'Star Trek’ Lawsuit: Copyright of Klingon Language Sparks Debate
Apr 29, 2016 02:10 AM EDT
CBS and Paramount's lawsuit against a fan-made version of 'Star Trek' proved to be much more complicated than initially thought. Language Creation Society has recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendants, arguing the merits of whether the Klingon language could be copyrighted.
According to The Wrap, a huge debate is happening between the plaintiffs, CBS and Paramount, and defendants, producers of "Axanar", regarding the language used. This is after, Language Creation Society's Marc Randazza said Klingon cannot be copyrighted.
He detailed that "It would not take a Vulcan to explain their logic - even the Pakleds would know that nobody can 'own' a language."
The brief added that "Copyright law protects the means of expressing ideas or concepts, but it does not give the copyright holder the right to exclude others from making use of the ideas or concepts themselves. Neither is one permitted to register copyright in a word."
Torrent Freak wrote that previously, the makers of the fan-made spinoff said Klingon language is not copyrightable due to the nature of not being an idea or system and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. However, Paramount and CBS disagreed as they called the argument absurd and pointed out that the Klingon language system is not very useful if there are no real Klingons to communicate with.
Uproxx detailed that last year, Paramount sued the team behind the crowdfunded fan-film "Axanar" and as part of the process, the defendants asked the studio to produce a complete copyrighted elements from Star Trek including the Klingon language. Paramount paid closed-captioning pioneer and linguist Marc Okrand to develop the dialect and write Klingon dictionaries and phrasebooks as official merchandise of the franchise, 'Star Trek'.
Now, it being argued that Klingon is a very much living language. The Klingon Language Institute has focused on translating the English Classics to Klingon. People can even use Google to translate Klingon among other things. Some of these projects are licensed by Paramount; hence, the question of whether the popular cinematic language could be copyrighted.