Essay by cheatmaster20000University, Ph.D. March 2005

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"Confessional Essay"

It seems like the fight between legal departments at major movie and TV studios and fan producers of websites has reached a fever pitch. In late September, the legal department of Fox TV sent out notices to cease and desist to two webmasters of fan "King Of The Hill" websites. Fox Primetime has cracked down on fan sites before, most notably those saluting "The X-Files."

It boggles the mind why fan sites pose such a threat to the studios. It would seem that for a fan to take the time and spend the money to build a website without any hope of financial reward would be the supreme compliment to a given show. I know of no fan site which makes money. Usually, unless the webmaster has a free account through their College or University, their Internet access and web space costs money. And if not always a money sink, sites like these are always a time sink.

These fans are taking time out of their busy educational and/or work schedules to give these shows free publicity.

Still photographs from movies and TV shows used for reviews and/or given away, with or without autographs, to fans has been a traditional means of promoting a studio's wares. When fans offer stills for other fans to collect on the Internet, they are conducting a type of trade which has for decades existed via the mail and in face to face memorabilia swaps.

There is more controversy about audio and video clips, but the fact remains that 10% of a copyrighted work of art can be duplicated for "fair use" purposes according to the Berne Convention, the current standard of law on copyrights for most of the world. Current audio techniques for the Internet like .AU, .AIFF, and .WAV get very,