Warner Bros. Shuts Down Harry Potter Themed Dinner For Infringement

from the how-nice-of-them... dept

Last month, in discussing "derivative works" on the IP Colloquium podcast, the General Counsel of Warner Bros. studios, Jeremy Williams, talked up how Warner Bros. was really careful in not just going after fans for doing fun things with the Harry Potter character, but were careful to focus just on for-profit ventures. Either they're not that careful, or someone else didn't get the message, as Warner Bros. has apparently sent out the legal nastygrams to a woman in the UK who was planning on having a fun Harry Potter-themed dinner. The dinner was a non-profit event, and it sounds like it was done mainly to make the woman's daughter (a big Harry Potter fan) happy. The article notes that the woman has had other themed nights, with other brands being happy about it and supporting the effort. But, apparently, Hollywood doesn't roll that way.
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Filed Under: copyright, harry potter, infringement
Companies: warner bros.


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  1. identicon
    RD, 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Tragically incorrect

    Mike, you should realize by now, these corporations LIE. All the time. As bad as politicians. And like politicians, you have to interpret everything they lie about. Usually, its the exact opposite of what they actually say (thereby invoking the hypocrisy clause, a core component and essential) but sometimes its a little more subtle.

    Lets try again with this Potter litigation, shall we?

    "Jeremy Williams, talked up how Warner Bros. was really careful in not just going after fans for doing fun things with the Harry Potter character, but were careful to focus just on for-profit ventures."

    Oh dear, this one is just RIFE with misrepresentation, falacy, and outright falsehoods.

    "really careful" - is true, just opposite in meaning.
    "JUST going after fans" - means, anyone who even so much as REFERS to Potter, in any way, word, deed or thought.
    "but were careful to focus" - is actually the only true part of this entire statement.
    "just on for-profit ventures" - is an outright falsehood. Remember, copyright is absolute, according to these big-media copyright holders. ANY use is to be paid for. ANY enjoyment, reference, discussion, is a de-facto for-profit "venture" as someone is benefiting in SOME manner (enjoyment, non-monetary, sharing) and therefore it must be pursued, and if not paid for, crushed utterly under the bootheel of the copyright holder.

    Hope this little lesson helps to clarify the world of copyright and rights holders as it has now become in the 21st century.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Free happiness? We can't have that!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    chris (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re:

    free happiness supports terrorism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Paul (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Counter Productive

    And yet, while the U.K. woman may not have sought the proper permissions for her event, shall anyone care to guess how much properly licensed merchandise failed to get sold by preventing the event?

    I haven't seen the data on Harry Potter, but the merchandise/movie income ratio for STAR WARS is heavily on the merchandise side. I can't believe that Harry Potter is that far different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Raporism*

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Darkly Helmeted administration for made up words thanks you for your proactive correction...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    yogi, 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:35pm

    stop it

    I think we should just stop consuming corporate culture - any creative expression that is treated like it is the personal property of the creator should be boycotted.Nothing is created out of thin air, many people always participate. The pendulum must swing back to the commons.

    Increasingly, today, we are all part of the creative process.

    A cultural boycott is the only thing that will stop this kind of brutish behavior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Richard (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Harry Potter is

    only Jennings meets the Lord of the Rings after all.

    And the Lord of the rings is only a reworked Knights of the round table.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Harry Potter is

    I actually fired up an old copy of Discworld yesterday, and noticed a striking similarity to Terry Pratchett's games/novels as well...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    sehlat (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:55pm

    If Warner Brothers had been smart

    Instead of:

    "you need our consent." (signed Voldemort(TM))

    Should have been:

    "Attached is the consent form, fully filled out on your behalf and approved. Our warmest regards to you and your fellow diners."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Richard (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Harry Potter is

    I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have minded too!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    PRMan, 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Well...

    "When she hosted a Marmite-themed dinner, rather than sending her a warning letter, Marmite made sure she was fully stocked up with plenty of Marmite - all for free. "

    Well, no one would actually BUY Marmite...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Eric Stein (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:10pm

    Re: If Warner Brothers had been smart

    One might say that these companies believe that denying choice is not only a fair use of their right, but that it works to enhance their power by framing the exchange in such a manner as to make the person on the receiving end of the notice feel powerless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    peter, 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:28pm

    idiots

    Anyone pointed out that Warner do not own the copyrights to Harry Potter. They just own the right to the films?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Well...

    Especially not when there is Vegemite to be had.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    RD, 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:58pm

    Thats right!

    "Anyone pointed out that Warner do not own the copyrights to Harry Potter. They just own the right to the films?"

    A VERY good point! Unfortunetly, in the new, 21st century "copyright is absolute, crush any usage" idiom, logic, reason, and indeed, even the law have little to nothing to do with it. They are rich and powerful, this woman is not, therefore they can threaten til the cows come home to roost and there isnt much we the people can do about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Josh (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:59pm

    What does old J.K. think of this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Valkor, 26 Oct 2009 @ 4:17pm

    Re: idiots

    Surely, such an elaborate costume party is merely an elaborate ruse to conceal the true purpose of the event -- an illicit public screening of all six Harry Potter movies in a row!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    That Guy, 26 Oct 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Re:

    $$$$$

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2009 @ 4:58pm

    Fuck em and hold the dinner anyway, We all just like to dress up like wizzards and point wands at each other...

    er that may get you tossed in jail, but for other reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:14pm

    Re:

    I put on my robe and wizard hat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    minijedimaster (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:37pm

    That's it! I'm going out to the torrent sites right now and downloading and sharing every WB made movie I can find!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Ray Trygstad (profile), 26 Oct 2009 @ 8:27pm

    "The Party That Shall Not Be Named"

    Naperville, Illinois had nearly 70,000 people attend the party for the release of the final novel in the Harry Potter series. The previous book release party had been named "Muggle Madness" but Warner Brothers blocked any use of "Harry Potter" or associated trademarks in Naperville's next celebration--notably, it was not Scholastic, who published the book in the U.S. So what did Anderson Books and the Downtown Naperville Alliance do? They just named it "The Party That Shall Not Be Named" and went right ahead. My son repainted his Yoda ears and went as Dobby, and everyone had a great time DESPITE the Warner Brothers boneheads, who obviously don't recognize the value of free promotion when it bites them in the butt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    chris (profile), 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Harry Potter is

    And the Lord of the rings is only a reworked Knights of the round table.

    lord of the rings is just a reworked ring of the niebelung, with the addition of hobbits:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Ring_des_Nibelungen

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2009 @ 5:25pm

    @The Groove Tiger
    Oh so you're bloodninja.

    @Ray Trygstad
    That was a really wise thing they did with the name.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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