CBS's "Rules of Engagement" for Star Trek Fan Films

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Ian Keldon, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Dec 22, 2011
    Paramount has, since some time in May, started going after anything that infringes on its Trek IP rights. Kitbashers on Ebay, fan sites "archiving" old out of print RPG material, etc.

    Has their gaze turned to any of the fan films yet? We have several high-profile productions like Phase II that could be adversely affected, depending on how far Paramount is willing to take this.
     
  2. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    We were asked to make changes to our Project: Potemkin website, specifically to remove the link to PayPal to make donations to our project by CBS Studios/Legal. We were also told that we could not sell uniforms/costumes and any other type of item that features Star Trek-related material. It's no big deal. We complied within 30 mins, and the site met their approval immediately afterwards. And they've not touched the Orion Press website at all, which has been on-line since the early 1990's. We still receive donations for Potemkin, but there's not a lot of need for them except for costuming and makeup appliances (i.e. ears).

    I think the thing they wanted to put a stop to was the proliferation of copyrighted film clips, copyrighted video clips, copyrighted sound clips that predominated a lot of websites for a while.
     
  3. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Dundee, Scotland, UK
    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    They've never been in touch with us, despite some fairly widespread publicity over the years. But then we've always made an effort to be squeaky clean and not step on any toes.
     
  4. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    There are different levels of copyright violation. Use of any film clip is a clear violation of statutory copyright, unless you are writing a critique of it, or creating a parody... even then, use if limited. Period. No wiggle room. Uniforms would also fall under this. On the other hand, a new ship, a new crew... new footage... based on a series whose designs they haven't used in 40 years... a lot iffier. Also, they have less to loose.
     
  5. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    I don't think you even had to do that. Just reword what these donations are for.
     
  6. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    We really don't need the contributions in general. I'll occasionally get a really nice one, and it's very appreciated. But our bridge is built; it doesn't eat a lot of utilities. The website is relatively cheap. We don't spend a lot of money burning DVDs and taking them to conventions. We don't advertise very much, so there's not a lot of need for donations.
     
  7. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    This series keeps getting better. I think this is a great way to go. The series shows that you are focusing on making the films... and I believe that as the number of films that are great to watch grows, the viewers will find you in growing numbers.
     
  8. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Hollywood, CA
    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    If that's true, TrekCore is not long for the world then. Which is sad, as it's a huge resource, never mind adelight to peruse.
     
  9. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    I seem to recall some sort of the same thing being done by Paramount back in the 1990's and again in the mid 2000's. TrekCore survived both. Sadly not every website did.
     
  10. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    Well that's a good sign then. Still, while I don't dispute Paramount's right to its own intellectual property, it sucks that they're cracking down on everyone. I'd be very interested to know how closely this might be related to the release of the next film.
     
  11. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    I haven't heard from anyone that's being cracked down on lately myself. I'm just hoping this is one of those rumors.
     
  12. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    Here's the original email I received:

    And here's where I posted the information when I followed up with him asking what had caused the situation.

    CBS/Paramount is in the midst of a C&D flurry covering several IPs and multiple media it appears. Old FASA Trek RPG scans are being targeted, as are kitbashed minis on E-Bay, etc.
     
  13. Linnear

    Linnear Lieutenant Commander

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    Newport Beach, CA
    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    CBS is the rights holder for Star Trek. And dealing with the top people in CBS, I can tell you they are decent, passionate people who love Star Trek. Already we are at an advantage. They are not trying to screw with fan films. I have had serious discussions with them and they honestly would love to work even more with fan films, but because Paramount owns the movie rights, the situation is very tricky and they simply cannot do anything.

    Mallory is the legal person who looks after the fan film community, and while I haven't spoken with her, I have heard nothing but great things about her from Phase II and Secret Voyage. She will tell you what you have to change to fly under the radar and she is very helpful.

    I will get contact info for her and chat with her how she might want inquiries to go.

    Alec
     
  14. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    ^Thank you. That would probably help keeps a great many people out of potential trouble.
     
  15. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    That, plus the rest of your post, was very nice to read. It's great when the rights owner goes to the trouble to work with fans to help keep the flame alive, so to speak. They are in no way obligated to and it's says a lot.

    Compare them to the Irwin Allen series rights holders.

    Thanks for sharing that info!
     
  16. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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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?
     
  17. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

    They'll eventually contact you.
     
  18. Melonpool

    Melonpool Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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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?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  19. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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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.
     
  20. Linnear

    Linnear Lieutenant Commander

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    Newport Beach, CA
    Re: Paramount IP enforcement, has it hit any productions yet?

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

    Alec
     

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