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!
In so many ways, we work very hard to keep the property owners content and not ruffle their feathers. (FI: property owner is CBS, not Sony.) We are constantly aware that at any moment for any reason--or for no reason--they could pull the plug. We could launch some kind of protracted "fair use" legal defense, but we don't have two nickels to rub together to make these silly things. I don't know how we would fund any kind of legal efforts.
These things are hard to make. Not only are they expensive to make in the first place and not only can they not be lucrative in any, but the knowledge that it could end tomorrow at a snap of CBS's fingers makes folks not be too interested in investing much money into the project. Our bridge set has--what is it, 64?--separate 17 inch flat screen monitors around the bridge stations--not to mention the HD flat screen monitors above each station. Folks are disinclined to chip in to help fund those kind of costs if CBS might just pull the plug tomorrow.
So, yes, we are constantly aware of it. You have no idea how much these things are truly a labor of unrequited love. For me, at least, the folks at Exeter
and Secret Voyage
and all the other fan-based productions--have my enormous respect and admiration. Where some see cheesy acting or fanwankery, I see mostly unrelenting passion and dedication despite incredible adversity.