Friday, June 24, 2016

And the Hammer Falls....

Okay, CBS, your point has been made, you own Star Trek, and we only get to play in the sandbox according to your rules.  We get that, and most of us understand who it is that ruined the party for the rest of us.

Now, let's get back to reality and dial these guidelines back to something that doesn't eviscerate the entire fan film genre.

"1. The fan production 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, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes."

This is idiotic and serves no purpose.  Lose it.

"2. The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production."

The first sentence is just petty and should be struck.  The second sentence is better, but substituting "title must contain a subtitle" with "credits must contain the phrase" would be more appropriate.  No argument with the third sentence.

"3. The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing."

This needs clarification.  I presume this is a prohibition on the use of footage from actual Star Trek productions, like flyby shots of the Enterprise.

"4. If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products."

This is somewhat ridiculous since there simply isn't enough licensed products available to properly stock a production of any worth.  Unless CBS is prepared to open up a prop rental operation, this one is pointless and should be dropped.

"5. The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees."

Isn't this a bit of an overreach?  If George Takei wants to spend a weekend making a fan film, who are you to say he can't?  Dump this one.

"6. The fan production must be non-commercial:

    CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.

    The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.

    The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.

    The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.

    No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

    The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes."

No Argument here.

"7. The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy."

Okay, while I think it's safe to say that porn versions of Star Trek should be left to the professionals, blanket prohibitions on mature, thought provoking material is an overreach; in fact, several actual Star Trek episodes would fail this guideline.  More constructive would be restrictions on how such concepts are depicted, positively or negatively, rather than a blanket prohibition.

"8. The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

    “Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

The vast majority of fan productions already do.

"9. Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law."

Sounds fair enough.

"10. Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures."

No problem.

"CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion. These guidelines are not a license and do not constitute approval or authorization of any fan productions or a waiver of any rights that CBS or Paramount Pictures may have with respect to fan fiction created outside of these guidelines."

So let's get revising, kids!