2000: Crying Teenage Webmasters
Prior to the 2001 film release of The Philosopher’s Stone (released as The Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.), Warner Bros. began a crackdown on hundreds of Harry Potter fan sites, demanding webmasters relinquish their domain names due to intellectual property right infringement. One such letter was sent to 15-year-old Claire Field, who ran the Harry Potter Guide (harrypotterguide.co.uk), a site about as threatening as an AOL Hometown homepage. Field and her father contacted a British tabloid, which reported that Field was “in tears” over the debacle, and a media brouhaha followed. Warner Bros. soon completely reversed its position and announced it would tolerate any fan site that didn’t seek to pass itself off as official.