Web Sucks TV's Blood

Buffy Fans Bite Back— and Bring a Larger Issue to Light

The WB and Fox, which have denounced the digitization of their property, had little to say about the larger situation brewing, wherein all their products could be up for grabs in cyberspace. Steve Feldstein, vice president of marketing and communications for Fox, offered only this comment: "Fox is very serious about protecting its property. We work closely with the Motion Picture Association and other organizations to thwart all piracy."

These words aren't as hollow as they sound. Fox has developed such a reputation for protecting its copyrights that the company has inspired an expression among pirates— "getting Foxed," the condition of having your site shut down by a corporation. But unauthorized data trafficking is nearly impossible to stop; and it's only a matter of time before illicit pay-per-view systems emerge, if they haven't already. As a source who wanted to be referred to only as "an industry shithead" dejectedly put it, "Anything that turns into ones or zeros is going to be trouble."

Goodman is not so fearful. The ramifications of black-market Buffy strike him as compelling enough that, legalities aside, he is considering making "Graduation"— the RealMedia version— part of the museum's collection.

Without a Slayer? Buffy lovers have put a postponed episode on the Web.
Without a Slayer? Buffy lovers have put a postponed episode on the Web.

"This is part of a very interesting story, the very finely woven relationship between established media and new media," he says. "In this instance, new media isn't replacing television— it's about the back-and-forth dialogue between them. . . . The Internet is not television; its strength right now is that it's the anti-television."

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