Star Trek: Axanar and CBS/Paramount

Why is CBS/Paramount suing the creators of the Star Trek fan film, Axanar?

Is it just me, or does this just seem plain stupid? Why would they do something that will clearly, clearly, alienate so many fans of the venerable franchise, when CBS/Paramount when it will clearly be expanding the influence and audience for the material?

For those of you who haven’t seen the “Prelude” that has been generated so far, I won’t embed it here, but here is the link to it: Prelude to Axanar .

Go watch it. It’s awesome. It is a high-concept, high-quality piece of work, and one which CBS/Paramount would seem to be better served by embracing, either informally or formally, perhaps with some sort of distribution arrangement. It’s got real, name actors, writers, and crew, but it’s being crowd-funded by fans.

The same fans that CBS/Paramount is now basically telling to go jump off a cliff, because they have a new TV series in development.

And a Star Trek movie of their own without the friggin’ Enterprise in it, apparently.

What the heck?

And this isn’t the first time a major studio has made a move designed to alienate its own fan-base in such an overt way. After Disney acquired Star Wars, they erased the vast majority of Star Wars material in a single swipe. Material that had, until that point, been accepted and even lauded as part of that “galaxy far, far away.”

Erased it. Just gone. The Expanded Universe was gone, relegated to the status of Legends, not really part of the Star Wars Universe any more.

It boggles the mind, really.

But at least Disney didn’t retroactively try to stifle the existing works and/or recoup the profits made from them.

That’s something, I suppose.

But it still doesn’t explain why CBS/Paramount isn’t doing more to embrace Axanar. It just makes no sense from a community-relations standpoint. The Star Trek community is one of the most rabid and supportive in media, and a move like this just seems to smack more of considering the fans as dollar-signs than as key pieces of their business model.

I simply don’t get it.

 

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30 thoughts on “Star Trek: Axanar and CBS/Paramount

    1. Carlos you are such a stalker. How about tell the truth that YOU are Axamonitor, which is a ridiculous attempt to gain legitimacy for the trash you push. You love claiming its all about money.

      Look at the legal complaint. Money is not mentioned ONCE. Paramount doesn’t give a shit about money. They care about the fact that Axanar is AMAZING.

      Paramount sued Axanar because they are scared to death Axanar will be better than Star Trek Beyond and they don’t want the competition. Funny how they sued Axanar the month their trailer for Star Trek Beyond BOMBED. Just look at the comments on YouTube for Prelude to Axanar. EVERYONE loves it and everyone wants to see it more than the trash Paramount is producing.

      Axanar is so damn good that Paramount is scared. Period.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, Mark,

        I didn’t realize it was a secret that I’m the editor of AxaMonitor. It’s in my .sig on TrekBBS, I post about it on Facebook all the time, and I’m right there on its About page. The articles on AxaMonitor are meticulously sourced (citations appear at the bottom of every article) and opinions are referenced as such with attribution.

        You are correct that I have posted in the past about the financial aspects of the copyright case against Axanar. Please be fair, though. It is first and foremost about copyright infringement, the use of another’s intellectual property without permission. The balancing test the law applies to claims of fair use includes commercial impacts.

        CBS’ lawsuit outlines a long list of causes of action — why they’re suing. Those reasons aren’t particularly mysterious. And while it’s true that “true reasons” may differ from ostensible ones, I’d like to see some actual evidence of this fear with which Axanar has been able to strike CBS and Paramount in the heart. I get you love Axanar, and Prelude’s quality certainly has much to admire. But without evidence, claims that the studios’ are afraid are just another conspiracy theory belied by the facts we do have in evidence. That’s why I started AxaMonitor: to focus on facts. I invite you to provide feedback where you see that AxaMonitor departs from facts without attribution or label.

        Meanwhile, it sounds disingenuous to me to claim the lawsuit doesn’t mention money in any way. You may want to re-read it. Let’s start with the relevant causes of action:

        • The defendants enjoyed “a direct financial benefit” from infringing on the studios’ intellectual property. Note the complaint does not mention “profit.” This word is a red herring that Axanar and its supporters have been employing to give the impression that the production has done nothing wrong. The production’s fundraising activities have translated into financial benefits (e.g., salaries, a studio infrastructure for publicly declared future for-profit activities) for both individuals associated with the production, and for Axanar Productions Inc., a registered for-profit corporation in California. http://blueserif.com/doku/doku.php?id=fan_films_breaking_the_unwritten_rules_and_defining_profit&s%5B%5D=direct&s%5B%5D=financial&s%5B%5D=benefit

        • Alec Peters and the other defendants believe they are entitled to “create, distribute, market, advertise, promote, sell or offer for sale derivative [Star Trek] works.”

        So, yes, infringement is at the center of the lawsuit, but because there is money associated with the infringing activities; that’s why the suit seeks financial compensation (damages) for the harm ensuing from the infringement. Note the relief being sought by lawsuit:

        • Statutory damages, $150,000 per infringement. This is the punishment you would expect CBS to ask for simply because Axanar infringed on their copyrights. But what’s important is the fact that the studios are also seeking —

        • Actual damages. This is key, because it shows that the studios believe Axanar’s infringing activities have caused actual fiscal harm to their exclusive right to make money from Star Trek. So, yes, this lawsuit most definitely has something to do with money because Axanar created multiple and ongoing revenue streams that generated more than a million dollars (and aims to raise nearly $800,000 more), which contributes to the studios’ urgency for an injunction.

        Wonder why the studios haven’t gone after the other fan films? They haven’t banked money on that scale; unlike Axanar, there’s no money in the other fan films for CBS to go after.

        • Attorneys’ fees. If Axanar loses this case, it – and all the other defendants, which include the 20 to-be-named other people who also engaged in infringing activities under Alec Peters’ supervision — are all liable for the legal fees the studios pile up in defending their copyrights. This, and all the defendants’ liability for statutory and actual damages, provides a lot of leverage the studios are likely to bring to bear against each defendant, making more than a few likely to be willing to testify against Axanar. Remember, while Alec Peters has secured pro bono representation in this case, the other defendants will have to pay for their own lawyers.

        One final note: While most people have been focusing on what the suit calls “the Axanar Works” (i.e., Prelude and Axanar itself), it’s quite likely CBS also has issues with all the ancillary products Axanar has created (e.g., model ships, artwork, patches, coffee), which the suit calls “any works derived or copied from the Star Trek copyrighted works.” Contributors to Axanar’s various crowdfunding campaigns may be disappointed – contrary to Alec Peters’ assurance the other day – to discover that the perks they paid for may be covered by the injunction or the judgment against Axanar in this case.

        Thanks for hearing me out, and please note how I didn’t call you one single name.

        Regards,
        /carlos

        Like

      2. I just saw things getting a bit… lively… so I just reminded everyone to keep it civil is all. My original post want intended as a treatise on the monetary aspects, simply an opinion on why they (CBS/Paramount) couldn’t or didn’t try to capitalize on Axanar. From a fan perspective. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I could show every place where you are wrong Carlos, but why waste my time? You arent a lawyer, but you act like you are. You make nothing but assumptions of Paramount/CBS’ motivations and your statement about 20 John Does being liable shows you don’t even know the most basic corporate law.

        What do you do for a living that allows you to stalk Axanar like you do? Shouldn’t you try and do something productive with your life rather than lying about Axanar every chance you can?

        Every blog that posts about Axanar you run to and post your lies. People need to know you have nothing but hate towards Axanar and your “legal analysis” is total bullshit.

        Like

  1. I’ve already answered this
    . its about MARKETABILITY.. Axanar is clearly the most superior TOS creation in 30 years… A boat load of money can be made from this. Its all CBS cares about…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It has nothing to do with content per se it has to do with it has to profit from a copyright that they did not own someone was drawing a salary that is the big no no they crossed a line and they need to accept the consequences sorry there is no wiggle room for me

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    1. Wrong. Is your feebly little mind so weak as to not be able to read English? No where in the lawsuit is money mention. Not a single word about it, no reference, no inference.

      Run off little child and go play in your sand pit. Let the grown ups talk.

      Like

      1. You have issues as much as I love Star Trek I do not own it CBS and Paramount do that is the issue he Alex seems to think he is entitiled to do this because he is a huge fan no you are not you can not profit from Star Trek if you don’t own the copyright and he is probably now ruining fan films for other fans because of his arrogance and ego

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      2. Corporations rarely specify money when filing lawsuits, but that is always the core motivation. CBS and Paramount possess an IP and feel they will somehow lose money if a fan film is permitted to be viewed by other fans. It’s flawed logic which has been disproven by Lucasfilm many times.

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  3. So many fans? Axanar has what, about 10000 supporters? That works out to about 0.03 percent of the number that saw the last Star Trek film, just in the US! You are a small minority.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Still more fans than small minded angry little detractors like yourself and the childish Axanar hate groups on FB have. What did you last accomplish that gave you 10K fans? Oh that’s right, nothing.

      Like

  4. It’s about greed. CBS and Paramount have forgotten that Star Trek was made iconic by the fans like all of us. Same reason they’re putting the new series only on CBS all access rather than by letting it air on the national channel.

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  5. its because beyond is shit and CBS are not behind it, Paramount is.
    CBS are on for IP reasons, without CBS. Paramount have no case.

    Paramounts tracking numbers are saying that after the trailer was booed for star wars screens, and after its horrible reception, the film will flop.

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  6. When the people involved start taking wages for themselves from fan donated money it stops being a fan film. It’s just a group of people making money for themselves off the Star Trek name, which they have no right to.

    How would you like it if someone took something of yours, decided to make their own unofficial prequel, raised money for it and paid themselves $38,000 a year from that money? Money raised in the name of your thing, using your imagery. It’s stealing, and if it’s okay to steal from big companies this way, it’s okay to steal from anyone – even those new artists and writers who don’t have the financial resources to fight it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how critics think making what amounts to minimum wage is “profit”. Wages are not profit according to the IRS or just about any accepted definition. Every fan film pays its actors as well.

      Like

  7. I get why Disney axed the expanded universe. The canon was inconsistent and would have severely restricted what they could do moving forward, particularly with the anthology films. Keep in mind, EU is also still available for them to pick from, so a lot of it will eventually be reintroduced.
    What kept Star Wars relevant between 83 and 99 was George Lucas and Lucasfilm allowing fans to create their own fiction and films. Otherwise, the franchise would have become a distant memory.
    Sadly, CBS and Paramount seem to think the way to promote their fledgling franchise is to aggressively extract any remaining enthusiasm from the handful of loyal fans still hoping for a respectful entry. Perhaps they realized Axanar is far more loyal to Trek than the upcoming Star Trek: Fast and Furious.

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  8. Also relevant, since we’re all commenting on this vanity project/fan film.

    Alec Peters has no problem attacking others when it suits his needs, or if he feels cornered (because he can’t defend his appalling behavior) or if he thinks it will deflect negative attention or focus on his very clear and blatant wrongdoing. Time and again Peters levels accusations and criticism on Star Trek Continues and Vic Mignogna in particular, and as recently as a few weeks ago threw his own “good friend” James Cawley under the bus as well.

    It doesn’t end there, either. The internet is littered with legions of people from various sites — including the TrekBBS (where Peters has been banned three (THREE!) times — who are sick of his petty, immature and childish behavior. The man has no concept, no microscopic sense of the word “accountability” for his own actions, consistently and continuously offlaying blame and responsibility for any wrongdoing to others.

    Tony Todd isn’t with the production anymore? Oh, well that’s because he wanted too much money! It can’t possibly be that Todd is a respected actor who has worked consistently in Hollywood for over 30 years having issues with Peters’ ineptitude as a producer. Perish the thought!

    CBS sues because Peters tells everyone that he paid himself nearly $40K to work “full-time” on his fan film? Oh, well that’s not fair at all! How is Peters supposed to support himself? It can’t possibly be that CBS/Paramount are actually doing their due diligence to protect their property and property rights now that they feel someone has crossed a line beyond their generosity, never mind the fact THAT NOBODY FROM CBS HIRED PETERS TO WORK FULL TIME ON A PROJECT BASED ON THEIR PROPERTY.

    And let’s not forget that Peters used the money he collected from goodwill of the fans and on the strength of a name and franchise he doesn’t own to fund his own for-profit studio…and then announced exactly that plan to the world. That can’t possibly be relevant to this case, could it?

    As for Axanar “competing” with Star Trek Beyond, give me a break. The visual effects are pretty to look at because unlike Peters and Burnett, Tobias Richter actually knows what he’s doing. But Prelude to Axanar is a glorified interview, a bunch of talking heads up against a green screen discussing war. It’s nice to look at and directed very well, but that’s not what STAR TREK is, that’s not what STAR TREK ever was, and it’s not what STAR TREK is about. It’s a nicely made sizzle reel, all flash and zero substance but there is no way in any reality (or version of it that conforms to even the most liberal use of the word “reality”) where Prelude to Axanar or the poorly written, poorly shot Vulcan scene would ever SERIOUSLY be taken as “competition” for any of Paramount’s films. Axanerds claiming this as their defense are even more deluded than Peters if they believe the schlock he’s selling them on that one.

    The reason CBS and Paramount are suing is likely because Peters, the fool that he is, not only made money off this project but he broadcast it to the world and that — making money on the STAR TREK IP — has been, consistently, the one thing CBS and Paramount have said over and over and over again NOT TO DO. Peters/Axanar is the only group that seem to fail to grasp this simple little concept. He can cry all he wants to at “Salary does not equal profit” but at the end of the day he was taking home a paycheck.

    New Voyages, Exeter, Continues, Farragut, Valiant, Hidden Frontier, Intrepid, Secret Voyage, Excalibur, Horizon, Dominion, et al… they all know how to play by the rules. Alec Peters and Axanar are the ones who have chosen to color outside those lines and are now paying the price for it. (Don’t even get me started on the Axanar Donor’s Store…)

    Now… I don’t believe that they started out this way intentionally nor do I believe that it was Peters’ plan all along to hoodwink so many fans out of $1.1 million. I can even allow for the possibility that Peters is not some Heisenberg-level evil genius and instead just a really passionate fan who found himself way, way out of his depth and with zero experience to guide him but plagued with a big ego because of his initial success with the crowdfunding. I very much can see the likelihood that “scope creep” could be at fault as much as any of Peters’ own stupid hubris and arrogance.

    But make no mistake. Peters is, now, arrogant as hell. He encricles himself with an echo chamber on his Axanar Fan Page on Facebook, where only the “true” fans are safe from being banned, edited, or censored. Peters, Burnett and Terry McIntosh are completely incapable of handling even the slightest negative commentary against them or their vanity project, or any critical discussion about anything Axanar or Peters may have done wrong to warrant this lawsuit. Peters himself has an IV of his own Kool-Aid hooked right into his bloodstream and he believes each outrageous and stupid comment he makes until it backfires on him and then he quickly backpedals it all. Newsflash, Darth Garth: If you only meet one asshole today, they’re the asshole. But if EVERYONE you meet today is a asshole, then chances are, YOURE the asshole.

    No, Peters deserves everything he’s getting now. He’s alienated, cajoled, bullied, attacked, threatened, trolled, belittled, discredited, doxxed, insulted, demeaned, harassed, interrogated, and annoyed enough people online that those same people are now speaking up. The only person Peters has to blame for any of this is himself. He is a spoiled brat, a man-child incapable of standing up and taking the heat for his own actions and will be summarily crushed by the legal right CBS has to crush him for infringing on their rightfully-owned property so egregiously and intentionally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Karzak” Why don’t you sign your real name? I mean you are clearly one of the dozen or so haters who seem to have no problem spending huge amounts of time lying about and attacking me.

      And feel free to give ONE example where I attacked anyone who didn’t attack me first. You can’t. Problem is you trolls hate it when someone calls you out on your bullshit.

      And who actually spends as much time as you do attacking someone on a small little blog unless you have serious anger issues?

      You just hate that we have over 8,000 fans on Facebook who love us, over 13,000 donors, and we created the best Star Trek fan film ever. That isn’t arrogance, that’s the scoreboard.

      Grow up and go away. No one cares about your rants.

      Alec

      (and try signing your name next time you anonymous troll. See that photo? That is me. I don’t hide behind the Internet like you.)

      Like

      1. Alec. I know this is a small blog, but did you have to say it so casually? Lol.

        I, like so many others, am trying to build something. Please, be kind. I spend a lot of my time NOT getting paid to generate content that I hope people appreciate at least a little bit. And maybe if they like it enough , they’ll share it with others.

        I pay for my travel, access, and spend hours evaluating and reporting on TV, film, books, comics… it takes time. Time away from my family and other things I could be doing.

        But I do it.

        I do it because I love it, and hope to one day be able to have it pay for itself, if nothing else.

        I would hope people would recognize that.

        Like

  9. Hey Mark: SORRY! I didn’t mean it as a negative. 🙂

    We posted your blog on the Axanar Facebook pages and I know that brought a lot of traffic. But sadly it brought the haters along too. But we will keep posting your articles on Axanar and driving traffic so we can make you bigger! 🙂

    And I know EXACTLY where you are coming from as I have two blogs I do for the love of it. A Warhammer blog (http://apocalypse40k.blogspot.com/) and a Star Trek props & costume blog (http://startrekauction.blogspot.com/). I do them because I love it.

    So when you have an Axanar article we will post it on our Fan Group and our main page, and if you have a Star Trek article, we will post it on the Star Trek group.

    Alec

    Like

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