Why J.K. Rowling Shouldn't Get To Prevent Harry Potter Guidebook Publication

from the copyright-doesn't-let-you-control-everything dept

We've covered in the past J.K. Rowling's attempts to claim that copyright gives her more rights than it actually does, especially with regards to fan fiction. However, Rowling's latest attempt is to try to prevent the publication of "The Harry Potter Lexicon," a fan-created reference book to all things having to do with the world found in the Harry Potter books. Law professor Tim Wu does a nice job explaining why Rowling's claim goes beyond the limitations of copyright law, which does not prevent someone else from creating a guidebook of information about characters you created. As long as the guidebook creators are not copying Rowling's words verbatim, but are merely creating a guide or a critique of Rowling's work, it's not a copyright issue. Rowling's real problem with the guidebook appears to be a different issue. She had no problem when the Lexicon was just a fan website. However, when they wanted to sell a book, she became upset. So the real problem appears to be that she doesn't want anyone else to make any money -- but that's not what copyright law is designed to do. Newspapers make money off of books all the time by publishing reviews, and we all know that's legal. There is no difference in creating a reference book.

Rowling complains that this work will make it difficult for her to publish her own guidebook: "I cannot approve of 'companion books' or 'encyclopedias' that seek to preempt my definitive Potter reference book...." However, as Wu notes, that's silly and has nothing to do with copyright law: "two products in the same market isn't called pre-emption—the word is competition." And, generally, competition is something that we should encourage, as it drives all competitors to provide better products. If Rowling really believes she cannot compete with a fan reference guide, that's hardly the fault of the other reference guide. Given the interest in Harry Potter, it's hard to believe that an "official" reference guide given Rowling's endorsement wouldn't outsell any fan-created version.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    All the millions she's made off of her creation (and the many others who have their paws in the till as well), and its STILL not enough? One would think that time when she was the poorest of the poor and homeless would have let her appreciate what she has now. Guess not. . .

    Too bad. Another opportunity by someone with the public's attention to do some good squandered by greed.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Capitalism = Competion

    If you can't compete, too bad.

     

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  3.  
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    Hellsvilla, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    You can't compete when someone beats you to market

     

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    Hellsvilla, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    You can't compete when someone beats you to market

    She probably has her own publication in the works that would increase her bank account, and is just trying to make sure it's not beat to the market by a more popular unauthorized edition.

    The problem isn't that she's trying to protect her interests, it's that she's using lawyers to protect her interests in ways that lawyers are not supposed to operate.

    IMHO, the problem here is that her lawyer(s) are not preventing her from taking these actions. Instead it smells more like she's given the day to day operations of her estate to a lawyer. And we know that if you're a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. Well, if you're a lawyer, then every problem looks like a... well, you get the picture.

     

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  5.  
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    Orange, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Competition

    You can't compete when someone beats you to the market? Sure, because all competition started at exactly the same time. If that were true, we wouldn't have things like the Xbox or Playstation, and we wouldn't refer to Atari in the past tense.

    Normally I don't jump on the greed bandwagon, but this is pretty ridiculous. She's just being greedy and selfish over it. If her book is truly definitive, then it will win out. Fans will get what they want, and if in her greed she won't deliver, someone else will. That someone will reap the benefits she was unwilling to get off her ass and take for herself.

     

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  6.  
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    What?, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: You can't compete when someone beats you to ma

    Says who?

     

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  7.  
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    Captain Nemo, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Bah.

    Tolkien beat us to market... No point in writing a fantasy book EVER AGAIN, is there?
    Oh, wait... that's what she DID already.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    trademark issue

    granted copyright is not an issue.
    However, surely "Harry Potter" is a trademark - If JK Rowling doesn't take steps to protect that trademark then she risks losing it.

     

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  9.  
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    Petréa Mitchell, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    To be fair, the official one's for charity

    Rowling has said that all the money that would normally go to her from the hypothetical official Harry Potter encyclopedia would be given to charity.

    No, this doesn't change the facts of the case, but the assumption that she does everything out of personal greed deserves to be challenged.

    (Also, it's actually Warner Brothers suing, since they essentially own the Harry Potter universe. Check the copyright message in the more recent books.)

     

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    DCX2, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Re: trademark issue

    A trademark is used to indicate the source of a product. Harry Potter is not a source, and therefore cannot be a trademark. Harry Potter is a character copyrighted by...uh...whoever owns the IP (Rowling probably sold off the IP and gets royalties)

     

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    Sean, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:15pm

    Re: trademark issue

    So I've got to pay her two bits everytime I say "Harry Potter?" Didn't J. Jonah Jameson try something like that in Spiderman? Uh oh, I owe Stan Lee four bits.

     

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    Sean, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Can anyone say frivilous?

    Aren't there standards that apply here? If it's clearly not copyright infringement, then how can she even be allowed to file suit in the first place? It could very well be that all she is trying to do is hold up the publication of the other book until hers is ready.

     

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    Fushta, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    Re: You can't compete when someone beats you to ma

    The Harry Potter enthusiasts will buy both reference books. They will buy the unauthorized version, and they will wait with much anticipation for the authorized version. She need not worry about sales.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Re: To be fair, the official one's for charity

    Actually, WBEI owns the copyright and trademark of the characters, such as their film representations or merchandising. J.K. Rowling retains all publishing rights. I don't think WBEI has much of a leg to stand on suing someone based on publishing rights they don't own.

     

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  15.  
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    Overcast, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    SHHH!! Don't mention the name... you might get sued!

     

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    William, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    I understand her desire to have creative control over a world she created.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    Re: trademark issue

    granted copyright is not an issue.

    Tim Wu, a noted law professor, wrote that this case is over copyright. Are you accusing him of lying or just of being less knowledgeable of the case than yourself?

    However, surely "Harry Potter" is a trademark - If JK Rowling doesn't take steps to protect that trademark then she risks losing it.

    OK, lets assume for a moment that you're right and Tim Wu's wrong. You wrote the words "Harry Potter" in your comment. By your reasoning then I guess you just violated her trademark and if she doesn't sue you then she'll loose it, huh?

    Bullshit.

    Even trademarks don't give the owner the right to prevent the discussion of the product.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    Re: To be fair, the official one's for charity

    Tim Wu wrote "Author J.K. Rowling and publisher Warner Brothers have sued the Lexicon for copyright infringement..." But what would he know? He's just a silly law professor.

     

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  19.  
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    Aaron *Brother Head* Moss, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: trademark issue

    But reviewing, commenting, and discussing on something is a big difference in making a product and selling it based on that Trademarked idea.

    Again, I'm not lawyer, but it sounds to me like Rowling (or whoever is trying to stop the book) is in the right on this one.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    I understand her desire to have creative control over a world she created.

    Unlike some of her "fans", I don't think JKR should have the "right" to do whatever she "desires".

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:43pm

    She needs to stop being a money-grubbing whore and just endorse this one as the "offical" guide and take a cut of the earnings.

     

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  22.  
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    kid star, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    d

    i hate u and u can kiss my buta

     

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  23.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: trademark issue

    I don't know how it works in GB, but from the MLB articles previously posted on Techdirt we have found out that you cannot own facts. If I say that Harry Potter just turned 11 in the fist book then it's not copyright or trademark infringement. It's a fact (and you can check it).

    A guide or dictionary or encyclopedia is just a collection of facts. Somehow I don't think that all those Klingon dictionaries or Ferengi rules of acquisition books are all authorized.

     

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  24.  
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    shewhoguards, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:52pm

    Um, facts are just a bit screwed up here. Rowling's complaint concerning the guidebook was that the Lexicon on the web has vast amounts of quotes from the books. A guidebook taken from that would amount to making money out of very little original work. And they had to assume it would be the same as the web Lexicon as the publishers for a very long time refused to supply a copy to their lawyers.

    And as to the money-grubbing whore part - she had beforehand stated that all money from the official guidebook would be going to charity.

     

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  25.  
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    tijir (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: trademark issue by Aaron

    A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator of some kind which is used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to uniquely identify the source of its products and/or services to consumers, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities. A trademark is a type of intellectual property, and typically comprises a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

    Ideas can't be trademarked or copyrighted. You can patent an idea though, apparently any idea according to some of the bad patents being given out lately...

     

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  26.  
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    Chris Dotson, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Re:

    Obviously you're unfamiliar with the case, if you think she is being greedy. All of the proceeds from the sale of her encyclopedia are going to benefit charity.

     

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  27.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Selfish

    It seems like you captured the issue: it's just plain selfish. She doesn't want anyone else to make money, in case, maybe, perhaps, she will want to make money that way herself. Better to block anyone from adding based on the platform of the existing Potter books. Just like we should outlaw Alpine, Clarion, Garmin, etc from building products that fit into GM cars, since that right should be reserved for GM.

    Rowling would get along well with MLB, which thinks it should own the facts around baseball, and that no none else should be able to build a derivative product. Sure, the world would be a far better place if we could only block all creative ideas that are based on the foundation of other ideas.

    But didn't somebody, somewhere, first come up with the concept of a Lexicon, or users's guide for a book? Mabye Rowlings should have to pay half of any of HER earnings to the descendents of that person, because she is stealing their idea of a Lexicon. She should also find the rights-holders for sorcerers, giants, wizards, trains, castles, and the English language, and pay them all their share of her derivative tomes that use their original concepts. Gawd, it's endless.

     

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  28.  
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    Fitz, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:02pm

    compassion

    J K Rowling loves her fans. If it is her filing that suit, it is for completely selfless reasons.
    1) The Harry Potter Universe exists wholly in Rowling's head. Any guide to Harry Potter that doesn't involve her would be flawed and incomplete. She wants her fans to have a good product.
    2) As was said earlier, people will buy the official guide regardless of whether they own an unofficial one. J K Rowling has nothing to lose, but her fans do. They will waste money if unofficial guides are published and sold.
    3) J K Rowling is one of the most notable philanthropists today. To say she's in anything for personal monetary gain is moronic.

    Her interests are in preserving the magic of her series, and why shouldn't she try to protect those interests?

     

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  29.  
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    Dan, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: trademark issue

    "I understand her desire to have creative control over a world she created." - William

    She isn't losing her creative control over her work. The work in question is a guide book, not a creative work.

    "But reviewing, commenting, and discussing on something is a big difference in making a product and selling it based on that Trademarked idea."

    Trademark only serves one purpose - to uniquely identify an individual or business to it's customers. There have been plenty of unauthorized reference books for various creative works, and they are legal. Most of them slap "unauthorized" on the cover to alleviate any possible customer confusion. Rowling doesn't have a leg to stand on here. There is no question that publishing and selling the reference book is legal.

     

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  30.  
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    Thomas, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    hey she made up the story she wrote it she put in the time and work. Its the people who are trying to make a buck off her hard work that you should be after. Stop being lazy and do your own work and leave her alone. I don't care if she becomes a billonare it's her so back off.

     

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  31.  
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    Danny, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    She can create canon

    Other reference guides can only organize and report what is already out there.

    Rowling's reference guide can, if she wishes, report canon backstory for the characters (which she says she has already written for her own use.) That gives Rowling's reference guide a distinct advantage over all others.

    So, she really shouldn't be complaining.

     

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  32.  
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    Aaron *Brother Head* Moss, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    She needs to stop being a money-grubbing whore and just endorse this one as the "offical" guide and take a cut of the earnings.

    But if she does this, she'll still be accused of being a "money grubbing whore".
    God forbid she makes money off an idea and a series of books she created and wrote.

     

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  33.  
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    norman619, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    Re: You can't compete when someone beats you to ma

    That's called lack fo foresight.

     

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  34.  
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    Chris Brand, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    hey she made up the story she wrote it she put in the time and work. Its the people who are trying to make a buck off her hard work that you should be after. Stop being lazy and do your own work and leave her alone. I don't care if she becomes a billonare it's her so back off.
    So it didn't take any "hard work" to put together the book she's trying to ban ? The people who did that work don't deserve to make a buck from their work ?
    Copyright's purpose is to encourage the creation of works. Using it to do the opposite is clearly wrong.

     

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  35.  
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    DAVE, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    OUTRAGE

    ROWLINGS CREATED HARRY POTTER THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH SAID ANY REFERENCE TO HER IDEAS FOR A PROFIT IS AN OUTRAGE. ROWLINGS GAVE US THE GIFT OF HARRY POTTER AND SHOULD BE REWARDED FOR HER EFFORTS... NOT RIPPED OFF. EVERY ASPECT OF HARRY POTTER SHOULD ROWLINGS...NO IF ANDS OR BUTS....

     

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  36.  
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    That Guy, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    Why is everything so emotional here

    How many millions of dollars she has made of Harry Potter, or how many millions more she wants to make are moot points. The legal system around copyright isn't here to hand out socialist rulings on how much money someone deserves to make.

    Mike's newspaper analogy is dead on. As long as the book is truly written as a reference guide, and doesn't involve a narrative tone that would in anyway convey "story telling" using her characters, then there isn't anything wrong with "commenting" on characters created by another author.

    I would think she would be within her rights to clarify that they needed some sort of disclaimer to make sure that consumers knew the book wasn't the official book, but other then that she shouldn't be able to limit their ability to produce the book.

    To me the bigger legal question is whether the fan website owes any sort of compensation to materials provided by what I am sure where initially volunteer contributors to their website.

     

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  37.  
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    DAVE, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    THE WHOLE POINT IS SHE GAVE US HARRY POTTER AND SHE ALONE SHOULD BE AWARDED FOR IT... NOT RIPPED OFF... IMEAN HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WHERE REMBRANT AND SOME ONE ELSE PAINTS ANOTHER PAINTING CALLS IT A REMBRANT BUT ITS PAINTED BY AN UNKNOWN THERE ART WORK NOW HAS A HIGH VALUE BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE IS STEALING YOUR STYLE OF PAINTING AND ITS CORE MEANING

     

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  38.  
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    WTF, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Just a question for Dave....are you six years old?

     

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  39.  
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    Chuck, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    Money Crack.

    She's gotten a sniff of the Money Crack, can't stop. Who's to blame?

     

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  40.  
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    Obsidian, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:02pm

    That's what I understand if the issue.

    From what I know of copyrights and trademarks over characters and creative works in the United States, you have to be EXTREMELY overzealous in protecting them. Any laxness on your part will could result in you losing the copyright completely.

    DC Comics almost lost Superman in the 1950's because they were not zealous enough over protecting the character's trademarks.

    Did you know that if a company mistakenly has a fan website pulled down because they wrongly believe it to be infringing, they are not even allowed to apologize when they are wrong? Because that apology will be seen as a sign of weakness, and can be used against them in REAL cases of infringment.

    My understanding is that it's possible that if Rowling allowed the publication of this encyclopedia in the US, especially if it does contain quotes, it could open the door to her losing the copyright to Harry Potter in the US altogether.

     

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  41.  
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    READ!, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:05pm

    Jump to conclusions mat

    People who are calling her money hungry are not reading before making stupid comments. The money from the sale of her guide book will go to charity.

    As another comment stated the basis behind the lawsuit is the fact that if the website uses the current web material verbatim theyt would be in violation of copyright as much of the info on the website is actually verbatim from the books. It's not completely new material, thus the crux of the case. If the website were to rewrite everything that goes into their book then I do not think there would be a case, as there would be no legal ground to stand on.

    Klingon language books and Mike news paper analogy are a great examples of why a lexicon is ok. So long as the material is not copied verbatim.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    TRADEMARK != COPYRIGHT

    This is in response to some of the commentors suggesting that this is a "trademark" issue.

    You are wrong. Trademarks are there to protect the consumer so someone doesn't go buy Product X with the name Y when they really wanted Product Z with the name Y.

    In other words, since it is a REFERENCE book it isn't impaired by trademark law. They are fully and correctly using "Harry Potter" to describe the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter character(s) and universe. They aren't tricking the consumer into think it is something else.

    Funny that this hasn't been a problem before. I can think of several similar things from Star Wars and Star Trek that are duplicate reference material. No one got sued over them, though you'll be hard pressed to find ones other than "Star Wars: The Essential Guide to" whatever the book subject is specialized on.

    Yet another story showing how afraid of losing money Rowlings is. I'm happy she made millions and got out of poverty, but she along with many others need to stop abusing laws and wasting the court's time.

     

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  43.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:50pm

    Re:

    From what I know of copyrights and trademarks over characters and creative works in the United States, you have to be EXTREMELY overzealous in protecting them. Any laxness on your part will could result in you losing the copyright completely.


    Then what you know of copyright law is wrong. This is simply untrue. You do not need to protect your copyrights in this nature. You cannot lose your copyrights for failure to enforce.

    You do need to protect your trademarks, but it's a myth that you need to be "extremely overzealous" in protecting them. Many lawyers will say that, as a way of covering themselves, but it's not accurate.

    Did you know that if a company mistakenly has a fan website pulled down because they wrongly believe it to be infringing, they are not even allowed to apologize when they are wrong? Because that apology will be seen as a sign of weakness, and can be used against them in REAL cases of infringment.

    Again, that's simply untrue.

    My understanding is that it's possible that if Rowling allowed the publication of this encyclopedia in the US, especially if it does contain quotes, it could open the door to her losing the copyright to Harry Potter in the US altogether.

    Again, that is 100% false. You seem to be confusing copyrights and trademarks, and then contributing to that by assuming a version of trademark law (which you then apply to copyright) that is not accurate.

     

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  44.  
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    anonymous, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:53pm

    Bogus Lawsuits

    if one is found to be making these sorts of obvious attempts to assume rights when there are none, then one should LOSE those copyrights as a result of their actions.

    only when there are REAL and catastrophic damages for trying to use the courts fallaciously, will this end

     

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  45.  
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    shewhoguards, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:07pm

    Re: TRADEMARK != COPYRIGHT

    However, in this case the issue being brought up is whether more quotes are being used than allowed by Fair Use it does come under Copyright Law.

    Whether it will win depends just how many quotes there are in there. It's hard to say without a copy of the book.

     

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  46.  
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    shewhoguards, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Can anyone say frivilous?

    Actually it seems to have been the publishers who held this one up, not her.

    From what I've heard, the lawyers sent letters requesting a copy of the book so they could check it didn't infringe copyright *months* in advance, but were put off because its a small publishers and they asked for time due to illness in the family. Which the lawyers gave... and the publishers used it to quietly hurry ahead with publication without that check.

    The lawyers had to pull an eleventh hour request to stop publication because the publisher refused to talk to them earlier. Not exactly their fault.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    Re: compassion

    1) The Harry Potter Universe exists wholly in Rowling's head. Any guide to Harry Potter that doesn't involve her would be flawed and incomplete. She wants her fans to have a good product.

    And she thinks that she has the right to tell those fans what to buy? She needs to learn the difference then between "fan" and "royal subject". The fans can decide on their own which version to buy.

     

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  48.  
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    shewhoguards, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: trademark issue

    This is true. However, have you checked out the online Lexicon? Most of it is composed of quotes rather than facts - more I suspect than would be allowed under fair use.

     

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  49.  
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    Nick (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:17pm

    You CAN compete when someone beats you to market

    Her official books is going to need to be so damn great that people will want to buy it. She will need to pull out unpublished details that the unauthorized version of the book will not have. This should be pretty easier for her to do. Really hardcore fans (and I think most are) will buy both. This competition will benefit the fans! This is a good thing, of course!

    Being 2nd to market does not mean you cannot compete. I am thinking of one example that is so obvious it is not even worth mentioning.

     

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  50.  
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    Dan, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Can anyone say frivilous?

    "From what I've heard, the lawyers sent letters requesting a copy of the book so they could check it didn't infringe copyright *months* in advance"

    It might not have been polite, but the publishers of the lexicon are under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to supply an advance copy.

    "The lawyers had to pull an eleventh hour request to stop publication because the publisher refused to talk to them earlier. Not exactly their fault."

    Yes, it is their fault. They decided to sue the publishers because the reference book "might" infringe on copyright.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    Oh, it's untrue that networks cannot apologize for a mistake, huh Mike?

    It's happened to two different fan sites I've frequented, and in both cases the network people said that an apology could be used against them.

    This is one example right here: http://www.outpost-daria.com/non-foxing.html

    Read day four: Unfortunately, a "we made a mistake" letter would not be forthcoming, as it would weaken MTV's position in the future should it need to truly Fox a site.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Joyce, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:39pm

    The "guidebook" or encyclopedia of the Potter Wizarding World proposed by Rowling has been discussed for years as the only additional Potter book that she would consider, and has always been earmarked for charity. She has already done three books for charity (two Hogwart's text books and the recently auctioned Tales of the Bettle Bard) which have raised enormous amounts of money for charities. Calling this lady greedy or selfish is absolutely insane!

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Raj, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: trademark issue

    If we continue along this path, perhaps we Potter fans will have to refer to Harry Potter as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". Oh, wait a minute...

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:58pm

    Re:

    The "guidebook" or encyclopedia of the Potter Wizarding World proposed by Rowling has been discussed for years as the only additional Potter book that she would consider, and has always been earmarked for charity.

    And she can still do that; no one's stopping her. Why hasn't she?

    Calling this lady greedy or selfish is absolutely insane!

    Try telling that to the people she's suing.

     

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  55.  
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    Trevlac, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:59pm

    I strongly suspect that she doesn't want an encyclopedia released because she openly admitted she's writing one herself.

     

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  56.  
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    SquashBug, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:21pm

    No, JKR did not "talk about the encyclopedia for years." The first time I ever heard about it was the week after DH came out. Before that she had pooh-poohed the idea and most fans believed she didn't need to write one because she had rubber-stamped the Lexicon as one of her favorite sites. Now she says she will write her own encyclopedia/lexicon "ten years from now" or whenever it pleases her, and the way I understand her remarks, she will not allow others during that time because they are "regurgitation." She may say she didn't approve of that language used towards one of her biggest fansites, but shame on her. Shame on her. Shame on her. It stinks and it makes people feel embarrassed that they had her on a pedestal for so long. Her attorneys can't "make her" do anything or us language like that - she pays them.

    I read that she just signed four books to sell to bail out a Rugby team. She must like Rugby more than she likes her superfans. Give me a break. The Beedle book sold for millions of dollars while she was whining that the Lexicon was stealing her money for charity. Reality Check people.

    Dictionaries and Encyclopedias are not illegal in the U.S., and neither are "guides" to HP, of which there are already some on the market. It's too late to close Pandora's Box, and I can't wait to see how this lawsuit fares in a real court of law.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:55pm

    Indeed JKR has been talking about the idea of an encyclopedia for years. Before the sixth book came out she mentioned it.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Dan, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 9:45pm

    Re:

    "Oh, it's untrue that networks cannot apologize for a mistake, huh Mike?

    It's happened to two different fan sites I've frequented, and in both cases the network people said that an apology could be used against them." - AC

    You're speaking in absolutes. There is nothing to stop a network from issuing an apology beyond their own policies. The reason they don't want to issue an apology is because the networks are happy with the instant take downs. They don't even have to offer proof of any kind; simply send an email to the ISP claiming copyright infringement, and there's a decent chance the site will disappear. It happens on YouTube all the time.

    The current network thinking is that if they actually took responsibility for their mistakes and issued apologies when appropriate, the ISPs would not be as complaint in pulling down "infringing" sites. They won't issue an apology because they don't want to threaten this luxery.

     

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  59.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Re:

    It's happened to two different fan sites I've frequented, and in both cases the network people said that an apology could be used against them.

    They can say it, but it's not true. It's simply an excuse for not wanting to apologize.

    I mean, of course it *could* be used against them in a lawsuit, but it wouldn't be very effective. There is nothing stopping them from issuing an actual apology.

     

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  60.  
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    shewhoguards, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Can anyone say frivilous?

    Except the reason that they thought it might infringe on copyright was that if it was based on the site it WOULD. They've been awfully nice overlooking the site for so long, but that wasn't because they had to.

    (I say this as someone who's USED the site. Often. Fingertip access to quotes CAN be a handy resort when I don't have access to the books but that doesn't make them legal.)

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quite likely as he seems to actually like Harry Potter.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Matt, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Time to kick J K to the curb

    Now I don't claim to personally know her, but she sure does come off as a pretentious, pompous, greedy, money-grubbing jerk, and especially so for someone who was strongly accused of stealing the idea for the whole thing in the first place.

    How about lay off the attorneys, take all your millions of pounds of money, and shove it where the sun don't shine.

    People around the world are sick of this disgusting junk. She was fortunate enough to have "thought up" a great-selling idea--someone needs to tell her not to look a gift horse in the mouth. (Stupid) People won't be lined up before store openings to buy her books when they read about how greedy and litigious she is.

     

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  63.  
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    READ!, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    [i]It's happened to two different fan sites I've frequented, and in both cases the network people said that an apology could be used against them.[/i] I read the Daria page where they were "Foxed" the quote used by AC was from a person who worked in on the team of Daria, not an attroney. An apology is possible.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    mike, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    it used to be

    that it was a compliment and an honor for someone or group of someones to care enough about the trivia of a children's book series to write such a book. i'm thinking "get a life" but it probably amounts to 'scholarly research'.

    she really needs a clue about what's in her professional interest, and that of her creations.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: trademark issue

    "Tim Wu, a noted law professor, wrote that this case is over copyright. Are you accusing him of lying or just of being less knowledgeable of the case than yourself?"

    I was agreeing with him that the copyright argument being used in the case appears to be invalid.

    "You wrote the words 'Harry Potter' ... I guess you just violated her trademark"

    Er, no,as you pointed out "Even trademarks don't give the owner the right to prevent the discussion of the product."

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: trademark issue

    "A trademark is used to indicate the source of a product. Harry Potter is not a source"

    Correct on both

    "and therefore cannot be a trademark"

    Wrong, in this instance "Harry Potter" emblasoned on the cover of a book should indicate the source to be JK Rowling.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: trademark issue

    Er, no,as you pointed out "Even trademarks don't give the owner the right to prevent the discussion of the product."

    That's right. And that's why JKR doesn't have a case. It's interesting how quickly you changed your mind when the shoe was on your foot. I think the word for that is "hypocrite".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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