Stage 9

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Title: Stage 9
Creator: Scragnog and many others
Date(s): 2016-2018
Medium: VR Experience, Virtual Reality Recreation
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
External Links: Official Site, Archived version of Official Site,
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Stage 9 was a fan project, to create a virtual reality recreation of the Star Trek Enterprise. Over the two years it was available, the recreation was available for free, and put out ten distinct releases.

What is Stage 9?

The aim of the Stage 9 project is to recreate the sets used in Star Trek The Next Generation in Unreal Engine 4 with a focus on attention to detail.

The eventual goal is to allow you to explore every part of the ship that you’ve seen on the show and interact with it.[1]

The creators of this project received a cease & desist order from license holders CBS in September 2018. All development ceased, and with TPTB unwilling to compromise, Stage 9 was taken offline.

Stage 9 was described as a work of fanart by its developers.

Not long after the cease and desist, the developers formed a company 'Messy Desk Interactive', and started work on The Orville - Interactive Fan Experience, and in 2020, they started designing Starship Simulator.

Stage 9 Developers Announcement

On behalf of all of the developers, we’d like to say that we’re grateful and humbled for all the support our fans have been sending our way after the news broke. We have, however, read a couple of false statements being passed around on social media, and would like to briefly clarify them here:

Stage 9 is and always was intended as a free and non-profit fan-made project. None of the developers involved received any form of payment or compensation of any kind for helping out with the development. We haven’t ‘lawyered up’, and we don’t intend to. No lawyer representing us ever called CBS or was at all involved when we tried to negotiate a solution for this. We’re just a group of fans, we respect CBS’s right to protect their IP, we just hoped to find an amicable solution that would leave everybody happy.

Once again, we’re very thankful for all the support on social media, we hope to continue seeing you all out there during this journey.[2]

The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.

A quote from Jean Luc Picard referenced by Scragnog in his final video update

Fan Reaction and Opinions

In light of the removal of Stage 9 many fans discussed issues of fair use, and what constituted a transformative work.

STAGE9 was a free fan project, hardly different than writing fan fiction or sharing drawings, it is embarrassing that anyone would defend this legal bullying preventing a fan from sharing a hobby with other fans.[3]

but a personal drawing of copyrighted material is probably covered under fair use.

Nope, that's a derivative work, unless a judge deems it is sufficiently different from the original as to be transformative. For example, if you made a sketch of Captain Picard directly viewed from a paused scene, that technically copyright infringment; if, however, you did that but in a Picasso-esque cubist style, that's probably not copyright infringment by virtue of it's transformative nature.
Of course, such a ridiculously minor infringment would be laughed out of court if anyone tried to pursue it.[4]

It still doesn't fall under fair use as they are still using some one else's property in a non-transformative way, that was not educational or a parody.

eh not seeing any harm done to star trek from this. Many of the rooms were made up with their own imagination, not copied. Not trying to profit from it. The verdict is in.... Stage 9 declared Fair Use.
Not your decision to make.[5]

Links and Further Reading