14

Has the owner of Star Trek (Viacom/CBS?) published any official position on fanfic?

For example, I believe Lucasfilms have said that they are ok with Star Wars fanfic (excepting any that include a pornographic element), and J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer (no relation) are fine with it too.

OTOH, G.R.R. Martin and Raymond E. Feist are opposed to it (and presumably may take legal action against anyone that publishes Fire and Ice / Crydee fanfic).

  • 4
    Suuuuuure there's "no relation". Whatever you say. – user1027 Nov 18 '11 at 14:54
  • @Keen: Let him have his happy fantasy - I'd disavow all relation, too. – Jeff Nov 18 '11 at 15:55
8

Star Trek fanfic has been around for decades (it was the origin of the term 'slash fic', from the rather large number that featured a 'Kirk/Spock' romantic pairing).

Paramount has typically not taken any legal action against it, although most fanfic I've ever read is fairly explicit about renouncing any claims at ownership of the original work's characters. There's no indication Viacom will be any different.

So while they may be against it de jure, they have given de facto approval.

8

Thanks to the Axanar catastrophe, Paramount and CBS have set an official policy for fan films. My summary:

  • You can have two parts whose combined length is at most 30 minutes, or you can have one part of at most 15 minutes.
  • Otherwise, no sequels, prequels, interquels, reboots, or other serial continuity of any kind is permitted.
  • You have to label it the way they dictate, including a subtitle and copyright notice. You can't put Star Trek in the title, nor in any way suggest that your work is official.
  • You can't reuse official film or TV clips.
  • You can't buy and use knockoff Star Trek props (as opposed to official merchandise). I think you are allowed to build your own props from scratch.
  • You can't pay anyone, make any money except for limited fundraising (at most $50k minus Kickstarter/Indiegogo/etc. fees), or hire "real" actors (regardless of whether you pay them, everyone must be an "amateur").
  • The fan film must be "family friendly" and cannot contain a long list of family-unfriendly things, including "any harmful or illegal activity." The guidelines don't say anything about heroes doing these things, so I assume they also apply to villains.
  • You can't piss off Paramount or CBS too much, or they'll change the rules. You do not get any "official" status by following the rules and could still be ordered to stop or sued at any time.

TL;DR: Don't make a fan film.

I'm not aware of any official policy for any medium other than film or video.

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    Downvoted for the snotty final paragraphs in an otherwise sensible answer. – Valorum Jun 1 '17 at 6:12
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    Upvoted for the otherwise sensible answer. – colmde Jun 1 '17 at 8:18
  • @colmde - The author seems to have wandered off from summary into commentary. .. :-) – Valorum Jun 1 '17 at 9:40
  • @Valorum: I'm quite willing to improve this answer, if you can explain what precisely you didn't like. I'm not sure how else I can word a TL;DR to be that short and still provide the same level of information, but your advice is welcome. – Kevin Jun 1 '17 at 15:26
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    @Kevin - That statement is a far more measured one than the one in your answer. – Valorum Jun 1 '17 at 15:31

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