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 Post subject: Star Trek Fan Guidelines
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:59 pm 
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http://www.startrek.com/article/star-tr ... -announced

I'm disappointed, but not overly surprised either. This isn't the first time a large corporation has proposed draconian guidelines to a fanbase. However, with one exception that I know of, every time a corporation does this kind of thing they end up losing more than they gain.

*shrugs*...I'm not interested in the new series. I'm not interested in Star Trek Beyond. I'm simply not interested at all, because the best Star Trek is not what CBS produces today.

Thoughts? Comments? Rants and raves? Here's the place to have at it.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:47 pm 
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Those guidelines don't seem harsh to me, and certainly not Draconian.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:16 pm 
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Seems to be geared towards "don't make another Axanar".

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:30 pm 
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It essentially kills all fan films with high production values. I understand Axanar's producer was selling unlicensed stuff, which is part of why they were hit with a lawsuit, but this appears to be way too harsh. From some of the responses out there in the Star Trek fanbase, some of it may not be legally enforceable either. For example, prohibiting people affiliated with the Star Trek franchise at some point in the past from working on a fan film, regardless of lack of pay.

We'll have to just see how things shake out. Axanar itself is dead in the water, but I wonder how the other high-quality fan films will fare. The ones that actually adhered to CBS' unwritten rules.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:35 am 
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Traveller wrote:
It essentially kills all fan films with high production values.

Of course. That's what copyright is for. If there is high-quality Star Trek material available cheaply or free, especially if it does placement for rival manufacturers' merchandising, then Paramount won't be able to make [as much] money out of its expensive IP. The continued production of professional output in the market for Star Trek material depends crucially on the IP owner's ability to keep the output in shot supply enough that people will still pay to see theirs, still buy official merchandise. If fans produce high-quality full-length Star Trek material that will glut Paramount's market. They are being generous, perhaps calculatedly so, in allowing any rival output to be released at all.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:45 am 
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Except high quality fan films have been produced for some 15 years now without complaint. Therefore that argument does not hold water. Regardless, the whole situation is a turnoff. I do agree that a set of guidelines do need to be set in place, but this is as ridiculous as TSR attacking fan sites for even discussing D&D.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:39 pm 
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A problem is that the way copyright and IP laws work, Paramount has little choice but to slap down on this stuff.

It's like Disney suing some small daycare over the use of its characters.

If you don't protect your IP fiercely, you actually lose the ability to protect it at all; in court cases and so on, the vigilance that you protect your IPs is a part of if you're given a ruling in your favor or not.

For instance, Axanar. It's become quite cheap in about the last decade to make a near professional quality film due to the quality of video editing and CG software; younger people in particular have become aware of this and are producing some amazing stuff within the last five years or so. Now, this is particularly bad because Star Trek has had some series in the past that had a particularly low bar for acting and effects - something that amateurs can easily match these days.

And it's definitely the unlicensed tie-in merchandise that made Paramount take notice, because that's a slippery slope. If you let people sell merchandise just related to (say) Axanar but "not Trek in general" with the intent of "covering your production costs" (a common reasoning to continue to claim your product is a 'fan work' and 'not for profit'), it's very difficult to prove this; some of the money inevitably ends up sticking to the fingers of those handling it.

At some point, it's not really unreasonable to imagine someone makes a very professional film, essentially an unlicensed ST movie, with tie-in merchandise and everything, except the merchandise doesn't use actual Star Trek designs or logos - just the ST-derived logos for the "41st fleet" or "Clan Lok'Duj" or something. So at this point, Paramount is not making a cent off of this production, despite it being derived from their IP. Their court case has become a lot more difficult because Paramount let Axanar do it. The more people they let do it, the harder it becomes for them to defend their IP in court. Things get more complicated still if later on, Paramount wants to use something from Axanar in their own stuff and the producers of Axanar demand to be paid royalties by Paramount for using their IP. Or worse, the makers of Axanar can demand monies / go to court if Paramount if some Trek writer introduces something that Axanar's makers believe is derived from "their" IP. I'm aware this sounds ludicrous, but having watched licensing lawsuits, I don't think it is inconceivable for the producers of the fanworks to actually win lawsuits like this.

For most fans, it seems entirely vindictive on the part of Paramount, especially in the ST franchise where Paramount's recent Trek offerings have ranged from lukewarm at best to brain-damaging at worst. However, hanging around any fandom long enough I think anyone will realize it gets very toxic. Especially the rabid/devoted people who make fanworks start to feel ownership of the IP. It's particularly noticeable in things like fanfic because it's relatively easy to just write so there's lots of authors. It doesn't take very long to search around the realm of fandom to find, say, fanfic writers of (for instance) Harry Potter criticizing JK Rowling's writing because their beloved character(s) did something in a later book the fanfic author felt the characters wouldn't do. At this point, the fanfic writer somehow "knows" Rowling's characters better than she does. It's ludicrous, but it really happens - at this point, the fanfic writer believes him- or herself to own the characters of an IP they don't actually own. This feeling of entitlement only increases with the work you put into a fanwork. It's a very slippery slope.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:55 am 
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I think there is a strong argument to be made that copyright lasts way too long, and another that it allows the owners of IP rights to do things that it ought not: geo-blocking for market segmentation, for example. If copyright lasted a generous thirty years from publication original Star Trek would be in the public domain by now, a part of the cultural heritage of Humanity. Amateurs would be producing cheap fan Star Trek knock-offs because there was no profit in it, and some of them would be no more compatible with the canon than [url="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1199099/"]Merlin[/url] is with Le Morte d'Arthur. Paramount and SBS would be developing new properties in which to create profitable copyright works.

As things stand it's up to fans — or anyone — to develop their own original settings if they want creative freedom.

In any case, "Draconian" refers to a system of laws in which the penalty for everything (except involuntary manslaughter) was death. It's about severity, not strictness.

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