Star Trek has some of the best fans in the world. That is why it was so surprising that Paramount and CBS brought a lawsuit against Star Trek: Axanar, a fan film that raised $1.13 million via crowdfunding, last December. Despite letting many other fan-made projects see the light of day, Paramount and CBS accused Star Trek: Axanar of infringing on their intellectual property.
Last month, J.J. Abrams revealed that Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin had convinced Paramount and CBS to drop the lawsuit, and today, Paramount and CBS released new guidelines pertaining to future Star Trek fan-made projects.
"The heart of these fan films has always been about expressing one’s love and passion for Star Trek. They have been about fan creativity and sharing unique stories with other fans to show admiration for the TV shows and movies," reads official statement. "These films are a labor of love for any fan with desire, imagination and a camera.
"We want to support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon. It is with this perspective in mind that we are introducing a set of guidelines at Star Trek Fan Films."
Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:
- The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.
- The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.
- The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.
- If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.
- The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.
- The fan production must be non-commercial:
- CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.
- The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.
- The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.
- The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.
- No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.
- The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.
“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”
And what does Alec Peters, the executive producer of Star Trek: Axanar, think of these new guidelines? "These guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom,” Peters told The Wrap. "In no way can that be seen as supportive or encouraging, which is very disheartening.
"While CBS and Paramount claim to want to encourage the passion of fans to produce ‘reasonable fan fiction,’ the restrictions presented do just the opposite," Peters continued, "willfully ignoring over forty years of fan works that helped buoy the ‘Star Trek’ franchise through some very lean years and enthusiastically spread the magic of the franchise in more plentiful times."
Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters and IMAX beginning July 22.