Beam Me Up, Scotty!
Last month's article on DIY Law
discussed potential pitfalls when handling a lawsuit without the guidance of an attorney. The copyright case dealing with a Star Trek "fan film" is an interesting example of the complexities of the law even when you do have an attorney guiding you.
Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios filed suit against independent production company Axanar Productions because of Axanar's Kickstarter campaign
to fund a Star Trek "fan film." Paramount and CBS each own certain copyright interests in Star Trek and in their amended complaint listed almost thirty pages of characters, alien races, costumes, settings, plot points and other Star Trek features to be used in Axanar's "fan film" that would infringe on the copyrights. Axanar filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the Plaintiffs were not specific enough because Plaintiffs' complaint did not list "exactly which movie, book or TV episode" Axanar was allegedly infringing upon.
The US District Court for the Central District of California disagreed and denied Axanar's motion to dismiss because the Plaintiffs did "define the Star Trek Copyrighted Works and include a detailed description of the allegedly infringing elements." The Court also denied the Language Creation Society's bid to file an amicus brief. Their brief would have argued that the Klingon language could not be subject to copyright law. Read more on this case.