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. icon
    Mike (profile), 8 Sep 2008 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    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.

    That assumes, falsely, that there wasn't value in the organization that Vander Ark added. If it were just the words that had value, then the Lexicon itself would be worthless, since all the words are elsewhere.

    But Vander Ark was *adding value* through the organization and categorization of the book.

    Why SHOULDN'T he be allowed to profit from that value that HE added?



    Sure it is. It prevented Vander Ark from organizing that content creatively.

    Do you think that Rowling should have no rights to or control over the use of her creation and words at all?

    Who said that? No, we're saying that adding value to the books should be allowed.

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