A Star Trek Fan Film Has Hit A Crucial Legal Snag
Axanar, the recent Kickstarter fan film tied to the Star Trek universe, is having more than a bit of a hard time getting itself into production. Paramount, the legal owners of the property, have pursued legal action to prevent the film from even happening. The latest twist in the case comes from a trademark dispute over, among other things, the Klingon language.
THR recently ran a report about the continuing legal action that Paramount has sought against Axanar, which had started in proceedings taking place a couple of months ago. The producers of the film had filed a motion to dismiss, as they did not see enough proof in the allegations of copyright infringement made by the studio. Which brings us to now, as Paramount has responded with several claims of infringement on elements from Star Trek's original series.
Three of the biggest infringement claims that Axanar has had leveled against it are the usage of tunics that look similar to those worn on Star Trek, as well as the appearance of Vulcans looking too similar to that of Spock in the 1960's television show. The most notable claim, as previously mentioned, is that of the Klingon language and its supposed copyright. Further research into the case has shown that the Klingon language has not been previously enforced as a point of copyright by Paramount, who up until now seemed to encourage fan projects in the Star Trek universe. The Axanar case seems to have inspired a change of heart though, and it's particularly tricky ground for the future of fan films in general .
Undoubtedly, the box office stakes for Star Trek Beyond, as well as the occurrence of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek's television legacy, has Paramount looking to secure their claim to every bit of intellectual property the show has to offer. However, the legal wrangling that they've done to prove copyright infringement might not be the best way to proceed with their fan base, particularly if they want to make the most of their current TV revival and third entry into the cinematic canon. In fact, it would do Paramount good to take a page from their competitor, Star Wars, and legitimize the fan fueled project.
Considering that Star Wars has an official fan film contest under its belt, it would seem that Paramount should start their own sanctioned event where Star Trek fans can show off their resourcefulness in the world of the Federation. Even better, they could use Axanar's rather impressive prelude as their golden standard of fan film projects that seek to honor the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's hallowed franchise. The best part about this strategy is, Paramount doesn't need to do all that much to make this a reality.
With the supposed budget for Axanar already in the can, thanks to the generous donations of Star Trek fans far and wide, as well as attention drawn to the project by Star Trek star George Takei, Paramount wouldn't have to give the project any money. But if the studio wanted to slightly bolster the project's funding, and provide it a visible release platform, it would not only win over some goodwill with Star Trek fans, it would be a great way to keep the franchise alive and active during the downtime of its televised and cinematic components. Of course, things don't always work out as such, so the next couple of months will be crucial to Star Trek fans, the producers and crew of Axanar, as well as the fate of the Klingon Language.
Star Trek Beyond will be in theaters on July 22nd.
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