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article imageOp-Ed: Paramount drops lawsuit against Star Trek fan film

By Paul Wallis     May 22, 2016 in Entertainment
Paramount Studios have dropped legal action against the Kickstarter-funded fan film Axanar. Personal intervention by Star Trek Beyond producer JJ Abrams solved the problem. Far more importantly, Paramount is doing guidelines for fan-made media.
The basic legal issue was naturally the use of Star Trek intellectual property, which is Paramount’s intellectual property. Abrams, who is a huge Star Trek fan himself, intervened to shut down the problem. Settlement talks are now underway, and better still, Paramount intends to set up guidelines for future fan movies.
What happens when millions of people work on a huge idea?
That’s actually much more significant, in many ways. Star Trek is perhaps unique in being the only media product ever produced where the fan base has as much or more technical capacity than the production company. Forget Star Wars — Star Trek is very much aficionado-based, with literal warehouses of fan literature, fan sites, and more or less constant input from a global fan base. Some Star Trek fans could actually write the code for movies. Others can write content, and know all about the Star Trek lore and history.
Screen shot from ‘Star Trek Beyond
Screen shot from ‘Star Trek Beyond'
Paramount Pictures
The result of all this DIY Star Trek content, of course, is a gigantic potential base of new materials and highly enthusiastic support from fans. It’s an interesting scenario, in which the fan base has outgrown the original media, and essentially evolved over itself and the Star Trek idea into something so much bigger.
Paramount doesn’t really have much to worry about — the new content and levels of interest really do fit the “sustainable” theory of new media. “Sustainable” media is media which is basically self-generating. In the case of Star Trek, that’s almost an understatement. The sheer number of Star Trek novels written by fans alone, published and unpublished, is gigantic.
Stra Trek s Immortal Crew
The original Star Trek cast.
© Everett Collection / Rex Feature
Letting loose so much crowd sourced creativity is also a fascinating concept. What happens when you let millions of people loose with a really big idea? Looks like we’re about to find out. Expect a lot of new technology ideas, more things like “the physics of Star Trek,” which is actually a virtual subject of itself, new characters, and much more.
For writers and producers alike, a couple of tips — there are no limits.The original Star Trek was written by a lot of very highly accredited top science fiction writers. Theodore Sturgeon, Diane Duane, Vonda McIntyre, and a virtual arena full of lesser-known writers have contributed to Star Trek over the years. Imagine a few more generations of writers, new technologies, and the sort of eclectic spread of characters Star Trek naturally generates.
You can almost hear Gene Roddenberry laughing his head off. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination, indeed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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