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, 8 Sep 2008 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, regarding Berners-Lee, I'm not copying his code, I pay for my internet connection, and my browser was offered to me for free. I think there may be others in line before me, but if Tim gets through them, we'll talk about his cut of my "profits."

    That, and there is a qualitative difference, as this court recognized, between works of fiction and non-fiction. By extensive copying of Rowling's original work and words, Vander Ark was engaging less in creation than in profiteering. Now, to be fair to Vander Ark, the court opinion makes clear, at least to me, he seems to have also been a victim of a zealous publisher who saw dollar signs.

    As the court made clear, Vander Ark is free to write and publish a book about the Harry Potter universe, but he needs to use his own words to do it. He didn't, and is now permanently barred from publishing.

    This is not about using copyright to "bring down" the rights of others to create. Do you think that Rowling should have no rights to or control over the use of her creation and words at all?

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