A lot of websites have been copying-and-pasting to create articles based on the piece which ran in The Wrap last week. None of these websites, such as Cinemablend, have bothered to actually contact me, however; instead, they just expound on why CBS could be coming after Axanar. None of the articles are based on any facts but are just stirring the pot, because let’s face it–manufacturing drama is always a better story than discussing the truth (how a small group of fans are trying to change the way movies are made).
Here are some facts about Axanar and CBS:
1) I met with CBS while at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. The meeting was with two of the top people in CBS and they were very frank about Axanar. And while I can’t talk about most of what we discussed over the 30 minutes we chatted, I can tell you a few things. They told us everyone at CBS and Paramount was aware of Axanar. They told us that we are certainly doing more than any fan film before and that has some people concerned. We also discussed that CBS will not tell us what we either CAN or CANNOT do for legal reasons. They are very clear that they do not want to give guidance because it could negatively impact their IP rights. Yes, we are left to make assumptions and if we cross the line the lawyers will let us know.
2) CBS rarely deals with fan films even when their behavior is questionable. For instance, Star Trek Continues uses the word “Official”, and Renegades has called itself a “pilot” when it clearly was not. I know CBS didn’t like any of these things but they didn’t do anything about them. At this point, selling items with CBS / Star Trek IP on it seems to be the only point at which CBS will take action and send you a Cease and Desist, which they have only done once.
3) While Axanar is more professional, and has raised more money than all other Star Trek fan films combined, we use less Star Trek IP than almost all of them. A year ago we removed “Star Trek” from our website and Facebook page. We don’t use Star Trek in our title anymore. We aren’t recreating TOS and using iconic characters like Kirk, Spock and McCoy. We don’t use the delta shield. Yes, we use several characters from Star Trek and we are clearly set in that universe. We just try to minimize that.
4) Going into Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, the last thing CBS would want is any negative publicity related to Star Trek. As of August 30th, 1.5 million fans have watched Prelude to Axanar on Youtube, and other fan productions have large viewerships, as well. All of the fans watching these productions are Star Trek consumers. Alienating them by changing CBS’ relationship with fan films would not be good for business, particularly now, in the age of social media.
5) Axanar is good for CBS and Star Trek. There is little doubt that fans are very passionate about Axanar, and many are looking forward to Axanar more than Star Trek Beyond. Axanar gives Star Trek fans what they want in Star Trek. We love Star Trek. We get it.
So there you go. That is our take on where Axanar is vis a vis CBS. As always, we respect CBS, the wonderful job they have done shepherding this amazing franchise, and we want nothing but good relations with them.