After decades of indifference to fan-created web series and fan films, CBS Corp is now taking aim on them and charging their main phaser arrays. A second fan film has now been shut down by the CBS legal team, this one before it could even get off the ground. Star Trek: Federation Rising was to be the sequel to the fan film Star Trek: Horizon, released last February by Tommy Kraft, but no more. Executives from CBS reached out to Kraft and advised him that “their legal team strongly suggests” that they not move forward with plans to create a sequel to Horizon.
Kraft detailed the correspondence on his Facebook page:
“While this is a sign of the current climate that we find ourselves in with Star Trek fan-films, I want to personally thanks CBS for reaching out to me, rather than including us in their ongoing lawsuit against ‘Axanar.'”
Kraft didn’t elaborate on the communique, but he did say that Axanar was an immediately related issue. Said Kraft:
“It was conveyed that the reason CBS was reaching out to me was due to the legal troubles stemming from the Axanar case. Again, CBS did not have to reach out personally. The message I received felt more like they were giving me a heads up before we got too involved in another project, rather than a group of angry executives swinging a hammer.”
Kraft had been planning to raise $250,000 for the sequel to his popular and well crafted Star Trek: Horizon fan film. Earlier this week, Kraft had unveiled plans to raise $250,000 to film a sequel to “Horizon” in Los Angeles. The first film, which took Kraft years to complete, is set after “Star Trek: Enterprise,” and used almost entirely virtual sets. The first film had been shot for less than $50,000.
If CBS was determined to swing the ban hammer, it’s a good thing they did it before Kraft’s IndieGogo campaign got started. This way there is no money to refund to the donors.
Paramount and CBS jointly filed their suit against Axanar and its producer Alec Peters last December for what they claim is copyright infringement in the fan film, despite the fact that as of that date, there literally is no film even now. Paramount also claims copyright on the Klingon Language, despite the fact that languages traditionally have not been eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law. Paramount’s claim to most, if not all, of the elements in Axanar may be invalid owing to them having divested themselves of those rights decades ago when they sold them to CBS.
Kraft’s response to the situation is to simply shift back to his original stance, which was to leave Star Trek behind and work on his own original films instead. The CBS communication appears to have inspired him to revisit that idea.
For more details on Kraft and his production team and how they’re handling the sudden shift in the Star Trek fan film landscape, visit ‘Horizon’ on Facebook. You can also visit StarTrekHorizon.com and find new announcements there.
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