Apparently CBS, Paramount Really Do Own Star Trek

By October 11, 2016


In what was probably the biggest revelation to hit the entertainment world since Doctor Who fans learned the next Christmas special will air at Christmas, we finally have definitive proof on who owns Star Trek.

And the answer won’t surprise you at all. It’s CBS Studios Inc. and Paramount Pictures, the two companies suing an “independent” Star Trek production.

In multiple filings from Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters since the studios sued them last December, defense attorney Erin Ranahan has questioned whether or not CBS and Paramount even own Star Trek – a copyright claim they have had unchallenged through various corporate ownership changes over the past 50 years.

The questions were first asked in two motions to dismiss filed by Ranahan (which a judge denied), and most recently during evidence discovery requests where Ranahan pushed Paramount to allow directors J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin to get involved.

In a supplemental filing made in a Los Angeles federal court on Friday, Ranahan said any legal questions about who owns Star Trek has been resolved. CBS and Paramount provided a “chain of title documents” on Sept. 27, good enough for Axanar to withdraw the request for more.

CBS and Paramount sued Axanar and Peters for copyright infringement late last year, claiming the work behind its production Star Trek: Axanar and a professional studio opened with it went too far when it came to Star Trek fan-films. Axanar raised $1.5 million through various fundraisers, more than any other Star Trek fan production, and has only produced a trailer and a short.

Axanar also opened a studio just outside Los Angeles, which is now being made available for other commercial productions. Peters, who collected a salary from the donations as a producer on Axanar, claimed in social media that all profits from those rentals would finance Axanar.

In filings earlier this month, Ranahan and Axanar asked for CBS and Paramount to prove the chain of ownership they had in Star Trek all the way back to Gene Roddenberry. The studios rejected that demand saying Ranahan had no basis to assume Roddenberry ever owned the copyright to Star Trek.

A hearing to work out final conflicts in the discovery process is scheduled for Oct. 21, and discovery itself is slated to end Nov. 2.

The trial is set to begin in a Los Angeles federal court Jan. 31.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.
  • Stargazer 100

    The premise of the article is not fully supported by the facts. The defense has merely stated that the plaintiffs have now complied with their discovery request and given them the documents. It doesn’t necessarily mean the defense attorneys have had time to examine them fully. Concluding that this is a concession of ownership by the defense is erroneous. All they’ve done is removed those documents from their motion to compel discovery. May I ask what legal credentials the author possesses?

    • Colin Krapp

      None whatsoever. He’s a blog writer.

      • James

        Who is a blog writer ???
        Dave, Jonathan??

      • Mr. Universe


        • Michael H.

          Please no personal attacks.


    • Michael H.

      Hello, Stargazer!

      You bring up some good points, However, I am not sure how much you’ve been following this case. While I am new here, I have been covering this case from the beginning.

      The fact is, Axanar already had the question of ownership adjudicated when the judge ruled on the second motion to dismiss. Axanar questioned whether CBS and Paramount had standing, and in the judge’s denial of the motion to dismiss, the judge stated that there was no question CBS and Paramount held ownership.

      Axanar was attempting to adjudicate the same issue again through discovery, right down to the mistaken assumption that the title chain would go all the way back to Gene Roddenberry. It would not, because Roddenberry created Star Trek as a “work-for-hire,” meaning that it would be the company he worked for that would retain ownership (as it typically happens in Hollywood), not Roddenberry himself.

      This request and the earlier claim in the motion to dismiss also remain dubious because it is highly unlikely that if there were any cracks in the ownership of Star Trek, considering this is a multi-billion dollar franchise, SOMEONE would have tried to exploit that crack. If Roddenberry himself – a man who wrote lyrics for the theme to Star Trek just so he could collect half the residuals – thought he had any chance to reclaim ownership of Star Trek without spending a penny to do it, don’t you think that we would’ve seen some attempt in his lifetime to do it?

      To answer your other questions, this is an entertainment news site, not a legal news site. At the same time, I have not spent my entire journalism career (spanning more than two decades) just in entertainment. In newspaper, I have covered many legal cases, many far more complex than a simply copyright infringement case. I am in regular contact with various attorney sources I have used over the years, although I don’t consult them on every single story that I write. But they are there when I have questions, and will usually contact me if I do write something that they are not sure about.

      Many of my stories from my newspaper work are still available online. If you do a news search on my name, I am sure you can find many of them.

      I hope that answers your question, and thanks for stopping by!

      • Stargazer 100

        Mr Hinman,
        Thanks for your reply. While I have not read all of the documents, I have read through many of the PACER materials available on the case, and I believe that this assertion is premature. The context of the defense withdrawing the chain of title documentation request from the motion to compel discovery is merely to inform the judge that the plaintiffs have complied with the request, not that they have conceded ownership. While it is likely, as you said, that the chain of title is sufficiently documented, the withdrawal alone should not be inferred to be a concession. Since one of the burdens on any plaintiff in an infringement action is to demonstrate uncontested ownership of the material allegedly infringed, the defense would be remiss to ignore examining the chain of title in exacting detail. It’s malpractice otherwise. Also, I would caution anyone against jumping to conclusions based on Judge Klausner’s ruling on the defense’s motion to dismiss. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and existing case law require the judge to weigh the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party (the plaintiffs, in this instance) for purposes of determining whether or not the case would fail on a point of law unmet by the plaintiff even if the jury believed 100% of their story and 0% of the defense. At that early stage, if the judge finds a flaw that would invalidate the plaintiffs’ case on its face despite taking all the evidence in the best possible light, only THEN does a motion to dismiss succeed. Indeed, the judge expressly denied he was enjoining (stopping) Axanar from going forward in his ruling. If the court had truly adjudicated the issue back then, an injunction would be almost certain, and the plaintiffs would have brought a motion for summary judgment in their favor immediately as well.

        I know there are sites out there that are peddling these and other such erroneous, sensationalist interpretations in this case, but again, the files and the law don’t support drawing the legal conclusions being proffered as news on them. I would not use them as a reliable, impartial source for research.

        Ultimately, this case comes down to fair use in general, and damages specifically. It will almost certainly go all the way to trial now, unless something is revealed in discovery that torpedoes the plaintiffs’ case.

        • Michael H.

          Hello, Stargazer!

          I respect that you feel the conclusion that copyright has been established is premature, but I disagree.

          You would dispute standing in a case at the motion to dismiss phase, not later in the trial after discovery (unless some bombshell was uncovered that was not available before). Standing in a case is a technical aspect of the case, not one covering the subject matter, and so you would address those in the motion to dismiss.

          Axanar, in both of its motions to dismiss, challenged the standing of CBS and Paramount as copyright holders to Star Trek. The judge denied that challenge, thus unless there is some new bombshell that no one in 50 years had discovered, it’s moot, because it’s now immaterial to the primary case at hand.

          You are right, I should not just assume that the chain has been accepted as full proof. And by itself, I would agree — it would not be enough. But in the context of the entire case, it is. Primarily for what I just stated above — standing in a case is handled at the motion to dismiss phase, and the defense did bring it up, and failed.

          Finding a flaw would happen in the motion to dismiss. I am not sure why you feel that such a move would extend into the discovery phase, and into the court case itself. Once you get to trial, the burden is on the plaintiffs to prove copyright infringement, and for the defense to poke enough holes that it can’t be properly substantiated in a court of law.

          I don’t need to use other websites or news outlets to help me interpret the filings or to follow this case. I have done plenty of court reporting in my lifetime, and I have been covering this case from the very beginning. I have read every single filing that has taken place, and every interview both representatives of the plaintiff (which aren’t many) and the defendants (there are far too many) have conducted.

          Thanks for stopping by!

  • Charles Britto

    First, if one writes a legal assessment piece, then claims it was written as entertainment, it kills any credibility to the writer, and the written piece itself… basically Michael Hinman has wasted our time again with uninformed highly speculative personal opinion and no facts. This coming from a writer from the United Kingdom who has no idea about American law, and who’s sources are always unnamed.

    Second, you seem to be pretty free at attacking Gene Roddenberry. Could this be because his son, Rod Roddenberry has disavowed you as a crank with an agenda for constantly attacking Axanar at every opportunity?

    Seriously, why would GeekNation allow you to write for them? Have they not studied your blog?

    • Michael H.

      Mr. Britto, while your opinions on the piece are appreciated. The personal attacks are not. Please be sure to govern yourself with maturity here, and stay on the topic of the story, not the writers or anyone to that effect.

      To answer some of your points (because you have some things quite wrong) …

      I am not from the United Kingdom, nor am I in the United Kingdom. I am an American living temporarily in Grenada, who has covered American law quite extensively as a journalist. I was born in Pennsylvania where I lived through my entire childhood, and then spent nearly 20 years in Florida as a newspaper reporter and editor in the Tampa Bay region.

      There were no unnamed sources in this story at all. All of the material here was gleaned from court filings, which are available to anyone. You would need to have an account with PACER, and pay a small fee. Or you can visit the Facebook group that I am a part of, where we post all the filings as they happen.

      Second, there was no attack on Gene Roddenberry. The fact is, Gene Roddenberry never held copyright ownership as he created this as a work-for-hire, which is what is the norm in Hollywood … and many other places. For instance, this story you just read, I don’t own the copyright to it. GeekNation does, because it was written as a work-for-hire. Unless we have an agreement outside of that which provides me ownership of the story, the law would default into a work-for-hire situation. I am paid to write, I write, and the paying party retains ownership of the work.

      Finally, you should check any facts that you might say about Rod Roddenberry. Rod has never said anything of the kind, neither publicly nor privately. Rod’s company was an equal partner in 1701News with my company. While we disagreed on Axanar coverage (because they didn’t want to have their time wasted on a frivolous lawsuit from Mr. Peters, which I don’t blame them at all — not because they felt our coverage was wrong in any way), our primary separation came from what would be a conflict of interest for Roddenberry Entertainment, as both Rod and Trevor Roth became executive producers of “Star Trek: Discovery.”

      That conflict of interest would be 1701News covering a show which employed principals of a company that was a co-owner of the site.

      Roddenberry and my company separated on good terms, as per the contract we struck at the very beginning of the venture.

      And if you read any of my past stories, including anything I wrote on 1701News while Roddenberry was still a partner, we never portrayed Gene Roddenberry as anything other than what he was – a visionary who created a great show, who also was quite flawed. And those flaws are even something Rod openly admits all the time.

      So please, this is not the place for personal attacks. And if you are going to cross that line, at least try to make sure your “facts” are correct.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Charles Britto

        I stand corrected. I mistook your heritage for one of your minons from your personal Facebook Axanar hater group, “CBS/Axanar vs. Axanar”. For that I apologize.

        Well, from the information I’ve read online, you and Rod Roddenberry has a terrible falling out. Interesting how anyone can write a blog these days, claiming to know a subject they are not in anyway connected to or have expertise in……

        I hardly think that saying that if you wrote a legal assessment piece, then claimed it was written as entertainment, that kills any credibility to the writer, and
        the written piece itself…..and wasted our
        time with uninformed highly speculative personal opinion…… can be assessed as a personal attack….. Professional attack, yes. Personal, never.

        If fact, I welcome you post what lead you to the assessment you made in this article. You did not post PACER, you read it yourself and derived your own opinion. That’s makes the article a personal legal speculative. Usually with such speculation, a journalist backs it up with facts or past reference cases. Or at least tell your readers if you just asked for assessment from another highly speculative blog.

        • Mr. Universe

          Crawl back into your hole, stalker.

          • Charles Britto

            Hey!…Mr. Uni! Glad to see you!….thank you for stalking me…and adding so much intelligence to the conversation….lol

          • Michael H.

            Please do not personally insult people here. This is not the place for it.


        • Michael H.

          Mr. Britto, once again, personal attacks are not welcome, and I’m not going to continue to warn about that here. I hope you understand.

          Considering I am aware of what is said about me online, especially from legitimate news sources, I can tell you that I have not read anywhere that Rod and I had a “terrible falling out.” I have known Rod for many, many years. And I have nothing but respect and admiration for both Rod and Trevor, and the feeling is mutual.

          This site also is not a blog. A blog is very specifically defined, and you should look that up. This is a news outlet, and its writers are those who are interested or trained in the news. I am now in my 24th year as a reporter, a career that has included some radio, but has primarily been newspaper and online (usually simultaneously). On the newspaper side, I have been recognized several times by my peers (when I have chosen to participate), primarily the Florida Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists among others.

          I have written thousands of stories, and that’s just on entertainment, not including my work in print. My newspaper career dates back to 1993, so luckily a lot of those early writings are not available online (we all evolve as writers, I would hope), but a lot that I have written from 2005 on is available from my print days, and you’re free to look that up.

          I will not explain to you how journalism works or how legal reporting works, because you have no expertise in either. However, I will tell you that journalism is not taking a legal document and simply reposting it. Anyone can do that. It’s not how it works.

          Thanks for stopping by.

          • Charles Britto

            Again, you maintain I am personally attacking you. You don’t seem to understand how that differs from my assessment of your professionalism. I would expect a 23rd year “professional”, to have the ability to sell his works without making a career attacking Axanar and Alec Peters for a living. That lacks experience, and integrity. Thus that is an attack on you as a “professional”…..not a “personal” attack. Please look it up.

            Interesting, in your reply you didn’t mention your personal Facebook Axanar hater group, “CBS/Axanar vs. Axanar”. You know, the group you booted a fellow “journalist” because he wasn’t “hard enough” on a Axanar representative? I have to wonder when Axanar wins the case and the film is made, how you will explain how you where completely wrong on every assessment you’ve ever written on the subject.

            As for thinking you know more about legal reporting, or journalism, than I, again, you assume as you usually do. You have no idea who I am. You’ll get to know once the case is over. Hint: I am not Alec Peters, or anyone you know. In the mean time, feel free to lash out and demean me, as you do others in your hater group, when they don’t agree with you. But wait. You won’t do that here, as you have no control over this news site’s content.

          • Michael H.

            Mr. Britto:

            While you might feel there is a difference of opinion on whether you are personally attacking or not, please remember that the opinion on that which matters is mine. So please govern yourself accordingly. 🙂

            And what on Earth are you talking about “sell his works without making a career”? While online work was more of a hobby, my newspaper work was indeed a career. My time at most of the newspapers I worked at over the years was on the full-time staff. It is quite indeed my career, so please stop trying to pass judgments on my career without having knowledge of it.

            You’ve already claimed that I was British (which was wrong), and now you’re trying to say that I’m just some nomadic writer wandering around, hoping for a copyright infringement case to write about? Try again.

            Actually, one reply in this thread did indeed reference the Facebook group, which is not a “hater” group as you describe. The Facebook group was originally designed to speak specifically about the case, but when another group collapsed, they joined the current group, and its role went to a hybrid case information/advocacy group.

            One of the most interesting things about the group is that it is available to the public, and completely open. So all of our discussions are there for everyone to see, and there is nothing to hide. That is unlike the Axanar groups, which are secret (to the point that if anyone shares anything from it, they are immediately banned), and where members of that group openly attack those who have discussions in the open group.

            The most interesting part, guess which one of these two groups claim to conduct everything with complete transparency? (Hint … it’s the group that is secret).

            No offense, I don’t care who you “are.” If you wish to make a big deal about it, that’s fine. But that is for your interest, not mine.

            Finally, are you making another assumption about me? That I have “no control” over this news site’s content?

            Maybe you should wait until my title is announced before you make that claim?

            Just so you know, while I try to entertain those who would have to slog through hundreds of posts on other news sites by engaging you in some hilarious banter, that is not my goal here.

            If you wish to talk about the subject matter at hand (not me, or your misconceptions about me, or who I think you’re supposed to be), this is the place.

            Otherwise, let’s move on from the personal topic, shall we?

          • Charles Britto

            You know all to well the Axanar group had to close it’s doors because members of your hater group constantly attacked our membership with unfounded propaganda in an effort to force your hater agenda on us. Those that broke the rules where removed. Unlike your group who removed me for having an opinion which differed from your own. You know, like that journalist you removed for not being hard enough on Axanar’s publicist. But yes, I’ve made my case here. I’ll leave it to the readership to look at your group and make their own assessment of you. On the subject of the article, Stargazer 100 said it best,

            “The premise of the article is not fully supported by the facts. The
            defense has merely stated that the plaintiffs have now complied with
            their discovery request and given them the documents. It doesn’t
            necessarily mean the defense attorneys have had time to examine them
            fully. Concluding that this is a concession of ownership by the defense
            is erroneous. All they’ve done is removed those documents from their
            motion to compel discovery. May I ask what legal credentials the author

            Good day, looking forward to your next article….

          • Sandy Greenberg

            “I mistook your heritage for one of your minons from your personal Facebook Axanar hater group, “CBS/Axanar vs. Axanar””

            Calling someone a “hater” certainly sounds like a personal attack to me. I don’t know why you’re so aggressive about this Charles. Maybe you need to chill out in your garden a bit more.

          • Charles Britto

            Sandy, considering you are one of most prolific haters from Hinman’s Facebook group, “CBS/Paramount vs. Axanar”, I find it interesting that you come to his defense. As usual to the group’s way of doing things, you insist on an untruth to see if it sticks. A professional attack is not a personal attack.

            “Why I’m so aggressive” is pretty funny coming from you, Sandy, considering you spend your days quite aggressively attacking and defaming Axanar and Alec Peters on every social media platform you can get your hands on. Perhaps, a stay at a nice quite recluse would improve your temperament?

    • James

      Michael has a long career behind him and although some of his articles I do not agree with, nothing he has written in the past, present of potentially in the future has not been based within the realms of fact.

      Mr Brillo please leave the discussions for the people that are interested in having them and not just throwing personal insults about.

      • Charles Britto

        James, you also don’t seem to understand the difference between a personal attack, and an assessment on professional integrity. It is amazing how some of you will keep defending Hinman no matter how badly he treated people in his own Facebook haters group that disagree with him. Or that an owner of a Axanar haters group can possibly be neutral in discussing the lawsuit. It is very obvious this article is slanted on his personal negative feelings, and isn’t based on anything except uninformed layman opinion. It’s sad you don’t see that.

        • Michael H.

          Mr. Britto:

          I have provided a lot of latitude here, but no more. You had your chance to say (very strange, and untrue) things about me, to call groups that disagree with you “hater” groups and the like.

          But that latitude is over. Please stick to commenting about the story itself.


          • Charles Britto

            Interesting choice of words. Unlike the completely nasty wording you use on your own Facebook group when banning journalists and others who don’t agree with you in your hater group. I welcome anyone to look at CBS/Paramount vs. Axanar and see for themselves how you comport yourself.

          • Michael H.

            Mr. Britto:

            I have asked multiple times to remain on topic, and to not resort to name calling. I am absolutely not going to ask again.

            Thank you.

          • Charles Britto

            What name calling? What are you taking about? I am on topic. I am questioning your qualifications for writing this piece, when you run a facebook Axanar hater group. A writer’s neutrality must be in questioned when writing about a subject he constantly shows in a bad light.

            If you are attempting to intimidate me, or threating to remove me, keep in mind I have screenshot our whole conversation for future defense. That is all I have to say on this site, unless you continue to engage me in conversation.

          • Michael H.

            Mr. Britto:

            I am doing my best to show nothing but the utmost patience with you. And while I have said various parts of this in separate comments, I will put it all in one here for you to, I hope, make it easier for you understand where I am coming from.

            * Calling anyone names, including groups of people “hater” is name-calling. Please do not do that.

            * If I have said you are not on topic, you are not on topic. I respect that you might disagree with that, but as a member of the GeekNation team, I ask that you please respect the fact that my statement to the contrary is a statement coming from a moderator.

            * You are free to “screenshot” anything you like here. These comments are publicly available, and you’re free to read them and share them.

            Please know that you are disrupting these comments. There is no need to continually repeat your same opinion over and over again. You can state it once, and then move forward from there with other discussions. You do not call anyone names, that includes using the word “hater.”

            And please understand that if you continue to violate these very simple and respectful rules, your privilege in continuing to be a part of the conversation here will be in jeopardy.

            I understand you are passionate about what you feel, and that’s fine. But the way you are going about it here is not acceptable.

            Thank you for understanding.

          • Charles Britto

            Exactly how long are you going to continue to threaten me because I don’t agree with you? Why do you insist on controlling the narrative of the comment section? What are these rules you speak of that preclude me from raising the question of your neutrality on this subject? Perhaps, if you can’t answer these questions, and is determined to remove me, I will raise them with the owner of this site.

          • Michael H.

            You are not being “threatened” because of your lack of agreement. I have said it a number of times, Mr. Britto, and either you are not able to understand, or you are just choosing to not understand.

            You may disagree, but you may NOT name-call. That includes calling groups of people “haters.” If someone came in and called names to the Axanar supporters, I would give the same exact warning. I am not sure how else I can share that with you for you to understand.

            Once you comment here, it’s here. This isn’t Snapchat. It doesn’t disappear in a short time, and then you have to say it again. So people have read it, and even someone coming into this conversation late can say it. Because of that, you don’t need to keep repeating the same points over and over again, especially when it’s irrelevant to what you are asking for.

            Personal issues you bring up about other people, even the writer, has no place here. This story is about standing in a legal case. You can talk about that standing in the legal case (as you see Stargazer doing, for example), and you can even talk about the legal case itself.

            But your attacks on me (first with your mistaken statements on my heritage, and then attacking me personally) has no room here. And there is a reason for that: I don’t have to defend myself to you. Also, even if we did allow such personal attacks, you do it from an unfair position where you’ve already admitted somewhere on here, for some strange reason, that you are not who you say you are, and that there will be some dramatic reveal after the case (like anyone would care).

            Mr. Peters, one of the defendants in this case, has said this many times over the years, as have I, when talking on message boards – at least when he’s using his real name. There is no bravery in making personal attacks against someone who uses his true identity and real name from someone who is using an alias or screenname. I use my real name because I stand behind what I say, and I don’t need to hide behind aliases to share my thoughts.

            Plus, your opinion of me personally is not relevant to the discussion. And it’s not allowed here. No more than I would bring up personal things for you, or for any other commentator here.

            And by the way, please feel free to contact the owners of the site. Do you honestly believe that they just brought me in randomly? That someone said, “Hey, why not bring in this guy?” and they were like, “Who is he? Well, as long as he can write let’s bring him in.”

            The owners of the site know me quite well, even before they asked me to come aboard. They asked me to come aboard BECAUSE of my past reporting, especially my recent reporting, not despite of it, or not knowing it. They believe in the work I do, and I am here because I believe in the work they do.

            I have worked with Clare Kramer quite a bit in the past few years, especially with 1701News. Before joining the GeekNation staff, when I was regularly updating 1701News, she asked me for permission to reprint Axanar stories I write as I write them on this site, which I immediately said yes to (and by the way, in 18 years of online journalism, I think that is the first time I said yes to a request like that).

            If you wish, use the Contact tab at the top and reach out to them, and share your thoughts. It’s perfectly fine, and I know they absolutely love to hear from readers, even if they might not have positive things to say. They are both here for the people who visit this site, as am I.

          • Charles Britto

            If nothing else you can be attributed with talking someone to death and having the last word…you got both. I will no longer waste my time here. I’ve done a little research, and you are correct. There is no need to contact Clare Kramer. The fact she’s worked on Star Trek Continues who is substantially against Axanar, lets me know this well has already been poisoned. I don’t suppose you’ll be writing about how STC will be breaking the Guildlines and threatening whats left of fan films by starting to their next production? No? Didn’t think so, not without a, “they are allowed, and it is for the fans” twist…..

          • First you had an issue because you thought I was British, then you claimed that I wasn’t a journalist, and then you told me I had no idea what the law is about. After that, you complained that I was threatening to boot you from this comment section because you disagree with me (instead of the fact that you are calling names, and just repeating the same things over and over again).

            And now you’re angry because I am responsive to those who take the time to comment here, even you.

            I am not sure how else I can try and please you, Mr. Britto.

            A lot of people in the industry have worked on Star Trek Continues. While I know not everyone in the fan-film community get along all the time, I can say that for most of the fan-film community, they do support each other, because it’s not about them, it’s about the community. That’s something Mr. Peters, unfortunately, did not learn when he more or less threw the fan-films under the bus in his February interview with my Star Trek site.

            And to be honest, STC is not the only fan-film “against” Axanar. I can name about a dozen off the top of my head. And those are just the ones I’ve spoken with directly. So the island you’re protecting appears to be getting smaller and smaller.

            Oh, and in terms of STC violating any of the guidelines, if CBS complains publicly (or we find out that CBS or Paramount has complained), then I would definitely consider covering that story. John Van Citters (the person who seems to be the primary liaison between the studio and the fan-films) made it clear the guidelines were only guidelines, and not actual rules. If you follow the guidelines, you all but guarantee that you will not hear from the studios’ lawyers.

            If you do violate the guidelines, then you run the risk of it. But it’s not automatic. I encourage you to listen to the Engage! podcast (the official Star Trek podcast) where Van Citters appeared, and hear it for yourself.

            Thanks for stopping by, and hope you have a pleasant day!

          • Dusty Ayres

            Bye-bye Charlie, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

          • Mr. Britto, I’m Brian Keathley, co-owner of GeekNation. First, let me just say that myself, Clare Kramer nor any other GeekNation principals have any issues with Alec Peters, whatsoever – We met him in our studio when he accompanied Patricia Tallman when she and other Babylon 5 cast members used our soundstage for a shoot – So your assumption about Clare is incorrect.

            Second, Clare Kramer is a professional and does not get wrapped up in the politics of battling fan films; It’s not her focus, so wrong AGAIN.

            Third, why come on a site like this just to pester and annoy? If you disagree, move along… There are PLENTY of entertainment sites out there that are probably better suited for your high maintenance needs.

            Furthermore, if you’re so convinced that you know what to say and not to say in entertainment news, start your own site.

            Finally, just go away. We’re all done here.

          • Dusty Ayres

            Britto, get a life, get a shrink, and get some meds from said shrink-it will do wonders for you.

            Also, consider taking a break from sci-fi fandom and the Star Trek franchise; it’s not working for you anymore, and it’s leaving you behind.

          • Charles Britto

            Dusty, you have never been much of a challenge for debate. I’m sure you would love me to not be around to make your life difficult. That you mention medication usually means you are on them yourself. Maybe you are the one who needs a break, considering you haven’t contributed anything to fandom except cry like a spoiled child. Life is leaving you behind.

          • Mr. Britto … I have warned you about making personal attacks.

          • Dusty Ayres

            Britto, I don’t want to ‘debate’ you at all; it wouldn’t work anyway. And no, the only meds I’m on are ones for body aliments, thank you very much. Take my advice, and you’ll be a lot better.

          • Dusty, please don’t personally attack anyone. Let’s stick with discussing statements, facts and opinions … not the people behind them. Thanks! 🙂

        • James

          Mr Brillo I do not defend Michael.

          He is a grown man and very capable of doing this himself.

          Michael will tell you wendo not agree on a great many things but like adults I do not let that cloud my judgement of him as to disagree is human.

    • Sandy Greenberg

      Ahhhh, it’s the famous Mr. Britto! I find it hilarious that you have a problem with an article expressing an opinion when you fervently support articles that do the same thing, but only ones that support Axanar. Why is that? It seems to me that your only purpose here is to attempt to discredit the author.

      While I can’t speak about any supposed feud between Mr. Hinman and Mr. Roddenberry (though I haven’t seen anything online to support your claim) I certainly wouldn’t say that the article is “highly speculative personal opinion”. Judge Klausner has twice said that the Plaintiffs have no case to answer about the copyrights and Ms. Ranahan has accepted that they hold clear chain of title to those copyrights. Those are the FACTS. The sources are the publicly available court documents so no source needs citing.

      • Stargazer 100

        Mr. Greenberg, I’m afraid Judge Klausner has said nothing of the sort, nor has Ms. Ranahan. Again, please do not draw such legal conclusions from the court filings so far. Our legal system is quite complex, and it is far too easy for people to read too much into routine court documentation. If the judge had indeed done as you claim, the case would already be resolved. These are not at all “facts”, but merely your interpretations. The copyright ownership issue has not been adjudicated by the court, nor stipulated by the defense. It is also, as this week’s surprising loss by the heirs to the Abbott and Costello estates demonstrated, not some trivial formality that can be done away with by preliminary motions. The chain of title to “Who’s On First?” was indeed shown to be broken, so the defendant prevailed over the comedians’ estates in the infringement action. I would again caution anyone against claiming any sort of bizarre victory or defeat from the court documents before the trial. Such premature speculation, coupled with little to no knowledge of the laws and procedures surrounding the case, leads to nothing more than spreading confusion, especially when claimed to be “fact”.

        • Michael H.


          I’m sorry, but how would a definitive determination on whether CBS and Paramount have standing to sue (as owners of the Star Trek copyright) suddenly bring an end to the case? CBS and Paramount aren’t suing to prove they have copyright … they are suing defendants for copyright infringement.

          Standing in a court case is a technical procedure in a case, not a legal one. Those are aspects that are decided before a case moves forward, through motions to dismiss, not as part of the defense.

          Axanar had a bite at the apple already for standing during its motion to dismiss, and failed. Technical motions like those involving standing would be adjudicated through motions to dismiss, as this already has.

          In terms of whether copyright ownership had been adjudicated by the court, as you say it has not, I point you to Klausner’s denial of the defense motion to dismiss filed May 9, 2016 (link at the bottom of the comment) …

          We can start on Page 3 – “Both parties do not dispute that Paramount and CBS own the copyrights to the Star Trek copyrighted works.”

          And then we just need to go to Page 5 – “Because it is undisputed that Paramount owns the copyrights to the Star Trek motion pictures, which is included in the Star Trek copyrighted works, Paramount has standing to sue for copyright infringement based on these works.”

          I am not familiar with the Abbott and Costello case, so I cannot discuss that at a level required for comparison. I do not know what the judge ruled in motions to dismiss and such, and whether standing was address in those claims, thus having them be adjudicated at that time (or if a judge allowed the case to move forward initially despite copyright chain being in dispute).

          I also don’t think anyone has claimed “victory.” It was odd that Axanar continued to ask for these documents in discovery, past the adjudication of this issue in the motion to dismiss. The fact that the documents were then handed over (along with the fact that over all the years that Star Trek has existed, not a single person or entity that I am aware of has sued claiming they owned the copyright to Star Trek).

          Feel free to read the document at your leisure …

          • Stargazer 100

            Ah, but if the question of standing were truly settled by the ruling on the MTD, then there would be no point in the defense requesting the chain of title information in their discovery demands, which were composed AFTER the ruling on the MTD, no? Why make work for yourself if you’ve already stipulated ownership, see?

            That’s the reason we can’t infer that the defense has conceded the point. If the defense finds something questionable in its examination of the chain of title, especially something that could be construed as a break, it will definitely be raised at the trial. That would be fatal to the plaintiffs’ case, so the defense would be idiotic to concede it prior to inspecting the documents scrupulously. That’s the whole point of discovery. If the defense finds nothing, then they won’t argue against it at the trial. But if they do, the defense wins outright. No standing means no suit.

          • Michael H.


            Exactly, Stargazer. Now I think you’re starting to understand the context of what happened here the same way I did.

            The defense loses a standing challenge in the motion to dismiss, but doesn’t give up, and keeps trying to challenge it. Remember, Klausner is not the one making decisions at the moment when it comes to discovery. That is in the hands of Judge Eick. It’s like back when we were in school, and the teacher is out sick, and you try to convince the substitute to not give homework, even though the teacher normally would have.

            The defense is not letting it go they lost the standing challenge, and are trying to continue pushing that as what is, I’m sure, still attempts to throw a bunch of defenses at the wall, hoping one of them stick. I understand why they are doing it, it is their job. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the results.

          • Michael H.

            Exactly, Stargazer. Now I think you’re starting to understand the context of what happened here the same way I did.

            The defense loses a standing challenge in the motion to dismiss, but doesn’t give up, and keeps trying to challenge it. Remember, Klausner is not the one making decisions at the moment when it comes to discovery. That is in the hands of Judge Eick. It’s like back when we were in school, and the teacher is out sick, and you try to convince the substitute to not give homework, even though the teacher normally would have.

            The defense is not letting it go they lost the standing challenge, and are trying to continue pushing that as what is, I’m sure, still attempts to throw a bunch of defenses at the wall, hoping one of them stick. I understand why they are doing it, it is their job. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the results.

          • Stargazer 100

            No, I don’t think we’re on the same page. Standing and ownership are inextricably linked in a copyright infringement action. Sorry if I was unclear. The plaintiff in a copyright action has the burden of proving ownership of the material allegedly being infringed. Naturally, the defense must challenge that. But the two plaintiffs own different things (movies vs tv, etc), and Paramount’s works are derivative works of CBS’ works. If the defense stipulated Paramount’s ownership of the film works, they could still be rendered moot if a break in the chain of title could be established prior to 1979. Or, I suppose Paramount’s claim could survive if the chain broke after 1979. At any rate, those matters are impossible to determine with certainty BEFORE discovery is carried out.

    • Capjkkirk

      Well, he’s not from the UK; I can correct you there.

      • Charles Britto

        Thank you Capjkkirk. I’ve already apologized for my mistake 🙂