Terrible Ruling: Judge Halts Publication Of Harry Potter Lexicon

from the bad-news dept

Despite the fact that J.K. Rowling relied on emotional, rather than legal reasons for not wanting the publication of a guidebook about the Harry Potter universe, called the Harry Potter Lexicon to go forward, it appears that a judge was convinced. The judge has halted the publication of the Lexicon, saying that it violates Rowling's copyrights and did not establish a fair use defense. Hopefully the book publisher will appeal, as there seems to be some questionable statements in the ruling:
"because the Lexicon appropriates too much of Rowling's creative work for its purposes as a reference guide, a permanent injunction must issue to prevent the possible proliferation of works that do the same and thus deplete the incentive for original authors to create new works."
It's quite difficult to see how the publication of the Lexicon, which would only encourage more fans to dig even deeper into the Harry Potter universe somehow "depletes" the incentive for the original author to create new works. The Lexicon does nothing more than add more value to the rest of the Harry Potter books, and to deny its publication seems like a travesty of a broken copyright system.

Filed Under: copyright, fair use, guidebook, harry potter, harry potter lexicon, j.k. rowling

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  1. identicon
    TheOldFart, 9 Sep 2008 @ 8:57am

    Actually it's a good ruling

    If you read the press coverage today you'll see that the complaint was about the fact that lexicon they were going to publish basically lifted the text out of her books and put it into another book. The unpublished lexicon did not add any significant amount of new material it was just quotes from her work, and that was the objection. The lawsuit is completely legit and understandable.

    The judge and Rowling seemed to have fairly common sense approaches. She didn't stomp on the website because they weren't trying to profit from it. Her gripe was that now he was trying to make money off it.

    If the lexicon author had a brain in his head he would have gone back to the drawing board and added enough of his own content to make the lawsuit go away - or at least make it questionable. When Rowling can read a passage from the lexicon and then her original description from the book and it's nearly word-for-word identical there's not a lot of defense possible.

    And to the off-topic douchebags whining about the books being crappy (as if that has any bearing on the legal issues) here's the reality: even a poor single mom could get her book published and you can't. Get over it.

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