Paramount and CBS Sue Over Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ Movie

Crowdfunded 'Star Trek' Movie
Photo Courtesy: Paramount TV

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Dec. 30, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Paramount and CBS, the companies that own the “Star Trek” franchise, for years have been very accepting of fan films, based on popular TV and movie franchise.

In fact, the studios have even encouraged fans of “Star Trek” franchise to use their imagination in making fan films, but on Tuesday, the entertainment companies went to their battle stations and launched a legal missile at a production company touting the first independent “Star Trek” film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

However, “Axanar” is no ordinary Star Trek film. The forthcoming feature film is the source of more than $1 million in crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The producers, led by Alec Peters, aim to make a studio-quality film. Traditionally, fan films have been amateur productions.

As the pitch to investors put it, “While some may call it a ‘fan film’ as we are not licensed by CBS, ‘Axanar’ has professionals working in front and behind the camera, with a fully professional crew ─ many of whom have worked on ‘Star Trek’ itself ─ who ensure ‘Axanar’ will be the quality of ‘Star Trek’ that all fans want to see.”

Paramount and CBS see a violation of their intellectual property.

“The Axanar Works infringe plaintiffs’ works by using innumerable copyrighted elements of ‘Star Trek,’ including its settings, characters, species, and themes,” states the complaint.

Axanar has become one of the biggest film projects in Kickstarter history, and has been nearing warp speed with the reported help of “Star Trek” actor George Takei. The film mines subject area referenced in the late 1960s Gene Roddenberry television series and appears to be a prequel.

According to a description of the movie on the defendant’s website, “‘Axanar’ takes place 21 years before the events of “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the first Kirk episode of the original Star Trek.

Photo Courtesy: Star Trek Axanar

“Axanar” is the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero. “Axanar” tells the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart. Garth’s victory at Axanar solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk’s time. It is the year 2245 and the war with the Klingons ends here.”

By August, Peters was giving interviews expressing confidence that the project would survive any legal heat. He spoke to The Wrap that month and reported having a meeting with CBS.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Peters says he was told the film couldn’t make money — and evidently, he took that to be a good sign that his film would be tolerated as long as it wasn’t a commercial endeavor.

“CBS has a long history of accepting fan films. I think ‘Axanar’ has become so popular that CBS realizes that we’re just making their brand that much better.”

Paramount and CBS’ attorneys are seeking an injunction based on the idea this isn’t just a fan film since it employs professionals.

Read the full complaint:

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