The Does

LAWSUIT PRIMER Get an overview of the copyright lawsuit, including a timeline of the case, as well as downloadable pleadings made by the plaintiffs, CBS and Paramount, and defendants Alec Peters and Axanar Productions Inc. » Lawsuit Primer

Doe is short for John or Jane Doe, placeholder names often used in legal documents indicating individuals yet to be named. The legal complaint filed by CBS and Paramount Pictures names the defendants as follows:

AXANAR PRODUCTIONS, INC., a California corporation;
ALEC PETERS, an individual, and
DOES 1–20 , Defendants. 1) [emphasis added]

UPDATE According to the court’s May 10, 2016, scheduling order, both sides had until May 25 to “to join other parties or to amend the pleadings” in the case. That date passed with none of the Does named.

Why Weren't Any Does Named?

This section, Why Weren’t Any Does Named? features opinion and informed speculation.

In their May 2, 2016, joint statement to the judge ahead of the case’s scheduling conference, both sides indicated a reluctance to adding parties to the suit.2)

If you assume the plaintiffs are suing in order to make an example of how Axanar went too far, they’ll only go as far as they need to make that point. For every new defendant they add to the case, CBS and Paramount would’ve had to prove with a preponderance of evidence that each one participated in at least one of these activities:

  • Writing scripts
  • Produced or directed the films
  • Design or oversight of design of:
    • Sets
    • Costumes
    • Props
    • Other elements in works derived from the Star Trek copyright. This may include merchandise Axanar sells in its Donor Store.

The plaintiffs would also have needed to demonstrate that each co-defendant is responsible in some way for the allegations in the legal complaint and harm to CBS and/or Paramount, and that they acted “in concert,” with all each new defendants’ alleged acts “authorized, approved, and/or ratified by each of the other defendants.”3)

Such activities seemed to point to higher-level creative and management activities, and the plaintiffs may have decided instead to focus their efforts only on the activities of the named defendants.

It’s also possible that the possibility of being named a defendant, therefore financially liable for some measure of the damages sought in the lawsuit, may have persuaded possible Does to offer testimony against Axanar and Peters in exchange for being dropped from the case.

Who Were They?

The plaintiffs may not know which specific 20 individuals took part in Axanar’s alleged copyright infringement, but they know what types of personnel were likely to be involved. Revealing their names is a likely part of the pre-trial activity ordered by the judge.

To that end, the legal complaint does identify these persons in this way:

“The Doe Defendants include, among others, those persons who aided in the writing of the scripts for the Axanar Works or producing or directing the films, and those persons who designed or caused to be designed the infringing sets, costumes, props and other elements in the Axanar Works that infringe copyrighted Star Trek elements.” 4) [emphasis added]

PRODUCTION DOWNGRADE As of March 18, 2016, the production status on Axanar's public IMDb listing was changed from ‘pre-production’ to ‘in development,’ rendering its cast and crew list visible only to IMDb Pro subscribers.5)

According to {!IMDb:the Internet Movie Database}}, unless noted otherwise, these are the people who filled the positions described in the lawsuit:

Rotate mobile device for best view of chart Please note: Just because a person appears on this chart does not mean they will be named as a defendant, nor are the jobs listed necessarily the only positions to be named in the suit.

Job In Prelude6) In Axanar7)
Director Christian Gosset Robert Meyer Burnett
Set Design Scott Cobb8)
Nathan Lay9)
John Eaves10)
Lee Quessenberry11)
Sean Tourangeau12)
Costume Design Patty Wright13) Kate Bergh14)
Prop Designer No one is specifically credited with this title; may be someone else in the art department.
Screenwriters Christian Gossett
Alec Peters
Alec Peters (story)
See ‘Changing cast of writers’ below
Producers15) Ryan T. Husk (associate producer)
Nicholas Cooper (associate producer)
Neal Fischer (co-producer)
Diana Kingsbury (associate producer)
Terry Alan McIntosh (co-producer)
Alec Peters (executive producer)
Carter Smith (co-producer)
Mark Smith (associate producer)
Jhennifer Webberley (co-producer)
Horace Austin (associate producer)
Alan J. Hayes (associate producer)
David A. Hernandez (associate producer)
Diana Kingsbury (co-producer)
Michael J. Lai (associate producer)
Terry Alan McIntosh (co-producer)
Alec Peters (executive producer)
Bill R. Watters (associate producer)

Rotate mobile device for best view of chart

Changing Cast of Writers

The title and writing credits for Axanar have changed over time, according to IMDb.

Date Project Title Writers (credits)
2013 Star Trek: Axanar Dave Galanter16) … (story editor)
David Gerrold … (creative consultant)
Christian Gossett … (screenplay)
Alec Peters … (screenplay)
Alec Peters … (story)
July 2015 Axanar Dave Galanter17) … (story editor)
David Gerrold … (creative consultant)
Christian Gossett … (story editor)
Alec Peters … (screenplay)
Alec Peters … (story)
March 2016 Axanar David Gerrold … (creative consultant)
Christian Gossett … (story)
Bill Hunt … (screenplay)
Alec Peters … (screenplay)
Alec Peters … (story)

Writer Dave Galanter, a Star Trek author at Pocket Books, asked Axanar to remove his story editor credit on IMDb, saying his involvement with the script was only peripheral:

I didn’t get to edit any story and neither asked for nor wanted any credit for giving [Alec Peters] comments and notes on his first draft as he wrote it. I never even saw anything more than that very first draft and since [Axanar director] Rob Burnett says the current script has no resemblance to the draft that was leaked (which I have seen and recognize as the draft into which I made comments) the listing of me as Story Editor is erroneous.

Peters was trying to “thank me” for giving him some comments early on, but had this been a professional endeavor of mine, the script would have had to have been licensed and approved by CBS or Paramount, and I’d have needed to be paid. The input I gave was the same I give to beginning writers at writing workshops I take part in for free.18) [emphasis added]

Peters had previously described Galanter’s involvement as more substantial:

I have been working on “Axanar” now for almost two years, slowly writing the script with John Muenchrath19) and now Dave Galanter. … The script is now almost done. Dave Galanter and I have been working it for 6 months now.20) [emphasis added]

Role of the Does

The suit alleges that each of the Does is “responsible in some manner for the occurrences alleged herein and Plaintiffs’ injuries.”21)

It further claims all the defendants “acted in concert … and all of the acts alleged herein to have been done by each defendant were authorized, approved, and/or ratified by each of the other defendants.”22)

ARES DESIGNER Sean Tourangeau says he’s been blacklisted from professional Star Trek work because of the Axanar lawsuit.

Blacklisting

One of the potential Does went public, describing that his involvement with Axanar resulted in him being blacklisted from any professional Star Trek-related work.

Though not named as a Doe, designer Sean P. Tourangeau is among the class of people described by the lawsuit as potential additional defendants. He is the designer of the U.S.S. Titan for the licensed Pocket Books series by that name.

On April 18, 2016, he began to describe on Twitter how working with Axanar hurt him personally and professionally:

Sean P. Tourangeau 5:59 PM - 18 Apr 2016
@trekbbs I need to stop reading Axanar thread makes heart since that I was ever apart of that production. Only good thing I did was the Ares

Sean P. Tourangeau 6:02 PM - 18 Apr 2016
While I am happy for the new @StarTrek series next year. Sad that I am blacklisted because of Axanar and the crap that it has put us thru

Sean P. Tourangeau 12:53 PM - 20 Apr 2016
@AxaMonitor @StarTrek was told a conflict of interest. Which sucks since I made no money on that project. Just a fan wanting 2 create 4 trek

Sean P. Tourangeau 12:57 PM - 20 Apr 2016
@PhilsStalkers I am not throwing stones at anyone. I just want this nightmare to be over

Sean P. Tourangeau 1:05 PM - 20 Apr 2016
Hey all I am not asking for sympathy because of Ax what is done is done. I want Trek to be good again. I just want 2b a fan

Sean P. Tourangeau 1:12 PM - 3 Apr 2016
Really to the point where I don’t know if I like @StarTrek anymore. Blacklist for working on a fan film kinda takes the fun out of it.

Sean P. Tourangeau 1:41 PM - 20 Apr 2016
@oahu63 @Gary_Sebben I know. It is just a crappy result of jumping on board what at the time I thought was a good looking fan project.

Sean P. Tourangeau 2:10 PM - 20 Apr 2016
Kinda feel like the show the Internet ruined my life. Just substitute a production.

Tourangeau’s displeasure began with this April 10 {!subtweet:(on Twitter) a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them.}}, apparently aimed at Axanar producer Alec Peters:

Sean P. Tourangeau 8:57 PM - 10 Apr 2016
In case anyone cares I am not part of a certain project anymore. Tired of defending a certain person who can care less about the help

Tourangeau appeared to express more Axanar regrets in another subtweeted exchange — this time with John Van Citters, vice president of product development at CBS Consumer Products.


Keywords

1)
Complaint, Paramount v. Axanar, p. 1, line 20
2)
Rule 26 Joint Report by Plaintiffs and Defendants, p. 2 line 12.
3) , 22)
Complaint, Paramount v. Axanar, p. 3 ¶12
4)
Complaint, Paramount v. Axanar, p. 3 ¶10
5)
Axanar (2016), retrieved 3/17/16.
6)
IMDb entry, Prelude to Axanar, retrieved 3/10/16.
7)
IMDb entry, Axanar, retrieved 3/10/16.
8)
credited as production designer
9)
credited as Art Director
10) , 11) , 12)
credited as concept artist
13)
credited as costumer
14)
Named as wardrobe designer on Axanar Productions website, Captain's Log, 3/10/16.
15)
Not all producers listed on IMDb may have engaged in the activities alleged in the legal complaint
16) , 17)
requested his name be removed from IMDb
18)
Private Facebook message from Dave Galanter to AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza, 3/2/16.
19)
previously portrayed Dr. McCoy on Star Trek: New Voyages
21)
Complaint, Paramount v. Axanar, p. 3 ¶11