Star Trek spinoff series? What do I need to know?
So I've always wanted to do a Star Trek series spinoff.
I wanted to get into the legal and other details of what I can and can't do before attempting this?
If I use all new characters, different ships, and not follow the existing...poorly written garbage...and revivify it how do I do this legally? Would it have to be a free series? By ssaying I want to do this, I mean set in the whole system of the Federation, the star systems, and with the existing aliens but not with the same characters. Would I not be able to charge $1 for the book, or would I even have trouble putting up a free series?
I think the problem with Star Trek is that its always written poorly and people try to do the same thing over and over and over and put in stupid stuff. It you had someone writing it a different way and with a lot of unpredictable tangents and story going on, I think people could actually enjoy it. I've looked at TV series and always thought...this could be a cool idea, except they always bring it into stupid areas, and not enough stuff that's actually written to make sense.
So all of this really hinges on the idea...how do I do this without putting a legal target on my back?
Copyright don't care about whether you take in money or not. If you infringe, you infringe. You get noticed by Paramount's legal department, expect a cease and desist. Period.
My advice... Just do your own thing in your own universe and avoid that sword of Damocles.
As for putting it out as free, that would fall under fair use and you could probably do it. The problem is that as Lakstoties said above, they might just send you a cease and desist anyways. You could fight it in court and win, but that might take months or even years with the money for your lawyer coming from your own pocket.
Feel free to write it anyways as plenty of people write and enjoy fanfictions. Just don't expect to make money off it and know that you might be shut down at any moment even under fair use.
Mocha Wrote: As for putting it out as free, that would fall under fair use and you could probably do it. The problem is that as Lakstoties said above, they might just send you a cease and desist anyways. You could fight it in court and win, but that might take months or even years with the money for your lawyer coming from your own pocket.
Actually, fan fiction doesn't fall under fair use at all. It doesn't matter if it's free. Fair Use is defined by the text of the law as:
107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use40
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(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.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
So basically, fan fiction does not explicitly fall under any kind of fair use. And the chance of winning against an infringement claim by a copyright holder in that situation is very, very low. You are best to avoid using anything already established to any great degree with exceptions to Scènes à faire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sc%C3%A8nes_%C3%A0_faire