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Future of Trek Discussion of future Trek projects.

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Old July 30 2013, 02:16 PM   #1
Data's Cat
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How are fan productions legal?

Not sure if I'm in the right subforum for this question.

Star Trek is not the only copyrighted work that has fan productions of movies and shorts. I'm just curious how this is done legally, without violating copyrights.
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Old July 30 2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

I guess sometimes the copyrights holders may tolerate fan productions as long as they are not produced for financial gain and the makers credit Paramount as the owner of all Star Trek related intellectual property(?)

Active fan-base is a good thing after all...
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Old July 30 2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Yeah, I mean none of these fan productions make anything for money, correct? There's nothing stopping a bunch of friends from getting together and acting something out for fun. You generally only violate copyright when you're selling something.

Now where it could technically maybe be an issue is if something is being distributed, even for free, amongst the general public, it might create some sort of confusion about what's officially supported by Paramount or CBS, at which point they might want to get involved to put a stop to it, but I don't see that as an issue
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Old July 30 2013, 03:47 PM   #4
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

No publicity like free publicity.
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Old July 30 2013, 03:57 PM   #5
JarodRussell
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

I'd love to see the day where some Trek fan wins 100 million in the lottery and does a 100 million non-profit fan film, releasing it for free. Just to see what happens, when CBS and Paramount run amok.

It's not only financial gain. It's also the fact that no fan production is a serious threat to the box office of a film or ratings of a TV show, because they are so cheaply made (and sometimes really silly looking) that only a tiny fraction of the fanbase follows them. Were someone to produce a multi million dollar fanfilm with great production value, it would actually threaten a CBS or Paramount production, and THEN they wouldn't care if they did it for profit or not. They would come down on it like a fucking anvil and stop it no matter what.
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Old July 30 2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
I'd love to see the day where some Trek fan wins 100 million in the lottery and does a 100 million non-profit fan film, releasing it for free. Just to see what happens, when CBS and Paramount run amok.
Please, let that happen in my lifetime.
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Old July 30 2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Coming down to hard, might attract bad publicty. Companies prefer to aovid bad publicity.
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Old July 30 2013, 08:49 PM   #8
R. Star
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Nothing like alienating your fan base by pursuing legal action against the people who are your bread and butter. Really I'd say it falls in the same category as fan fiction... as long as you're not making a profit it on, what's the harm?
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Old July 30 2013, 08:59 PM   #9
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Yes, good publicity, and no threat to CBS/Paramount.

There may be some amount of fair use in there, too.
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Old July 30 2013, 09:47 PM   #10
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Is CBS more lenient about this sort of thing that Paramount was? It seems like they are, but I don't really know.
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Old July 31 2013, 02:04 AM   #11
Gojira
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

dansigal wrote: View Post
Yeah, I mean none of these fan productions make anything for money, correct? There's nothing stopping a bunch of friends from getting together and acting something out for fun. You generally only violate copyright when you're selling something.

Now where it could technically maybe be an issue is if something is being distributed, even for free, amongst the general public, it might create some sort of confusion about what's officially supported by Paramount or CBS, at which point they might want to get involved to put a stop to it, but I don't see that as an issue
I have the Of Gods and Men DVD that I got for free so I think Paramount is alright if things get distributed as long as it is free.
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Old July 31 2013, 02:55 AM   #12
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Didn't I hear a rumour a little while back that it may be possible to get fan fiction up on sites like Amazon or something? How would this change things?
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Old July 31 2013, 03:50 AM   #13
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

It likely depends upon the copyright holder and how they choose to enforce their copyright. It can get sticky, too, as it's not so much publicity as it is keeping one's intellectual property under their own control. If you just let any Tom, Dick, or Data do what they want with the brand, that's a quick way to lose control over one's property.

For example, in the My Little Pony community, Hasbro has, on occasion, stepped on fan productions. There was a very well made game being produced by a small group of programmers called "Fighting is Magic," that had garnered a lot of attention, and right before it was released to the public as a free game, Hasbro stepped in and issued a C&D.

I'm of the opinion that as long as it doesn't garner too large an audience, most copyright holders can pretend that nothing is happening, but if the production gains a lot of attention, then the copyright holder is forced to crack down on it, or else lose their copyright hold on the property.

Plus, we all remember, way back in the ancient 1990s, when Paramount went on a rampage shutting down any website or production that even mentioned Star Trek.

Just my two bits.
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Old July 31 2013, 04:00 AM   #14
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Plus, we all remember, way back in the ancient 1990s, when Paramount went on a rampage shutting down any website or production that even mentioned Star Trek.
That reminds me of something that happened some years back. One of the companies- I think Disney? - was contacting websites and forums about using their copyrighted images. They didn't even want people using their characters as avatars.

Apparently that fizzled out. People still use copyrighted images for avatars and memes and nobody gets in trouble.
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Old July 31 2013, 04:20 AM   #15
dansigal
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Re: How are fan productions legal?

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Didn't I hear a rumour a little while back that it may be possible to get fan fiction up on sites like Amazon or something? How would this change things?
More than a rumor, this is something Amazon is doing. But they are only doing it with specific franchises from which they have specific permissions from the copyright holders. Right now its limited to a handful.
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