Nearly a month after J.J. Abrams announced Paramount Pictures plans to drop a controversial lawsuit against the producers of a “Star Trek” fan film, the court filings continue.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount and CBS acknowledge public statements that the litigation is “going away,” but informed a federal judge on Wednesday that their copyright-infringement action remains pending.
The two companies, which split the film and television rights to the enduring sci-fi franchise, sued Anaxar Productions in December to prevent production of the crowd-funded “Star Trek Axanar,” a prequel billed as “first fully-professional, independent ‘Star Trek’ film.” Because the rights holders had long tolerated fan-produced works, from webseries to short films, the action proved both surprising and divisive, and created a chilling effect in the fan film community.
“Star Trek Beyond” director Justin Lin waded into the dispute in March with a tweet that left no doubt about his loyalties: “This is getting ridiculous! I support the fans. Trek belongs to all of us.” Abrams revealed last month at a “Star Trek” 50th-anniversary fan event that it was Lin who convinced Paramount to change its position.
“We started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans,” Abrams said in his surprise announcement. “The fans should be celebrating this thing. Fans of ‘Star Trek’ are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away, and that fans would be able to continue working on their project.”
While grateful for the public support from Lin and Abrams, Axanar Productions were cautiously optimistic, noting on the heels of the announcement that the lawsuit remained pending.
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