Not Much Progress Toward Settlement

CBS and Paramount Pictures don’t appear willing to cede any kind of business arrangement that would allow Axanar to move forward, according to executive producer Alec Peters.

In comments posted below Peters’ review of Star Trek Beyond on the Axanar website, one fan urged, “Make a deal. … They [CBS and Paramount] have to be willing to let Axanar come about.”1)

Peters replied on August 14:

We have tried to make a deal and they will have no part of it.2)

‘Logical, Money-making Solutions’

Axanar Producer Alec Peters

This comment marked the first hint about a lack of progress in settlement talks between both sides in the copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar.

Two days later, Peters went further, hinting at a failed effort in negotiations to allow Axanar to be produced and would offer a financial incentive for CBS and Paramount presumably based on some kind of Axanar-related revenue stream:

We offered CBS Axanar for free 7 months ago, and they refused. They do not care about Axanar or what the fans want, and are not open to logical, money-making solutions. They are not working in their shareholders’ best interest, nor in a way that makes any sense. This whole lawsuit was ill-advised and a bad business decision. We are just trying to give our 10,000+ donors what they want and donated for.3)

Axanar has been criticized for having already created several continuing revenue streams, extensively detailed in Axanar’s 2015 Annual Report. This commercial operation is likely the “direct financial benefit” alleged by CBS and Paramount in their legal complaint.

No Specifics

Peters offered no specifics on the “money-making solutions” he offered CBS and Paramount, nor what leverage Axanar had for pressing for such a settlement, other than his continuing efforts, directly and through surrogates, to cast the legal dispute as a move by CBS against all fan films. Most other fan films, however, have disavowed Axanar, and accepted (some begrudgingly) the new fan production guidelines released in June 2016.

About Settlement Talks

Though the two sides likely had some communication after the suit was filed in December 2015, negotiations seemed to take on new life after the May 20, 2016, announcement at a Star Trek Beyond fan event, producer J.J. Abrams that the lawsuit was “going away” in a few weeks.

Though widely misreported as CBS and Paramount dropping the suit, that possibility was nevertheless foreclosed one business day later by Axanar’s counterclaim against the plaintiffs, now forced to defend themselves from the claim.

GOING TO COURT Exterior of the federal courthouse in Los Angeles.

Going to Trial

Peters’ description of the state of settlement talks followed a podcast interview of Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett, in which Burnett admitted he believed the case would go to trial,4) following his comment in June to the Los Angeles Times:

I think, unfortunately, the outcome [of the lawsuit] ultimately is not going to be favorable to us and certainly not for our fans and our donors.5)

See also: Timeline of the Case

Meanwhile the case continued in discovery, which was due to be complete in November.

CASE STATUS January 20, 2017 Axanar settles its copyright infringement lawsuit, admitting it overreached; both sides file for dismissal of the case in U.S. District Court. || January 9 Judge holds final pre-trial conference with attorneys for both sides to set final terms for trial — also a last-ditch effort at settlement || January 4 Judge throws out Axanar’s fair use defense || Up-to-the-minute news and views on Twitter @AxaMonitor

1)
Edward J Cox comment, Axanar blog, “Star Trek Beyond was a Blast!”, 8/16/16.
2)
Alec Peters comment, Axanar blog, , “Star Trek Beyond was a Blast!”, 8/16/16.
3)
Alec Peters comment, Axanar blog, , “Star Trek Beyond was a Blast!”, 8/16/16.
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