Axanar Lawsuit Update

Alec Peters as Axanar's Garth of Izar .

Alec Peters as Axanar’s Garth of Izar .

Alec Peters, Excecutive Producer of the fan-made Star Trek movie Axanar, now being sued by Paramount and CBS for copyright infringement, has posted an update on Facebook.

Only the first question in his “Official Lawsuit Q&A” is not about donating money —

1) Have you formerly responded to the lawsuit?

Paramount/CBS lawyers granted us a 30 day extension. So we are working towards that due date of Feb. 22nd with our new attorneys at Winston & Strawn.

Peters has hired the Winston & Strawn firm as legal counsel.

Representing Axanar Productions and Peters will be attorneys Erin Ranahan and Andrew Jick from the firm’s Los Angeles office.  Winston & Strawn have agreed to represent Axanar Productions and Alec Peters on a pro-bono basis.

The suit, filed by CBS and Paramount on December 29, 2015, seeks to stop Axanar Productions from producing a fan film set in the Star Trek universe. The suit also asks for damages from the production company, its chief executive Alec Peters and a host of unnamed defendants who were involved in the production of the short film PRELUDE TO AXANAR.

“We’re pleased to have our case taken up by Winston & Strawn,” said Peters. “The knowledge, credibility and reputation they bring to this matter will certainly help us work things out with CBS and Paramount in a professional manner and, we hope, to a mutual benefit so we can go on and make a Star Trek film fans have told us they want to see.”

Peters says Axanar Productions suspended fund-raising activities for the feature production, but is still taking “retroactive” pledges to Prelude to Axanar. Principal photography also has been delayed “until the fate of the lawsuit can be discussed in more detail with counsel.”

Axanar already raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus for the story.]

14 thoughts on “Axanar Lawsuit Update

  1. Should “formerly” in question 1 be “formally”? (I can get meaning from it either way, but “have you formerly responded?” isn’t something I’d expect from a native speaker of English.)

  2. Vicki Rosenzweig: Should “formerly” in question 1 be “formally”? (I can get meaning from it either way, but “have you formerly responded?” isn’t something I’d expect from a native speaker of English.)

    I’m tellin’ ya, it’s those damn Commonwealthers and their Magikal Appearing and Disappearing Rs!

  3. I don’t know what the producers of the Axanar film expected to happen, if not this. It’s what I would expect to happen if I and some other fans attempted to produce a sequel to Frozen, or a Marvel or DC superhero film. We live in an era where our culture is the copyrighted property of the ruling class … not like in the olden days where Robin Hood, Santa Claus and Hercules belonged to everyone. Given the reality of the Corporate Ages, the best possible outcome of this debacle might be if the studio were to undertake the making of Axanar, with due concessions and a percentage to the creators.

  4. I side with Paramount on this one. Axanar is not a fan production, and they did in fact actually call it professional. When they hired professional actors, and paid them professional rates, they crossed the line. Worse, by doing this, they stirred up the waters for the rest of us who make fan films. Star Trek did not develop from a commonly held mythology, it was created–ship, universe, makeup, uniforms, names, the whole shebang– and is still owned by the people who created it.

  5. Once again, Peters seems to be under the impression that as long as he says funds are not fungible, then magically they are not. “Oh, I’m no longer taking donations for Axanar. No, I’ll I’m taking now is retroactive donations for my previous film!”

    I think Paramount’s accountants are going to wet themselves laughing when they see his books.

  6. Rose Embolism: Well, it’s a good thing that they took a million in donations. That way, they’ll be able to afford to toss lots of money at lawyers.

    I’m guessing that Winston & Strawn are big Star Trek fans:

    Winston & Strawn have agreed to represent Axanar Productions and Alec Peters on a pro-bono basis.

  7. Cathy Palmer-Lister wrote:

    Star Trek did not develop from a commonly held mythology, it was created–ship, universe, makeup, uniforms, names, the whole shebang — and is still owned by the people who created it.”

    Not so, Desilu/Paramount (and now CBS) have owned over two-thirds from the beginning. Gene Roddenberry through his Norway Corp. owned the rest and various other creative personnel (Eddie Milkis, William Ware Theiss, Gene L. Coon, Marc Daniels, etc.) were employees of the studio. Any pieces of ownership Gene R. might have shared or wanted to share shrank his piece of the pie, not the studio’s.

    Something which has been true from the beginnings of television is that the money-boys keep the proverbial lion’s share of the profits for themselves. Since the FCC and FTC relaxed the rules which disallowed network ownership of programming and permitted it to occur again, the networks once more own a piece of everything, along with the studios, and you won’t get on the air without ceding the bulk of your ownership rights to your creation — not ever, not once.

    After thirty years and a teeth-pulling lawsuit, even Hollywood accountants couldn’t hide that there was a net profit to Star Trek, with William Shatner and Gene Roddenberry finally getting the percentages of the net for which they had personally contracted.

  8. P. S.: Unless someone becomes sane and a compromise is reached with regard to profits, rights, and licensing, Axanar possibly may have pushed the fan film envelope too far, causing all fan projects to have to be shut down.

    I hope that isn’t what is going to happen, but a blanket prohibition is the way to bet.

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  10. It just goes to show you if you want or do something in or from Hollywood you have to sue to stop it or get its permission. It is the fans that made ST what it is now, it was a fan who through her letter writing campaign brought back TOS from cancellation for a third season (Thank you Bijo). It will be fans who will have to come to Mr. Peters defense if he wants to win. CBS for my opinion doesn’t want a competitor out there especially when it is coming out with a new Ster Trek series in honor of its 50th anniversary which will debut on CBS then be broadcast on CBS’s new on-line subscription service set to roll out later this year or next year. Now if that isn’t a KICK in the BALLS to the FANS I don’t know what is!!! For me stinks because of both the new TPP trade pact (which you all must read involving copyright protection-all written by CORPORATE ATTORNIES that does not offer any type of defense/protection, just penalties) and existing copyright laws will make free thinking or thoughts a copyright infringement! What happen to the free exchange of thoughts, information and ideas? They went beside the way of the dodo bird! What piece of work has man become!

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