CBS, Paramount list copyright violations of fan-made film

Texas sci-fi fans may have heard that CBS and Paramount have filed an amended complaint to their copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions, which is producing a fanfiction “Star Trek” film. The lawsuit was originally filed in December.

In the amended complaint, which was filed on March 11, CBS and Paramount list 57 instances of “Star Trek” copyright infringement, including similarities to characters, races and species, story settings, costume design and logos. The companies also accuse the fanfic production of stealing copyrighted dialogue, such as “beaming up” and “warp drive.” Axanar, which was created by “Star Trek” fans, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to produce a fanfic “Star Trek” film. The company claims that CBS and Paramount have long allowed fans to write their own “Star Trek” stories because they are offered to other fans for free. The company claims that all the money raised for the film will go into its production and they will not turn a profit.

However, CBS and Paramount are asking the court to bar Axanar from distributing both the film and a 20-minute prequel that has already been produced. They are also seeking $150,000 for each instance of alleged copyright infringement. Axanar insists that the films serve as free commercials for “Star Trek” and do no harm to the franchise.

Copyright infringement disputes can be complex and time-consuming. Owners of this type of intellectual property often spent years and millions of dollars in its development, and they may want to meet with legal counsel in order to determine what their rights are.

Source: ARS Technica, “Paramount, CBS List the Ways Star Trek Fanfic Axanar Infringes Copyright,” Megan Geuss, March 15, 2016

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