It turns out that the copyright infringement trial so many feared might set a disastrous precedent for fan films and fan fiction won’t be happening after all. The Hollywood Reporter reports that, just a few days after a judge ruled the case could proceed to jury trial, both parties in the Star Trek: Axanar lawsuit have agreed to settle out of court.
“Axanar and Mr. Peters have agreed to make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation, and have also assured the copyright holders that any future Star Trek fan films produced by Axanar or Mr. Peters will be in accordance with the ‘Guidelines for Fan Films’ distributed by CBS and Paramount in June 2016,” states the parties’ joint announcement of a settlement.
The article notes that the writing was on the wall after the judge’s ruling. If the matter were to go before a jury, it seemed likely to go in CBS and Paramount’s favor. That being the case, it’s not surprising they would seek to compromise in order to avoid all that extra expense that probably would not have done them any good anyway.
From one perspective, it might be a little disappointing that the case didn’t get to have its day in court—but on the other hand, considering the possible precedents that could have resulted, it’s probably just as well to let the legal status of fan works stay a little murky for now.