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The situation: CBS All Access looks to be a success but with more networks and media giants planning their own streaming platforms the big loser maybe your current streaming mainstay — Netflix. Eighty percent of viewers' hours on the service are actually spent watching old shows and movies — media that belongs to such networks or studios as NBC/Universal, Disney and WarnerMedia, all of whom plan to launch their own streaming channels soon. That's a big loss for Netflix, which says it's already planning to make up the difference with more original content.

1. Burnett's Lawyer Serves Litigation Hold on AxaMonitor and Fan Film Factor

A new chapter opens in the legal conflict between Axanar producer Alec Peters and former director Robert Meyer Burnett:
  • A litigation hold has been served by Burnett's attorney, Torin Dorros, in an email sent to AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza and Fan Film Factor blogger and Axanar surrogate Jonathan Lane.
  • Retain all Axanar information: The letter notifies AxaMonitor and Lane to retain "all documents, materials, [electronically stored information], information, and things related to the Georgia Action [Peters v. Burnett], any Burnett-Axanar litigation, Axanar, and/or Burnett."
  • Shot across the bow: The letter is the second shot across the bow to Peters and his associate, Lane, that Burnett may take legal action against Peters. We reported on March 4 a similar letter was sent by Dorros to Peters' attorney, who has never responded.
  • Leaked information: Dorros' letter notes that his correspondence with Peters' attorney "have unfortunately been publicly disclosed. We can assure that we are looking into this issue, however the disclosure … was not by Dorros Law or Burnett.
What kind of information might Dorros be seeking should Burnett countersue Peters?
  • "Facts, statements and/or allegations" are what Dorros is looking for that have been referenced in AxaMonitor and Fan Film Factor, particularly regarding Peters' suit and any possible claims Burnett may have against Peters.
  • Defamation: Dorros definitely wants information regarding Peters' "conduct and statements toward Mr. Burnett," which Dorros has twice decried as defamatory.
Not targets: Dorros assures AxaMonitor and Fan Film Factor they are not intended as targets of litigation themselves but may hold information Dorros seeks to ensure is not "lost, altered, deleted, or destroyed." Doing so could subject Pedraza and Lane to civil and criminal penalties.
  • A caveat for Lane: Though not currently a target, Lane's relationship with Peters may come under scrutiny by Dorros:

“We do recognize however that there is some question as to the relationship, or extent of the relationship, between Mr. Lane and/or Fan Film Factor and Axanar.”
Topics of interest: The litigation hold specifies a broad list of topics that could come into play should Burnett countersue Peters, including:
  • Peters' current suit against. Burnett; financing and production of Axanar; Axanar Productions’ employment practices; the personal and business relationship between Peters and Burnett; Axanar's and Peters' business operations, finances, taxes and corporate structure; Peters’ business relationship with others in the entertainment and props industries; financing of Axanar and its donors; the CBS/Paramount lawsuit; commercialization of Axanar; fundraising on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms; Pedraza's and Lane's own relationship with Alec Peters, and other conduct or prior correspondences between the parties and/or their counsel.
Lane and Pedraza respond: Lane gave AxaMonitor a statement (excerpted below). His full statement will be published in a follow-up article on
  • 'A non-story': Lane says, "I've been advised to stay out of this matter and say nothing publicly, and so I have been. You'll find that this lawsuit between Alec and Rob has been a non-story on Fan Film Factor. and will remain so."
  • Keeping information: Lane adds, "As for the litigation hold, there seems to be no reason for me not to retain all correspondences I've had with both Alec and I seldom delete anything anyway." He also notes such letters to third parties are common practice in such litigation.
  • As for AxaMonitor, Pedraza notes state and federal laws provide legal protection against efforts to reveal the identity of confidential sources and from having to disclose unpublished information collected in the course of news-gathering.
  • 'In the public interest': "Everything I publish is in the public interest. Anything I don't is work product legally protected in the interest of continued unfettered news reporting," Pedraza says.
Why it matters: Despite Burnett having been served in California weeks ago, Peters has not yet filed the required proof of service with the Georgia court, effectively stalling his suit.
  • Frustration: Burnett appears to be frustrated by the financial drain even pending litigation imposes on him, and appears inclined to retaliate. As the above list of topics demonstrates, his long and wide-ranging relationship with Peters could expose hidden information about Axanar to the light of day. Stay tuned.
Go Deeper »

2. Foundering Patreon Prompts Feel-good Coverage

Photo: Fan Film Factor
ARES STUDIOS SEES PRODUCTIONS at last — by Georgia high school students. Providing facilities for kids is one of Alec Peters' justification for Axanar fans to pay his warehouse rent.

Foundering Patreon: In the midst of the longest dearth of new donations in the Ares warehouse effort, Axanar's mouthpiece, the Fan Film Factor blog, shines a spotlight on the Georgia high school students producing short films on the Ares bridge set.
  • Student films: Blogger Jonathan Lane praises the efforts by kids, led by teacher Pasha Souvorin. Lane features four such films in his blog.
STORY OF A SHOT Kids at work on the U.S.S. Ares bridge set at Axanar's Georgia warehouse. Video/Ares Studios YouTube channel
  • A pitch for Patreon: The feel-good educational opportunity at the Ares warehouse, published early Friday, offers Lane the chance to remind readers Alec Peters' Patreon effort needs help.
  • Drought of donations: Lane's article caps seven days of zero new donors to the $4,000 monthly effort to keep the warehouse open. Except for one day with one new $5 donor, the streak extends to a total of nine days.
Why this matters: No one can deny that students learning skills is a good thing offered by Peters, and their films are certainly heartfelt efforts. But the bigger picture is whether that's really what donors signed up for, or if helping kids was supposed to be a side-benefit of the real goal: providing a production facility for the long-promised Axanar shorts.
  • Money better spent? Ask yourself this: Would the school district rather have free occasional use of the same set over and over again, or would it rather add another $48,000 a year directly to its video program's budget (the amount Peters seeks for the warehouse on an annual basis).
Go Deeper »

3. Tony Todd Dishes on Axanar, Reflects on Career

Veteran Star Trek actor Tony Todd appears on Matt Miller's podcast, Trekzone. At 12:17, talks about the Axanar debacle.
A lot to say: Tony Todd talks with Trekzone's Matt Miller about his storied acting career in Star Trek and other genre work. Inevitably, the topic turns to his association with Alec Peters and Axanar.
  • Todd left the project in 2015 after the success of Christian Gossett's Prelude to Axanar, and following Gossett's own departure — both over concerns about how Peters was managing fans' money that was supposed to go to making the feature film.
  • "Where's the money, and where's the finished product?" Todd asks.
  • Ruined fan films: Though he diplomatically avoids using Peters' name in this instance, Todd laments how Axanar ruined fan films, especially chilling professional actors' involvement in fan productions.
  • Using his image: Todd complains about how Peters continued to use his image to promote the feature in which Todd was never to appear and to sell merchandise, such as Axanar-labeled coffee.
Go Deeper »

Short Takes: Queer Trek; renewed CBS-Viacom merger talk

The history of queer representation on Trek: Representing LGBTQ+ characters on Star Trek has a long, storied and kinda mucked-up past, including what some consider missteps in Star Trek: Discoveryio9 tells the tale.

CBS-Viacom merger on again? Some are saying it's for real this time, with CBS board members authorizing substantive talks with its ugly step-sister company. Some Star Trek fans regard the possibility with panacea-like fervor, insisting that unifying the franchise's two owners solves every problem they believe it suffers from.Yeah, right. NBC News reports.

In Case You Missed It …

Get Thee Back to the Future! Now you know where Robert Zemeckis got the idea for his iconic time travel movie. Or not. William Shakespeare’s Get Thee Back to the Future! is a delightful parody, with every scene and line of dialogue re-created with authentic Shakespearean rhyme, meter, and stage directions. From Quirk Books.

Time travel to Scotland can be romantic, right? Too cheap to pay for Starz? Now you can finally check out the time travel series Outlander, starting in May on Netflix. The show features the work of several Trek alumni, including showrunner Ronald Moore (DS9, Battlestar Galactica). Book Riot reports.

Cable's losing almost a million subscribers. Karma's catching up to the greedy cable TV providers who squeezed customers dry for decades. Three of the biggest, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, lost 900,000 subscribers this past quarter. AT&T, the new owner of HBO, took the biggest hit — nearly half of the cord-cutters. It's flailing about, trying to come up with new services to try to keep customers.

Find Us on Super Geeks

Join AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza every week on the Super Geeks podcast, and Geek of Thrones review show, both on Subspace Radio, Mondays  at 8 p.m. PST/11 p.m. EST. If you miss it live check the "rewind" section for recorded episodes. Super Geeks is hosted by George Silsby. Check out the Facebook page, The Real Super Geeks.
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