Well, to me they do seem different: being newly creative with a concept ("Kirk-ness") v. using actual notes written and performed by others. Like if you lifted two pages of actual written dialog. That, to me seems qualitatively different from writing new stories based on characters.
But I am wrong. Nothing new there!
Mr. Schnitzer, as a creator of fan films, do you and your tribe ever have an underlying nervousness that if Sony changed its collective mind, you might be shut down? My understanding of the gray area that is fair use/First Amendment cases is that not hurting the owner's profit; and creatively transforming the original, both help make one's case for fair use. If TPTB did get testy, you might be legally fine, though I'm sure a corporation's endless legal resources would win a war of attrition. Using the actual music cues would be a tougher sell, I think, but they ARE part and parcel of the transformative, new work.
I'm sure you know much more than I about this. Thanks for the reply!