The New Star Trek Fan Film Rules: A Case Study

Last week’s Guidelines for Avoiding Objections, issued by CBS and Paramount Pictures for anyone who might be thinking of making a Star Trek fan film, dredged up some memories here at HNMag. (We learned of them from this LA Times article by Josh Rottenberg, brought to us by Flipboard, where you can also find most of our own articles.)

The video below, made by the Vancouver B Movie Factory (and, full disclosure, featuring Nick Wangersky), is more or less a Star Trek fan film. The makers were divided on whether to try to take it to a wider audience, some of them having copyright concerns.

We decided to look at it in light of the new “10 commandments” and see if it would’ve Avoided Objections had they been in force when it was made.

  1. Must be “less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total.” Well, I think there was one more episode made, but that was all, so no problem yet.
  2. Title can’t include the words Star Trek, subtitle must include “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION.” Half a point.
  3. Original content — totally.
  4. Costumes and props must be official items, “not bootleg items or imitations.” Nick isn’t sure which they were — this rule sounds unenforceable.
  5. Everyone must be an amateur! Or at least unpaid. No problem there. No one who worked on a real Star Trek production allowed either. Again . . .
  6. No fundraising over $50k, and the film’s not allowed to make money. It’s not in danger of either.
  7. Family-friendly — I don’t know, when I think of what happens to the annoying little girls . . .
  8. Disclaimer required — okay, possible trouble here.
  9. Can’t copyright the production — likewise.
  10.  “Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures” — in the clear there.

(Photo: Public Domain, it says here . . .)


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