Yesterday, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected a motion from Axanar Production‘s legal team to dismiss the lawsuit by Paramount Pictures and CBS against them.
“The Court finds the Complaint sufficiently provides Defendants notice of the allegedly infringing elements at issue,” said Klausner. “For example, Plaintiffs allege that the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise, which first appears in the pilot episodes of The Original Series and is consistently portrayed throughout the franchise’s episodes and films, appears in Defendants’ Prelude to Axanar.”
Axanar Productions had also argued that various individual elements, including the Klingon language, in their planned movie were not protectable, but the judge said that overall, the elements were. “When viewed in a vacuum, each of these elements may not individually be protectable by copyright,” he said. “Plaintiffs, however, do not seek to enforce their copyright in each of these elements individually. Rather, Plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claims are based on the Star Trek Copyrighted Works as a whole.
“The Court finds it unnecessary to analyze whether the allegedly non-protectable elements of the Star Trek Copyrighted Works are eligible for copyright protection because Plaintiff describes these elements in the Complaint solely in an effort to demonstrate how the Axanar Works are substantially similar to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works.”
As for the Axanar Productions argument that the lawsuit was premature because a film had not yet been produced, the judge said that “specific facts” and “many allegations gleaned directly from comparing the works at issue and from Defendants’ Facebook post of a photo of Defendant Peters posing with a “fully revised and locked script” argue that there was a specific script and that the “Plaintiffs’ copyright infringement allegations as to the Axanar Motion Picture are based on this script, along with the Vulcan scene.
“Thus, the Court finds Plaintiffs’ allegations, even those based on ‘information and belief,’ sufficient to state a claim for copyright infringement.”
Concluding his statement with a bit of Trek humor, Klausner said, “Although the Court declines to address whether Plaintiffs’ claims will prosper at this time, the Court does find Plaintiffs’ claims will live long enough to survive Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. For the forgoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. IT IS SO ORDERED.”
The trial has been moved forward a bit and is set to begin in January 2017.
To read the actual ruling, head to the link located here.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter