Fans Fight Fans for Star Trek Sets

Back on the 31st October, I wrote a piece about the sabotage and theft from Starbase Studios, and until today I have been very tight-lipped about the parties involved and the particulars of this situation, but due to court documents filed on 26th October by Glen Wolfe, names have now become public knowledge, and I feel I can share a little more about what I know.

Around June of this year, Starbase Studios had one of its key players Dan Reynolds leave due to a disagreement on how to “charge” would be fan filmmakers for use of the sets, Dan wanted to charge a fee of $500 per day to shoot on the sets, yet Scott, Kent and others did not want to charge anything, all they wanted was a donation to offset the expenses of electrical and utilities used. This is Fair right? We all know that attempting to profit from Star Trek is a BIG no no! And as such in Dec 2015 it landed one fan production in court with the IP owners, so asking for a donation for things like Electrical bills is not what one would class as profit but more of an upkeep charge.

So, after this upsetting time, things did settle down for a while at Starbase, however, fast forward to August this year, and we have the incident of theft and sabotage done by Glen Wolf due to his removal of items as listed in this > article <, yet even though I knew all this it was not until today that, I felt that I could mention names of the people involved in the incident due to it not being publically available knowledge.

In the effort to put an end to this mess before it went the legal route, parties on both sides tried to come to a settlement, with both sides getting external help to try and mediate an agreement as where to go next, even with Scott and Kent offering Glen everything he wants including becoming caretaker of the sets, Glen was just not interested and went ahead and filed the lawsuit.

In court documents filed on 26th October, Glen Wolfe has filed a civil suit against, Starbase Studios, Kent Edwards, Scott Johnson and Charles Pelsor. In these documents, Glenn accuse Starbase Studios and the named above of retaining his “personal property” as listed below with “his” extremely overestimated value of each item(s).

  • 2/3 of the Exeter Bridge – $6.500.00
  • Cawley Bridge Pieces – $3.333.33
  • Transporter room set built for “His Name is Mudd” – $3.000.00
  • Corridor set built for “Walking Bear, Running Wolfe” – $15.000.00
  • 1/3 of the Recreation Room set built for “Walking Bear, Running Wolfe” – $1.000.00
  • Food Replicator wall flat built for “Walking Bear, Running Wolfe” $150.00

Totalling – $28.983.33

In their counter-argument, Kent & Scott argue the following points,

Starbase Studios LLC, Kent Edwards  & Scott Johnson do not agree with Glen Wolfe’s  claim of ownership of the sets located at: (Address removed for privacy purposes). We also believe that the criminal case in Marble Falls on the charges of theft and vandalism has gone unaddressed and was not investigated thoroughly. We see this matter as much more than just a simple Personal Property dispute.

POINTS OF CONTENTION:

  • The bridge set is the property of the Jimm & Joshua Johnson. Starbase Studios is their appointed caretaker as of August 25, 2013.
  • Starbase Studios is not Business in the strict sense of the word, but, an organization to facilitate the coming together of Star Trek fans, for the purposes of friendship and to share resources and knowledge in the making of Star Trek Fan films. There has been no profit made from the operation of Starbase Studios, nor was there ever an intent to turn a profit.
  • All fans of Star Trek are welcome to Join Starbase Studios in helping other fans produce their films, or use the facilities to produce their own film. The only stipulation Starbase Studios had was to ask for a donation to help cover operating expenses. There was no set fee schedule, and the donation amount was left to the discretion of the donor.
  • Mr, Wolfe first met Mr. Johnson while both were volunteering for another production In Ticonderoga New York.
  • In 2014 Mr. Wolfe visited Starbase Studios and donated funds for materials to build the transporter room chamber set.
  • During this time, Starbase Studios facilitated several other productions with all parties sharing studio resources, Further, in the spirit to which Starbase Studios was founded, many of these fans helped each other on the various productions, donating time, money, talent, work, materials and or skills. Each volunteer signed a waiver of the a fore mentioned upon entrance to the studio.
  • Wolfe assisted on several productions before starting his own.
  • In the production of two of his own films, Mr. Wolfe enjoyed all of the benefits provided by Starbase Studios. Use of sets and equipment I, volunteer labor, and skilled technicians. These services on the open market would be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  • In recognition of Mr. Wolfe’s contributions to Starbase Studios, he was offered 1/3 ownership, and refused.
  • There was no dispute between Starbase and Mr. Wolfe until shortly after the move to Arkansas in December 2016.
  • Starbase Studios has always operated on the notion of donate what you can. Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Reynolds objected to this policy and wanted to charge a fee of $500 per day.
  • Further, Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Reynolds wanted to charge productions for their services, above and beyond the studio fee. Mr. Wolfe has no professional experience in film making, it is absurd for him to ask a $500 a day fee for his services as producer/director.
  • Wolfe and Mr. Reynolds are behaving as if this were a business venture. When it s nothing more than an elaborate hobby, a kin to cos play or model railroading. Both Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Reynolds are fully aware of this, as both have volunteer time and services on several other productions.
  • Wolfe is well known as a sponsor/donor in the fan film community.
  • These films are allowed to be made by the good graces of the IP owner, CBS/Paramount. Under that public agreement, there can be no profiting. The suggested day rate $500 per day by Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Reynolds would violate this agreement, as the set designs, color schemes, and prop designs are the IP of CBS/Paramount.
  • On or before August 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm, Mr. Wolfe confiscated several set pieces without the knowledge of Mr. Johnson or Mr. Edwards.
  • In the removal of these Items the sets were damaged.
  • Wolfe does not acknowledge possession n of all the missing items.
  • Wolfe removed items that were crowd funded or gifted to Starbase Studios.

Points 16 – 19 are related to the list that can be found here

 

But even with both sides arguing over the future of Starbase, when do things that are based on an IP you do not own or have any rights to, become ownable property??

Essentially, yes, they are items that can be owned just like a prop phaser or a replica uniform, however when it comes to things like sets that are not items that can be used for anything else but to film Star Trek on, this is where things become a shade of grey, and when does this become a situation for the IP owners to get involved, not just down to the fact someone is out to possibly profit from their IP, but with the potential media coverage, and brand disrepute this may bring CBS & Paramount, could all parties be seeing a cease and desist in the near future or even a phone call or two??

But from where everything stands currently, one undeniable thing is, Glen Wolfe’s actions in filing this lawsuit, his actions have the potential to end Starbase Studios once and for all, and put an end to something that has endured for a long time.

I will be keeping a close eye on things, and I will be reaching out to all parties involved to see if they care to comment on this, but in the coming days and possibly months, we might see this going the whole hog, into a courtroom, but I have a feeling that this will not go past mediation.


View the court documents – WOLFE-vs.-Starbase-Studios-LLC-cover-letterNO-ADDRESS – Starbase Studios Reply – NO. 05 CV 17-48-4 Answer 11/14/17

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