CBS: Completely Bloody Stupid

Why Star Trek makers are suing fan fiction writers

If someone wanted to be a spoilsport prick, they’d lob the examples CBS has.

From a legal standpoint, they could have a case although I see their examples as being so goddammed trivial that if I was on the jury, I’d be all, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

CBS is making a really big deal about their new Star Trek series for their All Access scheme. They expect to rake in a lot of dough.

So why don’t they be even more greedy?

Clear the next twenty-one minutes to look at what they want to stop:

Prelude to Axanar (Official)

I don’t know how many of you have seen other Star Trek fan productions. I’ve seen several. They’re OK. But this one is damned interesting.

If CBS had any damned brains — and real balls — they’d finance that for All Access.

It doesn’t take away from their Star Trek series potential. It doesn’t do any damage to the Star Trek universe at all.

Since the original Star Wars movie, there’s been countless dips into the well for spin-offs galore. None of them diluted the popularity of Star Wars (even though one seemed to try real hard). If anything, they’ve generated jillions of new dollars.

CBS is missing an actual opportunity here.

If CBS is really interested in adapting to the future, they need to change their thinking first.

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This entry was posted in So Stupid It Hurts, TV, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to CBS: Completely Bloody Stupid

  1. I made some of these very same points when this first hit. Nice to know I’m not alone in my common sense approach. http://wp.me/p3eul0-126

    Like

  2. Moosedancer says:

    Yaw!

    Like

  3. James says:

    Yes!! I can’t believe CBS is actually trying to stop Axanar! It would make one hell of a good spin off for their new All Access streaming network.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Larry Brown says:

    Spot on!

    Like

  5. Hi there,

    May I suggest you go and take some time to check out the complaint again and how it is not stupid then go to the following links to read up why this lawsuit was filed and is not “Stupid” as you claim.

    CBS/Paramount are completely within there rights to protect their IP in what ever way they seem fit to.

    http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=faq

    https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2016/02/25/how-money-and-fame-have-changed-fan-fiction/

    https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2010/05/13/the-messy-world-of-fan-art-and-copyright/

    http://www.gandtshow.com/axanar-plaintiffs-file-amended-complaint/

    Thank you for reading this comment.

    Like

    • mikecane says:

      That was a lot to read through. And you know what’s missing in all of it? Any damned hint that CBS/Paramount contacted them BEFORE filing a suit to reach some kind of accommodation. So yes, my post will remain as written. If CBS goes through with this, they’re idiots. And there is likely more to this suit than Copyright. It could be CBS’ way of forcing an accommodation. That’s how some businesses operate: A fist instead of a kiss. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all settled out of court. The best outcome would be it appearing on All Access. The best outcome for ALL the fan Trek fan films on YouTube would be for them to appear on All Access.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Laven Pillay says:

      @Axaninja
      I sort of get what you’re saying, but as the article started off by saying, sure there’s a valid Legal Claim that CBS can make. However, what most are saying is that if we put aside the Valid-but-Ridiculous claims made (only last week, I think) the _fact_ that so much of fan-made material exists and have not been targeted in the _same_ way (Copyright Infringement) is what’s ridiculous.
      Importantly, to get this out of the way :
      No matter what “the internet” says, the legal claims as made in the filed lawsuit, are 100% about Copyright Infringement and 0% about “Axanar-team making money from Axanar movie”
      So if you only look at “Copyright Infringement” – without any emotional attachment to the how the project got to where it is – the claims are legally valid (but just stupid) also apply to most other fan-made productions.
      So again, if this is – as the filed suit says – all about Copyright Infringement then for the same reasons they filed this suit, they _should_ file suits against all other Infringers, correct ? But they aren’t. Whatever the actual reasons are this is clearly a “targeted attack” and not a case of “CBS defending their IP as normal” because, so far, their norm has been to set fan-made materials to be made.
      Put it this way :
      A lot of people who are “defending” Axanar, would sort of have to accept it if CBS also brought similar lawsuits against ALL other fan-made productions who infringe on the same claims.

      Like

      • Milan R Hatch says:

        Let’s take a look at the “Legal” part shall we. The three main copyright infringements are: pointy ears (I guess any elves get sued too for infringement), Klingon language (that one is like Xerox, it’s too ingrained in our culture and taught at universities), gold tunics (change the color since the movie hasn’t been shot yet). So where do we stand legally, very, very, very weak for CBS/Paramount. It almost appears as if they gave these three items as an attempt to “save face” by saying we sued and the courts went against us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mikecane says:

        I think I also saw CBS list medals that were triangular in shape. That’s the root of my wanting to be on the jury to laugh them out of court.

        Like

    • Scott says:

      N no one is saying they’re not in there right so we’re all saying it’s stupid because this would actually help them make more money and promote their product on top of that they have had no problem letting fans make films before with the gold shirt with the Klingon language or with the pointy ears and from the Valcons in fact you can go on YouTube and find plenty of them and some rather well done just not as popular as this so are they going to do all of them as well

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  6. Technology has slowly been leveling the playing field for amateur fan film makers – if companies like CBS don’t recognize that they will lose their fans, their shows, and their company. I have no problem sitting down in front of my computer and bringing up youtube everyday instead of turning on my TV if true artists are going to continue to be overshadowed by lawyers and money hungry executives. This entire ordeal goes against what Star Trek stands for, and goes against Gene’s vision.

    Like

  7. nelson Lovell says:

    CBS is run by old white men…impossible to teach them ANY new tricks.

    Like

  8. Rick Taylor says:

    I think what it boils down to is CBS isn’t confident they can turn out a better property than Axanar. Nor, I would think, do they want a project out there that the fans HAVE ALREADY PAID TO SEE. Particularly if they intend to continue with the Reboot universe on television. Honestly, Marvel and it’s fans are ignoring the fact they made a Fantastic Four reboot that was an abject failure. Why can’t we and CBS just ignore the reboot movies, which most everyone deems to be failures? Beyond isn’t even out yet and the fan hate is truly great. Personally I’m willing to give it a shot because Simon Pegg wrote it. But that’s the only reason. This doesn’t even cover how I feel about the exclusivity of the new T.V. program. But they know every Star Trek fan who was going to watch the new show anyway will pony up or be left out. Rhymes with plankers.

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  9. Roadwarrior says:

    Friggin A! A mutually beneficial partnership would erase all of this back lash from the fans. I think CBS should swallow their pride.

    Like

    • mikecane says:

      I’m not sure pride has anything to do with this. Greed, yes, so it should be worked from that angle. Would they make more from a successful lawsuit or from an agreement where it appears on All Access?

      Like

  10. The_Grand_Nagus says:

    For anyone new to this subject, allow me to summarize:

    1) Axanar raised $1,000,000 by using the Trek IP without permission.

    2) The Axanar team then paid themselves a salary with some of that money.

    3) The Axanar team then used some of that money to build a sound stage that they stated they planned to rent for profit.

    For most fan productions, number 1 isn’t usually an issue as long as as all of the money is being invested in the project, and no PROFIT is being made. Although, admittedly, most fan productions don’t raise anywhere near that much money, and the more money raised the bigger the red flag. That said, numbers 2 and 3 are where the real problem starts, so here goes…

    No, it is NOT wrong for a non profit organization to have paid employees. Organizations like the Red Cross are examples of non profits with paid employees.

    However(and this is the key point), if you don’t actually work for the Red Cross, you can’t print off their logos, then go down to the mall and raise money, then keep some of that money to pay yourself. You cannot profit yourself using the Red Cross brand without their express permission. Likewise, you cannot profit yourself using the Trek brand without the IP owner’s express permission, which Axanar did not have.

    The same logic described above also applies to the sound stage. They cannot use funds raised by using the Trek IP without permission, then use those funds to build something that will make them a profit.

    Now, here is their defense: the project was taking all of our time, and we needed money to live on. This is an excellent example of a fake problem. The project was taking all of their time…because they *DECIDED* to spend all of their time on it. No one was forcing them work on it. So they cannot create a fake problem, then use that problem as an excuse to break the rules.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it. Here is the actual PROOF:

    http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=axanar_myths

    Like

    • Laven Pillay says:

      Hi Nagus.
      Summary :
      The actual lawsuit is the only thing that matters.
      Your “feelings” dont matter.
      In the lawsuit there are no claims regarding the money aspect (correct me if I’m wrong, but I got that confirmed by the Axanar team)

      So – Have you read the files lawsuit ?
      Because its ONLY about copyright infringement and not about “the money”.
      And that’s because its a grey area :
      Axanar is not selling the product to make money.
      They asked people for money, got the money and then used it.
      That is not Profiting.
      The fact that they built something which _can_ produce profit IN THE FUTURE, is not the same as making money from the film itself.
      And again, they didn’t “sell” anything to make that money – that money was given by volunteers for some sort of reward, like every other Kickstarter campaign out there.

      I get that people like you think Axanar “did something dirty” – they didn’t.
      They did something smart.
      Yes there are legal issues around it ….. just like EVERY other fan-made film.
      So why is this only against Axanar ?

      Like

    • Tracy Parks says:

      first line to your link:
      1. Axanar Productions is a for-profit corporation registered in the state of California.

      INCORRECT
      It’s registered as a corporation like ALL not-for profit entities. corporation ≠ for profit.

      I stopped reading after that point because if they couldn’t get that right what’s the point.

      To reach your points:
      1: If they had raised $0 and used CBS IP as you stated, would that be ok? Also to your point they did ask for permission and weren’t told NO. CBS was made fully aware of this project from the word go. it wasn’t a shock or surprise to them. this movie has been buzzing for months and months.
      2: SFW they paid themselves a salary. they also paid the actors a salary, they also paid the workers on the sets, materials, etc. that’s what the money was for. they didn’t just rain money to raise money. they raised money to get the project going. they paid themselves because this project became their main focus. can’t produce a movie of this caliber as a hobby.
      3: They RENT a building that is housing their sound stage, the sets required for the movie to be made. maybe you’d expect them to use cardboard boxes on a vacant lot? but then you’d probably complain that the money they raised should have gone to a sound stage.

      The rest of your diatribe is meaningless and full of false analogy fallacies.

      Like

    • The big trouble with your position (other than the points laid out above that Axanar is not a for-profit enterprise, not that it even matters for this lawsuit) is that Paramount and CBS had an existing policy of looking the other way for fan productions. As far as they were aware, Axanar were following the same rules as those other productions and hadn’t done anything to provoke a lawsuit. The production was started under the good-faith understanding that they were operating in the same unsanctioned amnesty that other Star Trek fan films (like Renegades, which took donations as well, and has already been published, unlike Axanar) enjoyed. CBS and Paramount are lucky that copyright law allows this kind of selective suit.

      While fan fiction and fan films may occupy a murky and technically-illegal part of the creative landscape, the reality is that they’re generally *good* for an IP, not bad for it, and that lawsuits like this are normally bad publicity for an IP licence holder like Paramount and CBS. This is an area where law hasn’t caught up to what people perceive as fair usage, and honestly, if there is no claim to be an official Star Trek film, (which there clearly isn’t) and no profit is being made, morally I don’t see why CBS and Paramount should be able to object, even if legally they have every right.

      The claimed infringing elements are facile and stupid. If pointy ears violated Paramount’s copyrights, they should be suing MTV for the Shannara Chronicles. (They would’ve needed to sue the Hobbit too, however they went ahead and bought that) Claiming Klingon is their copyright is absurd- there is absolutely no precedent for copyrighting a language. And triangular medals? Really? Grow up.

      I sincerely hope that their argument is that using all of those things TOGETHER constitutes Star Trek, otherwise they’ve bought a pie to a gunfight. Even then they need much better examples, as ironically triangular medals is probably their best point so far!

      Like

  11. For anyone new to this subject, allow me to summarize:

    1) Axanar raised $1,000,000 by using the Trek IP *without* permission.

    2) The Axanar team then paid themselves a salary with some of that money.

    3) The Axanar team then used some of that money to build a sound stage that they stated they planned to rent for profit.

    For most fan productions, number 1 isn’t usually an issue as long as as all of the money is being invested in the project, and no PROFIT is being made. Although, admittedly, most fan productions don’t raise anywhere near that much money, and the more money raised the bigger the red flag. That said, numbers 2 and 3 are where the real problem starts, so here goes…

    No, it is NOT wrong for a NON profit organization to have paid employees. Organizations like the Red Cross are examples of non profits with paid employees.

    However(and this is the key point), if you don’t actually work for the Red Cross, you can’t print off their logos, then go down to the mall and raise money, then keep some of that money to pay yourself. You cannot profit yourself using the Red Cross brand without their express PERMISSION. Likewise, you cannot profit yourself using the Trek brand without the IP owner’s express PERMISSION, which Axanar did not have.

    The same logic described above also applies to the sound stage. They cannot use funds raised by using the Trek IP without PERMISSION, then use those funds to build something that will make them a profit.

    Now, here is their defense: the project was taking all of our time, and we needed money to live on. This is an excellent example of a fake problem. The project was taking all of their time…because they *DECIDED* to spend all of their time on it. No one was forcing them work on it. So they cannot create a fake problem, then use that problem as an excuse to break the rules.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it. Here is the actual PROOF:

    http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=axanar_myths

    Like

    • just repeating your comment basically means you have no retort.
      PLEASE do not kid your selves. CBS was aware from the start…CBS see it as a direct threat to them. it is all about what CBS control. IF CBS close this down then and leave other Fan fiction (which most i say with no problem are complete rubbish ) in tact then that`s the reason its not all this LEGAL bla bla bla that i see people spouting..CBS didn’t make this, realize the potential it has and instead of using common sense.. like most massive companies would rather crush it rather than nurture it.

      Like

  12. RC Crier says:

    At best in court they lose bigger and have to know this is lose lose case.They win they lose. the world fans that made the franchise. The boycott will do way more damage then they can imagine.

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  13. jebster@mailinator.com says:

    You want CBS to finance IP thieves. They were offering Axanar minion t-shirts (yes, the little yellow guys) and Axanar coffee with trademarked images on the packaging to donors fo x amount. They built a studio using funds raised off the Trek IP and planned to use that studio for future for profit projects. Alec Peters paid himself $38000. All of this was done using the Trek IP and yet, there is no film. 1.2 million dollars was raised and a good portion of it was spent on above. None of it to date has been spent on the movie. Donors who started respectfully asking questions about the money were booted out of the Axanar FB groups, banned and labeled “haters”.

    This is what you are defending.

    Like

    • mikecane says:

      No, I’m defending the future. As someone else here in Comments has stated, entertainment production is quickly moving out of the hands of the rich few to the non-rich many. Studios will find themselves with fan-made reboots of things that were previously deemed “failures” but become raging successes as reboots — and how will they deal with that? Sue things out of existence? Anything posted on the Internet is basically eternal. Even if it’s removed from “public view,” trust me on this one, it still exists *somewhere* on the Net for people in the know to grab and pass along. All of this is, in the end, about business. Don’t spend money on lawsuits. Make money from accommodations. If they don’t plan for this now, they’ll regret it all later.

      Like

    • RC Crier says:

      You may have ask question that were answer clear and open at the start. Yes Alec took a one time pay and no the perk and store item didn’t all come from the Kickstarter funds that was from other investing in item to sell to add in to the funds..
      Common sense to keep building on funds as you spend. the fund to build a permanent production non profit fan productions And for Original non trek scifi production . This was in the the Kick-starter it was never hidden. I saw some the comment those booted .. They were not need. and at best going on faulty info.
      As for funds you do know there was second one to done? The first one to build up all the studio the sets costume,props and more then get the script final(there isn’t one locked last saw posted) There ton that has to get paid for and that also in the info all could read on the kickstarter and those that just look the video and donated seen shock at how thing are spent and seem to never join the group but to come and yell about the money did go to the film? BS. The best way to deal with this is Have you anyone bitching done any high end fan production or any of any kind? If No is the real answer and you know it then shut up and look for facts and not fiction and rumors and lie.

      Like

  14. HubcapDave says:

    Nice post! I covered similar ground in my most recent blog post, though a bit more dispassionately.

    EDITED to add his post link: http://hubcapdave.blogspot.com/2016/03/paramountcbs-vs-axanar-where-no-fan.html

    Like

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