The War against Fandom

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Press Commentary
Title: The War against Fandom
Commentator: Steve Silberman
Date(s): 04 June 1997
External Links: The War against Fandom

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The War against Fandom is an article about the crackdown of big media companies on fansites in 1990s. The original topic line read: "Somewhere between big-media lawyers and obsessive fan sites lies a battlefield."

For months, webmasters of unofficial Star Trek sites have been embroiled in disputes with Paramount/Viacom - a clampdown that fans say followed on the heels of the launch of the official Trek site, Continuum, on MSN. Last October, Fox cracked down on the hosts of unofficial sites for Millennium - a show hyped with the slogan, "The Internet is buzzing." In early May, fans of the band Oasis got cease-and-desist letters from the band's management, which inspired one young aficionado, Jack Martin, to launch the Oasis Webmasters for Internet Freedom. The escalating battles between fans and media companies over copyright violations on the Web point toward a deeper issue - how we define the role of fandom in the making of pop culture.

The article summarizes the problem as one of media companies wanting to parade their Web savvy in the marketplace and to funnel all the Net traffic into a few commercial sites, while the fans want to have freedom of speech and assembly in sites of their own choosing and to have fewer constraints on the use of copyrighted materials. It also refers to an incident in 1995 "when Jeanette Foshee was slammed with a cease-and-desist order for circulating a set of Simpsons icons she had drawn herself."