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Star Trek Continues: The White Iris


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#41 Gothneo

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:38 AM

Well... I think they have the solution to their ceases and desist within that monologue... just as MisterPL says... remove any obvious branding, references, logos, etc from the project and simply call it something else. I used to plays games all the time that were obviously intended to be Star Trek, but where branded otherwise. Heck one of the oldest was done on the Apple II where the Klingons were called Klaxons.

 

I think Part of the problem is that the fan films that became so blatant in using everything down to the same character names, etc that eventually any ability to say many fan projects were something else with a wink and nudge became impossible. 



#42 Alteran195

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 08:14 PM

CBS had no issues with fan films before Alec Peters and Axanar went way too far, and forced CBS to crack down on fan projects.

I see people getting all mad at CBS, when they are well within their right to shut down any project thats using their IP.

CBS also has guidelines for fan films, so they arent stopping fans from making stuff as long as they follow them.

The Orville is the perfect example of how to pay tribute to Star Trek while still being original/different.

#43 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 08:53 AM

I agree I felt like Axanar was going over the line, and I kind of understood CBS's position at the time. This incident has changed my mind on CBS's motives though. This was not a fan film, this wasn't something that had the feel of a finished product that could compete with official content. It was simply a model of the ship. They barely even touched on the IP itself. The project had a generic name (Stage 9) and other than the name on the outside of the ship mostly had no notable characters and names.  Other franchises simply don't have this issue Ghostbusters, Star Wars etc. all seem to have vibrant fan communities creating lots of wonderful things while still enjoying the official content created. I'm beginning to think CBS views themselves as a licensing company above all else, which of course is true of any company creating content. Other companies however seem to focus more on creating new content and don't get quite as bothered and caught up with fan activities. CBS has failed to ever deliver anything worthwhile to contribute to the world of Star Trek. The new series (while being a good show) has fallen short of creating more depth to the existing world of Star Trek and the demand of what many fans (customers) are looking for. Now they're trying to follow the fan film approach a little more closely by essentially making a ST: Picard Continues show. They seem to have clumsily created a void in the Star Trek world that only the fans seem to know how to feel and they're basically trying to clamp down on that until they can figure something out.

 

There's so much grey area in these things, it's hard to know exactly where the line is. The reality is if a fan wants to create a fan film, costume, model or whatever they are perfectly within their legal rights to use the Star Trek IP however they see fit. The issue only comes up with distribution. The problem is our world has changed so much that there is a spectrum of ways to distribute and share content and there's no clear line between simply communicating with fiends and publicly distributing commercial content. Any normal activity is shared online now days. If I for example carve a pumpkin with my son since it's Halloween season I may want to put that on FB. If I really get into it I may want to make a video and share it on YouTube. Now it becomes a big hobby for us we may even create website, social media and create a following. Now when a hobby like this translates to an IP like ST that's where it gets complicated. If I decide to make a Star Trek Halloween costume again that's well within my legal rights up until I post those photos on FB. Now is CBS going to sue a father and son for making a Star Trek costume for Halloween, probably not, but of course that's within their rights as the IP owners. But then next year we decide to take it a little further and build sets, then maybe a year later decide to start making videos, and then after a while develop a following of not just family and friends but people we don't even know. So obviously it's very difficult for anyone to decide where that line should be.

 

I think Axanar (and as much as I like the show) ST: Continues were crossing that line. At the same time I think it was in CBS's best interests to allow those productions to continue either by applying restrictions or inviting them to create licensed productions. With Stage 9 I think CBS crossed the line too far. Is it within their legal right sure, but is it the right thing to do no.

 

Honestly I think at this point any fan projects going forward should simply adopt a more fan/community oriented model and avoid using individual accounts or individual platforms for distribution. If a community is all individually contributing with no clear and consistent means of distribution than CBS will simply have no recourse. The act of creating fan films or fan creations is not something that CBS has authority over, it's the distribution, so simply eliminate that element.



#44 Alteran195

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 09:50 AM

Stage9 did use character likeness, and we cant forget Ubisofts own Bridge Crew, which while not identical is similar in some ways to Stage9. We also dont know the long term plans for that game, or what Ubisoft will do with the license.

Those two alone may have contributed to CBS having to act, especially if Ubisoft had an issue with it since they paid for the license to make their game.

#45 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 10:02 AM

Yeah I know they did put characters in, but that wasn't the core of what they were doing. I think they just put them in for the fun of it. I really don't think they were expecting to have an issue like this. They weren't making a game they were making a model. There was no gameplay other than just walking around which was really just a means to viewing the model. I'm certainly not trying to argue that CBS doesn't have some amount of legal ground to stand on, but just I think they went a little extreme with this. Who know maybe Ubisoft saw what was being created and requested this. Just to me CBS's actions at this point as a whole are beginning to seem detrimental to the fandom and their customers. They need to start working on a better solution to this kind of stuff.



#46 Damon1984

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 10:48 AM

The usage of characters and names (according to one of the developers, even the name "Stage 9" is copyrighted) might be the official reason for this cease and desist, but I think it's pretty clear that the fan-project has simply become too much of a competition for the licensed thing (Bridge Crew). Otherwise, CBS could have simply allowed the developers to change the names. :(



#47 MisterPL

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 10:53 AM

In a perfect world, CBS would tap Stage 9 to do an officially licensed product.



#48 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 11:01 AM

In a perfect world, CBS would tap Stage 9 to do an officially licensed product.

Exactly! It's like every time they see something working and the fans getting interested the response is to simply shut it down rather than take a look and say what is this product that fans seem to want that we are not offering. I would love to see them create something like an app store for fan projects. Allow fans to submit and have projects approved then be sold through CBS with a small percentage going to the creators. Just imagine the creativity that would bring out if people knew there was an easily accessible process to create official content and products!



#49 Damon1984

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 11:12 AM

In a perfect world, CBS would tap Stage 9 to do an officially licensed product.

 

Yeah. But our world is run by money, and after years of inactivity, the IP holder is back in full force, with the intend of milking the cow again, and they will defend said cow. So far, it was left to us to keep her alive, but those times are over now. With five(?) shows and lots of products on the way, there won't be much wiggle room for (outstanding) fan content left. Except, you are doing it in private in your garage. But share it and, if you are good, you might be seen as competition.



#50 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 11:17 AM

 
Yeah. But our world is run by money, and after years of inactivity, the IP holder is back in full force, with the intend of milking the cow again, and they will defend said cow. So far, it was left to us to keep her alive, but those times are over now. With five(?) shows and lots of products on the way, there won't be much wiggle room for (outstanding) fan content left. Except, you are doing it in private in your garage. But share it and, if you are good, you might be seen as competition.


If only they knew how to milk the cow.

#51 Alteran195

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:02 PM

Theyre making another series featuring Picard. Now the same fans complaining that Spock is coming back are going crazy over what TNG characters they want cameos from.

Id say they know how to milk the cow just fine.

#52 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:15 PM

If they knew how to milk the cow all of these fan projects wouldnt even exist because everyone would be so preoccupied with all the amazing stuff CBS was putting out.

I think the Picard series shows they realize theyre not delivering what the fans want, but it remains to be seen wether they can figure it out or not. At least theyre trying I guess.

#53 Alteran195

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:32 PM

Fan projects have always existed, the only difference now versus the Berman/TOS era of Trek is that with the internet theyre way easier to share.

#54 s8film40

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:45 PM

Theres definitely been an increase in Star Trek fan projects over the last decade. Many of these fan films have gained a lot more attention simply because its been the only new Star Trek for a while. Its not just because its more accessible.

#55 Alteran195

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:59 PM

Youre right, its not just accessibility, its availability of technology to the average person thats also increased.

Pretty much anyone can make a fan film nowadays, and they still can if they wanted to. CBS has guidelines for them, they still allow them to be made.

I could make one just using my phone if I really wanted to.

This project didnt think they had to follow them because they werent a film, CBS then shut them down and they realized they were wrong.

Heres a quote from one of the developers:
I was never too sure how closely to try and see whether Stage 9 could follow the fan film guidelines, because it wasn't entirely applicable to us, but obviously since getting the C&D I've read through it multiple times and a few times I've thought 'aaah, we kinda did that thing they don't appreciate'. It was just hard at the time to know what was applicable.

If anything CBS needs to put out more guidelines that cover things other then fan films so we can make stuff without having to worry about being shut down.

#56 Damon1984

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 02:27 PM

If anything CBS needs to put out more guidelines that cover things other then fan films so we can make stuff without having to worry about being shut down.

 

I don't think that's feasible/desirable. Fans are just too active in too many areas. For instance, if a fan starts to make blueprints for the Shenzhou, and, unbeknownst to the fan, CBS, as it happens, want's to release plans for the ship as well, the fan is going to be in the way through sheer happenstance. A guideline might seem helpful "don't do blueprints", but I doubt CBS knows what kind of merchandising they might do in the future. So it's hard for them to predict what might or might not become competition for the official stuff. Today it might not be a big deal and no one cares what the fan is doing with his blueprints, but in a couple of years, it's suddenly troublesome. The only way for CBS to be on the safe side in terms of guidelines would be to be draconic and allow almost nothing.



#57 Gothneo

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Posted 29 September 2018 - 07:01 AM

I wasn't that familiar with Stage 9 Project... but if it were just a VR model that let you roam the ship I think they would have been ok.. especially if they avoided using CBS's IP...  and thats a key point... its one thing to do a project where you say this some interpretation of some trek-like-thing... but if they started adding characters.. and let you interact with them... then I agree with the quit order. IP and copyrights is an interesting thing... If you change stuff enough and let people know its "inspired" by something... its typically considered fair use. We see the opposite of this all the time... Disney is a master of of it... they take something in the public domain... and make it "Disney's Little Mermaid"... "Disney's Beauty and the beast"... etc... you always see all kinds of cheap animated versions come out at the same time Disney release something new this way, and they can't do anything about the public domain aspects, which is what they typically stick to. Disney adds funny new characters and songs... thats their IP. 



#58 s8film40

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Posted 29 September 2018 - 10:38 AM

Yeah you just roamed the VR ship, they added characters mostly just for atmosphere. The characters weren't really a critical part of it just something to give it a little more life, they for the most part just randomly walked around and were basically like extras in a movie. Also since the ship in the show was portrayed to be so large and only a handful of sets were ever created the vast majority of what these guys created was completely original.

 

Here's a video walkthrough, be sure to check out the main shuttle bay towards the end, that was one of my favorite things they did since it was never seen in the show, but gives you such a great sense of the scale of the ship.

 

https://youtu.be/WnyAM84dSmQ

 

 

Personally I hope they continue to work on this and like I said just simply don't directly distribute it. I'm sure they don't want to deal with any legal disputes so they'll probably play it safe.

 

Again I think this is a lesson for any future fan projects that CBS has the potential to take things way too far. To me the easy solution is to simply eliminate their ability to pursue any legal actions. Most fan projects like this want to understandably create some kind of "home on the internet" a website, social media channels, youtube channels, etc. Just simply eliminate that, create a community where members can collaborate and contribute and allow everyone to equally share the products of the endeavor. I think in that way these projects will be safe because CBS will have nothing tangible to go after.



#59 Gothneo

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Posted 30 September 2018 - 01:08 PM

thanks for the link. yeah the VR walk through is cool... but once they started using actual actor likeness from the show they were asking for trouble. they should have stuck to the walk through. 



#60 s8film40

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 06:38 AM

Yeah, I don't think the actor likenesses is what was a concern with CBS and in fact they've said they have issue with the whole thing. I think that probably gave them a little more legal ground to stand on though. It's hard to go to court and fight for copyright infringement over sets characters, names and specifics like that are usually what they focus on. It's all kind of irrelevant as in this situation these are fans who simply aren't going to challenge anything.






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