Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

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Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings

Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings plus the Language Creation Society’s response regarding their petition to file an amicus and even the parties’ expert witness information – we’ve got all of that!

Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings

Summary Judgment Motion Rulings/LCS Reply

So a lot has happened and we’ve got it for you. And I will start with the summary judgment rulings as they are far more important.

Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings

Axanar Summary Judgment Motion Rulings

First of all, the judge denied both motions for summary judgment. Hence defense does not get the case thrown out. And the plaintiffs do not get liability decided in their favor. However, the court went a lot further than that. And while the plaintiffs’ motion was ostensibly denied, major sections were granted/decided in their favor. Hence I will recap the summary judgment motion rulings by page. However, I urge you to read the summary judgment motion rulings in their entirety, as the ruling is very readable and of interest.

Page 1

In addition, this page recaps the undisputed facts, including that plaintiffs own Star Trek.

Page 2

So, on this page, the judge writes:

Defendants sought to make “a professional production” “with a
fully professional crew, many of whom have worked on Star Trek itself” and raised over a million
dollars on crowdsourcing websites Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their projects. (Pls.’ Statement
Uncontroverted Facts “Pls.’ SUF” ¶¶ 100, 102, ECF No. 72-1; Defs.’ Resp. Pls.’ SUF “Defs.’ Resp.” ¶
83, ECF No. 87-1; Grossman Decl. Exs. CC, DD, ECF No. 72-32, 72-33.)

Furthermore, Judge Klausner lays out the judicial standard. Essentially, in order to grant summary judgment, no material facts can be in dispute. And he finds there are some factual questions (hence the pair of denials).

Page 3

Also, the judge begins to lay out the arguments here. And the first one concerns ripeness. As defense tried to claim the action was premature until the full-length Axanar film was completed (if ever), the judge put an end to that, stating:

“…Through avoidance of premature adjudication, the ripeness doctrine prevents courts from
becoming entangled in abstract disagreements.” Ray Charles Found. v. Robinson, 795 F.3d 1109, 1117
(9th Cir. 2015).

The claim against the Axanar
Motion Picture is not based on “abstract disagreements” and is ripe for adjudication. Ray Charles
Found., 795 F.3d at 1117.

Page 4

Furthermore, the judge gets to subjective substantial similarity. E. g. does a layman think the works are similar? Objective substantial similarity, on the other hand, is more of a point by point check. In addition, the objective test is extrinsic and is based upon measurements, whereas the subjective test is intrinsic and more based upon feelings.

The judge states:

With respect to the first core issue, the Court finds that the Axanar Works have objective
substantial similarity to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works. The Court leaves the question of subjective
substantial similarity to the jury.

As a result of this portion of the ruling, the jury must find subjective intrinsic substantial similarity for a finding for the plaintiffs. And since the jury will most likely see this next image, I suspect that will happen:

Reply Brief: Plaintiffs' Reply to Defense's Response to Plaintiffs' Statement of Uncontroverted Facts, Page 12

Reply Brief: Plaintiffs’ Reply to Defense’s Response to Plaintiffs’ Statement of Uncontroverted Facts, Page 12

Furthermore, there are several more side by side images; that’s just the first one I found in my stack.

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

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  1. Pingback: Axanar Settlement Ends Year-Long Star Trek Case - Semantic Shenanigans

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