Monday, May 2, 2016

Fan Work 'Axanar' film -- Copyright Crossroads, or Cross-hairs? -- updated 1.20.17

Article by Peter Decherney.."In Copyright Lawsuit, Star Trek Fan Work Gets Its 'Easy Rider' Moment... on website ......
Gary Graham, once again playing Ambassador Soval (from Star Trek: Enterprise
and Kim Fitzgerald playing Vulcan Minister T’Lera (Courtesy of Axanar Productions)

This article has a summary of the long relationship between Star Trek and fan work.. as well as a look at the particulars of this case.... here's excerpt from the end of the article...

".....copyright holders are generally silent about and often inconsistent in their YouTube policies, leaving fans with a guessing game.
If Axanar proves to be Hollywood’s latest Easy Rider moment, it remains to be seen which company will successfully find a structure that includes fan work in the ecosystem of Hollywood franchises. Star Trek—and Hollywood franchises more generally—have passively benefited from fan work in the past. Hopefully, CBS and Paramount will lead the way and embrace methods of actively incorporating fan labor and creativity."

UPDATE 7.2.16
Podcast "Break the Business" episode discusses recently released "Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines" in interview w/ Axanar director...

UPDATE 7.11.16
Star Trek fan series "Renegades" alters its trajectory in face of "fan film" rules...

UPDATE 1.5.17
"Judge Throws Out Axanars Defense...." article by Micheal Hinman on website
Summary of order issued by Judge R. Gary Klausner in the case.. which now moves to settlement ... or trial. Here are a few highlights from the article..

Essentially, Klausner denied both sides their motions for summary judgment, meaning that unless there’s a settlement in the next few weeks, the Axanar case goes in front of a jury at the end of the month. However, in doing so, the judge gutted just about anything Axanar’s attorneys could use to defend the fan-film, leaving just the substantial similarity decision to the jury.......

......The final decision on whether Axanar is indeed substantially similar to Star Trek will now be left to a jury, Klausner said. If the jury does not find substantial similarity, then Axanar did not infringe, and everything else will be moot. However, if the jury finds in favor of CBS and Paramount, it’s game over, because Axanar has no other defenses it can use … the case would then move to damages.

Just remember, it isn't over till it's over..  Read the full article here:

UPDATE 1.20.17
Settlement announced in Axanar case.... illustration below by Laemeur.
Hollywood Reporter Story
Rolling Stone
More on copyright and fan art issues in my blog post from April 2016

Also link here for frequently updated blog post "Copyright Info for artists" (below image from

 with case studies on unauthorized use of images on the internet

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