Hey Paramount/CBS… you mad?! Apparently so.. Welcome, nerds and happy new year! The First Negative Space of 2016 is off and running with a current event that stands to paint a very bad smear across the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.
What is this smear, you may be asking?
Paramount/CBS suing the makers of the insanely popular non-profit Star Trek fan-film: Axanar.
So at the heart of all this is the fan-film being developed by a bunch of Star Trek alumni called Axanar. Axanar, like any other non-profit fan-film, has used crowdfunding through Kickstarter to raise its funds to make the movie. However, unlike 98% of fan-films out there – it looks good, and is well acted; this is due (at least in large part) to actual professionals making it. Have a look at the official “Prelude to Axanar” video that the creators made to promote their project.
Now, Axanar is not the first Star Trek fan-film that has been put together by professional actors. You have Star Trek: Renegades, Star Trek: Farragut, Star Trek: New Voyages, Star Trek: Dreadnought Dominion, and I am probably missing a few. They have all used fan funding to make these pieces, and CBS/Paramount has told them all basically the same thing: “have fun, but don’t make a profit.”
The problem arose just after CBS announced it was making a new Star Trek series; with no time period, cast, or anything else mentioned, even as of the writing of this article. They did however notice that Axanar had made over a million dollars from its crowdfunding ventures in the making of this movie, and viewing it as a threat to make money because of how “professional” it’s looking, lawsuits start flying.
So my beef is this: If you take a very transparent crowdfunded movie and rake them over the coals for garnering a ton of enthusiasm for what is being created under the guise of copyright violation and illegal profiteering, why have you not went after every single other fan-film piece that has been made? What makes Axanar your scapegoat vs. say, Renegades, or New Voyages – both of which are done by professional actors and raised a ton of money through crowdfunding. Renegades so much so that they are continuing making more episodes!
Its simple. CBS sees Axanar doing things that fans are obviously wanting to see vs. the very lukewarm reception they got when they announced we would have to pay extra for an app-channel to watch their new “official” series, and they aim to put a stop to it. Hide behind whatever lame legal excuses you want, it doesn’t change that this smells of executive butt-hurt and cluelessness as to what its fans really want to see (Are you listening WB/DC? Take some notes for movies.)
So the message that CBS/Parmount have sent is clear. You can make fan-films of our officially licensed franchise that we do jack squat with, just don’t make a profit… and of course don’t get a lot of fan support for something totally non-profit, either. Otherwise we’ll sue you for doing a better job than us.. and this is the logic of the entertainment industry.
This is Dave Ward, and you have just warped through the Negative Space.
Columnist, Resident Grouch, and First Ambassador
Federation Starship: Nerd Nation
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