India Court Rejects J.K. Rowling Claim For Copyright Infringement

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Oct 12, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

A followup this morning on the story we told you about yesterday regarding a claim made by lawyers representing author J.K. Rowling and a Hogwarts type building made for a religious festival in India. A replica of the magical castle and a Hogwarts Express train were at the center of this controversy which the organizers admitted they had not sought previous permission to use for the Durga Puja festivities in Kolkata.

Wire reports indicate the Delhi High Court has now thrown out the claim by Rowling’s representatives, who were seeking “damages from the organisers of a religious event who constructed a replica of her fictional Hogwarts Castle.” However the judge ruled that in the future they must seek permission, noting:

“Any further use of these characters will be subject to the prior permission of the author of the Harry Potter series,” Kaul said, rejecting Rowling’s demand for compensation for copyright infringement.

Attorneys for the Harry Potter author had argued that “the festival organisers would exploit the castle replica to earn money through advertising.” Yesterday, WB issued a statement before this ruling saying “Sadly, the organizers of this large-scale commercially sponsored event did not approach us for permission to go ahead. This event falls outside the guidelines set up by Warner Bros., JK Rowling and her publishers to help charitable and not-for-profit organizations to run small-scale themed events that protect fans and allow everyone to enjoy Harry Potter books, films and events in the spirit in which they were created.”





39 Responses to India Court Rejects J.K. Rowling Claim For Copyright Infringement

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Good!

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Good for them!

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I’m glad. That was bad move if jk.

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suppose to say bad move of jk

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I’m shocked. How could have this happened in first place? People, it’s canvas and paper castle! No treat to Warner Bros and JKR’s fortunes!

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as long as the event’s objective is not anything evil. but as tis for something religious at India, well… i’d like to believe it’s supposed to be for something good.

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I am from the same city that this story is from (Kolkata), and I can confirm that this is (a) not for profit – in fact it is done at great cost to the people of the locality (b) means no harm to anybody© is a part of lots of festivities during the Durga Puja, five-day festival where lots of such stuff is done (Titanic theme/Tsunami theme/some other movie theme) and has been done for a long time. So not a bad theme choice, and celebrating potter is good.

Yay! for the decision.

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awesome.

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Actually, I think Warner Bros. and Jo will be quite happy with decision, because they retain the rights even though the judge has allowed this temporary structure to remain.

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I don’t know if this has been said before, but the way copyrights work is that they have to be protected no matter what. If Jo’s lawyers /didn’t/ try to do something about it, the copyright could get taken away from them. They had no choice, really.

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This has nothing to do with Jo. The books are her intellectual propery, and that is why she had final say in the case of the amateur French translation. But the movie images are WB’s, and it’s them that have initiated this debacle.

So, yeah, good that they lost.

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Good! I’m glad they didn’t win, it was a bad call to sue anyways… it’s a non-profit event! They’ve got millions of dollars, what’s this one event to them? Craziness.

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Good point, roonwit and cake. And I think the judge has made the wise decision to do nothing this time, but the charity is warned not to do it again.

We KNOW JKR’s many charities and her giving spirit. But the laws in several countries requires that she must, and WB must, defend the intellectual property of Harry Potter. If they didn’t, they lose all rights to it, and JKR ends up with NOTHING from our grandchildren’s purchases. That’s not right.

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I understand the reasons for the law suit. What I don’t understand is the reason a religious festival spends the money and time to build things like Hogwarts castle or the Titanic. What does that have to do with a religious festival? What’s the point? And not-for-profit becomes for-profit if the organizers make money on it. Is all the money raised used for some charity? The whole thing doesn’t make any sense to me.

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Why do people light up thier houses for Christmas…or have santa clause stuff all over. It’s just for fun and a display of talent.

And i find it difficult to believe that thy would looses the copy right if they didn’t sue. That’s a BS excuse. They could have asked for an apology… why damages or any form of money. They are just greedy. I hope Jk was ignorant of the whole incident and did not tell them to proceed with stpid attack on the Inidan community.

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The point of this is them saying its for religion. Since when does Hogwarts castle deal with that?! Who in their right mind would BUILD something like this for religion?! They made it to draw people in to see what kind of religion they are.

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Umm maybe because it’s fun and a nice way to decorate? Remaking famous landmarks probably helps bring the community together and all of that. Geeze, because you don’t UNDERSTAND a tradition does not make it wrong, weird, or whatever else. Way to be closed-minded, everyone.

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Oh thats marvelous news. _ glad it got straightened out ..:)

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I think you guys are missing the point. I’m sure Jo, and even WB, don’t really care about the monetary part of it all. They had to make a point, and as some have already mentioned, are required to do so because of the laws in some countries, to protect their copyrighted materials. If they turned a blind eye to one group because “its for a good cause, they aren’t hurting anyone, I don’t need the money” then it would set precedence for the next group who could say, “well, gee, we aren’t hurting anyone either, and we’re doing it for a good cause, too, and hey, we’re only making 10% profit here, the rest is going to a really good charity,” and then the next group, the next group, the next group, and pretty soon, no more copyrighted materials because they have been replicated so many times unchallenged that the courts could no longer uphold any claims Jo or WB might bring, even if it became a for profit event down the road. That is not right.

The judge handled this exactly right, and in a way I am sure Jo is happy with, by not fining or punishing them and allowing the festival to go on, but now the warning is on record that if they do it again (or anyone else does) they will be fined next time. The event will still be free to seek permission next time, and Jo will undoubtably grant it, so everyone will still be happy at the end of the day, and she has effectively protected her creation.

How would any of you feel if you had worked your tail off for twenty plus years on an amazing piece of work, suffering rather extremely yourself in the beginning, to have it take off and become an international best seller and the most popular thing since sliced bread only to have everyone and their brother use your ideas and concepts like they were their own?

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To be honest, I thought that JKR’s suit was a bit ridiculous. It wasn’t as though they had tried to sell pirated copies of Harry Potter, or anything.

Ah, well. We all make mistakes.

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YeaH! Stupid bee-yotches (WB, JKR) didn’t get their way! hahaha!

I am truly happy for the people involved in this event!

I have serious dislike for JKR as a person now. I never knew she was so selfish and greedy.

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According to several sources I’ve read the lawsuit specifically mentioned that JKR/WB were concerned that the models might be used for commercial purposes AFTER the festival ended e.g. making money through advertising. Far from rejecting this fear the Judge agreed and that is why he ruled that the replicas could only be used during the (non-profit making) festival itself without permission being sought. Once the festival ends the organisers must not use them in any way without permission being granted. So that is a good result for the owners of the intellectual property who have every right to protect themselves from commercial exploitation.

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I have emailed Christopher Little Literary Agency. They have responded it’s Warner Bros, who brought about this matter, so they’ve forwarded my email to Deborah Lincoln of Warner Bros. Maybe she’ll respond.

It doesn’t look like JKR did pick those poor people to track them because of copyrights and trademarks.

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TIf WB is saying they thought this could be used for commercial purposes it is BS. bcos before suing a slightest bit of investigation would have told them its non profit. did she due those who use dHO theme for christmas or halloween. This is such a display of bigotry. i am truly disgusted with jkr.

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On why they spend so much money on building structures, I would like to say that in the city of Kolkata, there Goddess Puja(prayer) committees which collect money from their area.As this festival is huge,people donate money for such structures beforehand.And the entry for the devotees during the festival is free.As far as the advertising to gain profit goes, it happens two-way.More people in india will be aware of Harry Potter brand which could eventually increase the brand image in India, rather than JKR suffering any losses.The only “money making” thing that can be made out of this festival is by selling icecreams,snack chats,juice etc!!

Anyways, the lawsuit was good(though not in this context) to increase the awareness in India.The Judge’s decision is laudable.

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JK personally isn’t doing this, it’s her legal representatives. They exist solely to protect her copyrights to the letter, even when making such ridiculous claims as they have done. So don’t point the finger at her personally. She probably read this in the paper like the rest of us.

As for the desicion, it was a fair one.

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its a little sad how this lawsuit paints a bad image on JKR. She had, I am sure nothing to do with this personally. aillinne, good call to email Little. If his reply is anything to go by the biggest viallin here is not WB, India, JKR or Bloomsbury but thes blasted MEDIA. For once can they possibly get all their reporting fact right??? First reports said Bloomsury and WB,second says WB, JKR. then this last report says its jus JKR lawyers. I mean I rather listen to RITA SKEETR for more accurate news

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It is a liability issue. It has nothing to do with money or punishing not for profit entities. If someone was to get hurt on these replicas, they would sue whoever has the biggest pocketbook, That would be JKR and Warner Bros. Warner Bros. response explains it all. The event “falls outside of the guidelines set up by Warner Bros.” ie lots of people,we didn’t oversee the workmanship, we can’t vouch for its safety, it violates copyright we did not approve it. JK does alot of charity work, if this large event wanted help they could have asked.

On another note, there is no reason or right for copyright infringement no matter if your for profit or not-for-profit. If I was JKR or Warner Brothers I would sue the Dalai Llama, Mother Theresa and the Pope if they used my stuff, but of course that wouldn’t happen because they are/were smarter and more polite than these organizers. NO EXCUSE.

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And why is Leaky showing such a Villainous JKR photo ?!? I cant wait to hear what Sue, Melissa, John thinks of all this on the next podcast… Fans of JKR, please dont judge Jo on this becasue there is no evidence of her being involved. Think of her writings, her interviews and what she does for charity. Do you really think someone of that beautiful nature can be so selfish? We probably wont be able to hear what she has to say though because she would be legally bound by WB, Bloomsbury etc. Just as our Leaky Hosts have to promote Borders and not say one bad thing about them becasue they are their podcast sponsors.

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Seems kind of petty to sue a religious festival, but maybe that’s just me.

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I am from Kolkata,India.I am quite happy that the court has given a judgement that protected the interests of both the parties.

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The judges decision is very reasonable and in this case both parties win. The festival goes on with the replica and WB et al have made a point that they own the rights to the property and thus next time ask first. Dumbledeeweeb has also made a good point about liability. By WB et all stating that permission wasn’t asked first they make a statement that it wasn’t sanctioned therefore we are not responsible for anything that goes wrong. Not an uncommon thing, and the biggest pockets always try to protect what’s in them and I can’t blame them there.

And as expected JKR isn’t really involved in the suit it’s just her name and her creation that has been attached to the suit.

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I can’t believe Rowling didn’t get her money…India courts are sometimes stupid…This case was weird..

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This news story made me very sad. I would never have thought this of J.K. Rowling. I wish I would never have read this. I hope she comes to her senses and sends out an I’m sorry letter.

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What a bizarre religion to use Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express in their holidays. Does Hinduism take the Hogwarts Express to their next life, at which point they’re reborn into a spokesperson for the WB?

What kind of crazy 21st century is this turning into?! O_O

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Shocking! Especially since India has always been such a bastion of copyright law and fierce protector of trademarks!

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JKR is not a rich bitch, she’s a very generous person. I’m sick of people with bugger all knowledge of the woman, and bugger all knowledge of common courtesy – you ask if you wish to use someone’s else intellectual property to advertise your religious festival – doing her down. What the hell does Hogwarts have to do with a religious festival anyway?

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I would like to clear something up regarding the use of the Hogwarts castle replica for puja celebrations. Navratri is a nine day period preceding the festival of Dusshera which is held to be very auspicious. It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. In Gujarat for instance, there are nine days of dancing fests. In Bengal, where the goddess Durga is worshipped during this period, large marquees are set up in various localities where clay idols of the goddess are installed and ‘puja’ carried out. However, the festivities go beyond just worship; its a social occasion as well, with music concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions, community participation etc, providing an avenue for many kinds of artistic talents, and for a chance for people to get together and have fun. This expression of art extends to the making of the idols, and the marquees, which in recent times have grown more and more ambitious. Various localities (village/neighbourhoods/clubs etc) vie with each other regarding these. Usually they will have a theme, which may or may not be religious. Current affairs and important news all makes it to the ‘pandal’ or marquee. For example, one pandal may caricature Bush invading Iraq, another have a Titanic theme – I am not mentioning the much more popular themes of local relevance since they would not be universally understood. So, it is religious, but it is also fun. However, it is not for personal profit or gain. Unless you count a sort of vanity – ‘yea, our pandal looked better than theirs!’ And it is precisely a nine day phenomenon, at the end of which the idols are taken down for immersion and the pandal forgotten. It is something like the church organizing a bake sale for example – not in the deeper meaning of the event, but in that the event has social rather than purely religious contexts as well. Would Rowling have sued a church for using Potter (in the unlikely event of such an eventuality) to encourage young people to enter?

Just this instance I wish I could contact Rowling to explain how she has been sadly misinformed. I am sure that had she stayed a while in India, and knew the customs as well as the people, she would not have gone on ahead with this.

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i get why they did the whole suing thing, but really now. its like a little model castle. its not going to be like this huge tourist thing… but i guess they just made it into that, didnt they?

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