One of the myths being peddled by some in the fan film community is that CBS has issued “guidelines” for fan films. Some bloggers have suggested, incorrectly, that CBS distributed these guidelines to “all fan film makers”. And Rod Rodenberry even went on a video blog from Australia insinuated that Axanar had “broken the rules”.
The fact is CBS has not issued any guidelines (although they need to).
In fact, their policy is to neither tell fan films what you can do, nor tell fan films what you cannot do. They stated this specifically in my meeting with them in August at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention. CBS will not set down any rules because they are concerned about giving away IP rights. And creating rules, they feel, may do this.
Now there are a set of “guidelines” that were posted on the TrekBBS a few years ago by Patty Wright, who was at the time a producer for Star Trek: New Voyages. Patty published these “guidelines” claiming they were from CBS, but when challenged to produce the emails proving this was true, she refused to, and claimed she was under an NDA. Exactly why she felt it was OK to print what she claims she was under an NDA for is unclear. In fact, these “guidelines” were not verbatim from CBS, but were most likely made up by Patty. The mere fact that the “guidelines” claim you can’t fund raise, something a dozen or more fan films have done without ever being contacted by CBS, proves they are a fraud.
Sure, the guidelines had some good, common sense rules: Don’t make a profit. Don’t sell anything with Star Trek IP on it, etc. But again, these were common sense suggestions and not actual rules provided by CBS.
So, let’s be clear, when other fan film producers or people who have connections to Star Trek but no direct contact with the people who actually review the use of and license the IP claim that Axanar Productions should have “followed the rules” to stay out of trouble. They’re wrong.
CBS has not issued any “rules” or “guidelines.” Their existence is a myth.
There is nothing that the Axanar team would like to see more than a set of guidelines from CBS so all fan films can operate in a way that benefits everyone.
– Alec Peters
Also check out Axanar Mythbusters