Effect of Commercialisation and Direct Intervention by the Owners of Intellectual Copyright : A Case Study: The Australian Star Trek Fan Community

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Academic Commentary
Title: Effect of Commercialisation and Direct Intervention by the Owners of Intellectual Copyright : A Case Study: The Australian Star Trek Fan Community
Commentator: Susan P. Batho
Date(s): 2009
Medium: online pdf
Fandom: Star Trek
External Links: pdf is here; archive link
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Effect of Commercialisation and Direct Intervention by the Owners of Intellectual Copyright : A Case Study: The Australian Star Trek Fan Community is a 950-page academic thesis by Susan P. Batho.

Abstract

In the early 1990s, Australian Star Trek fandom appeared to be thriving, with large numbers of members in individual clubs, many publications being produced and conventions being held. The Star Trek phenomenon was also growing, with its profitability being an attractive selling point. In 1994, Viacom purchased Paramount Communications, and expanded the control over its rights by offering licences to the title of Official Star Trek Club for countries outside of the United States, as well licences for numerous commercially sold items At the time they were in negotiation with the Microsoft Corporation to establish an on-line community space for Star Trek to attract the expanding internet fan presence, and relaunching Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books which was part of Paramount Communications, as its sole source of Star Trek fiction, and had organised to launch the Star Trek Omnipedia, a CD produced by Simon & Schuster Interactive. A new Star Trek series, Voyager, was about to appear, and marketing-wise, it was a good time to expand their presence commercially, launch the new website, and organise the fans through Official Star Trek Clubs, feeding them new merchandise, and the new website. The licence was offered in Australia, and three clubs vied for the right to purchase the licence. It was eventually bought by a business, Photon Productions, run by fans who had previously run one of the clubs. That club was wound down in favour of the business and the clubs competing for the title saw the fact that a business had bought the licence as being unfair to fans. Clubs across Australia received “Cease and Desist” letters from the licensing agent for Paramount Communications, Southern Star, and small clubs began to fold after receipt of the letter. Finally a meeting was called, between Paramount Communications and the major Star Trek fan clubs in Australia, and restrictions were placed upon the fans concerning their activities. The nature of fannish activities changed, and many clubs and publications closed down. This research looks at whether the meeting between Paramount Communications and the Star Trek fan clubs had a pivotal role in the changes to Australian Star Trek fandom, or whether there were other contributing factors involved.

Topics Cover

Interviews with Australian Fans

Other Topics

  • the growth of the Star Trek phenomenon commercially
  • Lincoln Enterprises
  • effects of The Viacom Crackdown (1990s)
  • fan activism: the case of Barbara Adams
  • fandom as a cult experience
  • fan cultures and social hierarchy
  • consumption through purchasing, collecting, and participation
  • the growth of Star Trek fandom in Australia
  • zine publishing
  • commercialization and its effect of fan-run cons, zines, and other fan activities

Australian Star Trek Fan Clubs