Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by jespah, Oct 14, 2017.
I didn't know ovens got that hot.
Parse it the other way.
Merry Christmas, ya old building and loan Fan Productions forum. Thank YOU for the gifts of your creativity, your snarky goodness, and your friendship.
And have a lovely new year!
An early Happy Mothers Day to all the moms, the dads who also have to be moms, and the strong, smart, caring adults in kids' lives! <3
So this is sorta former-fanfilm-maker-related, but it appears Jack Marshall, who worked with James Cawley on New Voyages for a few segments until their differences undid their partnership, landed in some trouble with the law over other people's money last year (link) and was sentenced for it in June (link).
I see he also worked on something called Star Trek: Invincible (mentioned about 3/5th of the way down] this page: LINK), but all the links for it seem to be dead.
Egad, $18k embezzled from that church (hence there may have been other instances of theft which haven't seen the light of day).
Is John Marshall the same person as Jack Marshall? Not sure about this.....
It’s the same guy.
Is there a list of things that are actually trademarked / copyrighted by CBS/Paramount? And in which fashion?
"James T. Kirk", obviously. But what about Louis Kirk, the cook aboard a starship? What about when "The Federation" is name dropped? Or "Starfleet"? Is the dialog "Starfleet Command doesn't allow this action, Captain!" - "To hell with regulations!" something from Star Trek? What about "Command doesn't allow this action, Captain!" - "To hell with regulations!" Is it just the term, or is it the depiction or on-screen definition?
I'm asking 'cause I'm thinking about doing a fan production, and I see how The Orville didn't get sued. It could very well be a Star Trek show if the terms used in the show were the same. Because it clearly looks like one. Is it because of the comedy that it's considered a spoof, and not plagiarism?
If I did a show that is set in the future and has a very very very loose reference to what happened in the previous shows, with my own designs for sets, costumes, ships, races, etc... , I'm wondering what you can get away with. When is a uniform design Star Trek, and when is it not, for example? What makes a phaser a phaser? You know? Is a spaceship with a saucer and nacelles copyrighted?
Paramount's lawyers are nifty. With the limitation that you can't use professional actors, and you can't pay them, they also prevented the case that someone who happened to win the lottery drops all of the 35 million into a fan production. I'm not saying that this is the case btw.
Amazingly, the government provides this information: https://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First
Keep in mind, searches may not be under the terms you think they should be under. Also keep in mind, this database may not have earlier information/copyrights. Doesn't mean they're invalid; it just means they haven't hit the online database yet. To really know, you can always go to Washington and look, or send in a form (I believe) requesting a search be made. A search by a person will not be free.
And I would advise you (note: I am a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer), please don't go into this endeavor thinking of everything you can "get away with". For that's not the best attitude to begin with, but it also means you're concentrating your creativity on skirting the rules, rather than, you know, making the film.
PS Short sentences like that are not likely to be under protection. But check because, as I stated above, I ain't your attorney.
It sounds like you would rather make a Star Trek film, if you're asking "what you can get a way with." Why don't you just make a film within the guidelines? Then you don't have to worry about getting a way with anything.
But, if you're looking to make something longer--which is a whole lot more work--then focus on making your world unique, then, again, you don't have to worry about what you have to get a way with.
Egad, this is such good advice. If only people would follow this basic dictum, in every aspect of their lives, they would avoid so much unnecessary grief. You are indeed wise, Madam Justice...
The game Star Fleet Battles is called that because CBS/Paramount won't let them call it Starfleet Battles.
The Orville is not a parody so it's not getting away with anything. It's just a variation on a theme that cannot be mistaken for Star Trek even if it plays with the familiar elements of it.
Well, the script is done, financials are done, time has been spent. What prevents me from realizing it is the rules by CBS/Paramount because they think fanfiction is deluting their brand. As if a one-off garage production, with a budget below 1 million, released on Youtube, could ever compete on any level with productions like Discovery, Picard or Tarantino Trek. It's funny that they are actually afraid of that (which they are, otherwise the restrictions wouldn't exist in the way they do). And it's funny why, in this day and age in a digitalized 21st century, they don't just implement a license model that grabs 99 percent of the "profit" of any fan production. I'd be happy to share that if that enabled my to realize my dream story in a good way.
But for these reasons, amongst others, I am now in the phase of informing myself about options how to work around restrictions. The story is mine, all the characters are mine, it just happens to be set in the Trek universe (because I see no reason to set the story in a universe in the "27th century" with a group of officers from "Space Fleet", operating for the "Conglomerate of Interstellar Nations", in a cold war with the "Kaligons" and the "Remularians", getting in fights using "Laser Pistols", cruising around the galaxies with their "Alcubierre Drive", receiving energy from the "Singularity Core"). But if that's my only option, then f it and I do it.
The original story and original characters are supposed to be the focus, and wrapping this forcibly into a new universe is simply annoying and a waste of time. I even tried to go the completely opposite way and transported everything back into a 18th century naval setting. But I wanted to tell a science fiction story, not a pirate story. It's the story of a crew on a semi-military starship solving a problem for a United Nations like confederation in space, which already had other crews exploring the galaxy in the past. I mean how many "original" universes are we supposed to create just to be able to "officially" tell a specific story?
To be honest, the existing Star Trek universe is pretty much just a background wallpaper in my story. But if you keep the Star Trek background, people go "Aaah, great story" and if you replace it with a Stork Pork background, people suddenly go "wow that's not really original, is it?" because they lose their focus on all the similarities they suddenly recognize. When they know it's a Star Trek story upfront, they know what to expect. It's perception psychology. Which means that removing Star Trek from this specific story is a hindrance, and not an improvement.
Why don't I tell a different story then? Why don't I spend my money on a swimming pool instead? Well simply because I don't want to.
That's the issue: the nature of the story doesn't fit the guidelines, neither for fan productions nor for tie-in literature. I wanted to tell something progressive, something new, something to extend the franchise we already know so well.
What I haven't tried yet is to actually submit it officially. The chance of getting it recognized there is perhaps higher than winning the lottery. I have already been told that tie-in editors would not even read it. But I'm not sure about the film/tv part.
1) I'm sure film/TV won't read it, either. They don't accept unsolicited stuff any more IIRC
2) Plenty of other universes have been created with space-ish governments, military stuff, and pew pew and all the elements. The execution is different. Battlestar Galactica (both the newer and the older versions) comes to mind immediately. The Orville of course. I'm sure there are others; I'm just not thinking of them at this very moment
3) Bottom line, you know people will watch it at least once if you say "Star Trek". If you don't, they won't. That's piggybacking off someone else's audience. If you want to learn how social media tries to do that, Google newsjacking. I do understand why you want to do it this way. Doesn't mean I agree with it, but I can certainly see the appeal. I have written both fanfiction and wholly original fiction and yeah, the fan fic has more readers, because the audience is built in. But I don't own any of it, not really, and I can't make a dime off it. And the same will be true for you.
4) Oh my gosh, you think a company exercising its rights (as guaranteed in the Constitution, yo) is doing so out of fear? Heh, nope. It's dilution and it's a confusion issue. We've already seen a local news channel use I believe Renegades as its graphic for a story on official Trek. Hard for me to find the link with all of the news about Aron Eisenberg. It's also to protect legit license holders.
Anyway, I have to run back to work. Make original stuff. If it's already 75% original then you're probably not going to get a Trek bounce for long, anyway. Without familiar characters, ships, and situations, you may find your audience bails after the first viewing, because it's not Trek enough.
Thanks a bunch @DrCorby
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