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
    David, 8 Sep 2008 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Good for J.K. Rowling !! I agree.

    So, by that note, should Rowling by paying the estate of Tolkein because she wrote about wizards, who appeared previously in his books? She didn't create the world in a vacuum. No creative works have been made in a complete vacuum, ever. Attempting to call them "hers" does a grand disservice to society. If they're hers, she shouldn't have shared them, or allowed people to give her money for the stories. As it is, she has enriched herself by sharing it, and as such, she should expect that other people will be inspired by her work to varying degrees.

    Just because the lexicon says "Harry Potter" doesn't mean that it's infringing on her rights any more than if I published a book talking about the greatest sports teams ever would require any licensing from each of the players or teams I deigned to mention. This is the same thing.

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