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.