Paramount Apparently Going To Drop Lawsuit Against Axanar Fan Film, Produce 'Guidelines' For Fan Films
from the better-than-the-alternative dept
We'd been covering the case, including the ridiculous overclaiming of copyrights by Paramount/CBS (including claiming a copyright over the Klingon language and "uniforms with gold stars.") Things had just been starting to heat up and the judge was gearing up for a trial... when famed producer/director JJ Abrams announced at a fan event for the next film that the lawsuit was going away.
The folks at Treknews have a video of JJ's statement:
“A few months back there was a fan movie, Axanar, that was getting made and there was this lawsuit that happened between the studio and these fans and Justin, I’ll tell the story because he probably wouldn’t, was sort of outraged by this as a long time fan. We started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans.For what it's worth, the deal is not yet final. Alec Peters, the producer of the Axanar film has said that he wasn't expecting this and wasn't entirely sure what it meant -- but was "frantically texting" with his lawyers. He also says he's promised to name his first kid after Justin Lin, which, of course, now that it's on Twitter must be the same as a binding contract, right?
The fans should be celebrating this thing, like you're saying now. We all... Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So you [Justin] went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away, and fans would be able to continue working on their project”
In my excitement, I may have told Justin Lin that I will name my first kid after him. In fact, I am pretty sure I did.....Alec— Axanar Productions (@StarTrekAxanar) May 21, 2016
Similarly, it's a good thing that Paramount will be releasing fan film guidelines (and it would be great to see others do the same) but the details here will matter. If it's making it easier for people to make fan films, even to the point of granting licenses to allow people to do things without fear of a lawsuit, that would be really great. But what restrictions there are on all of this should be worth watching closely -- especially if the guidelines suggest that fair use is not allowed or still include overclaiming of copyright. I'm actually reminded of the story from a few months ago about the Fine Bros. trying to freely license some of their stuff, which was doomed by the horrible way it was rolled out, along with the Fine Bros.' history of aggressive complaints against anyone doing marginally similar stuff. But at that time, I noted that if, say, Lucasfilm had opened up its assets to fan film makers to create fan films with a free license, with just a promise to share back a small percentage of revenue, that would be quite cool.
So, now Star Trek will be getting some sort of official rules for fan films -- and I'm guessing that they'll restrict any and all commercial releases (which, frankly, is silly). And those details will matter quite a lot. But ending this lawsuit and letting the film continue is absolutely the right move -- so kudos to Justin Lin and JJ Abrams for telling the studio that... and to Paramount for actually listening.