need $30,000 to send it to manufacturing. Then I get $75,000 and don't produce a single widget because I used all $75,000 for personal expenses and didn't have any left to actually produce anything is that ok? In this case knowing that they couldn't make a profit off of the material they did a lot of things that could be viewed as profit very easily. Which paying personal expense is one of those.

    See, I have to disagree with that. I can understand if something hasn't been touched in X number of years, but if it is still being developed and used then I don't see why it should go public domain.

    I don't see how it hurts creators, it hurts others from being able to make money off of somebody else's work and that is all. Me not being able to make Star Wars Episode 10 ahead of Disney doesn't hurt me outside of the fact that I can't make money off of somebody else's popular idea. That wouldn't stop me from writing my own sci-fi book or movie idea however. Now if I found a book from 50 years ago that nobody has heard off and remade that, it probably wouldn't make me anything and nobody would care. It is only things that are still hugely popular that people think should no longer be under copyright.
     
  22. piscian18

    piscian18 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    *ahem* SPACE COKE AND SPACE WHORES!
     
  23. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    [​IMG]
     
  24. Tiburon1186

    Tiburon1186 Gawd

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    I think this really could have been awesome. Such a shame. I liked that at least SOMEONE is continuing the non-Abrams universe.
     
  25. The_Heretic

    The_Heretic Certified [H]

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    That's just Batgirl working undercover.
     
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  26. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    OF course it depends.
    There needs to be more accountability in crowd funding campaigns.
    1. if you don't deliver what's promised on time, then backers could back out, and you'd have to refund them if they ask for it, but those who are up for more waiting can choose to wait more
    2. if you pull the plug and you can't deliver at all then you have to refund every one of your backers, even those who don't ask for it specifically.

    These two simple points would make sure that people would only start campaigns they're damn sure they can deliver on , and the only thing that's actually missing is the money. And it would get rid of things like the solar freaking roadways, and other such nonsense that are scientifically flawed, like the fontus self refilling bottle. Or the project disguised as charity like the waterseer. Most of these are either outright scams or wishful thinking. But hopefully with the above safeguards in place nobody would be so bold to start campaigns based on wishful thinking alone.

    But and that's a big but. You can't just say: BRUHAHA THEY SPENT BACKER FUNDS ON PERSONAL EXPENSES DIE ZOMFG.

    And it's nowhere laid down that you can't make a profit off crowdfunded projects. Of course if you use someone else's IP in your project then that's an entirely different can of worms. The bare minimum would've been to ask permission beforehand. "Look we want to do this, we wish to raise this much funds for it, are you OK with it?" And if they say no outright, they might be scum but they're within their rights. But if you start doing it without as much as consulting them, and start taking in a ton of money, then you'll be viewed as scum. And rightly so. But it has nothing to do with covering personal expenses from project funds.
     
  27. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The upcoming series is supposed to be in the classic universe as well. But sadly I have a bad feeling that it will be SJW feminist anti white / anti male racist propaganda. And it will be praised for being as such by the regressive left. They might even slip a little defend the muslims in there. I never ever wished so badly to be wrong about stg.
     
  28. Saturn_V

    Saturn_V [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have never seen Prelude to Axanar as nothing more than a VFX demo reel with mock interview footage. That's not proof you can do a full-blown feature. And it was created specifically for crowd-funding- which all the starship-porn fanboys fell for in droves.


    I don't get this at all, especially when you consider what Axanar was supposed to be about- a four year war between the Federation and the Klingons. Trek has always told stories about war and combat, but never the epic war story that Axanar was going to be.
     
  29. Jagger100

    Jagger100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    The only reason this became an issue, is that the pre-reboot Star Trek universe had been abandoned, aka Star Trek on TV, and they let the project start without challenge. Only when it came back to broadcast TV did this project suddenly become a problem. Have to wonder if the response of this and other ST fan films helped justify coming back to TV.
     
  30. MrBonk

    MrBonk Limp Gawd

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    Not that it wouldn't have been any worse than the fan fiction being passed off as Star Trek in Jar Jar Abrams' movies.
     
  31. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Which that is what I am talking about. In this case using the IP of somebody else they were not allowed to make a profit. Which is what a lot of people tried to use an excuse is that they weren't making an money off the movie. But if you can pay personal expenses, start a studio and then expect to put it on youtube with ads turned on then you are making money. Which you can't do if using something that you don't own the rights to.
     
  32. Stiler

    Stiler [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Have you seen the new Star Trek movies?

    Action action action, no exploration, no politics, no "thinking" really put into either of them. They are simple popcorn action movies.

    That is what many people are talking about wanting. A return to how Star Trek used to be with the older shows and less like a modern action-adventure movie that we've gotten from the rebooted movies. We haven't had that kind of Star Trek for many years.



    Being inspired by someone is what leads to many creations.

    Disney built their movie studio upon the backs of fairy tales, many of which were taken from the Grimm's books and other authors. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Snow White, Peter Pan, etc.

    When people experience something, be it a story, music, etc they often get inspired to build upon the things they like. The same way painters get inspired by an artist and then build their style on top of what they themselves like.

    To give you an example of how this could affect not just one but MANY many movies/stories, etc.

    Imagine if Frank Baum's "Ozma of Oz" copyrighted robots with the character Tik-Tok, which was the first mechanical humanoid (iirc). So no other story could contain a mechanic humanoid.

    No robots for Isaac Asimov, no robots for Star Trek, No robots for Blade Runner, Terminator, etc. Think about all the sci fi stories using robots since then, all of that gone or drastically changed to make them not mechanical humanoids to avoid copyright claims against them.
     
  33. LurkerLito

    LurkerLito 2[H]4U

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    "Personal expenses" in this context probably means lawyers. :)

    It sucks though, the trailer was great, but an ~ 2 hour movie getting cut down to 2x15 minute shorts is basically going to kill the story they were going to tell. I mean seriously just take any decent story driven movie you like and think how can you cut it down to 30 minutes. Think what Wrath of Kahn would look like as a 30 minute movie. :eek:
     
  34. The Lamb

    The Lamb [H]Lite

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    Given that most Hollywood movies suffer massive 'losses' despite making hundreds of millions at the box office, "Personal Expenses" isn't that bad.

    A loss counts against future tax on earnings in the US, so losing money today saves on taxes in the future. Or to put it another way, Hollywood has been stealing billions of dollars from US taxpayers since forever.
     
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