Another Author Shows JK Rowling How To Embrace Fans

from the don't-sue-them,-for-starters dept

We covered the ridiculous lawsuit that JK Rowling had filed against a fan who created a reference book, The Harry Potter Lexicon to supplement her massively popular novels. At the actual trial, it appeared that Rowling didn't have much of a legal argument against the publication, so she went for an emotional argument that can be summed up as: she just didn't like it.

Contrast that to situation around author Stephenie Meyer and her Twilight Vampire books (as pointed out by Against Monopoly). Meyer actively embraced the fan community as much as impossible -- including encouraging fans to create a comparable Twilight Lexicon reference guide, Meyer not only was thrilled, she helped fill in some characters' back stories. And, it's worked. The community has responded to her and become huge evangelists for the series and everything associated with it. These days, if your fans want to help advertise your works for you, it seems pretty backwards to then sue them for it. Nice to see that other successful authors aren't following Rowling's awful lead.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:50am

    Well maybe Rowling wanted to leave some aspects of the story up to the reader's interpretation. Perhaps having a supplement to AID the reader's experience is unnecessary and against Rowling's vision for the Harry Potter books.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Oh, and it's too bad that Rowling lives in such a branded community.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    Well maybe Rowling wanted to leave some aspects of the story up to the reader's interpretation.

    That'd probably be why she went on record saying that Dumbledore was gay, rather than just a nice old man, right?

    No, Rowling likes having control, and she got pissed when someone took 'her' ideas and did something with them without her permission.

     

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  4.  
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    Not a Potter fan, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Yea I agree. I think she was just upset that someone came up with the idea before she did. Greedy power hungry whiner TAKE THAT!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:30am

    As a goth, let me just say WHO CARES ABOUT VAMPIRES?!

    Vampires were played out a deacde ago. A bunch of mopey, arrogant, pretenious blood suckers that only fat mopey girls who have never been layed can fantasize about.

    Anyone worth their salt these days is thoroughly into zombies.

    This chick HAS to hand over reigns to the "fans" because that's the only way you can make any headway with such a played out, boring, uninteresting concept as "yet more vampire crap".

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    "Well maybe Rowling wanted to leave some aspects of the story up to the reader's interpretation. Perhaps having a supplement to AID the reader's experience is unnecessary and against Rowling's vision for the Harry Potter books."

    What she wants is fucking irrelevant to copyright law. Fuck her.

     

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  7.  
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    Saxon, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Like she cares what you think

    JK's the richest woman in England. Plus she's done with the Harry Potter series. I don't think needs the extra "advertising" someone putting out a lexicon of her book provides. If she wants to alienate her fans, that's fine with her, but it's certainly not stupid of her like you make it out to be. What does she have to lose?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Ghouls are where it's at, moron...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Correction: ghouls in branded communities.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re:

    QFT, QED

     

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  11.  
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    Greg, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    As a human being, let me just say WHO CARES ABOUT GOTHS?

    Of course, I could give a rats ass about vampires and zombies, too.

     

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  12.  
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    Greg, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    Re: Like she cares what you think

    Possible future sales of her books by pissing off her potential reader base?

     

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  13.  
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    window tint, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Billionaire Mindset

    Funny how being fabulously wealthy and successful billionaire doesn't help her relax and create something closer relationships with her fan base.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:52am

    my grandma always said, "you'll catch more fly with honey, then with lemon juice."

    Sue your fans, and they get mad at you??? what a crazy idea?

     

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  15.  
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    moe, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    That argument (leaving it up to the readers' interpretations) might hold some water except for one thing: Ms. Rowling has so much as said that now she can't create the same thing that she's suing the creator of the compendium over because he already did it.

    And, she also didn't have a problem when the creator put the information up on a website. IIRC, she actually remarked positively about the website.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Like she cares what you think

    Possible sales of future books she writes?

    That is, if she angers her fans now, she may not be able to sell anything later, a la Metallica.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    This chick HAS to hand over reigns to the "fans" because that's the only way you can make any headway with such a played out, boring, uninteresting concept as "yet more vampire crap".

    That's why she's looking for new blood. As any good vampire would.

     

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  18.  
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    FITZ, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    Actually...

    The Harry Potter Lexicon is covered with inadequately cited extractions from J.K. Rowling's Copyrighted works.
    Many different books have been published about the Harry Potter universe, but they've all been composed of original, historical, and other legal content. These publications were not fought.
    Rowling loves her fans. There's even a book about the Harry Potter fan community, whose author speaks frequently with Rowling.
    The book in question was essentially a print version of the internet site, so one only needs to visit that website to see how much is taken directly from J.K. Rowling's books without proper citation.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Superhero, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Lets compare.....

    About Ms Meyer
    Who is she?
    How many books has she published?
    How many millions of copies she has sold?
    How many books have been made into movies?
    Is she a billionaire?
    How many millions of Fans does she has?

    Again....... who is she? A bored housewife from new england who writes because she is bored?

    (I feel good about myself now. I too can thrash perfectly normal and creative people for no apparent reason :) )

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Meyer embraced the fans because her books suck. They didn't sell well until she involved the few fans she had. Once she did, her fans started to bully people in other fandoms, until they read the books out of self preservation, just to shut the sanctimonious asses up.

    Now there's a huge backlash against not just the books, but the author. (See livejournal.com and encyclopedia dramatica for examples.)

    I'm all for sharing and open dialogue with fans, but not to the point the fans turn into raving lunatic twats.

    It's a fine line and her fans crossed it. For that reason alone I won't read the books, see the movie or spend any money on any associated products.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Re:

    huh, I've heard a similar saying from my family, but it was vinegar, not lemon juice. maybe because we all like lemon juice?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Like she cares what you think

    as it is, I already encourage my friends to checkout the books or borrow them from me. if she writes more books, I plan to do the same. I might read her stories, but she won't be getting a penny from it.

     

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  23.  
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    moe, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    Ok, read what you just wrote:

    "her fans started to bully people in other fandoms, until they read the books out of self preservation"

    Are f'n kidding me? Seriously, bullying and self-preservation?

    Get a grip, dude.

     

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  24.  
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    interval, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    Well maybe Rowling's future plans have nothing to do with the legal argument that she didn't have and the other author had every right to write whatever he/she wanted about Rowling's series that he/she wanted anyway. Supposing what Rowling's intentions are/were have nothing to do with anything and has everything to do with copyright law which makes such usage completely above board and legal. End of story.

     

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  25.  
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    interval, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    Aren't "goths" played out by now?

     

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  26.  
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    interval, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Like she cares what you think

    I don't think its constructive to include how rich an author is in the argument. This Lexicon is completely legal, above board, and fine from a legal standpoint. That's it, now more need be said. Rowling's social status has nothing to do with it. If Rowling was still sleeping in coffee shops and had been ripped off by every publisher from Edinburgh to Santa Monica, this 3rd party work, this "Lexicon" of Harry Potternalia would still be legal, moral, and probably a sound effort for the author. Of course, Your argument would be different...

     

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  27.  
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    interval, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Agreed. WTF are you talking about...? "Twats", must be an English git.

     

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  28.  
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    bobbknight, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Issues

    JK has all the money she needs. What she does not have is absolute control, this is her woman's issue, she seems to be very controlling.

     

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  29.  
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    Twihard08, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:37pm

    Re: response to comment

    As a person, let me just say WHO CARES THAT YOUR 'GOTH'
    Labels got old in the 7th grade.

    Secondly you obviously have no clue what your aruguing becuase you obviously havent read the twilight saga books.

    You probably were the 'fat mopey girl who had never been layed.' And who cares? nobodys discussing topics, there discussing fan base.

    If you had read the books however, you would have seen that the vampires in this story are nothing like the half-baked ghoulish creeps that actually have been played out.

    Lastly, she embraced her fan base becuase maybe she actually realizes that without her fans, the series would be nothing! Unlike Rowling who seems to think that all the fans that supported her had nothing to do with the millions of dollars she now possess

     

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  30.  
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    unknown, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Re:Actually

    By the way fucktard, shes from Arizona, i dont belive thats in the new england area!

     

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  31.  
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    tubes, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    Re:

    GOTH = EXCUSE FOR UGLY PEOPLE TO BE UGLY

     

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  32.  
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    Bored Reader, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:50pm

    Now I have heard rumors about Rowling's being a control freak on this universe. That is to say I heard she refused to let a roleplaying game of it be created because she didn't want others influencing the Harry Potter World.

    The ramifications of this is clear, it changes your opinion of the author. We don't decide what happens to her but we do decide what we think of her given this information and other information.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    "..the Harry Potter universe..." Are you kidding me? There is no "universe" it's a bunch of made up bullshit about wizards for children's books. 8 year olds dude!

    "Harry Potter fan community" Holy christ, more like the get a fucking life community!

     

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  34.  
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    DanC, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Actually...

    The book in question was essentially a print version of the internet site, so one only needs to visit that website to see how much is taken directly from J.K. Rowling's books without proper citation.

    Since the book in question hasn't been published yet, you're apparently just parroting Rowling's complaint. You don't have any proof of your claims.

     

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  35.  
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    nonuser, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    Re:

    Ever wonder why we don't see any new Peanuts comics? It's because Charles M. Schulz had it written into his contract with King Features, that nobody would take over the strip after he died. It was his baby and he didn't want anyone to mess it up, which evidently was what he was sure would happen.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re:

    but other people are allowed to make do stuff like make parodies, fake strips, and reference books for peanuts if they want. JKR is pursuing people that create more interest in her books, Mr. Schulz just didn't want another author to create official comic that gets printed in the papers.

     

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  37.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re:

    That'll work for a while. Then the Peanuts characters will lapse into the public domain, and anyone can do anything with it. Schultz has written his heir (if he has them) out of an exclusive contract to take the strip into the direction he may have wanted in the meantime, though.

    Let's get this straight - art belongs to society. Copyright and contracts exist to let the authors make a living from their work. After that, the rights revert to the rest of us. Would Shakespeare or Beethoven have approved of all of the many uses of their works over the last few hundred years? Probably not. Is our society better off for having those uses? Absolutely.

     

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  38.  
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    Falena, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 8:43pm

    Re:

    LOL! If that were true, she wouldn't have given out so much useless information in her interviews after DH came out, some of that information being completely contradictory to what she said in previous interviews, and what happened in the books themselves. No one will ever convince me that the Gay Dumbledore thing was anything more than a publicity stunt to get a rise out of fans. If she wanted us to believe he was gay, she would have written it in the books, and she didn't.

     

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  39.  
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    A Different Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re:

    We've moved on to the lemon juice bit because the one about vinegar has been debunked.

     

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  40.  
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    Dan, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, you do catch more flies with vinegar than honey.
    In related news, a watched pot does boil.

     

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  41.  
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    Dan, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Crap, you beat me to it.

     

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  42.  
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    Dan, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Apparently you haven't seen the version of Romeo & Juliet with Leo DiCaprio in it.

     

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  43.  
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    Richard Ahlquist (profile), Aug 7th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Good argument all Rowling would have to do is say so and let the fans decide then.

     

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  44.  
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    FITZ, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Actually...

    @DanC: Usually publication contracts aren't signed before an author has at least some idea of the content. In this case, it is well-known that they would essentially print the website. So while there may not be a tangible published book, there is a book that is fighting to be published. That is the book in question. I thought that was pretty clear.
    If you don't want to show me proof that I'm wrong, then I guess we're at a stale-mate and you're gonna have to take my word for it.

     

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  45.  
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    DanC, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Actually...

    In this case, it is well-known that they would essentially print the website. So while there may not be a tangible published book, there is a book that is fighting to be published. That is the book in question. I thought that was pretty clear.

    No, it was well known that they wanted to adapt the website into book form. It was automatically assumed, with no evidence, that the book was going to be a direct copy & paste job. Yes, there is a book in question. However, you cannot speak directly to the contents of that book, because it hasn't been published. You are merely speculating.

    If you don't want to show me proof that I'm wrong, then I guess we're at a stale-mate and you're gonna have to take my word for it.

    Burden of proof resides on those making the accusations. You're towing Rowling's argument with no evidence to back it up, and asking to be proven wrong. I decline, therefore, to take your word on anything. In order to properly argue or debate a topic, you should have some way of backing up your points.

     

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  46.  
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    CanCon, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Peanuts

    Yeah, but hasn't copyright been extended to like 95 years after the author's death? Schultz's heirs will have heirs by then.

     

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  47.  
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    DanC, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Peanuts

    70 years, unfortunately.

     

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  48.  
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    She Who Must Not Be Named, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    It's obvious who actually knows what they're talking about

    I find this pathetic because, from all the JKR-bashing it's been made pretty clear that none of the bashers know crap about her. If you had really been following the news you would know that JKR had plans, even before the 7th book was out, to publish her own written Encyclopedia with new and old information about her books and characters. The reason she sued the Lexicon guys is because they were planning to use a lot of her material directly quoted, WITHOUT PERMISSION. Do people not know the definition of copyright?

    Stupidhead Meyer apparently also plans to publish an encyclopedia (according to an ad in her last book), no doubt getting the idea from JKR. While you say that SM has given out a lot of background info on her characters, JKR has given SO MUCH MORE. Never has a book's characters, setting, background, everything been layed out with so much detail. Unlike SM's answer to certain questions abotu her characters ("I dont know yet"), JKR actually thinks about her writing.

    JKR KNOWS she has no one to thank for her wealth but her fans. SM, oh boohoo, feels sad that she became popular enough for people to actually care enough to read a leaked book, and bailed on her fans. She also blatantly refused to accept that SO MANY of her fans hated her last book. You tell me now who respects her fans.

     

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  49.  
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    mike, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 11:52am

    All of you people who say there is no copywright infringement are retarded. The Idea of the Lexicon does not infringe on copywright law in any way, however, there are literally HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of direct quotes from the copywrighted works without proper citation. Anyone who has taken an eighth grade English class should know this is called plagiarism.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    why do you think he was so enamored with grindewald and refused to see past his obvious maliciousness? Dumbledore's being gay was not importaqnt to the plot so it didn't need to come out directly. You're a short sighted moron, I knew he was gay long before that interview. Just because you dont have the analytical capacity to read between the lines doesn't mean that noone else does.

     

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