movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Wed Jun 29 2016, 10:39pm | 7 comments
I get that Axanar got out of line, but these rules squarely take down ST Continues, Phase II/New Voyages, Starship Farragut, and all the rest. The stuff about not profiting or commercializing is obvious and fair, but the rest is just mean.
Must use licensed toys and props? C’mon. So if little Suzie and Jimmy are making ST fan films in their living room, they can’t use uniforms their mom sewed and a cardboard tricorder, they have to go out and buy licensed costumes and toys from the Paramount store? (Clearly not the use case these rules were contemplating, but still!)
Very disappointing and sad.
You know what Trek film-making fandom doesn’t do? Make money for Paramount.
Look at those Trek Fast Trek Furious trailers. The Trek franchise is just another big stupid action movie now. Big stupid action movies don’t need a loyal fanbase to make money – they need expensive marketing campaigns.
And the fans will keep buying the DVDs anyway.
No, but thanks to Alec Peters’s stupidity and arrogance, CBS/Paramount’s lawyers have had to answer to many uncomfortable questions from a judge about what they will and won’t allow.
It’s stupid because copyright law (AFIAK, and IANAL) doesn’t require copyright holders to actively protect those rights in the past to assert them in the future. (That’s trademarks.) But the realities of litigation appear to weaken a rights-holder’s claims if they don’t.
Seriously, to hell with Alec Peters, and Axanar. And frankly to all the people who haven’t clued in that Axanar itself is an action movie.
But they’re not making money for anyone, period. That’s all that should matter. Only legit creators and copyright holders should profit from creative material. That’s as it should be. Stuff done purely for love should be given a pass unless there is some overwhelming overriding concern, such as that there is a possibility that someone might mistake fan-produced stuff for the legit stuff. Which is not happening. (Fans saying that the fan stuff is *better* than the legit stuff doesn’t qualify.)
You can say that, but you aren’t a company that is expected to extract as much money from its intellectual property as possible.
Personally I think that one can make a case for agreeing that individual authors can reasonably ask people not to write fanfic in their worlds, on a simple basis of respect for said authors. But media properties like this don’t have human owners, and are created by very many separate people, so that can’t apply.
But they’re not making money for anyone, period
That’s the line Peters crossed. What Axanar Productions was/is doing looks enough like, at the least, trying to make money, which triggered this whole mess. Because Paramount/CBS was asked what exactly they were willing to allow, and didn’t have clear answers for the court.
I think the vast majority of fan films will continue to fly under the radar (or at least be ignored by the studios). It’s the really ambitious productions, like Axanar and Continues, that are going to have issues. But those productions are already stretching the definition of “fan film”.
The only one that jumped out at me as putative was the “no one who has worked on Star Trek in the past” guideline. The presence of known actors from the series is the thing most likely to cause that kind of confusion, but the language is really broad.
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