Lawsuit Over 'Star Trek' Fan Film Settled

Screenshot from ‘Star Trek’ Fan Film ‘Axanar’
Screenshot from the fan-made film “Axanar." Watch "Prelude to Axanar" on YouTube. (Image credit: Axanar Productions/YouTube)

Axanar Productions — the company that planned to launch a feature-length, fan-supported "Star Trek" film — has reached a settlement with copyright holders CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures following a lawsuit.

A statement from Axanar and a joint statement from CBS and Paramount detail how the new film "Axanar" will be released. Instead of being a feature-length film, it will be shown as two 15-minute segments on YouTube, commercial free. Axanar's previous "Star Trek" production, called "Prelude to Axanar," will also be shown on YouTube without ads.

"Axanar and [executive producer Alec] Peters acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS, and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law," according to the statement from CBS and Paramount.

The statement added that any future films made by Axanar and Peters must comply with guidelines for fan films that CBS and Paramount released in June 2016, while the lawsuit was ongoing.

Those guidelines stipulate that fan-made films must be no longer than 30 minutes (in segments of 15 minutes each), the title can't use the name "Star Trek" and production must be noncommercial. Among other stipulations, the guidelines also include restrictions on the use of "Star Trek" content such as costumes.

"Paramount and CBS continue to be big believers in fan fiction and fan creativity," the CBS/Paramount statement continued. "They encourage amateur filmmakers to showcase their passion for 'Star Trek.' Paramount and CBS will not object to, or take legal action against, 'Star Trek' fan productions that are nonprofessional, amateur and otherwise meet the guidelines."

A statement from Axanar added that further details would be released privately to cast, crew and donors of the production.

"Since the beginning of the lawsuit, over a year ago, we have expressed our desire to address the concerns of the studios, and our willingness to make necessary changes, as long as we could reasonably meet our commitments to Axanar's over 14,000 donors, fans and supporters. We are now able to do exactly that," the Axanar statement said.

The statement added that Axanar would finish "final legal requirements" in the next 60 days, as well as address "several preproduction issues" before principal photography begins on the film. Axanar would also follow the CBS/Paramount guidelines for future projects, according to the statement.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: