Therin of Andor wrote:
So long as no one profits from them, or deliberately rips off the fans, fan productions are tolerated because they are seen as many people's introduction to the franchise.
Well, that's not exactly correct.
Fan films are not allowed to make any money whatsoever, not just money that results in a profit. If it costs about $50,000.00 to make an episode, it might be construed that CBS becomes concerned only when we have earned $50,000.01--a one cent profit above our costs to produce it. That's not correct: we're not allowed to make any money whatsoever. Our top line must be zero, not just our bottom line.
Huh? I fail to see how my post was not "correct"?
"So long as no one profits from them" = "not allowed to make any money whatsoever" = no profit.
A fan production that makes money above its expenses is making a profit. We have seen productions which will send a free copy of a fanfilm on CD-ROM if a signed cast photo is purchased online ("Of Gods and Men"). We have seen productions ask for donations in return for names being recorded on a plaque ("Starship Exeter"). We have only their word for it that no profit is being made.
As for rip-offs, I imagine a group canvassing donations for fanfilm after fanfilm, none of which ever get made, would have CBS looking at their escapades, just as fanzine editors of the 80s trying the same scam were monitored/warned.