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
    PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2008 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There was no problem when the Lexicon was online and free."

    That's one of the sticking points for me. Apart from the fact money's being made, what's the difference? If Rowling didn't think she was losing either money or control when it was a free website, why should the publication of a physical copy change that?

    "The court decision indicates that Rowling and Warner tried to settle the matter amicably but were aggressively rebuffed by the publisher."

    "Amicable" to a major corporation is rarely a good deal for the recipient. I don't know the terms of the deal, but the publisher must have thought they had both a good chance of winning in court and make significantly more money by publishing the book.

    "Again, whether this has "hurt" her or whether she's lost anything remains to be seen. This Lexicon could have been published without problem if a little more care were taken."

    We'll never know for sure because any losses due to her actions will probably get written off as being due to "piracy" or the shelf life of the books (sales are sure to drop significantly after the movies are finished).

    My point was simple - you seemed to be implying that not blocking this point was somehow anti-capitalism. I was saying that not only is capitalism well and truly alive in the creation of these books, but that Rowling actually stands to make more money by leaving it alone.

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