CBS Censors The Icarus Maneuver

4/5/20249 min read

As of April 4th, 2024, CBS issued a copyright claim against the Youtube distribution of "The Icarus Maneuver" and Youtube removed the film from viewability. Subsequently, CBS issued letters to both Alec Peters and Mark Edward Lewis accusing both men of violating the Axanar settlement agreement, copyright infringement, inferences at collusion, and violation of the CBS fan film guidelines.

Naturally, CBS is in error regarding Mr. Peter's involvement as a producer with the production, and Mr. Lewis is not party to the Axanar settlement agreement. Currently, Mr. Lewis is negotiating with the CBS for the re-release of Icarus pending their approval to stipulated changes to the film.

However, at the moment, Icarus is not available for online viewing. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are hopeful that with attention to CBS' requests and clarity around the nature of Icarus' production and intent, it will soon be available once again.

The response and request from Mr. Lewis:

David Grossman

Loeb & Loeb, LLP
10100 Santa Monica Blvd.
Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90067

RE: Notice of Breach and Copyright Infringement Letter

Good Sir,

Thank you for your excellent letter dated April 4th, 2024 “Notice of Breach and Copyright Infringement.” I represent the production of “The Icarus Maneuver” (short film) as its sole producer. Since I have been involved in numerous fan film productions in various capacities, I am well-aware of the guidelines you have imposed upon your fans, however I have never produced such a production under said guidelines. This being my first, I tried my best to comply with said guidelines, but, in reference to your letter, it is clear that I have fallen short. I apologize for this, and am complying with your clear requests for changes as listed below.

However, please be advised, that several of your assertions and claims in the record are inaccurate, and I take this opportunity to correct the record you so clearly established. Please make a note of these corrections:

1. “you released on.” I did not release short film on the channels you listed. In fact, I was not aware short film had been so released on several of the venues you maintain. Instead, let the record show that my friend Alec Peters graciously offered to release short film on his page and youtube channel as he has done with a previously released fan film based in the Axanar story “Interlude” with which you have taken no umbrage.

2. “Paramount and CBS have also learned that you intend to create and release additional related short films.” I have never stated, inferred or written that I have any intention of releasing additional “related short films.” And if I did, I would do so within the guidelines you so kindly reminded me of.

3. “The Infringing Short clearly infringes on Paramount and CBS’s copyrights in the Star Trek Works.” Short film does apparently fall short of the guidelines, but I had no intention of straying outside the guidelines or intentionally degraded your intellectual property or its fair use. I pray you see my good faith actions of using the required paragraph at the end of the production, keeping the episode below 15 minutes, and the many other aspects with which we did comply.

4. “You must immediately cease and desist from all activities associated with the creation, reproduction, performance, display, marketing and distribution of the Infringing Short and any related productions.” It is important to establish jurisdiction around any claim, and since you have no legal, managerial or ethical grounds to forbid me from participating in any related productions (such as Alec Peter’s Axanar productions) and your use of the word “related” being too vague upon which to take actionable compliance, let the record show I must ignore your demand pending proof of clear jurisdiction, evidence and/or definition.

5. “To be absolutely clear, while there is certainly a Star Trek Universe, inhabited by well-known characters, races and planets, there is no such thing as the “Axanar Universe” and every future attempt to create such infringing content will be rejected.” I’m sure you’ll agree that existential conversation around what constitutes or defines a universe should be done over drinks. Any reference I may have made to an “Axanar Universe” should be construed specifically and expressly as me referring to the 4-years-war story created by FASA games which I played incessantly with my brother while I was a child. Specifically, and most regularly, “Starship Combat Simulator.” I apologize if in so coining the word “universe” I offended.

6. “Additionally, in creating and releasing the Infringing Short, Mr. Peters and Axanar Productions have also committed clear breaches of the Settlement Agreement with Paramount and CBS” Let the record show that the credits clearly state I created short film, not Axanar Productions or Alec Peters. Any inference or testimony to the contrary is in error. And while neither myself nor my production company are party to your agreement with Mr. Peters, nor will I entangle myself with your arguments about his behavior or compliance therein, I do believe he and/or his production company distributing another Star Trek fan film is within his purview under your settlement (since you had no issues with him, again, releasing “Interlude” on his page).

7. “The Infringing Short was written by Mr. Peters personally, and includes footage that was created for the originally-planned Axanar film. The creation and existence of the Infringing Short therefore constitutes a breach of the Settlement Agreement.” Let the record show that your guidelines do not preclude Mr. Peters from writing anything for anyone. However, let the record show that since I have had access to the original script of Axanar (as many have), I used Mr. Peters’ writing therein as the “script” for short film. And, in alignment with WGA rules and ethical considerations, I credited him. Also, the footage/shots in question are freely available to everyone and have been used in multiple other productions. As I recall, as a part of your settlement agreement, said footage was to be allowed as free-use. Even still, in your guidelines there is no mention of issues with the use of footage from other fan films or even from Prelude to Axanar. Although my interest in using footage for which I had access as the sound designer-turned-director of the two Axanar episodes you mentioned was opportunistic, since it will not be used in the Axanar episodes, and I purchased said footage from the production, under UCC §3-306 and §3-602, the footage does not belong to Axanar Productions. Again, under your guidelines, said footage is free-to-use, since I am producing it free-and-clear of any entanglements with the Axanar production company and Alec Peters. And while Alec Peters is, indeed, an actor in short film, your agreements with him has not hindered his participation in numbers of other fan films which are currently online reprising his role as “Garth of Izar.” None of these productions are currently under your scrutiny or censorship whether compliant with the guidelines or not.

8. “Mr. Lewis’ collaboration with Alec Peters is neither innocent nor is it coincidental, and he will be held liable for his misconduct.” I can pass no judgement on your arguments or assertions with Mr. Peters nor can I agree with them. However, you are correct that my collaboration on Axanar is not coincidental, since I have been with the Axanar production longer than anyone. Moreover, if your assertion that our collaboration is not innocent on Axanar - inferring a nefarious intent to violate or damage the Star Trek IP or premeditate violation of the guidelines - let the record show that my interest is strictly in creating the best possible media and assisting others to do the same. My track record and contributions to the filmmaking community proves this (with such websites as and other educational resources). Let the record show that I am, indeed, involved with the Axanar production as co-director and in many other capacities, because I love Star Trek, the Four Years War FASA story, and I will always be actively involved in supporting filmmakers such as the brave men and women who dare to make Star Trek fan films at this time (such as my friends Alec Peters, James Cawley, Vic Mignoga and others). Also, your use of the pronoun “he” could infer that you are going to hold me liable for my misconduct, which I pray is not the case, since, aside from missing the mark with the guidelines here, there is no such misconduct of which I am aware.

9. “Mr. Peters may have told Mr. Lewis that the Infringing Short would be within the Star Trek fan film guidelines – this is incorrect. Not only does the Infringing Short clearly utilize Paramount and CBS’s copyrighted material and constitute a breach of the Settlement Agreement,” Let the record show that Mr. Peters has told me no such thing. Nor did I seek out Mr. Peters’ advice on the matter of guideline compliance, although in retrospect perhaps I should have. As to your judgement that an independent release of a Star Trek fan film by the director of another Star Trek fan film violates your guidelines, I’ll need your guidance as to where such language exists. And I’ll repeat, short film is not party to your settlement with Mr. Peters. And as to the use of Paramount and CBS’ copyrighted material, we agree, and it was so done under the guidelines to the best of my ability.

10. “it also clearly runs afoul of the fan film guidelines in numerous ways, including, without limitation…” (numbered sections parallel your numbered claims):

(1) I have no control over what is posted on the youtube page. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that what was being mentioned there was the inclusion of several other producers who are producing additional and separate Four Years War story short films who, like me, are excited to expand the love of Star Trek, the Four Years War narrative and your IP. As stated earlier, I have no plans to release another Star Trek fan film.

(2) I apologize for the oversight on my part around the subtitle. I have remedied this.

(3) I’m not aware that music is listed as a concern of the guidelines, and since it is entirely impossible for a Star Trek fan film to be “wholly original” when we also use copywritten words like “Klingon,” “Enterprise,” “Warp Speed,” and copyrighted/patented logos and wardrobe, I’m not aware that deploying a theme (properly credited) of music denotes anything different. I made special care to use no copyrighted recordings and all music is personally written by myself using only the two themes used widely by other fan films within your guidelines. Please adjust the guidelines to have clarity around the use of musical themes. I appreciate you grandfathering this production into the fair use of those themes in a fan film production as you have so many others.

(4) I, again, apologize for the omission of the website disclosures. I have remedied this.

(5) I was not aware that the Axanar team was exploiting the short film for monetary gain. Thank you for making me aware of this as this is a clear violation of the guidelines. I have remedied this.

(6) I, again, apologize for the errant deployment of the copyright symbol. I have remedied this.

If my records differ from yours, please provide your evidence so that I may review and update my records within 14 days. If I do not hear from you within that time by United States Postal Mail, I will accept your non-performance, non-response as your full acceptance of my evidence. Please be advised that you have entered into a legal proceeding with your letter and all administrative law rules now apply. Thus, such a non-response, once certified, may nullify your right to respond or supply additional evidence.

I appreciate your offer to have me “cease and desist from all activities associated with the creation, reproduction, performance, display, marketing and distribution of the Infringing Short and any related productions” and I’ll happily do so upon proof of claim:

1. that my compliance in the above ways does not bring the production into full compliance with the fan film guidelines,

2. that short film is produced by Alec Peters and/or Axanar Productions,

3. that any affiliation with Mr. Peters and Axanar does not come solely from our personal friendship and my participation as a crew member (not a producer) on Axanar, and,

4. that my producing of short film is not to create a non-commercial enjoyment of the Four Years War intellectual property with an intention to comply with the fan film guidelines.

I humbly request you allow short film to be reposted, once again after changing it to comply with your guidelines. Please note: I am happy to supply you with an online version of the film for you to review before I repost it pending your approval.

As an ardent fan of your IP, I have no quarrel with your office or your requirements to police the guidelines of fan films, and I pray your consideration of short film includes no special malice due to my independent participation with Alec Peters, Axanar or any of the other many fan films in which I have participated including:

Yorktown: a Time to Heal
Kitumba: Star Trek New Voyages
World Enough and Time: Star Trek New Voyages
Holiest Thing: Star Trek New Voyages
Mind Sifter: Star Trek New Voyages
Torment of Destiny: Star Trek New Voyages
Prelude to Axanar: Ares Studios
Interlude: Fan Film Features

All of which are currently available online without interference from your office whether compliant with the fan film guidelines or not.

Thank you for your vigorous and vigilant protection of the canon of Star Trek.


Mark Lewis

Mr. Peters' Response