AXANAR’s Alec Peters: CBS, Paramount Provide No Rules For Fan Films

Following last week’s filing of a motion to dismiss the copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Paramount and CBS, Axanar executive producer Alec Peters discussed a myriad of topics related to the highly-criticized project with Matthew Miller of Trekzone.org.

Via Skype, Peters denied receiving any documentation from the legal department at CBS outlining what could and what could not be done with a fan production, calling it a “total fabrication.”

“We know the source of that and that is absolutely false.” Peters remarked. “There are simply no rules. Anyone who says otherwise is frankly lying.”

“They do not want to do anything that jeopardizes their IP [intellectual property] and may create rights — which is too bad, because Lucasfilm does exactly that for Star Wars.”

Peters as Captain Garth in "Prelude to Axanar"
Peters as Captain Garth in “Prelude to Axanar” (photo: Youtube)

Peters refused to answer questions about the amount of money that would be required to produce the Axanar feature film and the sale of Ares Studio.

You can watch the interview embedded below.

A heated preview of the second part of the interview is shown at the end of the video. During which, Miller asks Peters about banning detractors from the Axanar Facebook pages and more.

25 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Castmodean
    • j4m3S

      Although I would love to say these are “set” rules they are only things that have been put together over years and discussions between the various Fan Film Directors etc.

      There isn’t any “solid” rules unfortunately 🙁

      I have spoken to Patty a fair bit and she is a VERY nice person so what this has dragged up for her no doubt hurts a lot.

      But that is AP for you hurt others as long as hes ok

      • Greg Price

        He keeps saying “give us rules”. They did. And he can’t make Axanar under those rules.

  • j4m3S

    I do want to point out that Alec is fond of touting Disney and there rules for fan films, But there is any either and since there is a wide assumption that Star Wars allows fan films I put this together.

    So what makes Lucasfilms so different when allowing fan films.

    Since Axanar’s Alec Peters keeps bring this point up and how many of Axanar’s fans also like to reiterate it along with the argument of “why can’t CBS and Paramount do the same” I have decided to break down the Star Wars fan film rules.

    Firstly I would like to point out that like Star Trek there is NO written rules for Star Wars beyond the ones given to you for the fan film awards which is held yearly but Lucasfilms and Disney.

    This means that to make a Star Wars fan film and have it distributed online (or given away free) unless it is the one you have made and entered into the fan film awards carries the same risks as making a Star Trek fan film and like CBS AND PARAMOUNT’S stance it is NOT permitted and is in the same “grey” area that Star Trek fan films are as there is not one written rule saying it is ok! Or condoned by Lucasfilms or Disney.

    The Star wars Fan Film Awards are held yearly and have a long range of do’s and don’ts supplied in a pack that you get when signing up for the awards ( a copy that you can obtain simply from signing up to http://uk.starwars.com/star-wars-fan-film-awards )

    Some of the Do’s and Don’ts include:

    = DO NOT make the film longer than FIVE minutes – Now how can anyone say this is a good thing, NO fan film is FIVE minutes long.

    = DO NOT use any Sound effects that are not provided to you in the “pack” you get from Lucasfilms.

    = Do NOT include any names and/or likenesses of any person other than you in the Submission without first obtaining written permission (this includes not using images/voices of famous people). You will be responsible for getting written permission from any person included in your Video (or their parent/guardian in the case of minors).

    = DO NOT show any brands or logos, famous landmarks, buildings, books, works of art etc.

    You are granted A Non-Exclusive Licence to use the Star Wars IP but this means the licensee has the right to use the intellectual property, but means that the licensor remains free to exploit the same intellectual property and to allow any number of other licensees to also exploit the same intellectual property.

    Taken from the official rules:

    SPONSOR’S LIMITED LICENSE TO CONTESTANT TO USE LUCASFILM IP If your Video includes, uses or features Lucasfilm IP from the Pack or officially licensed Star Wars® toys, costumes, accessories and clothing, Sponsor grants you a non-exclusive license to create the Video using Lucasfilm IP or officially licensed Star Wars® products for the purposes of creating a Video for this Contest only, provided that such license shall be conditioned upon your assignment to Sponsor of all rights in and to the Video (if such rights are not assigned to Sponsor, your license to create the Submission using Lucasfilm IP or officially licensed Star Wars® products shall be null and void). At all times, as between Sponsor and Contestant, Sponsor shall retain all right, title and interest in the Lucasfilm IP and officially licensed Star Wars® products as well as all copyrights therein; this grant of a license is not intended to transfer any ownership rights in the Lucasfilm IP or officially licensed Star Wars® products or the copyrights therein. This grant of license is made contingent upon the Contestant maintaining all copyright and trademark notices included in the Lucasfilm IP in the Pack or officially licensed Star Wars® toys, costumes, accessories and clothing. The licensed rights will automatically expire at the end of the Contest. Any other use of the Lucasfilm IP in the Pack or officially licensed Star Wars® toys, costumes, accessories and clothing is strictly prohibited and constitutes an actionable violation of Sponsor’s rights.

    • Michael Leeling

      And for those whom aren’t versed in copyright law and the legalese?

      • j4m3S

        It means there are no rules for star wars either and if you pull a axanar on Disney then God forbid you best be rich

        • Greg Price

          Seems to me those rules are pretty clear: 5 min or less, no product placement (even inadvertant), use only the materials we give you for the purpose, and we still own all commercial rights.

  • ZOD

    Star Trek–the collection of ideas, props and films–is owned by Paramount & CBS. Other companies & writers probably own bits of it too. They can do whatever they want within whatever agreement they have with each other. A certain amount of parody & commentary is within our rights (in the US) and is traditionally allowed everywhere. Other countries are bound by treaties & agreements but not US copyright/patent law. Anyway, Fan films are 100% at the disgresion of the rights owners. We don’t have any particular right to make fan films and we have absolutely no right to profit from them. If everyone learns from Axanar, and calms down everything will be cool. If lawyers start poking around YouTube any more than they already do–the era of fan films is probably over.

    • Troy Light

      I’m sorry, but so far, I’ve yet to see where Axanar is ‘profitting’ in any form. First, the film hasn’t even been made yet. Second, YouTube is awash in Star Trek fanfilms, some of which are so detailed as to be considered television-worthy when compared to the Original Series (can we say ‘Star Trek Continues’?) So far, what I can’t figure out is why there is so much nastiness directed toward Alec Peters. His goal is to produce a fan film that is of the same quality that we see from Hollywood…only not costing so much. He’s already shown that it CAN be done with his Prelude to Axanar short film. Now he wants to actually create the feature film OF the Axanar battle. The level of vitriol that I see coming from some people is staggering. From what I’ve read on both sides, Paramount and CBS are actually treading some murky waters that could turn into a Kobyashi Maru scenario of their own. When I saw that Alec’s attempt at producing the Axanar film was being sued, my immediate response was, “Wait a second…what about every other fan-film that has been produced up to now?” You’ve got Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Phase II, Star Trek Farragut, Star Trek Horizon, Star Trek Renegades, not to mention the dozens of animated versions I’ve seen. For Paramount / CBS to target Alec’s Axanar production without touching the other fan-film creations smacks of hypocrisy. It’s okay that these other versions were made, and yet Alec Peters’ attempt (which hasn’t even been created yet) is a copyright infringement? Things that make you go HUH?

      Personally, I would love to see what the end result of Alec’s attempt would produce. If the short film is any indication, it would be interstellar, and leave a heaping helping of egg on the faces of the collective Star Trek bigwigs in Hollywood. My opinion…let Alec create Axanar. It doesn’t mess with the canon of the series or the films, since Garth of Izar was only mentioned ONCE and never saw any mention after that point. All he’s doing is creating something that fans obviously want to see, but Paramount / CBS are unwilling to put forth the effort to make. Again, let Alec make Axanar. If nothing else, they should consider hiring HIM to produce the next Star Trek feature film, or the new series. At least Alec and his group seem to show more passion and desire to honor Star Trek and its fans than those uppities who, if the first trailer for Star Trek Beyond is any indication, apparently have no idea what Star Trek is all about.

      • ZOD

        I donated to this, I liked their extended trailer & would like to see the movie they want to make. Unfortunately raising over a million dollars to make a “professionally produced” (IIRC) movie bothered Paramount & ABC. Star Trek is their property. If they don’t like a fan film, it can’t happen. Having a great idea doesn’t give you license to use other people’s intellectual property. Especially if they tell you to stop.

        I’d take way better care of an orange 911 turbo than my jackass neighbor who can’t shift to save his life. That doesn’t give me the right to steal his car.

        Seriously though, I die a little every time he drives down the street in first gear.

      • Jon Emeigh

        Peters paid himself and two associates salaries out of the crowdfunded money- this was reported in their 1099 on 15 December 2015. Two weeks later, the lawsuit came out…it specifically cites as one of its claims that Axanar’s creators “benefited financially” from Star Trek’s IP (this, along with the coffee they sold using Star Trek’s IP).

        One doesn’t have to make a profit in order to still benefit financially…Peters is trying to hide behind a very narrow definition of benefit as pure profit/loss. It won’t work.

        I think had he not paid the salaries, sold the coffee, and announced the studio he was setting up would do more than just Star Trek fan films, he would have been ignored just as other fan film producers…even quality ones like James Cawley…had been.

        I see no way Peters can win this.

      • Greg Price
  • Wolf359

    “Sale of Ares Studio” – it’s a rented studio. Can’t be sold. Do your research.

    • Anthony Shuh

      The studio which was rented using crowdfunding money is now offered up for private lease, it’s not for sale yet – after the court ruling it’ll be for sale again !

    • Greg Price

      The BUSINESS Ares Studio (now Independent or Valkyrie or whatever the name is this week) can be sold.

  • Milo

    It’s too bad that CBS and Paramount can’t figure this out better. I’d love them to take a page from their own book in regards to Star Trek fan fiction in books: “Strange New Worlds,” the used to be once a year book that was canceled and then brought back this year filled with fan fiction in the written form.

    It could be fun if CBS held some kind of contest for the best fan films and then every year released the best in an anthology format on DVD/Blu-ray or something. That way the fan would be happy and CBS would make money off their IP.

  • Anthony Shuh

    This entire project (Axanar) is nothing more than smoke and mirrors bullshit! The original concept maybe was to produce an Axanar movie, however mismanagement and greed have taken over ! After listening to this Alec Peters literally stumble over his dialogue, drawing blank theories, and charging back anytime funding or money is concerned, it’s appearent that this project is miles from actual production now and with this court action probably will never see the light of day ! How anybody could justify the management of the project is beyond me… Let’s see, you take in over one million dollars of fan money to produce a movie or so called professional quality. The first thing to do is rent a massive warehouse in the high rent district of Los Angeles, design and furnish your buddies and your office before one set is constructed, install a large green screen so other firms can lease it use, and then start selling Star Trek branded items (some which Alec Peters presses out on a standard 3D printer) in your store ! Now with all this that we already know (much more behind the scenes I’m sure) now where did they go wrong ! With all that has been paid for with crowdfunding money and they’re no closer to filming this movie than they were when this shame fist started – nothing but thrills have been spent out so far ! After listening to this interview which Mister Peters looks shaky at best on several key issues, especially the funding and money, there’s no doubt that this film will never get made !! This has been a total fleecing of the fans for money for this fly-by-night project which will never materialize ! Who knows, maybe someday he would have turned out sometype of green screen film (like Prelude to Axanar”) to satisfy the fans and keep funds going, but the entent now has shifted to funding his new studio project ! In the second part of this interview you can clearly see the mentality of Alec Peters and his quick draw for his attorney to cover the incompetence of himself, and this guy is running this show ! The fans who watch this and part two should begin to establish the character of Mister Peters, this was the guy who you sent your weekly allowance to ! As this lawsuit continues and new stipulations are put in place over copyrighted Star Trek issues, other fan film projects will no doubt get the new rules on what’s allowed – probably most will not be allowed to continue and all because of this greedy idiot who wanted to profit by having crowdfunding support his business dream !! It’s true Alec Peters did operate PropWorks, which is now belly up ! So he does have plenty of experience with running operations, right in the ground !!
    To make things interesting he also mentions the acting studio project (which is housed in the same crowdfunded building) in which so called Trek fans can pay money to actually play on the sets while Alec Peters teaches you acting 101, he should be teaching scamming 101 !!!

    • OphidianJaguar

      Right, they are putting money and time into building sets, which we have clearly seen to what…simply play with them and not make a movie!? Smoke and mirrors my ass. You seem to be so full of hate and negativity it has blinded you. You’re just so pissed off like the minority who hates Axanar and that it still has so many supporters. PropWorx just had an auction at the end of March. Belly up? get your facts straight. Again so full of hate, you can’t think straight. When this movie does get made and Axanar and CBS are able to make a settlement, you’re going to look like a goof lol. I guess I must have been scammed when I donated to Prelude to Axanar and got my high quality blu-ray, two posters, and 4 patches. Receiving everything I donated for is clearly a scam. People are more than likely pissed off because the movie was taking longer to make and some people have no way to rationalize that except getting angry. If hollywood movies get delayed you don’t think some fan film or indie project would be delayed…possible more so than hollywood movies!? I fully expected Axanar to take two years to make, three at most. I never expected it to be made in one year, regardless of what anyone said.

      • Anthony Shuh

        PropWorx when bankrupt in 2012 with over $400,000.00 in dedt and that’s a fact, they probably are back with the crowdfunding money .. As far as the sets, I’ve seen the posts and its simply a wooden incomplete shell of the bridge, a large green screen room, and a few mocked up pieces of props and sets – nothing near production useable ! He has to show something to keep the fans who contributed from crying foul, again just more smoke and mirror bullshit ! If you were lucky enough to have received any type of perk then you should feel lucky, many more (several which I know) haven’t received anything yet and one has even been blocked by this Mister Peters! In a realistic world you have to accept that not is all that it appears and this Alec Peters has a track record one mile long on various deceptive (failed) projects he’s tried to operate ! He actually worked with CBS as a prop liquidator, that’s his claim to fame – hardly a prestigious title and a long ways from the entertainment business .. I do enjoy watching various fan films of Trek and understand that many are upset with this guy, however I have no personal issues with him whatsoever and I wasn’t scammed by him. I think he used the Star Trek fans to finance his personal projects, there’s no doubt about that ! However as of now, the Axanar project as he promised is dead in the water and he himself has stated that if they lose this lawsuit Axanar will not be produced ! So were in the hell do you think your crowdfunding money went ?

      • Jack2211

        Hate has nothing to do with it. Peters’ practices look pretty shady and I’ve seen no actual evidence or factual arguments to suggest otherwise.

        And I’m disgusted that he’s trying to bring down Star Trek with him.

    • Jack2211

      So they baited Paramount into suing them? I wouldn’t put it past them.

  • Anthony Shuh

    If your interested in how this is going to play out in court, and it’s not looking good for Alec Peters or Axanar check out :http://www.webcitation.org/66nXqShx7

  • Jack2211

    I’m pretty disgusted by Peters et al:

    http://www.axanarproductions.com/paramounts-kobayashi-maru/

  • Daniel Stone

    Everyone knows the rules for Star Trek fan films: Do Not Make Any Money From Them! I think that Money would include cash you paid yourself (girlfriend, friend, etc…) by setting up a for profit corporation (oops, a non profit, just not yet) that no one with authority asked you to, to do something you wanted to do anyway. There is way more to this story about this scam artist.

    These “rules” have long been known and discussed by the major fan film producers (long before Alec Peters graced the Star Trek scene). Peters knew this, he has associated himself with the major fan films. He brags that he got Star Trek New Voyages their studio and has done a great deal for that production, and apparently knows Vic Mignogna ( he has referred to him as a “pathological liar”, inferring personal knowledge). How can he claim there were no “rules” from the studio? Those of us interested in fan films knew this, but Alec Peters, who has done soooooo very much for fandom and fan films did not?

    Please remember that this has been nothing more than my personal opinions. I do not want to be sued by someone who is a “lawyer by training”

  • Greg Price

    Of course he doesn’t want to talk about it. The “investor group” is himself and his cronies using a different name.

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