Star Trek Defendant Says Paramount, CBS Claims Premature

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By Anandashankar Mazumdar

Feb. 24 — The owners of copyright interest in the “Star Trek” franchise cannot plausibly claim that a “fan film” that has not yet been made infringes the studios' rights, according to a motion to dismiss filed Feb. 22 with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Axanar Productions Inc.—which has raised more than $600,000 in a Kickstarter campaign and more than $570,000 on Indiegogo—has asked the court to dismiss claims by Paramount Pictures Corp. and CBS Studios Inc.

In August, Axanar Productions posted a 20-minute video on YouTube titled “Prelude to Axanar” to promote their effort to produce a low-budget full-length film in the Star Trek setting.

Last month, Paramount and CBS sued Axanar, alleging copyright infringement and seeking an injunction to halt the production.

In its motion, Axanar said there could be no infringement claim against a movie that hasn't been made. Furthermore, it said, enjoining the production at this stage would constitute a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment.

The motion also pointed out that Paramount and CBS had not set forth clearly which entity owns which works in the Star Trek franchise, and their complaint failed to specify exactly which works were being infringed.

Paramount and CBS are represented by Loeb & Loeb LLP, Los Angeles. Axanar is represented by Winston & Strawn LLP, Los Angeles.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anandashankar Mazumdar in Washington at amazumdar@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek in Washington at mwilczek@bna.com

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