Paramount, CBS Lawsuit Against Axanar Productions Continues

Despite support from J.J. Abrams and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, the lawsuit between CBS and Paramount and fan film studio Axanar Productions lives on.

The studio and its head, Alec Peters, were sued by Paramount late last year for violating Star Trek intellectual copyright laws while filming the studio’s fan films, Prelude to Axanar and its sequel, Axanar.

Plaintiffs CBS and Paramount told a California federal judge on Wednesday (June 15, 2016) that they recognized that statements were made about the case, but that the case remains pending. The studios were responding to a counterclaim made by Axanar Productions, where Axanar alleged that they have, among other things, a “real and reasonable apprehension” about facing litigation if they proceed with their fan productions, and that the alleged infringed works were not actually copyrighted. Paramount and CBS denied these claims.

Abrams and Lin asserted at a fan event in May that the lawsuit was “not an appropriate way to deal with fans” and that it would be “going away.” However, it appears that claim wasn’t entirely accurate.

Although the discovery process will continue as scheduled, settlement talks are said to still be in progress. As it stands, the trial is set for January 2017.

h/t Axamonitor

Kyle Hadyniak

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At 22 years old, Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan. A graduate student at the University of Maine, Kyle spends his time either doing school work, playing music, reading history, or studying a replica of the Enterprise-E he has above his desk.

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  • Paul Vitello

    Axanar has thousands of fans! Axanar has raised nearly 1 million dollars from 10,000+ supporters. Their Youtube video “Predude to Axanar” has 2 million views (more than most fan productions combined) and 27,000 “likes” on Youtube. The “Axanar Fan Page” on Facebook has 8,500 members!

    In the court of public opinion, the vast majority of people, including Star Trek fans (and articles published on professional websites) agree that CBS and Paramount should not have sued a fan-film. A petition on changeorg has reached 12,000+ signatures in favor of Axanar. The fact that JJ Abrams and Justin Lin have gone-to-bat for Axanar (and fan-productions in general) is a huge story and one we, as fans, should all be celebrating. These corporations should be pressured by the fans into settling this lawsuit in a way that benefits everyone.

    If you haven’t watched Prelude to Axanar then you should check it out below.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

    • Your Worst Nightmare

      Your first paragraph is true. But they’ve gotten sued. So what?

      “The vast majority of people…” That’s a rather bold statement. Can you back it up with any actual facts? 12,000 fans is not a lot when you consider how broad the fanbase of Star Trek is OUTSIDE of the online setting. And just because Justin and JJ spoke in favor of making the lawsuit go away does not mean that Paramount and CBS are ready to let it go so easily. They were in settlement negotiations when the JJ said what he said. That does not preclude the idea that negotiations broke down. We just don’t know what’s happening in that regard. Unless you work for Axanar, which you just might with statements like you’ve made here.

      • Colin Krapp

        YWN – We do not know for certain just how far along any settlement talks may have been at that point, or at present, because no one can talk about it. Since the case is not yet settled, Axanar filing their Answer and Counterclaim and Paramount & CBS filing their Response are required and expected parts of the schedule set by the Court that both sides must follow until such a time they are instructed by the Court that they no longer have to. You might read this to better understand: http://fff.trekbloggers.com/2016/05/24/why-axanar-just-filed-a-response-and-counterclaim-to-the-cbsparamount-lawsuit/

        • Your Worst Nightmare

          I actually work in the legal field so I understand this all very well, so I don’t need to read your link, but thank you, Colin. However, it hasn’t stopped those from within Axanar speaking about the lawsuit. Only now, as they’ve entered discovery has Alec become fairly scarce

    • j4m3S

      Same old same old …. Yawn…

      • LibsAreWrong

        Like you know anything. Go back to your basement and play on your Nintendo, geek.

        • JNH

          Oh your funny…

          Im from the UK we dont have basements in our houses.

          Plus im a little to old to “play Nintendo”

          Now how about you go and play in traffic.

          • LibsAreWrong

            I bet you have horrid teeth and your breath smells of penis.

          • JNH

            Seriously that’s all you got LOL!!!!

            Bless!

    • Anthony Shuh

      8500 fans on Facebook and 10,000 supports is nothing to a major studio, Axanar in the real world makes up less than .01 % of the actual Star Trek fan base … And most Star Trek fans don’t even know what Axanar is !

    • Mr Universe

      Oh Paul, you copy and paste the same post everywhere. 10000 fans is nothing compared to the 30+ million who saw the last Trek film.

      Just because a few people like it doesn’t give Alec and Robert the right to make a film with someone else’s IP. CBS and Paramount have every right to protect their $4+ billion property. The law is on their side and they’re going to win. Even if they settle terms will be so onerous that Axanar won’t get made.

    • Rass

      “The vast majority of people” is a ridiculous statement. On any forum you might check, there are tons (in many cases, the majority) siding with CBS and Paramount on this. Many consider Alex Peters a thief for his pocketing of funds donated for the production, and the simple fact is that they ARE infringing. You assume too much.

    • DavidDesjardins

      Hey Paul –

      I am a donor. When I asked about why we weren’t’ getting our perks as promised because they had to set up another business to manage it all – i balked. Then I found out our perks were being sold on ebay and that some people had gotten theirs. After contact Alex directly – i was called a liar and that I would never get a refund.

      Then I got banned. And I’m not the only one.

      In all honesty – Alec Peters is a fraud. I can’t wait for CBS/Paramount to shut him down – not because I don’t like Axanar or I’m a hater – because Alec Peters has cheated me out of what I was promised. He didn’t need to create a fulfilment company. ALL of the fulfilment (assuming the materials exist) could have been done by 4 volunteers in under a week. He’s welcome to sue me 😉 I can’t wait to have a full forensic audit of where the money has gone.

      • Arron Bubba Ratcliff

        David i would not be surprised if stories like that are the reason CBS/Paramount hit them with the lawsuit.That and peters is a con man whose own ideas weren’t good enough for him to use in his con game.

      • Anthony Shuh

        Alec has always been able to twist the bullshit around to keep his few followers off track enough to suspect something crooked was going on, it’s called shadowing in business ! He is actually very good at deception, and this scam would have been successful except CBS/Paramount and there legal team didn’t buy into his crap –
        Sorry that you were taken by this crook but your not alone, I personally know of two who gave $20.00 who are now banned from the Axanar site !

  • Rass

    “The studios were responding to a counterclaim made by Axanar Productions, where Axanar”

    “In which,” not “where.” The counterclaim is not a location.

  • Rass

    The bottom line is this: those who support fan films represent a TINY percentage of the viewing audience–so tiny as to be statistically insignificant. So the 10,000 supporters, 27,000 likes, etc., mean absolutely nothing. That’s the tiniest fraction of the support for CBS, Paramount, and the franchise. Those claiming Axanar has ANY power or moral standing in this are spitting in the wind and remarkably ignorant of how the legal process works.

  • Charles Britto

    What of it? It’s only been three weeks since JJ announced the lawsuit would be going away. Did anyone specify a date on when it was suppose to end? What part of, “a few weeks” didn’t anyone understand? If you’ve bought a home, gotten a divorce, or anything that has to do with attorneys, you’d understand it takes time. If it had been a few months already, then there would have been something to say. Otherwise, this is all speculation…again

    • The information comes from AxaMonitor, one of the few hardcore anti-Axanar sites, so there’s a very strong bias.

    • JNH

      This is not speculation many of us have people who know the law to talk to.

      This is NOT going away any time soon.

      • Charles Britto

        Please JNH, we all have/know lawyers….none of them are sitting in that negotiation table…you have not idea what you are talking about.

        • JNH

          neither do you, although you like to come off as some one who does your clueless as Alec Peters is.

          • Charles Britto

            Well considering I know Alec, and he is a successful producer, and IS in that room…yea, I’d say he knows more than you. What have you accomplished in life? Rather than complain about something you have no clue about?

          • JNH

            Bigger fool you for being associated with Alec Peters that man is poison.

            And what have I achieved oh I dunno NOT BEING SUED BY TWO MAJOR COMPANIES would be a good start.

            Also ones self worth and achievements are NOT valued by what one makes or produces but by how one lives their life and treats their loved ones.

            Any con man can make a 23 minute trailer to something that is not self worth or even worth celebrating if Alec Peters had cured cancer or won a Nobel Prize for something then that would be worth a cheer or two.

            All he has done is conned peopme for far too long and needs a snap back to reality.

          • Charles Britto

            Well apparently the studios don’t think he’s poison as they are settling with him, and the movie he promised will be made.

            People who do not have achievements are usually claim they are not important.

            But apparently, what you think more important is attacking someone you don’t know…have no connection to, and will not affect your life in any way.

            Maybe you should concentrate on those friends and family you say you care about, and stop wasting your time with Axanar.

  • Mick Bradley

    This discussion about CBS/Para IP rights highlights something interesting. The laws concerning those ownership rights were written at a time when “my 16 yr old daughter” couldn’t make a decent quality graphical film in her bedroom and share it with a million other people for free. The times, the technology, the education levels, and the demands of fans are all becoming something new, that we haven’t seen before. In my opinion, Disney is the one taking a healthy approach to the changes.

  • JB

    Its simply illogical to continue for Paramount/CBS. They are likely to lose more in future revenue than they can possibly gain by pursuing this endeavor.

    • JNH

      how so??? do tell how you reach this logic?

      • JB

        I am by no means a mind-reader, but the motivations of Abrhams seem pretty transparent. He does not want this lawsuit to sully the success of his films. As we all know, he has no real interest in the Star Trek setting, and he is likely worried that quite a few Trekkies are not going to go see his film simply out of spite for the studio.

        There is a known and finite amount of money that the Axanar project has and Alec Peters have. We know, for instance, that the indygogo campaign made about $575,000. We will just have to guess how much money Alec Peters has, but we also know that some of that money has already been spent. There are over 72,000 Axanar supporters on their facebook page. There are certainly quite a few people who support Axanar not a part of the #istandwithaxanar movement there, a movement largely populated by very engaged fans and people who want to boycott CBS & Paramount. Some of them may still see the new Star Trek film, but quite a few will not.

        The question is really, you know that these people are very much (a part of) the audience that you want for your new film. It’ll probably cost them, on average, $8.43 to see your movie. CBS wants to sell All Access, which costs $60 per year, so you can see the new Star Trek TV show. Through multiplication, we can see that these numbers quickly exceed $600,000, and that is not considering the significant expense they are going to incur with legal fees. This also ignores all the other things we Trekkies like to buy (convention tickets, toys, trinkets, etc.) The movie will still make money, but it will certainly make less money than it would have if those people had also seen the movie and by a margin that is almost certainly exceeded by the money they can recover less legal fees.

        Nevermind that Paramount is for sale right now, and the last thing their parent company needs to do is drag the IP through the mud, degrading its prestige at best, and putting the chain of overship through scrutiny. You better hope its unbroken and well documented, because they could open themselves to losing the IP to public domain (though I imagine that is improbable).

  • LibsAreWrong

    Proves JJ don’t know sheit.

    • Charles Britto

      JJ knows enough to be a multi-million dollar successful director. What have you accomplished?

      • LibsAreWrong

        He turned a billion dollar franchise into a joke, asshole. He’s admitted he’s not a ST fan and never has been.

        • Charles Britto

          Funny how you think your opinion is any indication of reality. It isn’t. You should really look at yourself and do something with your life instead of attacking other’s successes that have no real effect on your own. I’m sure you would be happier. By the way. JJ never said he wasn’t a fan of Star Trek. He said he favored Star Wars more. At least get your fact right.

          • LibsAreWrong

            You sound like you have a case of JJ man love.

  • Rui Miguel Pereira

    As a fan, this whole thing sadness me. Paramount and CBS should have embrace this project, not trying to destroy it. It sadness me deeply that Paramount and CBS only see dollar signs instead of thanking the fans for continue an humongous legacy. Such it is Star Trek.

  • morpheus

    Fuckin’ corporations only cash is important