A Jury Will Decide If A Major 'Star Trek' Fan Film Is Illegal

Wednesday, 04 January 2017 - 9:27PM
Star Trek
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 - 9:27PM
A Jury Will Decide If A Major 'Star Trek' Fan Film Is Illegal
Lots of jokes have been made about the Star Trek fan film Axanar going where no fan has gone before. And after a year-long court battle over copyright infringement, the question of whether they went too far will be decided by jury. 

While CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures have typically left fan-made Star Trek works alone, they've spent the last year suing one of the most ambitious fan projects to date: an attempt by Star Trek fans to finance and produce an expensive feature-length fan film called Axanar. The potential film's creator, Alec Peters, wanted to expand on his already-ambitious 20 minute short film, which was fittingly called Prelude to Axanar and which is still up on YouTube. The short was a mockumentary about a war between the Klingons and the Federation before the original series began, and starred some minor characters from Star Trek lore. Created on a "modest budget" of $80,000 gathered from Kickstarter, the fan film has racked up over 2.7 million views with its polished, professional-looking quality.

After a year without either side refusing to settle or the judge reaching a conclusion, it's finally going to be resolved by jury whether Axanar willfully infringed on any Star Trek copyright. The full statement from U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner explains the whole situation, and reveals that the judge may be a bit of a Trekkie himself:


Opening quote
However, going where no man has gone before in producing Star Trek fan films, Defendants sought to make 'a professional production' 'with a fully professional crew, many of whom have worked on Star Trek itself' and raised over a million dollars on crowdsourcing websites Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their projects.
Closing quote

The feature-length Axanar film is still in production, and some teasers have already been released, but if the jury sides with CBS/Paramount, that will likely come to an end. "Fair use" doesn't seem to be an out for Peters and his Axanar Productions, since the judge ruled that their work was too faithful to the source material to be parody or commentary, and the film is openly using Star Trek characters and settings. Things don't look good for them.

But if the fan film never sees the light of day, it seems very likely that the upcoming (and legitimate) show Star Trek: Discovery will be set around the same time period.

Via: Hollywood Reporter

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