Thursday, May 26, 2016

Errand of Mercy: Lin brokers Axanar settlement

...A few months back there was a fan movie, Axanar that was being fan made, and there was this lawsuit between the studio and these fans. And [Star Trek Beyond director] Justin [Lin] was sort of outraged by this as a longtime fan. And, we started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing, we all [as] fans are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now within the last few weeks it will be announced that this is going away and the fans will be able to [continue] their productions.
This is a surprise. I imagine most people expected the Axanar lawsuit to get dragged through the courts for quite awhile, especially given executive producer Alec Peters' defiant attitude towards CBS/Paramount. On the one hand, I am glad a reconciliation of some kind is pending, more for the sake of other Trek fan films than for Axanar specifically, but what did Justin Lin - and JJ Abrams too, probably - say that led to this ceasefire?

I believe CBS/Paramount had a case. The suit was not about fan films in general, as believed by some, but about Peters and Axanar allegedly using Trek-specific concepts for their own profit, including the funding of their own studio. The Axanar legal team continues to maintain that no copyrights were violated, and in fact they filed a countersuit days after the announcement of the settlement, so who knows where things will go from here?

I was excited about Axanar at first, but I gotta admit I'm much less enthused about it now. Peters raised a million dollars to fund his not-a-fan-film (by his admission), yet he dragged his heels on the actual production, having nothing to show for his efforts to date but the "Prelude to Axanar" short and a single scene. Meanwhile, others have accomplished more with less, and in a shorter span of time. Check out this recent feature-length fan film made by a former Axanar FX guy who did much of the heavy lifting himself. Makes you wonder why Axanar has taken so much less longer by comparison, doesn't it?

The whole affair has made me more skeptical of crowdfunding projects in general, which is unfortunate, but maybe it's necessary. Who are these people whose Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns we support financially? Earlier this year, I plugged a Kickstarter project, but that was run by a friend I know and trust in real life. Maybe there should be stronger safeguards against people who misuse crowdsourced funds, but I wouldn't know where or how to set them up. For now, I guess you have to trust your judgment and take your chances.

As for Axanar, like I said, I think there's more to this pending settlement than meets the eye. Whether or not the whole truth will come out is a matter of time.

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Previously:
Axanar and fan fiction
William Shatner's 'Leonard'
Two Nimoy docs

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