Fan-films have always been intended for fans to express their love in Star Trek. But in recent years — with the advent of stronger production, fundraising and distribution tools to average people — some fan-films have gone too far.
Because of that, CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures havereleased a new set of guidelines for Trek fan-films which one CBS executive says will end what has become an “arms race” in terms of fundraising, attracting big-name talent, and outright commercializing the Star Trek brand.
“A lot of the impetus for this is what we had seen happen with fan-films in recent years, and what we felt needed to be done in order to protect fan-films for the long term,” John Van Citters, the vice president of product development for CBS, told podcast host Jordan Hoffman early Wednesday. “It seems a little counterintuitive in putting some form of restriction on fan creativity. But it’s something that needed to be done in order to cure some abuses that have been out there, and kind of refocuses this around the fan experience and creating more stories.”
The guidelines, which were released last week, came in in the wake of both CBS and Paramount suing one fan-film, “Star Trek: Axanar,” for copyright infringement. Although CBS and Paramount are negotiating settlement terms with Axanar Productions and its principal, Alec Peters, there also was an issue of fan-films stretching out a little more over the line for each production. Because of that, it was time to rein it in.