A month ago, CBS Corporation and Paramount Pictures Inc. filed a copyright infringement suit against Alec Peters and his Axanar production and Peters is speaking out about the suit.
Axanar is a cut above the usual fan-produced movie, said Peters. “There’s a reason why Prelude to Axanar and Axanar look like professional movies, because we have professionals working on them,” he said. “These are professionals. They do this for a living. They’re not fans who are voice actors, or Elvis impersonators who have a hobby and have always wanted to play Captain Kirk. That’s not to knock fan films. I’m just saying, if you want volunteers, you get a certain quality. You want professionals? You’ve got to pay for them. It’s real simple.”
Peters believes that the reason they were targeted was due to this professional quality of the production. “It’s real simple,” he said. “Because of our quality. “Star Trek Continues is a fan film. Amateur actors, beautiful sets, well-done photography. But it’s a fan film. There’s no way you take that for a real TV show. Star Trek: New Voyages? Fan film. It looks good — well directed — but no one’s ever going to take that for a network TV show.”
According to Paramount and CBS, Star Trek is a “treasured franchise in which CBS and Paramount continue to produce new original content for its large universe of fans. The producers of Axanar are making a Star Trek picture they describe themselves as a fully professional, independent Star Trek film.
“Their activity clearly violates our Star Trek copyrights, which of course, we will continue to vigorously protect.”
But Peters thinks that since they “violate CBS copyright less than any other fan film,” CBS and Paramount shouldn’t have gone after them. “Star Trek Continues and Star Trek: New Voyages violate more than we do,” he said. “Axanar doesn’t call itself Star Trek anymore, nor does it use iconic characters like Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
“We don’t use the chevron. We don’t use the uniforms you’re used to seeing. We don’t use (the Original Series) bridge or sets. Those two productions are entirely copyright infringement.”
It’s probable that raising over a million dollars caught the attention of Paramount and CBS too, but Peters believes that since other productions have raised money and have not been sued, Axanar should not have been sued either. [They] “already said that it’s OK, basically, letting these guys go,” said Peters. “Star Trek Continues has raised $400,000, and you haven’t said anything about that. Star Trek: Renegades has raised $800,000, and they use characters from the original too…They waived their rights because they let this go on for so long.”
Peters also claims that tacit approval was given by CBS as long as they didn’t “make any money off of the project.”
Two legal teams are defending Peters, while Axanar production has been halted pending the outcome of the legal process. Peters believes that he has a strong case and that CBS and Paramount will be accommodating to Axanar. “What we’re hoping for is a settlement,” he said. “We definitely don’t want to have to go into litigation, and that’s just a road…it’s one that we’re prepared for, but we don’t want to be doing. The best way to make Axanar is to reach a settlement with Paramount/CBS and see where it goes from there.”
More of Peters’ comments can be found at the referring site.