Last month, OTW Legal conducted a survey about fan experience with and knowledge of copyright. We had such a great response! Nearly 3,000 people participated. Because of this amazing response rate, we have a LOT of data – especially since so many gave us great, detailed answers to free response questions. So we still have more analysis work to do! But as part of fair use week, we wanted to provide some preliminary results, and give some thoughts about trends we’re seeing – especially around issues related to fair use. And the best part about our results is that we’re learning a lot about how we think we can help you as a legal advocacy team!
Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening!
Remember Axanar, the Star Trek fan film that we talked about last year? Well, it’s back in the news this week since the lawsuit between the film’s production company and CBS/Paramount has been settled. As reported by Canadian Lawyer magazine, the lawsuit was going to go to a jury “to ultimately decide whether there is ‘subjective’ substantial similarity” between Axanar and the Star Trek property, in addition to the “objective substantial similarity” agreed upon by the court, which was unconvinced by a Fair Use defense. But, as SlashGear (not that kind of slash) reports, a settlement has been reached whereby Axanar may still be produced. The fan film will go ahead with significant changes in order to comply with CBS and Paramount’s “fan film guidelines” for the Star Trek franchise. This means that, among other things, Axanar will go from being a feature-length film to being two installments of no more than 15 minutes each. Details are still being finalized, but it looks like fans will still be able to see (this version of) the Four Years War.
Yesterday, we asked you to take part in a short survey about copyright law. (If you haven’t done it yet, please do! And tell your friends to, too!) Today, as Copyright Week draws to a close, we want to focus on copyright and free speech.
Fanworks are the very essence of free speech: Fans saying what they need to say, building community through self-expression. A few years ago, when we asked you to tell us your stories of how fanworks have helped you, you told us powerful stories about how fanworks helped you find your voices, your skills, and yourselves. We used those stories of empowerment and self-expression to help advocate for balanced copyright laws that preserve the relationship between copyright and free expression.