Fan films have always skirted a fine line between homage and copyright infringement. Some rights holders, like Lucasfilm, have embraced the efforts of Star Wars loyalists by hosting amateur film festivals and holding contests; Steven Spielberg once met with a group of people who were creating a Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) remake.
But the increasing sums of money raised through crowdsourcing and more affordable production equipment that can offer near-professional results is beginning to weigh more on studios’ minds. In late 2015, Paramount and CBS, which jointly control the Star Trek franchise, sued the makers of Star Trek: Anaxar, an amateur film that obtained its $1.2 million budget by way of Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Although the lawsuit has yet to be settled, the two corporations have just released a set of guidelines for fan film producers in an attempt to keep all parties from bolding going into a courtroom, SlashFilm reports. Among them:
Fan films must not exceed 30 minutes in length total and must not be part of an ongoing “season.”
Cast and crew must not be compensated for their efforts.
Fundraising cannot exceed $50,000.
The finished product must be made available at no charge online, with no physical media (Blu-ray, DVD) distributed.
Alec Peters, a producer on Anaxar, told The Wrap that the rules appear to be “tailor made to shut down” fan efforts and will only prove to be “disheartening” to amateur Trek filmmakers. For the full guidelines, head over to StarTrek.com.
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