Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Announced

CBS and Paramount Studios have released the official guidelines for Star Trek fan films which must be followed in order to avoid objections and legal action against the creators of the fan productions.

In an article posted on, fans were thanked for continued support and enthusiasm over the decades, and for keeping interest active with fan film productions. The link to the official fan film guidelines are then presented with the stated intent of bringing fan films “back to their roots.”

The guidelines are as follows:

CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek. Therefore, CBS and Paramount Pictures will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional and amateur and meet the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

  • The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

  • The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

  • The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

  • If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

  • The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

  • The fan production must be non-commercial:

    1. CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.

    2. The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.

    3. The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.

    4. The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.

    5. No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

    6. The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.

  • The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy.

  • The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:
    “Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

  • Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law.

  • Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.

CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion. These guidelines are not a license and do not constitute approval or authorization of any fan productions or a waiver of any rights that CBS or Paramount Pictures may have with respect to fan fiction created outside of these guidelines.

Many fans are drawing parallels to the official Star Wars fan film guidelines, although there are some who feel these are more restrictive and signal an end to fan films (at least as we know them). What do you feel about the guidelines? Do you feel they are fair, or too strict? Let us know in the comments.

Trek Radio staff members, Risa, Deyvid, Mundane and Maverick went on air with a special broadcast to discuss these guidelines. An archive of the broadcast will be posted here when available.

by Deyvid

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One Comments to “ Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Announced ”

  • Richard Svensson September 15, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I am actually working on a couple of Trek fan films, one Klingon-related, and one concerning the myth of Darmok and Jelad (from the episode “Darmok”). As far as I can see, my projects will adhere to all of the above demands, but sure; these rules are really a list of restrictions, and they will put a spanner in the works of many a future fan project.