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NEWS@theLogBook.com
Week of January 29, 2001


Fox Broadcasting: owners of the alphabet? A popular web site created by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has come under fire from an unexpected source - but it's not a fan site residing on the campus web servers. WhyFiles.org is a site which routinely posts scientific explanations of timely news events - and for the past year, Fox attorneys have been badgering UW-Madison administrators to take the site down, claiming that it "confuses consumers and infringes on its trademark television show, The X-Files." The catch? UW-Madison has registered the "WhyFiles" name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, just as Fox has with The X-Files. Fox has reportedly offered to settle if the university will surrender that trademark to the network, which would then be willing to license the name back to them. The editor/coordinator of WhyFiles is quoted as saying, "I'm not sure if Fox is trying to get a legal hammerlock on the alphabet or what their motives are, but that's what it seems." UW-Madison's final offer was to steer WhyFiles clear of any science fiction or supernatural-related content, an offer which Fox has rejected in favor of opening a legal battle. WhyFiles.org receives thousands of hits each month, is used by teachers at many grade levels across the country, and does not feature advertising banners or merchandise - which are often the sticking points with studios or networks bringing legal pressure to bear on web entities. We'll be watching this closely - if Rupert Murdoch, rich as he is, does succeed in buying the entire alphabet, we can all expect to revert to good old fashioned numerical IP addresses. Source: Shoptalk


OSHA fines Fox for X-Files crew member's death. A total of $41,000 in fines has been levied at 20th Century Fox Television by California's OSHA office for an incident which occurred last summer. One crew member was killed and six others were injured when their metal scaffolding came into contact with high-voltage power lines during set preparations. OSHA has cited Fox for allowing the worked near the power lines without adequate safety precautions, for failing to secure the scaffolding, and for failing to post a written code of safety at the job site. The production company can challenge the fine within 15 days, but there is no word yet as to whether or not they will contest it. If the fine seems lenient for an incident involving a death on the job, you ain't seen nothing yet - OSHA's findings could open Fox up for liability and civil suits from the dead and injured crew members' families. Source: Hollywood Reporter


Sega bowing out of the console wars? It may not be the kind of industry-wide crash that burned investors in the video game industry in 1983, but it appears that the modern-day console wars between Nintendo, Sony and Sega have claimed a victim. Word has it that Sega will phase the Dreamcast out of production this spring and begin operating under a new business model as a supplier of software to its former competitors. Dreamcast games will continue to be marketed through the end of 2001 in order to empty the company's existing inventory, and technical support will be available indefinitely. But it seems that the majority of Sega's weight will be shifted toward creating games for Nintendo's upcoming home and portable game systems, the Microsoft X-Box, and the Playstation 2. Such franchises as Sonic The Hedgehog, Crazy Taxi and Phantasy Star may show up on these other systems by this year's Christmas shopping season. Sega's only official statement on this strategy is somewhat evasive, simply stating that the company's has yet to officially say that they'll be doing this yet. Source: Daily Variety


JFK is Nowhere, Man! Bruce Greenwood, the hero of UPN's best-ever (and therefore, of course, very short-lived) drama, Nowhere Man, is taking on the role of none other than President John F. Kennedy in the new film Thirteen Days, another take on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kevin Costner, fresh from a string of big-budget bombs (The Postman, anyone?), plays Kennedy's assistant. The movie dramatizes the sometimes made-it-up-as-they-went stabs at diplomacy made by both Kennedy and then-Soviet Premier Kruschev to stave off nuclear war.


Maglev train to become reality in China. Two German engineering firms have inked a contract with Beijing to construct the world's first magnetic levitation, or maglev, train. Operating on the principle of the attraction and repulsion of magnetism, the system would use alternately-polarized supermagnets to push the train away from the track and pull it toward the track simultaneously, resulting in levitation of barely an inch, allowing incredible acceleration with very little noise or vibration. Current plans call for the train to run from Shanghai to the new Beijing airport. The trip only covers 20 miles, but with the maglev train traveling as fast as 260mph, it'll only take about eight minutes. The timetable currently calls for service to begin by 2003. Remind you of the Excalibur bullet cars on Crusade? Source: Associated Press


Movie sign - killer DVD of the week! Rhino Home Video is back with two brand new digitally-dolled-up slices of cinematic silliness. Two classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, The Beginning Of The End and The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman (no, not that Batwoman), are now available on DVD. As with Rhino's previous MST3K releases, these deluxe editions not only feature the entire show divided up into neat chapters, but also include the original, unedited film sans robotic rowdiness. (But the question is...could you take the sheer amount of pain involved in watching these bombs without the help of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo?)


The Beginning Of The End


The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman

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