Ask and you shall receive.
Just three weeks after the attorney representing the fan production “Star Trek: Axanar” said the copyright infringement suit filed by CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures was not detailed enough, lawyers for the two studios filed an amended complaint Friday detailing “Axanar’s” alleged infractions against their Star Trek copyrights.
Loeb & Loeb attorney David Grossman used more than 40 pages outlining specific copyright violations CBS/Paramount have accused both Axanar Productions Inc. and its main principal, Alec Peters, complete with photo comparisons and a full list of copyright registration numbers the studios claimed were infringed. That includes the use of characters like “Garth of Izar” from the original “Star Trek” episode “Whom Gods Destroy,” Vulcan ambassador Soval from “Star Trek: Enterprise,” and even the voice of the narrator, John Gill, who was a character in the original “Trek” episode “Patterns of Force.”
The amended complaint goes on to detail a number of other elements including the Klingon appearance and home world, the Vulcan look and home world, costumes — some actual costumes used on-screen in Star Trek productions — and even the use of space docks. Grossman also provides claims that many of the ships used by the Axanar productions — which include “Prelude to Axanar” and a short from the main production known as “the Vulcan scene” — are direct copies or derivatives of ships prominently featured throughout the Star Trek universe.
Erin Ranahan, an attorney from Winston & Strawn who is representing Axanar pro bono, filed a motion to dismiss the case last month claiming that CBS/Paramount failed to specify which copyrights Axanar and Peters were accused of violating, and also failed to delineate which company owns what — CBS and Paramount are separate companies with common ownership, but both are making claims on the Star Trek intellectual property.
CBS/Paramount failed to win extra time to answer the motion, and instead elected to file an amended complaint, which was made public late Friday night. Besides listing specific copyright registrations for various episodes and characters, Grossman also explained the Star Trek ownership structure CBS and Paramount share.
“CBS owns United States copyrights in the Star Trek television series, and Paramount owns the United States copyrights in the Star Trek motion pictures,” Grossman explained in a single paragraph of the lengthy amended complaint.
Grossman also went beyond just the Star Trek television shows and movies. He also highlighted the fact that CBS and Paramount continue to create Star Trek stories through books and other media, citing usage of characters like Garth of Izar in books like Margaret Wander Bonanno’s “Strangers from the Sky,” “Infinity’s Prism” (from Christopher L. Bennett, William Leisner and James Swallow) and the aptly named book from Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski, “Garth of Izar.”
Axanar spokesman Mike Bawden told 1701News in a statement that his clients will have an “opportunity to publicly respond” to the amended complaint later this month by filing a responsive pleading — either a motion to dismiss or answer.
“We appreciate that supporters are understandably anxious to know what is going on,” Bawden said. “We ask for your patience while we work with our lawyers at Winston & Strawn to formulate a response. There’s a legal process in play, which is in the hands of our capable legal team, whom we have absolute confidence in.”
Ranahan’s other major complaint in her motion to dismiss had to do with the fact that the main production, “Star Trek: Axanar,” had yet to be filmed. Because of that, filing against that production when a script wasn’t even finished was premature, and could be tantamount to “prior restraint.”
In his amended complaint, Grossman focused more on what has been produced and released, and less on the planned feature film. However, he did share a screenshot from the official Axanar Facebook page from Aug. 15 with Peters, writer Bill Hunt and director Robert Meyer Burnett displaying what they describe as a “fully revised and locked” script. Grossman also pointed out that the post referred to it as “the best Star Trek movie script ever.”
Grossman also included other pieces of information that was collected after the original suit was filed, including the interview Peters did with 1701News on Feb. 1, where he told reporter John Kirk that “we violate CBS copyright less than any other fan film,” and providing a link to Kirk’s story.
CBS and Paramount are still looking to pull all the Axanar productions off the Internet, and prevent it from being distributed, as well as call a halt to the production of the feature-length film. It also seeks $150,000 in statutory damages for each copyright infringed, or actual damages.
Read the full amended complaint right here.
Updated 3/12/16 at 9:35 p.m. ET to include response from Axanar spokesman.