The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part 3

 

In part two of the breakdown we looked at two of the easiest guidelines to adhere to, the simple additions of a disclaimer and the removal of “Star Trek” from the title of each fan production made.

In this part, we are going to breakdown the third guideline. To enable this guideline to be broken down as complete as possible I have split it into two parts so I will be referring to it as 3A and 3B.

So to start off with let us take a look at 3A.

3A – The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production.

This guideline was and still is misunderstood by a LOT of people, people seem to think that this guideline means you cannot use established characters, alien races or settings, this, however, could not be further from the truth, this guideline merely means you must come up with original stories and characters and not rehash anything that has already been done. For example,

You cannot

Take an episode of Star Trek and then remake it with your own people.

Reshoot any official Star Trek script you may have.

This would also cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.

However, the simplest way of understanding this part of the guideline is that It does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe, by using things like (but not limited to):

Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

Moving on to 3B

3B – If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

This part of Guideline 3 is pretty easy to get the meaning behind it, although easy to understand it does have somewhat of a dual meaning.

1 – If you plan to use anything non-Trek such as settings, characters or even a race from another series, such as Star Wars then you had better ask permission otherwise you may just find a DCMA from that IP owner, or worse yet a nice C&D from them.

2 -Music or other items from the Trek Universe that is not owned by CBS & Paramount.

Using Music as an example, a fair few people seem to be under the notion that all Star Trek theme music and soundtracks are owned by CBS and Paramount, this is not correct, and as such if you intend to use anything from the series or films in your production you need to get the permission of the copyright holders, as John Van Citters said in the engage podcast “we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music” so with that said, you can not just lift a snippet of music from a soundtrack and insert it into your film.

To help you out as much as I can, I will try to include as many links as possible to the people who own the rights to the music as with this, it “should” allow you to contact them and ask for their permission.

So now I have broken them down myself let’s get to the info links and the commentary from the same fan producers who have added their voice to this series of blogs thus far and will continue to help me out throughout this blog series.


It should be noted the Fan Film Guidelines DO NOT affect anything but Fan Films, this means Audio Dramas and alike are not bound by them.”



“Producer commentary is not broken down unless stated so what you see will be either an interpretation of the guideline as a whole or broken into sections 3A and 3B”


Randy Landers – Potemkin Pictures

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

You must be a creator and can’t use clips from the episodes and create  “new” episodes.  You can’t do a fan edit and create a “fan’s cut” of an episode. You can’t redo an episode’s VFX and place them among clips from the episode. You can’t use the original material as your own. Frankly, I’m not sure those sort of things actually fans films.

3B – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

It says 1) if you want to do a crossover with another series, you’d better clear it with them.  And 2) it ain’t our music. You better ask the owners of it before you go co-opting it for your fan film.

  • Are there any links or added commentary you think would be of benefit to add to this section

Potemkin Pictures has had composers create its own original music. While we occasionally will use an homage to the original series or TOS movies in our music, for the majority of the time, you’re listening to original music. This is something  I think  separates us from a lot of other fan films.

Nick Cook – Intrepid

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For example
    • This would cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.
    • However, this does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe things like but not limited to:
    • Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
    • Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
    • Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
    • Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. That said, using characters from the official productions, as long as you’re not using the original actors, would probably be overlooked. That’s entirely personal opinion though.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For Example
  • This section is aimed at third-party content this would be things like but not limited to: Music scores (CBS & Paramount do not own the copyrights to any music produced for the official Star Trek works), Characters from other works such as races, planets or iconic characters like Han Solo, and Ships E.g. The X-Wing etc and settings from other IP such as Endor from “Return of the Jedi”.
  • Due to CBS and Paramount not owning the music rights to any Star Trek musical works it is advisable you contact the copyright holders for the music you wish to use.

I don’t have anything specific to add to this.


Vance Owen – Melbourne, Starbase Studios.

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, it’s hard to be original. Some people just don’t have a creative bone to save their life lol and that’s sad. Those are usually the people mooching off of those who have true talent. I honestly have never understood taking from a show directly. I’ve understood reinterpreting something from a show, but a direct rip off, jeesh. I lose respect so fast I can’t take um seriously after that. Especially when there are so many talented people out there willing to work with ya. It’s just lazy friggin people who want to cut corners and have no understanding of how things are. Using a clip from a show for a poster, that’s so cheap. Especially when you could make something fresh and new do easily. So I don’t hate this at all. This never even entered my mind “what?? I can’t steal someone else’s hard work and claim it in mind?” Get a life lol I can see them saying “don’t have Jim Kirk and Spock jump thru the guardian of forever….like so” to me, ok I get that. But they are not saying you can’t use Kirk and Spock standing at the guardian of forever looking for the next Pokemon go. people stress the wrong things on these guidelines and make um say whatever they want. To me, this makes the most sense. Could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before….ask my wife lol

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing. What is your interpretation of this guideline? Well, it’s pretty cut and dry. And in Melbourne, we did that anyway, before this came out. With the band, The Perfect Pursuit, they did our theme for our film. Cbs doesn’t own that. Just as it doesn’t with certain themes that people like to use in their films. I think it is their way to cover their butts in case the people who do own the music get a ticket and say “hey these people are using our music and you’re doing nothing about it.” They won’t be held liable. It’s kinda common sense to me. And sadly, people like to walk in and say “eh no one’s going to mind.” That’s easy to say if it’s not your music being used. As a musician, I’d be pissed if someone used my music without permission. I’m an artist; I have had my art plagiarised. Didn’t like it. People don’t think outside of that thought of what’s good for them, that’s just how some are. I think this is just to protect CBS from that situation

 

Ray Tesi – Republic

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Fan films SHOULD introduce original content and characters. I don’t think anyone wants to see a “low end” Kirk or Spock, and there is plenty of other content to draw on. If nothing else, it forces the fan production to be original. Leave the reproductions to the big boys. Renegades took the high road and dropped the Star Trek moniker so they could continue production. Kudos to them.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

The guideline is laudable, but hard to enforce since the content is outside of CBS’ purview. We at Republic used a mix of existing Star Trek scores plus original musical scores. The original music was licensed for our specific use. When we uploaded our vignette to YouTube, the only music that they flagged was our theme, and once we provided the proper license documentation, we were good to go. This is good business sense, but hard to enforce.


Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Continues once got busted for using a background image from a TOS ep even tho they got away with it, in the end, IT means do not steal others peoples work! same as writing a book when stealing it from someone else’s

3B

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I think this is wise however youtube now lets people use certain star trek music with out getting in too much trouble you just can not monetize your channel. Or use JJ Verse music

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”



  • https://trekfanproductions.com/johnvancittersengagepodcast

{} Jordan {}

So I don’t so what your saying is  there’s not going to be a review board out there saying oh the way your version of Captain Kirk did that he wouldn’t really do with that way that’s not in  his character now you’re not talking that level of uh of review but you know

{} JVC {}

Only if you’re a licensed author as you will be subject to that level of review as and good and thank god you’re there we need you on that wall but I but you know I but having Captain Kirk doing something you know profane and what is profanity is a long conversation but I think we know when we say it doing something that’s totally out of character for some sort of shock value reason that’s and that isn’t parody that correcting from wrong is where you say no these are these are Star Trek characters and we have to protect them

{} JVC {}

If you do something that’s going to be  damaging to the fundamental character of the Star Trek of beloved characters  Captain Kirk Captain Picard Beverly Crusher whoever it may be from across  the pantheon of Star Trek if you’re doing anything that’s going to damage  that it did that’s going to put them or  things like that in an overtly negative light that goes against what we’ve seen and what we know about these elements of Star Trek yeah that  then there will be a problem other otherwise like I said if you’re using it  to comment on societal and social issues yeah we’re not going to look we we’ve  all have a duty to Star Trek whether you’re a fan or an employee of CBS or Paramount in that respect to really honour what that creation is what Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry and Ron Moore and Bryan fuller and all  of these amazing creators have done to create this just incredible  thing called Star Trek we’ve got a duty to  respect it and protect it


{} Jordan {}

What about the music I know that there were some questions about you know people wanting to use music in their fan films

{} JVC {}

Well when it would I talk about fan films being a complex landscape this is this is one of the things that  immediately comes to mind because it  comes to mind on an on a daily basis for  us and projects that we’re working on  we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music and we can’t grant those rights to fan films as  much as we might want to you know use  that opening theme whether it’s from TNG or from the original series all over the  place and get that music out there I was  listening to Star Trek music on my way here because that’s the kind of guy I am and in when we when we mentioned in the  guidelines things like new with needing  to clear any third party rights for  content in writing in the guidelines this is why we don’t control those  rights we can’t give you the rights to  the music it’s likely fans may want to utilize stuff that we can’t grant rights  to because we don’t own those rights Star Trek music is very much included in  that if you want to use Jerry Goldsmith’s Klingon themes because you  got this amazing Klingon attack that  you’re planning in your film or the  opening four tones from the TOS theme song or anything else from all the great Star Trek music you should contact the music publisher for that and secure those rights because we don’t have them  and we can grant them


Time Index – 01:12:00 – I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity

{} JVC {}

I’m incredibly excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek and everything associated with it as much if not more than the so many fans do and it’s been an incredible part of my life it’s helped shape Who I am as it has for many fans and I absolutely want to do what is best for four Star Trek as a whole both now and for the long-term health of Star Trek and I want to do the best that we possibly can be Star Trek fans who Star Trek there’s no question shows a lot to the I would put Star Trek fans against any other fan base anytime I think our fans are terrific they’re amazing and I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity it’s going to be different creativity but again it’s the first time that anything has existed officially like this it’s a brave new frontier and I’m looking forward to seeing what that brings it’s going to change is hard initially but I’m very excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek in all of its forms I love the technobabble I love everything about it and me just I can’t wait to see what’s next



= MUSIC INFO =


 

  1. http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Soundtracks
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_composers_and_music

Information related to the following soundtracks was taken from http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Soundtrack

  1. https://www.varesesarabande.com/ Nemesis, Star Trek 09, Into Darkness and Beyond.
  2. http://gnpcrescendo.com/wp/ – Insurrection, First Contact, Generations, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Best of Both Worlds (expanded soundtrack), The Best of Star Trek (soundtracks)
  3. https://www.discogs.com/label/878-MCA-RecordsStar Trek – VI and IV
  4. https://www.epicrecords.com/ – Star Trek V
  5. http://www.columbiarecords.com/Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  6. http://www.lalalandrecords.com/ – Voyager, DS9, Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection, Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume Two, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume One
  7. https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/index.cfm?CFID=92566692&CFTOKEN=88973315  – Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ron Jones Project

Other Links

http://www.startrek.com/licensees

The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One

The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Two

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