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Paramount and CBS Want to Shut Down Star Trek Axanar

by Conner Flynn

Here is some news that is sure to enrage Trekkies. Indie fan film Star Trek: Axanar could be getting the axe. Paramount and CBS are now exercising their rights to the franchise. Both have filed a lawsuit to shut down the crowdfunded, not-for-profit fan film. They claim the project infringes on copyrighted material by featuring “innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes.”

For the most part, the studio has turned a blind eye to fan films, so it is interesting that they are going after this one. It makes sense though. Axanar is a huge project that has raised more than $1 million. It even has veteran filmmakers, crew members and actors. In other words, this is a serious threat to them. What if a crowdfunded project actually made a better movie than the big studios? The horror! Apparently they can no longer ignore the project with the 50th anniversary, and their new Trek series coming up too.

Paramount and CBS are demanding an injunction, as well as damages for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Axanar producer Alec Peters said they do plan to contest Paramount’s suit, noting the studio has let myriad other fan films exist without issue. And they do have a case for that, but Paramount’s and CBS’ money will more than likely ensure a win. While we wait for the lawyers to duke it out, be sure to watch the 19-minute short Prelude to Axanar before the studio forces it to be yanked down:

Let fans be fans. Besides if these studios made good movies, people wouldn’t feel the need to make their own.

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