03 Oct 2016 3:56 PM +00:00 UTC

J.J. Abrams Pulled into 'Star Trek' Fan Film Lawsuit

Way back in 2015, a Star Trek fan film got hit with a copyright law suit from Paramount and CBS. J.J. Abrams spoke out against this lawsuit in May of this year, saying it wasn't an appropriate way for the studio to deal with fans. Now his words have led the fan film's company to request documents that involve Abrams to use in their case, The Hollywood Reporter reveals.

Back in May, Abrams said the lawsuit was innapropriate during an event promoting Star Trek Beyond. He revealed that Beyond's director, Justin Lin, had pushed for the studio to drop the lawsuit. He then erroneously claimed that "Within the next few weeks it will be announced this is going away and fans will be able to work on their projects." Abrams was incorrect about this, and the lawsuit is still going.

In light of this, Axanar studios, the fan film production company, made a motion to compel discovery. They want access to all communications between Abrams, Lin and Paramount/CBS about the lawsuit. They feel this will further their point that the fan film has no impact on Star Trek's market value.


The defense lawyers explained their request thusly: "Statements that Star Trek belongs to all of us and that the lawsuit is ridiculous and was going to be 'dropped' is relevant to the impact on the market prong of the fair use analysis, and Plaintiffs utter lack of damages. Though these documents and deposition testimony are directly relevant to demonstrating the impact of the Axanar Works on the market for the Star Trek Copyrighted Works, and Plaintiffs' allegations of willful infringement, Plaintiffs have either refused to produce, or produced insufficient documents."

Paramount and CBS is not taking this lying down, however, and object to the proposal, claiming the documents are irrelevant to the case. "First, statements made in May of 2016, six months after the filing of this suit, could not possibly have any bearing on Defendants' ‘state of mind' when they created the infringing works," Paramount's representation states. "Second, Defendants have provided no authority for the proposition that their subjective 'belief' has any bearing on whether or not they committed copyright infringement, or on whether or not Plaintiffs' were damaged by that infringing conduct."

It will remain to be seen how this plays out, but it could very well lead to J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin getting dragged into the lawsuit. I personally agree with Abrams that there's no need to crack down on fan films like this. What do you think of the lawsuit? Who is in the right here?

Read: Star Trek Beyond Commemorates Blu-Ray Announcement with Deleted Scene

Read: Star Trek: Discovery Delayed Until Summer 2017