Legal Battle Over Speaking Klingon

Legal Battle Over Speaking Klingon


Sunday, May 1, 2016–Los Angeles, California–A legal question seemingly from outer space is creating quite a stir in the Star Trek universe. Can the use of Klingon, the language which was created for the fictional film, be subject to potential infringement of copyright law? Can it be used by an independent filmmaker? Do CBS and Paramount have ownership rights over the Klingon language?

Darren Kavinoky weighs in on the Klingon language and potential copyright infringement of its use on CNN International. Joining John Vause on the news desk, the two discuss the merits of the legal case filed by CBS and Paramount.

“Some Star Trek fans are taking the shows’ creators to court over the ownership of the fictional “Klingon” language. CNN speaks to criminal attorney Darren Kavinoky about the case.” Source: CNN

“This is raising a lot of legal questions, so Darren Kavinoky is here to sort through this for all of us,” says John Vause. Vause made a note to the viewers that CNN would be running native Klingon subtitles throughout the segment to translate prompting Kavinoky to joke, “So I won’t have to speak in my native Klingon [tongue].”

“This lawsuit is about can an invented language actually be copyrighted, like something out of Star Trek or Harry Potter for instance,” explains Vause.

“Right,” responds Kavinoky. He adds, “It is so interesting. This really is a case of first impressions. As I was doing legal research into the story, there’s a very widely reported case involving Oracle where a computer language was at issue in that case. But this is the first time that we’ve had anything like this. And of course from the perspective of the movie lot from Paramount. Their position is this was a language that was created as part of a script, something that is subject to copyright protection.”

“When this language was first created, this was created for entertainment value.  This wasn’t created so that other people could go on and actually use it as a language.  And that is fundamentally where the point of departure is,” explains Darren Kavinoky.  “When you go back to what was very first intended…this was for a movie script.”

John Vause on CNN

Darren Kavinoky
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