Student gets a true taste of network’s blood on Facebook

Senior Brittany Breen meets True Blood actor Ryan Kwanten. Breen was contacted by HBO after creating a True Blood fan page on Facebook that the network felt violated intellectual propery laws.

By Katherine Johnson

It was moments after the premiere of the new HBO hit series True Blood in 2008 when a newly devoted fan logged on to Facebook to see if there was a fan page that she could join.

Brittany Breen, a senior and sister of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, decided to create her own page after her search for a fan page yielded no results. She was determined to share her love with the rest of the show’s new fans.

“It was really easy,” Breen said. “I put in basic information about the show, for example, what I like about the plot, characters, etc., and fans started joining from all over the world.”

The True Blood fan page Breen created was an instant success, generating thousands of fans and becoming a popular page on Facebook. There was a lot of buzz being created about the show in the first few days brought about by the help of the Web site.

“I didn’t only track the number of fans,” Breen said. “You can track the number of ‘likes’ and comments and the quality of the posts.”

With the newfound popularity of the page, however, came some trouble. Breen was soon asked by HBO to take down the page because the network felt the fan page violated legal rights and intellectual property laws.

“I got a complaint from Facebook saying that I was impersonating HBO, and they had filed a complaint,” Breen said. “[They wanted me to] fill out a form stating how I was affiliated with HBO and True Blood.”

Even though the complaint stated that Breen’s site was in violation of copyright laws and that Breen was impersonating the network, the Web site has not been taken off the Web yet since she refused to fill out the form.  However, the site currently has over 73,000 fans and continues to grow each day.

“I was so impressed by the exponential rate by which fans joined the page,” said senior Ally Watson. “I mean, we’re talking about HBO compared to the efforts of a college student.”

While HBO eventually released its own fan page for the show, Breen is still excited about the buzz that her page has caused on Facebook.

“I just think it’s really cool that Facebook and other social-networking sites give everyday people the power to connect with people all over the world with similar interests,” she said.

True Blood takes place in the fictional town of Bon Temps, La.  It focuses on the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress, who falls in love with Bill Compton, a vampire.

Breen’s fan page has attracted people from all over the world, though most fans are from the United States. Many of the fans are women who enjoy discussing the things that they find most interesting about the show.

Breen is currently getting the fan page ready for the June premiere of the third season of the show by posting spoilers and what fans want to see happen. She’s also paying attention to what they say in response to the other fang-bangers (vampire groupies) and fans’ suggestions.

Even through all the problems facing the fan page, it is still going strong and Breen is proud of her accomplishments. While the conflict with HBO has currently subsided, only the future will tell what will happen between this college student and the HBO network.

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