Looks like J.J. Abrams might have spoken too soon when he addressed the ongoing copyright lawsuit between CBS/Paramount and Axanar Productions, who created a feature-length Star Trek fan film entitled Return to Axanar and prompted a critical discussion between creators and fans about what does and doesn’t constitute a fan film.
In light of the current suit that exists between CBS/Paramount and the team behind Axanar, guidelines were issued several months ago which outline rules for future fan films. Basically: the studio isn’t saying there can’t be fanmade Star Trek projects, but the rules weren’t clearly outlined before–and now that’s created something of a problem for all parties currently involved in this Axanar suit.
When Star Trek director J.J. Abrams and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin spoke out against the lawsuit, with Abrams saying that it was not “an appropriate way to deal with the fans,” and that they had encouraged the respective studios to drop it in a discussion, many were under the impression that everything would soon be settled. Well, apparently that’s not the case.
Late last week, Axanar Productions brought a motion to compel discovery, which means that both Abrams and Lin could be called on to testify about their discussions with the studio and what the conversation entailed regarding fan films. Axanar Productions believes Abrams’ and Lin’s statements could help their case; CBS and Paramount, however, are taking the stance that said statements would be irrelevant. Either way, if the motion is accepted, Abrams and Lin might get dragged into the thick of all this–and since they’ve each got a foot in both the fan and the studio camps, that could mean an awkward situation.
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