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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old October 8 2012, 01:13 AM   #16
mos6507
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Do you think it's in the best interest of a fan-trek producer to proactively contact CBS or to stay under the radar?
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Old October 8 2012, 02:04 AM   #17
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

They'll eventually contact you.
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Old October 9 2012, 01:50 AM   #18
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

I'm really curious about how some of the fan films have been able to get around CBS with their recent crowdfunding endeavors? I just saw one for Star Trek Phase II and it seems as though that is in direct violation of both the deal with CBS as well as the terms of service with these crowdfunding sites. Any ideas what loophole they're using?
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Old October 9 2012, 01:56 AM   #19
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Dunno, I was wondering that myself. It's a clear violation of the letter I received from them.
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Old October 9 2012, 02:09 AM   #20
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Maybe actually post the letters you are getting? Enlighten us all?

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Old October 9 2012, 06:02 AM   #21
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

I don't think that's prudent or even necessary. However, it came from:

Mallory Levitt
Vice President & Assistant General Counsel
Intellectual Property
CBS Law

Dated 8/9/2011 10:19 AM, the letter had a number of conditions to which we were asked to adhere, and after a brief consultation with our legal consul, we opted to move into complete compliance with those conditions. Then notified M. Levitt that we had yielded to their requests, which was acknowledged 8/10/2011 10:18 AM.

I sincerely doubt we're the only recipient of such correspondence. We occasionally received inquiries throughout the 80's for our fanzine press as well.


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Old October 9 2012, 05:51 PM   #22
Linnear
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

And why wouldn't you post a letter with information that would be applicable to everyone? or at least the issues that needed being addressed. There is no confidentiality you would be breaking, and in fact you would be helping the community.

I already called Mallory and will be posting any information I receive that will be useful to everyone.

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Old October 9 2012, 06:22 PM   #23
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Why would he post a letter that was sent to Potemkin? On what grounds would it be considered "applicable to everyone" ?
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Old October 9 2012, 06:41 PM   #24
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Is there actually some sort of definitive document of any kind that spells out what trek fan productions can and can't do? It seems to be something amorphous that is passed around via word of mouth only.

My interpretation is that you can not "profit" from it. But I have noticed that the larger productions like Phase II that accept donations do so through a non-profit corporation. This is to, I presume, provide a proper accounting for money taken in and money spent.

I think in some cases it would be very hard to track "cost" on a fan production. What if someone is attempting to do the entire work themselves, such as me? Can I bill myself for hiring myself? If I have to work on it fulltime and not have a dayjob, can I bill myself a living wage? I'm probably unique in not currently having a dayjob to pay the bills. So my "price" to do Fem Trekz would be my living expenses. I'm pretty sure CBS would not like that. So even if I formed a non-profit and threw the project on Kickstarter, if they actually ran through the figures, they would say it's bogus and I am effectively making a "living" off of my show.

Similarly, if I were to hire a freelancer to work on this, as I have in the past, and used the funds to pay them, what's the difference between paying them and paying myself? Are they not, for the duration of the contract, a part of the crew? Am I NOT a part of the crew? Cost is cost, whether they are a 3rd party or not. Cost is not simply lumber and paint and computer hardware and software. It's labor.

So I think the instant you take donations for a fan production you create an accounting nightmare. It's fine as long as CBS doesn't complain, but if they do, then I'm sure they could find issue in one thing or another.

When I read through Farragut's press releases, for instance, I get the sense that there is a very fine line between the fan production wing that will make Continues and their profit wing that provides production services for others. One could argue that Continues is a promotional vehicle for the profitable wing. Indirectly, therefore, the fan production is meant to gain Farragut Films credibility and future business. Would that be considered a violation?

Likewise, my intention has always been to use the work on Fem Trekz to further my career just as a demo reel. Is that equally indirectly "for profit"?

And can we sell DVDs as long as we only break-even? And I've heard conflicting things about showing work at conventions. Phase II showed a rough-cut of Kitumba at a convention, for instance. Why is that considered OK? (I think barring fan films from conventions is pretty stupid, IMHO.)

So it just seems like a total mine-field to me, and the only thing I wouldn't do is try to take donations or put things on kickstarter. But then you have Renegades going on Kickstarter. Would CBS slap-down two Trek veterans over this? If they wouldn't, are they just giving them special privileges and engaging in selective enforcement?

So it really would be beneficial for there to be some official statement issued.
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Old October 9 2012, 06:48 PM   #25
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

The problem is, as I see it, that no two situations are going to be the same. There simply can't (and won't) be a single document that will govern all fan films equally, because Paramount/CBS isn't a governing body, it's a corporation. If one fan film gets away with something, good for them. It doesn't necessarily follow though that if Paramount cracks down on you (the general you) that they will do same on everyone else.

They can do whatever they want in this department and we have to just like it or love it.
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Old October 9 2012, 07:46 PM   #26
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Years ago, I used to chat with some of the people that were making "Star Trek: New Voyages" (before it became "Phase 2"). I was told at that time that they were barred from having any advertising, selling any DVDs or other merchandise with any association to Star Trek. I remember seeing some of the cast at Dragon*Con around that same time (Jeff Quinn and John Kelley, if I remember correctly), and they were selling autographed headshots of themselves at the con -- not in costume, mind you -- but of them. I always thought that this was part of the deal with Paramount.

At the time, they did not accept donations in any form other than Home Depot gift cards -- I think that was the workaround to get the sets built without angering Paramount about receiving cash for their venture.

I also know that when I was doing my own Kickstarter campaign for my puppet movie that one of the criteria for your campaign was that you either owned all copyrights or had permission to use said copyrights in your campaign. I would think that this would apply to all of the Crowdfunding sites, so I'm rather confused as to how Phase 2 and Renegades are currently running campaigns. It seems like they'd have to have CBS's OK to be able to have their campaign, but at the same time, it also seems as though that is in direct violation of the no payment for these fan films.

Profit or not, I'd think in the eyes of Paramount/CBS, this is money that fans could be spending on licensed Trek merchandise rather than on fan films.
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Old October 9 2012, 08:17 PM   #27
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

There is a legal difference between taking donations before an actual production is done and making a profit selling a copywriten product. The later is a clear cut violation where as donations before production is harder to enforce because the funds could be going towards the production company needs (servers, rent etc.) and that doesn't expressly prove a copyright violation, even though the goal is to make a Star Trek product.
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Old October 9 2012, 08:22 PM   #28
USS Intrepid
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

We've never had any communication with Paramount or CBS, though they are aware of us. I take that as a fairly positive sign.
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Old October 10 2012, 03:49 AM   #29
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Linnear wrote: View Post
And why wouldn't you post a letter with information that would be applicable to everyone? or at least the issues that needed being addressed. There is no confidentiality you would be breaking, and in fact you would be helping the community.
I would rather not spell out the details of what was clearly a private letter to me as Executive Producer/Creator of Project: Potemkin, especially when the details addressed items specifically connected with the www.projectpotemkin.com website.

Linnear wrote: View Post
I already called Mallory and will be posting any information I receive that will be useful to everyone.
That's fine, Alec. That can be your decision. But it's not going to be mine.

doubleohAHHHHHH!!!!! wrote: View Post
Why would he post a letter that was sent to Potemkin? On what grounds would it be considered "applicable to everyone" ?
Thanks, Double-oh. M. Levitt's letter was addressed specific problems CBS Studios/Legal had with our website, and with soliciting donations through PayPal. We addressed all their concerns quickly, and were in compliance by the evening of the same day.

doubleohAHHHHHH!!!!! wrote: View Post
The problem is, as I see it, that no two situations are going to be the same. There simply can't (and won't) be a single document that will govern all fan films equally, because Paramount/CBS isn't a governing body, it's a corporation. If one fan film gets away with something, good for them. It doesn't necessarily follow though that if Paramount cracks down on you (the general you) that they will do same on everyone else.
Quite true. We're also in a different position than a lot of productions based on our website, setting, costuming, etc. We've been given certain restrictions we have chosen to abide by. But obviously not everyone else has. Be glad for that.

doubleohAHHHHHH!!!!! wrote: View Post
They can do whatever they want in this department and we have to just like it or love it.
Or choose to give them reason to send the Cease and Desist.

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
We've never had any communication with Paramount or CBS, though they are aware of us. I take that as a fairly positive sign.
I would, too!
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Old October 10 2012, 01:03 PM   #30
xortex
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

I believe Marc Scott Zicree's first words when he recieved that quarter million for Space Command from kickstarter was 'Hookers for everyone!'.

Just adding some Levitty to the situation. Why should fans see a multi-million dollar movie when the stories in fan films are getting much better.
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