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

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

  1. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Um...no

    You can't make any profit from it unless you specifically have a legal agreement with CBS to do so. CBS is not going to have the blanket policy to let anyone make a film using their property and just give them a set share of the profits. To do so would cause more legal nightmare for CBS than you can possibly imagine, not to mention multiple union violations etc..

    If CBS liked a fan film and wanted to use it for a series, they would have to buy it and have everything completely re-shot under there controlled (and union'd) conditions. CBS can never officially support any fan film.

    MGM has every right not to allow Stargate fan films, they own it. Some times studios will want put there properties to sleep and take it out of the public eye so that when they want to bring it back there is more of a fan 'hunger' for it.
     
  2. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that is the situation right now. I made "how it should be" statements.
     
  3. Loken

    Loken Lieutenant Commander

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    The bigger issue is the lack of accountability and transparency in fan film Kickstarters. Where does all the money go? There is currently zero transparency or accountability and THIS more than anything will cause the other shoe to drop.

    If anyone has checked out the Axanar Kickstarter, we were very specific what we were spending the money on. We are providing the operating budget for "Prelude to Axanar" to our donors. And frankly, a lot of donors thanked us for that. They are owed that level of information.

    Without casting dispersions, when "Renegades" raises $ 374,000 and is about to start another Kickstarter/Indigogo for MORE money, that is the type of thing that will cause CBS to sit up and take notice. Where is all that money going? (And Renegades Producer Sky Conway and I discussed this very thing this am on a call). The question is what will set CBS off? Is it raising a certain $ amount, or is it customers complaining about something a production does?

    This is not an endless well that we can just tap into anytime. Let me tell you CBS IS looking at these fund raisers and the lack of accountability and transparency is what is going to screw us all.

    Alec
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  4. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Depends on how long a lawyer would twist and turn the fact that there have been official "homage" episodes which did play with that background (Scotty, Tribbles, Mirror Akiraprise).

    Right now we can count ourselves lucky that there's a voice of reason at CBS Legal who cares about the difference between free positive publicity and actual attempts to profit from something related to their IP.
     
  5. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Quite true. CBS is being very generous to Star Trek fan films right now. Sooner or later, this may change.

    Of course, in addition to Project: Potemkin, I've been publishing fanzines since 1979, and have never once been bothered by Paramount, Gulf+Western, Viacom or CBS. Although one of their licensees got a bit litigious over the name of our fanzine, I've had nothing but cordial dealings with them for Orion Press for 35 years.

    I'm hoping the same holds true for Project: Potemkin and all other fan films.
     
  6. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/star-trek-renegades-vfx-funding

    Seems pretty transparent to me. The first raiser was about production, the second one is about visual effects.
     
  7. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    Like I said, the IRS is taking care of that for them.

    As far as folks having a right to control their own property...ABC just shut down a "Dark Shadows" fan film based on the original series.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Do you have a link handy for that?
     
  9. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    Sorry, I don't. I got it directly from the production team as I was considering doing costuming for them. I will ask if anything is posted on line next time I get to chat with any of them.
     
  10. Captain Atkin

    Captain Atkin Captain Captain

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    Are you talking about the production that was being done in Austin, Texas a few years ago? My friend John Carroll directed the first episode. It was called Dark Shadows: The Web Series. There was only one episode ever put online, but it was taken down after they were asked to remove it. Only a trailer remains online, which can bee seen here: https://vimeo.com/16334013

    My understanding is that it wasn't ABC, but the Dan Curtis estate that asked them to take the video down.
     
  11. Duane

    Duane Captain Captain

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    I had the impression that Kickstarter provides the IRS with paperwork showing how much money the project originator raised. If the project originator fails to prove that the funds were used in production, tax implications would arise.

    If I am not mistaken, the guy behind No Film School raised some funds for a sports movie and failed to film in the year in which he raised funds. Thus he lost a decent chunk of his Kickstarter funds to taxes. It might be someone else, but I think it was the No Film School guy.

    Alec, as you make your way through the process, any clarification you can give as to IRS/tax implications would be greatly appreciated. You are busy now so I'll remind you later once you wrap on Axanar.

    Duane
     
  12. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    No, it was a new one in development. And you are right, I talked to one of my contacts and it was DC estate that put the kybosh on it. However, they also said there is a current audio production that's licensed, so that may be way both the old one and the new one were shut down. There are no links as they hadn't gone "public" yet. If you search the DS forums you may find references to it being in development though.
     
  13. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    As far as the Phase II 2012 Indiegogo, the IRS isn't asking to see that a finished product exists. They are asking for documentation that the money was spent on "production" costs, and are demanding very specific proof. Such as, shooting schedules/call sheets that prove someone was needed to "act" and that their plane ticket was not for a "personal visit". They are also really wishing that some of it was spent for salaries or SAG insurance plans because they act like they are just getting started and are eager to follow the money everywhere it went. (It wasn't in this case, fortunately.)

    I haven't really kept up with crowdfunding of all the various groups, but ONE of the issues is that people that collected money in 2013 had better have spent it all in 2013. They'll be required to prove it on this years returns. It would be interesting to know if, say, a production like Renegades had money left over going into 2014 and how both the IRS and CBS reacts to that. (STC had one in 2013 too, right?)
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is one is being put on by the VFX teams. Some of them do the VFX work in other fans films (Tobais for Phase II, Axanar, etc..). So in a way, enhancements to their systems will help the VFX quality of other fans films as well that they also do work for.
     
  15. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's always the case. Do you think ILM throws everything they bought away when they do a new film? No, they keep most of the hardware and software they invested in and use it in other productions.

    When the production team buys cameras and microphones and whatever (heck, printing paper for scripts) from the money of a kickstarter fundraiser, they will keep them for the next film they do as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  16. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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  17. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I wouldn't call this a related note at all. The circumstances there don't appear to involve a party asserting rights in relation to intellectual property that they actually own. Instead, the circumstances appear to involve a "faulty DMCA take-down request". If the facts are as represented in the article and this were somehow to see the inside of a courtroom, Sony would have no case at all.
     
  19. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I actually posted that in the wrong thread, whoopsey.
     
  20. FuzzyActor

    FuzzyActor Cadet Newbie

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    Edit: Direct link to Kickstarter fundraiser removed.

    I'm curious as to why a fan film cannot have a 'Paypal' donation account, but other fan films can have a 'Kick-Starter' donation account? What is the difference?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2014