Written by Maria Chester
Well, now I’ve heard it all.
CBS and Paramount are suing Trekkies.
That’s right. Suing.
Star Trek: Axanar, a fan made film, has recently become the focus of a lawsuit filed by CBS and Paramount Pictures.
Starting out as a simple Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $100,000, Star Trek: Axanar went on to generate over 1.13 million dollars in backing. With fan exuberance echoing that of the unforgettable Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign (which was able to raise it’s entire 2 million dollar budget in 11 hours) Axanar was able to raise more than ten times their original goal, becoming one of the highest-financed fan films to be made in any fandom.
However, unlike the Veronica Mars project (whose cast and crew embraced the awe-inspiring support of their fans) CBS and Paramount have rewarded their fanbase by leveling a lawsuit against the production.
Now, we all understand that studios have the right to protect their creative properties, and if it had previously been the policy of these companies to repress fan films made in the Star Trek universe it would be understandable. However, CBS and Paramount have been remarkably easy-going about fan productions, often even benefiting from the media buzz they created.
In fact, many Star Trek veterans including Walter Koenig, Robert Picardo, Nichelle Nichols, and Tim Russ have reprised their roles and even directed fan films such as Star Trek: Renegade and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
Now we are forced to ask ourselves, is this major policy change simply because Axanar borrowed a few elements from the Star Trek universe (as countless other productions have done without prosecution) or because they were able to raise over 1 million dollars to do it?
Could it be that Star Trek: Axanar is really being persecuted for being too popular?
The message seems clear.
Make all the fan films want, but do too well . . . you’ll get sued.
JJ Abrams and Justin Lin, director of Star Trek Beyond, have put pressure on Paramount to drop their lawsuit against Star Trek: Axanar. They have gone on the record as saying the matter should be settled within a week.