CBS/Paramount Release Strict Guidelines for Future Star Trek Fan Films

Thursday, 23 June 2016 - 11:55AM
Star Trek
Thursday, 23 June 2016 - 11:55AM
In case you didn't know, there have been some major rumblings of discontent between the Star Trek franchise, those who own the rights to it, and its fans. These rumblings aren't mere rants and rages on forums and comment sections, though. These disputes have become a legal matter, and a new development today will likely do nothing to quell the unrest among the Star Trek community.

Last year, Paramount and CBS filed a joint lawsuit against the team behind the crowd-funded Star Trek fan film, Axanar. The discovery of this lawsuit caused a rift among between a number of different stakeholders in the Star Trek universe. The vast majority of fans were angry, others were a bit more understanding. Justin Lin, a big Trek fan and director of Paramount's upcoming Star Trek Beyond, fell firmly in the former of those two categories. Then, at Paramount's Star Trek fan event last month, JJ Abrams made the surprise announcement that he and Justin Lin had asked Paramount and CBS to drop the suit and find a middle ground to deal with fan films.

Opening quote
A few months back there was a fan movie, Axanar that was being fan made, and there was this lawsuit between the studio and these fans. And Justin was sort of outraged by this as a longtime fan. And, we started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing, we all [as] fans are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now within the last few weeks it will be announced that this is going away and the fans will be able to [continue] their productions.
Closing quote

Shorly after, CBS and Paramount announced they were in settlement discussions with the Axanar team, but today it has become clear that the fracas will have wide-reaching implications for creatively-minded Star Trek fans in the future. 

In a blog post on the official site, CBS and Paramount have released a strict list of guidelines to govern all future fan film productions. The guidelines range from dictating that fan films "must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story" to the more obvious request that "The fan production must be non-commercial." The guidelines also state that fan-productions are not allowed to use the name 'Star Trek', but must use the tag-line 'A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION'.

Interestingly, the Axanar production released its first teaser yesterday. But, as the Star Trek community reacts to this new development, you can be sure that a number of fan productions are already feeling the implications. If you thought this battle between Paramount and CBS was going away, a quick look at various fan forums will show you that this is a struggle that will continue for quite some time.

You can read the full guidelines here

Image Credit: Star Trek Axanar

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