CBS and Paramount Pictures recently issued new guidelines for Star Trek fans planning to create their own films inspired by the franchise. A CBS executive said in an interview that they want to make sure they’re not losing talent, but they don’t intend to go after these fans. These new rules came out just weeks before the new Star Trek movie was released and months before the new Star Trek series comes out on CBS.
According to CBS Vice President of product development, John Van Citters, crowdfunding has boosted the sale of Star Trek-related merchandise to backers, but neither Paramount or CBS have seen any profit. He added that fans are not as interested in supporting the actual film as they are engrossed by the merchandise they would be getting for backing an Indiegogo or Kickstarter project. Critters said that the new guidelines are meant to combat these backer rewards.
“They’re not intended to end fan films, but with the explosion of crowdfunding, abuses have very definitely crept into the process,” Citters said. “For many it became more about the item that you were donating to get than it was about supporting a fan production for its own sake.”
Citters also commented that CBS was concerned that former stars from the series would work with fans to develop these films, especially since crowdfunding has the potential to collect millions for casting and production. He added that as soon as professional actors get involved with a project, it loses the spirit of it being done for the fans, by the fans. Moreover, CBS would not want these fans profiting off from any actor’s talent.
He also said that CBS doesn’t have any intention of going after fan films that have already breached the new rules nor pursue new films that faintly violate the guidelines. They will, however, keep on monitoring mega productions and take appropriate action if needed.
Some of the new rules include:
1. The film project should not exceed 15 minutes for one self-contained plot. It should only have 1 or 2 segments, parts or episodes which should not go beyond 30 minutes in total, with no extra episodes, remakes or sequels, seasons and parts.
2. The content should not be reproductions, clips or recreations of any former Star Trek production. It must be an original work of art. If there is any non-Star Trek third party content utilized, all required permissions must be acquired in writing.
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