Publisher Appeals Ruling Against Harry Potter Lexicon

from the good-for-RDR dept

We were somewhat dismayed by the ruling against the Harry Potter Lexicon, a guidebook of sorts for the universe created in the Harry Potter series of books. J.K. Rowling argued against the book on emotional, rather than legal, grounds, but the judge still found it to be a violation of copyright, and not covered by fair use. For a variety of reasons many copyright scholars felt this to be a bad decision. However, since the judge put in place a rather low fine, it wasn't clear if the publisher would bother appealing.

A bunch of folks have been submitting the fact that RDR Books has, in fact, decided to appeal the ruling and to argue that publishing such a guidebook is, indeed, fair use. Hopefully the Appeals Court recognizes the problems of the lower court ruling and protects fair use for such guidebooks. Of course, some of us are still hopeful that even J.K. Rowling realizes that pursuing this case only serves to damage her reputation, and that she realizes (as she did when the Lexicon was just a website) that allowing fans to help explain and expand the universe she created only increases the value of her works.

Filed Under: copyright, harry potter, j.k. rowling

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  1. identicon
    SteveD, 12 Nov 2008 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: misguided

    But the method by which you sell your work has no baring on your credibility as an artist. If you needed to get paid in residuals to count as an artist then most painters wouldn't even qualify.

    If the point comes down to creative effort, I'd argue the act of remixing the work is effort enough. Taking something and converting it into a more useful form for the public adds value from the public's perspective. 'Originality' isn't nessesary for creativity, and is in itself an entirely relative concept.

    Rowling probably is within her rights at the end of the day, as the law more often falls on the side of copyright then it does fair use. But that isn't to say its a good idea to do this, or by not enforcing her rights she stands a chance of loosing them. Copyright can't be lost like trademarks.

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