Yesterday, acting on behalf of both Axanar Productions and Producer Alec Peters, Winston & Strawn filed a Motion to Dismiss the first amended copyright complaint of CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Corporation. The motion explains that in multiple respects, the deficiencies in CBS and Paramount’s original complaint are still not sufficiently addressed in their amended filing, and that in some ways the amendments have created new defects.
The motion provides examples as to how CBS and Paramount overreach in what they claim are elements protected under copyright, and fail to be specific as to exactly which copyrights have been infringed upon; and, in the case of the potential feature film AXANAR, claims of alleged copyright infringement cannot be made against a film that doesn’t yet exist.
One issue discussed in the Motion to Dismiss is the lack of specificity about allegedly infringed works at issue raises the question of whether or not Paramount Pictures Corporation even has standing in this lawsuit given that copyright extends only to new elements in derivative works like Paramount’s films, and the allegedly infringing elements at issue may ultimately all be from works that CBS claims to own.
Axanar Productions hoped that any amended complaint filed in response to its prior motion to dismiss would help narrow and clarify the scope of the case to put the parties in the best position to negotiate a fair and reasonable outcome. In the view of Axanar Productions, CBS and Paramount’s efforts failed in that regard. According to Axanar Production’s Alec Peters: “So as not to distract from Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary year, the best thing for all parties to do is to sit down and work out a settlement that address both the interests of Paramount and CBS and the desire of over 10,000 Star Trek fans who donated to support this project.
You can download the Motion To Dismiss here:
Many fans ask about how a lawsuit works. So here is the latest from Axanar lead attorney and Winston & Strawn star Erin Ranahan.
Plaintiffs can’t amend their complaint freely now because they used their one “free” amendment previously. So they will have to file an opposition to the motion. The court could still grant the motion to dismiss in part and let them amend– another amended complaint would just have to be court approved or court ordered. Some cases have several amended complaints (could have third, fourth, etc), which can come about because the court orders an amended complaint in response to a motion, or the plaintiff files a motion for leave to amend, which the court can then grant (and the standard there is liberal). Or the parties can submit a stipulation with a proposed court order to permit another amended complaint. The court will actually set a deadline for amending the pleadings several months out, and once that passes, the standard is much higher (meaning it’s harder to amend).