Paramount, CBS Settle ‘Star Trek’ Fan Film Lawsuit

Producer Alec Peters agreed to make significant changes to “Axanar”

Star Trek Axanar Lawsuit

Paramount Pictures, CBS Studios and producer Alec Peters and his Axanar Productions have settled a lawsuit over Peters’ crowdfunded “Star Trek” fan film “Axanar,” according to a joint statement released Friday by the parties.

As part of the settlement, Peters has agreed to make “substantial changes” to “Axanar” and also affirmed that future “Star Trek” fan films produced by him or his company will follow the “Guidelines for Fan Films” distributed by CBS and Paramount in June 2016.

“Paramount and CBS continue to be big believers in fan fiction and fan creativity,” they said in the statement.  “They encourage amateur filmmakers to showcase their passion for ‘Star Trek.’  Paramount and CBS will not object to, or take legal action against, ‘Star Trek’ fan productions that are non-professional, amateur, and otherwise meet the Guidelines, which can be found at  Paramount and CBS would like ‘Star Trek’ fans, with their boundless creativity and passion, to ‘Live Long and Prosper.’”

Axanar Productions released a statement of its own, saying the settlement allowed the company to continue to show its “Axanar” prequel, “Prelude to Axanar,” commercial-free on YouTube and that it would be permitted to produce its “Axanar” feature film as two 15-minute segments that could be distributed on YouTube without ads.

“Axanar Productions was created by lifelong Star Trek fans to celebrate their love for Star Trek,” the statement said. “Alec Peters and the Axanar team look forward to continuing to share the Axanar story and are happy to work within the Guidelines for Fan Films for future projects. Throughout this process, we will continue communicating with our fans and backers to ensure they are informed and involved until we reach completion of the production.”

“Axanar” raised $1.13 million in crowdfunding, which made it possibly the biggest fan financed film ever made. CBS publicly said said they never “authorized, sanctioned or licensed this project in any way, and this has been communicated to those involved.”

However, Peters told TheWrap that he and his team met with CBS prior to production, and the network didn’t offer any specific guidelines concerning what his crew could and could not do, simply that he couldn’t make money off the project.

“CBS has a long history of accepting fan films,” Peters said in August 2015. “I think ‘Axanar’ has become so popular that CBS realizes that we’re just making their brand that much better.”

Later that year, CBS and Paramount filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Peters and Axanar Productions, which was ordered to trial earlier this month — and resolved with Friday’s settlement.