How are fan productions legal?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Data's Cat, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  2. JariM

    JariM Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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...
     
  3. dansigal

    dansigal Captain Captain

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    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
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    No publicity like free publicity.
     
  5. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:Please, let that happen in my lifetime.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Coming down to hard, might attract bad publicty. Companies prefer to aovid bad publicity.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  9. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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

    There may be some amount of fair use in there, too.
     
  10. Tracer Bullet

    Tracer Bullet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Is CBS more lenient about this sort of thing that Paramount was? It seems like they are, but I don't really know.
     
  11. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  12. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    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?
     
  13. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    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.
     
  14. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  15. dansigal

    dansigal Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  16. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yea, the Internet got too big for them to be able to Micromanage their Copyright to the level of going after folks using an image of a character(s) as an Avatar. I guess back when the Online world was smaller, it made sense to try and nip every little infringement in the bud before it led to folks believing the Copyright holder was lax about their rights, now, though, there's just way too much content to go after something of that small a level.
     
  17. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    I've seen that happen with several games. I think that the game market is just way more fickle about that kind of thing, possibly because it's not that hard for a few people to put their heads together and create something like Angry Birds or Candy Crush. But with fan films there is so much more cost and effort involved to get something that even remotely approaches the TV/film productions. Perhaps as the technology improves further and if Star Trek ever puts a TV show back on the air, then there might be some consideration, but until then there's not really any reason for them to be concerned.
     
  18. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Which franchises are they?
     
  19. chardman

    chardman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Close, but no cigar.

    A copyright holder can be as lax or stringent as they want with their copyrights, and the validity of said copyright will remain utterly unchanged. They can be totally fickle, suing one copyright violator while tolerating (or even encouraging) others. Failure to defend one's copyright does NOT result in the loss of copyright. Ever.

    Trademarks, on the other hand, must be rigorously enforced and defended lest they become invalid.
     
  20. dansigal

    dansigal Captain Captain

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    Here is the link to the Amazon site. http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1001197421
     

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