Captain’s Log – April 25th, 2016


Monday, April 25th 2016

Today Erin Ranahan and her crack team filed our response to the Paramount/CBS response to the Motion to Dismiss we filed.  Now what does that all mean?

Well, here is a quick rundown of what has happened up until now:

  1. Paramount  & CBS filed a Complaint (the law suit).
  2. Axanar filed a Motion to Dismiss (Basically saying the complaint had fatal flaws).
  3. Instead of responding, Paramount/CBS amended their complaint. (Addressing the flaws).
  4. Axanar filed another Motion to Dismiss. (Yeah, still got fatal flaws).
  5. Paramount/CBS filed their response to the motion. (We think their motion is wrong because…).
  6. Axanar filed their response back (Yeah, their response didn’t change anything).

And now the judge will rule on the motion and responses and we should know something in 4-6 weeks.  What could happen?

Well, the judge could rule in favor of Axanar on none, some or all of the points we made in the Motion to Dismiss.  If he does, he may grant Paramount/CBS leave to amend their complaint.  But at that point, it is also possible that the claim against Axanar  the feature could be dismissed as “unripe”, meaning, since we haven’t made Axanar, there is no way that a court could find it violated copyright and that it is not “Fair Use”.  There is simply nothing to judge yet.

So take a look at the Response, it is available on the Axanar Fan Group.

We will have more to you this week on the case.


Winston & Strawn


  • Jonathan Lane says:

    Alec, correct me if I’m wrong, but in CBS/P’s response to your second motion to dismiss, despite rebutting many points, I didn’t notice them addressing the most potentially damaging one (to them): the challenge to Paramount’s standing to be designated a plaintiff.

    For those who missed it, the argument that W&S made was that Paramount claims to hold the movie copyrights while CBS holds the TV copyrights to Star Trek. But–says the Axanar legal team–copyrights cannot be assigned to a DERIVATIVE property and always revert to the original copyrighted work. In this case, the Trek movies each used elements from the original TV series–Kirk, Spock, McCoy, the USS Enterprise, Starfleet, Vulcans, Klingons, etc.–all existed on TV long before they existed on a movie screen. Same with TNG.

    So the argument goes that Paramount should be disqualified as a plaintiff because CBS is the only holder of the television copyright, and that is the only source of intellectual property in this case. The movies derive from the original TV work, meaning Paramount pretty much owns nothing.

    Why I personally believe this is the most dangerous part of the entire case for the plaintiffs is that Viacom is currently looking to sell off Paramount (unprofitable studio that it is). Part of Paramount’s value, of course, is its claim to the Star Trek copyright and potential licensing fees from that tent-pole property. Now, imagine how much of Paramount’s potential value will suddenly go “POOF!!” if a judge rules that Paramount, indeed, holds no actual rights to Star Trek any longer and instead all Star Trek intellectual property ownership, television AND movies, reverts to CBS. This case could cost Paramount literally hundreds of millions of dollars of value in a potential sale–all to go after one inconsequential fan film. (My guess is that the lawyer who started this lawsuit might have some serious ‘splaining to do to the board and the shareholders.)

    Anyway, I didn’t see Loeb and Loeb address that particular point in their rebuttal. Does that mean they waive their right to argue that point and simply stipulate to it by default? If so, this case is now a HUGE risk to at least one of the two studios!

  • Lance Ripplinger says:

    Thumbs up for the update, and Mr. Lane’s comment about the deep doggy poo that Paramount may have just put themselves in. Brilliant analysis!

  • Chris says:

    Reading through the response was very interesting. As a total legal layman, it seems pretty clear to me that any fair judge would accept at least some of the points made in the motion to dismiss. I hate all this waiting.

  • jd says:

    If it is true that CBS holding the TV rights and Paramount holds the MOVIE rights then why not send your film out as a webisode so you can claim it’s neither a movie or tv? Web streaming has been declared to NOT be TV by the FCC.

  • bob says:

    I’ve been out of the loop, not having access to the Fan page (since I don’t have a facebook account) but my initial impression of the lawsuit was that it was a delaying action. I’m no lawyer so I can’t be sure. From my limited legal expertise (read as non-existent) I don’t feel the suit was very well researched/written, hence the impression of a delaying action simply to threaten and stall Axanar. Mr. Lane’s concerns seem valid so there might be some problems for Paramount on the horizon. Staying tuned…