Suvlu'taHvIS yapbe' HoS neH
April 28, 2016 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Axanar is a planned feature film set within the Star Trek universe, following on the short film Prelude to Axanar. Paramount and CBS sued the film’s producers, alleging that the fan film infringes on the studios’ copyrights in Star Trek. Yesterday, the Language Creation Society filed an amicus brief (.pdf), written by Mark Randazza, in Paramount v. Axanar, to oppose Paramount’s claim of owning a copyright in the Klingon language.
posted by T.D. Strange (35 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Suvlu'taHvIS yapbe' HoS neH
"While someone is fighting, only power does not understand"?
posted by likethemagician at 9:50 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am not certain how I feel that there is (a) a legal fight going on over the copyright of an invented language of a fictional race of beings; (b) that the legal fight involves an amicus brief that uses the invented language; (c) that the footnotes of said amicus brief contain helpful tranliteration guides and translations of the language.

Is there a word/phrase in German, Klingon or Romulan that conveys a sense of both glee and contemplative wistfulness at the surreal nature of the reality one inhabits?
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on April 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


FN 28: "brute strength is not the most important asset in a fight"
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:58 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Suvlu'taHvIS yapbe' HoS neH
"While someone is fighting, only power does not understand"?


According to the footnotes of the brief - “brute strength is not the most important asset in a fight.”
posted by nubs at 9:59 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Universes collide in FN 36 with “not Qam ghu'vam, loD!” - This will not stand, man.
posted by nubs at 10:03 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


So just to clarify, the Amicus isn't disputing the entire copyright violation claim, it is only specifically disputing the one based on the shared fictional language? The language point aside, I still don't understand how this fan project has any legal standing .
posted by Think_Long at 10:03 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]




Axanar, I think, are claiming that what they did is ok because other fan films using the Star Trek IP have been made, sometimes even including actors from the shows, and Paramount hasn't shut any of those down. But Axanar were really going above and beyond in abusing the leniency Paramount provided to other fan projects in the past. They don't have any real legal grounds for what they were doing, so they will probably lose the suit, and their arrogance will probably have a chilling effect on future fan works. GG, guys.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:18 AM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


nubs:
Is there a word/phrase in German, Klingon or Romulan that conveys a sense of both glee and contemplative wistfulness at the surreal nature of the reality one inhabits?
If such a word exists, it's probably in Minbari.
posted by adamrice at 10:18 AM on April 28, 2016 [22 favorites]


Ah a legal brief with headings written in Klingon. I'm sure that will go over well in the Earth-bound legal system.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:19 AM on April 28, 2016


Suvlu'taHvIS yapbe' HoS neH
"While someone is fighting, only power does not understand"?
According to the footnotes of the brief - “brute strength is not the most important asset in a fight.”


Oops, I misread {yaj} "understand" for {yap} "be sufficient". That's what happens when you memorize the grammar much more thoroughly than the vocab. So it's literally:
"When one is fighting, power alone is not sufficient."
posted by likethemagician at 10:22 AM on April 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Still waiting for the Ferengi Alliance to file a brief.
posted by peeedro at 10:34 AM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's what happens when you don't maintain your universal translator, likethemagican.
posted by dr_dank at 10:35 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


If such a word exists, it's probably in Minbari.

Nih sakh sh'lekk, sleem wa.
posted by nubs at 10:38 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I saw some folks talking about this on Reddit a little while ago. The claim was that several of the folks making the movie were paying themselves salaries out of the Kickstarter money for the movie, and were openly planning to use it to finance a start-up studio where they could produce their own for-profit projects. Paramount's tolerance for labor-of-love fan projects has been very broad, but this, it was argued, doesn't really qualify as that.

The Reddit link, for anybody who wants way more details.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:38 AM on April 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is there a word/phrase in German, Klingon or Romulan that conveys a sense of both glee and contemplative wistfulness at the surreal nature of the reality one inhabits?

If such a word exists, it's probably in Minbari.

Close. It's "No one ever listens to Zathras."
posted by Gelatin at 10:45 AM on April 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


AxaMonitor, a journalism wiki, for keeping up with all the Axanar shenanigans.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:55 AM on April 28, 2016


If anyone has questions, feel free to ask. :-)

Disclosure: I founded the LCS, directed our participation as amicus in this case, and am press contact for this issue. Marc Randazza wrote the awesome amicus brief (linked in OP) pro bono.
posted by saizai at 10:55 AM on April 28, 2016 [16 favorites]


@Think_Long That is correct. The LCS has no position on any of the rest of the dispute. We only take issue with the plaintiffs' claim of copyright on the Klingon language itself.
posted by saizai at 10:57 AM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


dr_dank: "That's what happens when you don't maintain your universal translator, likethemagican."

lupDujHomwIj lubuy'moH gharghmey
posted by Splunge at 11:00 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there a word/phrase in German, Klingon or Romulan that conveys a sense of both glee and contemplative wistfulness at the surreal nature of the reality one inhabits?

English has a perfectly cromulent word....
gibsonian
posted by kokaku at 11:00 AM on April 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Still waiting for the Ferengi Alliance to file a brief.

I believe the Ferengi would file on behalf of Paramount.




Rule of Acquisition #21: Never place friendship above profit.

Rule of Acquisition #102: Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever.

Rule of Acquisition #263: Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum.

Rule of Acquisition #109: Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:05 AM on April 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


This seems analogous to asserting copyright protection for a recipe. You can sue someone for copying the text of the recipe, but you can't sue people for making and eating the dish.

The inventor of Loglan claimed copyright for his language. Lojban was created as a way a around this. (Instead of creating an unauthorized dialect, which the creator Loglan objected to, the inventors of Lojban created a structurally similar language from scratch.) I don't think this claim was ever tested in court.
posted by nangar at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Axanar, when the brief was filed.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2016 [41 favorites]


Now that I've finish reading the brief, I see that there was a lawsuit over Brown the inventor of Loglan's trademark claim on the name of the language (but not his copyright claim). Brown lost.

Also, most of the amicus brief seems like an excuse to use Klingon proverbs in a legal document, the bits of the Copyright Act they cite seem pretty clear: "The Copyright Act does not extend protection in a work to 'any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such a work.'"
posted by nangar at 12:11 PM on April 28, 2016


You have never experienced Ruth Bader Ginsburg until you've read her dissents in the original Klingon.
posted by haileris23 at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2016 [15 favorites]


If this gets to the Supremes, it will actually be an interesting test for the Notorious RBG fans, because god I love her on civil rights and basic freedoms, but she has never seen an intellectual property protectionist argument that she didn't like.

She wrote the opinion that declared the Sonny Bono Act constitutional (extending copyright terms by 20 years, for no good reason but to protect Mickey Mouse), and the opinion that clawed a bunch of works out of the public domain .

She dissented (in part with Scalia) to an opinion expanding the applicability of the First Sale Doctrine.

From what I understand in this case, my gut tells me that Paramount should win (maybe not on the copyright of the language issue). I am BIG into fair use and acknowledging that derivative works are valuable contributions to our culture that shouldn't be stifled, but what Axanar was trying to do pushes fan art beyond the boundaries of a what even I can justify as a fair use. If Axanar wins based on the fact that Paramount had been lax about fan art before, it will be a bad day for fandom, and western art as a whole.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:52 PM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


You have never experienced Ruth Bader Ginsburg until you've read her dissents in the original Klingon.

{yatlhchoHbe'moHmeH Hergh lo'laH pInchaj Qochbogh be' mangghommey 'e' chaw'Ha' le'taHghach'e' poQbogh HabbIy labbIy qonIStogha' je}

[ be.pregnant=become=not=cause=in.order.to medicine use=be.able boss=their disagree=who women army=plural that permit=undo exceptional=being=state.of=topic demand=which Hobby Lobby Conestoga and]

"The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage."
posted by likethemagician at 2:41 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


sparklemotion: " If Axanar wins based on the fact that Paramount had been lax about fan art before, it will be a bad day for fandom,"

Yeah, you see it with trademark, the idea that a company is obligated to sue someone out of fear that ignoring it will weaken their trademark. If the same requirement is established for copyright, then they have a much bigger incentive to shut down fan films and fan fiction.
posted by RobotHero at 4:45 PM on April 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


If Axanar wins based on the fact that Paramount had been lax about fan art before, it will be a bad day for fandom, and western art as a whole.

Is that really their legal defense? I mean, I believe it, but yikes. If Axanar wins, it will be the biggest legal Pyrrhic victory in a while.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:57 PM on April 28, 2016


I guess I based that on just tobascodagama's statement above.

Searching for stuff about it, I do find this article where Alec Peter says, "Star Trek Continues has raised $400,000, and you haven’t said anything about that. Star Trek: Renegades has raised $800,000, and they use characters from the original too…They waived their rights because they let this go on for so long." Which is basically that argument, but it doesn't say this is an argument they would use in court, rather than just in interviews with the media.

This article does mention the reasoning used behind a motion to dismiss, but does not mention anything about preceding fan films justifying it. It seems instead to say that Paramount hasn't provided sufficient detail about what is and isn't an infringement. Though that motion is made after Paramount provided a 48 page document which is where their claim to own the Klingon language came into play.
posted by RobotHero at 5:47 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear, I don't know anything about the legal details of this. But I do know that the very fact that Axanar attracted legal action is going to have a major chilling effect on other fan projects.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:43 PM on April 28, 2016


Today is a good day to learn that "Habbly Labbly" is how you say Hobby Lobby in Klingon.

Now I'm imagining Michael Dorn saying it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:54 PM on April 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


When the actual Klingons arrive, Paramount's puny claims to own their language are going to be treated very harshly in an epic Klingon trial...
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:40 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


At least Paramount isn't conducting one of those BS Cardaccian trials.
posted by michaelh at 8:21 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older "We have made a stunning discovery..."   |   Ed Balls Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments