Paramount, CBS list the ways Star Trek fanfic Axanar infringes copyright

18 01 2017
Back in December, CBS and Paramount threw cold water on the grand plans of Axanar Productions, a company formed by Star Trek fans, to produce what would have been one of the most elaborate and professional-looking installments of fanfic in the Star Trek universe. Now, the Star Trek rights holders are back with an amended complaint (PDF) that lists many of the specific instances in which Axanar Productions has included something “substantially similar” to a copyrighted element in Star Trek, including races like Klingons and Vulcans, the cowl-neck uniform that Majel Barrett wore as the Enterprise’s first officer in The Original Series episode The Cage, and the concept of “Stardate.”

Axanar Productions wasn’t too worried about copyright infringement when it set out to make its movies, which currently include a 20-minute prequel called Prelude to Axanar and a forthcoming feature-length film called Axanar. After all, fans had been making Star Trek fanfic for decades, and CBS had either encouraged it or turned a blind eye.

But that tacit approval stopped after Axanar Productions was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Axanar’s writer and producer, Alec Peters assured CBS and Paramount that he and others working on the project would not make any profit—all the money they raised would go directly to making Axanar.


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