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
    Alexa, 10 Sep 2008 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: WTF

    I'm not saying that it shouldn't be published JUST because it's shoddy work, I was simply explaining why the site had all the hits it did DESPITE being shoddy, as that number was being used as an indication of the site's quality.

    But lack of quality is still relevant, simply because they were trying to argue that the book would be a valuable reference. But without sufficient depth and analysis in their entries, that argument quickly burns out in the face of the real nub of this whole lawsuit: is it transformative enough to qualify as fair use?

    JKR is not against guides and encyclopedias in principle, not even for-profit ones, but in this particular case, the writer of the guide was not playing by the same rules as everyone else and breached her copyright. The decision even basically says that if he rewrites it he could still publish it. AS LONG AS he plays ball like the rest of the fans and gets his book vetted by the copyright holders, something RDR refused to do this time around.

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