Free Speech Is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Web Sites

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Name: Free Speech Is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Web Sites
Owner/Maintainer: created by Deirdre, modified by Tina M, and Deb
Dates: created in the fall of 1996, last modified in February 1997
Fandom: The X-Files
URL: Free Speech is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Sites on the Web, Archived version
Free Speech Is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Web Sites, Archived version
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Free Speech Is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Web Sites is one of the many websites created by fans in protest of the cease and desist letter that a fan had received regarding a website he'd created.

The site included a short recap of the legal battle, sample letters for fans to send to FOX, links to other fans' protest sites, and links to news media articles about the protest.

From more on this topic, see The X-Files Cease & Desist.


The Story:

On Friday, October 25 [1996], the day of the premiere of FOX's heavily promoted new show Millennium, Gil Trevizo, a member of the X-Phile community (fans of the X-Files on the internet), received a cease-and-desist order concerning the Unofficial Millennium site he had donated his hours to creating. When the order was not immediately followed, his account access was frozen, forbidding this college student who maintains several X-Phile mailing lists access to either the web or his email account.

X-Philes, upset by this insult, and fearful that this was just the first step in a campaign by FOX against all unofficial websites, flooded the network with emails protesting the network's actions, even managing to crash FOX's email server. But to no avail ...

Despite all of Gil's efforts to negotiate with David Oakes, the FOX representative, there would be no compromise. The site came down Monday, October 28, and FOX won this battle.

But this does not appear to be the end of the story. In fact, hints have come to light that this may just be the first step in a FOX Network campaign to shut down unofficial web sites for their shows ... a test case to gauge the response.

We intend to give them a response, all right; we intend to fight.

Why a company would insult its fans by forcing down sites that for many are a labour of love, a way of showing their loyalty to the shows and the characters they enjoy, is beyond us. It is becoming clear that this is not just a matter of either copyright or trademark infringement... but that FOX execs want complete and total control over how every facet of their company is portrayed on the internet. If we cannot reach a peaceful conclusion, we are willing to fight.

And we hope that you will join us.

Letter Campaign

Have a favorite website you don't want to see forced down? Know a site-owner who has received a cease-and-desist order from FOX's legal staff? Write! But please be polite ... if we plan to draw attention to our cause, insults will only return to harm us. Here are some example letters ...

A letter written by Lori Bloomer, listed on her protest website.

And a form letter by Deb for anyone that doesn't have the time to write one themselves ...(highlight, copy and paste to use :-)

Dear Mr. Oakes, Mr. Carter and FOX Broadcasting:

This letter is regarding the recent actions being taken by FOX to remove the 'unofficial' Millennium web sites from the Internet. These sites have been displayed on the Internet as arenas for fans to show their support and appreciation for the show, NOT to infringe upon FOX's domain. If you remove these sites from the Internet, you would be removing a valuable tool in promoting your network's programming. The voice of the online fans is loud and carries an enormous amount of weight. Perfect case in point would be the success of 'The X-Files', one of the FOX network's shows. The popularity of this show is monumental, largely due in part to the tremendous support from fans on the Internet. If it were not for the X-Files viewers, your network would not have the most popular show on television for 18- to 49-year-olds, which is, by television standards, the most sought-after age group in the market.

Please know that the people involved with these websites are not out to make money off of FOX and they are not out to 'pull one over' on your network. These are viewers who have volunteered their time to show their enthusiasm for your programs, it's that simple. And alienating your current viewers is no way to earn new ones.


(your name)

(your e-mail addy) [2]


  1. ^ Free Speech is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Sites on the Web, Archived version
  2. ^ Free Speech is Out There: Protecting X-Phile Sites on the Web, Archived version