A California federal judge will now have to decide whether to allow a Star Trek copyright infringement case to go to trial in January, or to rule right now in favor of either the two studios that own Star Trek, or an “independent” fan-film the studios claim went too far.
Both sides presented their case for summary judgment in their favor Wednesday with the hopes of getting a victory before really stepping inside a courtroom for an actual trial.
At stake is not only the fate of Star Trek: Axanar, which producers raised some $1.5 million to create, but also potentially the future of fan-films themselves, and if studios can really protect intellectual property from those looking to celebrate it in whatever way they want.
CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures had filed the copyright infringement suit last December, claiming Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters crossed the line in trying to create Star Trek: Axanar. Peters and his group not only produced a short and a trailer, but they also opened a permanent studio just outside Los Angeles where they hoped to not only film Axanar but also make it available for other productions, including reportedly commercial ones.
The motions come after months of discovery from both sides, including depositions from all the key players. While many details found in discovery are still locked under judge-approved confidentiality, some new details about Axanar’s plans have emerged – including what could have been Peters’ motivation to create the fan-film in the first place.