There would be no one more hypocritical than me if I sat here and told you milking something for publicity is bad.
I mean, it’s been nearly eight years now since I sold the SyFy brand I created to NBCUniversal, and eight years later, I milk that for everything I can get. Including a commentary where I complain about milking news events for publicity.
But enough about milk. For the past year, CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures have been battling with “independent” Star Trek fan-film producers Axanar Productions and Alec Peters in a copyright infringement lawsuit that already has changed the face of fan-films online.
It hasn’t been the cleanest battle, that’s for sure. It’s probably the only reason why the few people who are following that particular court case are actually paying attention.
For the many who are much more casual observers, however, you might think the lawsuit is not about raising $1.4 million to produce a fan-film that never happened, but instead about whether or not the Klingon language itself can be copyrighted. That wouldn’t be your fault, because some non-profit language group out of California has now done everything it can to only confuse anyone interested in how this case works out.
Last spring, the Language Creation Society asked to file what is known as a “friend of the court” brief. It was actually a cleverly written brief, utilizing a number of Klingon phrases and such with a touch of warrior humor, all to draw attention to the society’s claim that even a fictional language like Klingon shouldn’t be copyrighted.
To be honest, I am not sure what side of that debate I sit on. I mean, Klingon is a complete language, which is kind of cool, and it seems only right that it should belong to the people. But then again, there are no native speakers, it wasn’t created the same way most of the other languages the world speaks came about, and instead was created by Marc Okrand for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock in the 1980s.