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.

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Comments on “Another Author Shows JK Rowling How To Embrace Fans”

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50 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

moe says:

Re: 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.

interval says:

Re: 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.

Falena says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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”.

Twihard08 says:

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

Saxon (profile) says:

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?

interval says:

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…

FITZ (user link) says:

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.

DanC says:

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.

FITZ (user link) says:

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.

DanC says:

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.

Anonymous Superhero says:

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 🙂 )

Doggy Dork (profile) says:

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.

Bored Reader says:

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.

nonuser says:

Re: 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.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: 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.

She Who Must Not Be Named says:

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.

mike says:

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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