Star Trek Fan Film Isn't Protected By Fair Use, Rules US Judge

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    The case against Axanar is now going to trial after a judge ruled against the idea of the film falling under fair use. The jury is ultimately going to decide its fate by determining whether or not it is “substantially similar to Star Trek.” …let’s hope most of them are Trekkies who have taken a strong liking to unofficial productions.

    A US District Court Judge has sided with Paramount and CBS in a copyright lawsuit involving the Star Trek fan film Axanar, which had raised over a million dollars via crowdfunding. The filmmakers had argued that Paramount’s lawsuit was premature because the film hadn’t been created yet, and that they could proceed because Axanar fell under fair use. The court rejected both claims, but did allow the case to proceed with a jury to determine whether or not the project was substantially similar to the original Star Trek series.
     
  2. pxc

    pxc [H]ard as it Gets

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    From the Stanford fair use page: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/
    It's going to be a complicated and expensive case, and moving forward will almost certainly cause Axanar to drop out and settle.

    Since Paramount had somewhat permissive guidelines for fan films, they're unlikely to back down on a feature-length movie which uses Star Trek characters and its universe.
     
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  3. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    Axanar really has no legal leg to stand on. From this point on, Axanar is dead.

    That's not to say I'm happy about it, no... I'm certainly not happy but it is the inevitable.
     
  4. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

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    They can't win against the juggernaut studios and law firms, it's hopeless. Best they can do now is accidentally leak I suppose. ;)
     
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  5. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The fact the film hasn't been created yet does not exclude it from a lawsuit because they presold it. Anytime money changes hands with a possible IP issue, you better expect litigation.

    If it's a parody or satire, I could see a Fair Use argument. But if they're planning to use the Trek universe, it's not fair use.
     
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  6. TechLarry

    TechLarry Can't find the G Spot

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    Fans get fucked, lawyers get rich. Same Old Shit.
     
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  7. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Paramount has been very lenient with fan productions over the years but, as much as I'd pay to see Axanar, Axanar just usurps private IP and makes it its own. There needs to be some kind of licensing deal done here, that's the best way to resolve this I think.
     
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  8. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    i was really interested to whatch the fan movie but i do honestly believe they are in the wrong here.
     
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  9. bbvdd2

    bbvdd2 Limp Gawd

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    I'm all for fan made things but the Intellectual Property Rights Owner has to sue to protect its brand. Even if the IP owner liked what was developed, they still have to protect their IP.
     
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  10. VooDooPC

    VooDooPC n00b

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    Yeah, from my understanding if they don't protect it they can lose it.
     
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  11. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    This. From my understanding as well. Paramount I don't think is trying to be dickish about this but if I owned the IP to Star Trek and someone was seriously threatening that ownership, I'm setting my phaser to kill.
     
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  12. Meeho

    Meeho [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, I can see that butthurt would be strong when a fan made film is better than anything a large studio is able to put out.
     
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  13. Spartacus

    Spartacus [H]ard|Gawd

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    The fans say they want it, give it to them.

    Paramount and Anaxar should co-operate on the project.
    That makes a lot more sense than fighting about it.

    Paramount should insist on production and content approval
    and allow the project to go forward either with compensation or not.

    Or Paramount could just buy the film and release it.

    .
     
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  14. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    But even so, if that meant that one would lose the rights to something like Star Trek?
     
  15. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Agreed, there just needs to be some deal here that doesn't let Paramount lose the rights to Star Trek while promoting something that clearly Star Trek fans want. WWSD.
     
  16. Hagrid

    Hagrid [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I say who cares. Did it hurt paramount in any way? Nope.
     
  17. Spartacus

    Spartacus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yep, of course the rights should be protected.

    There needs to be some open minds on this though.
    I'm not a huge Trekkie, but I still think they need to make this film.

    Paramount could just flat out buy Anaxar and it could be like Disney's PIXAR.

    If the deal is structured right, nobody loses money (or dignity), and the fans win too.

    .
     
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  18. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    I don't think anyone debating the legal issue is debating this one. And that's where there's so much angst over this because I think even Paramount would like to see this be made, as long as they got a cut. It should most definitely be made and they need to come up some sort of deal and I think there's enough pressure on both sides to make is so. So I hope.
     
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  19. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Fans giving fans what fans want rather than studios giving fans what studios want them to see complete with product placements, game/music tie ins, plus the obligatory out of place Hollywood politics injection.
     
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  20. Spartacus

    Spartacus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yep.

    If Paramount was a little more forward thinking on this, it could lead to far more films not even related to the Star Trek franchise.
    They have a lean/mean little shop of talented people turning out a quality film for low cost in a genre of films they already do..... why not capture that as their own resource?

    I'm guessing the acquisition would easily pay for itself.

    .
     
  21. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    I completely agree but still losing ownership over something like Star Trek? I'd fight to the end to on that.
     
  22. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    But how would any of this benefit Paramount if Star Trek became public domain? And honestly, don't think that would be the best thing for even huge fans like me.
     
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  23. Spartacus

    Spartacus [H]ard|Gawd

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    I haven't been following this saga that closely.
    Though I do remember the arguments on the public domain issue.

    That certainly does change things if Star Trek goes public domain.
    I think that would be unfair to Paramount and ultimately very bad for the brand.

    ETA: Is Anaxar the only party pushing for public domain or are there other forces on that?


    .
     
  24. MrBonk

    MrBonk Limp Gawd

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    If Trek became PD, you can only imagine the huge amount of derivative products coming out, all confusing average consumers and creating willy nilly continuity problems.

    Wasn't this money going to be released for free? They aren't planning to profit from it, but production costs money.
     
  25. lilbabycat

    lilbabycat 2[H]4U

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    I read this in a bitter, star trek (yeah, I'm not even recognizing "trekkie" as a thing) nerd's voice.
     
  26. PhotoBobBarker

    PhotoBobBarker [H]Lite

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    No they aren't.l This is a PERFECT case of IP copyright getting completely out of hand. If I create a device that I've spent 10 years of my life researching and another 2 to bring to market I get 14-17 years of protection. But a writer gets 70 YEARS after they die of protection?!? That means Paramount will get to beat this horse until 2035. The Roddenberry family doesn't even get royalties anymore. How is this remotely ethical? Maybe businesses that actually make products should start troll-suing the PTO for equal/non-discriminatory protection.
     
  27. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    Yeah well... I would have loved to see it come to the screen but I just don't see it happening. Crap. :(
     
  28. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Using someone else's intellectual property in a for profit endeavour is certainly not fair use. They're basically selling their stuff with the name of star trek. Noone would give a damn about axanar if it wasn't star trek.

    I'm not saying it's fair, every idea should be public domain. That's how we get ahead, and not by shoving them into cabinets in dark rooms, where only a select few can benefit from them.

    Simply capitalism is not compatible with free access to ideas. That's why the copyright trolls constantly harass internet users, because ultimately the internet is a way to access information for free.
     
  29. Lith1um

    Lith1um 2[H]4U

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    Sometimes when you work with your biggest fans instead of fighting them, something greater results.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trauma_Studios

    /Then you stop listening because you're stupid, and you think you know better.
     
  30. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think you hit it dead on the nose. Unfortunately its hard for me to believe that Paramount would be willing to cut a licensing deal but it would be awesome. I was really looking forward to Axanar. It looked incredible!
     
  31. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    This one was going to have significantly less explosions, so you could see how that would hurt the current branding of the Star Trek franchise.

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have to disagree here. There needs to be some protection, just a better type of it. If I spend 10 years creating an item I don't think that after 10 years I should be forced to give you all my work so that we both can sell copies of what I made. There does need to be some protection for the creator to be able to make their money back. Same for creating a work of art or story. There needs to be some protection there if for no other reason for people to know they are getting a certain product. Lets say for example that anyone could make and sell a Ford Fusion. How do you know which one is really made by Ford and which are made by some other company? If some start having issues because the none Ford Ford Fusion are not made as well how do you not go after Ford for any issues but make sure that the entire population knows that Ford Ford Fusions are ok, but none Ford Ford Fusions aren't. If knockoffs and the ability to name yourself the same as somebody else and do business as them was perfectly acceptable that would result in one massive shit show.
     
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  33. Stiler

    Stiler [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Lots of people in here maybe unaware but:

    1. Fan made Star Trek movies and things have been going since the 60's. even some that were not just a fan with a home video camera but actual actors/film sets, etc like Paragon's Paragon.

    2. Axanar is NOT the only fan-made Star Trek movie to have used crowd funding. Star Trek Horizon did this as well,


    It was released already without a lawsuit brought on it by Paramount.

    3. Axanar was not going to be a for profit movie, they weren't going to sell it, it was going to be free.

    4. All productions cost money, you MUST pay actors and people in SAG and similar unions, this is not something you can skip out on, they have minimum pay rates.

    So for all of you saying that they should be ligated and sued, why are all the other fan-made productions ok? Why do they get a pass but Axanar doesn't? If over 55 years of fan productions doesn't "hurt
    " the ip or made it PD why suddenly is this such a big issue? This is something a jury will have to decide, and I hope they see these things and ask the same questions.

    Paramount would have been smart if they simply licensed out the IP for this and actually released it to drum up hype and support for their upcoming Star Trek show. It would have been a win win, you get a good star trek production that pleases many fans and then you lead them into your own new Star Trek show.

    The fans of Star Trek are something else, they are literally the people who have kept this IP "alive" through the old series and new shows/movies, they kept it going even when the studios seemed to want to let it die. By taking them to court and making a big fuss over this you are simply hurting your own fans and people that like Star Trek. Even JJ Abrams and Justin Lin said this wasn't the right way to deal with it, even going as far as to say they should drop the lawsuit.
     
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  34. Meeho

    Meeho [H]ardness Supreme

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    AFAIK the creators are not profiting from Axanar.
     
  35. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    In capitalism yes. I'm talking about going past that. I mean feudalism ended, slavery ended, sooner or later we must end capitalism and replace it with something better.
     
  36. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It's a little hard to argue that when they're building a studio from the money they got for making the movie. It's not like they were gonna just tear it down after filming, and never use it for another project or rent it out ever.
     
  37. NeghVar

    NeghVar 2[H]4U

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    Once again, Viacom alienates Star Trek fandom.
     
  38. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The difference is that they allowed the rest. It is as simple as that. Just like it is ok if I allow my family to park in my driveway but not allow some random stranger that just wants to park here.

    what it comes down to from what it seems is that they thought this production was higher quality than your average fan film. Free or not they are making money as they did not spend 100% of the funds on paying actors. Tell you want, you pay me $100,000 and I will use $100 of that to make a free video. Forget about that other $990,000 that isn't profit that is just money I can spend on other things not related to the video. Also when I put it on YouTube and make money from ads, that isn't profit either. That is just more money for me to spend on other things...

    they now have a set of rules by which you can make approved fan films, which one it can't be an actual production company, must be short, nobody can be paid for being in the movie, any funding done can't be for over $50,000... Basically it has to be an actual fan movie and not a company trying to use Star Trek rights without licensing them. Which do we know if this group actually tried to pay for actual rights at any point? Maybe they could pay for rights and release their movie, but I am guessing it wouldn't be cheap.
     
  39. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Didn't the creators of Mass Effect also run into this issue and just made Mass Effect instead of a Star Wars or Star Trek game? That's something these film makers can do.
     
  40. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    Coriolanus wrote:
    I'm no fan of Paramount's heavy-handedness against Axanar, but c'mon, let's all admit that the defense that Prelude to Axanar was fair use because it was actually a "mockumentary" was complete BS.

    The thing is, though, that they brought the heavy-handedness upon themselves. They had a number of conversations with CBS and Paramount, and they were told what every other fan film ever had been told: "Don't try to make money off this, and we'll look the other way." But instead they had to sell Axanar-branded coffee and other shit (with one of the coffee blends having a goddamn Klingon D-7 on the bag), go on screeds on Facebook and Twitter ranting that they were the true heirs to the mantle of Star Trek and they were going to take it away from JJ the Usurper, use the donor money to build an entire goddamn film studio, and -- in some of the most damning evidence -- Christian Gossett produced email chains in which Peters said the original goal for Axanar was to have CBS / Paramount buy it out from him.
    Other things they did:

    - Alec Peters has been taking money out of donor funds to cover personal expenses for himself, his girlfriend and Robert Meyer Burnett -- rent / utilities, car bills, cell phone bills, etc. He did so by having the bank issue debit cards linked to the Axanar bank account. Tens of thousands of dollars' worth of Peters' restaurant meals were found to be paid for with donor funds

    - Peters met with both Netflix and Amazon to talk about them acquiring Axanar and having it run as a series on the platform -- brazenly admitting that he wanted to make cash off Star Trek without a license

    - Axanar Productions' internal marketing plan has several money-making efforts listed in it, making it clear that Axanar Studios was always intended as a profit center

    - For years, Alec Peters was sending emails to both CBS and Paramount, trying to get other fan film productions shut down, saying they were infringing on copyright. Peters denied that claim, and then CBS produced a whole bunch of emails from him

    - Alec Peters attempted to convince Dave Galanter, an author under exclusive contract to CBS to write Star Trek books, to write a series of Axanar books under a pseudonym

    Don't forget that they still continue to take donor money, and it wasn't until like six months ago that they stopped promoting Tony Todd as being part of the film (when Todd actually left like a year and a half ago, over not being paid -- and he had also been led to believe that Axanar was an official CBS production).

    Those are all kind of rather significant no-nos. The Axanar folks brought this entirely upon themselves.
    That's the most damning of all the evidence. Axanar is completely in the wrong here. I may not like it but they are wrong, there's no two ways about it.
     
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