Court Dismisses Harry Potter Plagiarism Case: 'Strains Credulity'

from the there-can-be-only-one dept

There have been a whole bunch of claims from authors of random books about wizards that JK Rowling "stole" the idea for Harry Potter from them. This happens all the time with super successful books. Half the time I think it's really just an attempt by the authors of the other books to get some free publicity. In one of the cases, from the estate of an author who wrote a book called Willy the Wizard, the similarities seemed extremely remote, and now a judge has agreed, and dismissed the case. The judge noted the lack of any actual copying:
"The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity,"
The judge also noted that the two works were "distinctly different in both substance and style." Of course, this still won't stop claims from others. Because no one could have possibly thought up a story of a boy wizard without first having "stolen" it from someone else...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    I strained my credulity trying to do a cartwheel one time.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Ross, Jan 7th, 2011 @ 4:24pm

    I stained my credulity once when I tried to fart and followed through.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    I wonder if there is some "success bias"(I made the term up) in there somewhere.

    Would judges find that too if it was Ms. Rowlings making the claims?

    Anyways is good that silly claims get tossed out, but I wish that was true for the whole spectrum of it, not just dismissing the little ones but the big ones too.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Can I sue those parties that sued JK Rowling, because I sued her first. Also can I sue them again because i lost to her first?

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Matt P (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 6:07pm

    Somebody should show this to Harlan Ellison.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 8th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    So ... Willy has magic powers - lol

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Jan 8th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Giants, shoulders, and such.

    Many works are highly derivative. This includes both Rowling and Ellison. You have many people deriving the same ideas from the same source material. So you're bound to have occurences of two different artists ripping of the same original idea and coming up with something that's at least superficially similar.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Not an electronic Rodent, Jan 8th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Well... Duh!

    Of course, this still won't stop claims from others. Because no one could have possibly thought up a story of a boy wizard without first having "stolen" it from someone else...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Not an electronic Rodent, Jan 8th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Well... Duh!

    Of course, this still won't stop claims from others. Because no one could have possibly thought up a story of a boy wizard without first having "stolen" it from someone else...
    Yep, I think I can hand on heart say she did.. If I thought about it I could probably name 15 or 20 stories of young wizards and another 10-15 adventure series set in a school around school chidren and I bet if I re-read them all with that in mind I could find similarities to Harry Potter, as well as others from other genres (hell start with the bible.. it did get needlessly messianic, then you've got "coming of age" stories, quest stories etc etc). That's how creativity works and some resemblance is inevitable. That would be why the highly restrictive copyright on "derivative works" is so ludicrous.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    lynx, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 12:26am

    It's true that (very) large portions of her works are stolen. Very true. She was, however, smart enough to rip off bits and pieces of enough other works that any singular instance seems relatively minor.

    As with successful thieves in any medium (bank robber, stealing a painting from a museum, etc), they did indeed work for their money (Hey, lots of planning and personal risk goes into a job like art theft). So in that sense, sure she earned her money. That's where her 'hard work' ends however.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    wootwoot32, May 25th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    Re:

    I'm just curious, what parts were stolen? I'm actually curious, not trying to argue about anything.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This