Just weeks after a US District Court Judge rejected the claims of fair use from the producers of the Star Trek fan film Axanar, Paramount and Axanar Productions have announced a settlement that will allow both parties to skip a juried trial.
In the settlement, Axanar Productions and its owner, Alec Peters, acknowledged that the film and its prequel, Prelude to Axanar, were “were not approved by Paramount or CBS, and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.”
the producers will need to make “substantial changes” to their film
Furthermore, the settlement will require the the producers to make “substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation,” and future productions from the company will adhere to the new fan-film guidelines put forth by Paramount as a result of this case. Those rules state that productions must be less than 15 minutes long, they can’t use the name Star Trek in their title, and they must use commercially available costumes and props. Fundraising for such films is capped at $50,000. It’s unclear exactly what the settlement will mean for Prelude to Axanar, or whether Axanar Productions has immediate plans to continue or scrap production on its main film.
Paramount Pictures, which owns the Star Trek franchise, sued the production last year for infringing on its copyright after Axanar raised more than $1 million in a pair of crowdfunding campaigns to produce a professionally crafted fan film. The lawsuit has prevented the filmmakers from beginning production. Last summer, J.J. Abrams indicated at an event that the lawsuit was “going away,” only to have Paramount continue its suit. The filmmakers tried to claim that their production fell under fair-use guidelines, and that Paramount couldn’t copyright the Klingon language.