Petrificus Totalus: Rowling Goes to Court to Stop Harry Potter Encylcopedia

An interesting case is being heard in New York over the scope of protections afforded authors in the use of their work. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has sued Steven Vander Ark and RDR Books, the publisher of the Harry Potter encyclopedia for copyright infringement.

With more than 400 million books sold in 64 languages and a movie franchise raising $4.5 billion, many could be excused for wondering the real harm to Rowling from such use. However, she insists that if such derivative uses are allowed, authors will make it even more difficult for fans to use their works. Her lawyer, Dan Shallman, told U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson that Rowling “feels like her words were stolen.”

Notably, RDR does not contest that it the material was copyrighted and protected, but insists that it can be used for these purposes. In the papers filed in the case, the defense is arguing that this is not a “derivative work” covered by infringement provisions and, if it is were derivative or a reproduction, it lacks substantial similarity. Finally, they argue that this is fair use and that a ruling for Rawlings would curtail free speech.

Standard fair use inquiries will look at the (1) purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is commercially motivated or instead is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) nature of the copyrighted work; (3) amount and substantiality of the portion used in the newly created work in relation to the copyrighted work; and (4) effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For a declaration in the case discussing the injury to Rowling, click here.

For the docket in the case and underlying documents, click here

For the full story, click here.

12 thoughts on “Petrificus Totalus: Rowling Goes to Court to Stop Harry Potter Encylcopedia”

  1. DW:

    Our deal is done and sealed.

    JR & DW:

    I suggest dueling banjos as in the movie “Deliverance.”

  2. Mespo,

    I waive any and all rights to royalties as long as I can use your “bounced more times than a basketball in March Madness” line.

    That one is priceless.

  3. DW:

    Double darn. I didn’t know that or I would have certainly given citation. I already owe you royalties I could never pay as it is.

  4. Nibbles, I thought conservatives were usually big on the whole ‘protecting intellectual property’ thing. I’m really interested to hear how you think that can be accomplished without the use of the court system.

  5. Niblet is not here at the moment, so I will step in on his behalf! In my researchs here at Wheelbarrow State Normal University, (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercury Business Schools Inc.) I have determined on several alternatives to the legal system as a means of resolving conflicting interests. They are:

    1) Mouse Races. Each disputant has a mouse. The mice race on an agreed upon track. The winning mouse carries the day for its owner’s claim. Looser must also pay for mouse kibble.

    2) Cranial Bump Measurement. The disputant with the largest nodule above the Lobe of Justice, wins the dispute! The smallest bump owner, goes to the Correction Farm!

    3) Wager of Battel. Courtesy of Bob, Esq. Nerf-clubs on pogo-sticks. Winner take all.

    4) Eiger Winter Diretissima. Both parties must climb, unroped up the Nordwand of the Eiger. He who reaches the top first, proves his claim.

    5) Quarterly Report of Delinquent Reports Reports. He who can fill out the paperwork correctly is adjudicated deserving of victory. The loser is incarcerated in the House of Non-Sanity.

    This suggests the richness of the nonlegal alternatives to the present system. Gentlemen, start your mouses!

    Professor DW Pumperflugel
    WSNU (Mercury Business Schools, Inc)

  6. Niblet:

    Perhaps you would prefer a society that settled disputes in the streets. If you really want to provide something constructive, why not tell us your concept of resolving disputes between people and other legal entities that does not involve lawyers, judges and courts. Mankind’s been trying to resolve this dilemma since we first gathered into societies, and now that we have your thoughtful insights (as reflected above)I am sure that the problem can be solved. Fire away. We are all awaiting your wisdom.

  7. Sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue, sue and make attorneys richer.

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