G & T Show 218 – Axa-Uh-Oh
G & T Show 218 – Axa-Uh-Oh is now available to download. Check it out here. This week Nick, Terry, and Mike reunite for the first episode of the year. They are joined by Janet, their social media guru and legal expert, to help make sense of this week’s primary topic in Unofficial Productions: The Axanar Lawsuit. They also discuss Star Trek News, Gaming News, Product News, Convention News, 50 For 50 and so much more. They also have some special announcements coming out of BLB Productions that you don’t want to miss.
After introductions, we jump into this week’s Coffee Klatch. They talk about their respective holidays. Terry talks about celebrating Christmas with her brother and their children. They talk about four year olds not wanting to wear clothes and Mike shares a story of getting new sandals. Nick thinks he broke Janice. He talks about the book she had gotten him: Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil. He’s read a large portion of the book and talks about it. Mike had family over. He had fun watching the kids opening their gifts. He talks about the jewelry Katie got from his mom, while he gave her Disney LEGO Frozen Ice Palace.
Because they have so much to talk about, they move on to this week’s Star Trek News. Terry starts us off with the big movie that came out: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. USA Today had a front page article on The Force Awakens, but all of the other images on the front page were Star Trek images or had photos of Star Trek TOS actors. They discuss the trolling. Nick talks about spoilers. Mike is amazed at the respect people had for the film in not revealing spoilers and wondered if there was some subliminal messaging or a Jedi Mind trick that got people to mind the spoilers. Terry doesn’t mind spoilers, and suggests that people that cannot should detach themselves from social media until they can watch the show or movie they don’t want spoiled. Terry talks about the Heroes Journey by Joseph Campbell and how some people are mistaking it that journey with a regurgitation of A New Hope. She is looking forward to seeing it.
They talk about gaming news next. With everyone on vacation for the holidays, not a lot has come out. Terry hasn’t played STO very much with all of her guests visiting and has bypassed the Winter Event this year. Nick is hooked on Heroes of Might And Magic 3. They talk about the game briefly. Mike cannot confirm or deny that he is in Timelines Beta, nor can he talk about the good time he’s having in game, and that he’s looking forward to its release sometime later this month. Timelines and STO are two totally different games. Mike explains that one is on the PC and the other is on your mobile as the reason why you should play two different Star Trek games.
Terry takes them into Product News. The US Postal service will be releasing Star Trek stamps to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. Terry already went to the post office for them and surprised the postal workers with her request since they had not heard about this bit of news yet. The chatroom shared a photo of Lemmy that caused Nick to talk about Motorhead and the passing of their lead singer. Next, they talk about the Hamilton Collection’s Precious Moments Live Long and Prosper Figurine. They talk about the figurine. They talk about their respective doggies for a moment. Terry shares a story about Casey with her nephew. They return to Star Trek products to talk about the Star Trek Ugg boots. Terry would totally wear them around the house. Then, they move onto the 2016 Product Preview that features some great new items that includes the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Mad Libs, and the new phaser and communicator. Mike suggests incorporating Star Trek MadLibs into their Vegas interviews. They talk about Janet’s camping experiences. After a Cheap Trick nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other musical squirrels, they return to the upcoming products. Cross cut will be publishing the first trilogy penned by German authors called Prometheus by Bernd Perplies and Christian Humberg. We hope that these books will eventually be released in the US in English. Nick talks about Janice’s Voyager watch and the Prometheus episode.
Before moving on to Convention News, Mike quickly runs through the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Preview that Star Trek.com has released. It included: Star Trek Beyond; The Ultimate Voyage Concert Series; Star Trek Las Vegas; The Starfleet Academy Experience coming to Ottawa, Canada in May 2016; and with the new television series coming out in January 2017, it’s almost guaranteed that images, news, and more will be released over the coming year.
They move onto the Convention News. Controversy erupted around the General Admission tickets release. They came out costing $250 and sold out in record time, within 24 hours or so. The notification emails for GA tickets were not sent out until after the tickets sold out. The next batch of General Admission tickets came out a few days later for $375 with no differences between the packages. The fandom blew a gasket and many people asked for refunds on their initial $250 ticket because of Creation’s price gouging business practices. Brandon Felczer posted on Facebook his thoughts on the price gouging. It wasn’t long that the price has since been reduced to the original $250 price and refunds will be issued to anyone that paid $375 for their tickets. Terry reiterates that if you want to make sure to get your tickets, be sure to check the website often. There are Copper and General Admission tickets still available. The Rio has sold out and an overflow hotel next door has been made available. They talk about the limited number of tickets available. Mike hopes that they will sell additional tickets that would allow people access to the convention’s vendor’s hall and other activities excluding the panels. Terry thinks they did that a few years ago. It would allow people that wanted to attend and visit with friends and don’t want to attend the panels.
Up next was 50 For 50. This week they discuss Voyager’s Scorpion Part 1 and Deep Space Nine’s Favor the Bold. Beginning with Scorpion. This episode introduced the Borg into Voyager as well as Species 8472. Mike says they also introduced the Leonardo hologram, which he mistakenly refers to as Michelangelo. He quickly runs through what made the character interesting for him and where they failed to follow up with him in later seasons. It’s a great Chakotay episode. Terry talks about 8472 because it was the first time we got a truly alien looking and scary alien. Mike points out the problem that Chakotay, Harry, and Tuvok board a Borg ship to investigate the bioship and are aware that there is something else there. Then, they tell Harry to stay put to download Borg data, while Tuvok and Chakotay go to investigate the bioship. He wonders when is that ever a good idea. Mike adds that he was pleased to see Chakotay stand up to Janeway. They talk about the changes that Seven’s character introduces to the ship.
They discuss DS9’s Favor the Bold episode. Mike gives us a revamp and was pleased to learn more about the Vorta as played by Jeffrey Combs. Nick liked seeing Sisko as a tactician. Terry appreciated the working relationship between Sisko and Ross. Nick mentions the resistance stuff going on the station. Mike talks about Rom and how he stepped up to help the resistance take out the anti-graviton beam that would have disabled the minefield. And then, after getting caught for his trouble, steps up to his brother and tells him that he has to finish his work. He really comes into his own at that moment. Terry loved how this episode helped turn the tide in DS9. Next week, they will be discussing TNG’s Darmok and DS9’s The Search Part 1. Join us for the discussion.
This week’s big topic takes place within our Unofficial Productions segment and involves the recent lawsuit levied against Axanar Productions and Alec Peters by both CBS and Paramount together. They are claiming $150k per violation. They talk about the timeline, the concerns, and their opinions on the probably outcome, and the activities of the community since the news came out.
Janet, our social media guru, is a retired lawyer in good standing with the New York state bar. Janet spoke about her familiarity with tort law and how the case seems to be unfolding. She jumps into the background of the Axanar story beginning with Alec writing the original script. She talks about Prelude to Axanar’s usage of Soval and Gary Graham reprising the role as he had appeared in Enterprise. She goes on to talk about the elements of Intellectual Property Law. Nick points out that they call themselves a professional production. Janet describes transformative works and uses hip hop sampling as an example as a means for contrast. She goes on to say that one of the problems is that the technology and ability to create projects that can directly compete with the official productions in terms of quality and making it difficult for the consumer to distinguish between the official product and one produced independently by fans. They discuss how this is already going on among some groups of fans.
Before Nick goes into the Getty-rant, he asks if the fact that people are getting paychecks from the production is also a problem for the production. Janet talks about the idea of paying actors and professional construction, electricians, and other jobs. However, the production staff being paid is another potential problem for Axanar.
Terry talks about how the fan fiction community is well aware that they are playing in someone else’s playground and have to be respectful of that. They discuss what Lucas Films has done with their fan films. There are certain guidelines that Lucas Film required anyone entering their contests to follow.
Janet talks about the development of Ares Studios from the funds raised in the initial kickstarters. They are using the IP to obtain all of the aspects of their production and studio with the intention of producing profit from the use of their studio.
Nick talks about the community’s reaction to the news and the militant nature of their fans to attack other productions or anyone else that may criticize the production. He compares it to a cult following. He invites Alec to come on the show and answer tough questions. But, he wonders why Axanar is giving their followers talking points in order to control the conversation in regards to Axanar. He understands fans being upset and wanting to lash out, but doesn’t think that’s it reasonable for them to attack other productions that respect the material and their own fans.
Terry addresses what this lawsuit could mean for other unofficial productions. She talks about Star Trek: Renegades and Star Trek: Continues. The announcement of the new television series coming in 2017, a lot of fan productions began to reevaluate their productions. Some people have left or stepped down. We recently interviewed Farragut and their kickstarter was seeking to raise $15k. Their production won’t be confused for one of the official productions and should be safe from the fallout from this lawsuit. She returns to the discussion of fanfiction writers and the methods they used to self-publish their stories. She, then, points out that Axanar is selling coffee from a coffee company with their own trademark, which is putting the coffee company into jeopardy. Nick mentions Federation of Beer, who are licensed and have paid big bucks to put Star Trek stuff on their products. Her Universe and Bye Bye Robot are two other companies that have purchased licenses from CBS in order to use Star Trek for their products. Mike talks about CafePress and their recent acquisition of the a CBS license for Star Trek, allowing them to sell and create Star Trek merchandise.
Janet points out that IP Law is designed to protect the owner / artist of the IP and the consumer. The question of confusion arises, because people want the genuine article and not a knock off. Terry mentions the third group is the shareholders that need to be protected. Over the past year, Axanar has been a for-profit, professional production that used an IP that they don’t own in order to enrich themselves through the creation of Ares Studios.
Other concerns that has arisen outside of the lawsuit. Tony Todd withdrew from the production several months ago. He was one of the leads in the film. Yet, the production failed to notify anyone of the fact and continue to use his image in all promotional material, implying that he’s still with them. This stinks of disrespect for their dedicated fan base and possibly even fraud especially from a production that claims to be the most transparent production. She reminds everyone that donated to a fan production that there is no guarantee that a film will be made or that they will ever get anything for their donation. And if the lawsuit ends where Terry thinks it will, no one will be getting anything from it because of the way the production staff has handled the situation.
Nick coins the term Axalyte to describe militant Axanar fans and talks about their attacks against CBS and Paramount. Terry believes that there is a lack of understanding among Axanar fans about copyright and tort law in that they believe they can force CBS and Paramount to do anything through a petition, a threat of a class-action lawsuit, or any other method. Mike wonders if donors should be concerned that they will be dragged into the suit as well. Terry doesn’t think that the donors were acting in good faith based on what the Axanar team was telling them. Terry states that even the donors would be hard pressed to suit Axanar to get their money back. Mike wonders if this lawsuit will have an impact on people’s willingness to donate to fan productions and independent films. Janet thinks that it will. Donors need to be aware of what they are getting into and be prepared to lose their donation if the production never makes it to completion. A warning sign for Axanar was scope creep, as the project kept getting larger and they kept asking for more and more money. She thinks that other productions are not immune from CBS/Paramount scrutiny and need to tread carefully.
Nick adds that Axanar has raised over a million dollars, which is on the periphery of Hollywood money used in film productions, which makes them direct competition to their interests.
Terry runs through a number of articles that came out about the lawsuit, including Trek Movie and 1701 News that she thought covered the subject really well.
Nick points out that some kickstarter funds have been used to attend conventions and market the film that they have yet to produce. They wonder if they are doing this to promote and fund their for-profit ventures. Terry talks about the photo that was posted on the day the lawsuit was filed that showed the production team celebrating the lawsuit by going out for sushi. A donor asked if their donations had gone towards paying for that meal? No response was given. It was a slap to the face of all of the donors. They are still asking for money while building sets and building their studio, while only Axanar and a Vulcan scene are the only things that have yet come out of them.
Nick talks about their willingness to attack their competition. They shouldn’t be exerting their effort and resources in this manner. Instead they should be focused on producing a better product and focusing on their own stuff and not worry about what other people are doing. Terry points out that Axanar’s acknowledgement of the suit didn’t deny or address the issues, but rather vowed to fight it. Then, they proceeded to attack CBS, other productions, and anyone that criticized them.
They talk about the public relations troubles they are creating for themselves. They offer suggestions about what they should be doing. Janet, then, goes over some of the numbers that have been released through their books. There is the possibility that there are monies that have not been included that were donated outside of the kickstarters, nor how much individual people have been paid. Terry reads off some of the details of the lawsuit. The chatroom asked if Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be dragged into it. Janet and Terry believe they can because they apparently didn’t enforce their terms of service. One of the first things that we will hear is if Axanar will be allowed to continue with their operations until the lawsuit has been settled.
They wind down the discussion with a request that everyone find out the truth and to stay informed. Our door is open to either side to sit down and talk with us. Terry mentions Janet’s background once more and describes her own background and experience dealing with IP law. Mike has been working with fan productions and Nick is a PR professional dealing with crisis communications for a governmental agency. The team is knowledge and wants the fan productions to continue on. Mike hopes that they don’t fuck it up for everybody.
Mike quickly goes into announcements. This week, we launched a new BLB Production. Straight Outta Gallifrey is a Doctor Who podcast with George, Sunseahl, and Mike. Their first guest was James Kerwin. He’d like everyone to check it out. BLB Productions has a lot more planned for this year, including new shows and bringing back some favorites. Terry mentions that the 24 hours of G & T prizes have been mailed. The signed posters for the Star Trek Costumes book has not been shipped, since they are looking for a better method to ship them. Nick reveals that a new Gettysburg’s Address should be coming out in a couple of weeks that will be featuring some new theme music. They thank Janet for joining them and sharing her experience with them. Janet has really enjoyed monitoring this situation as it has developed. With that, they wind down this week’s show.
G & T Show
- Straight Outta Gallifrey – http://www.straightouttagallifrey.com
- Busy Little Beaver Productions – http://www.blbproductions.com
- The Gettysburg’s Address – http://www.gbadress.com
- Crowdfunded Star Trek Movie Draws Lawsuit from Paramount CBS – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/crowdfunded-star-trek-movie-draws-851474?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=THR+Breaking+News_now_2015-12-30+06%3A34%3A00_HLewis&utm_term=hollywoodreporter_breakingnews
- Image of Axanar being served – http://i1.wp.com/www.axanarproductions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/126.96.36.199.jpg?resize=700%2C1024
- Trek Movie – Star Trek Axanar Fan Film Sued by Paramount and CBS Over Copyright Infringement – http://trekmovie.com/2015/12/30/star-trek-axanar-fan-film-sued-by-paramount-and-cbs-over-copyright-infringement/
- Axanar – Axanar and CBS – http://www.axanarproductions.com/axanar-and-cbs/
- Tony Todd on Twitter – https://twitter.com/TonyTodd54/with_replies
- Jason Kovalik to Tony Todd on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Jason_Kovalik/status/682324400004284419
- Tony Todd Twitter – Withdrew from Axanar – https://twitter.com/TonyTodd54/status/682286369385807872
- Tony Todd Twitter – Left 3 months ago. No Accountability – https://twitter.com/TonyTodd54/status/682292428871602176
- Support Axanar Petition – https://www.change.org/p/cbs-support-axanar?recruiter=31309652&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink
- Deadline – Paramount Sues Producers of Star Trek Fan Films – http://deadline.com/2015/12/star-trek-fan-films-lawsuit-paramount-axanar-1201674185/
- Robert Meyer Burnett Twitter – Announces Battle of Axanar Documentary – https://twitter.com/BurnettRM/status/682306519707299840
- Jason Kovalik Twitter Alec rewriting history – https://twitter.com/Jason_Kovalik/status/682324400004284419
- Tony Todd Twitter – Response to 15k a day quote – https://twitter.com/TonyTodd54/status/682335902811598848
- Star Trek Reddit – decimusoctavius – CBS will be targeting other fan projects – https://www.reddit.com/r/startrek/comments/3ysgo9/cbsparamount_files_lawsuit_against_axanar/cygccij
- PRLog – Tony Todd Exits Star Trek Axanar – http://www.prlog.org/12489801-tony-todd-exits-star-trek-axanar.html
- TrekBBS – CBS Paramount sues to stop Axanar – http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=278077
- Star Trek Lawsuit – http://www.scribd.com/doc/294302930/Startrek-Lawsuit
- Alec Peters’ Statement on the Star Trek Axanar Lawsuit – http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/12/30/alex-peters-statement-on-the-star-trek-axanar-lawsuit/
- Robert Meyer Burnett on Twitter – https://twitter.com/BurnettRM
- Twitter – #IStandWithAxanar – https://twitter.com/hashtag/IStandWithAxanar?src=hash
- Reddit – The Case for not funding Star Trek: Axanar – https://www.reddit.com/r/startrek/comments/3ak0d5/the_case_for_not_funding_star_trek_axanar/
- TrekBBS – Key Talking Points re: CBS Paramount Lawsuit – http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=11407859&postcount=747
- Imgur – Alec Peters announcing a Kickstarter to launch studio and website – http://imgur.com/Z3vKMi9
- Axanar Coffee – http://www.axanarcoffee.com/
- David Mack Twitter – About the Axanar Lawsuit – https://twitter.com/DavidAlanMack/status/682629411166879748
- TrekBBS – CBS’s Rules of Engagement for Star Trek Fan Films – http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=187825
- Revised Axanar Annual Report Released – http://www.axanarproductions.com/revised-axanar-annual-report-released/
- Star Trek Lawsuit Illustrates Legal Issues With Fan Films – http://skipoliva.com/index.php/2016/01/01/star-trek-lawsuit-illustrates-legal-issues-with-fan-films/
- Axanar Summons – http://skipoliva.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/031122636857.pdf
- Wall Street Journal Law Blog – Crowdfunded Star Trek Fan Film accused of copyright infringement – http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2015/12/30/crowdfunded-star-trek-fan-film-accused-of-copyright-infringement/
- #1088 Star Trek Into Dorkness Comic – http://www.multiplexcomic.com/strip/1088
- 1701 – Axanar Will Ruin Fan Trek For Everyone – http://1701news.com/node/980/axanar-will-ruin-fan-trek-everyone.html
- David Gerrold on Facebook regarding Axanar – https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10207078851342040
- Brandon Felczer – Facebook post – Creation’s $125 General Admission Price Gouge – https://www.facebook.com/bfelczer/posts/10208034500842378
- Did USA Troll Star Wars Fans with Star Trek Images This Week? – http://comicbook.com/2015/12/23/did-usa-today-troll-star-wars-fans-with-star-trek-images-this-we/?utm_source=Comicbook.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=151223_124032_Comicbook.com%20Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=Link
- Trek 50 Preview: Things to Come – http://www.startrek.com/article/trek-50-preview-things-to-come
- Timelines: Everything Old Is New Again: More Points of Interest In Star Trek Timelines – https://www.disruptorbeam.com/blog/entry/everything-old-is-new-again-more-points-of-interest-in-star-trek-timelines
- Timelines: Coming January 2016 – http://www.disruptorbeam.com/games/star-trek-timelines
- The Hamilton Collection – Precious Moments Star Trek Live Long And Prosper Figurine – http://www.hamiltoncollection.com/products/905871001_.html?cm_ven=FB-HAM&cm_cat=SST-M-M25-NPC_PMStarTrekCouchCpleFig_905871001&cm_pla=SST_Img-NPC_PMStarTrekCouchCpleFig_905871001&cm_ite=M25_KW-MCAStarTrek_1Step-N_MCA&utm_source=FB-HAM&utm_medium=SST-M-M25-NPC_PMStarTrekCouchCpleFig_905871001&utm_campaign=SST_Img-NPC_PMStarTrekCouchCpleFig_905871001&utm_term=M25_KW-MCAStarTrek_1Step-N_MCA
- USPS To Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Star Trek Stamps in 2016 – http://trekmovie.com/2015/12/30/usps-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-with-star-trek-stamps-in-2016/
- 2016 Preview: Upcoming Trek-themed Products – http://www.startrek.com/article/2016-preview-upcoming-trek-themed-products
- Star Trek Boots – http://shop.startrek.com/accessories/index.php?v=startrek_apparel-accessories_accessories&ecid=SMM-ST-00831&pa=SMM-ST-00831
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.