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nerds
11-01-2007, 06:32 PM
This may end up having interesting consequences -

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,307122,00.html

excerpt:

"Author J.K. Rowling and the maker of the 'Harry Potter' films are suing a small publisher in Michigan over its plans to release a book version of a popular Web site dedicated to the boy wizard.

The suit, filed Wednesday by the author and Warner Bros. in federal court in Manhattan, claims that RDR Books will infringe on Rowling's intellectual property rights if it goes ahead with its plan to publish the 400-page 'Harry Potter Lexicon' on Nov. 28.

According to the publisher, the book contains much of the same material already found on www.hp-lexicon.org, a fan-created collection of essays and encyclopedic material on the Harry Potter universe, including lists of spells and potions found in the books, a catalog of magical creatures, and even a 'who's who in the wizarding world.' "

Tish Davidson
11-01-2007, 10:29 PM
I saw this in my local paper and wondered about copyright issues. Don't the posters or possibly the Web site own the words, and doesn't Rowling own the trademark to her characters? I can't see how this publishing project will fly. Sounds like someone saw an opportunity to make some money without really understanding the legal ramifications.

ebrillblaiddes
11-02-2007, 04:00 AM
That's a sticky one...I'm not familiar with the site so I can't say whether this would apply, but if the new work is somewhere on the literary analysis and criticism spectrum, they just might be able to do it. In that case I don't think it'd be any different from any other Unofficial Guide to Thus-and-Such...and I can't see how it reduces Rowling's ability to profit from her work, in fact it might even do the opposite.

katiemac
11-02-2007, 04:06 AM
Other unofficial Harry Potter guides or tie-books usually offer some other spin on the material, something that Rowling herself can't provide. Speculation books of "how the series will end" or "real magical creatures in HP" have all squeaked by because, while Potter is the theme of those books, it's not Rowling's ideas.

This compilation is literally taking all of Rowling's information that she created and putting it together for profit. I'd fall on her side on this one, since the book's only existence seems mainly for profit. The book she plans to release in the (much later) future is strictly for charity.

DonnaDuck
11-02-2007, 04:14 AM
The Lexicon is a very comprehensive site regarding the whole of the Harry Potter world. While the Beasts and Quidditch books were able to ride the lines of coyright (although I'm sure they had to get some kind of permission), this would just be infringement and a jump on the encyclopedia idea she already had to begin with. I'm siding with Rowling on this one too. I know she loves the site, has recognized them on her website but the encyclopedia is hers.

Toothpaste
11-02-2007, 05:19 AM
I also think she is looking forward to creating such a lexicon herself. Would be a pity to take it away from her.

katiemac
11-02-2007, 06:33 AM
While the Beasts and Quidditch books were able to ride the lines of coyright (although I'm sure they had to get some kind of permission)

Those titles were Rowling's; she wrote them specifically for charity. All other Potter books that have been published as attempts to look at the books themselves in a more academic way. No other title, other than her own, that compiles Rowling ideas (whether that be Beasts, Qudditch or her new fairy tales book) has ever been published.

Rolling Thunder
11-02-2007, 06:44 AM
I see the argument for the HP Lexicon on the web as being free and available to public domain, and therefore no threat to JK's copyright. In her support of the website she's pretty much given Van Ark her blessing for that.

But once the decision was made to change that consent of free access to one of profit, I have to side with JK, too.

DonnaDuck
11-02-2007, 07:03 PM
Those titles were Rowling's; she wrote them specifically for charity. All other Potter books that have been published as attempts to look at the books themselves in a more academic way. No other title, other than her own, that compiles Rowling ideas (whether that be Beasts, Qudditch or her new fairy tales book) has ever been published.


Ah, didn't know that. I always thought those were fan books. I do know Mugglenet has written speculative books. I just read a larger article that outlines the correspondence between Rowling/WB and Lexicon/RDR and RDR is looking like a complete ass in this. They're used the "my mother died" excuse and while he was supposed to be grieving, he had his lawyers write up a cease and desist letter for Rowling and Co. They're standing their ground, hding behind the first amendment/free speech and that Rowling is violating their right to publish such a book.

http://www.snitchseeker.com/harry-potter-news/j-k-rowling-rdr-publishing-talk-fan-encyclopaedia-lawsuit-51567/ All of the related links are hyperlinked throughout that. They're stalling for time and shilling the book to other countries. It's really not looking good for RDR or Lexicon.

nerds
11-02-2007, 07:57 PM
I'm wondering if it'll have any general sort of ripple effects around the Net. I'm not thinking of specific examples, since I don't travel the worlds of blogs (except for one or two), fansites, fanfic, etc. Maybe there will be more scrutiny/accountability, not just Potter-related but generally. Time will tell, what if any collateral fallout might occur. Interesting case.

PeeDee
11-02-2007, 09:05 PM
This is hardly a new issue, though. It's plenty old. A similar lawsuit does (and absolutely should) everytime someone or another takes a fan web-site and tries to make money off it.

Definitely side with Rowling, though. Harry Potter's enough of a cash cow that people will try to get some of it for themselves. She and the publisher really do need to slap it down when it happens.

DonnaDuck
11-02-2007, 09:08 PM
Rowling never had a problem with Lexicon before this. It all boils down to Lexicon and RDR wanting to make money from something that isn't rightly theirs. I really don't think the fandom will be affected but just a reminder to people that while you may be fans, you may have websites, fanfics, whathaveyou, it doesn't mean you own the characters. Rowling didn't want to file the suit and tried to contact Lexicon and RDR is come to an agreement without doing that. They wouldn't stop so she and WB had no choice. It was the only way she could get them to stop printing it since asking nicely did nothing.

Christine N.
11-03-2007, 02:30 AM
I thought this thread was about a Harry Potter...uh, suit. Like suit and tie.

*sneaks back into dark hole*

LeslieB
11-03-2007, 07:07 AM
Another point is that he asked Rowling if he could publish a book version of the information on the site, and she said no. He wrote it anyway, and is now acting shocked that she really meant it.

Susan B
11-03-2007, 10:04 PM
This is scary--I had actually queried that publisher! Recommended by a local independent bookseller as very solid. Thank heaven I found someone else!

J. R. Tomlin
11-03-2007, 10:56 PM
This is scary--I had actually queried that publisher! Recommended by a local independent bookseller as very solid. Thank heaven I found someone else!
Being involved in a lawsuit doesn't mean that the publisher isn't solid. That one (going by memory) has a very good reputation.

PeeDee
11-03-2007, 11:08 PM
Being involved in a lawsuit doesn't mean that the publisher isn't solid. That one (going by memory) has a very good reputation.

Agreed. This says more about the author than anything. There may have been a phone call from the publisher to the author along the lines of, "What the hell is this!? What did you do?"

Susan B
11-03-2007, 11:21 PM
Well, I'm sure there are a few sides to it. Just saying that is could be very sticky, and much harder for a smaller independent publisher to ride something like this out than, say, Random House. Too bad it came to this, since the parties involved had evidently been in communication, trying to reach some kind of understanding.

PeeDee
11-03-2007, 11:24 PM
They may still reach an understanding, too. this isn't all said and done quite yet.

Rolling Thunder
11-03-2007, 11:31 PM
What I think will be most interesting is what will happen on the Lexicon website. It will bear watching.

Rolling Thunder
11-03-2007, 11:44 PM
I just popped over to the HPL. When did the format change?

InfinityGoddess
11-04-2007, 12:33 AM
I just popped over to the HPL. When did the format change?

It's been like that for a while now. o.O