Harry Potter

Harry Potter 'Lexicon' case not over yet

The two Michigan men who lost a lawsuit against Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. haven't given up on publishing a book version of the popular Harry Potter Lexicon Web site. Roger Rapoport, a Muskegon publisher, and Steve Vander Ark, a Grand Rapids area librarian and author, expect their attorneys this week to file a notice of appeal preserving the men's right to continue the legal battle for their Harry Potter book.

Harry Potter Encyclopedia Barred From Publication

Eleven minute piece on NPR that includes: Fred Von Lohmann, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discusses the nuances of copyright infringement and the intellectual property rights involved in the Harry Potter case.

Full NPR piece here.

Why a Harry Potter Lexicon book is not fair use

LISNEWS has more than one posting on the Potter issue. I wanted to flag this one blog post because it discusses what impact the case has on reference works that analyze or index a copyrighted work. This is a very important topic to scholars and librarians because we would be losing alot if reference works could not be made that analyze a copyrighted work.

Excerpt from the blog post:

Although the finding was in favor of J.K. Rowling and her publisher in this particular instance, the finding went to great pains to state that—as a general rule—reference books of the sort that the Lexicon was trying to be are a protected fair use of copyrighted works.

and this excerpt from the blog where they are citing the court:

Notwithstanding Rowling’s public statements of her intention to publish her own encyclopedia, the market for reference guides to the Harry Potter works is not exclusively hers to exploit or license, no matter the commercial success attributable to the popularity of the original works. [...] The market for reference guides does not become derivative simply because the copyright holder seeks to produce or license one.

Full blog entry here.

One Opinion on the Lexicon Decision

It's a fair bet that Steven Jan Vander Ark was not such a great crafter of term papers back in grade school.

We all remember the drill: A paper of X pages in length is assigned, on. let's say, the French Revolution or the Peloponnesian Wars. All decamp to library shelves to find the Encyclopedia Britannica, whereupon some students cut and paste passages in bulk without a tweak, while others practice a more punctuated and selective form of copying.

Vander Ark is not such a great term-paper writer, according to a 75-page decision issued on Monday afternoon by Judge David Patterson of the Federal District Court in Manhattan. Column from Portfolio by Karen Donovan.

Topic: 

Judge Blocks the Potter Lexicon


News today that a ruling has been made in favor of author J.K. Rowling in her copyright infringement lawsuit against fan, Web site operator and former librarian, Steven VanderArk, who was set to publish a Potter encyclopedia. The judge found that the lexicon "appropriates too much of Rowling's creative work for its purposes as a reference guide."

U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson said Rowling had proven that Vander Ark's "Harry Potter Lexicon" would cause her irreparable harm as a writer. He permanently blocked publication of the reference guide and awarded Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. $6,750 in statutory damages.

From the Muskegon Chronical, the would-be Lexicon publishers response to the ruling. Says Roger Rapoport of RDR Books: "We are encouraged by the fact the Court recognized that as a general matter authors do not have the right to stop the publication of reference guides and companion books about literary works. As for the Lexicon, we are obviously disappointed with the result, and RDR is considering all of its options."

Israel cracks down on Arabic Harry Potter

Harry Potter and Pinocchio are apparently not welcome in Israel, at least in their Arabic translations imported from Syria and Lebanon.

Arab-Israeli publisher Salah Abassi told Israeli public radio on Monday that authorities ordered him to stop importing Arabic-language children's books from the two longtime foes of Israel.

The ban includes translations of such books as Pinocchio and Harry Potter as well as Arabic classics.

Rowling Addresses Harvard

Want to hear J. K. Rowling tell about the value of failure?

Harvard Magazine has a video of her speech given at the annual meeting of the alumni association. Rowling admits to being a nervous wreck about speaking at Harvard.

Did the Boy Wizard Cause This Library Worker To Lose Her Job?

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - A Poplar Bluff woman refused to attend a work related party, and claims the fallout forced her to quit her library job. Now she's filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Deborah Smith tells Heartland News she didn't want to work at a library sponsored Harry Potter book party, because she feels the contents of the wizard series go against her personal religious beliefs.

Smith claims she was suspended for ten days without pay, and says her work duties changed when she returned to the library. Smith quit her job and started the legal battle for her rights. Story here.

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