Star Wars Home Page at UPenn

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Website
Name: Star Wars Home Page at UPenn
Owner/Maintainer: Jason Ruspini
Dates: April 26, 1994 (went live)
Type:
Fandom: Star Wars
URL: it was here (offline, but many of the embedded pages are not, see the Washington Post article below and you can Wayback those links)
links to other pages, including fanfiction (some very explicit), essays, articles, scripts...
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Star Wars Home Page at UPenn was Star Wars website created by a University of Pennsylvania student named Jason Ruspini in 1994.

The site was often called "the unofficial "Star Wars Home Page." It is unknown if this was by the webmaster or other fans.

The page was very popular and sometimes received over 40,000 hits a day.

It got a LOT of press attention from major newspapers, as well as Wired Magazine, something that both garnered fans, but also attention from Lucasfilm.

A Site Description

From a Washington Post article, undated:

Fanning the Flame

Trivia question: What one phrase is repeated by three characters in two Star Wars films? Answer:

"I've got a bad feeling about this" (WAV, 157K). (To hear this sound, you may need to download some software. Get help from our Web Outfitter.)
This is the kind of fan folklore you'll find at Jason Ruspini's Star Wars Home Page, a rebel base of home-grown trivia and links. Apparently Ruspini did such a good job that he's grabbed the attention of Lucasfilm's Storm Troopers — that is, lawyers — who in defense of the mighty brand have asked him to tone down his use of Star Wars copyrights and trademarks (catch the notice posted by Lucasfilm).
Read what are purported to be scripts from the movies. Of particular note is "The Adventures of Starkiller," supposedly a 1975 working draft that Lucas rewrote into "Star Wars." Is it authentic or fan fiction? Only the lawyers know for sure.
If text is too dull, move on to Ruspini's movie sound bites page. There, you can hear everything from the droid o R2D2 chirping in the cockpit to o Darth Vader's labored breathing.
Decorate your desktop with one of the memorable scenes in the Star Wars picture archive. In the PC version of Netscape Navigator 2.0 or above, click an image with your right mouse button and choose "Set As Wallpaper." (My favorite is the "Weird toad thing in front of Jabba's palace", which had about 2 seconds of fame in "Return of the Jedi.")
Dying to know what Lando is talking about when he refers to the Clone Wars? Check the Star Wars timeline. George Lucas would never endorse it, which is exactly why it's so interesting. Frequenters of the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.starwars have reconciled the jumble of unofficial books, official CD-ROM games and movies into a single tapestry. [1]

Subject of Legal Action

The site attracted the attention of Lucasfilm, and because of this, received some sort of a cease and desist.

On April 13, 1996, Lucasfilm contacted Ruspini:

When Ruspini then posted excerpts from the communication with Lucasfilm on his site, fellow fans grew angry and flooded the company with thousands of emails. In May, Lucasfilm issued the following statement:

In May 1996, Lucasfilm issued this statement:

There has been quite a bit of confusion on the internet regarding Lucasfilm's position on Jason Ruspini's web page. Please let us clarify. First and foremost, we are not "shutting down" Jason's website. We are sorry for any confusion that may have emerged from any miscommunication on our part. Lucasfilm appreciates Star Wars fans' support and we want you to be able to communicate with one another. Your energy and enthusiasm makes you an important part of our Star Wars family. As you can understand, it is important, as well, for Lucasfilm to protect the Star Wars copyrights and trademarks. Since the internet is growing so fast, we are in the process of developing guidelines for how we can enhance the ability of Star Wars fans to communicate with each other without infringing on Star Wars copyright and trademarks and we hope to make these guidelines available in the near future.

As we prepare for the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, which will be coming to theaters next year, and as we begin pre-production on the upcoming "prequels," we are now entering an exciting new Star Wars era. Many thanks for your support and interest. [2]
Another fan's summary:

THE LUCASFILM WEB SITE SCANDAL

Although this didn't start on RASSM, it can be viewed as RASSM history because of the part the members played in this monumental event. It began back in September 1996 when without warning news reached RASSM that Lucasfilm Ltd. were searching the Web for unofficial Star Wars sites with a view to closing them down. Why this was was unknown at the time, until people began claiming that they had been sent letters from Lucasfilm telling them that their Star Wars Web site was breaching copyrights and had to be closed. This wasn't true. Lucasfilm had apparently asked a man named Jason Ruspini to close his site, and that is where the rumours had started about a Web site holocaust. Of course these rumours sparked a bitter revolution as far as Star Wars Web site authors were concerned, and this too reached RASSM. A boycott began whereby Star Wars Web site owners, if they were against the proposed closures, would display a special symbol on their sites indicating their disaproval. This was quite a wide-spread protest. But within a matter of weeks Lucasfilm announced that the proposed closure of Jason Ruspini's site had been "a misunderstanding" and they did not plan to close any sites what-so-ever. Many people, upon further evidence of Lucasfilm's activities, still find this hard to believe.

A formal letter written to Jason by Lucasfilm denouncing the closure was printed in the Star Wars Insider issue #30.

1996 [3]

Further Reading

References

  1. see original article for all the wikilinks -- washingtonpost.com: Star Wars Web Expedition, Archived version by Dan Pacheco, WashingtonPost.com Staff (undated)
  2. from a letter printed in Star Wars Insider, #30, quoted many places, one of them at Star Wars Restoration Projects - Website of Michael Fuchs, Archived version , August 7 (sometime after 2015)
  3. The RASSM History Archive, Archived version