It seems ‘Star Trek’ fan film ‘Axanar’ has a rather high-profile supporter…
After being slapped with a lawsuit from ‘Star Trek’ rights owners CBS & Paramount, the fan film ‘Axanar’ has found an unlikely supporter – ‘Star Trek Beyond’ director, Justin Lin.
“This is getting ridiculous!” he said via Twitter. “I support the fans. Trek belongs to all of us.”
But what’s ‘Axanar’ all about?
“Axanar takes place 21 years before the events of ‘Where no Man Has Gone Before’, the first Kirk episode of the original Star Trek,” explains the official website. “Axanar is the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero. We met Garth in the third season TOS episode Whom Gods Destroy. Kirk called Garth the role model for all future Starfleet Officers. Garth charted more planets than any other Captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar, the story of which is required reading at the academy. This is that story.”
So what’s the problem? The makers of Axanar explain that the fan-film is entirely non-commercial… but is that enough to save it?
“Axanar is an independent project that uses the intellectual property of CBS under the provision that Axanar is totally non-commercial,” they explain. “That means we can never charge for anything featuring their marks or intellectual property and we will never sell the movie, DVD/Blu-ray copies, T-shirts, or anything which uses CBS owned marks or intellectual property.”
It certainly looks as though ‘Star Trek Beyond’ director Justin Lin is behind them all the way.
But that’s not the same stance as CBS & Paramount.
“To the argument that because the crowdfunded film hasn’t actually been made yet, the lawsuit is ‘premature, unripe and would constitute an impermissible prior restraint on speech,’ the plaintiffs point to defendant’s Facebook post that mentioned a ‘locked script’,” explained The Hollywood Reporter.
“They also note a press interview that Peters gave on Feb. 1 where he said, ‘We violate CBS copyright less than any other fan film’, as an admission he indeed is violating copyright.”
And here’s what CBS & Paramount are claiming infringe their copyright:
That’s right – CBS and Paramount claim that the Vulcan’s pointy ears in ‘Axanar’ infringe the design of Vulcans in their TV and film series. And on top of that, the gold uniforms in the Original Series are subject to copyright, too.
And the best part? They also include the entire Klingon language.
Although there have been numerous concerns about the copyright ownership of the Klingon language in the past, there’s been no indication that CBS & Paramount would attempt to stop others from speaking the language.
Can a (fictional) language fall under copyright?
Could this be a landmark case? Well, it definitely boldly goes where no lawsuit has gone before.
‘Star Trek Beyond’ heads to cinemas on 22 July 2016.
Picture Credit: Axanar, The Hollywood Reporter