Since the first episode of the original Star Trek TV series aired in 1966, the show (and as the years rolled by, the franchise) has always had a resilient and outspoken fan base. And since that same, early period, fan fiction within the Star Trek community has existed for just as long. With this rich, interpersonal history between the fandom and the creators being what the creative expression of fandom is built around, last year's suit filed by CBS and Paramount for copyright infringement against some Star Trek fans over their Kickstarter-funded fan film might have come as a shock to many.
With the recent attempt from the attorneys representing Axanar Productions filing a claim to dismiss the case, as well as Paramount filing an amended suit (these "amendments" include everything from use of the Klingon language in the fan film to the color and design of a shirt worn on the USS Enterprise), it looks like the battle will drag out even longer.
But Justin Lin, the director of Star Trek Beyond, isn't having it anymore. Lin, whose film is being distributed by Paramount, weighed in on the suit, declaring that the Star Trek legacy really belongs to the fans.
This is getting ridiculous! I support the fans. Trek belongs to all of us.https://t.co/mYMqIDXqHu
— Justin Lin (@trailingjohnson) March 14, 2016
It seems that Lin isn't alone in his opinion, and many have taken to supporting him on social media.
@trailingjohnson a shame to think about it this way, in #Starwars land are FanFilm competitions, in #startrek land folks are getting sued. — M. Sean McManus (@thewarpedone) March 14, 2016
As the site 1707 News notes in an op-ed, Axanar's case is a bit different than your run-of-the-mill fan flick. The reason? Its Kickstarter drive, for one, which raised $1 million in crowdfunding, and the fact that the amount of money it received technically makes it a for-profit. So despite the studios' leniency toward fans before the Axanar suit -- like its former "unsolicited script policy," which launched the careers of writers like Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore -- it seems as though revenue is another matter.
"[Axanar Productions thought they] could create profit and not call it profit and CBS/Paramount would turn a blind eye, [but] it might mean that great Star Trek fan productions will soon be a product of the past," asserted 1707 News writer Michael Hinman. And the other reason other fan films and such were allowed to remain? Because they didn't crowdfund and turn a profit.
But others -- presumably fans -- aren't seeing it this way, and are instituting boycotts to get their message across, like a fledgling hashtag campaign called #NoContactDay, which is urging fans to "show [CBS and Paramount] what life would be like without the fandom. (So far, the Facebook page, which was founded on March 14, only has two members.)
- Kris Taylor (@VeryKrisTaylor) March 14, 2016
Source: The Hollywood Reporter