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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old October 10 2012, 03:59 PM   #31
Linnear
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Potemkin_Prod wrote: View Post

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.
Well, some of us try and share as much as possible to help each other. I guess as an attorney I have a different view.

Tom wrote: View Post
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.
Exactly. Very well said.

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.
You are an angel! :-)


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Old October 10 2012, 05:10 PM   #32
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Linnear wrote: View Post
Well, some of us try and share as much as possible to help each other. I guess as an attorney I have a different view.
Funny, my attorney feels otherwise. Confidentiality means something to him.
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Old October 10 2012, 05:54 PM   #33
pyroboy
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

I beleve that even though each one of the Star Trek fan films may or may not have a direct or indirect dealing with CBS/Paramount Legal, Each fan films legal Dept. dealings may be generally the same; but may also very, very different. That being said, IMHO I think that the Legal issues shoud be left private to each Fan film production and CBS/ Paramout Legal. In this way every production is secure in knowing that they are doing what the powers to be want then to do. Remember...legal matters should be private. Fan films or otherwise.
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Old October 10 2012, 06:52 PM   #34
Tom
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Linnear wrote: View Post
Tom wrote: View Post
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.
Exactly. Very well said.
Thanks.

Keep in mind, that even if you are not commiting a profit violation by soliciting funds beforehand, CBS Legal still can shut you down on the grounds of you even using 'Star Trek'. This usually does not happen because they don't want to set a precedent that could harm the fanbase. But, they could play that card if they see something that could effect there profits and/or brand integrity. Usually these are on a case by case basis.
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Last edited by Tom; October 10 2012 at 07:36 PM.
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Old October 10 2012, 10:17 PM   #35
Linnear
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Tom wrote: View Post

Thanks.

Keep in mind, that even if you are not committing a profit violation by soliciting funds beforehand, CBS Legal still can shut you down on the grounds of you even using 'Star Trek'. This usually does not happen because they don't want to set a precedent that could harm the fanbase. But, they could play that card if they see something that could effect there profits and/or brand integrity. Usually these are on a case by case basis.
Again, your insight is right on.

Interesting that Lucasfilm has instituted a set of rules for Star Wars fan films. I would love to see the same for CBS and Star Trek.

At the very least, we should be sharing general guidelines, which are not bound by confidentiality. Such as, don't use the word "official", or make sure Star Trek is much smaller than the title of your production, or don't sell DVD's.

There is a basic set of guidelines that we all should be familiar with, that CBS has shared many times, that have nothing to do with anyone's website.

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Old October 13 2012, 06:26 AM   #36
PattyW
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Mallory, the head of CBS legal, is in contact with James and I constantly; and, frankly, "they" are on our website and forums on a daily basis. She is the "recently new sheriff in town" and since she took over, spent some time going through sites one at a time and contacting the folks involved. If you run a fan film that is currently in production and have not heard from her, expect to.

Because of our visibility, New Voyages/Phase II actually faces stricter standards than other fan films...and we are happy to comply with every one of their requests. Every contact with them has been overwhelmingly pleasant.

In general, the guidelines are:

- you cannot use the word "Official" in anything with the words "Star Trek" in it.

- you cannot use ANY elements from the movie directed by JJ Abrams. That includes uniforms or the universe established by it. (In other words, if you are talking about Pike and George on the Kelvin in your fan film, they are going to yank it.)

- you cannot sell DVDs, posters, or other merchandise with the word "Star Trek" on it. Giving such things away is a grey area that fan films would do well to avoid.

- you cannot use any images from the licensed franchise. ("free use" clips not included.)

- you cannot use anything that Desilu/CBS/Paramount/Viacom/etc has paid for at any time in the past. The franchise is alive again and they may want to use it themselves...even if the script or concept drawing is 50 years old. (That's why you'll never see James Cawley selling the patterns Bill Theiss willed him.)

- anything with the words "Star Trek" on it must also have the following statement on it, or one like it provided by CBS legal. "STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “********”, the website, the promotion thereof and/or any exhibition of material created by ******* are not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise."

If you run any site that has any copyrighted material on it, or deals with Star Trek, you would do yourself a favor and buy endless good will with TPTB by going right now and adding that disclaimer to every page in it. It's the least you can do to show you respect their rights and show that you acknowledge what you owe them.


- you cannot ask or take donations or contributions to generally fund your production, fan film, or studio connected to it. (Hence the "donate here" button C&D from CBS that went out to most fan film sites in the last year.) Frankly, there is no way to prove that you are not making a profit from such donations. (other than a very long accounting process to CBS)

- you can ask for donations for a specific purpose. "Please help us buy a keg of beer" "please help us pay the electric bill". "Please help us buy a plane ticket". CBS is okay with those. Perhaps because for these kinds of things, if CBS ever wanted an accounting it would be easy to do... "we got $ and here is the bill we paid with it." The PayPal buttons on our site fall into this category. So does our Indiegogo campaign. We are not asking for donations to "fund the production". We are asking for donations to pay very specific bills associated with this one shoot, which can be quickly detailed to CBS legal. (For that reason "Kickstarter" campaigns immediately qualify as a no-no: as Kickstarter requires the campaigns on it's site to be funding an entire project, not just a piece of it.)

I agree with both Linnear and Potempkin Productions. The above guidelines, given by CBS legal, are helpful to share with all fans, and can only buy goodwill with CBS as people that could be contacted comply with them before that email comes.

On the other hand, there have been many conversations with Mallory regarding Phase II or the people involved in it or work that we are doing that are our private business and should not be shared with the public due to confidentiality of the business dealings: except generally as it affects our fans. (Such as the broad statement about not filming Spinrad's script.)

A few things people should remember:

- They own Star Trek. Plain and simple.

- They are making a considerable profit on it now and do not want competition. (hence the "no JJ stuff" rule.)

- They are not unreasonable. (In fact, one of our artists negotiated a deal to sell a commercially produced and marketed book with his some of his Star Trek art he did for us in it.)

- Mallory doesn't just sit around watching fan film sites and dealings...she is the head of CBS legal. Though Linnear posted her name, she does not want fans contacting her or writing to her. If you are a fan film producer, website designer, etc, and want to reach out to her, contact me through my email and I will provide her contact information: or send yours and your concern on to her. (based on what she's told me to do with each type of request.)

As a P.S. I'd like to clear up two things.

First, "copyright infringement" in these kinds of cases can only be brought to court when the copyright holder can prove harm to the copyright owner's ability to profit from their product. Including profits you are making (and thus taking them away from the owner) or damage to the product that results in reduced profits. (this is why fan films and fan film producers need to keep any bad blood out of the courts. Having CBS news carrying a story on Trek fan films battling it out in front of a judge would give them bad PR...and, no, not all PR is good for the product.)

Second, as far as the uniforms go...the only thing copyrighted regarding the TOS uniforms is the insignia. Legally, you cannot sell reproduction uniforms on eBay with the insignia on them. You cannot sell the insignia. Do people do it? Yes. CBS let's most of them do it. But it's illegal and CBS could shut them down any time they want, and have in some cases. (You could take them to court and win on a technicality I won't go into, but who has the money to battle CBS?)

FYI: fashion law is it's own book. You cannot copyright a "pattern" that "defines" a piece of clothing. CBS cannot legally issue a C&D that says "you cannot sell a piece of clothing that looks like the clothing worn on our copyrighted show." Do I believe they said that to Potempkin? Sure. But they can't enforce it and they're banking on the group not knowing that, or not wanting to piss them off. In fact, they did bring a costumer to court several years ago (long before Mallory took over) and the result was the first day of the trail the judge laughed them out of court and advised them to get a lawyer that knew what the hell he was doing.
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Last edited by PattyW; October 13 2012 at 06:42 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old October 13 2012, 08:41 AM   #37
USS Intrepid
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Patty that's very useful. Thanks for the insight.
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Old October 13 2012, 03:06 PM   #38
F. King Daniel
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

That's very interesting. I've always wondered about the rules fan films go by. Thanks for sharing!
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Old October 13 2012, 07:43 PM   #39
Linnear
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

THANK YOU Patty. That is exactly what we all need. Glad you took the time to share it all with us.

See? That wasn't hard. :-)

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Old October 14 2012, 03:38 AM   #40
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

and thanks for pointing out there are certain things neither Potemkin nor Phase II want to reveal
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Old October 14 2012, 06:55 AM   #41
Linnear
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

It is the fact that Patty shared things that made the post valuable. Pretty simple to share things that are universally applicable without detailing things that are production-specific.

Last edited by Linnear; October 14 2012 at 07:29 AM.
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Old October 14 2012, 03:40 PM   #42
doubleohfive
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Linnear wrote: View Post
It is the fact that Patty shared things that made the post valuable. Pretty simple to share things that are universally applicable without detailing things that are production-specific.
Pretty simple, yes. But the important part of this this that she didn't have to share it, but she chose to anyway. I'd laud that specific over however easy it is to do.
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Old October 14 2012, 03:41 PM   #43
Linnear
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Location: Newport Beach, CA
Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

doubleohAHHHHHH!!!!! wrote: View Post
Pretty simple, yes. But the important part of this this that she didn't have to share it, but she chose to anyway. I'd laud that specific over however easy it is to do.
No argument there. Patty did a favor to us all. Thank you Patty!

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Old October 14 2012, 03:44 PM   #44
Creepy Critter
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Conversely, I don't think that Potemkin_Prod was being uncooperative by electing not to share anything.
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Old October 14 2012, 04:32 PM   #45
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Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
Conversely, I don't think that Potemkin_Prod was being uncooperative by electing not to share anything.
Oh I completely agree. I'm grateful for whatever people choose to share; but I don't for a moment believe I'm entitled to any of it.
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