Star Trek: Axanar and it's prequel, Prelude to Axanar weren't exactly big budget movies. They were fan made shorts that were on the internet. They were well made and had fantastic cast in them. However, they weren't that well known outside the Star Trek community. That changed yesterday when the project was shut down by CBS/Paramount.
CBS/Paramount has always been great with Trek fans and allowed them to continue the proud Star Trek tradition through uncountable fan movies, fan series, cosplays and loads more besides. However, that changed when CBS lawyers presented them with a lawsuit and shut down the project. The lawyers, Loeb and Loeb stated:
"The Axanar Works infringe Plaintiffs’ works by using innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes,"It wasn't the fact that it received over a million dollars in crowd funding. It wasn't the fact that they credited Paramount for their work, no. It was the Paramount's legal department suddenly decided that rather than work with Trek fans and make these projects happen, they'd fight them and aggressively defend their copyright, as in this statement:
"Star Trek is a treasured franchise in which CBS and Paramount continue to produce new original content for its large universe of fans. The producers of Axanar are making a Star Trek picture they describe themselves as a fully professional independent Star Trek film. Their activity clearly violates our Star Trek copyrights, which, of course, we will continue to vigorously protect."
You can read the full complaint here
So there you have it folks, Things like this are the reason why fans are scared to make fan movies, fan web series, music, games etc and show them off to the world. Does this mean that Dredd fan movies are next? more Trek? Star Wars? Doctor Who?
Fan movies have been around for over 30 years now and have shown off great talent and writing. Adi Shankar recently brought back Thomas Jane in "The Punisher: Dirty Laundry" short and recently broke the internet with his gritty Power Rangers reboot short. They are no different than Axanar or Renegades in my opinion. Further to that, CBS should really drop this lawsuit before it goes further. Punishing fans for showing their love and respect for your work by making fan works won't win fans over or even bring in new fans, it turns them away to companies that love and cherish them. Remember when everyone stopped making Star Wars fan movies because Lucas kept shutting them down? well, CBS/Paramount are doing exactly the same here
If you're saying that fan movies are infringing on your copyright, then so are cosplays and fan fiction. Are Paramount going to go after them next? I would like to see Paramount shut down every single Trek cosplayer and fiction writer in the world.