As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Star Trek will tell you, there's some truly devoted fans of the series and franchise.
Whole books have been translated into Klingon, Hamlet was adapted into the language and there's even a heavy metal band that sings in Klingon whilst wearing prosthetic make-up and armour from Star Trek. The language, which was given a more formal setting by writer Marc Okrand in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, has been in use since 1984.
Fans have gone on to create fully working English-Klingon dictionaries. However, Paramount CBS, the creators behind Star Trek, are now locked in a legal battle with hardcore fans who want to ensure that the Klingon language belongs to fans and not to corporate interests.
Paramount CBS has already begun shutting down fan films; most recently shuttering the production on Star Trek: Axanar. Their case also brought up the usage of the Klingon language, which they feel is original and copyrightable. However, with some fancy legal manuevering, they've managed to rope in a federal judge as the language doesn't meet the criteria of being usable. In fact, they even cited a 19th century Supreme Court ruling in the process.
"This argument is absurd since a language is only useful if it can be used to communicate with people, and there are no Klingons with whom to communicate," said a member of Paramount's legal team, David Grossman. "The Klingon language is wholly fictitious, original and copyrightable, and Defendants' incorporation of that language in their works will be part of the Court's eventual substantial similarity analysis. Defendants' use of the Klingon language in their works is simply further evidence of their infringement of Plaintiffs' characters, since speaking this fictitious language is an aspect of their characters."
Look, it's all legalese to us, but it does strike us that the continual belligerence from Paramount to Star Trek fans is going to further alienate one from the other. Sure, copyright is important and Paramount should protect it, but there's nothing here to suggest for a second that these fans are looking to flaunt the law so they can make some money.
This is passionate people working on something they care deeply about. Not only that, at some point, a piece of work or art no longer belongs to those who made it, but to everyone who loves it.
Anyway, the real way to sort this legal battle is a fight to death with Bat'leths.