The LIEF Erikson

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fan productions: Fair Use or Piracy?

This Blog is based on my rebuttal of material posted on the history page of the Wikipedia article "Star Trek, other storylines", where a subsection was added entitled "A Questionable future for fan films". This was deleted, reposted, deleted again, had its inaccuracies listed, yada, yadda, yadda! Until eventually the discussion page became bigger than the article!

I was encouraged to add my comments to the history page even though it was getting incredibly large. This did catalyse certain material that I am collating for Decembers edition of The LIEF Erikson. This is a preview ...

To me, the overriding question when considering Viacom's response and relationship to the growing number of fan productions should be - Is this a legal problem or a commercial problem? I mean, are they compelled by law to take a certain course of action or can they respond in a manner that best suits their commercial needs. To put it bluntly: are the lawyers in charge or are the managers?

Let's view this as an ethical question. What is the purpose of the copyright laws? To assert the rights of ownership by the professional producers - Paramount - over their works, the characters, designs, scripts, music … etc. These rights of ownership usually mean getting a fair monetary return by the producers and distributors for their investment but it can also include the rights of the creators (scriptwriters, composers etc) to be identified as the authors of their work. The threat of litigation is the force that the law uses to enforce the owner's rights when they are compromised.

Fan film producers have no problem with any of this.
  • They acknowledge the copyright ownership of the original Star Trek copyrights
  • They do not divert revenue from Viacom by accepting money

  • By being predominantly an "original work of authorship" they are by definition an unauthorised derivative work

  • They are non-confontationist and admit that they exist by the sufference of the copyright owners.

  • From an artistic standpoint, they not only acknowledge the work of the writers and directors, they venerate them! Remember we are talking about fans here! I see no need for punitive action.


I would go so far as to say that fan productions are doing the opposite. My contention is that they are maintaining Paramount's revenue by keeping interest alive in the Trek franchise. In fact they are doing even more - they are an active force for increasing Paramount's revenue on the general and the specific level by drawing new fans to the franchise.

If that fails to impress you look at it the other way around. How much profit will Viacom make by taking a Draconian stance and closing fan productions down? certainly Disney does this, but remember Disney is in active production of even its oldest copyrighted characters, Mickey and Donald! Paramount has said they will not have any new professionally produced within the forseeable future so their sole income will come from merchandising their existing productions. Who buys them? The fans and any new fans who might come along.

So explain to me again how closing down fan films on a legality and alienating their only source of revenue is going to deliver a higher profit to their stockholders? I would contend that it makes sound long term commercial sense to encourage fan productions

23 Comments:

  • Ohhh come on. What a smoke screen by side stepping the core issues.
    Try to put yourself on the other side in the original Star Trek makers shoes.
    Enforcing your copyrights is bad? Hmmm...
    This is no different than software piracy or any other theft of property. Yes, these people/organizations are protecting their own interests. Wouldn't you? If you wrote a book and someone scanned it and distributed it without your permission, thereby depriving you of your own hard earned $$, wouldn't you be upset? If not a book, how about a killer app? Or other software?
    Would you be upset if someone grabbed all the content here, reproduced it, and re-used it for their own benefit? I bet you'd be upset. I would be.
    Property is not changed or altered simply because we can digitize it in some form or another. Property is property and just because it is intellectual property, does not alter the fact that the copying thereof without permission is a violation of the law.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:53 pm, December 28, 2005  

  • Meh! Come on. yourself, Tony.

    T-Enforcing your copyrights is bad?
    K-I've never said that. Read what I say carefully and don't put words into my mouth.

    T-This is no different than software piracy or any other theft of property.
    K-Yes it is.

    T-If you wrote a book and someone scanned it and distributed it without your permission, thereby depriving you of your own hard earned $$, wouldn't you be upset?
    K-Sure, but fan productions don't copy and paste large lumps of script etc and try to palm it off as the original.

    T-Would you be upset if someone grabbed all the content here, reproduced it, and re-used it for their own benefit? I bet you'd be upset. I would be.
    K-Nah! I'm not a professional, they wouldn't be depriving me of anything. I would simply out them as the hacks that they were and laugh my butt off at getting all the free publicity.

    T-...just because it is intellectual property, does not alter the fact that the copying thereof without permission is a violation of the law.
    K-I've never said that. You cling to insisting that this is a legal problem. Do you really want to see Viacom destroy any remaining credibility it has with the Trek fandom simply to pick up pennies?! When they are being ripped off for millions by the DVD pirates of Asia who are pumping out virtually identical copies to their movies?

    I have more respect for their commercial common sense than that!

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 8:15 pm, December 28, 2005  

  • What an amusing Blog, but seemingly full of odd copyright double-talk.
    An example, K wrote:
    Fan film producers have no problem with any of this.
    * By being predominantly an "original work of authorship" they are by definition an unauthorised derivative work.

    There is no such 'unauthorised derivative work' legitament defense or legal view. Do some more research on the copyright derivative works meaning.
    Try
    www.copyright.gov/circs/circ14.html#derivative

    Several confused fan video fans have brought up the 'derivative works' legal clause as a basic defense against allegations of copyright infringement of protected properties. This is a misunderstanding of the clause's plain legal meaning.

    The U.S. Copyright Office official site says of 'Derivative works' this clause: "Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a 'new version' of that work. The (secondary new version) owner is generally someone who has obtained rights from the (original) author." The newer secondary project (that includes elements of the first) that doesn't have first original owner's copyright permission is called a 'copy'. 'Copies' will have no copyright protection status from the original owner's copyright infringement legal claims. The 'copies' can be seen as directly violating copyright sanctions that are only granted to the first copyright owner.

    Terms now used by fan video makers like 'unauthorized derivative works' are confusing, vague, and erroneous and could be seen as purposely deceptive by corrupting a correct established legal copyright term. To use this term wrongly may try to suggest a legitamently protected ability of the 'copy' against copyright theft, when there is none. Unless fan fiction, video, or other fan projects get a copyright re-use permission from the original first copyrights owners/makers/holders, those secondary fan projects do not have 'derivative works' protective legal status. They are secondary 'copies' due to the unauthorized essential first works copyrighted intellectual properties re-use to make the 'copies'.
    Please be more specific and informative on these very important matters to artists and others.
    '5alive'

    By Anonymous 5alive, at 12:09 pm, March 01, 2006  

  • I'm flattered you found it amusing, original wit is so hard to find! I'm sorry if you find what I write double-talk because that means I have failed to communicate my ideas correctly. Perhaps you find it odd because I wasn't discussing it from a legal viewpoint - that battleground has been crossed more times than the 38th parallel! Try to think outside the square, relax your preconceptions and look at it as an ethical problem. Let's put it back into context.

    The paragraph that starts "Let's view this as an ethical question." (Did I point out that I was considering this ethically? >(-.-)<) Was my attempt to make a thumbnail sketch of the purpose of copyright laws. I'll expand on that by breaking it down into five key points.
    1. Copyright implies intellectual property. Until the copyrighted material is in the public domain, the owners (Paramount) own this idea, this concept. Whether it is a storyline, a name, a design - they own it, it has their brand on it.
    2. Copyright is an accepted means whereby the owners can profit from the idea. They can create commodities based on the copyright and sell them, rent them or allow them to be used for charitable purposes if they desire. Not only that, they can license the ability to use the copyright to others for profit as well - you want to make lunchboxes with Kirk's face on it? You have to buy a licence. The salient point here is that if Paramount does not get an adequate return from their investment, they will not invest any more money in it. Once Star Trek stops making a profit, they will stop making it.
    3. Their ability to make a profit from their TV series & movies hinges on the money they make in the box-office, from the networks and from the DVD market. Criminals who duplicate DVDs for sale or misguided individuals who download illegal copies directly attack this. If you do this, you are taking money out of their pocket and to reuse a common analogy, once the cash cow stops giving milk it's off to the abattoirs.
    4. They have to show a strong face to the criminal world, to show that they are serious about clamping down on illegal downloading and DVD piracy. They cannot afford to allow people or groups to create legal grey areas that might be exploited by those who would devalue their product or divert income from the legal owners.
    5. From an artistic standpoint, the creators of the copyrighted material have a moral right to assert their right to be acknowledged. Whether they are writers, actors, directors, prop makers, set builders ... they have the right to the public brickbats or bouquets that come from that work. In the case of writers, to try to pass somebody else's work of as your own is plagiarism and if not a mortal sin will get you several thousand years in purgatory!

    Now remember we are talking about ethical principles here. The law tries to reflect those ethical principles in its legislation, but the interpretation of the law can be adversarial - that means different people can have different ideas about what it means - and it is this adversarial characteristic that keeps our law courts chocablock full from one year to the next! I am not a lawyer; I don't want any of this to be construed as legal advice. However I like to think I am an ethical and moral person with ideas about what is fair and what is not.
    I believe that fan filmmakers address these five points in their actions and in so doing show respect for the copyright owners and the social system that the above principles are a part of. Taking them individually...

    1. Fan filmmakers acknowledge the copyright ownership of the original Star Trek copyrights. Fan productions are careful to ensure that the correct copyright and trademark owners are credited in their films and on their websites
    2. They do not divert revenue from Viacom by trying to sell their work or even accept donations from their well wishers.
    3. They are not copies. They have original scripts, screenplays, direction and more and more often, original music. However they are based in the Star Trek "universe". The Trek fan film forums are awash with discussions of canon. What uniforms will you use? Who is doing your badges? Will your Tellurian makeup look like the Original series or as seen on Enterprise? Yes, we have fans who obsess over plot details, who check even the minor details to ensure consistency with Star Trek canon. Logically, I ask you: what would you call a work that is predominantly original but based on somebody else's work? A fan film work is "derived" from produced Trek, so wouldn't "derivative work" be accurate?
    It was on this point that you took me to task. You see "derivative work" is a term used in copyright law that covers a work, made with the permission of the copyright owner, that is derived from the original, copyrighted work. This is one of the grey areas that copyright neat-freaks hate because it muddies the water of the so far black-and-white copyright laws. (Three different metaphors in the same sentence? sorry!) You rightly direct our attention to the US Copyright Office circular 4 on the subject which describes the ins and outs and ups and downs of the subject and if I were using the term in a legal sense, for example as a legal defence, you would be absolutely correct, however I'm not. I was and am trying to point out the fundamental difference between a copy, which is extremely damaging to Paramount, and a fan film which could only be damaging to Paramount if a prospective customer who might otherwise rent or buy a Paramount DVD were to watch a fan film instead. Leaving aside the differences in production quality between amateur and professional, fan films contend that, rather than be seen as a substitute for a professional work, a fan film is an advertisement for it! Ask yourself: Is a viewer is more likely or less likely to want to see a professionally made production after seeing a fan film?
    4. Fan films are non-confrontationist and admit that they exist by the sufferance of the copyright owners. I don't believe I've heard of a fan film yet that has purposefully drawn the wrath of paramount on its head because the fan film producers believe they have a god-given right to life.
    5. From an artistic standpoint, fan filmmakers not only acknowledge the work of the writers and directors, they venerate them! Remember we are talking about fans here!

    Thanks for the opportunity to elaborate. Methinks that'll look good in the Feb issue!

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 11:47 am, March 02, 2006  

  • Fan projects or video makers state a defensive reason against copyright infringement or piracy accusations and it has been the copyright *‘fair use’ clause. The U.S. Copyright Office official site says of ‘fair use’: “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono(graphic) records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not infringement of copyright."
    The key clause here is "for purposes such as criticism, comment news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not infringement of copyright."
    This meaning is clear. It involves news reporting, classroom instruction, and educational investigation. Copyright 'fair use' matters at Stanford Universities Law Library LINK:
    fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/9-a.html
    This legal material does not support you legal interpretation mentioned in your Blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:20 am, March 09, 2006  

  • Life would be a lot easier if things were simply black & white. Read my answer to the comment before yours, I wasn't talking in terms of a legal defence. No-one is: Paramount has hit Trek fan films with Cease & Desist orders before now and it is to their credit that they were able to negotiate a compromise with the fan films involved.

    I said at the start of this article that it was the catalyst for a fuller article - check it out at ...
    http://lieferikson.blogspot.com/2006/02/kiroks-view-copyright.html

    What I advocate is a compromise situation whereby fans can continue to promote the franchise that they admire so much without causing any loss of revenue to Paramount.

    It CAN be done, but it will come from a commercial decision, NOT a blind adherance to a black & white legal code.

    "Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools"
    "Reach for the Sky" the autobiography of Douglas Bader

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 8:51 pm, March 09, 2006  

  • Copyright matters are black and white when the owner's feel they need to reassert their valid legal control. Things get out-of-hand without it.
    Your commercial assumption that the Star Trek fan wields power over ViaCom is very very questionable for many reasons. 1. Look at the history. I must remind you about the TOS series that was dumped in the sixties. Fan support MIGHT have kept the Tv show on for another season. Then it was dumped. Then, no ST for many many years...why, if there was such a huge ground swell of fan influence? Reality is there was no fan influence. The many other ST Tv shows lasted as long as Paramount made money off them. Enterprise was prematurely dumped even after the fans mounted another campaign. There was no fan influence. 2. While ST has made billions and will continue to do so, fans don't control Paramount or ViaCom since those companies have many other genres to keep them financially viable. I see many more reasons, too numerous to spend more time here on.
    You exaggerated views of fan's influence over ST is much like a flea trying to control a full dog kennel. Any other reality else is just unsupported 'wishes and dreams'. 'Dreams' are nice, but I live in reality and so does ViaCom/CBS, sorry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 am, March 10, 2006  

  • Are we talking about the same Blog entry? "Copyright matters are black and white when the owner's feel they need to reassert their valid legal control." Why would Paramount feel the need to do so in the case of Fan Films? Show me any fan film that says that Paramount is NOT the legal owner of the copyrights. Show me where I said that. Read what I've said and don't put words into my mouth! To reassert something you need to have lost it. Fan film producers readily admit that their existence is at the whim of Paramount.
    "Your commercial assumption that the Star Trek fan wields power over ViaCom is very very questionable for many reasons." Power? Who said anything about power? Why do people have to be so confrontationist? You have some valid points but one thing that IS undeniable is that Star Trek has the largest organised Fan club in the world - Starfleet International. Check it up in the Guinness Book of Records.
    Star Trek has a large, organised, loyal fanbase.
    Fan films are NOT a comercial enterprise, they are, as Nick Caves said recently "a very expensive hobby" They are buyers of props, costumes, books, videos, computer games. Sure they may not be a large viable demographic in numbers but since when has public opnion relied on numbers? Are you seriously suggesting that it is a GOOD thing to prosecute the very people who who are your source of revenue? I have yet see one scrap of evidence that a fan film is taking revenue away from Paramount.
    And that is the bottom line.
    They are doing no harm, they are consumers of the Paramount product and they attract free publicity for the franchise. Why SHOULD Paramount waste their shareholders money to prosecute them? They would gain nothing and would loose their previously hard won fanbase. No matter how much you disparage it, it exists. Who else buys their products, Star Wars fans?
    In the big scheme of things, the Star Trek franchise is probably making up a smaller and smaller percentage of the total gross profit that Paramount posts, each year but it still exists. What is more Paramount is still selling licences to companies to make products using the franchise name. They had to settle out of court with Activision when they were sued for not supporting the Trek franchise. How do you think the licensees will react if they saw Paramount actively killing off the franchise by prosecuting fans? Licensees like the new computer game "Star Trek" Legacy" actively encourage fans to make mods of their product to prolong the lifespan of their product.
    What is this - has this Blog been mentioned in "Lawyers weekly"?
    I hold by what I said: this should be a commercial decision and not blind obedience to a legal ruling - and an ethically contested one at that - that would bring not one cent in profit to the shareholders.

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 8:34 pm, March 10, 2006  

  • ...jeez, where to even begin on this one...I won't bother.

    Kivok...More reading of your bunk 'smoke and mirrors'. Go ahead & believe this bunk, like believing in Santa Claus. Years of copyright case history and proven legal facts demonstrate you to be misinformed. Simply, Trek fans don't bring copyright piracy cases, the corporate lawyers do.

    Your blanket assumptions demonstate exactly what is wrong with this biased forum. Don't even try to pretend that you actually present viable substantiated copyright facts. As long as this behaviour is allowed to continue, I think your misinformed statements and thinking here become less less relevant to this topic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:10 am, March 14, 2006  

  • ...jeez, where to even begin on this one...I won't bother.
    You won't bother and then give us two paragraphs? Consistant, aye!

    Kivok...More reading of your bunk 'smoke and mirrors'. Go ahead & believe this bunk, like believing in Santa Claus.
    You reckon it's bunk? You're welcome to your opinion. Let's see..."smoke and mirrors". You think I'm trying to hide something or deceive you? Perhaps you could point out my deception? Perhaps I've inadvertently misled you on some point? Perhaps for example you can point out a fan film that doesn't acknowledge Paramount as the legal owners of the Star Trek copyrights and trademarks? Or one that is trying to make a profit at their expense? I can think of a few independent productions that might be a bit dodgy but they don't call themselves fan films, they're professionals. If you were to find a fan film that was dumb enough to take on Paramount, you would probably find that the rest of the fan film community would turn on them!

    Years of copyright case history and proven legal facts demonstrate you to be misinformed. Simply, Trek fans don't bring copyright piracy cases, the corporate lawyers do.
    [Slaps forehead! I'll try to be gentle with this one] That's because they can't, they don't own the copyrights.

    Your blanket assumptions demonstate [sp] exactly what is wrong with this biased forum.
    Blanket assumptions? You mean I'm making vague and unsubstantiated claims? My logic is based on flaws? Point them out. Come one, put up or shut up!

    Don't even try to pretend that you actually present viable substantiated copyright facts.
    Dear me, another one who can't seem to understand that this a philosophical discussion rather than a legal one. OK, Which "facts" have I misrepresented then?

    As long as this behaviour is allowed to continue, I think your misinformed statements and thinking here become less less relevant to this topic.

    Well! What can I say? Your erudite and insightful comment has me pinned, dead to rights! If you had "bothered" to share a little more it would have demolished my premise for sure! Still, I feel I should at least attempt a rebuttal.

    Come on sport if you can't be specific about what you find wrong in what I say at least try to come up with something better than "smoke and mirrors". Tell the truth, you can't understand it, it confuses you. I'm not trying to confuse you, I'm challenging you! Challenging you to think, to look at it from a different viewpoint, to ask questions, consider possibilities - there are always options! If you see flaws in it - OF WHICH I HAVE NOT SEEN ONE VALID ARGUMENT YET! - be specific, point them out. Otherwise you sir are the one who is being vague.

    Perhaps I'm misjudging you. Maybe you see the "Years of copyright case history and proven legal facts" as the ultimate answer to every question. Certainly the rule of law should be respected, it is what stands between us and barbarism and you flaunt it at your peril, but infallible? I think not.

    Some laws deserve our respect because they are based on sound ethical principles. The first congress of the United States of America created your laws, not by preserving the status quo of the English laws they already had, but by considering the radical ethics of equality and liberty. Would you have had them do otherwise? Checkout http://www.edwardsamuels.com/illustratedstory/isc1.htm for an interesting overview. I particularly liked his closing paragraph that suggests *GASP!* that the application of copyright law should be made negotiable for worthy causes so that all can prosper.

    "Yeah, but that was over 200 years ago! We've ironed all the bugs out of it now!" Laws are not immutable, they're not cast in stone! Laws are made by men and women who are fallible and what's more, times change. What was necessary and equitable fifty or even twenty years ago could be totally unsuitable today. Copyright laws created when only professionals or rich individuals could produce movies or publish books have serious flaws when applied to todays affluent and technologically literate society.

    If we are having problems today working out a solution as to how fans and corporate management can both get what they want then how much harder is it going to be in the near future when new and more affordable technology unleashes an even greater avalanche of fan productions! I can think of half a dozen emerging technologies that pose serious problems.

    Slavish adherence to the copyright laws as they stand, blinding yourself to the very immense challenges that modern technology poses by saying "it's been good enough for us all these years, there's no need to change" is a horse and cart mentality!

    The point of my article is that the entertainment industry should carefully consider their relationship with their fans. Fan film producers are not the enemy! They are the customers and, potentially, partners in ensuring the survival and growth of the Star Trek franchise.

    Are you seriously suggesting that they should waste shareholder's money pursuing fan productions, which are not causing any discernible loss, when the real pirates are costing them millions? Show me the logic in that! Let's have a sense of proportion about this!

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 10:32 am, March 15, 2006  

  • Your views on copyright are a big flaming, stinking, ugly pile of crap. I mean 99% of these fan offerings can NOT look any more like a silly foolish film school project. The fact that they got so many performers from the various scifi series means nothing if the script, directing and production values are so poor. I stumbled on this blog by accident and I won't be returning to keep up on updates. If anyone involved in these fan copyright pirated projects should happen to read this do yourself a favor, cut your losses and sever all ties to this monstrosity. Star Trek needs a combination of new life coming from new writers,a cast of talented but possibly unknown or underutilized actors, and a return to the ideals that made Trek a success. No more of this amatuer crap. No gimmicks. I know that alot of fans know this but this is for the deluded fans who think everything with the Star Trek name is fantastic, when in truth Trek hasn't been great for awhile. I want Trek to be good again and not need to settle for whatever some idiotic fan psuedo-filmmakers decides to give us in the Internet. It's the real fans who kept this franchise around for so long, so we don't need to settle for fan video's drivel like this. As for anyone who disagrees with me to the point of getting hostile, go ahead I won't be page to the Blog board again, so fire away. Until we can all get together to clean up our own houses from ripping off Trek for some selfish fan video reasons, and go to a Trek movie or sit in front of a television and watch a good series; Live Long and Prosper.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 am, July 20, 2007  

  • OK I won't make fun of the bad spelling or atrocious grammar it's getting to be too easy. Fellas, can we have someone who can string more than a dozen words together without a mistake? Come on, show us how smart you *really* are!

    Sport, if you don't like it, don't watch it. Its as simple as that. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to watch it. No one is saying that fan films are a replacement for professional productions of Star Trek, well, other than the occasional fan who goes overboard. I can't say I know of one fan film producer who has ever said that their show is better than a professional one.

    I agree with a lot of what you say, Trek needs booting into the 21st century but don't try to crack on that fan productions are stopping you from getting it. Come one loosen up and get a life! This is supposed to fandom! We are all in it for enjoyment - you too.

    I'll let you into a little secret. Most people who make fan productions aren't doing it for me or for you. They're enjoying themselves. Yes, They are doing it for their own personal gratification, so your opinion don't matter a hill o' beans!

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 9:30 pm, July 20, 2007  

  • Opinions are what make or break a Blog; right, Blog-owner? Why the snow job hostility?
    Let's stay on point here, huh? Let's leave the fantasy talk to Trek canon and have some straight talk here.

    The reason people take a look at fan videos is because they are curious & often bored. No one in their right mind ever thinks this stuff is Trek. It's not even Trek canon. Those videos are right up there with the clever home video featuring the upside down "chin" puppet chewing, kittens in the bathtub, and boring people's personal travel videos.
    While I'm not forced to see these absurd works, everyone may get bored enough to experience them, am sorry to say. But, connecting them with Trek is insulting and a large laugh to thinking people.
    These Trek videos (Hidden Frontier)are not anything to boast about, except when it comes to the desparate video makers & their crews seeking some celebrity on their own. Clearly, these people have so little in their real lives that they act like this video stuff should be on Entertaiment Tonight. When there is a slow newsday, fan videos may get the ODD media 'local color' reporter reporting on these home videos much like the prize winning Spelling Bee champion or flashy local shark attack. Most times these Trek videos masquarade under the 3 billion dollar ViaCom/CBS owned name of 'Star Trek: fan home video blankkiddy blank'. That is the hook! A built in Trek desparate pushy fan base that has not been legitimately won with pure video project watchability. The fan project makers use all sorts of tricks to gain some 'worth' from the sycophantic trek fans starved for any self-serving Trek borish video Internet "fix". **I do NOT subscribe to the often professed iditioic fan notion that because there is currently no professional new Trek availible up to today's Trek impatient ADD viewers, something (those tacky fan videos) is better than nothing. That statement reflects more about those childish fans who are too self-absorbed and want all things to IMMEDIATELY satify themselves much like a baby crying for it's mother teet. It's just demonstrates a lack of real maturity and adult grit.
    Also, these fan video editors call themselves, wrongly (seeking some false artsy approval), "Films". They don't shoot on the film medium at all. They shoot on digital video tape, which was and has been shown that increasingly everyone can do with mindless, noncreative ease (u-tube= kittens in the bathtub!). And smart people know that film shooting is more involved, expensive, and less technically forgiving on lighting, editing, and many other production matters. Gawd forbid, we should do better in these film projects. Amateurs can not try film. They would fall even more flat than they do with these video offerings. But by saying 'films', these rookies try to sound like film 'artists'. Speaking of artists, these very rookies steal or 'borrow' countless amounts of stolen digital bits and pieces (without permission) of other artist's property. They steal music, green screen backgrounds for virtual sets, characters, and so on. It's called copyright theft, plain and simple with these Trek pirated drama projects. And piracy is not just from other owner's Trek projects either. They pirate from ANYONE who has what they need to finished their tawdry patchwork stolen video projects.
    And the most ironic part of these fan videos are that many, if not most of these amatuers will crow loudly among their un-thinking unprincipled non-frontational crews how their little home videos are so much better that people who make their everyday living doing TV and film production. The disengenuousness of their egotistic words are enough to have people falling down in side-ripping laughter. Some of these ridiculous small time home video makers become sick obsessive Internet trolls to follow & attack the reputation of legitament Trek members of the TV & film production unions, who daily get paid for their project talents and artwork. Jealousy is the only reason for that. To make too much positive or seek too much personal credit about being connected to several of these silly Trek fan videos is tragically self delusional but childishly quaint. While copyright theft and other serious legal matters are being flaunted here, the good name of these odious fan projects are a mirage. Life has more for me than this tripe.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 am, August 07, 2007  

  • "Some of these ridiculous small time home video makers become sick obsessive Internet trolls to follow & attack the reputation of legitament Trek members of the TV & film production unions, who daily get paid for their project talents and artwork. Jealousy is the only reason for that. To make too much positive or seek too much personal credit about being connected to several of these silly Trek fan videos is tragically self delusional but childishly quaint. While copyright theft and other serious legal matters are being flaunted here, the good name of these odious fan projects are a mirage. Life has more for me than this tripe."
    Yes, I have come across one particular internet Troll - a "Troll" being someone who posts purposefully provactive things so that he can generate mayhem - and I believe that his behaviour has been caused by jealousy because his "fan film" never even made it off the ground because he refused to allow anyone to see it.

    You are entitled to your opinion but I fail to see any facts backing them up. My own experience in the field has been pretty totally different. Saying that download figures are only indicative of curiosity on the part of fans is pure conjecture on your part!

    The only way a commentator will ever convince his readers of the value of his opinions is if he can back them up with statistics, logic or circumstancial evidence.

    There's nothing to answer here because i can't change your opinion (you're welcome to it) and you've give us nothing but old skeletons that have been brought out and danced in front of us countless times. My response to most everything you've said is in the posts above you. I'm not going to waste aether by going over it all again.

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 10:43 am, August 21, 2007  

  • You wrote: "you've give us nothing but old skeletons that have been brought out and danced in front of us countless times. My response to most everything you've said is in the posts above you. I'm not going to waste aether by going over it all again."

    Those old skeletons (nice metaphor!) have not been DIRECTLY addressed by you. You have consistantly responded with your own related unproven opinionated perceptions and many (related but not staying on the direct topic issues) of your own unique anecdotes. Personal anecdotes are not proof and are never used by responsible people trying to make a responsive fact to make their point. In fact, most of your weak responses to your discussion opponent's factual points do not rise to the intellectual level of disproving any facts or issues put to you. As such, your disengenuous slight of hand thinking and singular emotionally biased rationalizations are not disproving anything put to you.

    By Anonymous guess, at 4:40 am, April 08, 2008  

  • Well said that man! you're obviously not Tony because he would think that disengenuous was something to do with my car. But, wait! He mispelled it that way too! I'll assume that this is some American spelling for disingenuous because I'm not really well up on other languages. I love well constructed repartee, though, don't you?

    In the end, however, we have to look at the sense, the meaning that is trying to be conveyed by the words we use, our essays. In this case, what does it all mean, man?

    You brand my responses as "unproven opinionated perceptions ... anecdotes ... [which] are not proof and are never used by responsible people trying to make a responsive fact to make their point ... weak responses to your discussion opponent's factual points do not rise to the intellectual level of disproving any facts or issues put to you ... disengenuous slight of hand thinking and singular emotionally biased rationalizations."

    All highly emotive rhetoric (though some was prettily put) but rhetoric is a tool that should be used to illuminate so let's see how your pearls of wisdom illuminate the case in point - which is, if you might remember, 'are fan productions fair use or piracy'?

    "unproven opinionated perceptions"
    I think I can make a case for every point I've made so you'll have to be more precise - which of my points do you feel to be unproven and what is your counter-proof? opinionated? This is a blog, sir! What do you expect? These are my thoughts and feelings on the subject and if they do not match your own >shrugs< therein lies the diversity of life. Finally you brand them as perceptions. Well, yes, what I have written is indeed how I perceive the issue to be. I am not a doctor, a lawyer or a scientist. This is not a treatise or a doctorate, it is a blog. I am looking at the problem from my own personal point of view.
    However your choice of words illuminates your own mindset. You do not accept perceptions, nor anecdotes which "are not proof". You require *proof* and this, to the inquiring mind, suggests that you want something that you can measure in a logical, quantifiable manner, as in an equation, a scientific experiment or a court case.

    However, then you say that anecdotes "are never used by responsible people trying to make a responsive fact to make their point." That's a very broad brush you're using there, sir. As Tony was so want to do, you are "spoiling the well" by implying that anyone who uses anecdotes is *not* a responsible person trying to "make a responsive fact to make their point." By the way, that last bit was a little clumsy, you loose points for that - what on Earth is a responsive fact?

    I'll have you know that I *am* a responsible person. I do not lie cheat or steal. I do not buy, sell or distribute copyrighted material for profit, which is my definition of Piracy and I'm sticking to it. I work and encourage others to work within accepted rules of fan production

    You say that my responses are weak and that my discussion opponent's points are factual yet you yourself are doing that which you accuse me of: "smoke and mirrors" as Tony put it earlier (he does have the occasional neat turn of phrase). If you would be so kind as to be specific as to which points you feel are weak, I'll gladly respond, but I'll not reiterate the whole
    thing all over again.

    You say that I "do not rise to the intellectual level of disproving any facts or issues put to [me]"? I'll be charitable and assume that you are talking about my refusal in the comment in question to respond? You mean the "Anonymous" comment dated August 7th? You mean the 700 word plus mish-mash of Tony's sour grapes? Let's see if we can sift the "facts" from it shall we?

    1. "It's not even Trek canon." Correct, but no one has ever said anything otherwise.

    2. "these fan video editors call themselves, wrongly, "Films"." Again correct, but it's just word usage. I disagree that most of them are trying to emulate the film medium - they are patterning their work on the medium of TV. As anyone in the industry (not just me) will tell you, there's a big difference.

    3. ... nope, there is no three. Everything else is opinion, and unsupported opinion at that, at no point does he give any references to support his sad villification

    "disengenuous slight of hand thinking and singular emotionally biased rationalizations." What you call anecdotes, I call 5 years experience in reporting Star Trek fan productions in a half-dozens fan publiclations. If my hand is too quick for your eye, perhaps it is because I am showing you something you do not want to see?

    The short answer is: I didn't answer any facts because there were no facts to answer. Nor, for that matter are there any facts to answer in your comment either, you've simply talked about my response, or lack thereof.

    Come on! Give me something concrete to rebut rather than vitriolic opinion.

    K

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 11:56 am, April 08, 2008  

  • http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/ap/20080408/120768756000.html

    Lucas Sues Brit Over 'Star Wars' Outfits
    Tuesday April 8 1:46 PM ET
    It's a storm in a Stormtrooper's helmet.

    Lawyers for George Lucas http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800017101' Lucasfilm Ltd. and a British prop designer faced off in London's High Court Tuesday over rights to the molded white Stormtrooper uniforms from the "Star Wars http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800121659/info" films.
    Standing alongside the bewigged, black-robed lawyers in court was the object of their dispute a 6-foot tall, helmeted warrior of the evil Galactic Empire. Lucasfilm attorney Michael Bloch called the menacing figure "one of the most iconic images in modern culture."

    Lucasfilm claims violation of copyright and trademarks by prop designer Andrew Ainsworth, who sculpted the Stormtrooper helmets for the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977. London-based Ainsworth sells replicas of the helmets and armor, which he says are made from the original molds, on his Web site.
    Lucasfilm won a $20 million judgment against Ainsworth in a California court in 2006, and is seeking to have it enforced in Britain.......
    =
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3ic5e17e9271fcb92ac43fafb4fddf4cef

    J.K. Rowling testifies in 'Potter' lawsuit
    By Steven Zetichik
    April 14, 2008

    NEW YORK -- The creator of one of Hollywood's biggest franchises came out swinging in a New York court Monday, saying that one of her biggest fans had engaged in "wholesale theft" and is trying to profit illegally off her work.

    "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling said that Stephen Vander Ark, the author of the Lexicon fan site and a companion book, had, in a way that was "lazy" and "sloppy," taken from her creations.
    "I believe that the book contains wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work," she said. "It desecrates what I worked so hard to create."

    In a direct examination that was often emotional -- before it gave way to a more technical parsing of the ways that wizards and invented creatures were characterized in various books -- Rowling said she was trying to stop consumers from repurposing work and then profiting from it.
    Rowling and Warner Bros. are both suing RDR Books, the Midwestern publisher set to release the title, and seeking an injunction against it. Vander Ark is not named in the suit, though he was the subject of scrutiny in the first day of testimony.

    The case pits the creator of one of the most beloved and lucrative studio franchises against what amounts to one of its biggest fans. It will likely be watched closely by legal experts concerned about the limits of fan obsession as well as many of the fans themselves -- especially as works that fans regard as tributes but creators see as profiteering continue to increase on the Web.....
    -

    By Anonymous End Game, at 6:06 am, April 15, 2008  

  • Interesting. This shows that the system of fan production has very real reasons for keeping within the rules. I know nothing about the JK Rawling affair but you must be joking if you think that the Lucas article amounts to a negation of the landmark relationship LucasArts has with their fan production community. They even had their last fan awards televised! Lucas is by far the most enlightened producer in the entertainment industry specifically because of the way that he has intelligently supported the fan film movement. End game my Aunt Fanny! Interesting snips though, thanks.

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 10:20 am, April 15, 2008  

  • - Your assine opinionated rationalizations written here will not last two seconds in court. It just more egotisitcal patter and fan spin off the facts to other trivial matters.

    ==
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20080418n1.html

    Friday, April 18, 2008
    Toho sues Subway over unauthorized Godzilla ads
    LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) The Subway sandwich chain is being sued by Toho Co., the maker of Godzilla movies, for allegedly using the prehistoric monster without permission in TV commercials.
    Subway "not only intentionally created a character that closely resembles Godzilla in its physical appearance, but placed the character in a setting, a Japanese city under attack, that is widely associated with Toho's Godzilla films," the movie maker said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles.
    Subway never asked for Toho's permission to use Godzilla in the commercials for its Five Dollar Footlong sandwich promotion, according to the complaint. The commercials were shown during the NCAA basketball tournament and on programs such as "American Idol," the most popular entertainment show on television, Toho said. The company seeks up to $150,000 in statutory damages for willful infringement or disgorgement of Subway's profits from the commercials, as well as other unspecified damages.

    A Subway spokesman didn't return a call to his office.
    =
    Toho sues Subway over unauthorized Godzilla ads
    Written on April 18, 2008 – 10:16 am
    Loading ...The Subway sandwich chain is being sued by Toho Co., the maker of Godzilla movies, for allegedly using the prehistoric monster without permission in TV commercials.

    There’s no excuse Subway, that’s quite obvious. The company seeks up to $150,000 in statutory damages for willful infringement or disgorgement of Subway’s profits from the commercials, as well as other unspecified damages.

    By Anonymous ?, at 1:54 pm, April 19, 2008  

  • Tony, I'll give you one chance and one chance only. In future if you do not keep a civil tongue in your head your comments will be moderated. I will not allow you to come onto my Blog - essentially my literary home - and make gratuitous flames. When you decide to play the ball and not the player you will get published. If you continue to try to bait me with childish name-calling you in effect abdicate your right to be included in rational debate.

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 3:54 pm, April 19, 2008  

  • A response: Why are you taking these purely factual news postings so personally and emotionally? I spoke about your posting thoughts. Did I call you any names? No. I have supplied many increasing 3rd party copyright theft news postings and that bothers you? Why? A Blog is ment to exchange facts and matters with the Internet. I was doing that here. That annoys you? If you felt you were personally attacked, I spoke about your flawed posting thoughts, ONLY. The facts don't support your opinionated comments, not even you 'off-the-cuff' comments about George Lucas and his actions to insure his copyright preservation. Why are you resorting to going Off Topic and make a threat of banning? I have the facts, you don't. A simple as that. Now you whine about that? Your comment demonstrates to all reading this Blog that you are someone who masquarades as being unbiased and knowledgable on this legal issue and your words have shown you to be the opposite. You are not the first and you will not be the last to be a sad tool of scifi Internet copyright theft. Your words have revealed you to be what you truely are. That's sad. I didn't have to do a thing in that reguard. Your did it all be yourself. Get smarter. You no doubt will not publish this comment for your own questionable reasons. It will be our secret between us, Mr. Allen Atherton. No much of a good law abiding role model for your child.

    By Anonymous copyright preserver, at 2:38 am, April 24, 2008  

  • Copyright preserver - you began as an honest participant of intellectual discussion. However upon scolling down I have come to the conclusion that you sir are a troll. I thus deem you unworthy and incapable of holding serious intellectual discussion on this page. I suggest you take the webmasters advice and moderate you OBVIOUSLY superior knowledge you have on the subject at hand - that is Fan productions - or take them elsewhere.

    Frankly spoken in terms your kind would be commonly familiar with - get the fuck off the internet, wanker. Learn to hold a proper conversation without your biased and selective views and engage in a more fruitful discussion.

    Also learn to spell his name right loser - lol!
    :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:21 pm, April 24, 2008  

  • I'm sorry Tony, you thought that last comment was from me? LMAO! Goodness, no! That was my twenty year old daughter who I told about your abysmal trolling at the dinner table last night. She does have a rather colourful turn of phrase, doesn't she! >sigh< It's part of our Australian heritage to use expressive epithets and if she hadn't framed it so prettily I would have taken her to task for being unimaginative in her choice zingers. To be fair though, She did say that she was putting it into words you would understand.

    I, on the other hand, feel no such compunction. You, sport, are a nidikin. You are morally and logically bankrupt and have effectively blocked yourself from entering in further debate by refusing to get back on topic, by calling my character and motives into question and daring, you manuke, to bring my family into this. If you were here I would challenge you to a battle of wits ... except I would be attacking an unarmed man! No better example is there than your pathetic attempt at "unmasking" me - a complete farce because the name is Alan Anderton >shakes head sadly<. Tony (Tony who? I'll let the readers find that out themselves), you are without honour and I'll not allow you to use this Blog to spread your forshak any more.

    Bye!

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 8:43 am, April 26, 2008  

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