June 25 2024


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Axanar Challenges Lawsuit

2 min read

Being sued by Paramount and CBS has not daunted those trying to create the crowd-funded Axanar film.

In a filing earlier this week, the defendants in the case have fired back.

First, the defendants want to know exactly how they are infringing upon the copyrights. “Plaintiffs do not allege that Defendants are engaged in wholesale copying of each Star Trek motion picture and television episode, or even that Defendants lift substantial material from each of Plaintiffs,” said the motion filed on Monday. “Plaintiffs’ conclusory allegations do little to put Defendants on adequate notice of the claims against them.”

Secondly, those involved with Axanar want Paramount and CBS to explain who owns what rights. “Which Plaintiff owns which alleged copyrights is critical to Defendants’ investigation into Plaintiffs’ claims, as it could be that the only works that Plaintiffs are actually alleging Defendants infringed are owned by one Plaintiff as opposed to the other,” said the motion. “Plaintiffs’ joint ownership allegation is not plausible in light of the contradicting information in the Complaint regarding assignment, presenting another ground upon which dismissal is proper.”

Finally, since Axanar hasn’t been made yet, the lawsuit is “premature, unripe,” and it would “constitute an impermissible prior restraint on speech,” said the defendants. Until the film has been completed, the Court will not be able to compare Defendants’ film with the relevant Star Trek films and episodes at issue to determine whether the themes, mood, setting, pace, plot and characters are substantially similar. Moreover, to the extent any of the elements Plaintiffs are complaining about are actually protectable, Defendants intend to vigorously defend their use (if any) as a fair use. Without a film, the Court cannot evaluate the purpose and character of Defendants’ film, whether it is transformative, or a parody, and the amount and substantiality taken (if any). Similarly, the Court will not be able to evaluate any de minimis use defense.”

Paramount and CBS‘ response to this motion is expected next month. The motion can be seen in its entirety at the referring site.

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