Author Topic: Trademark, Copyright etc.  (Read 1370 times)

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guest1523

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Trademark, Copyright etc.
« on: June 20, 2018, 04:30:30 pm »
Have a question: How are you dealing with the Star Trek trademark stuff and the copyright so that CBS doesn't come after Shadow Fleet?

Offline Vem, son of Motag

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 05:24:08 pm »
I think I can speak for the site by saying that if a representative from CBS or Paramount sent us a cease and desist letter; we would oblige.

However, Star Trek has addressed this in a way (Link).
They explain that fan films are ok, under certain guidelines. They start it by saying, "CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek.  Therefore, CBS and Paramount Pictures will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional and amateur and meet the following guidelines."

While this is particularly talking about fan films, it addresses other efforts and we fall under this banner pretty solidly. Sites like ours are the lifeblood of the fandom and fuel the community that continues to support the show.

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guest1523

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 05:44:58 pm »
Interesting. I had assumed there was some kind of licensing for this site ???

Offline Vem, son of Motag

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 05:47:35 pm »
No site that I am aware of has any sort of license from CBS or Paramount. That's true in almost any fandom / genre. RP boards are really just a fan creation and only really helps the franchise.

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 06:02:35 pm »
Mhm, I did not know that. I'm just getting started reading about "fan-fiction" and a lot of it is sailing pretty heavy sea when it comes to copyright and that sort of thing.

So CBS is  basically merely tolerating (some) fan-created content?

I don't know man, that's not really a solid base to stand upon...

Offline Judith Eastman

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 06:08:38 pm »
Mhm, I did not know that. I'm just getting started reading about "fan-fiction" and a lot of it is sailing pretty heavy sea when it comes to copyright and that sort of thing.

So CBS is  basically merely tolerating (some) fan-created content?

I don't know man, that's not really a solid base to stand upon...
Look at the business side of it, then. Money does make the world spin.
Fan sites like ours don't make money for anyone. There's no potential revenue stream for CBS here.
However, it does increase the fandom's engagement, leading to fans consuming more media that does earn CBS money (merch, books, DVDs, etc).
So really, the bean counters benefit from our existence, and at the end of the day that's what matters.
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Offline Kirok

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 06:30:39 pm »
I believe Vem is right about this!

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 06:32:11 pm »
Well maybe it's just my experience in the non-anglo-american legal sphere talking here.

And this experience also tells me, that money and business may make the world spin, but the law on the other hand has the awful habit of ignoring business and money and reason all together and hitting you over the had with a heavy stick.

Offline Dylan Torngate

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 07:20:53 pm »
I'd agree with Vem. If we get CBS/Paramount telling us to shut down, you wouldn't be able to find us on the web again. But AFAIK there's never been an instance of an operation this small running into legal issues.
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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 07:37:55 pm »
Well nevertheless there are some pretty interesting questions arising regarding fanfiction in general. I'm not familiar with the US-law that would be applicable when it comes to Star Trek (would US-law be applicable anyway?)

So for the lawyers here:

Is this stuff we are doing maybe protected under fair use?
Is it even an infringement to begin with?
Did CBS/Paramount by tolerating fanfiction for many decades maybe forfeit the opportunity to go after creators of fanfiction?

It boggles my mind anyway how generations of fanfic-creators over the years - not only with regards to Star Trek - didn't go to the right's owners and got some permission. Especially if the stereotype is true and there really is a culture of trigger-happieness when it comes to sueing people in the anglo american legal sphere...


Offline Judith Eastman

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 07:46:56 pm »
Well nevertheless there are some pretty interesting questions arising. I'm not familiar with the US-law that would be applicable when it comes to Star Trek (would US-law be applicable anyway?)

So for the lawyers here:

Is this stuff we are doing maybe protected under fair use?
Is it even an infringement to begin with?
Did CBS/Paramount by tolerating fanfiction for many decades maybe forfeit the opportunity to go after creators of fanfiction?

It boggles my mind anyway how generations of fanfic-creators over the years - not only with regards to Star Trek - didn't go to the right's owners and got some permission. Especially if the stereotype is true and there really is a culture of trigger-happieness when it comes to sueing people in the anglo american legal sphere...
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I, like the character of Judy (although I'm planning to change that in her case), just know a lot about the law.

It's non-commercial, so we should be fair use. The donate button puts us in slightly testier waters, but as long as we don't take any more than we need and don't pay out any salaries, we ought to be able to pass it on.

On to the oh-so-litigious Americans: those are private citizens. Corporations, to my knowledge, exercise a little more discretion on whom they sic their lawyers on. If we're not making money, there're no damages for them to sue for in a civil suit, and no money for them to stand to gain from shutting us down and taking our niche. Hence, CBS/Paramount, being more logical than a middle-aged man whose car you scratched, is far less likely to sue us because it does not benefit them (even if our donate button makes our activities not fair use).
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Offline Dylan Torngate

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 07:49:45 pm »
The cost of having the lawyers file suit against us, as we're not a corporation or a legal entity, would be more than money that they'd get from us likely. (Also not a lawyer, just guessing)

It's simply just not worth their time, IMO
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Offline Solluk

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 08:01:52 pm »
Elias, there is currently no profit in suing nonprofit fan sites.  In fact, it would cost a company money via negative press and disgruntled fans who fail to consume branded product.

As long as that situation remains true, nonprofit fan sites will not be sued.

If that ever changes, then they will be sued.

As for securing licenses, that is a fairly unworkable idea.  The moment a company licenses someone to use their product, they become partially responsible for the form which that use may take.  No company wants that responsibility when they can have free publicity with zero consequences instead.

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Offline Judith Eastman

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2018, 08:05:41 pm »
I read some legalese.
While our work is not educational, and there is no established jurisprudence (legal decisions), we would be considered fair use by most, and therefore legal, because we are noncommercial (our donate button only founds the server costs, right?), appropriate relatively little, and don't detract from the market for Paramount/CBS work (of anything, we bolster it).
So yeah, it is my opinion as a non-lawyer that we are fair use and therefore in the clear.
Not that we're worth suing. We're such small fry that the legal costs for them are not financially justifiable.
[EDIT: I can legalese, but I can't English]
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 08:08:13 pm by Judy Eastman »
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Offline Vem, son of Motag

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Re: Trademark, Copyright etc.
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2018, 08:30:13 pm »
Is this stuff we are doing maybe protected under fair use?Link):
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

We are not educational (though we are not commercial either).
We are referencing a LOT of their content.
One thing you need to remember is that copyright applies to prevent reasonable confusion with the actual product. No one is mistaking our site for a legit Star Trek production.

Is it even an infringement to begin with?
Yes

Did CBS/Paramount by tolerating fanfiction for many decades maybe forfeit the opportunity to go after creators of fanfiction?

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