May 21 2024

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Axanar Files Lawsuit Counterclaim

3 min read

Based on last week’s comments by J.J. Abrams, one might have assumed that Paramount/CBS‘s lawsuit against Axanar Productions would be wrapped up quickly, but this will not be the case with the news that Axanar Productions has filed a counterclaim to the studios.

The counterclaim was filed on Monday, and it runs twenty-eight pages in length.

A statement from Axanar explained why the counterclaim was necessary. “Yesterday, Axanar Productions, through its law firm Winston & Strawn, filed a response to the first amended complaint filed by CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures. The response includes a Counterclaim for Declaratory Relief that previews Axanar Productions‘ fair use defense, provides substantive background on how Alec Peters operated in good faith in his dealings with the Plaintiffs, and describes Alec’s fruitless four year struggle with CBS to obtain fan film guidelines.

“This filing was necessary because, despite J.J. Abrams‘ assurance that the lawsuit would be ‘going away,’ and confirmation that CBS is in settlement talks and finally working on fan film guidelines, Paramount and CBS have not yet dismissed the lawsuit. Axanar Productions must therefore meet deadlines set by the court and proceed as if the lawsuit will continue until the situation is resolved.”

Axanar is looking for a recovery of attorneys’ fees and cost, as well as “additional relief the court finds ‘just, proper, and equitable.'”

In defending Axanar‘s use of the Star Trek playground, the defense provided Peters’ history as a bona fide Star Trek fan dating back to the original airing of the show. They went all the way back to Peters’ childhood, giving a story of Peters’ watching the show as an eight-year-old boy. “Mr. Peters is a lifelong Star Trek fan. Starting with the very first Star Trek teaser appearing on NBC in the summer of 1966, Mr. Peters has seen every episode of Star Trek many times over. When Mr. Peters was just eight years old and NBC moved Star Trek to 10:00 p.m., his mother would put him to bed at 8:00 p.m., but would wake him up at 10:00 p.m. only so that he could watch Star Trek, before putting him back to bed again.”

The counterclaim also mentioned the support of Abrams and Justin Lin, saying “even Plaintiffs’ own producers and directors have recognized the importance of fans to Star Trek, and have publicly renounced and called for an end of the lawsuit against defendants.”

The defendants gave their reason for the counterclaim as the “defendants are currently left with uncertainty as to how Axanar may proceed with its film to fulfill the wishes of thousands of fans who have contributed.”

Had Paramount and CBS planned on dropping the suit, it will not be possible at this time due to the counterclaim being filed this week. The plaintiffs now have three weeks to answer this latest legal action, and then the defense will have three weeks to respond.

The entire counterclaim as well as a clear explanation for non-lawyer-type people can be found at the Axamonitor website.

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