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…

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Comments on “Court Dismisses Harry Potter Plagiarism Case: 'Strains Credulity'”

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11 Comments
JEDIDIAH says:

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.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

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.

lynx says:

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.

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