Last fall an unused script for the cult 1960s television show turned up after being forgotten for years. Its author, the science-fiction writer Norman Spinrad, announced that it would become an episode of a popular Web series, “Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II,” which features amateur actors in the classic roles of Capt. James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and other crew members of the starship Enterprise.
But then another player stepped in: CBS, which said it owned the script and blocked a planned Web production of it. Trekkies were appalled.
At issue is the extent to which fans can participate in a franchise that has yielded more than $4 billion in merchandising as well as 11 feature-length movies that have grossed some $1.5 billion.
When does fan created work help or hurt a franchise? And who gets to decide?