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
    Kate, 10 Sep 2008 @ 10:12am

    Re: I wonder if...

    Erm... he's dead. And parody falls under "fair use" anyway because it requires original content. The fault with this whole thread is that so many people didn't read the court extracts regarding the actual content of the "Lexicon". It was mostly cut and paste work from JKRs own companion works and heavy quotes from the HP books themselves, arranged alphabetically with little to no original comment or editorial to add to the readers comprehension. Basically, they'd have got as much information from reading the books. Nothing new added. One of Vander Ark's "definitions" was actually debunked in court by JKR as complete nonsense. Nice research. Basically a crappy book that could have harmed the franchise had people thought it had been approved. And as the cover was expected to show JKRs endorsement for the Lexicon site, there's a good chance people would have.

    The Star wars books are all vetted and authorised by George Lucas who apparently invites the authors to pitch their ideas in personal at Skywalker Ranch if he's interested. He also closely controls what happens to any characters that have appeared in his work.

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