Star Trek fan film lawsuit: Producer of crowdfunded movie Axanar responds
'Like all fan films, [it's] a love letter to a beloved franchise,' he says.
Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios filed a copyright infringement complaint against Axanar, a crowdfunded Star Trek film, Monday, claiming the movie uses “innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes.” Now, Axanar filmmaker Alec Peters has responded to the lawsuit in a statement on Facebook, in which he calls the movie “a love letter to a beloved franchise.”
“It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago,” Peters wrote. (In the lawsuit, the studio asks for $150,000 in damages per “each separate Star Trek Copyrighted Work infringed.”)
Axanar has raised over $1 million through crowdfunding, and calls itself the “first fully-professional, independent Star Trek film” on its Indiegogo page. “While some may call it a ‘fan film’ as we are not licensed by CBS, Axanar has professionals working in front and behind the camera, with a fully-professional crew — many of whom have worked on Star Trek itself,” the page reads, “who ensure Axanar will be the quality of Star Trek that all fans want to see.”
Peters’ recent statement also highlights the intersection between fandom and professionalism. “The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry,” he said. “Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. We’re very proud that the work we’ve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Trek‘s fans.”
He added that Axanar Productions “take this matter very seriously and remain open to discussing solutions with all parties that can be mutually beneficial.”