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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

J.K. Rowling testifies in court against Harry Potter Lexicon webmaster

I've been so busy with other things, I didn't catch at all that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is suing the webmaster of a popular website based on her books. For the past several years Steven Vander Ark has run The Harry Potter Lexicon, an "online encyclopedia" of sorts devoted to the Harry Potter novels. Which otherwise wouldn't be a problem: for fans to pay homage to such an acclaimed property is something the Internet has long been used to.

Except that Vander Ark has been set to publish - as in "printed volumes" - his website as a hard-copy edition to sell for personal profit.

Big no-no there, Steve. And you and your publishing company should have known better.

So now Rowling is suing Vander Ark and RDR Books for copyright infringement. I don't blame her. Vader Ark's website is a nice, succinct resource for Harry Potter facts. But it's almost entirely stuff that's lifted verbatim from Rowling's books, without further elaboration or speculation. And Rowling has already planned to write her own definitive Harry Potter encyclopedia: one that will further "flesh out" the Harry Potter saga and the sales of which Rowling has stated will be donated to charity.

Here's the link to the story again. Worth checking out if you're a Potter fan and want to chuckle at some of the courtroom wit inspired by the books.


Jenna St.Hilaire said...

I totally agree.

Can't believe you hadn't heard about it ... it's been huge news on all of the HP boards. (I get more news from you and the Hog's Head than any place else!) The Leaky Cauldron has severed their ties with the HP Lexicon.

Intellectual property is property, after all. I'm surprised this made it so far. Wizard rock, fan art, etc. are one thing--but verbatim copywork and facts?