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Old July 27 2013, 04:03 AM   #34
andriech
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Re: Why hasn't CBS or Paramount just taken over a fan series or two?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
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.
Actually, I think what Greg might have meant is fanfilms are not allowed to "take in" or "collect" any money "for production of the episodes" or "using the name "Star Trek" or any of it's characters"

As I have dealt repeatedly with the head of CBS legal on these things, I can speak to what they "require". A fanfilm cannot say "please donate to our production!" (not as far as CBS is concerned) It is far too hard to do just what you say - prove they are not making a profit. They CAN say "please donate to purchase plane tickets" or "please donate to pay the electric bill". These are specific items being paid for, not vague "production costs".

A fanfilm cannot sell anything licensed. That includes uniforms with insignias, anything with an insignia on it, anything with the word "Star Trek" on it, and they can't, say, take "donations for production" with the promise of putting a name on a plaque.

Now, those are CBS's rules. Whether or how they enforce them with any particular fanfilm is up to them, and we've seen that it is not consistent. (I believe Potempkin was told they couldn't sell anything period. Phase II was not allowed to give away T shirts as gifts that had the delta shield in the background.)

The casual observer can't make a judgement if something violates the rules either...because they don't have all the info. For instance, Phase II ran an Indiegogo campaign for a small amount - with CBS's permission, as we detailed to THEM what the exact costs we were paying were, though we didn't post it itemized on the Indiegogo page.

What CBS cares about is if a fanfilm is eclipsing the hubub and media attention to CBS, or is using stuff they paid for...like JJ's designs and universe. So fanfilms featured in articles in the New York Times are going to get a call far sooner than one that fans are complaining about. (In fact, they put a C&D on any Star Trek mag carrying articles on fanfilms several years ago.)
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