What's up with JK Rowling and Harry Potter Lexicon?
Update: JK Rowling wins case
JK Rowling has won the case she and Warner Bros brought against Steve Vander Ark and RDR Books. The presiding judge, Robert Patterson, ruled in favour of the Harry Potter author and blocked the publication of the print version of Vander Ark's Lexicon. Judge Patterson agreed that the proposed reference book "...appropriate[d] too much of Rowling's creative work..." without adding original commentary of value.
JK Rowling and Warner Bros sue Vander Ark and RDR Books
JK Rowling testified in New York in the court case she and Warner Bros brought against Steve Vander Ark of Harry Potter Lexicon and RDR Books.
The successful lawsuit was to prevent the publication of an encyclopedia of the Harry Potter universe for profit, an act that Rowling says is direct theft of her copyright and a violation of her right to publish her own encyclopedia for charity.
- Harry Potter author testifies in lawsuit
J.K. Rowling said Monday that her efforts to halt a publisher's Harry Potter lexicon have been crushing her creativity.
Judge imposes restraining order on Lexicon book
In early November 2007, the publishers of a print version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website were restricted from continuing with the publication of the book until February 2008.
Vander Ark and RDR Books refused to see sense and Rowling was forced to go ahead with the lawsuit. Because Rowling intends to publish her own Harry Potter encyclopedia, Vander Ark's book would conflict with her interests as the original author of Harry Potter.
What's this all about? Read on.
Harry Potter Lexicon
The Harry Potter Lexicon is a Harry Potter fan website created by Steve Vander Ark in 2000. It is one of the most comprehensive encyclopedic Potter fan sites on the Internet, and in 2004 JK Rowling awarded the Harry Potter Lexicon a fansite of the year award together with three other sites.
Capitalising on Rowling's universe
With the release of the final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows, fans encouraged Steve Vander Ark to offer the information on the Harry Potter Lexicon in printed format. RDR Books agreed to publish the Lexicon.
Despite good virtual relations between JK Rowling and the electronic Harry Potter Lexicon, she and Warner Bros decided to file a complaint regarding the publication of the print version when they were informed about it.
As Jo said on her website, "It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author's hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else's work, it does not become theirs to sell."
Why a Harry Potter encyclopedia is not Fair Use
In the first "anti-JK" link below under "Others don't agree", the blogger claims that millions of reference books abound in libraries related to the fictional universes of authors.
However, what this blogger has failed to take into consideration is that every author has the exclusive right under their copyright to create derivative works of their own work.
Steve Vander Ark is breeching JK Rowling's copyright by publishing something that she wanted to publish herself. Vander Ark's use of Rowling's material is not Fair Use because he has simply rearranged Rowling's material into categories, without adding any original commentary of his own. It is not his work, but a collection of Rowling's work. This is the issue at stake.
Further explanation on fair use and derivative works
- Creating derivative works from another author's writing
Why certain derivative works and fan fiction are a breech of the original author's copyright.
- JK Rowling vs Lexicon
Read JK Rowling's stance regarding the Lexicon issue on her website.
- Judge blocks 'Harry Potter Lexicon'
As Rowling now sees it, her kindness to fans by encouraging fan sites might come back to haunt her. It seems she will be forced to go through with the lawsuit to protect her interests.
- JKR/WB vs RDR Books Trial: Statements Regarding Ruling
Statements from JK Rowling, Warner Bros, and RDR Books regarding the ruling in Rowling's favour.
- JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: JKR Wins Copyright Case
Judge rules in favour of JK Rowling and Warner Bros.
- Harry Potter case brings the law into Internet Age
J.K. Rowling is locked in a courtroom fight not with an evil wizard but with one of her biggest fans, a former librarian from Michigan named Steven Vander Ark.
Others don't agree with Rowling's decision (they've obviously never written fiction themselves)
- J.K. Rowling sues to stop Harry Potter Lexicon - U.S. business - MSNBC.com
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.
- JK Rowling Sues Steve Vander Ark | SpinnersCast
JKR Doesn't Play Around. I think that's the lesson we've all learned from this latest lawsuit filed by J.K. Rowling, and Warner Brothers against RDR Books.
Enough of this seriousness - visit the Harry Potter Fun & Games Headquarters
- Harry Potter Fun & Games Headquarters
Looking for some ideas for Harry Potter themed kids' parties and Halloween costumes? Find all the Harry Potter Fun Stuff, Costumes, Merchandise, and Games information here!
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