It's J.K. Rowling's Turn to Get Sued

J.K. Rowling has been named in a lawsuit alleging she stole ideas for her wildly popular and lucrative "Harry Potter" books from another British author reports The Huffington Post.

The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs on Wednesday added Rowling as a defendant in a lawsuit it filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for alleged copyright infringement, according to a statement released by the estate's representatives, who are based in Australia.

The lawsuit, filed in a London court, claims Rowling's book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 1987 book, "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No. 1 Livid Land." Jacobs' estate also claims that many other ideas from "Willy the Wizard" were copied into the "Harry Potter" books. Jacobs died in London in 1997.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is the fourth book in Rowling's series and was published in July 2000.


both include wizards;
both include boys and girls;
the boys and girls attend school;
the boys and girls learn magic at the school;
the boys and girls use magic during wizard competitions;
some people use magic for less-than-noble purposes;
there are many more similarities such as non-magical characters, adults, buses, birds, the color blue, foodstuffs and magical spells with funny names.

yep, she's gonna lose this one.

I doubt she can create a story spanning several volumes from a story of less than 50 pages. I think there's a big difference. The two authors may have employed similar motifs. The authors may have have also lifted a few ideas from similar sources. It's the expressions that should be different.

I'm not a big fan of J.K. Rowling accusing but a few other writers of infringement, yet in this case, I don't think she's exactly in the wrong. Even if she did know of the other writer's work in advance, there is still the possibility that she probably would have wanted to make it unlike the claimant's story. There are a lot of differences as well.

If she indeed knew about Willy and had actually read it, then it's still possible that she may have borrowed motifs from similar sources, and not directly from the author. Still, I don't think that equates to copying from the author, especially since the expression is vastly different. Otherwise, practically all modern fantasy writers would be guilty of copying not only from earlier, pre-contemporary sources, but of also copying from Tolkien and other early contemporary writers as well, since the earlier writers also drew inspiration from pre-contemporary sources.

In my opinion, and from what I have read about the case, the evidence appears to point to her not copying from A. Jacobs.