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Old 04-15-2008, 02:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post The J.K. Rowling Court Case

For anyone not familiar with what's going on....

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A smiling J K Rowling arrived at a Manhattan court today to testify against the publisher of a Harry Potter encyclopaedia.

Ms Rowling brought the copyright lawsuit against RDR Books, the publisher of the "Harry Potter Lexicon" - written by 50-year-old school librarian Steven Vander Ark.

Wearing a grey pinstriped jacket and knee-length skirt, the writer did not speak as she entered the courthouse where she will testify this afternoon.

The trial comes eight months after Ms Rowling published her seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. They have sold more than 400 million copies and been translated into 64 languages, as well as spawning a film franchise that has generated $4.5 billion ($2.8 billion) at the box office.

Ms Rowling said she enjoyed Mr Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon website but argued that the book, which has a price of $24.95 ($15.75), failed to include any online commentary and was “nothing more than a rearrangement of her own material”.

Dan Shallman, one of the writer’s lawyers, told Judge Robert P Patterson – who is hearing the trial without a jury – that Rowling “feels like her words were stolen”. He said the author felt so personally violated that she went through her books identifying alleged similarities with the lexicon.

David Saul Hammer, RDR's lawyer, said the publisher will not dispute that much of the material in the lexicon infringed her copyrights.

But he will argue that it was used for a scholarly pursuit and was therefore legal.

In court papers filed prior to the trial, Ms Rowling said she was “deeply troubled" by the book.

“If RDR’s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the Internet,” she said. “Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

Mr Vander Ark was a teacher and school librarian in Byron Center, Michigan, before recently moving to London to begin a career as a writer.

He said he joined an adult online discussion group devoted to the Harry Potter books in 1999 before launching his own website as a hobby a year later. Since then, neither Ms Rowling nor her publisher had ever complained about anything on it, he said.

In May 2004, Ms Rowling allegedly mentioned his website directly, writing: “This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter (which is embarrassing). A website for the dangerously obsessive; my natural home.”

The website attracts about 1.5 million page views per month as well as contributions from people all over the world, Mr Vander Ark said.

He said he initially declined proposals to convert it into an encyclopedia, in part because he believed until last August that doing so would breach copyright.

But Mr Vander Ark was told by an RDR employee that publishing the lexicon would be legal, he said.

The author insisted that RDR included a clause in his contract that the publisher would defend and pay any damages that might result from claims against him.

He said it was decided that the lexicon would include sections from the Lexicon Web site that give descriptions and commentary on individual names, places, spells and creatures from Harry Potter stories.

In his court statement, Mr Vander Ark said the lexicon “enhances the pleasure of readers of the Potter novels, and deepens their appreciation of Ms Rowling’s achievement.”

On Friday, Mr Hammer said Ms Rowling’s lawyers did not want Vander Ark in the courtroom while Rowling testifies.


I seriously hope she loses this case.
As someone with a deep interest in cult television I swear by small publishers putting out fan written books for a niche market. If JK Rowling wins this case the fall out from it could be huge.

I think she's full of shit when she says “Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

At the moment there is absolutely nothing stopping anybody from writing a fan written reference book , why would writers , film-makers or musicians "protect their creations much more rigorously" if she lost the case when the law enables people be able to write these books already?

It's well known that I am a big fan of Doctor Who , and I must have at least 20 - 30 fan written , self published books on the subject. I've just recently ordered one entitled 'Time and Relative Dissertations in Space: Critical Perspectives on Doctor Who...'. This book has been published by Manchester University Press and is a series of essays written by writers , academics & historians on issues raised in the show & the making of it as well is it's cultural impact.

If J.K. Rowling wins this court case books like this could disappear and i'll be left with 'Official BBC' things like Doctor Who's big book of aliens & monsters who's target audience is your average 9 year old.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Urban Hatemonger View Post
I think she's full of shit when she says “Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”
She's full of ****....she just doesn't want anybody
to write a book that has to do with Harry Potter....I'm sure other authors wouldn't mind if somebody did the same exact thing. I myself think she isn't right in the head, I mean homosexual wizards? Honestly....
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If this is about money being made from something that she didn't come up with, my childhood dreams are going to be shattered.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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everyone who's going to buy a harry potter lexicon has probably bought all her books already, so i really don't see what the point is. i guess she needs something to do when she's not writing children's fiction or swimming in her money pool
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I myself think she isn't right in the head, I mean homosexual wizards? Honestly....
I hope that was sarcasm.

As for the trial and the connection to Dr. Who books, this may be the crucial difference:

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s Rowling said she enjoyed Mr Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon website but argued that the book, which has a price of $24.95 ($15.75), failed to include any online commentary and was “nothing more than a rearrangement of her own material”.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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that Rowling “feels like her words were stolen”

Honest to God!!!
Is she really that original herself?
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Honest to God!!!
Is she really that original herself?
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Shocking echo in here...

Seriously, the woman's a plagiarist.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by adidasss View Post

As for the trial and the connection to Dr. Who books, this may be the crucial difference:
I don't think it's that much of a difference though.
Taking it at a really basic level, if you are writing a synopsis of something that happened in a book , you're going to include what happened in the book. If I write an entry in a reference book about a story where the Kraaags invade the planet Zoooooop in 2456 , then obviously I have to say what happened in the book.
I'm more bothered about how television stations , film studios , record companies & major book publishers are going to react to this if it turns out she wins. I just think the whole thing sets a dangerous precedent for writing reference material about these subjects.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Does anyone here actually know anything more about the book? We're basically just talking out of our asses. If it really is just her own material rearranged a bit I'd say she has a right to sue. Why should others make money off her own ideas?
A critical analysis of the books is an entirely different matter.
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