CBS smashes fans' virtual, noncommercial recreation of the USS Enterprise


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/27/spitting-on-fandom.html


#2

That’s okay, they haven’t had a good season in years and years. Are there still fans? This should take care of that, and then we’ll have more time for good old reality teevee.


#3

The new show’s doing really well, honestly.


#4

Lawyers justifying their existence.


#5

Ok. seriously…is anyone surprised by this? Corporate owned properties have always been notorious in general for clamping down on their licensing and products.


#6

And that’s why Paramount is infamous for staging mass arrests of unauthorized cosplayers at conventions.

Wait, no they’re not. What gives?


#7

A friend of mine had the opportunity to witness an “company engineers” vs. “company lawyers” having a screaming fight (well, the screaming was on the part of the engineers - the lawyers were calm, cool, collected, and understood exactly how to appeal to the president).

He said it was awe-inspiring as the lawyers turned the engineers who wanted to encourage customer “mods” (for lack of a better word, it was quite a while ago) into “enthusiastic kids who didn’t realize their experiment could set the house on fire”.

The lawyers were confident that the president (a former engineer) wouldn’t neglect his responsibility of protecting the livelihood of his employees by preventing this well-meaning, but dangerous, (and unsanctioned) move by the engineers.

All done with subtle hints, never saying a bad word about the engineers (while destroying their credibility).

My friend pulled his colleagues out of the meeting in defeat when he realized the lawyers could have created a second scenario (of haughty engineers risking the president’s life work for their own ego) just as effectively and had (so far) chosen not to.


#8

This is why you don’t share much about a given project until its done and then you ninja release it so everyone can share. Never surprised when ambitious projects like these get canned, what else do you expect to happen?


#9

says good-bye to enterprise… circa (ten years ago)


#10

One good piece of advice I got early in my career was that it’s usually a very, very bad idea to put a lawyer into a c-level or president’s role in a company or to give one final veto power on executive decisions (which is pretty much what CBS and other large media companies do all the time). When given true power, 90% of them will end up stifling innovation and decreasing brand goodwill.

It’s not surprising that the in-house attorneys would act this way or that CBS is so dysfunctional and sclerotic that it wouldn’t have controls placed on them to make sure that their kneejerk actions don’t needlessly alienate fans/customers. I do feel sorry for the folks who put all this work into Stage 9 and hope it goes out in a Torrent of glory.


#11

It’s about time someone asked this question. I see a lot of stories on the internet about variously unhappy occurrences, and you look at the comments and no one is trying to find out who was and was not surprised. I mean, if no one is surprised, well, good. If anyone is surprised, they probably shouldn’t be. On the other hand, if no one is surprised, is this really newsworthy? Anyways, naively I hope someone will answer this question and we’ll get a good feel for who was surprised and who was not, but it hasn’t happened yet. What else did I expect to happen?


#12

Paramount has provided conditional support to large-scale fan projects in the past. Fans were even able to make and share their own “new” episodes of TOS for over a decade, often with support from real Trek alumni like Walter Koenig. If the studio could tolerate that why not a CGI Enterprise?

ETA: is CBS just more dickish about this than Paramount? I haven’t really been following details of who’s running the franchise now.


#13

They’d actually have to TOUCH fans. People are icky. Avoid at all costs.


#14

I certainly don’t think so, but it does show how little CBS gives a shit about its fans. I’m a casual star trek fan and this kind of shitshow makes me want to never watch anything Trek related again.


#15

Not that CBS’s lawyerbots thought of this, but a virtual Enterprise would be a natural re-usable stage for future VR entertainment. That’s slightly different than a one-off fan episode.

Of course, CBS could have used Stage 9 themselves for this purpose, saving themselves the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars they’ll be spending on what’s bound to be their own craptastic and corner-cutting re-invented wheel. But this is a company that left Les Moonves in charge until just a couple of weeks ago.


#16

I do not put cosplay in the same category as creating and distributing art, film, or gaming products.

If I had an on demand tee shirt store (ahem…as many designers do)…and put a bunch of my custom Star Trek, Star Wars, Blizzard, Disney, marvel designs and artwork up fro sale there. Is it any shock when some or perhaps all of those companies come a calling to shut it down and claim infringement…WHICH IT TOTALLY IS BTW.

I get it. We are fans. We enjoy dipping our toes in and making a little fan-boy magic in these properties ourselves. But you ask ANY artist if they found someone re-creating and using their work somewhere else without permission if they’d be cool with it…to a person the answer would be no. Profit or no profit. Doesn’t matter. In many cases artists would simply say “Ask for my permission…sign some simple agreements around fair use and what is in and out of bounds…and then sure go ahead and use my webcomic art for your youth team soccer jerseys. Hell…I’ll throw in some cash and be the sponsor of the team too!”

But large corporations are out to protect their stuff. And specifically thinking about Cosplay…when Blizzard announced Overwatch, they did it at Blizzcon 2014. Prior to that no one had heard a single peep about it. And yet there at Blizzcon were some amazing cosplay of Tracer, Reaper, and Widowmaker. Blizzard specifically reached out to 3 cosplayers and had them sign NDAs and worked with them to develop incredibly accurate and amazing cosplay. The catch was they were paid by Blizz, not allowed to enter the cosplay contests and were really there to promote the new game. It’s different having cosplayers who help promote your product in a one time fashion than someone making their own film, game, or licensed art.

And do not assume I am ok with them shutting down one particular thing vs another…I am simply stating it is NOT SURPRISING when they do it.


#17

Which fans have also made in the past (see link above regarding Star Trek: New Voyages). The studio has generally been pretty chill about this kind of non-commercial fan work. Not anymore apparently.


#18

And outrage and anger aside…my point is: is that surprising? the answer should be no as we have seen time and time again that corporations are generally very very protective of their IPs.


#19

Fuck CBS. I’ve got the most recent installers for both the Oculus/Vive version and the regular version. And I’m not the only one. Coming soon to a torrrent site near you.


#20

In the sense that this goes directly against decades of precedent for how the studio has generally treated Star Trek fans, yes.