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
    LostSailor, 10 Sep 2008 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Rowlings Contends Large Parts Are Direct Copies

    Mike, while I don't want to belabor the point, I seems to me that you don't quite grasp the difference between copying someone's words and "adding value."

    The court found that huge portions of the Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch books were lifted nearly verbatim. Even if Vander Ark rearranged the order in a different way than Rowling did, it's still copying. You say "there's nothing wrong with that" but it's against the law and has been for centuries. Minor variations in "organization" are not enough under the law.

    Now, you may disagree with the law, regarding it in the same terms as belief in a flat earth, but it's still the law.

    Do you think that anyone should be allowed to copy any work at any time, making minor changes to "add value" and then testing that added value in the market? Then why bother with copyright at all?

    Do you think that other market restrictions such as all patents (not just patent abuse, but the concept of patents entirely), anti-trust, truth-in-advertising, and consumer protection laws should be eliminated and just let market competition decide what has value?

    I'm genuinely curious as I've been reading your posts for some time now, long before I commented here, and still can't get a clear understanding on where you would draw the line at protecting an author's/artist's/producer's work, if there is any line to be drawn at all.

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