Saturday, January 21, 2017

Star Trek Axanar Lawsuit Settled

The long saga of the Axanar lawsuit has come to an end. The production for a relatively expensive fan film that got sued by CBS and Paramount has ended in a settlement with Axanar Production and producer Alec Peters. While all the details were not released, basically Peters agreed to admit to "overreaching" in making the film and whatever he ends up producing will follow the Fan Film Guidelines. Peters likely threw in the towel once it finally sunk in that the court earlier this month effectively decided Axanar was guilty of infringement and the upcoming trial was really about having a jury decide what the monetary punishment should be.

If interested, you can read all the details at For casual fans, this whole saga doesn't mean a thing. The impact on all things Trek is basically zero. However for the die hard fans, those that cosplay, go to conventions, re-watch episodes over and over, surf Trek forums, the impact is probably much more pronounced.

FThe main takeaway from all of this is Star Trek fan films are effectively dead. Technically CBS and Paramount still allow them but that is an illusion at best as the guidelines are strict enough that basically only a backyard film is feasible. In theory experienced actors, directors, and film crew could make a short video but they should only do it if they do not care about the risk of being blacklisted from ever working on a CBS and Paramount produced Trek production in the future. With the start of a new series this year, I do not see any willing to take that risk.

The future of the planned Axanar film is unknown. One option is to give up and not make the film. The problem with that is $1.4 million in donations were raised, money that has mostly been spent so a refund is a non-starter. A lawsuit to get it back would enrich the lawyers but no one else. So I suspect that Peters will make a fan guideline allowed two part Axanar short films that meet the "spirt" of what was promised. However, it will be done without any of the professional assistance he had lined up and so the end result will be like nothing that was promised before this whole debacle began.

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