CBS Officials

Main article: CBS Studios
See also: CBS-Viacom split, Axanar, Crowdfunding Behind New CBS Moves Against Fan Films

In his account of an August 2015 meeting with CBS, Axanar producer Alec Peters named two CBS officials from whom he sought guidance regarding what kind of activities Axanar Productions could engage in surrounding production of its film, Axanar.

John Van Citters of CBS Licensing and Bill Burke of CBS Consumer Products … told us they would not tell us what we could or could not do. And contrary to popular myth, there are no guidelines by CBS. In fact they refuse to give any guidelines to fan films.1)

What Happened?

Bill Burke

Peters emerged from the meeting prepared to move ahead with production of Axanar; CBS, on the other hand, sounded like it was preparing to take legal action.2)

Who Are They?

Here are the profiles of the two men Peters met with:

CBS Consumer Products

John Van Citters

CBS Consumer Products is a unit of the CBS Corporation. It manages the worldwide licensing, merchandising, and video activities for a diverse slate of properties, including Star Trek, owned or controlled by the CBS Corporation, including CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Distribution, as well as from the company’s extensive library of titles, Showtime and CBS Films. Additionally, the group oversees online sales of programming merchandise.3)

Bill Burke is senior vice-president of marketing at CBS Consumer Products. He works in New York City. Burke leads marketing strategy for CBS Consumer Products properties.

John Van Citters has been vice president of product development at CBS Consumer Products in Los Angeles since 2006.

See also: CBS Official Explains Fan Film Guidelines

New Moves on Fan Films

On April 20, 2016, CBS' Burke reached out to Star Trek–Horizon creator Tommy Kraft, strongly suggesting Kraft cancel his sequel’s planned $250,000 crowdfunding campaign, citing the legal fallout from Axanar’s activities. Burke indicated more fan productions were getting a similar call.

On March 31, 2018, according to British fan producer Samuel Cockings, CBS Legal emailed him suggesting he delay releasing his movie, Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly, because of issues that appeared to be related to Cockings not adhering to CBS’ fan film guidelines which may have included:

  • His use of audio and video from official Star Trek productions (Guideline 2).
  • Using “Star Trek” in the title of the film and failing to include the subtitle, “A Star Trek Fan Production” (Guideline 3).
  • The film’s 50-minute runtime, 20 minutes longer than suggested by the guidelines (Guideline 1).

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