Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

Star Trek legal dispute has origins in Klingon

Reprints

qaStaHnuq?—That's Klingon lingo for “what's up?” Klingon is the language created for the Star Trek universe, and the answer, in ordinary English, is “plenty.”

According to news reports, Hollywood, California-based Paramount Pictures Corp. and Studio City, California-based CBS Studios Inc., Star Trek's production company and former network respectively, filed suit in December 2015 seeking to stop production of a crowdfunded Star Trek fan film, “Axanar,” produced by Valencia, California-based Axanar Inc.

Among their contentions in the litigation is the legacy studios' claim of ownership of the Klingon language. The defendants, for their part, claim Klingon is not copyrightable.

Recently stepping into the fray is an amicus brief filed by the Language Creation Society, which opposes the plaintiffs' claim on the basis Klingon has become a living language that has even been used in a marriage ceremony.

“We believe that everyone has the right to use any language … without having to ask anyone's permission,” says the Ridgecrest, California-based organization, which claims 141 members in 27 countries, in a statement.

So, how do you say “Good grief!” in Klingon?