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The Trek Nation - The Paramount Files

The Paramount Files

By Christian Höhne Sparborth
Posted at August 5, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Welcome to a new edition of the Trek Nation mailbag! As several article writers weren't yet able to write up responses to mailbag mails about their articles, this mailbag is a bit shorter than usual - but I'm sure we'll be able to make up for that next week!

Online Episodes

Recently, a Star Trek fan site had to remove the full digitized version of 'What You Leave Behind,' after Paramount's lawyers complained about this. Several people wrote in to tell us what they thought about this.

From: Jamie Hartman
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: that video question

re: the site posting the full video of "What You Leave Behind". I am in complete agreement with you that this is an egregious violation of copyright and also of good taste. Were there no other source for this video other than, say, the archives of some now defunct motion picture studio, as was the case when Ted Turner bought up and colorized some old movies, then there is a valid reason to resurrect and make them available to a new generation of viewers. Something that is in active syndication in whatever medium is NOT fair game. An occasional video capture of a frame or two is one thing, full streaming video of complete episodes is quite another. Play fair or expect to be dealt with.

I really couldn't agree with you more.

From: Scott Harber
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Viacom removes lcarscom's DS9 finale :(

I'm writing in reply to the Mon 2nd August "Hello World" article (about Viacom complaining to a site which was hosting a digitized version of the DS9 finale). Although I agree with Paramount in their legal action, I commend the webmaster for posting the episode online. As I understand it, the DS9 finale wasn't shown on TV in some parts of the US, and here in the UK we probably won't see it for another three or four years! I don't think online Trek episodes will decrease foreign tape sales either. That online episode was in a 160x120 window with occasionally blocky graphics and net congestion. Anyone who wanted to see the full experience of any Trek show (i.e. anyone who actually watches the show) couldn't see it on such a poor quality online video.

And what of Paramount's action? The webmaster was in breach of copyright, but the damage was already done. Every DS9-deprived fan had already seen that online episode, and only now has Paramount actually done anything about it. Why the delay? That site URL was plastered across every Trek-based web site and newsgroup on the Internet. There was no way Paramount would have only just found out about it. The truth is that it was good advertising, but it's not now that the hype has died down. They knew that any true DS9 fan wouldn't be happy to watch a 30 minute space battle in a 160x120 window, but it would entice them to see it on video (or on TV if they can).

Based on how far the DS9 videos already are, the UK will probably get 'What You Leave Behind' about a year after the episode originally was shown. These online episodes do stop people from buying the videos, though - I myself know one person who used to buy the episodes but is now content to download them from the internet. Once you've seen it online, you already know the story, so the incentive to buy the video is not as great anymore.

I don't find it that surprising that Paramount waited that long - starting up a whole legal procedure probably takes time. Paramount's main goal in this was to protect its copyright - if they had allowed the 'What You Leave Behind' video to stay up, they would basically have implied that it would be okay for everyone to put up "Equinox, Part Two" as well.

From: Nic King
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Online Trek Episodes

I disagree that online episodes are damaging Trek's future prospects by lowering the sales of videos.

Given the low quality of these streaming video episodes on the net, I believe fans who really enjoy watching Star Trek would never replace a good quality VHS experience with a jerky, low resolution internet one.

I myself watched the Voyager episode 'Timeless' from the internet, and still promptly bought the video on first day of release. The only people who will watch the episodes and not buy the tapes are the people who would never consider buying the tapes in the first place. Hey - these online episodes may even be helping sell more Trek videos by giving people a chance to see what Trek has to offer!

True, but that was 'Timeless.' How about if you'd first seen 'Treshold' on the internet - would you still have rushed out to the store to buy the tape? I doubt you would have wanted the video even if they had given it away :-).

Subspace Buzz

A surprisingly large 'miscellaneous' section this week - take a look:

From: Francis Deblauwe
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: link of the day 7-29-99

I like your TrekToday site very much. The greater was my consternation when I clicked your "Link of the Day: There is still some justice in this world" link of today, 7-29-99. This politically charged link is inappropriate and despiccable. It has no place on a superb web site like TrekToday. The issue the link refers to is mired in controversy and was and is abused and distorted by scores of extremists---to which category you don't belong, so I hope.

In this case, the Link of the Day was part of 'Hello World!,' which is sort of my own personal soapbox. I personally feel very strongly that Bill Clinton was wrong, and that he should have resigned. In this case, the link referred to Clinton getting a $90,000 fine, which I was very happy with - which is why I included it in 'Hello World!' That part of the site is almost completely separate from the rest of TrekToday, and purely contains my own personal opinion.

From: Lisa Browning
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: VOYAGER CANCELLED

I do *not* want Voyager cancelled at ALL! Especially during it's sixth season! I had hopes for it continuing beyond it's SEVENTH season! And going along-side the new Trek series. I know that you are not the one to complain to, so I was wondering if you know who I can write (in e-mail) to Paramount/Viacom, or someone else working with Star Trek about this.

By the way, this is the first day I have visited your site, and I must say, Ilike it a lot. I found it as a link from www.treknews.com

First of all, welcome to the site :-). Unfortunately, the chances of Voyager continuing for more than seven seasons are almost non-existent - not only isn't it certain yet that UPN will continue for so long, but none of the other Trek series have had more than seven years. Meanwhile, the people working on Star Trek can be contacted via the official Continuum.

From: Captain Nick
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Regarding Keith R. A. DeCandido Interview

Is it just me, or is there something rather disturbing about a writer who wants to write a Voyager novel, but hates the show?

Methinks I hear the sound of cash registers.........

Heh :-). Or perhaps, as a more optimistic option, Keith DeCandido has an idea for a novel which could improve the series?

From: Joel Davies
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voyager is great!

I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your show! Me and my family watch it every week, and I hope you continue to produce such a kick-ass series for a long time! My only suggestion: PLEASE cut down on the Seven of Nine episodes! I know she looks good and you want to get high ratings, but we're getting sick of her! Thanks for creating the best show on television!!

Rather amazingly, we receive one such mail every two weeks. Again, the Trek Nation has nothing at all to do with the actual production of Star Trek - that happens at Paramount Pictures, whom we have no official contact with. The official Star Trek web site can be found at www.startrek.com, which is also where you'll be able to send mail to the creators.

The Franchise's Future

Below you'll find Steve Perry's responses to mails about his installment of our "The Franchise's Future" series of articles. Unfortunately the authors of our other articles weren't able to respond to any mails this week - you'll find the mails about their articles in next week's mailbag!

From: Ricardo Delfin Martins
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Steve Perry's The Franchise's Future

"Suffice it to say, the rumors of what Braga did to Moore are basically true. "

What did Braga do to Moore?

Well, Ricardo, the only thing I can say is that you should check the archives of here, Trekweb, and Ain't It Cool Coaxial News. Basically, Brannon Braga did not want a writer as good if not better than he on the staff, and so worked to undermine Moore's position until Moore resigned altogether. At this point all the people "in the know" believe this to be true thanks to investigative efforts that interviewed Paramount people, all of whom have corroborated this story.

Note from Christian: A rather extensive feature on this can be found right here at the Trek Nation by clicking this linl.

From: Rob Kaper
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Future of Trek

Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Steve Perry's article at http://www.trektoday.com/articles/future_perry.shtml. It makes some good sense. The most interesting thought I recognized was the future of the world, not just Trek.

"Half of these kids can't find Canada on a map, so I have my concerns about them being unable to work through the "Are the Klingons in the Beta Quadrant?" question." The situation here in Europe is not _that_ bad, but the over-all signs of human evolution are apparent: we are ruining it. Instead of education and teaching our children certain skills, we are putting wallpaper all over the world.

Just look at computers: instead of educating people how a computer works, we try to make the computers easier and more 'user-friendly'. But we make the world a bit too user-friendly I am afraid.

Most people have become too lazy to learn and evolve and grow; all they want is the world to become easier for them so they get the illusion of improvement where there actually is evolutional stagnation. The few that can actually work on progress will become a minority until there is no one left to improve the human race and Gene Roddenberry's vision would have to be abandoned for a much more grim one.

That is one of the things I liked about the episode 'Once upon a time' of Voyager: the introduction of Noami Wildman. There's a kid that is eager to learn. And environment where learning is fun. A kid with ambition and not the often overemphasized crap 90210, Dawson Creek etc make of life.

Or like Trevis said: "the girl's a thinker". Sadly a lot of us have lost the ability to think. I sincerely hope that Star Trek will continue not just to entertain us, but also stimulate us to think and continiously reconsider our opinions and values.

What can I say? We live in a world of stupid people who are getting increasingly stupid just as the few capable amongst us are discovering more and more. We need Trek more than ever.

From: recook
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Reply to Steve Perry's article

I found Steve Perry's article on the future of Trek to be the most refreshing, commonsensical, and even-handed piece that I've read in a long time.

I do have one point to make: Perry says that *Braga* is the one who got rid of Kes. I was under the impression that Jeri Taylor (who was the excecutive producer at the time) was the one who made this decision, not Braga. Braga did not become executive producer until season 5.

Kes did in fact leave while Taylor was exec producer, though the reins were slowly being shifted toward Berman's protege Braga. However, if you ask Braga, he'll tell you straight up that he feels that his biggest achievement with regards to Voyager is bringing Seven of Nine aboard. He very much believes that the post-Scorpion Voyager is entirely his baby.

Contigent on bringing Seven aboard was getting rid of someone else to give her air time (and note, this is not my logic, this was theirs). The story I have always heard was that one producer wanted Kes to stay and one didn't, and the producer that wanted her gone was Brannon Braga.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Christian Höhne Sparborth is webmaster of the Trek Nation.