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Old May 21 2014, 04:48 PM   #76
jojolimited
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

andriech wrote: View Post
Tom wrote: View Post
Patty is the one who talks about this issue a lot where Phase II is concerned I have noticed. Other groups keep these issues more private, as they should be, than posting everything on a public forum such as this. CBS will deal with the groups as they need to on a case by case basis if they feel there is a violation to be addressed.
I post because people have asked for the information...and have expressed gratitude for it. As I dealt with them personally for a very long time, I have first hand information - where most people are guessing. Not being connected to a fanfilm at this point I have the knoweldge and the non involved perspective to what is and has gone on.

I DO keep private matters private (and have a few "non disclosures" binding me) - but mentioning they made us take "Star Trek" off a t shirt is not some revealation of a state secret. I'm not about to share emails and other communications from CBS to "prove" they are keeping track etc. My hope was that the information gives people a view into the way they operate, and how it changes on a case by case and film by film basis.

I just thought the more informed people are, the less "well I think..." is going on, which seems to get ridiculous and puts some people into a panic. There are actually several pages of a thread where people were angry with Randy for not sharing details of what CBS asked him to abide by. That's his choice...to keep things private. I personally thought what information could be shared would be useful to other filmmakers....as well as to fans thinking CBS would be swooping down at any minute to shut everyone down because of some trivial mistake.

I know some people I have helped with the information, and have put people in touch with CBS for legal matters they got cleared (and we never thought they would). But I will stop posting answers to people's questions or observations because it is clearly just irritating. Sorry.
Thanks for your help. A few years ago I asked someone on another board if there was anything put out by CBS covering what was and wasn't legal for ST fan movies. At the time, I was told there was nothing. Glad to know that there is.

My biggest concern is if it's legal to pay talent and crew, even though the "enterprise" is non profit. For the Firefly fanfilm they could not pay anyone anything legally.
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Old May 21 2014, 05:42 PM   #77
Tom
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

jojolimited wrote: View Post


Thanks for your help. A few years ago I asked someone on another board if there was anything put out by CBS covering what was and wasn't legal for ST fan movies. At the time, I was told there was nothing. Glad to know that there is.

My biggest concern is if it's legal to pay talent and crew, even though the "enterprise" is non profit. For the Firefly fanfilm they could not pay anyone anything legally.
Yes, you can absolutely pay talent and crew. Many of our productions have professional actors that we are mandated by SAG to pay. Crew can be paid to. Most of the crew in these productions do work for free but some with specialized skill sets can get some monetary compensation.
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Old May 21 2014, 06:36 PM   #78
jojolimited
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Tom wrote: View Post
jojolimited wrote: View Post


Thanks for your help. A few years ago I asked someone on another board if there was anything put out by CBS covering what was and wasn't legal for ST fan movies. At the time, I was told there was nothing. Glad to know that there is.

My biggest concern is if it's legal to pay talent and crew, even though the "enterprise" is non profit. For the Firefly fanfilm they could not pay anyone anything legally.
Yes, you can absolutely pay talent and crew. Many of our productions have professional actors that we are mandated by SAG to pay. Crew can be paid to. Most of the crew in these productions do work for free but some with specialized skill sets can get some monetary compensation.
thanks for the quick response. You guys are doing the spec movie I always wanted to do. Really looking forward to the final result.
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Old May 23 2014, 10:04 AM   #79
JarodRussell
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

I wonder why CBS just don't let fan films turn in a profit and demand 60%, or 100% or whatever of it. None of the fan films are ever going to be a danger to official movies or TV shows, they fill an extremely tiny niche. And the creators of the fan films are going to do the marketing and distribution, so no costs for CBS.
I can't see great long term risks either. The additional hurdle of having to sign a fan film contract with CBS would automatically act as a filter, and they could litter the contract with shutdown and interference clauses, or whatever you call that in your strange language, to prevent them from getting too big.

Not long ago, MGM almost violently killed off an extremely crappy Stargate fan film attempt from Germany/Switzerland. That was like nuking a mosqito. You could say it was damage control to save the image of the brand, though.

But stuff like Renegades or Phase II... can't see them "diluting the brand" for CBS in any way.
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Old May 23 2014, 11:05 AM   #80
Maurice
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Why not let fans make money even if most of it went to CBS? Because doing so opens a whole can of worms in terms of contracts, fees, and accounting. Heck, just the time it takes to draw up the contracts can be expensive. I've sat in on contract negotiations between Amazon and a software company for a SINGLE work for hire software project, and it took months. The amount of money CBS could make from such a deal would likely never amount to their legal or the fees they'd incur to do an audit. Just. Not. Worth. It. (I suppose they could draft a boilerplate take-it-or-leave-it agreement, but, again, the legal costs incurred if a breach occurred still likely wouldn't make it a profitable venture.)

You are mandated to pay SAG actors for most productions, but the Short Film Agreement allows NO payment for certain film categories and deferred payment for others (section 5 here).
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Old May 23 2014, 11:20 AM   #81
JarodRussell
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Maurice wrote: View Post
Why not let fans make money even if most of it went to CBS? Because doing so opens a whole can of worms in terms of contracts, fees, and accounting. Heck, just the time it takes to draw up the contracts can be expensive. I've sat in on contract negotiations between Amazon and a software company for a SINGLE work for hire software project, and it took months. The amount of money CBS could make from such a deal would likely never amount to their legal or the fees they'd incur to do an audit. Just. Not. Worth. It. (I suppose they could draft a boilerplate take-it-or-leave-it agreement, but, again, the legal costs incurred if a breach occurred still likely wouldn't make it a profitable venture.)

You are mandated to pay SAG actors for most productions, but the Short Film Agreement allows NO payment for certain film categories and deferred payment for others (section 5 here).
Thanks for the explanation. A take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing was what I was thinking of.
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Old May 23 2014, 12:42 PM   #82
Bixby
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Maurice is right about legal papers. I remember years ago I was working at a studio that specialized in television commercials. One day the owner was chatting away about the business. At one point he pulls out a 2 inch-thick binder and points to it, saying here's all the paperwork needed for a single 30-second commercial. We're all pretty impressed/horrified when he says ''my bad, I forgot this one'', then pulls out a second 2-inch thick binder, also filled with legal stuff...
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Old May 23 2014, 03:57 PM   #83
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Our audio production recently had an original TNG guest star make an appearance. The paperwork required to obtain SAG/AFTRA blessing was a royal pain. I can only imagine that it is multiples worse for a video production.
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Old May 24 2014, 05:55 AM   #84
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Tom wrote: View Post
jojolimited wrote: View Post

My biggest concern is if it's legal to pay talent and crew, even though the "enterprise" is non profit. For the Firefly fanfilm they could not pay anyone anything legally.
Yes, you can absolutely pay talent and crew. Many of our productions have professional actors that we are mandated by SAG to pay. Crew can be paid to. Most of the crew in these productions do work for free but some with specialized skill sets can get some monetary compensation.
Having dealt extensively with CBS legal, I absolutely do not agree. You CANNOT pay anyone to work on a Star Trek fanfilm - no one can profit in any way off the CBS license which isn't a licensed production. (They shut down a donation to the Shuttle Charity even, refusing to let the CHARITY profit from the name "Star Trek")

HOWEVER.... everyone DOES. ALL the "major" fanfilms I know of are SAG signatory now - and though the contract says they can work for free if they choose, in almost every case the actors not only get paid, but their insurance and pension plans are compensated as if it's a union job covered by an actual union clause*. (we're not just talking about the "NAME" stars. For instance, most of Phase II's actors are SAG.)

So, legally CBS says you can't pay them. They, however, are not taking action on it. Those two facts are universal. You can't. Everyone does.

SAG signatory productions ARE required to document hours worked etc to SAG, whether or not the actor is getting financial renumeration of any kind. If you're not SAG signatory then it's not an issue.

* for those curious, the SAG MBA currently says that for a "New Media Production" (their word for "on line") members are to negotiate their own terms with the production. Unlike the WGA - which actually went out on strike to get a very detailed contract regarding their compensation for writing for the internet.
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Old May 24 2014, 11:58 AM   #85
JarodRussell
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

andriech wrote: View Post
Having dealt extensively with CBS legal, I absolutely do not agree. You CANNOT pay anyone to work on a Star Trek fanfilm - no one can profit in any way off the CBS license which isn't a licensed production. (They shut down a donation to the Shuttle Charity even, refusing to let the CHARITY profit from the name "Star Trek")
Also in distribution... when you upload the fanfilm to Youtube, it generates ad revenue for Youtube as well.
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Old May 24 2014, 01:55 PM   #86
jojolimited
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
andriech wrote: View Post
Having dealt extensively with CBS legal, I absolutely do not agree. You CANNOT pay anyone to work on a Star Trek fanfilm - no one can profit in any way off the CBS license which isn't a licensed production. (They shut down a donation to the Shuttle Charity even, refusing to let the CHARITY profit from the name "Star Trek")
Also in distribution... when you upload the fanfilm to Youtube, it generates ad revenue for Youtube as well.
Here's hoping CBS sees that as free advertising for the Trek franchise. I think they understand the importance of "Goodwill" and the benefits out weigh the downside. If fan films ever get good enough to be considered broadcast quality for production values and script and acting, I wonder if CBS will bring the hammer down then?

I do wish CBS would sponsor a yearly fan fest the way Lucas Entertainment does or did. I went to one official Trek con in Las Vegas and felt I really over paid for what I got. I'm sure CBS could do better. Plus they could showcase their other scifi/fantasy shows as well.
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Old May 24 2014, 04:26 PM   #87
Tom
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

andriech wrote: View Post
Tom wrote: View Post
jojolimited wrote: View Post

My biggest concern is if it's legal to pay talent and crew, even though the "enterprise" is non profit. For the Firefly fanfilm they could not pay anyone anything legally.
Yes, you can absolutely pay talent and crew. Many of our productions have professional actors that we are mandated by SAG to pay. Crew can be paid to. Most of the crew in these productions do work for free but some with specialized skill sets can get some monetary compensation.
Having dealt extensively with CBS legal, I absolutely do not agree. You CANNOT pay anyone to work on a Star Trek fanfilm - no one can profit in any way off the CBS license which isn't a licensed production. (They shut down a donation to the Shuttle Charity even, refusing to let the CHARITY profit from the name "Star Trek")

HOWEVER.... everyone DOES. ALL the "major" fanfilms I know of are SAG signatory now - and though the contract says they can work for free if they choose, in almost every case the actors not only get paid, but their insurance and pension plans are compensated as if it's a union job covered by an actual union clause*. (we're not just talking about the "NAME" stars. For instance, most of Phase II's actors are SAG.)

So, legally CBS says you can't pay them. They, however, are not taking action on it. Those two facts are universal. You can't. Everyone does.

SAG signatory productions ARE required to document hours worked etc to SAG, whether or not the actor is getting financial renumeration of any kind. If you're not SAG signatory then it's not an issue.

* for those curious, the SAG MBA currently says that for a "New Media Production" (their word for "on line") members are to negotiate their own terms with the production. Unlike the WGA - which actually went out on strike to get a very detailed contract regarding their compensation for writing for the internet.
Bottom line is they do get paid and there has never been an issue because of it. Saying what CBS should or could do is one thing, but we can only look at what they allowing fan films to do now. If CBS changes there policy in the future then that is there right, but for now, paying actors, crowd-funding and some other things we have talked about are acceptable practices to them.

@JoJo -Fan films are free publicity for Star Trek, they help keep the fanbase energized. CBS only want to weed out those with clear 'intent' to produce a profit. They see productions like PhaseII, Continues and Renegades and see that there is a hard working effort to put out materiel that will excite fans help to keep the buzz of Star Trek going.
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Old May 24 2014, 05:55 PM   #88
JarodRussell
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

What could happen to the actor's payments retroactively if CBS decides to throw the lawsuit anvil?
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Old May 24 2014, 10:31 PM   #89
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

The producers would be liable, not the actors.
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Old May 25 2014, 04:40 PM   #90
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Re: Phase II Kickstarter

Maurice wrote: View Post
The producers would be liable, not the actors.
This
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