Paramount, CBS Establish 'Star Trek' Fan Film Guidelines

"We want to show our appreciation by bringing fan films back to their roots," companies say in joint statement

The 'Star Trek' rightsholders have established a set of guidelines that would allow its fan base to create fan films without infringement. Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty

With the rightsholders of the Star Trek franchise still embroiled in a legal battle with the sci-fi series' diehard fan base over the unofficial fan-made prequel Axanar, CBS and Paramount have unveiled 10 guidelines that would allow for Star Trek fans to create their own tributes while avoiding potential litigation, the AV Club reports.

"Throughout the years, many of you have expressed your love for the franchise through creative endeavors such as fan films. So today, we want to show our appreciation by bringing fan films back to their roots," CBS and Paramount said in a statement posted on the Star Trek site.

"The heart of these fan films has always been about expressing one's love and passion for Star Trek," the companies said. "They have been about fan creativity and sharing unique stories with other fans to show admiration for the TV shows and movies. These films are a labor of love for any fan with desire, imagination and a camera."

Under the set of guidelines, any Star Trek fan film may not have a single-story runtime of over 15 minutes, or 30 minutes for an anthology of stories. In the case of Axanar, the filmmakers behind the popular, crowdfunded film planned four parts to form one long feature; in the new guidelines, however, CBS and Paramount warn "no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes" would be allowed.

The guidelines also prevent filmmakers from using the words "Star Trek" in the official title while also containing the subtitle "A Star Trek Fan Production." Filmmakers may utilize aspects that directly impinge on the Star Trek copyright, like the iconic uniforms, but these items "must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products."

After Axanar's $1 million fundraising goal put the fan film in CBS/Paramount crosshairs, the companies have now mandated that the production budget of fan films cannot exceed $50,000, that only amateur cast and crew can be used and the film can only be shared on "a no-charge basis."

Even after Star Trek reboot directors J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin held peace talks in an effort to reconcile the franchises' rightsholders and its fervent fan base, the legal battle between CBS/Paramount and Axanar producers continues on in court. However, in what could be epic trolling on the part of Axanar's filmmakers, the film's second trailer was unveiled the same day Star Trek imposed their new guidelines: