Star Trek fan film Axanar may not live long and prosper

cbs paramount axanar lawsuit will proceed star trek
Late last year, the creators of the short Star Trek fan film Prelude to Axanar were preparing to start work on its feature-length follow-up, Axanar. Progress came to a halt, however, when the creators were notified of a lawsuit over copyright infringement from Star Trek franchise owners CBS and Paramount.

The creators of the fan film asked the court to either dismiss the case outright or at least strike some of the copyright claims, but weren’t successful. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner ruled (PDF link) that the lawsuit will indeed go to court on January 31, 2017.

The day before the ruling, the Axanar team had expressed optimism, particularly that the date for the hearing had been moved up by more than three months. “That means, we could win this case and have Axanar back in production in March, 2017,” Axanar Productions head and Prelude to Axanar actor Alec Peters wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “Yes, we will finish Axanar!”

The Axanar creators had argued that certain elements associated with the Star Trek universe like the Klingon language couldn’t be protected by copyright. In his ruling, Klausner doesn’t dispute that these elements might not be protected when used alone, but as a whole, it’s a different story.

“When viewed in a vacuum, each of these elements may not individually be protectable by copyright,” Klausner said in the ruling. “Plaintiffs, however, do not seek to enforce their copyright in each of these elements individually. Rather, Plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claims are based on the Star Trek Copyrighted Works as a whole.”

While CBS and Paramount can certainly afford a lengthy period in court much more than the creators of a crowdfunded film can, Peters is confident that his team will come out victorious on at least some counts. “My money is on the judge dismissing at least the claim against the film Axanar, since we haven’t even begun production, and so you can’t even judge a fair-use defense,” he wrote.

In the past, both CBS and Paramount have looked the other way on fan works, which is part of the reason such an ambitious effort as Axanar was conceived in the first place. That said, it’s easier than ever to distribute these works, and there are multiple official Star Trek projects underway, which could explain why the companies are now being litigious.

“In the meantime, we continue our efforts to settle this matter with CBS and Paramount so we can move forward with telling the story of Axanar in a way that satisfies both the studios and the over ten thousand fans who financially supported our project,” Peters wrote in a blog post yesterday.

Edited by Kristofer Wouk on 05-11-2016: Updated to clarify when various comments by Peters were made


Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.
Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.
Movies & TV

You can get a screaming deal on LG OLED TVs just in time for the Super Bowl

LG is offering steep discounts on its critically acclaimed OLED TV models just in time for the Super Bowl, letting discerning viewers watch their favorite athletes with higher picture quality than ever.
Movies & TV

Jason Reitman’s ‘Ghostbusters’ sequel already has a creepy teaser trailer

Jason Reitman, son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, has secretly co-written a follow-up to the 1984 supernatural comedy. Filming begins this summer, but it's not clear if the original Ghostbusters will reprise their roles.
Movies & TV

Netflix recruits Steve Carell for the Trump-inspired comedy ‘Space Force’

Steve Carell, Netflix, and The Office showrunner Greg Daniels are teaming up for Space Force, a workplace comedy poking fun at the Trump White House's plans to establish a sixth branch of the U.S. military.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Movies & TV

The ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ trailer has finally arrived

Lionsgate has released the first, full-length trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, the third installment of the action franchise that casts Keanu Reeves as the world's greatest assassin.
Movies & TV

Here's everything we know about 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum'

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.