J.K. Rowling and WB File Suit Over Unofficial Encyclopedia

115

Oct 31, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

Reuters is reporting that author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., makers of the Harry Potter films, filed suit (update: details of suit are now below) today against a forthcoming unofficial encyclopedia book based on the Harry Potter series. Reuters reports the book, “The Harry Potter Lexicon,” due to be released by RDR Books on Nov. 28 in the United States, had “inappropriately referenced Rowling’s fictional characters and universe.”

The suit names the site owner, Steve Vander Ark, and several defendants, and is seeking “damages for copyright federal trademark infringement and any profits to be gained from the book.”

The suit, according to the article, states:

“The infringing book is particularly troubling as it is in direct contravention to Ms. Rowling’s repeatedly stated intention to publish her own companion books to the series and donate proceeds of such books to charity.”

The suit was filed today in federal court in Manhattan, NY.

USA Today contains further information including a comment from RDR books publisher Roger Rappaport, who said the book was a “critical reference work” and “dismissed any notion that it could compete with any official encyclopedia written by Rowling.” He also said that Vander Ark “cannot understand why she wouldn’t be supportive now.’

The article also says the suit “doesn’t seek action against the Web version of the Lexicon, but criticizes it for numerous sections that it said ‘regurgitate Ms. Rowling’s original creative expression with minimal additional commentary.’”

CNN Money says that the suit claims, “Warner Bros. and Rowling’s representatives have been ” rebuffed and treated rudely” in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with RDR Books…For example, while claiming not to have the ability or time to respond to plaintiffs’ multiple ‘cease and desist’ letters because of a family tragedy, defendant instead was hawking foreign publishing rights to the infringing book in Germany,’ the lawsuit said.”


TLC has also obtained a copy of the complaint, which further contains the following:

-The suit says any money award will be donated to charity.
-It seeks to halt publication and recoup whatever profits are made by the book or costs incurred by the suit.
-The suit says four letters to RDR Books (detailed below) regarding the issue before it went to a lawsuit.
-That RDR Books has refused to hand over a pre-publication copy of the books for review.
-It names RDR Books and 10 DOES – unidentified entities/people – who can be named later.
-In response to contact from JKR’s lawyers, RDR Books sent its own “cease and desist” letter to Warner Bros. regarding a timeline on the Harry Potter DVDs they claim infringes the Lexicon’s copyright, which the suit says is “a complete fabrication apparently intended to deflect Plaintiffs’ complaints – but which merely serves to highlight hypocritical nature of Defendant’s conduct.”

Excerpts from suit:

-”Plaintiffs did everything they could prior to filing this lawsuit to engage in a substantive dialogue with Defendant only to be rebuffed and treated rudely. For example, while claiming not to have the ability or time to respond to Plaintiffs’ multiple ‘cease and desist’ letters because of a family tragedy, Defendant instead was hawking foreign publishing rights to the Infringing Book in Germany. Moreover, Defendant had the audacity to accuse Warner Bros. of violating the purported copyrights of the Infringing Book’s author in a timeline based on the Harry Potter Books – a complete fabrication apparently intended to deflect Plaintiffs’ complaints — but which merely serves to highlight the hypocritical nature of Defendant’s conduct.”

-The suit says that there is a “big difference between the innumerable Harry Potter fan sites’ latitude to discuss the Harry Potter Works in the context of free, ephemeral websites ad unilaterally repackaging those sites for sale in an effort to cash in monetarily on Ms. Rowling’s creative works in contravention of her wishes and rights.”

-JKR has been “careful not to license” other “tie-in or companion books” which merely “regurgitate her creative expression without adding valuable analysis or scholarly commentary…in part, because…she has authored and published her own Companion Books and intends to create additional companion books.”

-JKR’s agency, Christopher Little, heard about the book from an online listing on Publisher’s Marketplace. The book and its disclaimer-less title led JKR and her agency to contact the author.

Pre-lawsuit timeline, as detailed by the complaint:

September 12: The Christopher Little Agency e-mailed Steve Vander Ark with a copy cc’d to RDR books, containing a reminder of JKR’s plans to write a future book and a statement that JKR did not wish to grant rights to any third party. “Appealing to Mr. Vander Ark as a friend and supporter of Ms. Rowling and the Harry Potter books, Ms. Rowling’s agent asked Mr. Vander Ark to forgo publication of the Infringing Book.” The email went unresponded for six days.

September 18: JKR and WB’s lawyer forwarded a letter to RDR Books and Steve Vander Ark via e-mail, notifying them that the book would be infringing copyrights and citing precedent (Twin Peaks Productions, Inc. v. Publications Int’l, Ltd, and Castle Rock Entertainment v. Carol Publishing Group; the first regarding a book of Twin Peaks plot summaries and the second a book of Trivia about the Seinfeld series). The letter requested the publication cease, in the U.S. and to all foreign publishers, and asked for a list of those entities so that JKR’s lawyers could contact them directly.

September 18: Steve Vander Ark responded to JKR’s agent by e-mail saying he had “been asked to leave all correspondence in this matter to others.”

September 19: RDR Books replied, saying, “[i]t is our intention to thoroughly study the various issues you have raised and discuss them with our legal advisers.”

October 3: JKR and WB counsel wrote again, “after waiting another two weeks and receiving no substantive response…emphasizing their clients’ concerns and the impending publication date.” Roger Rapoport, president of RDR Books, requested more time due to a death in the family, which was given by JKR and WB’s counsel.

October 11: JKR and WB counsel discovered that in the time period in which he had requested for a “good faith” delay to deal with a death in the family, he had sent a “cease and desist” letter to WB regarding “a timeline appearing on some of the Harry Potter DVDs [that] infringed the Lexicon Website. Warner Bros. responded that it would look into the matter more fully. In the meantime Warner Bros. asked for a copy of the”print version” of the Lexicon Website referred to by RDR Books in order to aid in its evaluation of the claims. RDR Books summarily dismissed Warner Bros. reasonable request,” the suit claims, “stating rudely: ‘If you do not know how to print that material [from the Lexicon Website] please ask one of your people to show you how.’ ”

October 19: JKR and WB counsel wrote a third letter; RDR responded again that they would reply after looking into allegations.

October 23: Christopher Little Agency learns that RDR had recently offered the publishing rights for the book in Germany to Random House and in Taiwan to Crown Publishing. “Plaintiffs grew increasingly concerned during the course of these events because it appeared that RDR Books was duplicitously stalling its response to Plaintiffs’ concerns in order to surreptitiously promote the Infringing Book in advance of the rapidly-approaching publication date.”

October 24: JKR and WB counsel wrote a fourth letter to RDR Books, “expressing their grave concerns about RDR Books’ recent behavior and asking for confirmation that RDR Books would not publish the Infringing Book until it attempted to resolve this matter in good faith.” The lawyers also repeated their request for a copy of the book. They also set a deadline for response of Oct. 29.

October 24: RDR Books responded that the “Plaintiffs’ ‘unwarranted’ objections were not appreciated,” and that the book was a “print version of the Lexicon Website, which was allegedly permitted by Ms. Rowling, and that there were allegedly other Harry Potter guides similar to the Infringing Book on the market.” The suit says in response, “While Ms. Rowling has permitted some fan sites certain latitude to make use of the material in her books, these sites are generally free to the public and exist to enable fans to communicate, rather than to permit someone to turn a quick and easy profit based on her own creativity. Ms. Rowling never gave anyone permission to publish a 400-page Harry Potter Lexicon.”

October 31: Suit filed. “It is apparent that RDR Books has no intention of working with Plaintiffs to resolve this matter amicably. Plaintiffs therefore have no choice but to file this lawsuit.”

The suit also states that JKR and WB are concerned not only because they claim the book infringes and it conflicts with her own plans but because “RDR Books has confirmed…that it cannot be trusted with one of the most beloved children’s book series in history.”

The suit also quotes a statement made by Steve Vander Ark on his site, that says, “…I don’t give permission for people to just copy my work for their own use. Not only is that illegal, since everything in the Lexicon is copyrighted, it’s also just plain wrong. Hey, I did all the work,I put in all the time, it’s my skill and talent in this area which allowed the Lexicon to come into being. No one else has the right to use my work.” The suit says, “this is exactly what Defendant is attempting to do here in connection with Ms. Rowling’s work.

Without a review copy, JKR and WB’s lawyers have been told the book will be a “print version” of the Lexicon, which they maintain means it will surely infringe on JKR’s copyright. It mentions the maps and passages of the books that the Lexicon has on its site, as well as lists and facts, class schedules, potion ingredients and wizarding histories. “The Lexicon Website also slavishly copies lyrics to entire songs, lifts long passages directly from the Harry Potter Books, and transcribes magic spells word-for-word. In addition to copying the fictional facts and language of the books, the Lexicon Website also contains numerous infringing photos taken from Warner Bros. copyrighted Harry Potter films.”

It also cites the “lengthy plot summaries and detailed descriptions” of characters.

“These descriptions, character details and plot points comprise stories created and owned by Ms. Rowling, who has the sole right to control their distribution and who did not give permission to the Defendant to publish a book that stands to make millions of dollars off the back of Ms. Rowling’s creativity.”

The suit also maintains that the book will be marketed to mislead consumers, because it does not have a disclaimer in its title or subtitle and is referred to as ‘the most complete and amazing reference to the magical world of Harry Potter,’ which the suit claims “gives the false and misleading impression that the book is an official Harry Potter book and that Ms. Rowling or Warner Bros. has authorized it or is associated it with it in any way.”

The suit claims seven counts:
-Copyright Infringement
-Federal Trademark Infringement
-Unfair Competition and False Designation of Origin
-False Advertising
-Deceptive Trade Practices
-Unfair Competition
-Declaratory Judgment Regarding Copyright Infringement

The suit asks for the court to find that:
-RDR Books has infringed copyright and trademarks and used a misleading book cover, design and advertising materials to “falsely designate the origin of the Infringing Book, falsely advertise the Infringing Book, and unfairly compete with Plaintiffs.”
-RDR Books and defendants have engaged in deceptive trade practices
-The “Hogwarts Time Line” in the DVD does not infringe the Defendant’s copyrights
-There is a substantial likelihood that defendants will continue to infringe unless halted permanently

The suit also asks for:
- a permanent injunction against the Defendant and associated entities from selling or distributing works derived or copied from Harry Potter
- an order instructing a recall of the book
- a judgment for damages and profits

There has not yet been a reaction filed by RDR Books or any other defendant.


The Christopher Little Agency has also answered some questions for Leaky in response to what has been mentioned in comments:

-The difference between the book and the Lexicon web site is that “the website is free for all fans but the book is to be sold,” and “other free web sites are fine so long as the material is appropriate.”

-Regarding whether the Lexicon has rights due to JKR’s use of it in the past, the “Lexicon has no rights in Harry Potter.”

-They can’t comment on whether it would have really overlapped with J.K. Rowling’s intended because they haven’t seen the book, and this was why they wanted to review it.


The Harry Potter Lexicon is a partner site to The Leaky Cauldron.





622 Responses to J.K. Rowling and WB File Suit Over Unofficial Encyclopedia

Avatar Image says:

Oh my… Is this why Jo made that news update on her site? This is just such a shock. And I love the Lexicon… so I’m quite torn about this.

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Usually I stand by JKR, but I think this is wrong. When JKR said she was releasing an encyclopedia, I think we all assumed she would be giving new information not previously given to fans (ex: Dean’s life story). Nothing the Lexicon provides will be anywhere near what JKR will give us. A book written by fans can really be nothing more than a companion book (many of which have been written in the past). It’s not as if the Lexicon is releasing previously unreleased information on the HP series, which would dirctly compete with her release.

I

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wow….thats all I can say. Im a fan of the lexicon, im suprised at their bad judgment. this is very schocking

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Is this against the Lexicon site or the book? I thought she and the movie people said they use the Lexicon as a reference site while writting the books or movies.

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It’s against the book, not the site. And the movie people never said that, though people at the Lexicon said they have.

I’m torn but I’m leaning to JKR here. It’s her world and we play in it.

Avatar Image says:

What does this mean for Melissa’s book? Can she even refer to the copyrighted characters?

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Checks calendar . . Hmmm . . It’s not April 1 . . or is it?

(Bloody ‘ell!)

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Wow. I’m shocked.

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I have to agree with “jaclyn” the lexicon has always been a great help when reading the books. This does worry me. This does leave me “torn” too.( I too read the announcement on Jo’s page ) In a state of shock.

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HAPPY DEATHDAY, NICK

Avatar Image says:

so.. what is the difference between an unofficial harry potter lexicon.. which could be called a study guide, and lets say, cliff notes, spark notes or anything else like that?

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So let me get this straight…is THE Lexicon writing this? Because is it is, hasn’t Jo sai din the past that she LIKES the Lexicon? She even gave it a site award…I really want more information on this. If it is how it seems, did Jo suggest this or did her lawyers?

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First impression: shock. Immediate 2nd reaction: Happy Halloween! (I hope)

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I think people are allowed to write about/ reference the HP characters. At least, they always have in the past.

I think the main issue here, and the reason why JKR filed the suit, was that Lexicon is using the word “encylopedia” in the title, which directly competes with JKR forthcoming book.

But, if this is the case, why didn’t Mugglenet get in trouble for “What Will Happen in Book 7”?

Avatar Image says:

I think melissas book is ok, her book is about the fandom not the characters of the book. Im sure they will be referenced but its different. Melissa is talking about what the book has done to peoples lives. The Lexicons book looks like it was talking directly about the book and its characters plots and themes. That is JKs not the lexicons there is a clear seperation between The two.

Avatar Image says:

Also, with Jo’s update on her site, as Flittwich said above, I was quite suprised. I know some of the authors wh write the commentry books and they are amazing people. Several of them are currently in the process of writing an updated verson of their current works after this summer’s revelations and events. Jo really shouldn’t stop them. I mean, they produce intrest adn keep people interested in ther series. What does she think she is doing? In a way, if I red it right, she is kinda dissing the fans….

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I don’t think she is upset about the website. She’s given awards to them on her site in the past. She is just upset that they are publishing a book with the info in it. She probably would be okay with it if she hadn’t planned on printing one in the future herself.

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You know, the not wanting an unofficial encyclopedia book to come out so it doesn’t affect charity earnings I can understand, but the resorting to lawyers and suits where simple talking could have worked out better is what really annoys me. And yes, there’s nothing new the Lexicon could add. I’ve always expected the information on JK’s encyclopedia to be stuff we haven’t read or know about because the way she told the story didn’t permit it, while the Lexicon’s is mostly reference material over existing stuff. Both books should complement each other not thread over the same ground.

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A bit more… (afterthought) There is a book that I currently forget what it is called that is pretty much a HP ensyclopedia. It is 600+ pages and has all the little details up to book 5 with diagrams, pictures, timelines, etc. Pretty much everything the Lexicon has. Now I’m rally confused…wht didn’t they get in trouble?

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It’s almost splitting hairs, but that’s what lawyers do…

Steve’s book is probably too close to Jo’s vision for her own book which will benefit charity. To allow the Lexicon to publish first would take away from the eventual book from Jo.

Melissa’s book is about the Potter fandom and not directly about the characters and universe. I would hope that Melissa’s publisher has already checked any copyright infringment possibilities.

Then again, one would think that Steve’s publisher would have checked too.

Jo has said that she loves the Lexicon website and refers to it herself to check facts. I’m sure that this was a wrench for her to pursue this lawsuit. But she has to protect her copyright.

It is a sad sad business. But it is just that: business.

Avatar Image says:

where simple talking could have worked out better is what really annoys me.

The thing is, they probably did “talk” and it didn’t work. That the filed suit today doesn’t mean it wasn’t a last resort.

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I want to know what Steve has to say about this?

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i dont buy Jo’s argument that this release will interfere with her ‘not even written book’ release sometime in the next decade, b/c she said her book has ‘info left out of the novels’ whereas the lexicon has summeries of info ‘included in the novels’. simple math really. the two are very much independent of one another. HOWEVER, i dont understand how the lexicon could get permission for copyrighted material to be published and all the profit to go to them(??) i would have thought that without the owner’s permission u would never be able to publish such material. so my question is, did they ask for permission first before doing smth like this or did they assume and jump ahead. cause if not i would be all for Jo. its her book, she has authority over who publishes what using her material and whether they pay compensation for it or not.

Avatar Image says:

I imagine Steve got in trouble when he decided to do a book rather than just the website. I remember reading that JKR said she referred to the Lexicon when writing (book 7, I think??). It’s a wonderful tool, but only deals with stuff she’s already published, not the kind of things I’d expected her to put in an encyclopedia of her world. I would’ve thought Steve would check with her publishers and/or lawyers to be certain he wasn’t infringing on her copyrights before going ahead with a book. It’s one thing to speculate (as Mugglenet did in their book on what might be in book 7), but another to print things that are facts from her world in a book you’re making money from. The Lexicon website may not be making much money – probably only enough to cover costs (I have no idea). If that’s the case, the website may be safe. But the book was probably a “for profit” venture, and that’s what caused the problem – it violates her copyright to make a profit from her intellectual property. I’d like to know what Steve has to say about this. I refer to the Lexicon a LOT and will be very unhappy to see it go if he’s forced to take it down. I hope she restricts her lawsuit to his book, not the site. I sure hope she doesn’t get this “lawsuit-happy” with everyone who’s played in her world, or a lot of sites and fanfics are in danger!

Avatar Image says:

Is this some kind of trick to balance off the Halloween Treats she left us on her sight. It is really hard to believe otherwise. Come on! A law suit filed by JKR on Halloween! Really! I hope this is a trick because I am completely disheartened if it is true. No matter how many books fans publish about the Potter world, none of them would ever surpass what an encyclopedia written by JKR herself would do. The charities would not be hurt. Again, I hope this is a trick.

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WHAT?! But Jo said the Lexicon was a great site and her natural home. She even gave it her fansite award. It’s not fair.

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i dont buy Jo’s argument that this release will interfere with her ‘not even written book’ release sometime in the next decade, b/c she said her book has ‘info left out of the novels’ whereas the lexicon has summeries of info ‘included in the novels’. simple math really. the two are very much independent of one another. HOWEVER, i dont understand how the lexicon could get permission for copyrighted material to be published and all the profit to go to them(??) i would have thought that without the owner’s permission u would never be able to publish such material. so my question is, did they ask for permission first before doing smth like this or did they assume and jump ahead. cause if not i would be all for Jo. its her book, she has authority over who publishes what using her material and whether they pay compensation for it or not.

Avatar Image says:

Jo has said she likes the site previously. The problem here is that they are now trying to gain monitary profit with her copywirted materials. She loves the fans and loves that the site was up as a reference but not they are stepping on her toes with their encylopedia. While they cant add new material like she could its still a matter of them using copywritten material

Avatar Image says:

I guess I can understand where Jo is coming from. What the Lexicon would be publishing would be an all comprehensive book on essentially all the information in the books. That would obviously might take away from her book sales, kinda sorta not really. But still, w/e I can understand that. But it’s not like they would be publishing info that no one has heard before. Jo should have just asked them to take Encyclopedia out of their title if that’s the problem. I’m sure the Lexicon would have zero problem with abiding by her wishes.

Avatar Image says:

Well… I don’t think anyone fan enough to buy that lexicon book wouldn’t buy the official one as soon as it come out. Like, at midnight. Everybody is gonna want that encyclopedia whether they have an unofficial one or not. And like people said, the real thing will probably have unreleased material in it… but still, it’s JK’s right to sue in this case… I’m kinda surprised the lexicon was doing a book, isn’t the site enough?

Avatar Image says:

Ohhhh no…

I’m really surprised at this. I love the Lexicon; I’m quite torn. I don’t think it was very smart of them to put this book out though…

Avatar Image says:

I don’t think encyclopedia is IN their title. i remember it was going to be called the harry potter lexicon.

Avatar Image says:

Deana, the Mugglenet book was opinion. There is a distinct difference in the publishing world. You can write your opinion about anything you want without any worry about copyright infringement.

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If as some people were saying is true and it is just too close to her ensyclopedia, then are we really not getting too much new info? This is just too much to think about…this and Nanowrimo= insanity.

Avatar Image says:

woooow, so that’s what that was all about.

why would Steve and Co. wanna publish the Lexicon anyway? isn’t it great as a site?

what about all of the other fan books, some being crappy ones, some not, that dealt with predictions, understanding the phenomenom, jo herself, and the themes and meanings behind the books?

please don’t hurt steve, or melissa!!

Avatar Image says:

what about cliffnotes and sparknotes? ok maybe that one’s a stretch.

Avatar Image says:

Totally agree with JK on this one. I can’t understand why you guys are “shocked”. She has already stated that she will write an encyclopaedia with all the left out info and that all the money will go to charity – which I think that’s fantastic.

There is no point for another one. Personally I don’t get why there needs to be companion books for this series (Fan Fiction sites are available for people to rewrite or write future stories without getting sued).

Avatar Image says:

I think Glenn has it right, this is sad. Melissa, would it be possible to get an interview with Steve on this, or JKR’s representatives? (probably not, but might be worth at least trying)

This also raises broader intellectual property rights issues, which is a very nasty and contentious area. I am an academic scholar, and people frequently prepare Lexicons, Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, annotated and critical editions, etc etc as part of scholary research and providing research tools for others. Could the legal owner of say Proust’s writings, or Jean-Paul Sartre’s, suddenly have rights to prohibit the preparation and publication of those works? Conceivably, depending on the wording of the decision, they could. Could Christopher Tolkein, cantankerous and determined to uphold his vision of his father’s works, suddenly start suing?

Worrisome. And I think in this case JKR is wrong (is WB calling the shots here?), since as others have noted she will be giving us far more in her planned Encyclopedia than Steve can based strictly on what is available as of this moment.

Avatar Image says:

I am dismayed…......I agree, with Tsuta. I am very suprised at the Lexicon folks, for even considering this. I am also, pretty sure, that there was “talking”done, as lal said. The fact that they even considered doing this, in my humble opinion, is a bit of an assumption. And, I think everyone knows what happens, when you assume….I feel, on the part of the Lexicon, they are being selfish, and contrary to Jo’s wishes. She holds the copyright, and it IS copyright infringement. And splitting hairs won’t change that. I am on Jo’s side, on this one.

Avatar Image says:

This is a ridiculous suit. This guy has done a lot of work, and it certainly never hurt Jo’s profit line before (it may have helped). There’s nothing wrong with him profiting a little too, especially since she admitted using the site. I think it’s wrong for Jo and the lawyers to try and hoard the released info about the characters.

This is just another case of copyrights being used to hurt the small individual, and not to protect them. I wonder if Steve can counter sue for her using his work to fact check her books so that she can profit.

Avatar Image says:

Well I support the Lexicon and Steve through their ventures on the website.

But they shouldn’t publish a book. And considering it wasn’t until today that JKR said not to, I think they shouldn’t sue and they should give him a chance to not publish it.

Avatar Image says:

It is absolutely ridiculous to say that a book published by fans in the near future would hurt the profit made by a book written by JKR in the far future.

If she doesn’t want other people to make money from her work, fine. But at least give believeable reasons for it and not something like this.

Avatar Image says:

Wait, I’m confused. O_o Is Steve Vander Ark the one trying to release the encyclopedia? That’s really strange.. I find it so hard to believe that he would try to do something like that without discussing it with the appropriate parties first, and knowing that Jo is going to release her own. Isn’t the site enough?

Avatar Image says:

Is this going to go away, like the other suit filed? The poor lexicon. It’s like someone busting into your home and taking away a notebook you’ve stored all of your notes in about the series!!!

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I am torn. I love the Lexicon and very much enjoy Steve’s commentary on Pottercast. I’d hate to see the Potter fan world sever its relationship with such a handy source. When it comes down to it though, is there any of us that wouldn’t buy Jo’s book even with the Lexicon book available? I’d buy the Lexicon book to not only support a wonderful source that has been there for me since the beginning of my obsession, but also to have a book that organizes all things Harry the way a fan thinks. I’ll buy Jo’s book because it will have new content and it will be part of Jo’s delicious vision. There are not many Potter people that aren’t hungry for more from Jo, but I think we all can appreciate how the Lexicon has helped us organize every bit of information available. I don’t think it is dirty of them to put all of their hard work into print.

sigh

Avatar Image says:

guys the fact of the matter is that it is HER material no one has the right to use it with out her permission for gain. thats why they have copyrights. Lexicon is wrong, no matter how much we like them they were in the wrong

Avatar Image says:

Steve is amazing! This is BS! How DARE she just go and sue one of her biggest fans that even SHE has recognized in the past! I’m disgusted with JKR! Steve, go publish that book! You probably know more than she does anyways!

Avatar Image says:

Personally, I want to blame WB for this, since technically they appear to own the rights to the characters, not JKR (lesson, be really careful about what contracts you sign, people!). WB appears to have accelerated its efforts to increase its own profits (those money grubbing toe rags). How much control JKR really has over this would be interesting to know…frankly, everything she has said in the past is that she has more money than she knows what to do with, so I cannot see her as a prime mover in this and some other recent legal actions. But, until its all over with, we probably won’t know.

Sad.

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It all goes to greed

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Riddikulus! It’s not right that Steve Van Ark is being sued over his Harry Potter Lexicon book since JKR has previously said that even she used the site on occasion. Besides there are already companions books out there! According to my Amazon.com search – there are 46 including several that specifically call themselves “encyclopedias”

I still say she should turn it into “Hogwarts: A History” – updated and revised by Hermione Granger-Weasley instead of just a straight encyclopedia.

Avatar Image says:

I suspect the use of the word ‘unofficial’ in the title would have avoided all this; however great a site the Lexicon is it is not an official, authorised source of information and any publication resulting from it should have reflected this fact.

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I am very saddened that Jo would target her own fans in this way. Disappointing.

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It is important to remember that when it says J.K. Rowling, it really means Jo’s publishers

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I will always lean towards JK Rowling as JK really has opened us all up to the magical world of Harry Potter. Although JK has essentially sanctioned sites such as The Leaky Cauldorn and The Lexicon, JK still has the right to all things Harry Potter. Long live The Lexicon, however the Lexicon is best viewed online and not in written form.

The encyclopedia that JK is writing/will write should hopefully contain everything that is known along with new information that we all want to know about. This will always be better than a rehash of old information that Steve from The Lexicon has produced. I am not dissing Steve, however when it comes to Harry Potter, JK is the one and only authority on such matters.

Avatar Image says:

Wait- we’re sure she’s suing STEVE? Or- what? Who? HUH?

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Hannah (I am very saddened that Jo would target her own fans in this way. Disappointing.)

Always remember that Jo is certainly not targeting her fans in any way whatsoever. Jo will be using her version of the encyclopedia to aid charities, whereas Steve’s version will not. Jo is the one and only authority on Harry Potter and waiting for her version of the encyclopedia is something good that she is once again doing for her fans.

Avatar Image says:

I can see where Jo is coming from with this but, it just doesn’t seem quite right. She gave the lexicon a fansite award for crying out loud. Plus I just looked it up on amazon to make sure I was right and there have been books published before that were both ‘campanion’ books and unoffical ‘encyclopedias’. So why now does she say that those kinds of books are not alright.

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pawnblue- She’s not looking to hurt the small individual at all… the profits of encyclopedia she has declared she will write are to go only to charity. She’s said this numerous times… just like how she did “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” While it’s nice to have fan sites like the Lexicon, it is not Steve’s story, it’s Rowling’s. She wouldn’t be making a profit, but he would.

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There’s some interesting points people are making here. Reading the article on Reuters, JK says that she plans to include material that wasn’t in the novels in her own encyclopedia; however, she doesn’t say that she won’t also include known material. She calls her encyclopedia the “definitive Potter reference book” – so maybe she plans to include all the info that would be in the Lexicon as well, or perhaps a good chunk of it.

I am frankly surprised that Steve would go ahead and publish this book – while JK condoned his site, actually publishing a book of the material (for profit) is a different matter. I do find JK’s reasoning of depriving the charities of money to be a bit of a stretch, and it’s interesting to think that WB may have had a large part in the lawsuit.

Really, such an awful situation! To go after one of her biggest fans with a lawsuit, even if it may be necessary!

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Wow.. for once I’ve gotta say “boo” to Jo about this decision.

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Wow! I didn’t know they were publishing a book?! That is a shame! The Lexicon rocks. Wow! Yikes! Don’t even know what to say. The lexicon is a useful source. I can understand she doesn’t want them to publish a book, but geez, this kinda strikes at the heart of the fandom.

I always hoped that the fandom and her would work together on something personal for charity. But this dashes those hopes. Oops!

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Not cool, and quite a change of position given JKR’s history of fantastic support for various fansites and companion pieces.

1. Given that the “Lexicon” is about set to be published, it is highly probable that the book was well underway (or even nearly done save Book 7 info) at the time JKR made her comments about writing an HP encyclopedia. Accusing someone (Steve) whom she’s praised in the past of deliberate pre-emption is way, way out of line.

2. Any claim that a fan-book published now will in any way harm proceeds of a far-off encyclopedia of the HP world is frankly silly. I understand how important the HP books are to those of us who frequent fansites. The fact of the matter is, it is only the hardest of hardcore fans (like us) who rush out to buy books like this. I would be utterly shocked if a SINGLE PERSON who cared enough about JKR and HP to go and buy a fan-written book like this one would not bend absolutely backwards to buy a new HP-related book by Jo herself. SHOCKED.

3. The language in the suit could set a very dangerous precedent. At best, Jo is showing favoritism toward fan-authors with whom she has had personal interaction. At worst, Bloomsbury, WB and Scholastic can use the VERY broad language from the suit (unauthorized use of characters/trademarks, etc.) to shut down absolutely anything HP-related that is not officially sponsored.

I remain a huge supporter of JKR and of my favorite books. This is way, way disappointing, though.

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Right, old dude, I’m sure it all goes to greed… that’s why she’s donating all her profits of the encyclopedia to charity.

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Miguel,

I will always lean towards JK Rowling as JK really has opened us all up to the magical world of Harry Potter. Although JK has essentially sanctioned sites such as The Leaky Cauldorn and The Lexicon, JK still has the right to all things Harry Potter. Long live The Lexicon, however the Lexicon is best viewed online and not in written form.

The encyclopedia that JK is writing/will write should hopefully contain everything that is known along with new information that we all want to know about. This will always be better than a rehash of old information that Steve from The Lexicon has produced. I am not dissing Steve, however when it comes to Harry Potter, JK is the one and only authority on such matters.

There is no precendent setting here – just JK honoring her true fans with essentially another book on Harry Potter.

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I can’t help but feel sympathy for Steve and the Lexicon… He’s put hours and hours into his website and all this book would be is a paper format of his website. She doesn’t have a problem with the site, she shouldn’t have a problem with his book.

This is the same as shutting down all potter websites because they do the same thing. What about the Mugglenet book? I just think it’s stupid. She’s giving money to her charity, but she’s taking it right out of the pocket of Steve.

Stealing from the poor to feed the fashionably poor.

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Folks, please stop blaming JKR personally. This legal action is being taken by those who claim to be acting on her behalf, and on WB’s, in short, a bunch of lawyers. JKR didn’t wake up this morning and, gazing at a grey drizzly sky in Scotland, think “Gee, I feel grumpy, why don’t I screw around with Steve”

What would be important to know, can JRK intervene to bring this sad situation to a nice resolution, or is she totally tied by contracts that she signed (and which were read and explained to her by lawyers). Or has she too lost control over her own writing?

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Well, I can see both sides of the argument for this one. It’s still a head scratcher why no one would check to see if this type of book would be okay. Personally, I think the best resolution would be for JKR AND SVA to put the Encyclopedia together… together. Granted, JKR has the world at her fingertips, but Steve’s already done so much himself, research that could theoretically take years for one person alone to accomplish. Between the two… can you imagine the volume they would make? THEN, dedicate THOSE profits to charity.

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So after destroying the character of Dumbledore, she’s going sue happy on people who have devoted countless hours catering to her fandom.

What happened to you, JK?

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Jo doing an HP encyclopedia has been hinted at by her for years, so even if Steve’s was in the pipeline for a while, he knew that it was a possibility that Jo herself would be doing an official one.

It’s her property plain and simple.

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Theres been A LOT of work put into the lexicon, I think Steve should profit. And I think the fact he is putting out this kind of book might be incentive for Jo to put even more new material into anything she gives us. So yeah, I really hope Steve wins.

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Incidentally, there has been a parallel set of legal suits, by Disney. After years of allowing, even encouraging the use of its characters as decorations in schools, child care centers and other places, Disney began to demand either royalties or the removal of the characters! My impression is that after about a year of forcing child care centers to paint over Micky and Donald in front of crying toddlers, Disney finally realized they were hurting their corporate image and not making any money in the process….

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It’s a FAN site. He started it as a fan, knowing it would be just a fan site, so why should he profit from it?

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since everyone will by her book anyway, this would not hurt her sales or charities,BUT since hers would be for charity maybe Steve should agree to donate the money to a charity she chooses instead of profitting from it. this seems like an overreaction but it is strange that steve would publish just when she’s confirmed her own encyclopedia.

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Running a fansite is one thing, but infringing on copyright for profit is another matter entirely. JK Rowling (and WB) has every right to sue Steve (remembering that they’re suing over the book and NOT the fansite). She’s not ‘attacking fans’, she’s protecting her intellectual property. The contents of a lexicon based on the Harry Potter books would clearly be constructed from copyrighted information. As for those readers whose comments are attacking Rowling for suing rather than ‘talking about it’... seriously? You don’t think they might have already warned the publishers? The authors of the lexicon have NO right to profit financially, no matter how big a fan they are.

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“So after destroying the character of Dumbledore, she’s going sue happy on people who have devoted countless hours catering to her fandom. What happened to you, JK?”

Good Point! I really don’t know what’s happened to her.

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Miguel said:”The language in the suit could set a very dangerous precedent. At best, Jo is showing favoritism toward fan-authors with whom she has had personal interaction. At worst, Bloomsbury, WB and Scholastic can use the VERY broad language from the suit (unauthorized use of characters/trademarks, etc.) to shut down absolutely anything HP-related that is not officially sponsored.”

Yes, I think that is the point. JKR wants to be the sole user of her characters. She naively signed over many rights to WB for the movies, that knowing what she does now, she would never have done. What we think is certainly open for interpretation: megalomaniac, or protecting creative integrity? Since she is now suing fans who have always held her work with the utmost of respect, I’m leaning towards the former. Charity is a weak excuse at best Jo.

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Sorry . . still not buying it . . ;)

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Jo’s encyclopedia has been rumoured for ages, so the Lexicon would have known about it. Of course what will sell Jo’s book if she does eventually write it will be her name on the cover, and the new information she has said it will contain, so I rather doubt the Lexicon book will impact it much at all, particularly as I get the impression that Jo’s book is some way off. On the other hand this might be a legal issue, and Jo and her lawyers feel that if they allow this book there will be many other books in the same vein that will take this as a precedent.

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I think everyone here is a little shocked by this. I personally cannot beleive that Jo knew specifically who WB would be targeting.

It is very obvious that Steve would never try to publish an companion book simply to cash in on HP.

My very fist gut reaction is how can I help? Who do I start writing letters to. Because this is a pretty bad mistake, and if Jo does know its specifically Steve, well then I’m saddened.

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Anyone who thinks that lawyers are doing this without Jo’s consent is stupid. She knows exactly what’s going on. She’s made special note of it on her website. And while she may have what she thinks is perfectly good reason to be suing a poor fan who has devoted the last 10 years to her books, I simply cannot see it. Her book would sell just as well as his. SVA isn’t going to cut her sales.

The same way that Mugglenets book didn’t hurt sales of book 7. This is stupid.

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I’m going to get a book of copyright laws I think, to understand perfectly, before I comment further. They have to talk about this on PotterCast, even if they didn’t talk about the Indian suit on it. This directly effects the Floo Network.

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I don’t know the details of it…but from what I heard…it makes sense to prevent the publication of the lexicon. It is one thing to have a free lexicon online for all to read at no cost…but to have it published whereby someone not affiliated with JKR can profit from the sales of the book (which contains the sole intellectual property of JKR) sounds like a sneaky way of making money…intentional or not.

It seems JKR was fine with the Lexicon being online…but when they decided to bring money in is where she drew the line. Unless they intended on giving those unofficial books away for free?

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I think it’s rather simple really. The lexicon should have asked if it’s OK to publish something like this or not and they clearly didn’t. After all, we all knew that Rowling was going to write a companion / encyclopedia in the future. It’s a shame this is happening, but really it’s not wrong for her and the WB to do this.

“Theres been A LOT of work put into the lexicon, I think Steve should profit.” Well you don’t get paid to be a fan. It goes the other way around.

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Wow. I’m thinking a simple, behind the scenes request to shelve this project would have been SO much better than filing a lawsuit. What a slap! I don’t think this was about making money off her characters. I’m disappointed in how this was handled. I understand protecting copyrights, but this isn’t the first companion piece, and I don’t remember any lawsuits there.

LS

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I didn’t expected it. Jo has exagerated. Her book would sell the same. It’s a different kind of encyclopedia. One has the known canon of today, the other is a futurible book with exclusive canon. No competence.

My support to the Lexicon.

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I’m really sorry this has happened. Hopefully, something can be worked out.

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freeluciusnow21 – Isn’t it actually like the Lexicon stealing JK Rowling’s notes of the series? I think you got it backwards.

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Giving to charity is a wonderful and noble thing to do. And to spend hours and hours on a brilliant website that was free to all of us without a thought is also charity.

I feel kind of bad for Steve. Why Steve!!! And there have been all kinds of crazy Harry Potter books and study guides, etc. His book must be very good to get this kind of lawsuit and attention.

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It seems like if Steve were trying to be a respectful fan and steward of Jo’s work, he would have asked her first, not to mention not be making a profit off of it. That feels to me like at best a lack of forethought, and at worst a disregard for the very hard work she’s surely put into creating the Harry Potter books.

And guys, my guess is that this isn’t so much about the amount of money that she’ll raise for charity as it is about the fact that it’s a very blatant copyright infringement. They just don’t want to talk about the elephant in the room because it sounds accusatory.

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“Isn’t it actually like the Lexicon stealing JK Rowling’s notes of the series? I think you got it backwards.”

No it’s not. The Lexicon was created from painstaking work of combing through the published books, every interview, the movies, the video games, everything and assembled in a usable fashion. JKR has used it herself to keep her facts straight about “her” world. Whether Steve created the characters or not is not really the issue. JKR said it’s about money she intends to go to charity – weak excuse. Every time people at Leaky use the Lexicon I hope they appreciate the massive time and work that went into it, that you all feel is your right to use free of charge.

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Seriously, after she awarded them for their extensive effort? After all that the site did for her? That seems a bit wrong.

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Putting so much work into a fan site is all well and good, but he did it because he wanted to probably make it one of the best Harry Potter fansites out there, which it is. It still doesn’t mean he should profit from it. Because all in all it’s still just a fan site based on JKR’s work.

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oh I am SURE they asked him to shut it down behind the scenes.anyone who thinks a lawsuit is their first resort is pretty silly. There’s ni doubt they asked and Steve said no and that is why there is a lawsuit now.

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Caelead – selling JK’s own story as a fan is not treating her material with the utmost respect.

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Jo is suing Steve Vander Ark? Holy crap! Can’t say I expected that… I think I agree with her on this one though. I am sick of “fans” profiting off of Harry Potter, and apparently Jo is too.

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GOOD! Fans need to stop f!cking profiting off of Harry Potter, I’ve always thought it was wrong. I’m surprised she didn’t go after Mugglenet’s book which was very sloppily done and which they made an assload of money off of.

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A study guide and an encyclopedia are two very different things. An encyclopedia/companion is basically just quoting Rowling for an entire book and a study guide is a book written about the books. Now if he was doing an encyclopedia and DIDN’T have a permission to do it, then what on earth was he thinking?

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I agree with Lady Stratford. A settlement out of the public eye should have been the way forward, but this makes JK look like a media, attention-grabbing author. The Lexicon did do a lot work, but let’s not forget that the website had no profit to gain whereas putting it through a publisher and gaining capital is a copyright infringement. I doubt the fan sites will be affected by this law-suit as they’re not gaining profit.

Having said that, I completely feel dismayed that SVA is being personally penalised for all his hard work, and that he was publically named when it could have been done very quietly… This is a sad day in the world of Harry Potter.

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budd, WB has NOTHING to do with this. The characters still belong to JKR, and always will. I think it’s completely clear this is coming directly from her as per her note on her website.

I’m sure Jo appreciates the Lexicon website as much as anyone, but we’ve been hearing about her encyclopedia for years and this is her expressed wish. And for the person about who stated “Steve probably knows more about HP than Jo,” all I can say is that I hope you are joking. As the CREATOR of this work, Jo has spent nearly the last two decades in this world, filling hundreds of notebooks. It’s assinine to believe that there is a person alive who knows more about HP than Jo.

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Sounds like this book is just re-packaging Jo’s intellectual property for profit, in the exact same way she plans to do (except hers will be for charity). This is unlike other ‘companion’ books which do add something of their own e.g. speculation on the outcome of the series or examination of myth and folklore. It can’t be acceptable to re-hash someone elses’s work in this way and sell it. No matter how useful the website has been to us fans and how nice a guy the author might be. Free-access website fine, book sold for profit a step too far.

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This is crazy!! How shocking! I don’t know what to think!

I’d love to know what Leaky and the lexicon have to say.

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I don’t think that they should suit books like that. There are hundreds, thousands of books that are unofficial harry potter related things. “What will happen in harry potter 7?”, “Muggles and Magic”, “The Sorcerers Companion”. None of those are getting suited. Most of the people who write those books are HUGE harry potter fans and are more interested getting out there thoughts and such about harry potter then they are in making money. However, I don’t think warner brothers has anything to do with it. It’s J.K. Rowling’s business and they shouldn’t be butting into it. If they keep going at this rate, J.K. Rowling won’t even be part of the Harry Potter scene. It will all be part of “Warner Brothers” >:(

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My support to Leaky and Lexicon! It is incredible what Jo’s doing since the seventh was released. I’m really confused about everything she’s saying or doing, talking about things like these… I think she’s exagerating. Her enciclopedy is going to be released in… ten years? Really, I can’t understand it.

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Wow, I want to think this is a joke. This is so unlike Jo. I want to take her side because I love Jo, but I don’t really see how she can justify this. I mean, there have been many, many books like this that have been published. True, they were speculation, but I’m sure there have been encyclopedia-like books too, and I don’t see why she has to make an example of this one. A book being published by a fan site that she has respected and rewarded in the past. And that she says it will cut in to her profits. Total crap. I mean, a person who will go and buy a book published by a fan is absolutely going to buy a book written by Jo herself, so there’s no way that it would hurt the money being made for charity. And also, with the character infringement, what about all of the other books like this that have been published? And I don’t belive that Steve would have refused to not publish the book if he had been asked. We are fans, we practically worship this woman and then to turn around and ignore her when she asks us to not publish a book about her characters for any reason,not likely. But it seems so harsh and out of character to just slap a lawsuit on them. I’m so torn! It seems so…..not Jo to do this.

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How you can blame Steve for publish this book? For years, HPL has been FREE for all us. I am sure each one of us here has searched info on the Lexicon for at least 10 times in the last year. At least. All free. A book needs more work and if they can earn money for pay the website servers, believe I would be very proud of buy this book.

And Jo, I would buy your book TOO, of course. I am absolutly disappointed with this sue. With the indian pandal, with that… I can’t believe it is happening.

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I

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On a side note, does anyone know if Leaky will be allowed to talk to Steve about the suit? I highly doubt it, if he’s a defendant.

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WHY is everyone getting so upset? I really dont get it someone is using JKRs material for their own personal gain. We should all be standing behind her. Yes Steve and the saff at the Lexicon have put in alot of work into the site Jo has acknowalaged that. But now that they have over stepped their boundries and are tring to take what JK has spent 17 years creating they are wrong. end of story. Its hers no one else’s

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ALAS, we are but ants in the world of JKR….If she can go on the set of the movies and make adjustments, I’m sure could call the dogs off or at least come to some understanding (IF she choses to). Steve has shown her nothing but devotion and loyalty not to mention thousands upon thousands of hours into the Lexicon.

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“And I don’t belive that Steve would have refused to not publish the book if he had been asked.”

Well he clearly has, hasn’t he? Honestly people, get real. He might be a super nice guy and he certainly has done a lot of work for this, but you just CAN’T publish something like an encyclopedia that is mostly just quoting Rowling and hoping to get profit. It’s no legal.

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Here is the difference between Mugglenet’s book, companion books versus The HP Lexicon’s encyclopedia. Mugglenet’s book if a group of opinions. Other companion books about psychology, philosophy, etc. in Harry Potter are also opinions. They have their own statement of facts and their own purpose.

The lexicon is simply a group of information put in book form. It’s copy and pasted information. There is nothing unique about it. It’s Jo’s work and characters reprinted without her permission.

For those who are still confused about copyright laws, look at it from a differnt angle. I’m a photographer. Imagine if someone took my pictures and put them in a book without asking my permission, and sold it aas a collection of my work. Now if they used my work to explain the use of leading lines in photography, I think that would be okay.

I don’t think Steve meant any harm, and I doubt Jo hates him now. It’s just a bad decision by Steve and his staff. People make mistakes.

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There had to be private stuff which obviously we don’t know about because that is what private means. Putting her world wholesale into an encyclopedia is a lot worse than any of the others. So now a private request – there had tonhsve been one – just so they can say they tried to settle it quietly – has had to go public. It’s very different to give opinion than to put her property under a different cover and call it yurs and Steve should – I’d guess does – know that.

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I think the Lexicon book is a bad idea. Yes, the site is popular and useful, but essentially the book is providing at a charge what they are already providing for free. And that personally annoys me, but what makes the decision worse is that it is presumably marketed to coincide with the announcement of JKR’s own encylopaedia, which will be released for charity. Taken the wrong (I hope) way, the statement it makes is ‘Why buy that book when you can buy THIS one earlier?’. It appears to be riding the market in a fairly tasteless way.

It won’t affect most of the fandom, but who’s to say it will have no effect? Regardless, it’s tacky to benefit from the fandom’s lack of patience for something that will eventually provide funds for charity.

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I don’t think it’s our place to judge the decisions of either side in this case as we don’t know all the details. Also, remember what Jo said once? To question authority. So don’t absolutely 100% believe what Reuters has to say unless it comes from an official source such as Jo and her representatives or Steve Vander Ark. And just as a personal opinion, I don’t think Jo would sue unless she had a real legit reason to, and she’s only filing suit against the publication of the book, not the website.

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I stand by you, Steve. All my support.

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I can’t describe how torn I am over this. I love Jo, and normally wouldn’t think twice about supporting her decision to protect her copyright. But this is an odd case. Other companion books/encyclopedias have been published already, and she didn’t fight them. (I actually found one on Amazon called “The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A-Z” by Kristina Benson, published as recently as July 2007.) If she allowed those other books to go unchallenged, why pick on Steve? Steve has always shown the utmost respect for Jo and her work and has contributed in a real way to her devoted fandom. Steve’s book won’t take away from her sales. What will hurt her sales most is waiting too long to publish. The longer she waits the fewer people will be interested, especially once all the movies are out. Ultimately, I just can’t get away from the thought that even if she has a legal case here, it doesn’t justify the slap in the face she’s giving to Steve. (...and as someone who transitioned from casual-fan to devoted-fan by listening to Steve & company on Pottercast, and reading sites like the Lexicon and TLC… I can’t help feeling as if I’m sharing that slap in the face by extension…. if that makes any sense at all….)

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Caelaed, she isn’t shutting down the website, she is asking him not to print a book.

Please, everyone, learn about copyright infringement before typing. Jo has every right to do this. She is doing the correct thing. It’s Steve who messed up, and I bet he feels really bad about it.

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who says steve is a nice guy? I always found him rather arrogant and the fact that he didnt immediately admit he was wrong and pull the book proves it. It’s not his world and let’s not make him a martyr people. When he creates a world like harry potter he can create the encyclopedia to it.

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This has to be a trick. Did anyone even know Steve was working on a book? And as in-tune as Steve is with the fandom, I cannot believe he wouldn’t have sought JKR’s blessing on such a project. Additionally, given the respect and reverence Steve has shown JKR in the past, I would think that a simple request from her to not publish the book would be sufficient.

But, if it’s real then I guess I have to grudgingly agree with JKR. Nobody should profit by reprinting her material, which by definition is what an encyclopedia would be. I really don’t like the fact that she was so quick to sue a fan site, however. Especially one of the ‘core’ sites. She may as well sue Leaky!

Even if it is a Halloween trick, it is to soon after the Dumbledore disaster to be messing around like this.

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I’m not questioning the legality of JKR’s suit, but rather the ethics of it. Profit and fair compensation are very different things. The amount of time that went into cataloguing the HP world must be worth something. Hundreds of people have “profited” off of Harry Potter and JKR said nary a word. JKR herself profited monetarily off of Steve’s work. But suing the one person who has made “her” world understandable even to her for copyright infringement (which is not about intellectual property, but money) is a poor standard. It is our choices that define us Jo, as do yours.

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Oh, and no sympathy for the companion books from me, either, I’m afraid, but mainly because I have a personal dislike of those things. I don’t like the idea of Big Name Fans and don’t think one fan’s viewpoints are worth more than another’s just because they’re given at a cost.

Oh again, this lawsuit has nothing to do with whether JKR likes the lexicon website or not. You don’t file lawsuits just to say ‘Nyeeehh, I don’t like you very much!’.

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Maybe I’m being too cynical, but some of you guys have to get over this idea you have that JKR should be grateful for the “hours Steve spent putting the lexicon together.” She didn’t ask him to do it, he did it because he enjoyed it and wanted to do it. She even acknowledged his hard work by giving him an award. However, when he ignores her request not to print the book (which he has or there would be no lawsuit), then he unfortunately has to face the consequences of his actions.

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and i bet he doesnt fwel bad at all but rather entitled to publish. There is no way this is the first he is hearing of this suit or her displeasure, and even so if he didnt immediately abandon the project… Let’s be honest: he knew she didn’t want it and went ahead anyway. Not his decision to make and now it’s a lawsuit. He’s not respecting her at all.

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CNN and USA Today both have articles up on this.

“The complaint claims Warner Bros. and Rowling’s representatives have been ” rebuffed and treated rudely” in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with RDR Books.” From CNN. RDR is the publisher.

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Caelaed, It’s her work! She has celebrated the HP Lexicon in past. She loved that site. The difference is now Steve is trying to sell it as a book to make profit. Your darn right it’s about money. I don’t want anyone making money off of my hard work if they don’t put in any of their own opinions, thoughts, conclusions, etc.

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Maybe I’m alone here, but regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, Steve’s would have been WAY more comprehensive (more detailed, encyclopedic) than Jo’s. She’s amazing; her book will be funny and charming, and if I had to pick between the two, I’d take hers. But I want something the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and let’s face it; Jo is not going to spend the 1000’s of hours that Steve and his staff did for this one. His would be much more comprehensive than hers. They’re apples and oranges. What’s wrong with wanting both? Maybe part of the settlement will be her using the materials in her own work.

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And Caelead- JKR did not need Steve to catalogue the HP world for her, she has her notebooks and knows it front and back in her head. So, he must have done it for himself and for the fans so when you say “it must be worth something” actually, it does not. And how exactly did Jo gain monetarily from Steve’s “work”? Did people not understand HP before the website? Did people see the website and say “Oh, I think I’ll start reading the Harry Potter books!”

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everybody talks about the Hours Steve put in….what about the YEARS even DECADES JK has put in . what is she working for? to have someone else make money off of her and her ideas no not that needs the money but she has the right to say who makes money off of her and where is goes. its crazy to be mad a jo for pretecting her creation

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“Anyone who thinks that lawyers are doing this without Jo’s consent is stupid. She knows exactly what’s going on. She’s made special note of it on her website. And while she may have what she thinks is perfectly good reason to be suing a poor fan who has devoted the last 10 years to her books, I simply cannot see it. Her book would sell just as well as his. SVA isn’t going to cut her sales.”

Yeah, this isn’t the case of innocent little JKR who can’t help what the big bad lawyers do. I think this was a bad decision on her part and I have a feeling that the fandom is going to remember this for a long, long time.

It might take her years and years to actually do that encyclopedia. Everyone will buy it anyway because it’ll have new information. What’s wrong with having an encyclopedia in the meantime? There have already been loads of books about Harry Potter not by JKR, why go after one by someone who’s devoted so much time and energy being her fan? The idea that this book, with no new information, could take away from the sales of some far-distant future book with new information is ridiculous.

And if she’s so horribly concerned about money not going to charity, why doesn’t she just give more of her own money to charity?

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What about the companion to the Vampire Chronicles? That wasn’t written by Anne Rice. The amount of work put into reading Harry Potter and listing all the info, plus the obvious love of the book by Mr. Vander Ark, it’s like insulting to sue him for devoting his time to JKR’s work. It’s a complement!

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the diifference is that it is not Steve’s decision. It’s hers, no matter what way you would like to sugar coat it. It is her world and not his, period.

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Eyezbi, Steve’s material IS Jo’s material, so that would be ridiculous.

Thank you whatshername! Good to have definitive proof that they tried to settle this privately.

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I don’t believe that what Steve is doing is “copy and pasting” at all. He has spent hours and hours working out the secrets of the series, including all the things people wouldn’t have noticed on their own. It takes time and effort to do this, just look at the detail of the site.

Since I haven’t seen/read the book, I would assume that it IS a companion book, because it’s unofficial, and based on speculation and information figured out through cross referencing and research.

I can see why JKR, and Warner Bros would be upset if money is being made off of Harry Potter by other people. But, in the end, I bet a lot of that money would go back into the making of the Lexicon website.

Ultimately, ONLY JKR can give us new information. And, the people who are going to buy Steve’s book are the ultimate fans, who are going to be the first ones to buy JKR’s official edition.

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I don’t understand why they just don’t NOT publish the book. Couldn’t they have just said “Sorry, but Jo’s going to be doing this, so we’re not publishing yours.” Why does there have to be a big lawsuit??? I’m really confused.

Though it seems to me that Leaky is kind of torn on this too. Notice how at the end of the article Melissa wrote about how Leaky and the Lexicon are basically sister sites? I’m sure she feels upset over this, and unsure of what to do.

Poor Steve… he’s only ever loved Harry Potter, and basically dedicated a huge portion of his life to making that site.. I really hope it doesn’t cause any big problems. Lawsuits like these can ruin lives – he could lose tons, such as his house or job… it just seems like something else could have been done.

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No-one can take an author’s property and re-package the information therein and sell it on. It is a blatant infringement of copyright. The books that have been allowed thus far are not simply re-packaged versions, they add something extra in the way of discussion, ideas, intellectual input. This one apparently does not, or does not do so enough.

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There’s a big difference between having the online Lexicon a printed version….

The online Lexicon is free, the printed version (the book) is being sold for profit, meaning Steve will be making a profit publishing works of Jo’s.

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I’ve got to say, I don’t believe that Steve would make a book without consulting Jo. Moreover, I do not believe that he would rebuff and/or treat Jo rudely, however, I can’t believe Jo would be this suit-happy against the Lexicon. Really?

I’m a little at odds. If it turns out that Jo just arbitrarily sued Steve and the Lexicon- given, on grounds that are perfectly understandable but needn’t have gone to a lawsuit- I will be both extremely disappointed in Jo and quite angry.

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Could someone provide links to the CNN and USA Today articles? I can’t find the CNN one yet, and I’d like to read them.

LS

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on I believe he would do this without her permission. And be rude. He’s been arrogant on every pottercast and at prophecy he said mean thicngs about the last book and said she had done too many scenes to make the books movie friendly. I’ve seen his talks and they are displays fornhis pomposity and I don’t doubt for a second that jo and her people were treated rudely, especially if they put it down in the form of a legal document.

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JK Rowling wants damages. She doesn’t want to stop the book from further publication, the woman richer than the Queen wants damages. I don’t even know what to say.

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Hope this works.

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200710311744DOWJONESDJONLINE001189_FORTUNE5.htm

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I’ll I cany say is I feel sorry for Steve. It must hurt to have this suit come from someone he has admired so much for so long.

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“it all goes to greed”

Where? On the Lexicons part? Maybe. I’m sure that site is very popular, and at least partially profitable (jeez, didnt I read in the leadup to the Summer of 7, that some of these HP fansites make in the 5 to 6 figures???). Lets not be naive and think that there’s not at least some profit in running the lexicon (and remember, he designed it as a fan). No matter how much I love the Lexicon, it is not Steve V’s property. he is technically trying to profit himself off of someone elses creation. It cant be greed on the WB’s or JKR’s part, because all their profit will go to charity.

I think that her post on her website today just goes to show you how hard this step probably was. hindsight makes me think its almost an apology of sorts. I’m guessing she is supportive of the website, especially since she’s used it herself, but she just couldnt support the book. It will be to profit someone besides the owner of the copyright (or in this case, the charity she chooses), and will indeed infringe on her future book.

it doesnt really matter that she hasnt started it yet, or that we have no idea how far in the future it’ll be, it’s still her world. and it also doesnt hold true that The Lexicons book will cover old info, and hers will cover new info. I am sure, if she is going to publish an end-all encyclopedia, it will include BOTH old info, and new stuff she didnt get a chance to put in. and that means that their book would infringe.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who might purchase that one first, and not really care about the info that’s not already out there. Sure, it wouldnt stop me, or many others here, from buying both, but we’re not the majority. There are many who would love a reference about the published world who wouldnt give a toss about all that extra stuff that we’d love.

again… it’s her world, we’re just along for the ride.

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Acording to Jo, the main subject is that this encyclopedia would make loose benefits to the official one. It is what she uses to defend herself, in a news where I see she isn’t very proud of what she has done.

But do we really believe HPLexicon book could make loose benefits to the official one? It’s riddiculus, absolutly!

1- HPL book would be published in November 2007. Official encyclopedia doesn’t have date, but we will have to wait YEARS. 2- HPL book is from all the known canon. Acording to old interviews to JKR, her official encyclopedia will have ALL the content that has NOT appeared on the books. And of course, it will be with content that HPL book hasn’t. Different books.

I can’t still believe what Jo has done. From the pandal news to this, I am each day more dissapointed. It awful that her only text update from July has been a discrect explanation of her sue. Shaming.

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Eyezbi – there is no possible way that Steve’s book could be more comprehensive than Jo’s, because Jo will not only have every bit of information that Steve would put in his book, but all of the things that only she knows. Every little piece of information that Steve knows has come from Jo, either from her books, website, or interviews. She is the source.

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I was surprised at this. But only because it’s the Lexicon. Jo and WB have the copyrights, they can decide what to do with the characters and Rowlings invented world. A encyclopedia would be too much related to the books, and there would be made a nice amount of money (I guess), whereas the site is just a fanmade non-profit encyclopedia (I think). This book would be fully based on the HP-world, other books are related but stand on their own and discuss HP-[i]related[/i] stuff.

If I remember correctly, Mugglenet has once got a C&D letter not to sell Potter merchandise. This is something like that in my opinion.

The article says the book was already due to be released? It’s a bit strange a publisher doesn’t check if it’s okay to publish…

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I like how her own fans treat Jo Rowling as a greedy witch for suing on perfectly valid legal grounds, but when ‘One Of Us™’ gets in trouble for trying to pad their own wallet by selling somebody else’s intellectual property, they’re nothing but a dear, darling, innocent fan.

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Why is the Lexicon releasing an encyclopedia-like book when Jo’s already said she’s be doing one? Plus she’ll put a lot of new information into it that only she has access to. Looks like Steve’s just trying to profit from how famous his website has become. I love the Lexicon but if the book’s just a paper version of the website, who’d but that?

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The CNN link still doesn’t work. Can someone quote it?

LS

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By the way, if this story is true (I still somewhat doubt it), I wonder if, after the lexicon publication goes belly up, it would be legal to distribute their encyclopaedia for charitable benefit. That way they get to do their alleged ‘service to the fandom’ without the theft and greed.

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I do love the fact that WB is kind of jumping on the bandwagon in a way – it’s not like they are going to film the encyclopedia.

And I get the impression that poor Steve may be a little stuck in the middle – the article doesn’t quote him, only the publisher, who is the one refusing to give in. Seeing the book is supposed to be published in less than a month, they have the manuscript. The Lexicon has been fantastic at pulling things off the website in the past when Jo has asked – I’m sure, like many of us, they didn’t expect that JKR and WB would call it copyright infringement, and that they would not have written it if they knew that this would be the outcome (and if they do go to court, it will be interesting to see if they bring up WB’s use of the Lexicon timelines in the DVD…)

Though I must admit, I think I prefer the Lexicon as a website, not a book. I also agree that I couldn’t see it hurting future profits either, but they are her characters, after all. I’m so torn on this…

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JKR does tend to slam people with suits every other month… She obv. published that thing on her site because she knew people would be upset for Steve… It seems so unnecessary. It couldn’t have been a last resort because hello, Steve’s not an idiot – if JKR warns you off something, you’d better not go there. It seems she’s not gone straight to sueing. Not cool.

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JK Rowling never said before today that she was definately writing that encyclopedia; but now that someone else is, she’s suing them and pretending there was never any doubt she was going to write it?

What I really don’t understand is, with her suing the Lexicon people and the Indian religious party, why didn’t she file suit against the French boy who translated DH and published it over the web? I can’t see a pattern here…

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Spinks- You are the voice of reason in a field of hysteria. About a year ago I heard that Emerson was bringing in about $30,000 a month from Mugglenet. Now, this could totally be untrue, but I didn’t even realize that ANY money was being made from fansites.

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” It couldn’t have been a last resort because hello, Steve’s not an idiot – if JKR warns you off something, you’d better not go there.”

There is no way it was a “first resort.” They need to be able to say in the lawsuit that they attempted to reach a private and peacable solution, to look like the ones who were upstanding about it. Lawsuits like this don’t totally surprise defendants. He had to have been asked not to do it. And he had to have said no. Which is, yes, stupid.

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This is actually pretty rediculous. Did Steve REALLY think that this would be allowed? I love the Lexicon site, as well as Steve, especially his appearances on Pottercast, but he should have known better than to try and publish something like this, I mean, c’mon. JK and WB seem to have REALLY tightened the reigns on anything pertaining to HP, so why is this shocking and unexpected news?

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Yeah, after reading that article I too think that the ones to blame are the people at RDR Books. It does sound like they really want this book to be released and the lexicon people have little to say about it. It would explain why they are publishing it even though they are asked not to.

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Wow…Jo going against a site she’s awarded? This is scary. It’s kinda like an attack on the fans in general because that’s all the Lexicon is: a collection of fan-gathered information.

I don’t even know who to side on! I hope this doesn’t get rid of the Lexicon all together!

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Oh, MB, it’s true. Most people have no idea how much money the Mugglenet guys make off of their site – I do not know the exact figures anymore, but I used to. Let’s just say it’s a TON of money. They are living it up, and telling fans all of the ads and fundraisers are to cover their costs, only – complete lie, and very sad.

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There have been other “companion books” in the past. The ones by Wizarding World Press for example. You have “The Plot Thickens: Harry Potter Investigated” (which I read before book 6 was released), Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter. Then there are others, like Mugglenet’s book (bleh).

I highly doubt that Steve’s book would “detract” from sales of JKR’s encyclopedia…which DOESN’T EXIST YET anyway. JKR’s book would provide new information, while THPL would just catalog what we already know.

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the lexicon? really? wow. i could never see them doing this…. im so shocked.

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Naria, she’s been talking about the encyclopedia for years! She spoke about it several times this summer. You’ve got to be kidding!

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Over at Lexicon, there are no postings re the suit, just two from today about the changes at JKR’s site. Which is the right way to handle the situation…see the What’s New page http://www.hp-lexicon.org/whats_new.php

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I think JK has every right to go after them because she was going to do the Encyclopedia for charty and I bet Lexion didn’t ask permition to do such a book. All the books say you have to get permition to use anything in the books so I think she has every right to go after them. I mean it takes a way from her donation as well.

It doesn’t matter if JK use’s the site for refernace what matters is if they asked permition to use the stuff in the books first. They could have called it something else other then a Encyclopedia and it may not have been that big of a problem.

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Michelle, it’s not an attack againts fans. Think before you say something like that. It’s a lawsuit against a book that is re-releasing J.K. Rowlings text and ideas for someones own profit. They have been asked not to publish it, but they have decided to ignore that.

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This is probably the fourth comment or so I have made regarding this topic today. I believe in the freedom of speach and everything but come on folks! JK Rowling is Harry Potter! Everyone has heard of Intellectual Property and essentially anything in the form of paper regarding the OFFICIAL World of Harry Potter should only come from JK herself.

There should be no exceptions to this rule. Therefore sites like The Leaky Cauldron (best site ever btw) and The Lexicon are legitimate ass they only report on news or on existing factual information. Steve should NOT be putting out a book on Harry Potter, it is not his responsibility and not his right.

For those people doubting JK Rowling now (you know who you are, you have been writing comments as such), stop doing so as it is very hypocritical.

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I agree with Rowling in this action. Right now if you read The Lexicon, it’s free. But if they sell Jo’s book they are selling her work. That just doesn’t seem right. It’s not like the book of John Granger where the actual work was speculation on the series.

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What the heck!

I totally side with Steve! She even USES HIS SITE!!! Ask him not to publish the book, perhaps, but a freaking lawsuit!!!!

I’m ashamed of Jo.

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She has every right to sue in this case, she can’t not sue because it is one of her favorite fan sites. Once she lets one person do it, all can. And lets not forget WB has a stake in this too. A huge business like that is not going to be concerned with how beloved a fan site is.

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This is the first I’ve heard about this book Steve is writing. However, I can see where Jo and WB is coming from, but I don’t think it will be like the encyclopedia Jo will put out. Knowing that it’s Steve, I just figured it would be a paper version of stuff on the Lexicon with just facts that we already know about characters just as a reference book. Has Jo sued Gladriel Waters or authors of the other companion books that analyze the books chapter by chapter? I’m kinda torn and it seems like it was a situation that spiraled out of control and maybe they could’ve come to a compromise about all this instead of it coming to a law suit.

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Read the posts ( and now the updated article ) they have asked that the book not be published and they have been “rebuffed”. Sorry, it’s her work. As a free website, it’s one thing. Publishing SOMEONE ELSES work for your own profit, is totally another.

And dont use all those other books as examples. They all had their own original content, whether it was analyzing the symbology or trying to PREDICT what hadnt happened yet, it had original contact.

This is the Lexicon, reprinting JRK’s work in a different format. That’s copyright infringement.

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I’m confused as to why it’s considered hypocritical to have an opinion that’s different from someone else’s. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

I for one don’t see the great harm in him having his book published. It shouldn’t affect Jo. She certainly has the right to sue anyone she wants. BUT that doesn’t make it right. And I’m not a hypocrite for thinking so.

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GUYS! It’s simple. It’s JK Rowling’s story to write… HERS! not ours, not Steve’s, HERS.

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SHE DID ASK HIM NOT TO PUBLISH THE BOOK.

As people have pointed out many times already: one, you cannot even hope to win a lawsuit unless you can prove that you tried to settle it privately prior to filing, and two, CNN is reporting that Warner Bros. and Rowling’s representatives have been ”rebuffed and treated rudely” in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with the book’s publishers.

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Anyone curious about Leaky’s stance on this?

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WesleyIII, think before you start hating. RDR Books and Lexicon have been asked not to publish this book and they have not cared. Perhaps RDR Books more that Lexicon.

The article on CNN says:

” The complaint claims Warner Bros. and Rowling’s representatives have been ” rebuffed and treated rudely” in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with RDR Books.

“For example, while claiming not to have the ability or time to respond to plaintiffs’ multiple ‘cease and desist’ letters because of a family tragedy, defendant instead was hawking foreign publishing rights to the infringing book in Germany,” the lawsuit said.”

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I really thought this was a prank… but I don’t see how they could get USA Today, the Associated Press, Reuters, and JKR in on all of this.

WOW!!!!!!!!

I don’t think this would have happened if she wasn’t planning on putting out her own version… as it’s a reference book… just as there are about many other books… Hmmm… We shall see how this plays out!

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Oh and thank you TLC for doing a responsible job reporting this story, instead of pretending it’s not happening like Mugglenet is doing. Kudos.

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Why would Mugglenet pretend it’s not happening? Surely Leaky has more to lose than they do? They’re completely innocent in this matter. Leaky, on the other hand, admit that they’re sister sites..

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Derrick H., he’s publishing a book and trying to make a profit off of JKR’s work. That’s what’s wrong with it.

How would you feel if you created a book and world and someone tried to make a profit by publishing a book with your information in a different formate?

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Shame on you JK Rowling. The Lexicon has done nothing but support your series and help it become the pop culture phenomenon it is today.

I will never spend another penny on anything JKR is involved in.

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Loopy, I agree. The Big Name Fans have all been very quiet. Last I checked, the lawsuit was not even mentioned on Mugglenet.

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Although I’m not quite sure about WB’s and JKR’s people’s reasoning, I agree with many people who have already posted comments in that this is, after all, Jo’s creation, and we must respect her wishes, no matter what they may be. I also think she has been extremly generous in allowing, and praising, so many in depth fan sites, something which many so successful authors would not tolerate. These sites post her material on a daily bases, and she has said very little of it. My heart goes out to the defendants in this case, they are real HP fans after all, but my loyalties lie with the writer of these brilliant books. A very conflicted issue.

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I’m siding with Jo on this one (and I almost never side with copyright holders when it comes to fanworks). As far as I can tell, all the Lexicon book will be is a printed version of the website. All the website is is an itemized summary of information about the HP universe as revealed in the books. This isn’t opinion or scholarly commentary, it’s paraphrase. Secondly, no doubt Jo’s encyclopedia will rehash the info from the books as well as adding new stuff, so the Lexicon’s book will quickly become redundant and obsolete once her encyclopedia is published anyway.

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I’m very disappointed in this decision by J.K. I would have thought she had greater respect for her fans.

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Amy S: check Mugglenet again. They were just a little bit later then TLC.

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What in the blazes is Rowling thinking???? You mean to tell me that no one else can write an encyclopedia on the Harry Potter series but her? Why is she needed to compile the info that’s already known? Answer – she isn’t. Her planned book is supposed to include more information that has never been made public. That is fundamentally a diferent book.

Unauthorized overviews of series are nothing new. They are done all the time. The suit screams ‘control freak’ and doens’t seem at all like Jo. I suspect someone is influencing her to go through with this flimsy, baseless, waste of time.

I for one will buy the lexicon the book the second it hits shelves. I’ll be doing the same for Mrs. Rowling’s, if she ever writes it.

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Wow, I am really shocked. Her books and the movies are protected by Copyright and unless he had permission to use those things, he can’t publish it, and frankly writing something that JKR has said was going to write is just wrong.

I thought that anyone who would know better it would have been Steve.

Wow.

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bthomas, are you kidding me? Someone is trying to make money off of Jo’s work, she’s not attacking her fans. If read the article it even says that she asked them to stop printing but they refused…

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Ah, thanks Atb. ^^

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“Shame on you JK Rowling. The Lexicon has done nothing but support your series and help it become the pop culture phenomenon it is today.

I will never spend another penny on anything JKR is involved in.”

I sometimes feel like banging my head against the wall as people just don’t care about the facts or think before they act. Why do you want to hate her so much and yet visit this site? :) She is not suing the Lexicon. She and WB are suing RDR Books and Steve, because they are going to publish this book, even though Rowling has asked them not to. And she has every right to do that.

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Just imagine if it would be your ‘invention’ that’s been taking by someone else who goes off making money over you back. You invented it, your proud of something, you made it all by yourself. I think one should be able to decide what others can do with it.

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Boy… I’m torn. This is a tough call. I understand about the Lexicon using actual copyrighted text and/or characters in a book being bad but it would seem like it would be as bad on their website as a book.

I guess the points I don’t understand are A. Why would Steve bother with a book when he posts the information for free and why would anyone buy what is on the Lexicon site for free? B. Why Jo would think this will interfere with her (hopefully) much more in depth Encyclopedia when the information is already on the Lexicon site for free? C. Why hasn’t Jo sued the website? Intellectual property does NOT mean only what is printed on paper. Copyright infringement extends to websites. It seems a free website so filled with excellent information would cut into charity earnings a lot quicker than a book that could have nothing more than what they already have online. I love the Lexicon, but I wouldn’t buy the book because the info is free. (Why buy the cow….)

Leaky, Lexicon and JKRowling.com are the only 3 Potter websites I recommend to people. This is a sad day.

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Ridiculous!

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The difference between opinion and a legal precedent is that the former has no validity in court, however well informed or well intentioned; the latter is what the sitting judge will determine damages and set awards.

This is, from the lawyers’ point of view, a LEGAL matter, not one of fan opinion.

From a legal point of view, the matter at hand is clear-cut: This is a matter of what’s called “derivative use.” It means that the copyright holder - in this case, Joanne Rowling - can mine her own work to construct quizbooks, puzzle books, and encyclopedias.

In the matter of derivative use, the key criterion is whether or not an unofficial/unauthorized book merely REARRANGES the existing text to recast a “new book.”

When viewed in that light, Mr. Vander Ark’s book fares poor legally because it is 100% (judging from the his website) based on what’s in Rowling’s books.

Mr. Vander Ark’s proposed book is not commentary; it’s not opinion; it’s a re-edited edition of what Rowling has carefully chronicled in her book.

The legal precedent for this was when a publisher issued an unauthorized “Seinfeld” quiz book. The court decided that there was nothing original added, that it was all repurposed, and that everything had been drawn from the television series. Therefore, as all the material was derivative use, the unauthorized book was held legally accountable for damages.

Give Rowling and her lawyers a little credit: They don’t sue capriciously; they sue when they feel they have no other choice in protecting their rights.

This explains why two former encyclopedias - AN UNOFFICIAL MUGGLE’S GUIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD: EXPLORING THE HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE (ECW Press) and THE J.K. ROWLING ENCYCLOPEDIA by Connie Ann Kirk - are probably out of print: The amount of derived material exceeded what’s called “fair use,” which is the test as to whether or not a work is considered to be within the legal limits: “1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; 2. the nature of the copyrighted work; 3. amount and sutstantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work [see www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html].

Rowling’s lawyers will likely cite that Vander Ark’s book (point 1) is for profit, (points 2 and 3) is principally or wholly derivative in content, and (point 4) will have a deleterious effect on the sale of Rowling’s own encyclopedia.

Of these points, in my considered opinion, only #4 will materially fail as fans of Rowling may buy an unofficial encyclopedia, but will buy the authorized book no matter what. The publication of an unofficial encyclopedia will not substantially hinder sales of the official one. In other words, some fans will likely by both, but no fan will buy the unofficial one in favor of the official one.

As for the proposed Mugglenet.com book (UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COMPANION: THE ENCYCLOPEDIC GUIDE TO THE BOOKS, MOVIES AND MORE), it depends on how Mr. Spartz and Mr. Schoen handle the material: If it’s straightforward in encyclopedic format and uses the same material as Kirk’s J.K. ROWLING ENCYCLOPEDIA and Fionna Boyle’s UNOFFICIAL MUGGLE’S GUIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD, then it too may be on the lawyers’ radar. If, however, the text is not derivative, in terms of encyclopedia entries, and has original material (extensive commentary, contextual information) and stays away from a bare bones misappropriation of Rowling’s original texts, then it may (and I use that word guardly) escape the hangman’s noose.

Bottom line here, folks, it’s not about whether Mr. Vander Ark is a great asset to the Harry Potter community (legally, that’s a non-issue); doesn’t matter if Rowling uses his website for reference and has praised it (legally, both are non-issues); doesn’t matter if Rowling is a multi-millionaire (legally, a non-issue); and it doesn’t matter that Mr. Vander Ark has spent years researching Rowling’s universe. Doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is whether or not the book is substantially derived from Rowling’s texts.

That’s what the sitting judge will decide after examining the manuscript or finished book, and that judge will cite the aforementioned legal precedent regarding the Seinfeld quiz book.

Class is dismissed!

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I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. It is one thing to have a website cataloging the info, but to sell it is wrong. JKR has the rights to the characters. It’s as simple as that. You aren’t allowed to use other peoples characters and ideas for profit unless they say you can. This one is pretty black and white kids.

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Jo must feel so hurt to see someone like Steve Vander Ark, whom she praised so highly in the past, turning around and profiting off of her universe in such an obviously disrespectful way. I’d be angry too!

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TLC and Mugglenet are both for-profit sites; they have advertising, they make money off of the HP universe. Mugglenet published their own book as well. What’s the difference?

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The difference is that they’re showing ads like a billboard ona highway, not asking the fans to fork over money for access to JKR’s creations. Their product is their site, not the actual property of the books. That’s the difference. Profiting from purely placing JKR’s work between different covers, is hte difference. I wonder if this is why the Lexicon doesn’t have ads.

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The encyclopedia was supposed to have all new stuff that never made it into the books so nothing the Lexicon is printing should conflict with that. Unless we were going to get a book regurgitating all the same info that she has been allowing Steve to post on his site for years. Shame on you Jo.

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I honestly hope she looses this lawsuit. Mugglenet and TLC sell stuff for profit why can’t they?

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shame on you everyone who’s sayign shame on jo. it’s her world, her right to sue. people, honestly. This is HER WORK, not commentary, not opinion, not analysis. Just repackaged HP in different covers. Yuck.

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People, come on now, think straight. She has nothing against the Lexicon online, but the lexicon book will be making a profit off of HER information. Steve from the Lexicon is using her information to make a profit!!! He’s publishing a book and trying to make money by publishing information that we can get from her books or interviews…Shoot, and at the online lexicon for free. Not to mention she has said since book 7 came out that she was most likely going to be doing the same thing…

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“TLC and Mugglenet are both for-profit sites; they have advertising, they make money off of the HP universe. Mugglenet published their own book as well. What’s the difference?”

The difference is VERY simple. This book in an encyclopedia and that means that it just basically quotes Rowling’s work and tries to make money out of it. Its just Rowlings work re-arranged. Leaky and Mugglenet are posting news about the Harry Potter -fandom.

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“People, come on now, think straight. She has nothing against the Lexicon online, but the lexicon book will be making a profit off of HER information. Steve “

Just like Mugglenet and TLC does…I don’t get it honestly, WB hounded TLC and Mugglenet also on the shirts but arn’t you guys basically free advertising for Jo and WB?

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This must be breaking Steve’s heart…

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Read what yukito said…

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TLC and Mugglenet are not just news.

Both sites have discussion forums, essays, commentary, products, artwork and games that use the HP character names and places. Did WB license the snippets from the movies that are played before “Pottercast”? Did Mary Grand Pre give permission for the artwork used on Leaky Lounge? If so, I’ll reconsider my position but if not…I don’t see why those things are okay (for profit) but Steve’s book is not.

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I totally understand where Jo is coming from with this…..but I am SO heartbroken for Steve and all the others at the Lexicon. SO heartbroken for Steve.

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I would rather have Jo’s book than the Lexicon. I don’t care what anyone says or how great the Lexicon online is, the book IS a cash-in! Even if the Lexicon book would give people enjoyment it would still be a cash-in. That’s why Jo isn’t going to take money for her encyclopedia because it would be seen as her cashing in on the series.

I can’t wait for Jo’s book.

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I still think greed has got to her…Jo has changed now…

This is the second lawsuit within one month. The first one for that the float thing at the parade and now this?

This is on the more extreme level…notice TLC just quoted the news article and none of their opinion.

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bthomas, do you actually pay to use the sites? That is the difference. And Leaky has donated so much to charities! Major difference there.

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Steve is publishing information that is found… 1.) free online 2.) In her books 3.) In her interviews and quotes.

Now Steve is taking this information and making money off of it. He’s not giving personal opinion or his own artistic take on it, he is re=publishing her work as his own money maker.

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Steve is interviewed on the Order of the Phoenix DVD according to USA Today – I didn’t realise that! That’s cool (and not to mention it is most likely too late for them to change it :P)

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Look at the comments by Legal Beagle near the bottom of Page 5.

As far as I am concerned, JK Rowling rocks, not Steve and that is my stance.

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Whether I personally pay to use these sites is irrelevant. TLC does make money. It is a for-profit enterprise. And looking at the homepage, I see images from the books and films used to promote Leaky projects (Pottercast) and other Floo sites.

What TLC does for charity is irrelevant to whether or not they are using those images with permission on a for-profit site.

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Jo Rowling needs to stop throwing her toys out of the pram and realise the Potter series has finished.

The Lexicon will only be writing about things that are already out there anyway, Jo’s encyclopedia will be totally different and the Lexicon book will in no way infringe on her sales for charity.

Shame on you Jo Rowling. The Lexicon have done nothing but support you and you treat them like this. Grow up. Go Lexicon and Steve.

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I wish someone from Leaky would speak to us about this… and if they can’t for some reason I wish they would explain that to us so we’d stop wondering..

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J.K. Rowling is not doing this to be mean, and I am sure that her lawyers are doing what is in her best interest in filing this lawsuit. I have read in the comments many ideas that Steve is a good guy and JKR should let him make a little money too. That will open the door to thousands of other people who will do the same thing. This is nothing personal against Steve, it is the law. Copyright infringement is illegal.

Before any of us flies off the handle, we need to hear from the Lexicon, Melissa and Pottercast staff, and possibly JKR’s representatives. Don’t get all worked up yet!

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I don’t think the encyclopedia will have any new info, which is why she’s so hot to suppress any of the unofficial ones.

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OH MY GOD. That was my reaction. I LOVE the Lexicon and I think this suit is unfair

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and if jo or wb asked tlc to stop using those images/etc they prob would. Their site isnt however simply the books repackaged, as this book would be. It is tremendously different.

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Steve is re-packaging her information as his own and making money from it. He has no new information that she hasn’t already given us. Fan sights like TLC, the online Lexicon and Mugglenet give information for free to fans, fan don’t pay them for that info. They make money from ad’s. When they tried to make money by selling t-shirts with WB property they got into trouble.

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Sorry, but I disagree with them here. The Lexicon has been around since year Dot right! Loyally following JKR and the series and making a huge contribution to potterdom. Shame on them for pursuing this.

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I’m quite torn. Why don’t Steve and Jo just write the book together and get it all over with?

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Felicia, She’s not suing the online lexicon, read the news again…

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I am in full support of Jo here. If the Lexicon is basically a printed version of the website, why should HE get to profit off of her words and information? Copying and pasting her imagination into another book, in another format, is lame and Steve should have known better.

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Bauer I completely agree,

Avatar Image says: and if jo or wb asked tlc to stop using those images/etc they prob would.

I am not trying to bag on TLC, Mugglenet or any other fan site. I’m just pointing out that copyright protected images are used here. Wizard rock bands use character names and likenesses…whether people actually pay to access these sites isn’t what makes them for profit or not. These sites DO make money, that’s what makes them for profit. If the lawsuit against Steve succeeds, I see no reason why the fan sites should not be similarly pursued. If the issue really is about using protected material.

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Thing is…she is backstabbing the Lexicon. It is not as simple as people make it.

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because they aren’t using her works wholesale like the lexnis trying to. They are using them for other purposes and in the wizard rock case, parodying. Wholly lifting the material, repackaging it and selling it is much different. And if joasked the websites to stop I’d bet they would – unlike Steve and his publishers and many ignored cease and desist lettrs.

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She’s backstabbing the lexicon? rolls eyes Give me a break. So I guess it would be ok for me to take a book series like say….. The Lord of The Rings, and re-write all the information (basically categorize all the info already in the books) and publish it as my own which the intent of making money from it, without the consent of the author?

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I have to say, even though these law suits seem to become more and more, I wouldn’t want other people writing about MY stuff. I have a bit of a possesive issue, but still. It’s MY story, MY characters. MINE. I can sort of see where JK’s coming from.

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yes it is. There is no commentary, just het work in different covers. And in direct conflict with what she said she ws going to do herself. And they asked them to stop privately and they did not. They hd this way way way coming.

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well a while ago (2002-2003 i think) WB tried to shut the websites down but didn’t,but i think that was WB alone,not JKR.

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It irrelevant that the series is over. its also irrelevant that SHE is going to write an encyclopedia herself. The information is her property. SVA is repackaging her info (and only her info) and turning it for a profit. that’s wrong,, unless you get permission to do so.

What Leaky and Mugglenet do, is to show us news and information and give a forum for interaction. Sure, they have images and clips, etc, but they are not making a profit off of those things specifically. People dont come here because there is cover art in the top corner. Those things are only there as decoration for the news and info they provide. Like wrapping paper: it just makes the package look pretty.

And you know, much of this stuff is provided for by the various owners. they receive pictures from the film company. they get preview stuff from the publishers. JKR herself has granted them interviews. there’s the difference: they use what they have permission to use in the way it was meant.

And when they’ve been asked to C&D, they have! Apparently, SVA and the publishers were asked, and have refused. Shame on the lexicon for trying to turn a profit off of someone elses work.

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Seems to me there is a lot of information missing here. I think I’ll just wait a few days, wait until Steve speaks out and we hear a little more from the people who are representing JKR (or JKR herself… doubt it though. She can afford people to worry about these things for her these days, I suppose).

I’m torn about this. I can see where JKR’s people are coming from (I don’t think I’d want someone else making a profit out of any of my own work). And yet, I can’t help but feel that something is a little off. It just makes me feel a little uneasy, particularly because of the recent incident not too long ago.

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wow. I would have expected this for April 1st news instead of Oct. 31st. I’m sure the newspapers are exaggerating, didn’t Jo say we should “divide by three” with these things (in her rubbish bin about her 15 bedroom mansion)? I really can see both parties sides and can agree and disagree with each with what we know, however, we don’t know the whole truth, just what the media decides is juicy enough for them to print.

First of all, I’m sure the Lexicon book is not just straight facts. Their site has lots of speculative essays and analysis on the books throughout its online pages. Also, it’s not like they were forcing fans to buy it, the online version is still there. Only fans who have extra money who want to support the Lexicon and help keep it running would buy it anyway, just like all the other fansite books.

Also, I know JKR, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, WB, etc. have to protect what’s theirs, or some real wannabe rich quick guys would see it as fair play to do anything with the franchise. Notice I mentioned “real wannabe-rich-quick guys” emphasis on real. I’m sure Steve just wanted to help pay for his site, and maybe traveling expenses he would be doing for the fandom, just like Leaky and MuggleNet.

I really can’t take a side until I know more from the people involved themselves. I’m not going to take a 3rd party newspapers word for it. I still can’t believe this could really happen. I mean, JKR and SVA are on the same side. I know JKR vaguely mentioned “companion books” on her site, but I want to see SVA and the Pottercast trio’s side of this. Was it just his publisher’s decision to go on with it after JKR’s people talked to them?

P.S. I can’t believe Jo would say the lexicon book would take away from her charity book. Does she really believe that? Come on, who would not buy a book for charity?

Avatar Image says: because they aren’t using her works wholesale like the lexnis trying to.
Okay, maybe I’m just dense but how is taking Harry’s image off the cover of DH and slapping an ipod on it to advertise Pottercast not using a repackaged work wholesale?

I have nothing against Leaky, but if they are allowed to use Bloomsbury’s and WB’s images without compensation and for profit, why can’t others?

Why can’t Apple advertise ipods using the same picture Leaky uses for Pottercast? They can’t, can they?

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I hate to say this, but i’m starting to feel a bit like Harry in book seven, he had those doubts about Dumbledore, but he wanted to stick up for him, and I’m starting to feel that way about JKR, and I hate it, she’s getting a bit of a bugger for these lawsuits, i’m sure there’s some moral reason behind it all, but y’know i feel like telling her to just chill out. But i shall never turn against her for any reason, the Harry Potter series is the best thing I have ever discovered, and I absolutely love JKR no matter what.

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Beth is absolutely correct. Nicely said.

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The love and adoration I once had for Jo is disappearing fast. She’s turning into a control freak with all her law suits. Her hissy fit at a press conference recently when she was questioned about the DD story said it all. Toys out of the pram indeed.

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and if they asked leaky and pottercast to stop, they would, the way leaky once changed their album art when asked by apple, remember? And plus, they didn’t put that image in a book and ask them to pay for it. They didn’t take actual parts of the book and ask people to re-pay for them. Big difference.

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QUITE “Okay, maybe I’m just dense but how is taking Harry’s image off the cover of DH and slapping an ipod on it to advertise Pottercast not using a repackaged work wholesale?”

Because Pottercast isn’t making a profit from it.

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A note: TLC actually created an organization called Leaky Inc. in order to hold the Get a Clue charity drives. Leaky Inc. is non-for-profit.

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I am absolutly gobsmacked at the comments made by people here about Jo. She is perfectly within her rights to do this. Yes she appreciated Steves work and when he did the online stuff-but moving the info to a book is not acceptable. It is blatantly him using her books/info to make money and that is not on.

We should all be behind Jo on this. Im disgusted at peoples opinions and comments on Jo. Its her series, not ours. Remember that.

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I agree with Prongs.

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I agree with Ryan. It’s too bad it had to come to a lawsuit, but Jo has every right. Someone is using her info, re-packaging it and trying to make a profit from it. That’s WRONG.

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Information on the book can be found here. http://www.rdrbooks.com/books/hp.html

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For those of you sticking up for the Lexicon and doubting Jo, I’ll ask again. Would be OK for me to take a book series like say….. The Lord of The Rings, and re-write all the information (basically categorize all the info already in the books) and publish it as my own which the intent of making money from it, without the consent of the author?

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I guess she needs to buy a new castle and needs more money…the one she’s got isn’t big enough for her head now that she’s richer than the Queen.

I’m with Steve on this. If he can’t publish his work, then Melissa shouldn’t be allowed to, either.

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Yes, it’s JKR’s series and her world. And I no longer want to be a part of it. (And yes, I’ve already been told that if I don’t belong here if I don’t support JKR completely so you needn’t waste your time telling me again.)

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PS to Teak-what’s the difference? The information is already on the Lex site-which Jo has admitted using in the past when she’s forgotten little details about her own stories. She turned to the Lexicon when she needed help with her own material, and now she’s trying to screw Steve royally.

I’m betting there either is no new encyclopedia, or the information in it will just be a regurgitation of what’s already on the Lexicon—in short, nothing we don’t already know.

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melissa’s book isn’t an infringement, in any way. It’s bout a phenomenon. Steve’s book is just a reorganized version of jo’s creations, so so so so different.

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QUOTE “If he can’t publish his work, then Melissa shouldn’t be allowed to, either.” I’ll explain this again, Steven is re-packaging Jo’s works and making profit from it. Melissa is writing her own personal take and experience with the fandom…. There’s a huge difference.

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Copyright and trademark law is a complete mess… I’m sorry, but I cannot side with Jo on this. “Intellectual Property” law is written by corporate lobbyists, and only exists in its present form to harm the consumers and, in this case, the fans.

At least we’re not in the computer software world where it is really a mess.

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“I guess she needs to buy a new castle and needs more money…the one she’s got isn’t big enough for her head now that she’s richer than the Queen.”

OMG come on thats so silly. Jo is indeed very wealthy-because we bought her books. No point whinging now. And I doubt this is money driven-she doesnt want the ency. money-its for charity which I doubt Steves was.

I can agree with Steve about the Melissa book-however as pointed out there are differences to what Melissa inends to publish. This is definitly a big shock tonight indeed-I do think Jo needs to target everyone though and not just one website/book that is in planning. Others have been published and others are being planned. She needs to end it all now.

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QUOTE “PS to Teak-what’s the difference? The information is already on the Lex site-which Jo has admitted using in the past when she’s forgotten little details about her own stories. She turned to the Lexicon when she needed help with her own material, and now she’s trying to screw Steve royally.”

The difference is the online site is FREE. Fans don’t pay to look at it. The book is $25. He’s trying to sell this information as his own. This isn’t his information, this info was given to us by Jo herself, now he is re-packaging it to make a profit.

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To Neptune: It shouldn’t matter. No one’s seen a draft of Melissa’s work, so how do we know what’s in it?

Steve put the Lexicon together. I’ll ask again—if he makes a profit from that site, what’s the difference if he writes it in paper form and sells it for profit? Same information, different format.

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About the Lord of the Rings thing:

It has been done

http://www.amazon.com/Following-Gandalf-Battles-Moral-Victory/dp/1587430851/ref=sr_1_40/103-6874800-2479802?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193881521&sr=1-40

http://www.amazon.com/Tolkien-Lord-Rings-Colin-Duriez/dp/0750939826/ref=sr_1_41/103-6874800-2479802?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193881521&sr=1-41

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My first thought before I finished reading the article was “OMG – can I possibly save all of the Lexicon’s pages before they (may be) shut down? I never realized how safe I felt knowing the Lexicon is out there.

As for this suit, my gut feeling is that perhaps this is not the best publisher in town. I have never bought a companion book before, but probably would if the Lexicon was in print, and included lots of Steve’s stories, thought processes, guesses, etc. I saw Steve speak at Prophecy recently and a book of his experiences, discoveries, and organizational skills on this great thestral ride around the world would be awesome. I feel is this were between Jo and Steve, all would be okay. If this is between a bad publisher and a greedy movie company, we may be in trouble. Keep heart.

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Melissa (re: Leaky) isnt repackaging JKR’s work! They are running a website that features news and stories and opinions that soround that work. I dont understand why that is such a hard concept to get. if Leaky were simply reprinting chapters with every update, then I’d understand. They arent. They are gathering news and generating discussions (read: original content) based on Jo’s work.

Here’s a question: if it was some anonymous author trying to make a profit by regurgitating the Harry world, would you be so understanding? I doubt it.

I like an analogy used by someone already, about repackaging Lord of the Rings. I’ll give another: I’m a semi-professional photographer (meaning, I make a buck or two, but really cant support myself). Should I be asked to sit back and do nothing if someone takes my all of my pictures from the last event I photographed, and creates a book using nothing but my photos, and sells it for their own profit? I think not.

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you only need to see she’s not repackaging info like teve is to see she’s not doing the same. Melissa is writing about del life, not JKR’s creations without any opnion or commentary. This is just very clear cut.

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I am completely behind Jo on issues like this, honest, but I’m a little confused… I don’t understand why she is seeking damages and the profits from the book instead of trying to stop it’s publication. Is there any sort of legal reason she would do this? Cause that little piece does make it SOUND like she doesn’t care if it’s published so long as she gets the money.

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This shocked me too because I at first did not understand her website post and well, lets just say now I do. I just don’t understand the ‘copyright infrigement’ part. I mean we all know Steve Vander Ark did not create the Harry Potter Universe, probably in the book it says, ‘all characters and such property of JKR.’

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To Teak: If the Lexicon receives advertising revenues, then Steve is making a profit from the site, just as Leaky does.

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He doesn’t make profit from the site. He’s not selling the info online to people. The online lexicon is free to all internet users. He makes money by advertising other web sites and products on the site. As for Melissa’s box, there is a huge difference, I can’t believe you can’t see it. She is telling her own story and talking about the world of FANS or Harry Potter. Steven is re-writing Jo’s words and info and publishing it for profit.

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there are no ads on the lexicon an he OSS not make money off the site.

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Well then, there you go. It’s free info online, now he’s trying to sell it to fans for $25.

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I am so dismayed by this whole affair. Jo has more wealth than a dozen people can spend in 6 lifetimes, yet she’s concerned with how this book might affect sales of her own compendium? Shame on you JKR. Mr. Vander Ark has devoted hundreds of hours to the Lexicon site and it’s out of a love for the world you’ve created, not for his own financial gain. Booooo!

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I thought that she used the Lexicon to help keep her stories straight! What a crap thing to happen to the fans. Thankfully I’ve never been a fan of hers…

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Curiouser & curiouser … I just checked the publishers website and if one is so inclined one would still be able to place an order for said publication.

I am really more concerned about whether I should order an additional 7 book boxed set in the simulated trunk (I have one set … really nice) to keep for my future grandchildren … hmmmmm

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Quote by R. “It has been done”

And they had permission.

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yes this book IS for his own financial gain, or he would be donating the profits. Come on.

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Regardless of the book issue, don’t you think it’s a little odd that the lawsuit criticized the web site? That I took issue with.

I understand Jo’s intentions, but I understand Steve’s too. I really need to wait until we hear a little bit more about this, not just the lawsuit’s text and the press’ opinions.

Also, can we please come up with some synonyms to “repackaging”? That’s getting a little tiring on the eyes. It makes it sound like Steve is just cutting and pasting Jo’s books into his own, which he’s quite clearly not.

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She used the free, non profit, online Lexicon, not the $25 book which is comprised of gathered information already found free online, in her books, ad from her quotes…..

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Jos, she isn’t doing ANYTHING to the fans, other than attempt to save them $25! Why would anyone want to buy a version of the Lexicon when it’s online for free?!

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I actually think he really is, and that repackaging is the word.

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That explaines Jo’s update. Normaly I’m with Jo for everything,but I think Steve is in the right here. Jo has been so vague about when she will write her book and I doubt that Steve’s version will make people buy Jo’s less.

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I can’t believe so many people think JKR is such a God as to go along with this. It’s greed, pure and simple. Just like WB trying to bully a 15 year old girl into closing down her fansite. They lost that suit, by the way.

Even if Steve only advertises other sites and such, he still gets revenue from it. People pay him to advertise on his site, not the other way around. I thought THAT was obvious.

Steve will get very little of that $25 per book. The publisher will get most of it.

I’d be willing to bet that she just wants the money. She is doing nothing to stop publication or having the book pulled from shelves. If she cared so much about copyright infringement, that’s what she would do. The fact that she’s not doing that speaks volumes—she wants the money, and there is no other motivation.

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As much as I love Jo… I have to say

VANDER ARK’S ARMY

we started it at Prophecy over something stupid but now I really feel like we should all unite because… I disagree with this

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Thats not the point Quietus. Its principle. Even if he only made $100, he shouldnt do it. Its not on at all.

And yes I knew something wasnt right with that rather strange message on Jo’s website earlier on-it was very out of the blue.

Still gobsmacked people are defending Steves actions. Its not justifiable in one bit. I hope Jo doesnt stop here either. Theres far too many self-obsessed fans out there looking to make a quick buck and those who lie about the money they make via Potter deserve just as much scorn. This fandom has become somewhat comercially infected over the last few years and I really dont like it. 100% behind you on this Jo!

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Guys, keep in mind that this almost certainly isn’t Jo or Steve actually making these decisions about the suit; both are under contractual obligations to other people, Warner Brothers and RDR Books, and it’s those companies that are making all of these statements. Notice that Jo’s statement wasn’t issued by her or her agents or publishers; it was issued by Warner Brothers, which implies to me that they asked her to make a statement in order to back them up.

Calling “for shame!” on either person is no doubt hurtful to them when they aren’t the ones in control of the situation. I’m asking for my fellow fans to be more thoughtful: they are both normal people.

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They lost that hit because it was bad p r and they pulled out – a judge didnt find for WB.

She probably could have topped publication if they answered the ceaseand desist, but now they probably can’t short of an injunction. Let’s not pretend we know all the ats of lawyers ok? and vander ark’s army? Yeah, that’s not arrogant or anything an wasn’t in response to him calling her epilogue crap in a very disrespectful way.

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while steve is getting all the attention,he’s not the only one getting sued,according to the french website poudlard.org Audrey Malone is also getting sued for trying to publish “harry potter from A to Z”

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Steve thought he could take advantage of the fact that Jo liked his site, which is not surprising to me at all to be honest. Remember when Jo first gave him the FSA, and then a few weeks later he put up a list of questions for her to answer? That seemed so frigging rude to me – the minute the author tells the world she visits your site, you put up a list of demands, and she can’t ignore because she just told the world she visits your site. Yeah, I haven’t liked him since that, so I’m not surprised by this at all. Go JKR, hope you win.

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She talked about writing her own “encyclopedia” right after book 7 came out. Now someone is trying to do the same thing before her and charging $25 for it. She asked them to stop the publishing of it and they were rude and refused, so she took the next step and is now suing the Steve and the book publisher. She has every right. NO ONE has the right to use her story, characters and information to make a profit.

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jo made the statemnt as it is ON HER SITE

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I really see this as simple copyright infringement. Jo owns the rights to the books, and without her permission nobody has the right to publish the information in her books. If this person was making commentary on the book, then that is different. If the book is primarily information contained in the book, then Steve doesn’t have the right to publish it.

The CNN article does say that cease and desist orders were sent out. Jo’s feeling should have been respected then.

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Apparently ,JKR [nor WB]has no problem with the online Lexicon but with the “BOOK” that will be published soon, that others will profit from her work. She has the right as the author of any series to have control of her work and “characters” in any form. That is the reason for “copyright laws” . She diffinetly still has my respect and support.

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I’m shocked! I mean what’s stopping JKR from sueing all those other books by mugglenet, and unoficial books by fans out there. I’m reading one with delves into the psychology of Harry Potter characters and the themes. And what’s more shocking, from a website which she’s liked and used.

I have a feeling it’s the publishers that are really making the fuss in the end. They don’t want to lose money over it. Seriously I wouldn’t mind buying both versions!

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did’nt jo say in an interview that she often vists the lexicon to check up on facts while writing? And now she sues them? I think she has enough money and needs to leave people alone.

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He’s only doing his version of the lexicon, not an encyclopedia. His comprehensive reading map of the Potterworld is what she’s lauded Steve for in the past; the fact that JKR now sees him as a threat says more than I care to comment on. It’s just sad, that’s all…

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TeaWithVoldy the difference is the lexicon book is just compiled information which is already in the books and in her interviews. It’s like if I re-wrote all the information from a book and published them for profit. The other books are peoples ideas, interpretations and thoughts on HP.

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It doesn’t sound like Steve’s book is offering any original information. Unlike Melissa’s book, an original view of the Harry Potter fandom, Steve’s encyclopedia is just regurgitating everything that’s in the HP books, only organized in encyclopedic format. That’s fine on a website, when the info’s free. But to publish it and charge $19.95, or whatever the price is, is most definitely an infringement of Jo’s rights. I can’t believe Steve is surprised he’s getting slapped with a lawsuit.

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Taking the entire LEGAL issue out-I have to say I’m throughly dismayed with JKR over this. SVA publishing his book was not going to put a hairline scratch in her bottom line-in fact-the graceful, magnanimous thing for her to do was what many other authors and creators of various creations have done (Dame Arthur Conan Doyle for one), is to give her endorsement or blessing of the book.

Knowing her fanbase, someone would have to be crazy to think that SVA book would stop even one person from buying her encyclopedia. In fact, I think, business wise, having SVAs book out in interim to her book would only HELP keep momentum going. For maintaining a good public image-this was a VERY poor decision on JKRs part.

I have a terrible thought-whats next-small fan fiction sites with click through banners? Will they be sued next cause they are making money off the banner ads?

I frankly find JKRs 360 degree turn in attitude over many things since the release of book 7 alarming and dismaying, and very sad.

This could have been handled better by the Rowling camp-they are Goliath, they didn’t need to smash David into the mud.

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I really hope that this is a tremendous joke, because Jo has always been so kind to the Fandom in the past. I’m am really distressed almost to the point of tears. Seriously guys…. if this is a joke…. NOT FUNNY!

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MATT-get your facts right before mouthing of. Jo is not after money. Be gratful-she is saving the fans who would buy this book money. Jo isnt writing the ency. for herself-its for charity. Why people think Jo has suddenly become this money-grabbing cow all of a sudden is beyond me. She is nothing more than an author who wants to protect her books. If some of her biggest fans are willing to exploit HER CHARACTERS, WORLD ETC ETC that doesnt say much for those who arent fans but want to make a quick bob or two. She is perfectly write to stop this. Its pathetic that Steve considered releasing it in the first place.

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“that JKR now sees him as a threat says more than I care to comment on. It’s just sad, that’s all…” LOL, she doesn’t see him as a threat. He has no right to take her story, characters and info and publish it and make profit from it. Again, he is re-packaging info for money when the fans can goto the website for FREE, read her books or her interviews.

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she sure is getting sue happy all the sudden, scared to let my kids dress up like Harry Potter tonight for fear of a lawsuit =P

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“I really hope that this is a tremendous joke, because Jo has always been so kind to the Fandom in the past. I’m am really distressed almost to the point of tears. Seriously guys…. if this is a joke…. NOT FUNNY!”

WHY would this be a joke?! Its far from funny, in fact its very very serious. And why does this mean she isnt being kind?! She is. Shes saving those stupid enough to buy this book their money.

Steve isnt the only one hit by this. Another book has been hit as well “Harry Potter from A to Z” it just hasnt been reported. I wonder why no people from fansites are commenting on all this and what it means-im very interested to hear from Melissa about all these ongoings.

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I agree amadis, and the book is actually $25. That’s right, he’s publishing a book full of information that can already be found in the HP books or in interviews, or online for FREE on the lexicon for $25. Shoot, if this is doable then I guess I’m going to read another book series and compile all the info in them and publish it as my own book and make a profit. His Dark Materials ere I come…..

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really,think about it,if she lets steve do it,then lots of other people will try and do it,since it really would be easy money,but unlike steve,they won’t be big HP fans,just people trying to make money.

And if she tries to sue those people then they’d say “but you let steve do it,why not us?”

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As far as I’m concerned, this seals it. I am never, ever buying another book by JK Rowling. The woman has more money than the Queen of England, yet she sues small publishers and religious festivals that want to honor her words. She claims to love her fans, yet she ends her series with two sloppy, poorly edited, frigid books. She states that she loves certain characters, yet forces them into unrealistic subplots and kills them without so much as an on-screen death. And worst of all, she can’t even be bothered to give consistent answers to questions from her fans.

Where I can buy Steve’s book? At least he seems to give a damn about something other than making yet more millions.

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Hey, do you know anything of what’s in his book? Judging by his site and the fanness in him he’s noy siimply cutting and pasting like you guys are saying. I’m waiting for an announcement from Steve anyways. And I try to keep the author out of my experience, but I just have to talk in this thing, it’s really sad

Avatar Image says: Shes saving those stupid enough to buy this book their money.

No, she’s asking for a cut of that money. She’s not suing to stop publication, she’s suing to get a piece of the profit.

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great post

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Ellid are you kidding me? Steve went through the HP books, compiled the info found in them (which was given and made up by JKR) and published them for FREE on a website for all to see. NOW he’s publishing them in book form to make MONEY. The book is selling for $25 when you can get all of that info online for free, read the books for the info or read Jo’s interviews. Steve is trying to make money by using JKR’s copywrited info….

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bthomas, you couldn’t be MORE WRONG.

J.K. Rowling, and especially her lawyers, are suing to stop infringement of her property. I think the way Pottercast and Leaky fans feel towards Steve are clouding their judgment here. If anyone were allowed to publish a “Lexicon-style book” it would open the door to thousands of others to do the same.

This isn’t a personal attack on Steve. This is law and copyright infringement is illegal.

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It is silly of Steve to think that he has a legal leg to stand on…

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Please Leaky staff, we need some information or a statement ASAP. People are going crazy in here.

Let’s remember to wait for more information before getting all hot n’ bothered. We need to be able to determine what is the law says is right, not what we feel is right.

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Ellid you are unbelievable. Steve will be profiting from this venture and although Jo will also make money, her money at least will ALL be going to charity. I find it very hypocritical of yourself to keep visiting a site such as Leaky and making comments when you now appear to be very anti JK Rowling. Shame on you.

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“I think the way Pottercast and Leaky fans feel towards Steve are clouding their judgment here.”

i agree,like i said earlier,no one seems to care about the fact that audray malone is also getting sued for trying to publish “harry potter from A to Z”

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I’m very, very surprised that people are pointing fingers at JKR and immediately calling upon the power of greed. It doesn’t matter whether this book will decrease the profits of JKR’s encyclopedia or not; just by publishing the book, the publisher and Steve (if he’s the one writing this) are infringing upon JKR’s rights as the OWNER of the series. Even if they end up not profiting at all from this, they are still violating the copyrights laws blatantly, especially because all the materials in the encyclopedia are directly and inferred from JKR’s books. Unless it is with her expressive permission, publishing such thing is just a wrong thing to do.

An online encyclopedia: that’s all right. However, when they approach the print world, that’s where things get really slippery.

I don’t support JKR just because I think she’s infallible, but in this matter, she is NOT the one at fault. And she certainly isn’t out to get fans who aren’t making profits by playing with her characters. Just because you’re calling yourself a “fan,” and JKR approves of fandom does not mean “fans” can do anything (including infringing upon her copyrights so blatantly) without suffering any consequences.

I love the online HP Lexicon. And I truly admire all those who had worked to put it together. But regardless, making and selling a print version of it is just wrong if they didn’t have permission from JKR.

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Are any of the Lexicon staff in on this lawsuit? Some of them like Lexicon Bel are Leaky staff as well aren’t they? This is one of the biggest kicks to the stomach to the Potter fandom I’ve ever seen. Jo Rowling is going to lose a lot of fans with these incessant law suits. You don’t need the money, Jo. Stop picking on the fans.

Avatar Image says: bthomas, you couldn’t be MORE WRONG.

The article right here on Leaky says she is suing for damages, not to stop publication. “Suing for damages” = cash.

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Sorry, but as much as I like the Lexicon, I’m leaning toward JKR on this one. She did not authorize it, and she had her own plans already stated.

Like someone said… it’s her world, we just play in it.

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Ok I back track my comment that the Publishers are instigating this cos they’ll be losing money over it. Obviously JKR is doing this so that she could protect the charities.

Well now I’m torn… one the one hand I can see where she’s coming from, on another, I really don’t mind owning both versions.

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JO FAN-maybe you shud read some other comments before you post. Jo can do this. And its not all about money-but even if she wants a cut of profits-why not?! Its her bloody information being regurgitated and reused! If it was mine, id do the same. Why should some other person use my stuff to make their own money?! Pathetic.

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How, exactly is JKR “being greedy?” She feels the Lexicon book would reduce the sales of her Encyclopedia, the profits from which she intends to give to CHARITY? From a historical perspective, is there any reason to doubt her words?

As much as it hurts to see a beloved resource like the Lexicon attacked, it does not change the fact that Steve is in the wrong. For those of you who missed it, Legal Beagle’s primer on copyright law on page 5 was excellent.

When you take the emotion out of the argument – right and wrong become clear.

And as for TLC being a for-profit site, well that just doesn’t make sense. It says on here somewhere that they are a registered non-profit .

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Zoanthropic, you are right. It is a world taught to us by JK Rowling and we do play in it. Everyone who is anti JK Rowling should be sorted into Slytherin immediately :) Everyone else are free to choose, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw :)

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““Suing for damages” = cash.”

cash I ASSUME (because of what she says on her website) she’d give to charity,just like the cash from the encyclopedia she’ll weite.

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It’s all very odd… she likes the Lexicon! i wonder why they would take it to court and not just ask steve not to print it… or maybe they already did that with no sucess

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I dont understand why JKR’s rights to her OWN material is inversely proportionate to her personal wealth. Why does JKR being richer then the Queen have anything to do with her protecting her own material from being used by others for others profit? If she were dirt-poor, would you agree with her suit then??? Her property, her rights. they tried to stop the book, the publisher refused to abide by her rights, they went ahead anyway (if it’s coming out on the 5th, it’s already been printed). So… no one is entitled to those profits besides JKR herself. if she wants to keep them, great; perhaps she’ll donate them to the charity her own book was for. Doesnt matter. her stories, her characters, her right. SVA has no right to the material.

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bthomas,

Yes, the lawsuit states suing for damages in order to put pressure on the defendant, however in many cases the monetary damages are merely a formality and no money changes hands. If RDR Books and Steve Vander Ark (alledgedly) stop the book from being published, that will probably mean that they suit will be dropped and the only thing RDR Books, or possibly Steve, will pay will be their own lawyers’ fees.

J.K. Rowling and her lawyers are trying to make sure her work remains her property and under copyright laws.

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Legal Beagles post near the bottom of Page 5. EVERYONE READ IT NOW!!

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“She is suing for damages = cash”

Couldn’t have put it better myself. Jo sold her soul to the devil that is a big corporation and she will reap what she sows.

What a shoddy way to treat a worldwide respected fan site like the Lexicon.

I didn’t even know the Lexicon were releasing a book. This lawsuit will ensure I buy it.

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JKR is the creator of HP and now Steve, without permission is trying to make a profit by publishing a book with her information.The mugglenet book is different because it’s their own theories and thoughts on HP. Steve is just taking info already written by Jo in her books and selling them. I don’t konw why anyone would want to buy this book, a $25 book which is already online for free. So for those who don’t see this as a problem I guess it would be ok if I decided to write my own lexicon type book. I’ll just sit here and go through all of the info in the HP books and write it down and publish it and charge people for it. Shoot, I ca just go to the free online lexicon and re-write everything there and post it as my own work, I need the money anyway….

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I’m usually supportive of Jo, it it’s so WEIRD because it’s Steve and all. Why didn’t she simply notify him first that his book wasn’t legal? She’s given him a fansite award for crying out loud!

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I can’t believe she’s doing this. If she didn’t want the book published, I’m sure all she would have had to have done was to ask Steve not to publish it. I know that she is at least alienating me. I will always love the books she writes, but now like Jane Yolen, I’m really not liking her as a person…

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I hate to repeat what everyone else is saying, but I can’t think of any other response but to say that I’m “shocked,” too.

Jo has always been exceedingly kind to her fans in situations like these. Other HP Lexicons/Encyclopedias are in print (visit Amazon.com for numerous examples!), so why is Jo now taking legal action against one of her most loyal fans?

I realize she has an encyclopedia planned for the future, but just this month she stated that she hasn’t started it yet. So what’s the worry? Not only will these books NOT be released at the same time, but also (as everyone has pointed out) anything the Lexicon comes out with will be based purely on information she already printed. The entire appeal of Jo’s Encyclopedia is all the background info she’s never shared with us. As a result, there is absolutely no way one could claim that JKR’s books are going to sell fewer copies because of an unofficial fan lexicon which merely organizes previously published information.

I’ve never disagreed with Jo on these sorts of issues before, but I find myself completely kerflumuxed here. Ultimately, I can only ache for those involved with the HP Lexicon. They must be feeling very betrayed and abandoned by their hero tonight.

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I am gobsmacked by all the people saying that Steve has no original information. And I really think it’s the other way round. It is more likely that Jo is stealing from him. We all now how Jo isn’t a very organized person and how she has made lots and lots of mistakes with her characters ages and things like that. Steve has done a lot of very important work organizing in zillion different ways the information we have from the books, JKR’s site, interviews, the cards, etc. This organization is in itself a new kind of information and it’s Steve ’s work, not JKR’s. If Jo makes an enciclopedia with this kind of information, I sincerely doubt she will make it all on her own, without making use of the wonderful tools Steve has created. Simply because she didn’t make tools like those and she didn’t use anything like that in her books. She herself admitted having use his information. I always expected her encyclopedia would be something different because it would have new information about her characters, things like Luna’s birthdays, Molly’s parent’s names and what happened in Sirius’s childhood. The fans would buy her encyclopedia because of that kind of information. But if her encyclopedia is just a version of what already is in the Lexicon with one or two more things, I’d say it is JKR’s the one who is using Steve’s work more than the other way round.

And I seriously doubt she really can do it (sue him). Steve’s work is not a fan fiction using her character, it is a work about her books, about what is written, adding new information and compiling what’s already there. There are lot of books like that about many literature works, and also about scientific works, etc. How many people have PhDs dissertations about some literary work? Or about what Keynes or Freud really said? And they don’t get sued, do they?

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i think she is completely right to sue. they are her characters, and if she doesnt want it released, it shouldnt be.

he’s being greedy releasing a book people have to pay for when they can get it on the site for free.

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Oh please people who dont understand what this news is about should just sshh! Come on, read it properly and understand how Jo feels. She is betrayed. yes she liked the online stuff, but making it into a book is cheeky, disrepectful and STEALING. Get over it. And she is NOT looking for damages either. NOT. This is not about her own pockets. She can do as she wishes-she is not here to please people like the Lexicon-or to fill their bloody pockets.

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I’m sure Steve will be on this weeks PotterCast to have his say with Melissa & rest of the staff. I’m personally with JK on this, if Steve was packaging his own stuff there wouldn’t be a a problem but he is doing it with her creation so that’s wrong. I totally agree with Ryan & have to say that most, if not all HP sites, make money from the series regardless of what they say to fans & frankly the rest that are profitting from the series should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror because they are all making money & publicity for themselves.

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Lawyer speaking here….I’m very sure that suit was not filed in this case without a lot of thought, discussion, and attempts to work this out. But ultimately JKR does need to protect her intellectual property.

The Lexicon book is not the same thing as a book that merely contains commentary or analysis. Indeed, it’s not really any different than someone trying to publish a “Book 8” or a “Dumbledore Prequel”...actually, it’s worse than that, because JKR has already publicly announced plans to write an encyclopedia for charity, so the Lexicon book is using JKR’s own writing to directly compete (and not for charity, one presumes!) with her future work. Not cool.

People need to remember that JKR has been remarkably tolerant of the use of her characters and fictional universe on fansites and even more so in fan fiction (which few authors would permit so openly). The Lexicon apparently overstepped an already very generous intellectual property boundary and refused to back down, so I don’t think JKR has any choice in the matter. Shame on the Lexicon.

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Neglected to add -

The legal language in this suit seems to imply that fanfiction is a problem, too! What next? Will FictionAlley.org, Phoenixsong.net and all the other big sites get Cease & Desist orders?

Normally I’d say there is no way, since Jo has been very accepting about most fanfic. But then again, she was also very accepting about the Lexicon, once upon a time…

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Too many people are speaking from their hearts and not from what is right or wrong by law.

GIOLA, you said in your recent post the JKR is turning on one of her most faithful fans. You seem to be overlooking that “one of her most faithful fans” allegedly is taking her copyrighted work and seeking to profit from it (he could make millions of dollars). Who is turning on who (if this story is accurate)?

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Excellent post Jenn. You know what I have to go to bed now, I feel physically sick reading some comments here about Jo. I am disgusted in the fandom tonight, I really am. How people can call themselves fans and then say such stuff about Jo when is so obviously in the right is just laughable. God, I bet she would be so dissappointed in so many people tonight. I know I am.

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She’s protecting her property people. NO ONE has the right to take her work and use it as their own to make a profit. Other books were talking about people thoughts and ideas of HP, not actually publishing entire info from the books. Its steeling plain and simple. It’s free online, but now Steve is selling it for profit. He was asked to STOP and the publishers refused, so she’s taken the next step.

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Lilyp says “I’d say it is JKR’s the one who is using Steve’s work more than the other way round”

That has to be one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever read in my life. Think before you post, please!

Avatar Image says: If she didn’t want the book published, I’m sure all she would have had to have done was to ask Steve not to publish it.

Just to show I can be fair – the Reuters article does say that they attempted to do just that and were rebuffed by the publisher and SVA.

My sneaking suspicions are: 1) JKR’s own “Encyclopedia” which she plans to “eventually” write, will contain very little new material, just “repackaged” content from her previous books and interviews. 2) This suit may bring unwanted attention to fansites. The internet is not “free” – websites are supported by advertising. You’re not paying to visit this site, but someone is paying this site to bring your traffic in here.

Apparently, TLC operates as a non-profit? So all the ad revenue goes to paying the site expenses, the employees aren’t paid? No one working for TLC is making any money here? Is Mugglenet a non-profit too?

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I feels so good to see the Lexicon finally geting put in it’s place! I’m sick of HP fen acting as though it’s the be and end of everything to do with HP. Nuh uh!

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I don’t understand how anyone can object to Jo’s right to protect the HPbooks. Play in the HP world: sure, why not? Profit from the content of the HPbooks: only Jo should have that right. Jo dreamed up the HPworld, spent years planning, writing, and rewriting the HPbooks. She’s given us a great gift. Generous Jo has given fans an even greater gift by letting us play in her world and publish our reworking of her ideas on the Internet. Some authors don’t allow fans to do this (e.g., Mercedes Lackey); that is their legal right. Would you prefer a world in which authors have to shut down ALL fan activities or risk surrendering all rights in and profits from their work? I love the Lexicon, and I’m in absolute awe of the fantastic work they do. But no matter how long and hard they worked, Jo worked longer and harder. What the Lexicon does is derivative of Jo’s work.This is unlike the Leaky Cauldron, which consists mostly of information not drawn directly from the text of the HPbooks. Books reporting on information related to but outside of the covers of the HPbooks (e.g., Melissa’s forthcoming book reporting on the fandom) and books that analyze the HPbooks (e.g., speculation,philosophy) fit clear exceptions to the copyright laws. It has long been settled in the law that repackaging, which appears to be the correct legal term for the proposed encyclopedia, is not legal. It shouldn’t be. The law rightly rewards those mad geniuses who create the fantastic worlds that we love. Those who love and play in those worlds do not and should not receive a free pass to profit from mere reworking of the author’s original work. What amuses me is that if this were a poor writer who had to keep a day job to pay his bills and big publisher decided to repackage that author’s work without permission and without paying the author (even if it were for nonprofit purposes), few people would have trouble understanding why that would be wrong. It’s fuzzy thinking to favor the little guy because he’s little. Sometimes, the little guy is wrong.

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Go Jo! Sue their arses off. It is definitely her world and this is also why i have disliked those bands that have sprung up around HP and the Mugglenet people who put out their own book. One thing to be on the web, another to be making money off of it. It’s like fanfiction, obviously no one can sell their hp stories.

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I don’t even think it is for anyone here to take sides on any on this, this is a legal issue that needs to be decided in court. It makes me sad that this kind of business has come up, but I can understand JKR being protective of her intellectual property, and it concerns me that this company has blantantly gone against her wishes and is persisting in publishing this work. I still don’t understand her reasoning that this un-official encylopedia would detract from the funds raised for charity when it seems quite likely that fans of our ravenous nature would buy anything Harry Potter we could get our hands on.

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You all realize there would be no Lexicon if it wasn’t for Jo right? If it wasn’t for the info and story JO created then Steve would have had no info to make the Lexicon for all to see online, but now he’s publishing it and charging people…..He’s charging people to read someone that is online for free and already found in JKR’s books. People are obviously blinded by their love of poor ol’ Steve and can’t see that Steve is using Jo’s personal property to make a profit from the fans who will lap up all things HP….

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Steves’man’through”and”through-

Nothing sensible to say? Best to say nothing at all. Another pathetic reason this fandom needed a rude awakenin. Get them all Jo!

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Wow… See, this is exactly why she is trying to stop the book:

“And I really think it’s the other way round. It is more likely that Jo is stealing from him. “

Because of the lexicon, which is 100% based on JKR’s book, you are now giving SVA credit for work done by JKR herself. It’s her world, people. all steve could ever do was take info that SHE invented, and put it in a lexicon format. it’s still JKRS work, that you are now giving SVA credit for. No wonder she wants to stop it.

“Steve’s work is not a fan fiction using her character, it is a work about her books, about what is written, adding new information and compiling what’s already there.”

Um… that’s the whole point!!! It’s all 100% JKR’s work. He wants to be paid for JKR’s work.

You know what? someone here had a great idea. I’m going to go through the Lexicon, take all that info, and write my own encyclopedia using Steves info about JKR’s world. Nothing wrong with that, right? it’s a free for all!!

And please stop with the “all she had to do was ask”. Read the info before commenting. They did ask, the publishers and SVA refused, so they have to sue.

And as for fanfiction sights? yes, she was very tolerant of the Lexicon… UNTIL he tried to publish for profit. you can bet you aunt fanny that if the Finfic folks tried to have a HP fanfiction actually published as a book, it would be stopped quicker then a snitch in a wind storm.

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Steve’s Lexicon is brilliant. But he is very very very foolish to try make profit out of copyright material. Its the same with every popolar original properties from Tolkien to Star Wars to Narnia. There are non profit sites that have enclopaedias, fan fiction even fan made movies but all non-profit. The moment anyone tries to make an unauthorised profit from these, they are pounced on JUSTIFIABLY.

Its simple. The Lexicon website was fine. JK gave it an award even. But a book?

Steve is in trouble because he already has probably invested in this book what with it most probably being printed so stands to lose a lot of money, so naturally, even if he knows deep down that he was wrong, he will contest the sueing it with all his might.

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I have never been so disappointed in a person right now as I am with Jo Rowling. Where does this stop?

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It stops when people wise up and stop with stupid bloody comments yamma.

Disappointed because she protects herself and HER work. Shocking. How dare she! This fandom has gone to the dogs.

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pawnblue says “There’s nothing wrong with him profiting a little too”

The law would disagree with you on that. Copyright infringement is illegal. The Lexicon book needs to be stopped, unless JKR gives her permission.

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She gave them a warning and they refused to stop publication. She is protecting her property, if she doesn’t stop Steve publishing and making a profit off of her property, then ANYONE could be doing this and that’s not right. That’s why she has her story and character copywrited. She’s protecting all she has worked hard for over the years. No one has the right to sell her info and story for profit without her permission, not even Steve from the lexicon. The free, non profit site is all good, but the minute he took JKR’s info and tried to sell it he was in the wrong.

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Leaky strikes me as a responsible site run by responsible people and I would truly be surprised if any staff member was profiting from their non-profit activities.

The other fan sites, I’m not sure about. MuggleNet seems to be run by a bunch of kids, so who knows. But the endless pop-ups on their site REALLY annoy me, so maybe I’m biased. It’s been months since I visited.

In any case, I’ve always thought it would be appropriate for fan sites that advertise to disclose publicly their monthly ad revenue compared to their monthly expenses.

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Ellid—what the heck religious festival are you talking about that she supposedly sued? How rediculious.

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People really need to read the entire artical. She has nothing against the free web site, but she does have something against someone using her property to make a profit. She’s protecting all she’s worked hard for for years. It’s her story. It was nice of Steve to make a free online database for the fans to find all the info from the HP books, but he has no right to profit from JKR’s info.

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What an interesting time for JK, since finishing the book she was getting some extreme reactions of all types from all corners for a lot of incidents “love you Jo”, “Why Jo?”, “How could you?”, “He’s WHAT?”, “Go Jo, you the best and bravest!”, “I’m never reading HP again”, “How can Jo be so selfish?”, “Did she have to let us know about his…”

Personally, I see jo as the same kind, protective, giving, person she was when I first saw her being interviewed many years ago. But only now, she seems more comfortable with braving the press, public, and some difficult fans!

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I completely understand the suit on this. Even if the book that the Lexicon was producing was for charity, it is still copyright infringement. HOWEVER. If this project is being stopped, all of those other authors need to be sued. Mugglenet? Definitely – that used her intellectual property as well. The encyclopedia I used to work on an essay last year? Seriously – it’s the same as the lexicon. I wonder why this one is being singled out at this time?

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is this leaky Melissa above? Im not sure!

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If anything she’s being more honest and true. She’s more free to speak about her work openly, and with this whole thing she is taking precautions to protect all she has worked so hard for. No one should be making money from her stories and characters without her permission.

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The alleged “Lexicon book” and the Mugglenet book are NOT the same thing. First of all, the “Lexicon book” is a compilation of information (just like an encyclopedia) of J.K. Rowling’s copyrighted work. The Mugglenet book is a speculation book that was allowed by WB and J.K. Rowling to be sold.

The big difference is PERMISSION.

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The mugglenet book was fans getting together and publishing their theories on book 7 by using their own ideas including information given in the books. Steve’s Lexicon book is a book complied of information already found in JKR’s HP books and from her interviews. All he did was sit down with all of the HP books and copied the info in them and published then for profit, which is illegal.

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I think this whole lawsuit could have been avoided if lexicon would have made sure it was okay with Jo first. You can never just assume it is okay to publish a book that uses someone else’s story. Some people are upset with Jo for this, but imagine how you would feel if someone took your story and wrote something that you were planning to write before you, when you are the one who created it….that would get on my nerves a little bit. Obviously lexicon either failed to inform Jo of what they were doing, or she told them no and they did it anyway, so either way Jo is in the right here.

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Although I like the lexicon I fully agree with Jo on this.

It’s not fair for them to make a profit on her work.

Mugglenet’s book was full of prediction’s, their own ideas and thoughts and never claimed any of it to be true, so I can see why that book wasn’t an issue. They claimed it as unofficial predictions, they weren’t giving out any unknown information.

Melissa’s book is about the fandom, so instantly, no problem there. It’s mostly about how Harry Potter has changed lives.

This book however (I don’t know much about it, so some is this is assumption, however, it’s what I can gather from reading all of this) is simply relaying information already from the books. It doesn’t have any of their own ideas, thoughts or anything of the matter. So they would be making a profit purely off JK’s work.

Sounds a little like plagerism…

anyway, I really hope they don’t go forth and publish the book becuase it just seems unfair (unless all the profits went to a charity that Jo supports or something).

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All he did was sit down with all of the HP books and copied the info in them and published then for profit, which is illegal.


Well so far he hasn’t published it yet, or made a dime off it yet so your comment is a little ahead of the game.

I would also question that “All he did was sit down and copy”. It’s no small feat to organize and cross reference all that material – not just from the books but from the Chocolate Frog cards, the Daily Prophets that used to be sent to fan club members, interviews…there’s stuff on the Lexicon that simply cannot be found anywhere else.

And the Lexicon contains essays with plenty of original research; the real-world locations of places referenced in HP, the etymology of character names, timelines, maps, family trees…whatever anyone may think of Steve Van Der Ark’s decision to have his work published, please at least visit the Lexicon before concluding that it’s all “just copied down.”

I don’t know Steve Van Der Ark personally and have no vested interest in his book. I didn’t even know he was publishing a book until this article. But I’ve visited the Lexicon and it’s very clear that a lot of effort went into it.

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JKR is disappointing me more and more all the time. Companion/reference books like this are ridiculously common.

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I really would love to know the difference between Jo’s and Steve’s end products (i.e., encyclopedias). Because as much as it’s been cited that Jo’s encyclopedia will have new material, I really question the amount of the new material (PS/SS or FBAWTFT size?). Also, it would never be a comprehensive as Steve’s encyclopedia.

Nonetheless, this lawsuit isn’t about the difference in products (on which people keeping missing the point); it’s about whether Steve has the right to make a profit off Jo’s materials. And, on that issue, Jo is probablly right in legal principle. However, where I think Jo has missed the boat is in her PR statement published on her website (and that’s what it was; it certainly wasn’t “news”) because it deflects from her legal argument that Steve’s using her copyrighted material for profit. And, on her PR slant, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. I think the book market could handle Jo’s and Steve’s encyclopedias because they would have contained different material and (outside the not-for-profit/profit) been for purposes (i.e., Jo’s encyclopdia likely would be a FYI for the general public and Steve’s encyclopedia would be a bookmarker for hardcore fans only). Fans definitely would have bought both.

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Steve doesn’t deserve this. Jo shouldn’t be this way about actions of her fans. Is she going to sue me for writing fanfiction now?

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He’s still publishing a book compiled of information that is JKR’s property and she did not give him permission to use it. This would be like if I sat down and watched all the star wars films and started writing down all the info…”Vader is Luke’s dad”....”Yoda is a Jedi’.... then I go through all the interviews and write down everything said, then I put them together and try to sell it. I would get my butt sued off by George Lucas, no question about it and he would have every right to do so. Oh, and the book is for sale right now, you can order it off the publishers website, even though she didn’t give her permisson and she asked them to stop the sell of it….

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“Steve doesn’t deserve this. Jo shouldn’t be this way about actions of her fans. Is she going to sue me for writing fanfiction now?”

Not as long as you don’t trying selling it for profit….

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Regardless of the effort that went into it, it’s still all JKR’s creation. He took information that she wrote and published, regardless of where (books, choc frogs, daily prophets), and put it into a format of his own. Thats all fine, because he wasnt profiting explicitly from the info. now that he’s taking that info and publishing it for his OWN profit, he is breaking the copyrights that protect it. he stepped over a boundary he should not have. JKR has every right to fight it’s publication. After all, she put, what, nearly two decades of effort into creating it? She should get to control it.

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Exactly Beth, a voice of reason…

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Regardless of the effort that went into it, it’s still all JKR’s creation.


Yes, I know but I was arguing that it’s inaccurate and unfair to claim that SVA “just copied down” the books. The Lexicon is far more than someone just retyping various passages from the books. And what if the proposed book does contain commentary (i.e. the essays that are published on the site)? Does that not put the book in the same category as the Mugglenet book?

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I think some people’s problem here is that some “fans” have become fans of the Leaky staff including Steve. They’ve become celebrities a bit themselves, but they too are also fans of HP, so we can relate to them. I commend Steve for his job on the online and free Lexicon, but not when he’s trying to make money from it. People’s “love” for Steve is blinding them to the reality that he is illegally using her property to gain profit.

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“The community group that created the replica is in a quandary after being summoned to a Delhi high court in a copyright infringement suit seeking two million rupees ($50,140 Cdn) for permission to show the castle.

In Rowling’s books, Hogwarts is traditionally protected by magical spells. In this case, the size of the fine may be enough to deter the group.”

aource: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2007/10/11/hogwarts-replica.html

I lost my respect for this woman when I read about this. She maybe right about this, but she is no nice at all.

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I’m not a judge, so I’m not going to pretend I know what anyone’s rights are in this situation. Also, my opinion is similar to many others that have already been expressed, yet I feel so strongly about this subject that I must put in my two cents.

I love the HP Lexicon. I have been hoping for years that it would come out in book form to save me having to print out every page of the website myself! Steve is both a true fan and a scholar, and he has invested a huge amount of time (and money, I imagine) just so other fans could have a definitive resource for Jo’s works. I don’t think one should criticize his finally reaping a personal benefit from his work when there have been dozens of other HP bandwagon books that have profited their owners without benefiting the fans very much.

Jo’s argument that encyclopedia-type companion books might take away from the book she is going to write some day does not work for me. It will probably be years between the publication of the “Lexicon” and “A to Z” books and Jo’s own version, and true fans are going to want to get their hands on every well-written HP book possible, whether penned by Jo or by others. I can’t imagine anyone not supporting Jo’s charity book just because they already have Steve’s book or something else. Besides, I’m afraid Jo’s book will be too short, like FB and QA, whereas we already know the Lexicon is as comprehensive as possible.

If these books are allowed to be published, we can all vote with our wallets. If you don’t think anyone but Jo should be allowed to make a dime, then don’t buy anything but her own book (but you may have to wait until 2012). If, like me, you want a complete reference book on Harry Potter now, then support the Lexicon as well as Jo’s charity version whenever it comes.

I am absolutely in favor of author’s rights and intellectual property laws, but in this case, I think Jo’s lawsuit is petty. She has allowed all these other HP books, why not allow one that is actually useful to fans? Otherwise, I’m going to have to use up all my toner and paper to print out Steve’s website!

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Listen, when you go to the Lexicon online it says on the main page…quote….”The Lexicon is committed to upholding copyright law and does not knowingly use any images or text illegally.” This should also be applied to the book, but it’s not. The books is making a profit from Jo’s work. She asked them to stop, and they didn’t so they are not upholding copyright laws when it comes to the book version.

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Neptune, the dang book isn’t published yet so no one is making any profit from it. You’ve said about ten times “he’s making a profit”. No he isn’t. Not until Nov. 28 anyway.

And it occurs to me that until any of us actually SEE what is printed in the book, it’s pretty pointless to argue whether about whether it has sufficient original content or is just old information copied down. Thus, this will be my last post on the subject until further information is presented.

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I’m sorry, I really am. But this time I think she went too far. 1. Even if the sue is from WB and the publishers, after all is JKR name and if she doesn’t approve it or doesn’t like the action, she has the power to stop it. 2. Nobody has the right to say anything about the (my opinion) excellent work of the Lexicon, they have spent and dedicated a lot of time and resources to build the site. He has published other encyclopedias and he really knows how to do his work. 3. If JKR feels that the book can “damage” the sell of her own “future”/”may be”/”someday” encyclopedia, is for only one and simple reason: SHE IS GOING TO COPY THE LEXICON, she doesn’t have to copy the texts, because one of the greater and most complicated work is the ORGANIZATION, THE CHAPTERS, etc. 4. After book 7 HP is almost finished. Anything she wants to publish has to have a lot of advertising. And I ask to my self, Who were the people who manteined the fans “awakened” between books? 5. Just analize who will buy the Lexicon and why, and the same for JKR “maybe” encyclopedia. It will be different persons or for differents reasons, so it is not going to damage anything 6. With actions like that I think she and (sadly) her future books will not be selling as expected, and even be banned by her own (ex)fans…

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Read the post on the Lexicon’s “What’s New” page from May 11, 2007.

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I’m sorry, I really am. But this time I think she went too far.

1. Even if the sue is from WB and the publishers, after all is JKR name and if she doesn’t approve it or doesn’t like the action, she has the power to stop it.

2. Nobody has the right to say anything about the (my opinion) excellent work of the Lexicon, they have spent and dedicated a lot of time and resources to build the site. He has published other encyclopedias and he really knows how to do his work.

3. If JKR feels that the book can “damage” the sell of her own “future”/”may be”/”someday” encyclopedia, is for only one and simple reason: SHE IS GOING TO COPY THE LEXICON, she doesn’t have to copy the texts, because one of the greater and most complicated work is the ORGANIZATION, THE CHAPTERS, etc.

4. After book 7 HP is almost finished. Anything she wants to publish has to have a lot of advertising. And I ask to my self, Who were the people who manteined the fans “awakened” between books?

5. Just analize who will buy the Lexicon and why, and the same for JKR “maybe” encyclopedia. It will be different persons or for differents reasons, so it is not going to damage anything

6. With actions like that I think she and (sadly) her future books will not be selling as expected, and even be banned by her own (ex)fans…

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There is no mention of “for financial gain” or “for profit” in the Copyright of the books. I’m reading directly from the copyright in the Scholastic paperback version of Sorceror’s Stone:

“No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.”

I’m going to have to assume from this that the Lexicon and other fan sites who may use portions of the text and/or artwork have received said “written permission from the publisher” and this is why the Lexicon site is unaffected? But in assuming such, I’d also have to wonder why the Lexicon did not ask for “written permission” prior to submitting their book for publication. Perhaps they thought permission for the site would extend to the book? I just don’t believe that the Lexicon people would go out to undercut Jo’s charities. Their publisher might, but I can’t believe that of the Lexicon staff.

I frankly have no sympathy for WB at all and if anyone is in this for their own personal gain it’s Warner Bros. They’re certainly not above re-writing the books to make movie profits and I’m surprised they haven’t come out with a version of the Weasley Garden Gnomes in their single minded quest to make mega-bucks from all things Potter. Thus, WB can just go hang imo.

Jo’s issues with the project undercutting her plan to do a book for charity are another issue altogether to me. I’m thinking that, as per usual, we’re not getting all the news and that if we were we’d understand. She’s not let me down before, so I don’t expect her to now.

As for suing for the profits of the Lexicon book, I’m quite sure that’s NOT to get more money into Jo’s pocket. It’s simply another way to discourage publication if all other methods fail. There will be as many stumbling blocks to publication as are necessary.

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We should know by now, Jo always has a good reason for her suits. Sometimes we don’t understand them completely and I think that’s the case here. I agree with what someone said about the suit being because the word “encyclopedia” is in the lexicon’s book title. I don’t think it’s the actual content of the book that’s being disputed.

It would be great to hear some commentary on this on next week’s Pottercast. :) I’m sure we will and I can’t wait. What a scandal for one of Leaky’s partner sites to be in such a position!

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it’s horrible it has to come in this form but at last something to top the DD news!

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So a person’s writings[and charaters ] isn’t their own ,just property?????? But it is the property of those who want to copy it for personal monitary gain , just because they want to.

How rediculious thinking is “that”????

If you’ve been asked by an author not to do something with there property but just do it anyway for your own gain, you disrespect the author who’s “mind ” it came from to begin with.

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Quote “Neptune, the dang book isn’t published yet so no one is making any profit from it. You’ve said about ten times “he’s making a profit”. No he isn’t. Not until Nov. 28 anyway.”

Sorry to tell you but the dang book IS published, you can order it online right now, meaning people can pay to buy the dang book.

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Proof right here…. http://www.rdrbooks.com/books/hp.html

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This is ridiculous. The last time I checked, JKR did not have a copyright on the word “encyclopedia.” How come she didn’t go after Mugglenet for their book, or anyone else for that matter? What it appears that HP Lexicon is doing is putting what is on their webiste in print and including some essays and probably analysis. I don’t find anything wrong with that. She cannot claim the word enclyclopedia as her own. Then what, no reference company can ever use that word again when referring to a compilation of facts? Sorry, JKR is way off on this…

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There is no “right” here for JK…Steve is her biggest fan and would do and does do so much to keep her books intellectually and academically alive…he is one of the best known fans…and could only help her sales…and he is not writing her book…he is repackaging the information…for ease of use…like the Sherlock Holms book that is on his desk…

This is what happens when money and greed get in the way. JK has more money than she can spend in two lifetimes…and Steve would not be taking a cent away from the charities…but this lawsuit will make many of us think twice about buying the JK book…

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I would very much like Leaky / Pottercast to have an interview directly with Steve Van Der Ark, so that we can get it straight from the horse’s mouth. How about it, Melissa?

Based on what we know, it sounds quite ridiculous. It happens all the time that commentators write reference books ABOUT an author’s work. This is very different to pretending to be the author (e.g., writing another HP book), or even hijacking her characters – as fanfictions do, which I consider to be much more in violation of copyright. Jo’s encyclopedia was to have included new material, backstories, etc.

I also don’t think the two books would be in competition – the true Harry fan would buy both to assuage their desparate withdrawal symptoms, and the casual fan, given the choice, would surely buy Jo’s. Jo has benefitted from these sites and books (like the galadriel Waters books, the Mugglecast books) in the past, not only from the added publicity, but also (as she herself has admitted) by ussing sites like the Lexicon as a reference. To start complaining now is plain shabby.

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Now this is just stupid. You really have to be kidding me. I agree with everyone else on here (or the majority) this is information that has already been said not new info that she said she would do. I would by both.. and you know that the general population would by JKR version over anything else. So what is this about? I would hate to think Jo was behind this.. cause if she is then I am really being turned off. This is a great way to lose fans!!!

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I’m ususally on Jo’s side, but this is wrong. How does the HP Lexicon differ from the other “reading guides to Harry Potter” published by other people? The HP-Lexicon gives nothing but everything we already know, just compacted into one book. I don’t like the fact that she’s using ridiculous reasons to say that it interferes with her Encyclopedia. Clearly, she intends for the encyclopedia to REPEAT information, thus cheating us. I’m beginning to wonder if the encyclopedia will pretty much state everything we know, and only contain a TINY bit of extra detail. Maybe she needs the bulk to the Lexicon’s information to be able to write the most of her ‘encyclopedia’.

I understand why this would interfere with sales, it’s true the Lexicon’s book is bound to be a bestseller—but honestly, they need to find a better reason.

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Isabel are you kidding me? The main point of the lexicon is a database compiling info from the HP books, and Jo’s info. JO’S info, and they are now printing it and selling it for profit without asking her. The mugglenet book was a book of HP fans giving their own opinions and theories on book 7. Huge difference there…

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I’m kind of confused. Why would Steve publish a book encyclopedia when he knows, as we all do, that we’re going to have the real live Jo encyclopedia? What’s wrong with the website? I am very disappointed in Steve, if this is true. I really liked and respected him—a lot of fans did.

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goldenbear, i’m afraid that steve is in NO WAY her biggest fan if he didn’t pull the books at the first hint of her displeasure or respond to the C&Ds or anything else. not her biggest fans by a long shot.

seriously, whta’s next? If they don’t stand up to this, what’s next? This is NOT a derivative work. It’s just THE WORK, put between different covers and reorganized. All those little things, those facts and trivialities, those quirks, those characteristics,a ll those things JKR spent 17 years creating, he’s allowed to list and sell? No. This isn’t commentary, it’s just wrong. And if they don’t stop the Lexicon from doing it all her property will be up in the air for anyone to grab. It’s bad.

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Listen….I’m a fan of the Lexicon and I love hearing Steve on Pottercast, but just because I like the guy, and he’s a fan just like me doesn’t mean I’m going to side with him, because in this case he is completely in the wrong. He should have asked permission from the start. I have no idea why he thought he could publish a book compiled of Jo’s info and material…. her property, and try to profit from it. She has every right to protect her work, the work she has worked so hard on for years….If it wasn’t for her work and story there would be no Lexicon for Steve to try to profit off of.

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Mom Weasley, you said that WB was certainly making a profit on Jo’s work. That’s right, because they have a CONTRACT with her. She agreed to allow them to make the movies based on her books and characters. They cannot CAN-NOT produce the Weasley Garden Gnomes or anything else not based on canon. This was the deal maker for Jo. Only her stories. She gets to say what does and doesn’t get produced. Notice that there aren’t any comic book versions of “the adventures of Harry Potter” or (God forbid) some wretched “Potter Babies” Cartoon? That’s because Jo has control over what gets produced. Fan fiction, fan sites and even filks are not for profit. Even the Jingle Spells CD is for charity. So yeah, WB gets to protect their interest in the HP franchise just as much as Jo does.

I feel bad for Steve, from what I know of him from PotterCast he’s a superfan. This was just an unfortunate decision on his part. He should have looked in to the intellectual property issues of publishing anything for profit. I hope this is settled amicably.

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People keep saying that Jo is going against her own words and actions because she once “used” the site. She used the WEBSITE, yes, which she is not filing any lawsuit over. She is, however, filing a lawsuit against the BOOK that is to be published. Those are two entirely different things.

Also, the matter here is less about whether Steve’s book would cut into the sales of Jo’s encyclopedia or not (which it probably won’t, because ardent fans who would buy an unofficial HP encyclopedia would definitely buy the official one), but more about the fact that Steve has NO RIGHTS to write and publish this book without Jo’s permission, because in order for it to be an “encyclopedia,” it must take a lot of facts from the books themselves, and is not just full of commentaries. That’s a violation of the copyrights laws.

It’s not about the fact that Steve is a big fan of HP. It’s a legal matter, and just because he loves the series does not give him permission to write and publish this book, especially to continue doing so after being asked not to.

Just… some of the comments here make me want to bang my head against the desk, really. People just either 1) did not read the article or 2) have no notion of what copyright infringement means, or both. =|

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She may have legality backing her up, but I’m not sure if this isn’t the first of many “controls” to come. It is based on the fact that this lawsuit is based on a small technicality and that there are many other books that are based on the Potter world. I don’t see the difference, other than the fact that there are a lot of people eager to buy the Lexicon more, because A) It’s already been written B) Who knows when her book is coming C) I expected her book to have new information rather than a compost of all the known Harry Potter information.

I think this is WB’s and Bloomsbury’s attempts to get their hand in the money that will come from this book. Watch, it will be published, but a huge portion will go to WB and Bloomsbury.

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After a quick perusal of the fair use doctrine, it seems to this law student that JKR has a pretty good case. The Lexicon book doesn’t seem to have any creative merit of its own (parodies are protected), there is no overwhelming reason the HP books should be in the public domain, by its very nature the Lexicon will take large portions of the HP books outright, and the Lexicon will probably have an effect on JKR’s future encyclopedia. It’s a pretty standard analysis, though I admit I haven’t taken copyright law (mostly because it’s a hard class and I have no real interest in the subject).

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Venus The main point of the lexicon is a database compiling info from the HP books, and Jo’s info. JO’S info, and they are now printing it and selling it for profit without asking her. The mugglenet book was a book of HP fans giving their own opinions and theories on book 7. Huge difference there…

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What happened was a bad mistake, and I’m not on the Lexicon’s side, but I just want to give Steve a hug. I feel so sorry for him hugs Poor Steve.

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Shina Laris, It appears you have not read the article properly, because they have insulted the website as well. So, yes, in effect, she is going against her words and praise for that site by suddenly saying, it ” regurgitate Ms. Rowling’s original creative expression with minimal additional commentary.’” Would she have said this a few years ago when she was praising the website and actually saying she was grateful for the help it provided in helping her recheck facts while she wrote her books? Of course not.

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Maybe there has been a change or something added to the site since she honored them, but that’s not the point. She’s not going against her word by suing someone who is steeling her material and info by publishing it in a book to make a profit. She has every right to protect her property. She asked them to stop and they refused….

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wow…you missed the boat…Steve is her biggest fan and has done much to promote her books and keep the interest alive in the books…he has written a reference book…and reference books tend to support and uphold the original works.

We will probably never know the truth of what happened…once lawyers get in the picture, people are not allowed to talk…and words get twisted and fans start dividing…and GREED gets in the way…lawsuits are not the way to handle this.

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Well said again and again, Neptune!

Zoe Zacharias, how can you be about author’s rights and intellectual property if you aren’t siding with the author right now? You even said that she’s allowed other books (by the way, they have different themes and perspectives, not just facts), but that this would be the only useful one. Doesn’t that say right there that this would draw more people to it than any of the others? Especially when she is going to write one herself (it is her story), I can’t think it fair to let someone do it first just because they put the time into it.

If I were to turn in a project to a professor based on someone else’s work, but I only stated what the other person’s work said… I would fail. Let’s say I thought their work was great and put in a lot of time and energy to put together my project. Would that make a difference? No. I would still deserve and receive a failing grade.

I love the Lexicon as a website… It’s one of my absolute favorites. I also appreciate the work Steve and his staff have put into making it what it is. I just have to side with JK Rowling on this one. It’s hers.

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For the past hour or so I have been here reading all of the comments that have erupted out of this story, and frankly I really couldn’t be more disappointed in people. Its to the point where I want to cry. I want to cry because I never would have thought that Steve would have done something like this. I met him at Prophecy and I listened to him speak there as well. He is an awesome speaker.

I also want to cry because of the fans, I really couldn’t be more disappointed in right now, I really couldn’t. I can’t believe that people are dropping out of the fandom because of this, because they think that JK Rowling is in this for the money, which she is donating to charity. And how they are comparing Melissa Anelli’s book and the Leaky Cauldron to this is just sickening. I hate it, plain and simple. The Leaky Cauldron is different, they have donated (last I saw) $30,000 to charities, I believe that is more now.

People, please just remember what this fandom is about, love, and if you can’t do that then listen to some Harry and the Potters or some Whomping Willows and remind yourselves of that.

Leaky, I love you, I really do. Keep up the good work with all you do! And Melissa, I really can’t wait to read your book, I am going to get it the day it comes out.

Ok, thats it, I’m done reading, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my Halloween.

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I’m confused.

Did Steve V.A. write this book? Or was it someone else?

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goldenbear- Seriously??? Greed? Did you read the article? She’s giving ALL the profits to charity!

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Goldenbear, Who’s missed the point? You? Definitely….

Steve is a fan, as am I. I’m not going to claim he is the “biggest fan” because that’s just silly. He’s a fan who has taken his time to compile all of the known HP info out there, from the books and interviews. No small feet, but that doesn’t give him the right to profit from Jo’s work. I could take my time and gather all the info I can on The Lord of The Rings books, put them together and make a database online for other fans to see, but I have no right to publish a book of the info to make profit off of. I need permission to do that, which is something Steve” the super fan” didn’t do. If he was such a fan he would have listened to Jo when she asked him to respect her work and not publish the book, but he didn’t. She has worked YEARS on these books. She dedicated her life to them and she has every right to protect them from others who want to use her work to profit from without her permission.

I know MANY people who are huge fans of HP and never even heard of the Lexicon. He did not keep the fandom alive, that’s just silly. Jo’s books and anticipation for them kept the fandom alive. I think some people around here are being blinded to reality because they feel for Steve, but they aren’t seeing the big picture here. If Jo doesn’t stop this, then who knows what people will start doing with her works. She has every right to protect it and he should.

If you painted a painting and were trying to sell it, then someone came in and took a photo of it and tried selling the photo, wouldn’t you be pissed that someone was using your art to make a profit?

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Tess’s comments sums it all up for me…this is about love and tolerance and fandom…and I bet JK never “talked” to Steve…person to person…to try to resolve this…the “handlers” just went straight for the lawsuit…because that is how we do it…and the charity comment just does no hold water…between JK and WB…they have so much money, they can donate a tenth to charity without the sale of her encyclopedia…and it would probably be more than they donote…”after costs” to the charity after selling the books…

One word…GREED…

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JK shouldn’t have to talk directly to Steve. Should she take her time out to talk directly to everyone who tries to steel her work and make profit from it? Just because we “know” Steve from Pottercast doesn’t make mean he’s a good guy who can’t do wrong and now “evil, greed JKR wants to beat up on her fans….”. You all are way too attached to the Leaky staff and think they are just innocent fans, but Steve is trying to profit off of Jo’s work and that’s illegal…...

“Warner Bros. and Rowling’s representatives have been ” rebuffed and treated rudely” in their attempts to engage in a dialogue with RDR Books…For example, while claiming not to have the ability or time to respond to plaintiffs’ multiple ‘cease and desist’ letters because of a family tragedy, defendant instead was hawking foreign publishing rights to the infringing book in Germany,’

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Profound disappointment was my initial reaction when reading this. Jo appears to be turning into a total control freak, slapping lawsuits left right and centre on anyone who dares to intrude on “her” world.

Sorry missy, but you put the world out there. Don’t be so naive as to think you can now keep it all to yourself.

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Glenn, you misunderstood. I am not talking about spin off movies or TV shows. I’m talking about movie merchandise. Yes, I’m sure merchandising rights were in the contract, but that doesn’t make me any less sick of it all. WB can still go hang, imo, which I AM entitled to.

I too hope they can settle amicably. I feel kind of like Hermione watching Harry and Ron fight. I admire Jo and I have appreciated the Lexicon website immensely.

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First the Indian festival, now this? C’mon now, Jo, what is going on?

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“Don’t be so naive as to think you can now keep it all to yourself.”

She has every right to. It is HER work, Her creations, her art. She didn’t ever have to share it with us, but thankfully she did. Without her there would be no lexicon, and there would be no book for Steve to profit from.

Someone is taking her work and making a profit from it, she has every right to stop someone from plagiarizing her work. Just like in school when I did a report I would fail it I copied info from the text books and passed it off as my own. Steve is passing this book off as his own (he compiled the work, he didn’t create the work) and now he’s trying to profit from it. $25 for a book when you can go online and see it for free, or you can look it up in JKR’s books that shes worked years on, or you could wait for her official encyclopedia which the profits will got to charity….

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Neptune, you don’t seriously believe that Steve would pass this work off as his own do you? That’s just silly. The Lexicon book appears to me to just be a written form of what is already available. Jo’s encyclopedia would be entirely different with new canon and a lot more stuff we DON’T know.

Jo seems to be losing the plot and is on a one way broomstick to pissing off those who adored her.

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He’s profiting from the book, what else would you call it other then passing it off as his own? The publisher is selling it for $25 and he will be seeing a cut from that. It has HIS name on the book and the website HE runs. He is profiting by collecting info already available in JKR’s books and interviews. He took his time to gather the information and put it online for everyone to see, for fans to see for free, now he’s putting all of JKR’s info into a book, with his name and website name, and charging for it AFTER she has already mention right after the release of book 7 that she is most likely going to make a full HP encyclopedia.

Again, Steve comes off looking like the victim here, but in reality it’s JKR. Someone is using her hard earned work to profit from and they have no right to without her permission, plain and simple.

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Why is Jo so bothered with money lately? I wondered about the suit against the Indian parade, but this really astonishes me. She said, that she herself used the Lexicon as a reference while writing her books. And now she criticises the site for part of it’s content??? Well in a way I can understand about the book, as due to copieight reasons he should have asked permission first. But on the other side I don’t understand Jo at all, doesn’t sound like her. Strange.

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She has nothing against the site, she is suing Steve and the book publishers after they refused to stop publish on the Lexicon book. She asked them to stop, they didn’t ask her permission to use her information in a book to make a profit off of. She’s not after it for the money, she’s protecting her work. If she doesn’t watch it people will be using her art, her characters and her creation to make a profit and they have no right to do so without her permission.

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I love the Lexicon and think Steve’s done a great job on it, but I’m 100% behind Jo on this. This is her creation and if he’s really printing the lexicon website into a book, that is copyright infringement.

It’s not like the other books people have written about HP because they weren’t copying her entire series and making it into an encyclopedia. Completely different situations. What the Lexicon is doing is plagiarism.

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it’s always left a bad taste in my mouth when fansites publish books for profit, similarly to what mugglenet did with “what happens in book seven” which was basically a bunch of well-established fan theories that the authors of the book didn’t even come up with.

that didn’t stop me from enjoying mugglenet though, and this won’t stop me from enjoying the lexicon. steve’s created a brilliant site and resource for the whole fan community.

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I don’t understand! Why has this situation become so serious that it needs to go to court?

Surely Steve would’ve backed down upon Jo’s request – surely Jo wouldn’t want this book to be published if it had a big ‘unofficial’ stamp on it?

How can this Lexicon book take away profit from Jo’s encyclopedia?

How is this book different from all the many, many unofficial Harry Potter guides?

I want answers, because this is very confusing, and doesn’t make sense.

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Elizabeth, according to the artical Jo and her “people” including the WB asked the publishers and Steve to ”’cease and desist’and they refused to do so. Steve never asked permission of JKR to publish her work in his own format. He published a book full of her information to make a profit.

The difference between the Lexicon book and the other HP books, like the mugglenet book, is those books are opinion books, and the authors own personal take on JKR’s story. The Lexicon book is a book compiled of all the info already available in the HP books and JKR’s interviews. Plus, Jo already said she was going to make her own encyclopedia which the profits are going to charity, but now Steve is publishing his own and charging people $25 for something that is already available in the hp books and online for free at the online lexicon.

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Events are still unfolding, and I haven’t read all the comments here, but my first reaction is just dead stunned. The Lexicon is highly respected, and if anyone else thinks they could do the amount of work it took to build that, then I’d love to see someone else try. It’s so easy to dismiss it as “regurgitation,” as these legal papers do, but it wasn’t called that on the Official Site when he was given a Fansite Award, or when WB needed information, or when JKR ducked into an internet cafe to check her facts. If she had checked more facts, there wouldn’t be so many discrepencies in her books, would there?

I don’t know Steve well, but he’s always seemed like a rational guy to me. Perhaps he ignored the “cease and desist” orders because he was the one being harassed? That’s just my hypothetical opinion, but there have been plenty of people who have written books using these characters and they have not been sued because it wouldn’t make any sense.

I see the Lexicon as a reference website, and a dang good one, and JKR has said that herself in so many words. Her encyclopedia will have all of her insights and the backgrounds of characters, while Steve’s can’t possibly have that.

So I just don’t see the problem except that fandom is going to He** in a handbasket.

What a shame that this happened on Halloween, too. Lily Potter’s Death Day – how symbolic.

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Snape Maverick, I’ll say it again, she has nothing against the Lexicon website which is a free, nonprofit site for all to see, what she’s against is Steve and the Lexicon publishing this information and making a profit from it when they have no right to do so. They didn’t ask her permission to sell her material and info. She owns the right Harry Potter and just because Steve gathered all the info she already gave us into one place online for the fans to refer to, doesn’t not mean he has the right to sell that information and make money from it.

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lol now JKR is writing another book, I thought she was taking a break?

I love love love the Harry Potter series and Leaky, that being said we can still disagree with the author’s actions at the present time. I disagree that she’s allowing two other books to be published by other author’s regarding Harry Potter, fandom or not, would not exist without her creation of Harry Potter world and is now in suit for the Indian Parade (non-profit- specifying nothing directly of the characters for HP, cancelling their whole religious parade, which I am sure tons of children would enjoy so she can get 50,000 dollars!!), infringement rights on German copy, and now the Lexicon book?! I admire her strength of will to file a lawsuit against paparazzi from publicising photos of her children and taking such active stances on the movies, regulating WB- because I am sure they would’ve destroyed HP.

However, I disagree with Steve for trying to print a book of the Lexicon—I am sure you put a lot of work into and what some sort of payment, but, I don’t see how this is legal without her expressed consent. I think she is also trying to set a matter of precedence, so she effectively can control what is printed regarding the HP world. I completely disagree with her interference with the Indian Parade, I don’t understand why she is stopping that—they say they’ve built the Titanic too, perhaps, it was an historical event so they’re allowed to? I just hope she knows what she’s doing.

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What I am baffled at is there are tons of companion books just check out Amazon. There is even one called the Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A-Z. If Jo thinks that this book would take away from her Official Encyclopedia she is delusional.

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Reality check here: Until today, I thought Steve was one of the biggest HP Fans in the Potterverse, and that he and JKR were on the same side. We don’t know all the facts, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for a few hours.

For one thing, Steve is featured on the DVD for OotP. Why? Because he did a little documentary on A&E that fans watched over and over and even scanned on YouTube. Why? Because it was publicity for Deathly Hallows – it helped to sell the books and fire up the fans. I also saw him interviewed on numerous television news shows. Why? Not to push his book or his website, but to sell HER books. OK? He has been working for her, unpaid.

He was also at the Sectus Conference in London last year as a featured speaker, and some of my friends went to see him. He is a respected guy.

He is not just some shady person who wants to cheat JKR.

And as far as “permission” goes, it’s been my understanding that as long a book prints “Unofficial” all over it, and has a disclaimor, then it is not a copyright infringement. I know a little something about it having participated in the Mugglenet Fanbook a few years ago. We made very little money off that, but we certainly talked about these characters in our essays, and we didn’t get sued.

But there are already encyclopedic books out there about Harry Potter – look in your library or bookstore. Why Steve’s book and not theirs?

Honestly, go look at the Lexicon, too, if you’ve never seen it before. It is an archive, but they also have commentary and guest essays, as well as sorting out about 100 timelines, which can’t all be JKR’s property.

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People Mugglenet has book coming out in November according to amazon Mugglenet.com’s Unofficial Harry Potter Companion: The Encyclopedic Guide to the Books, Movies and More (Paperback) by Emerson Spartz (Author), Ben Schoen (Author) Will they be sued?

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Although this is the first i’ve heard of the MuggleNet book, perhaps they went through the official channels with WB, Bloomsbury and Scholastic to publish it, whereas the Lexicon did not? This is just my own thoughts on that matter tho.

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If they didn’t get permission I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. A lot of these other “companion books” were given the “ok” or were not violating copyright laws, the Lexicon is, and has not asked for permission to print and sell JKR’s info in their book for profit.

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A LEATHER BOUND BOOK WITH SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES AND SILVER ON THE COVER!!! IT’S THE MOONSTONE EDITION! IT HAS FOUR BRAND NEW STORIES IN IT, INCLUDING ONE CALLED ‘THE WARLOCK’S HAIRY HEART’!! IT SOUNDS AWESOME!! MAYBE TLC SHOULD DO A FUNDRAISER AND BID FOR IT!!

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re LemonFresh: that is what I was trying to convey over at MuggleNet, everyone seems to want to condemn Jo for her “trigger-happy lawyers’, and either blame or comfort Steve; but perhaps it is WB who has instigated the lawsuit NOT JKR, and that it is RDR Publishing who is persisting with the book because they want the money off it, not Steve. Whatever the outcome, I still love Jo and Harry Potter and am not going to jump off the fandom bandwagon, and I will still visit the Lexicon and look forward to listening to Steve on PotterCast.

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Mugglenet have an encyclopedia coming out on the 28th November 2007. Please explain why this piss pot of a site isn’t being sued and yet the Lexicon is?

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I think Jo is wrong to do this

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I am actually more shocked at the people from fansites publishing books than this law suit. These people JK Rowling has interacted with for years and visited their sites. Now they’re publishing books to cash in on someone elses work. I think the people at the fansites should be ashamed. I can understand Jo feeling very, very betrayed.

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I am on the fence with this one. I love both of them and I think that both are right and wrong. Also, we do not know if the profit fron the book will go in someones pocket or if it would be used to help support the site or both. I hate this because it like your two best friends had a fight and want you to choose a side!

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Why has MuggleNet not discussed that their Encyclopedia book has already been cancelled by their publisher? Amazon just hasn’t removed it yet.

MN pulled theirs when they were asked. Why is Steve being so bull-headed? Many other books were pulled too. Fiona Boyle, 2 trivia books, and several other sites and books that are encyclopaedic in nature have all gotten letters over the years and have all complied when they got them. That is NOTHING NEW. The new part, is that Steve isn’t backing down. I don’t know all the details here, so I will not judge why he has dug in and is fighting, while all the others who got letters (sites, books, etc.) ceased. The main exception being the 15 yr-old who was only doing a fan site and was not making any profit off the site (note that many fan sites DO make money and HAVE gotten letters about things that deal with profits).

So, is there something more? Unfortunately, once it goes to legal, Steve may not be able to comment, so we may never know. His lawyer may not let him tell us anything.

Again…why does Mugglenet cancel their book while Steve fights Jo? We need to ask that question.

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This is terrible! I do agree with Rowling that there should be no other “Companion Novels”. I think it’s a little cheap to publish such a book (all info can be found for free on the internet!). I’m really looking forward to a Encyclopedia from Rowling with NEW information.

What I find very sad is that Rowling and Steve are now against each other, I don’t understand why people always choose for their own profit instead of what the general public really wants!

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Steve has put alot of time and effort into this, but not more than JKR. JKR must feel terrible, since she wrote that entry on her website before the press release came out. So maybe it isn’t all her doing. But still, she must feel quite betrayed by those people with fansites who are now cashing in.

I think we haven’t got the full story yet. So i’m not going to take a side until their are more details.

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Indeed! She used the Lexicon herself! If the world was just she should pay Steve for his devotion. And charity: She has millions and millions… there is no need for a charity book, she simply could be a bit more giving. And WB and charity? Isn´t it just a marketing ploy? They are a capitalistic company. I fear Rowling and WB are getting paranoid

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Certainly a bit of a pickle. I guess there are various ways one can approach this – from a legal perspective, is it a valid suit? In any case, it seems extreme that the Lexicon would be sued(!) Can they settle it out of court? If there were really a problem I’m sure they would back down. The reason given is kind of strange, seeing as, like others, I’d think you’d be more inclined to buy Jo’s encyclopaedia, with maybe the Lexicon as a backup reference with information that is easily available on the internet anyway – sales being affected, I doubt it. It’s quite interesting and comes across as overzealous protectiveness at this point in time, but then again, if it were a totally legal-based decision…taking out the human factor of Steve being a good fan with surely no intention to infringe on JKRs rights…I don’t know. I hope it works out in the end and is not indicative of future Rice Out incidents which I never would have imagined possible before. Reserving my judgement till everything comes out.

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It’s been ages since I’ve posted but this is an issue that has bothered me for a while and Seth put it really well:

“it’s always left a bad taste in my mouth when fansites publish books for profit, similarly to what mugglenet did with “what happens in book seven” which was basically a bunch of well-established fan theories that the authors of the book didn’t even come up with.”

Got it in one Seth. I know that the people here at leaky don’t like the finances of other websites being discussed but I can’t help but bring it up here. It is well known that Mugglenet has been raking in the money for years, something that annoyed me but I let pass because I am not a frequent visitor to that site, it is more aimed at the teenagers.

However, when they start to try and make money directly off those teen fans (some of whom seem more enamoured of the boys that run that site than of Jo and her work) by releasing a book just before the release of DH, which was essentially, as Seth pointed out, a bunch of well known fan theories they put together in book form, for their own profit, it sticks in my craw, especially when Leaky did a very similar thing online, for no profit.

The fact that Emerson has now tried also to release an encyclopedia (which from comments earlier now seems to have been pulled by a publisher with more common sense than Steve’s publisher) just makes me more annoyed.

Have these people never heard the term intellectual property? Neptune’s comparison to a taking a painting and trying to sell a photo of it for your own profit is spot on.

Yes, Steve and his team have put a lot of work into the website and it is a great resource, but guess what? Nobody asked them to do it, they did it as fans of the books. Yes, when sites become popular the work increases for the people involved, but if it becomes too much for them, if they don’t enjoy it they can always walk away. It doesn’t mean they have an automatic right to make profit off someone else’s intellectual property.

I agree with Neptune that a major problem with this issue of Steve’s book and the stuff that Mugglenet has been pumping out for profit recently is that some of the fans have themselves become celebrities, and I think it has gone to some people’s heads a bit.

It must be a very heady experience to be praised by an author you admire, to get to meet her and also to be given tours of the movieset, and maybe that gives them some sense of entitlement to do what they like with Jo’s intellectual property, but sorry, that doesn’t fly.

Jenn made an an excellent point when she said that Jo had been remarkably tolerant of fansites use of her characters (especially with fan fiction) and the information in the books. A lot of other authors would have shut down some of these sites a long time ago.

Look, I am not saying Jo is infallible, I don’t agree with everything she says and does, but in this case she is in the right.

There is also a big difference between the book that Melissa is writing and what MN and Steve have done, and I am not just saying that because I am on Leaky, as I don’t always agree with Leaky on everything, although they are better at reading the boundaries them most other sites.

Melissa’s book, from everything I have read is a journalistic effort, involving research and interviews with fans about the fan experience, with many hours of work being put in on her part, and she is only using the HP books as a jumping off point for an examination of the nature of fandom. This is very different to just repackaging a bunch of fan theories for profit, or by taking information from the books and repackaging it into an encyclopedia.

It’s sad that it has come to this, as it is quite clear to me from Jo’s statement on her website that it saddens her to go down this path, but everybody, no matter how rich they may be, has the the right to protect that which they have created.

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It seems to me that Jo and her lawyers as well as the Warner Bros filmcrew and the Warner Bros lawyers live on different planets.

This would do great damage to the reputation of Steve Vanderark, whose work on HP Lexicon is greatly admired by Jo as well as the filmcrews and the makers of the games.

Steve himself once said: “Jo is a much nicer person then her lawyers.”

This really stinks worse then a Dementors Breath. a printed edition of HP Lexicon, what probably would cover only the cost of maintaining a very popular site, would not damage the sell of Rowlings encyclopedia, because it will never contain the background scapbook canon Jo still has to sort out.

I think every HP fan who can afford it would be eager to have both books on his or her shelf.

Lawyers!!!! Azkaban still too good for them!

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Couldn’t agree with you more, gilyweed.

It’s starting to feel like to me that Steve knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t care at all what JKR felt on this matter.

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I agree 100% with gillyweed! You phrased it better than I could!

I’m looking forward to Melissa’s book, where can I find more information on this?

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Well said, Gilyweed!

To some extent I think this illustrates a point about ‘fandom’: that the fans come to be convinced that they have some special rights—that the author (or whatever it might be) owes them an obligation. My recollection does occasionally play tricks with me, but as I remember it, it was actually Steve Vander Ark who made this very point at the first Accio conference, making me aware of this effect. I have since noticed it many times, and not only among Harry Potter fans.

It is, to me, a bit surprising if Steve has not, as a matter of course, approached Jo Rowling and her representatives if he wanted to publish a book based on the material in the Lexicon, but if so, I would see it as indicative of precisely this attitude: that Jo Rowling owes her fans a loyalty in return, and that just because we order and sort the information she has created, it gives us a secondary right to it. If he did approach her and received initial support, the picture is, obviously quite different—but if he was asked not to go ahead, then it is, to my view, a question of gross arrogance not to abide by such an admonition.

I have, obviously, not seen the book in question, but I would suppose the problem to be originating in its supposed encyclopaedic nature, which suggests that the main part of it is adapted from the various encyclopaedia articles on the Lexicon rather than from the various analytical and critical essays also available there. If this assumption is correct, then I’d say that I’m with Jo Rowling in this— no matter the effort involved in extracting, categorizing, systematizing etc. the information in the books and elsewhere (and this effort is probably far larger than Jo and her representatives realize), the information still belongs to her in the relevant sense (i.e. rights for publication for profit). That she has allowed the Lexicon to publish it for free only speaks of her testament to her leniency towards her fans.

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gilyweed hit it right on for what I was thinking.

It is her world. They are her characters. The info is hers to control as she wishes.

I have been visiting the Lexicon since 2003, shortly before Book 5. I’m a long time fan of that site(and through it I found this site), however, I do think the creator showed poor judgement by trying to use JKR’s world for personal profit.

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Gillyweed, I have been following with interest the comments posted here during the day today and I myself mentioned Intellectual Property as those two words pretty much sum up what my thoughts are on the matter.

However your thoughts that you posted above were well thought out and you made a very good argument – I am very impressed and am glad that someone has taken the time to write such a post.

I totally agree with everything that you wrote.

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What a scary thing for Steve and anyone else who is planning to write a book to have the woman they love so much, sue them.

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I don’t think there’s any corporate behemoth who is more stringent about controlling its copyrights than Disney. Disney sues daycare centers who paint Mickey Mouse on their walls and little old ladies who make dresses out of licensed Disney material.

However, there are dozens of guidebooks to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, all of which contain “repackaged” material that can be found for free from Disney’s own website and from their own promotional materials.

But these guidebooks are published year after year (for profit) with no problem.

Guidebooks can print the sentence: “It’s a Small World” is a ride in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida.

“It’s a Small World,” “Fantasyland”, “Magic Kingdom,” and “Walt Disney World” are all copyrighted or trademarked names.

Why then is it illegal (and based on some posters here, downright evil) to print: “Harry Potter is a character that attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as first seen in the book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”?

The Lexicon defines words that are used in the books – it does not copy or paraphrase the narrative.

Obviously the publisher feels they have a leg to stand on, or they wouldn’t have accepted the book for publication.

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Steve, I’m with You and Your people on this!

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Wound it be so difficult to talk to Steve?

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There’s been hundreds of responses to this matter of Rowling filing a suit against Steve Vander Ark and his publisher regarding the proposed “reference work” (as his publisher calls it), and it all boils down to two legal issues: copyright and derivative work.

Rowling OWNS the copyright to her fiction and she alone has the legal right to repurpose the Harry Potter novels for commercial exploitation.

As we’ve not seen an advance galley or proof of Steve’s book, we don’t know what precisely is in the book. But regardless of whether or not Steve’s got essays in it, the fact remains that any such book with encyclopedic entries that merely rephrases or edits what’s in the novels adds NOTHING NEW and therefore violates copyright. This is why Rowling (presumably) sent letters to the publishers of similar books, notably Fiona Boyle’s A MUGGLE’S GUIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD, Connie Kirk’s THE JK ROWLING ENCYCLOPEDIA, and other similar volumes. Presumably, Mugglenet.com’s encyclopedia, MUGGLENET.COM’S UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COMPANION: THE ENCYCLOPEDIC GUIDE TO THE BOOKS, MOVIES AND MORE falls within this well-defined legal area of “no no’s” and will be canceled.

As there are numerous other books out about Rowling and Harry Potter (and, indeed, other authors), the key issue is why are those books allowed to be published without censure from Rowling. Was Steve, Fiona, Kirk, and perhaps Spartz’s books singled out? Well, yes they were because taken as a whole these books essentially, substantially, and materially recast what’s in the novels without enough commentary to make them original. Hence, it’s derivative use and it’s a violation of copyright.

There’s a big difference between opinion and informed opinion. Much of what’s been posted is passionate and fannish and shows the wide range of opinions within the Harry Potter community. That’s the whole point about living in a free society that has the First Amendment. (Try voicing your opinion in China and see what happens.)

In the last decade there have been specific instances of Rowling filing suit against copyright infringers, but everything to date appears reasonable to me: Harry Potter knock-off novels, perhaps quiz books, encyclopedias, et al. It’s important to note that Rowling HAS NOT filed suit against writers who are issuing books of speculation, commentary, biographies, historical overviews of the Harry Potter phenomenon (which is what Melissa’s book on the fan phenomenon is all about), or other legitimate, legally-safe books. So Rowling isn’t saying that you CAN’T write about her and her work; she’s saying that there were rules set in place a long time ago that apply not only to her but all subjects of books, and she’s objected to copyright violations on the same basis that other well-known and popular authors have voiced their objections: When copyright has been violated.

Rowling has quietly and methodically gone after authors who have cobbled together encyclopedias for a good reason: They have recast the novels, edited her original text in a new form, but has not ADDED anything in the way of commentary, historical references, literary references, etc. These compilers have, as the name suggests, merely COMPILED (however artful) the existing text by Rowling. And when you do that, you are “repurposing” (as official licensees like to say) an author’s original text that would effectively compete with an official version, whether the author compiles it him/herself or whether it’s sanctioned and licensed to a third party.

There’s PLENTY of room, legally, to write about Rowling and Harry Potter in ways that honor the books and don’t violate copyright, but these compiled encyclopedias clearly don’t fall in that category and therefore are subject to the full force of the law regarding intellectual properties.

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I don’t know what to do… Jo is my idol and I know she is a kind person. I hate to see her almost bullying Steve. I really don’t know what to think. headdesk

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I love JKR, but she is absolutely dead wrong here. The sales of the Lexicon’s book will not impact her encyclopedia one iota, and I can’t believe she doesn’t know that. I can’t understand what her motivation is here.

I hope the publishers fight this. What right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and just because it’s JKR doesn’t mean we should support her when she’s wrong.

I’m very disappointed with JKR here.

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People that write fan fiction take note. JK and her publishers are starting to take off the gloves. When you deal with someone else’s copyrighted material, no material how innocent, you will get burned.

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I also think Intellectual Property are the crucial words; because those words are used to refer also to the ECONOMIC rights assigned to the authors, not only to their MORAL rights. In fact, there are no risks to her characters or her plot; the integrity of her IDEAS are not at stake. What is at stake is the possibility of making MONEY with her characters and other plot details. I wept for Fred Weasley, for Tonks and Lupin, for Colin Creevey. Sorry if I can’t find in me to weep for JKR’s money. Or for Steve’s money for that matter.

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Well, this is the first time that I have been disappointed in something JKR has done. I understand this is due to the fact that it is going from a free source of information to a for profit source, but considering all the time and effort those people have put into the website, you would think that they at least have the right to get back the money that they paid out to the ISP and such, and God for bid maybe get a bit back for themselves.

I do not like this at all.

John B.

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JKR has the complete legal right to do that. But as we know, having the legal right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

The Torte system is about redressing when people have been harmed. Well, what is the harm? What is the downside to ignoring it?

The claim that the sale of this book will damage sales of her encyclopedia, whenever she decides to write about it (she hasn’t started it, and responding to questions about it post release of DH she’s said she won’t be starting it anytime soon) is laughable. Look at the reaction to the books she made of Beedle the Bard’s book…fandom will buy anything new she creates. This encyclopedia will have backstory that no one else has, and more importantly HER views on the characters and the events (so far, we’ve gotten Harry’s). If all she planned to do was repackage the information in the books, she could hire some assistants to put it all together and have it out in a few months (riding the current high wave of popularity).

There is definitely no harm to sales of the original books or the movies. The Lexicon isn’t a literary book where you can read the story, it’s for looking up aspects that are confusing or parts you’ve forgotten.

Cheap knock-offs theoretically can damage the reputation of the book…but SVA has always treated the source material with great respect, and has well-sourced all the information he provides. The information will be as accurate as humanly possible, as complete as can fit within the medium, and sources provided of all information.

The only one harmed by this book are people who want to push out cheap ancillary material to make a fast buck. I’m hopeful that this is not the plans of JKR, her publishers, or Warner Brothers. Theoretically, they could be harmed if they planned to license the rights to others to create such companion books (why would they pay to license something that JKR lets others do for free), but JKR’s statement has made it clear that isn’t going to happen.

The offensive part of the article (beyond expecting us to be stupid enough to believe that sales of JKR’s encyclopedia would be reduced) was the description of the Lexicon as just “regurgitating” the source work. It’s been a careful work to track down references, resolve contradictions, compile sources, and draw inferences for information that puts things into an orderly fashion.

The suit may or may not win. There is significant commentary and educational value in the Lexicon (the site at least, and presumably the book), it does only use excerpts from the books, and it does nothing to harm the commercial value of the originals. But the right thing to do is not to proceed, allow the publication. If they feel it’s necessary to protect their rights for lesser works, strike a minimal licensing deal. A book version of the Lexicon is only good for the HP universe.

The question is, what’s the harm? And there isn’t any.

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Here’s my informed (though fannish) opinion ~ straight from the newspaper. This article today explains alot.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-38/1193919916300340.xml&coll=6&thispage=1

I was right that this is all about the timelines, which are one of the most useful things on the Lexicon, and Steve’s own work. JKR has never published a single timeline anywhere but Steve has. Warner Bros used one of Steve’s timelines on a DVD, copying it down to the typos, and the publisher wrote a letter asking about it.

So Bingo – there’s what this is all about. Steve was getting uppity and has to be put in his place.

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One other thing – if Steve’s books takes away money from charities, so will Mugglenet’s Encyclopedia.

Also, there are other online Encyclopedias out there online, though on a much smaller scale. Some just deal with potions or spells, and others give background on the characters. Should they be sued as well, lest someone read them and not by JKR’s future book she hasn’t written yet? [/sarcasm]

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JK really failed here. Steve has nothing. The sale of this book might cover fro Lexicon costs -or maybe not. Might feed him for a week -just about. Let’s get real. The guy was probably just excited to see his life’s work in PRINT so he accepted a publishing deal. It’s not exactly a multi-million dollar enterprise. Everyone will want JKs book as well and the two are not in competition. At all. Give the guy his five minutes of glory. Anyway, JK and co could have done something about this earlier then THREE weeks before publication date. Steve was talking about the book at Prophecy and these things takes AGES to write, print, bind, PUBLISH. Live and let live, guys.

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Maybe, just maybe, it is just WB behind this. Don’t get angry at me, it is a possibility!

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As a published author, I think I can speak to the matter of whether or not Steve Vander Ark would make any money on the book or not.

Alex is very badly misinformed.

Here’s what Alex said: “Might feed him for a week -just about. Let’s get real. The guy was probably just excited to see his life’s work in PRINT so he accepted a publishing deal. It’s not exactly a multi-million dollar enterprise.”

Let’s do the math: HP Lexicon is one of the world’s most popular websites in the Harry Potter community. Because of its longevity, its uniqueness, and its comprehensiveness, it’s been praised by everybody, including Rowling, and has seen in the aggregate probably over a million hits. In other words, in the U.S. and other foreign language editions, it’s very visible.

Publishers usually pay a straight royalty, royalties on a sliding scale (more sales = more bucks), or a percentage of the net receipts. To keep this simple, let’s say it’s 10% of the cover price. Steve’s book is $24.95. So he’d make $2.50 per book as the author.

Keep in mind that the Mugglenet.com book sold something like 250,000 to 325,000 copies.

Now, let’s work the figures for Steve, keeping in mind that, like Mugglenet., Steve’s got a pretty big potential audience:

10,000 books = $25,000 50,000 books = $125,000 100,000 books = $250,000

Alex, in your book, do any of those figures look like it might feed him for a week (as you put it)?

Steve likes to eat, but I doubt he can eat $25,000+ worth of food in one week….

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It is as simple as this. It is JKR’s property —NOT Steve’s-and he is being NOT ONLY disrespectful of HER by not stopping his publication but by the sheer fact of what he is doing .It is an enfringement on JKR’s rights. And he says he is a fan???? Yeah! Right!!! With fans like that she doesn’t need enamies.Because he isn’t and this proves it, beyond dought.

To those of you who think everyone here thinks it is right for Steve to treat Jo this way and you think everyone else [here ] thinks so too.You are VERY wrong.

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to Fer_keeper – no, I too have been posting that it may well be WB who started the whole thing, JKR just gets dragged in because she is the key figurehead of the whole franchise. Reading all this however, it still amazes me that even after 400+ posts, people are still claiming that Jo is “bullying” Steve and is only thinking about the sales of her own encyclopaedia… people, this has nothing to do with sales, it is about the rights of ownership. Joanne Rowling created the world of Harry Potter and all the characters therein, she has every right to want to ensure that creation remains hers alone.

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I´m not a fan of JR, because I hate idolatry. The whole discussion is stupid nonsense and I wonder why people behave like brainless idiots if they speak of their tin-gods.

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Additionally, if it is true that MuggleNet cancelled their own unofficial encyclopaedia due to a similar cease and desist request, that just makes me respect Emerson & Ben et al because of their common sense to realise that they have overstepped the mark with JKR’s works.

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An Author, maybe he’ll make money, maybe not. If it sells that many copies. But you know, the guy is a middle-aged librarian who has nothing else to show for his life other than a broken marriage and some massive debt. I’d just want to give him a break. It’s a compendium and obviously if turns out to be a verbatim requote of the books then go JK, but I doubt that very much. It’ll be lexicon style, quirky and not always accurate. It’s not like he’s a rich guy trying to get richer. Legally I figure the publisher couldn’t be stupid enough to go ahead with the book if they didn’t think they stood at least a chance of winning a suit. Until we know what’s in the book we can hardly judge.

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Thank goodness I am not idolizing her…you know, some people idolize their wit and nobody complains!

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Re: Steve Vander Ark, I think everybody in the Harry Potter fan community respects Steve for the phenomenal work he’s done on the Lexicon. I also think that when he decided to get the book published, he should have checked with Jo Rowling to see what she thought. It’s not clear to me that he did that.

It’s the book publisher who usually is more aware of these legal matters than authors, and Steve’s publisher obviously feels he’s free to publish, and has said he’ll fight the lawsuit. So unless RDR Books backs down, the matter will be decided, finally, one way or the other, in a court of law. And that will settle it permanently for all hands concerned.

That said, the fact remains that Jo Rowling must have been disheartened to even have to do this, but she has no choice in protecting her copyrights. If she doesn’t protect them, she’s in danger of losing them.

Jo posted on her website because it was finally time to make it clear that RDR Books treated her and her lawyers poorly, buying time by citing “a family tragedy” when in fact it was out selling reprint rights worldwide to Germany and (at least) three other publishers. In other words, RDR Books refused to capitulate when they got numerous “cease and desist” letters, and is defending its right to publish.

Whether or not RDR Books has that right is a matter for the courts, at this point.

Steve Vander Ark is a treasure within the Harry Potter fan community, and it’s distressing to see this matter get to this point.

Given that it takes 2-3 weeks to print a book, RDR Books has either already printed the book and is preparing to ship at the end of November as planned, or the book is at the printer and awaiting printing.

RDR stands to lose a lot of money if it’s already printed the books; they stand to lose even more if they proceed and publish the book and ship it out.

There are no “winners” in this matter. Fans lose (we love the Lexicon and would like to have a printed version); Steve loses (all that hard work on the book goes down the drain); the publisher loses (RDR Books has tied up money in this); and Rowling loses (goodwill for fans who feel she’s been too heavy-handed.)

The best thing for all parties would be for Steve to gracefully back down from publication and attempt to mend fences and build bridges with Jo, and see if she’s amenable to working with him on something that would not compete with her own book projects for charity. That’s what we call a “win win” situation. But what we have now is a “lose-lose-lose-lose” situation.

And the endless bickering about this online makes ALL of us Harry Potter/Rowling fans look petty.

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“This is a ridiculous suit. This guy has done a lot of work, and it certainly never hurt Jo’s profit line before (it may have helped). There’s nothing wrong with him profiting a little too, especially since she admitted using the site. I think it’s wrong for Jo and the lawyers to try and hoard the released info about the characters.

This is just another case of copyrights being used to hurt the small individual, and not to protect them. I wonder if Steve can counter sue for her using his work to fact check her books so that she can profit.”

That argument wouldnt hold a second in the court of law.

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I have been giving this quite a bit of thought. In my opinion, it really comes down to money, but not in the way you think.

JKR is very tolerant of many things that other authors would shutdown in a heartbeat. As an example, try to find some readily available Anne Rice fan fiction. It does not exist because the author, instead of tolerating and encouraging it, forbids it. That is her right. So we have over 300,000 Harry Potter stories on fanfiction.net and 0 Vampire Lestat stories. This all because of the two author’s differing attitudes towards their fans. So I think JKR has been incredibly tolerant of the use of her characters.

Where she obviously draws the line is when someone tries to make money that violates her copyright. This does not include commentary(The mugglenet book), news(Leaky and all the rest of the sites), or satire, as those do not violate a copyright. Also remember, this suit did not just come out of the blue, there were communications between the parties before the suit was filed. The publisher thinks they are in the right, but from everything I have read in the last day, I doubt it.

I also think that if she let Steve do this, she would have to let everyone do it. So I really do not think that she really has much of a choice here if she wants to protect her intellectual property for years to come.

I wish Steve the best of luck, and hope this can be settled quickly.

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Gillyweed, I fully agree with you. I happen to be one of those teenagers who bought Mugglenet’s book because I liked the guys who run it more than I wanted to actually read the book. I also side with JK on this one because I think that she deserves to protect what she has created and what has made her so rich. She has a right to stop any book thatis being written or sold because the Lexicon’s book is based on her material. It’s not like thataVinci Code lawsuit where the guys sued Dan Brown for publishing something identical to their work. Those men wrote something about a belief that was widely known as opposed to Jo who created this entire world.

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I provisionally agree with those who think that WB/JKR are in the wrong here for the reasons that budb stated. Additionally, although we haven’t heard from Steve, I sincerely doubt that he’s trying to scoop JKR’s idea for the sake of making money. Publishing the book for Steve and the Lexicon would be a synthesis for all the hard work they’ve put in over the years. It seems to me to be a natural conclusion of his efforts, like Melissa’s book will be for hers. The books being complete, now is the proper time for him to produce his capstone. And it is a bit worrisome that she’d feel her project threatened by the Lexicon’s. I thought she wasn’t merely going to do what the Lexicon already did. It’s a sad day when JKR sues her fans. I hope that it is a fair day in court, and the Lexicon doesn’t get washed away by all WB and JKR’s expensive lawyers.

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For all of you who are bashing the Lexicon and Steve…The Lexicon has been a resource for many fans, teachers, as well as, the movie folks and JKR herself! I think that makes this situation slightly different. “Intention” is a big part of this law. And I am scratching my head why JKR and WB did not approach Steve in helping them to create something for the fans with her approval. That would have been great! It’s a real shame to see them not work together on something.

What a shame indeed! Sad pandas!

And look how it’s torn the fandom apart!

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What shocks me the most is this :

“I cannot, therefore, approve of “companion books” or “encyclopedias” that seek to pre-empt my definitive Potter reference book for their authors’ own personal gain.”

I can’t believe that after all the work Steve put in the Lexicon (probably thousands of hours), he is treated like that. That’s disgusting. And what about “pre-empting her definitive Potter reference book”? Steve can only put stuff already known by the fandom in his encyclopedia. Wasn’t HER encyclophedia supposed to contain new stuff?

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I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but I just heard that the Lexicon is being sued in retaliation for a letter sent to WB over the timeline used in the DVD’s.

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I find it a bit difficult to believe that someone would spend the time and energy to write a 400- page book and not get copyright approval until after it has been completed. Particularly when a huge company such as Warner Brothers is involved with the intellectual copyright.

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I am not aware of all of the technicalities of copyright law, but from what I know about the Lexicon, the books of JKR and several books I’ve read on various issues, I will just repeat of what I have already said. And I’ve thought a lot about it. People are saying that Steve just copies JKR’s work. that’s simply not true. He had worked a lot organizing the information. JKR is the creator of the characters and the world, but she is not the creator of the tool that allows people to immediately answer to a lot of questions about her work, as, for instance – how many Death Eaters do we know, who are they and what happened to them? What Death Eater was the one that attacked Hermione in the DoM’s battle? It is possible that she has even forgotten or never known things like this because sthere are a lot of inconsistencies in her booked, noticed by the Lexicon staff.

So, what I’m saying is that there are two different creations here – one, that is JKR’s is the creation of the world and the characters. If someone published a fanfic using this same ideas, even if the character’s names were changed, theis would be copyright infringement.

The other work of creation is the reference book that organizes information and makes it easier to anyone to find tit and whre it is. It is difficult, people must work a lot on it, ifit is going to be trustable. steve has done it and created it and JKR has not. And I doubt she can do it, because in her books and mistakes, she has already proved that she is not the most organized person in terms of information. She has even admitted that itself.

So if her book is just an organization of information, she will be stealing Steve’s work of organization because I doubt she will redo everything again, it it is already done and well done.

That’s what I think is fair, though I don’t know if it is what’s considered legal. But I think it must be at least debatable because of all the reference books there are out there.

I’ll just give an example: textbooks used by undergraduate students. They generally are just a compilation of ideas and theories that were previously written in more academic books, articles, essays. They have all the references so that the students can see the original works. But the textbook is a different thing than the original works, it explains the ideas in a more simple way, it makes sense of a lot of different ideas by different authors. So the textbook is not considered as a copyright infringement, because, though the ideas aren’t original, their presentation, the explanation, the organization, etc, those are the original things, and the reason why people buy them.

It’s the same thing here. The characters are Jo’s creation, but Steve didn’t create other stories with the same character. He created a reference book, with new organization, explanation, tools of research (some of them genuinely never seen before), etc. That’s his creation and no one can deny that.

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A lot of you are losing scope of the issue here. It is legal to write about characters from a scholarly standpoint, such as in an essay, a study guide, etc. What Steve is doing is completely different. He’s writing about the characters in the story with no analaysis. If he wanted to write this book he should have sought permission, as Melissa did, to write it. JKR has said a number of times that she will write an encyclopedia, so Steve has gone against her wishes. Harry Potter belongs to JKR, and it doesn’t matter how nice a guy, or how well-meaning Steve is. It’s her story, her characters, and not Steves.

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I love how people criticize the Lexion for selling the book for profit. Anybody looked at the Leaky Cauldron’s pages lately, not to mention Mugglenet’s? Notice all the ads? Notice how the Lexicon doesn’t have them? Every other fansite has been profiting off Rowling’s work for years.

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Well that’s because the Lexicon doesn’t pay for its own bandwidth. Do a whois; the domain is owned by Leaky, Inc. Who’s got bets they foot the bill for the site? I really wish the sites would comment on this.

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Um, isn’t the web-site as much as an infringement on copy-right as the book would be? It’s already illegal and Rowling has admitted to using it. Which, to my mind, gives her no leg to stand on. Book form, web form, it’s all the same- illegal. You can’t allow one and whine about the other.

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@ Lilyp Wonderful, wonderful explanation! And cheers for Steve!

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I feel like my beloved J. K. Rowling has become greedy. :-(

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It’s rather annoying to see people siding either with Steve or with JKR. Obviously, we do not know the full story. We do not know what went on before the law suit was filed, and we do not know what is going on now.

It’s a bit early to be giving up all hope in JKR, really. And also a bit shallow.

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I’ll say it right out here….fandom is apparently full of overprivileged whiners with entitlement complexes if they can howl with such outrage over this justified lawsuit.

Aside from the facts about the legal aspects of this (which many people have explained very well), JKR is writing an HP encyclopedia for CHARITY….to accomplish things like saving innocent children fron being caged 24/7 in hellhole Eastern European orphananges. The Lexicon guy is out to make a buck for himself.

Hmmm, who is on the correct legal AND moral side of this fight?

Some of “fandom” really needs to get over itself. The “cult of celebrity fans” is just weird, and it’s downright disturbing when the phenomenon creates the idea that these “superfans” are somehow entitled to make a living off someone else’s work, or elevates them to a status equal to the original works’ creator.

I’m sure Melissa’s book about the world of fandom would be interesting and relevant in its own right (completely aside from the HP aspect) from a sociological standpoint, but most of the other fan-authored stuff is just derivative nonsense.

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Lily, I suggest you read the post by LegalBeagle on page 5 to find out why you are completely off-base in your analysis and comparisons.

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I don’t see how Steve could make a “fortune” off this book – that’s ridiculous.

Most HP books do not make alot of money, and sometimes the estimates of sales are way off. Some of them actually lose money, because not every fan will care to buy them or read them, and they get remaindered at bookstores. Lots of fans will buy this encyclopedia, but most will keep going to the Lexicon online. If he makes any profit at all, that will go way down the following year as sales wane.

JKR’s own book, however, will never stop selling because she is who she is.

There was a funny guy a few years back who wrote a book called “TV Sets” in which he drew blueprints of every house or town in his favorite shows, along with maps. For instance, the Brady Bunch House, and the town of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. He didn’t make up those places – he was just a fan with an obsession, and someone thought it would make a great book. I’ve looked all over this book trying to find where he got “permission” to use the name “Gilligan’s Island” or to write about Mary Richards’ apartment and I can’t find anything. But to my knowledge, he’s never been sued by the studios or writers who own those shows. That’s probably because the owners of those shows see it as fan-generated publicity. He took the original information and put it in a different form, because that is what he loved.

And that’s what Steve does with the Lexicon to a great extent.

Also, I’m sorry I misspelled about ten words in my last post because I’m typing too fast.

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Jo’s getting a bit trigger happy… seriously. Last month with the lawsuit in India againt a 9 day long HP themed structure… this month one against Lexion. Anyone who thinks that anything Jo puts out will face competition from a person such as SVA… come on… this is about rich people who have way too much money, getting trigger happy. Jo I’m disappointed in you.

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Wow, I can’t believe it…I didn’t know, the Lexicon was planing a book. Wow…I mean, I get the copyright issue and the difference between all the other HP fan books published and the Lexicon, but … I mean Leaky and the Lexicon belong together and they have done so much for charity in the last years. I can’t believe the Lexicon would publish a book like that and then keep all the profits for themselves. Even if they would make some profit with it…honestly, who would buy THIS Lexicon and then not Jo’s 10 years later or whenever she’s planning to publish it. Especially because I hope Jo’s Encyclopedia is not going to be 90% old stuff 10% news…what about all the boxes of background info? I’m really torn. I so sorry for Steve and the guys from the Lexicon who worked so hard for the past years. I see Jo’s point, but I can’t believe she’s sueing them… I’d like to hear Steve’s site of the story…

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Reality check… if Jo thinks the encyclopedia she puts out will face competition or be affected in any way by what SVA puts out, she’s deluded!!

Jo, I love your work. But your willingness to pursue lawsuits at the drop of a hat… is disappointing!! You have enough money to last you and your great, great, great grandchildren. Don’t misuse your money in this fashion.

Last month’s lawsuit in India was thrown out based on its ridiculousness. I hope this one gets thrown out too.

They say money changes you… Jo you’ve changed!! I don’t respect you the way I did two months ago.

I really hope you loose this one. You don’t deserve to win!!!

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I couldn’t believe the Indian sculpture lawsuit either, especially since it was just a temporary structure. It was a work of art, and how can you go around suing people over their HP artwork? If that is the case, then Fandom should be really nervous. :(

Also, Steve is the author of this book, but what about all the researchers and workers on the Lexicon staff? This must be so sad for them, after all the work they’ve done. I’m sure JKR is their favorite writer, too.

If I were this publisher, I would just change the book cover to have “Unauthorized” stamped on it in big red letters.

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This is outrageous! Their book was announced before JKR’s book. Charity or no, this is just stupid.

What now fans can’t write about characters or stories they love?

THe books are NOT in competition with each other. People would either buy JKR’s or BOTH. No one is going to buy the Lexicon’s over JKR’s?

She is really starting to surprise me.

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I think the question is going to boil down to whether you can condone (and even praise) work published in one format-electronic-and ban the same work in another format—paper. In either case, I’m afraid JKR is losing a lot of good will over the issue.

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Well said, Jennifer.

The Lexicon, whatever is written on it or in it, falls under the auspices of fan fiction. It doesn’t matter that JKR has used the site in the past; it’s her peragotive as a creator to say that an unofficial not-for-profit resource can fall under the radar. When the author of that resource decides it should be for profit; that’s an entirely different thing (it was the same with that Indian sculpture)

Fandom did not create Harry Potter and has no rights to profit from it. We are consumers of Harry Potter. We have the rights of consumers; not creators (no matter how long standing or thorough a particular resource is) and many fans would do well to remember that.

We are also the creators of Harry Potter fandom; (Therefore; for those who are so minded, you can profit from Harry Potter fandom and along with interesting work like Melissa’s, you’ll see hundreds of awful, sloppy books doing so over the next decade) all the controversy from this legal action has been created by us. Legally, there is no controversy and JKR will win any legal action.

Bear in mind that Leaky / Lexicon / any Potter fansite users actually represent a small number of total Harry Potter fans. We sometimes get inflated opinions of ourselves because of the interaction this web audience has with JKR. Truthfully, though, in terms of total readership of Harry Potter worldwide we are in the vast majority. Many folks, therefore, have no idea the Lexicon exists. Many are waiting for an encyclopedia and have probably heard JKR say she will write one. Many may be attracted to ‘The Harry Potter Lexicon’ thinking that they are one and the same.

It is therefore right and necessary that JKR made such a firm public statement for the benefit of the rest of the world who do not frequent these communities. Nobody should be duped into parting with their money and that is exactly what the unofficial guide industry relies upon for sales.

We are not the majority of Harry Potter fans; we are just the loudest. And that certainly doesn’t give us, and our fan fiction, any more legal rights than anyone else.

Avatar Image says:

Talk about a bad typo! That sentence in paragraph four of my previous post should, of course, say: “Truthfully, though, in terms of total readership of Harry Potter worldwide we are in the vast minority

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“I think people are allowed to write about/ reference the HP characters. At least, they always have in the past.

I think the main issue here, and the reason why JKR filed the suit, was that Lexicon is using the word “encylopedia” in the title, which directly competes with JKR forthcoming book.

But, if this is the case, why didn’t Mugglenet get in trouble for “What Will Happen in Book 7”?”

You people are the definition of ignorance. The encyclopedia the Lexicon is publishing is using JKR’s characters and descriptions and publishing them. JKR wants to do the same thing. Just because hers will have new information does not mean it won’t include the information the Lexicon will include. Copyright violation has three major tenants: Can the material be confused with the original authors? Yes, since it IS her material. Does it plaigerize any original material? Yes. Will it cause a decrease in earnings for the original copyrighted material? Yes, it will most likely take sales away from the offical encyclopedia. JKR has been very generous with her fans, but this is a blatant violation of copyright law.

Someone mentioned Cliffs Notes. Well, Almost every Cliff’s Notes is for works that are not protected by copyright anymore. Melissa’s book is a critical analysis, as are most of the other Harry Potter books out there, and fall under fair use. The Lexicon does not fall under Fair Use because it is not a critical analysis.

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Seriously guys. The Lexicon is way wrong in doing this. Its not their idea… so, its not their money. period. Why does it matter how much money JK has made… Its none of any body’s business. Whether she’s made ten dollars or ten million dollars off of harry potter… its still her property.

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I understand the reasons of this lawsuit, and I’ve read enough fans’ opinions.

Jo is being doublestandard. She recently wrote on her site that she loves fansites, but then she continues by saying she can’t agree to companion books.

I’m sorry, but Mugglenet’s book can be considered a companion book, because it took you through the characters’ lives as well as suggestions/theories. It’s still a companion book. A book that Mugglenet made profit of for their financial needs! Jo, if she is fair, should’ve been against that!

Melissa is sort of safe with her book, because I believe she’s to talk about fans and happenings that the HP world has affected. BUT, she will be making a profit for herself, since it’s not for CHARITY (or is it?). She might want to seek protection.

Jo has been a bit greedy with filing suits lately (recently she tried suing people for making the Hogwarts castle).

MAYBE Steve can still have his book out if he donated so much to charity?

But it’s a bit doublestandard to go against one person/group for making books about her characters, but not others. She either (sadly) needs to go after all of those who’ve written books, of ANY content, that reference and talk about her characters….Or she needs to accept that there are fans who love her world enough to expand discussions.

As far as I know, Steve is an uber-fan of Jo and Harry Potter. He’s not some person who’s bent out to make money, money, money. He’s a FAN!

If she’s going to go after one fan, for making a book about her characters, then she needs to go after every single one who’s written about her characters and has made profit…or she should back off!

Either one would be fine, but being doublestandard isn’t right, sorry Jo.

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Maybe JKR found out that SVA abandoned his family for a 23 year old Slash fiction writer from London, and doesn’t want to have her work associated with him.

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omg read the leaky article, they got a copy of the suit. WHOA. Steve, wow. This is shameful of him.

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Okay, I haven’t read through all 13 pages of comments, so this may have already been said, but I’m forced to wonder if Steve shouldn’t take out a lawsuit against JKR and her publishers, for using his site to write her for profit “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”.

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Actually I can see why this is happening. Essentially what they would be selling here is the entire plot of HP plus information of the character. It’s kind of like re-selling the hp books senseless minus it being in story form.

It’s fair enough on the internet as free information but selling a book about it is kind of crossing the line of copyright.

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Well they should have gotten the bloody rights to publish such a book. They didn’t, therefore they have no case.

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I think the best solution would have been for Jo to work on her encyclopedia with Steve. I don’t trust Jo’s organizational skills at all especially in keeping track of what she already said about characters and events in canon or interview which is something that Steve is wonderful at.

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whatevs, he’s good at organization so he should do a book WITH JKR?! Make him a millionaire because he can alphabetize and sort? No. You can hire any archivist for that and preferably someone who hasn’t abused her copyrights in this way – just look at what leaky just posted about the suit. wowwowwwowowow.

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I agree with gillyweed, nicely said.

Now, I just read the the entire obtained copy of the suit and I am shocked at RDR Books and Steve.

Steve has the audasity to say on the Lexicon website that…..

”...I don’t give permission for people to just copy my work for their own use. Not only is that illegal, since everything in the Lexicon is copyrighted, it’s also just plain wrong. Hey, I did all the work,I put in all the time, it’s my skill and talent in this area which allowed the Lexicon to come into being. No one else has the right to use my work.”

But that is exactly what he is doing to JKR.

It’s like, for example, if I gathered all the info I could about Star Wars by watching the films and interviews, compiled it together, made charts and time lines from that info then tried to sell it. It’s illegal people. That is steeling. So of you “fan” really make me want to bash my head against my keyboard. Jo’s not picking on the “little guy” she asked Steve and RDR Books to stop and they refused and were rude about it.

Jo has ever right to do what she’s doing and I can’t believe people are backing Steve on this…why? Because he’s a fan that you have come to like by listening to him on Pottercast? he’s not a celebrity people. Yes he worked hard on the online lexicon, but he didn’t create any of the work, he just organized it. No one asked him to do it and he has no right to sell it.

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Good for Jo…she is totally in the right with this law suit. I’m disapointed that the Lexicon and Steve EVEN HAD the idea for this book.

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Steve isn’t just good at organization, he’s specifically good at organizing JKR’s information. With the rate that JKR has been contradicting herself, I’m affraid how many times that will happen in an encyclopedia written entirely by herself. In short, I think the Lexicon’s book will be more accurate with existing canon than JKR’s book.

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OK – I just read the complete lawsuit, and all I can say is: “Plot Summaries”?

If they say that no one can write a “plot summary” then that puts all analysis books in jeopardy. What was the Mugglenet book just before DH except a great big plot summary? (Yes, I own a copy.) Every book ever written about Harry Potter has had plot summaries, so as Chris Farley used to say “La Ti Freakin’ Da.”

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“he’s specifically good at organizing JKR’s information.”

SO? That doesn’t give him right to make money off doing it. I’m good at organizing quotes from Battlestar Galactica, does that make me rigthful to make money on it? NO!

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I’m not saying that Steve has a right to make money off of JKR, just that her book would be better if she voluntarily worked with him.

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Excellent comment Neptune, I agree with you totally about Steve’s audacious comment. The Lexicon book is a joke.

I also can’t wait to see what they say on the next Pottercast about this…I hope they are fair and see this issue as it really is. Steve wrong, Jo right. I hope that the Pottercasters will be honest with their words (despite their friendship with Steve) and say what they really think about this…because you know if it was anyone other than Steve putting this book out they would be all over it and knocking it.

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Melissa, I seriously hope you will reconsider partnering The Leaky Cauldron and Steve Vander Ark in the future. I’m appalled at his behavior towards the person who gave him the fifteen minutes of fame that he’s now abusing. Yes, there have been reference books in the past, but he was asked to cease and desist by JKR herself and chooses to ignore her request. He can’t be trusted to do what’s in the best interest of the books. It’s a shame, too. I enjoyed the Lexicon and used it often. I think I’ll wait until JKR publishes the real lexicon of Potter trivia.

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Wayne, your doubting that the woman who actually created Harry Potter and the story, characters and everything to do with HP. Who wrote 7 wonderful novels about them, who has been working on this for YEARS wont be able to write an encyclopedia as well as some random fan who just took her work already available to ALL and organized it…? Give me a break. I can’t believe people can’t see what Steve has done here. He needs permission to do what he’s done and he never asked for it. She could have stopped the website if she wanted to but she didn’t because no one is selling the web site to fans, but this book is being sold for profit. He’s using her work to make money…which is illegal.

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Neptune: Just so you understand where I am coming from, I don’t think Steve is a celebrity. I think he is a fan, just like the rest of us, and therefore I have sympathy for him.

It’s the very fact that he’s a typical fan that offends me about this story.

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He’s not a celebrity, but he’s not a typical fan either. I had SOME sympathy for him until I read the update about the suit. Whoa.

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It offends you that a “simple fan” who has become someone of an online celebrity has taken advantage of that and is now trying to profit by selling a book that has JKR’s wok in it…?

He gathered JKR’s work and organized it, he Didn’t create it, and now he’s trying to sell it off as his work. Jo never gave him the ok to do this. She never gave him the ok to make timetables but she let it pass on the website because he was doing it as a fan for other fans, now he’s trying to sell it to fans. He’s trying to make money off of fans by selling JKR’s work in his format…..which is illegal.

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I meant “somewhat” not someone…

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Hey wow…loved your comment about battelstar…so funny!

Steve should have got permission first, plain and simple. I don’t know what they were thinking at the Lexicon knowing that Jo already had plans for an Encyclopedia.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what Jo’s statement said about the profits going to charity.

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I just read the update, and while it makes me change how I felt about SVA, I still hold my stance on it being double standrard here.

I’m just curious, but did Mugglenet get permission to write their book on what might happen in the 7th book?

Has Melissa gotten permission from Jo, to write her book?

Did the people who wrote “The Great Snape Debate” book get permission by Jo before they published their book?

I’m just curious to see if JKR’s people were acceptive of these. Because, looking at an objective viewpoint, it does seem double standard.

On a different note, if Steve keeps acting this way, they may force him to take down his site.

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Based on everything I’ve read, including the updated info on the lawsuit, Steve doesn’t have either a legal or ethical leg to stand on. I’ve been a long-term admirer of the Lexicon and Steve’s work and dedication, but apparently his fandom celebrity has gone to his head.

He is not just some shady person who wants to cheat JKR.

Apparently, he is and I very much doubt JKR will ever trust any of the other so-called fans quite so much again. Steve, his staff, and his publisher shoul be ashamed of themselves. Such hypocricy on their parts!

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Comment made by Ashley Jo earlier… “I feel like my beloved J. K. Rowling has become greedy.”

WHAT???? Ashley did you miss the part where Jo wants to make sure the profits go to CHARITY (and not for personal monatary gain like the lexicon)?

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Right, I’ve made my mind now. If the things outlined in the suit are correct (I’ll still wait a bit more to hear what the response will be), then I can completely understand the motivations AND admire the fact that any money they get out of it if they win will go to charity. That does seem the right way to go about it.

I think, also, that this whole situation must have put JKR in a strange position. If it had been anyone else putting the encyclopedia together, the situation would have been a little different; someone unknown writing it, for example, would generate very little popularity and confidence for potential readers and as such, less to worry about. I think, also, that if it were anyone else, we, as fans, wouldn’t be so shocked. After, it IS JKR’s world. But it is the Lexicon and Steve Vander Ark is a very recognisable name and the Lexicon is known and used by just about every fan. It has a certain status and would likely sell more than the average encyclopedia made by some unknown person.

There IS also the fact that it is a favourite site of JKR. I mean, consider this; should JKR show any favouritism? If she allows the Lexicon book to exist (because she likes them) then someone else comes along and does the same, they might claim that, because Steve was allowed, she can’t stop them. Before you know it, she has lost control of her intellectual property. In some ways, she can’t win, really.

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The Hollow

from what i’ve read (not certain) mugglenet’s book had speculations so it had original material and it does say “unauthorised” in the title,unlike steve’s book,melissa’s book is more about the fandom the the books themselves.

However when mugglenet tried to release an encyclopedia,they were also told they weren’t allowed to do it,so they didn’t publish it. Joe is also attacking another author for trying to publish “harry potter from A to Z”

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Hollow, I can’t understandow h you don’t see a difference in those books and the Lexicon book. The Lexicon book is compiled of gathered and organized info, which has already been given to us by JKR in her books and interviews.

These other books are books about fans personal thoughts, idea and theories about Harry Potter.

I’ll say it again. I could write a fan book about my theories and ideas on Star Wars, but I have no right to sit there and watch the movies, gather the info already found in them and sell it as my own creation.

JKR created Harry Potter, Steve, on his own time gathered and organized it for easy reference online, which is all good, but now he’s trying to sell it to fans, which he’s leagly not allowed to do. And he’s doing this without her permission, without claiming on the book that it’s “unofficial” and after JKR has said she was going to be doing something like this for charity.

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If JKR wants to give money to charity – she can do so by donating her billions.

Leave the little people alone. Steve is not a threat!

I will not be getting her encyclopedia.

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elnombre, read the entire artical and lawsuit. Steve has no right to use her work to make a profit off of. She has asked him to stop since Sept 12th and he’s refused, so she had to do what she did to protect her creation, HER work.

How would you feel if you created something and someone else took it and organized it to their format “re-packaged it” and tried selling it as their own work?

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JK Rowling and WB did everything they could to make this go away as quietly as possible, but Steve’s and RDR Books insistence of making a profit put it in the situation it is now.

If you’re not buying JK’s books just because of this then you are not a true fan in the first in the first place so JK would hardly consider you a loss.

Basic point is Steve got a little greedy and will soon pay for it. There is no chance he can win this one. It is most definitely copyright infringement, no ifs and buts about it.

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Thank you, Totoum, for explaining that!

Neptune, regardless of content, Mugglenet (and any other group who has made a Harry Potter book in the past) has made their own profit from their books, and basically off of JKR’s world (considering it’s her world and characters they made books about). I remember that Mugglenet needed the money, so they published their “theory” book on the 7th novel. It even gained popularity in the media. Did proceeds go to charity? Was their book soley made so that proceeds went to charity? No, it was for their own site!

So, you do see the unfairness in it, right? It doesn’t matter the intent. There are MANY books concerning the Harry Potter world (JKR’s world), and money wasn’t for charity, but to profit the authors and publishers. This is the same case, but Steve’s people (regardless of them being rude) is getting the bite while other’s didn’t.

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OH, and elnombre, if you wont be getting JKR’s encyclopedia that’s fine, that just means you wont me helping the charity the money from the books go to. If you want to buy the Lexicon book and give money to some fan who is using JKR’s work to make a buck, then that’s on you….

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There’s always something that leaves a bad taste, isn’t there? JKR’s work is not in the public domain, no matter how much the characters are cherished by the fandom. What started as a labor of love ended up a HUGE business. This will not be the first time friendly people have had legal differences. Just try to right click on a Disney character image on one of THEIR websites… I don’t blame JKR; I’m amazed that Steve VDE and any others walking this tightrope are surprised at the legal attention.

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After reading the updated info, I’m just more confused. WB says that RDR has not provided a preview copy, i.e. WB has not seen the actual book. So how can they make all the claims made in the suit without having seen the book?

It would seem they are making their accusations based on the content of the Lexicon, which has existed for ages (and which DOES generate revenue via advertising).

If Mugglenet and TLC are smart, they will start removing any Mary Grand Pre artwork, movie images, fonts, logos, that they use in promotion of their sites unless they have ironclad permission to use them. I predict that the Lexicon site will be shut down, and other fan sites will soon follow.

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The Lexicon is free anyway (online).

I’m just sick of JKR suing the little people left, right and center – little kids,poor people in India etc etc

I don’t have to buy a book to donate to charity.

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The Hollow, you are completely missing the point. The mugglenet book was not taking JKR’s work and repackaging it, the mugglenet book was a book of fans talking about theories about a book that wasn’t even out yet. They are ALLOWED to do that. They are allowed to write there own voice and opinions about someone else’s work, but they and the Lexicon are not allowed to take here work and re-package it as their own, it’s illegal.

Mugglenet has planned on making their own “lexicon” type book and they were asked to stop and they did, but Steve thinks he’s above that and has refused to do so.

I bet money if someone, some “fan” was doing this who had nothing to do with a online website, with mugglenet, leaky or the lexicon people wouldn’t be jumping to defend “poor, helpless Steve” he knew what he was doing, he’s trying to make money by re-packaging JKR’s work.

SHE created it, Steve organized it, he has NO RIGHT to sell it.

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bthomas:

They are makgin their accusations based on RDR’s suggestion that they look to the Lexicon to find out what’s in the book. They kept saying it was a print version of the Lexicon, therefore the Lexicon is the content of the book.

And I’m confused how the Lexicon is making ad revenue when there aren’t any ads?? What great advertising!!

Didn’t the christopher little agency just say to TLC that other web sites would still be fine so long as the are free? The Lexicon might be shut down if they don’t comply but I don’t see this affecting everyone else.

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Wow, this is so surprising!! Hasn’t J.K. said before that she even uses the lexicon? Is the reason for the lawsuit because they want to make profit from it?

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The Hallow, what kind of screw up ‘fairness’ you’re proposing? Oh Steve didn’t get to make his money digging due like Mugglenet so JKR should pity and allow him to as well

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there are many books about the harry potter world,but i think that the difference between all the other ones and the lexicon book is the fact that unlike the other ones JKR wants to write it and it will be part of the “official” HP series,so she doesn’t want anyone making an unofficial one. Didn’t she sue someone for trying to sell his version of DH before the book came out?I’d say it’s the same thing here

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elnombre, she’s not suing the free, non profit online lexicon, she is suing the lexicon book which is selling for $25 a book. Meaning someone is going to get paid for something JKR created. Steve is going to get paid because he gathered info already available in JKR’s books. He is doing this without her permission, and she asked him not to.

He is trying to profit from her work. It has nothing to do with the free online Lexicon.

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I totally agree with J.K. Rowling on this. I’m very disappointed about Steve, I really liked him. And using the DVD Timeline as an argument is just ridiculous!

This is what he said about this on his site:

The timeline which is included in the Hogwarts Timeline which can be found on the DVD ROM extra material on the CS film DVD edition use the obvious dating based on the Deathday Party. The information in that timeline has been reported to have been edited and approved by J.K. Rowling herself [TLC 030414]. According to the reports the people at Warner Brothers took “a timeline” and sent it to Rowling, who then edited a few things and sent it back with her approval. It has been speculated that the timeline they took originally was that from the Harry Potter Lexicon and it is certain that the timeline is strikingly close to the timeline at the Lexicon.

and:

The Official Timeline of Hogwarts (CS/dvd) matches this timeline almost exactly. Events which are actually listed on that timeline are indicated on this calendar in red. There is one other adjustment which must be made in order to make the calendar agree with the books: September 7 is listed on the Official Timeline as being when Harry and Ron visit Hagrid in his hut. This was an error which also appeared on this calendar until my most recent revision. Curiously, the DVD timeline happened to reproduce the error from the Lexicon timeline.

I’m very disappointed by Steve, but I certainly hope that the HP Lexicon website will continue to exist. I don’t think Rowling will shut it down, but there’s always the chance that Steve will shut it down himself…

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Dear Neptune (JKR’s defender!),

I’m well aware that she’s annoyed about a potential printed version of the lexicon.

I’m still on Steve’s side here though – I don’t give a toss if he will be profiting from it (I doubt anyone will buy it though) and I find it laughable that JKR sees his book as a threat/competition to her own encyclopedia (which by the sounds of it will be as bad as the epilogue of DH).

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People need to think….

Think about it, YOU create an original idea, characters, story and world. YOU own it. ON ONE has the right sell it but YOU. NO ONE has the right to make a profit from YOUR hard work even if they organize it. YOU never asked for them to do this but you allow that gathered info to be available online for free to fans. Then this person tries to sell YOUR creation to make a buck when YOU had already planned on doing something like this yourself so to give profit to charity.

People need to stop seeing Steve as a victim here and JKR as this big bad bully. She has ever right to protect her creation. It’s hers not yours, not mine not Steve’s. She gave it to us to enjoy, not to profit off of.

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While I admire Mr. Van der Ark for his contributions and fanservice, Harry Potter is property of JK Rowling. She wants companion books to raise money for charity, not for personal gain. This is why we have copyrights, so authors like JKR can protect their work from being used in a manner that is contrary to their wishes. The book should just not be published. Can you even copyright a timeline of someone else’s work? <_< That sounds fishy.

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Naptune, please understand, Mugglenet used Jo’s characters, who already were in existence, and theorized about their fates. I’m not blind. They simply just didn’t say “Oh, Harry is a horcruxe simply because I say he is,” no, they had to use the history of the character to make their opinion valid.

Also, the book did make an earning and was very popular on the best seller’s list. Did the proceeds go to charity?

If it was merely opinions, they could’ve done it on their site. Wrote articles on their site. They’ve done articles on their site for years. But now they formed their book, compiled articles together into a book and polished it off and sold it to fans…and fans in turn pay them.

Please, understand, anyone can write an opinion on something/someone. They can do that on websites or in newspaper articles. But when they publish a book about characters from another author, deciding possible fates and theories solely on evidence given by the original author – that is “repackaging,” and in turn making a profit for yourself and away from the original author and her charities.

Don’t tell me Mugglenet and other people aren’t guilty of that (just because they were crafty in not totally going over the copyright infringement line).

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Well, it really doesn’t look good for Steve. But if the updabted lawsuit is the whole truth than he’s going to be in trouble, or at least RDR will definately be in trouble. Not without reason! I dont understand why they didn’t want the book to be reviewed. Maybe they would have been fine publishing it… I love the Lexicon. That makes me really sad :(

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Also, Neptune, I am currently trying to write a book. MY own story and characters that I have created for at least two or three years now.

I know that I certainly wouldn’t my story or characters being made profit for someone other than myself and my intent.

So, I understand JKR’s decisions. And that’s why I also don’t see a difference in what Steve has done, and what others have done in the past, with JKR’s characters and world!

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elnombre, I defend JKR in this matter because she has every right to stop someone from profiting off her work. She owns Harry Potter and everything to do with HP. The fans have no right to sell her info without her permission. If Steve is allowed to do this then what’s stopping me from going to Steve’s Lexicon online, taking all of the information there (everything JKR has created) and re-organizing it and selling it myself?

Shoot, if your telling me that fans have the right to do this then I need to start gathering all the info from already available in the Lord Of The Rings books, organize it and sell it, without even asking. Good Idea.

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If I had made billions already from an idea that evolved into something far greater than my expectations, I wouldn’t mind if somebody reorganised the stuff and sold it off at all especially when my own future work would be far better/sell loads more than the repackaged work.

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Neptune: Re the Lord of the Rings idea – go do it buddy. I doubt the Tolkien people have such ferocious lawyers.

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I’m afraid I cannot blame Steve for simply wanting to put his long labors (of love) into print. It’s all for the love of the fandom. I do not think you could ever convince me that Steve is just doing this to make a few bucks either. Steve’s publishers, maybe, but not Steve himself.

Perhaps Steve should not have gone with that particular publisher. However the damage is done, and I think its really just turned ridiculous. I am ashamed of Jo if she truly believes that Steve is trying to cash in.

I am one of those who have long hoped and wished for a print version of the Lexicon. But I think all fans realize that however nice a Lexicon companion is, it will be vastly inferior to her encyclopedia. If Jo doesn’t think we realize that, then she is underestimating her fans. I sincerely doubt that even Steve’s companion book would cut into the sales.

I think this is a greed fest between WB and the publishing house.

Of course it could all be solved if Steve decides to donate all proceeds to charity. Then there would be absolutely no leg for WB or Jo to stand on.

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And I’m confused how the Lexicon is making ad revenue when there aren’t any ads?? What great advertising!!


There are Google Ads on the Lexicon. Am I the only person who sees those?

Just because a website is free to access does not mean it does not make any money. I own a website. You can visit it for free. Guess what? I make a living off of that website – I make money off of it, even though I do not charge you anything to visit it! Shocking, I know, but true.

How many full-time employees does TLC have? How are they paid if sites like this don’t make money? People other than JKR are making money of off Harry Potter. It will only be a matter of time until they are all asked to cut it out.

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Exactly Elnombre, I’d like to copy and re-organize everything on Lexicon and publish a Lexicon myself too…Steve’s site is just my reference you know? I have the RIGHT to make bucks cause i’m a huge fan too!

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The Hollow, I can’t understand how you can’t see the difference here. Steve took the information JKR already gave us, organized it and is now selling it as his own work. He didn’t ask permission, and JKR asked his to stop and he refused.

The Mugglenet book is a book voice by fans talking about their own personal thoughts, ideas and theories of the HP world. They used quotes and passage to present their ideas, they didn’t provide everything that is already in the books.

One is legal (mugglenet) one is not (Lexicon). Plain and simple.

I am allowed to write a book about my thoughts, feeling, ideas and theories on Star Wars. I’m allowed to use info from Star Wars to quote my thoughts as long as it’s credited to the original creator. I am NOT allowed to gather all the known info from the Star Wars movies and interviews, organize them and sell them as my own creation.

There is a HUGE difference. If your a writer I hope you will learn…

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“How many full-time employees does TLC have?”

none right?

i thought they were all volonteers working for free.

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I’m pretty sure that all of TLC’s staff volunteer their time… for free.

Just as Steve volunteers all of his time for free. The ads support the cost of the site. He doesn’t make money off of it, though.

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Melody, I’m saying that the others shouldn’ get away with this, if Steve can’t. Based solely on the guidelines given from JKR’s people, the others who’ve made books about the HP world, regardless if it was speculations, are guilty too!

JKR isn’t fine about it making profits for the authors…well, those many who’ve made HP books have cashed in on her creations just by writing theories, speculations, character analysis, spirituality, etc. Their books weren’t for charity either.

If JKR wants to go after these kind of stuff, then she needs to go after EVERYONE who’s guilty of making profits off of her characters. The writers may come up with their own theories, but they’re still using JKR’s characters and world.

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Neptune: You’re a bit late with the LotR idea, mate…I already got on of these :D

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“Neptune: Re the Lord of the Rings idea – go do it buddy. I doubt the Tolkien people have such ferocious lawyers.”

Hahahaha, yeah right. I’d get my pants sued off. Do you know all the trouble New Line went through to make the f-ing movies? Do you know what they are going through to try to get the rights to make “the Hobit”. Every companion book to The LOTR has gotten permission from th Tolken people.

People are not allowed to steel other peoples work and creations. It’s illegal. I am not allowed to take a photo of a painting and try to sell it. The poster companies who sell posters and copies of famous paintings got permission to do so and they pay huge money to be able to use those paintings.

I’m not allowed to take someones song and sing it and sell it on my own CD. I need permission from the song writer to sell it.

Steve is not allowed to gather JKR’s work and creation and re-package it and sell it.

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“If JKR wants to go after these kind of stuff, then she needs to go after EVERYONE who’s guilty of making profits off of her characters.”

I agree.

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“I’m not allowed to take someones song and sing it and sell it on my own CD. I need permission from the song writer to sell it.

Steve is not allowed to gather JKR’s work and creation and re-package it and sell it.”

I agree. However, I think this argument only stands if you are trying to make a profit. And you will never convince me that cashing in was Steve’s intention.

I really wonder what the lawyers would say if Steve just said that he would give all proceeds to charity.

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@ The Hollow well, then she’d have to forbid Wizard Rock as well. And conventions. I don’t think that is what she wants…these people dont make huge money off it…otherwise the moaning myrtles could come to Europe and I could finally see a Wrock show :( Well, mugglenet did, maybe…dont know Then you’d also have to forbid all kind of books that try to explain the authors intentions…there are so many of these interpretationguides to every book that’s ever been writen. All these books have something original to themselves…Jo’s problem is probably, that the Lexicon doesn’t really… It’s sad. They should have sticked with the online version.

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I personally don’t even like the idea of the mugglenet book. It doesn’t sit right with me, but under the LAW they are not breaking copyright and the Lexicon book is. There is a difference between the two. I don’t know how else to explain it to you people….

Someone is allowed to sell their own views on someone else’s creation, they are not allowed to sell someone else’s creation “re-packaged”.

I’m allowed to write my views on the Star Wars movies, but I’m not allowed to gather info from them and sell it.

Steve is just selling JKR’s information which she already provided in her books and interviews. He’s is steeling her work and selling it.

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“However, I think this argument only stands if you are trying to make a profit. And you will never convince me that cashing in was Steve’s intention”

what about the publishing company though?

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Stealing, selling, repackaging…. ad infinitum

Kiorustleweed: I also wonder what they’d do if Steve decided to give all proceeds to charity!

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“I really wonder what the lawyers would say if Steve just said that he would give all proceeds to charity.”

That’s exactly what JKR and her people have asked him and the book publisher to do and they have ignored her and refused to publish the book. It says so right int the lawsuit.

As for wizard rocker, they came up with origanl songs and int the songs they are singing about HP characters. They are allowed to do so. It’s different then what Steve and the lexicon book is doing.

Plus, if you all read the other comments it’s been said that mugglenet had planed on making an “lexicon” type book of their own, they were asked to stop and they did. I guess there was another German fan who was doing the same, was asked to stop and did, but Steve has refused and believes he has th right to use JKR’s work and profit from it.

No one would be siding with this person if it wasn’t Steve or someone we all know from Leaky…

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“refused to stop” i meant to say…

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I agree with this girl: http://shampoopy.livejournal.com/4166.html

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@Neptune That’s what I’m saying. I just think it’s sad after all the work he put into the Lexicon and now this…

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WHAT?! No one asked Steve to give the proceeds to charity. They asked him to stop. And even if he said all the proceeds would go to charity eh’d still HAVE TO STOP. it’s NOT HIS WORLD.

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It’s like this people….

Steve walks into a store of a high end cloths designer. The clothes are laying on the floor, but everyone around the world is able to go there to experience them. The designer created these clothes and is planning to eventually hang the clothes up…

But Steve comes in and starts hanging the clothes up himself, he even does it in order of year they were made and color.

Everyone loves what Steve did and Steve is proud that he made this designers clothes look nice in the store….

BUT, now Steve is getting greedy and wants to be paid for his organization skills even though the designer never asked him to do this.

So Steve starts taking video of the store where he organized the designers clothes and is now going to sell the video to make money.

The designer ask him not to because the clothes are HER creation and she wants people to experience them at the store, not in the video.

The designer has every right to stop Steve from selling that video. She never asked Steve to organize her clothes, it’s nice that he did, but she never asked him to. It is selfish and greedy of Steve to try and profit from her creation…

The End

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Yeah, like I said, I think its the publishing company that is the problem, not Steve.

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Neptune: have you heard Steve say that he wants to get paid for his organizational skills?

So far, the only factual intention we can glean from this whole debacle is that he wants to make a print version of the Lexicon.

I personally do not believe Steve is doing it because he wants to get paid for it. He’s doing cause he loves HP and wants to share all his hard work in another medium.

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I’m sorry to say this to you, but Jo is perfectly entitled to defend her rights.

I think you’r position and the popularity of this site got to your heads.

Trying to make a profit out of someone else’s work is just low and it’s a pitty that you are willing to break such a good connection with Jo and risk to loose her support.

But it was your decision and I guess you’ll have to take responsibility for your actions.

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While this is kind of sad for the lexicon guys and Steve VA, it really does seem like they got a bit greedy and went too far. JKR does own the rights to this info, and while fair use allows analyzing it, commenting on it, and reviewing it, and quoting bits of it under Fair Use, it does seem like this book would be largely a rehash of information from the books – organized in a different way, but vastly more direct from the books than original material. Making a timeline isn’t really creating any new content if all the info on that timeline is straight from the books.

It’s a shame it had to come to this. JKR obviously doesn’t mind if fans use her material for free in limited ways, but by trying to profit from it, the Lexicon has forced her to take action. It’s particularly troubling that the publisher is trying to use her endorsing websites as alleged evidence that she has given permission in general to use her work – if this becomes a factor in this case, it may force authors to be much more harsh toward websites if it risks setting a precedent.

I’d bet that the publisher of the Lexicon book has no case – there are precedents for this sort of thing with the Twin Peaks and Seinfeld books. Compiling a book of facts about a work of fiction without adding much original content simply doesn’t qualify as fair use. They really should have looked into the legal issues before even starting a book. Now that they’re this far along, it almost seems like they’re trying to force JKR and her publisher into actions that make her seem like the bad guy.

I’ve seen much reaction that paints JKR as the bad guy, and that’s a real shame. It looks like she’s in the right on this, and this book could hurt sales of official books written to raise money for charity.

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Oh right, steve is an innocent bystander. DO YOU GUYS HEAR YOURSELVES?! He’s a smart man and a teacher who KNEW This was wrong, was TOLD via email it was wrong, and still went ahead. Come on.

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Neptune: have you heard Steve say that he wants to get paid for his organizational skills?

So far, the only factual intention we can glean from this whole debacle is that he wants to make a print version of the Lexicon.

I personally do not believe Steve is doing it because he wants to get paid for it. He’s doing cause he loves HP and wants to share all his hard work in another medium.

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KioRustleweed, he made a book version of the already free online lexicon and it’s being sold on the book publishers website for $24.95. No where on the book does it say “unofficial” but it does have Steve’s name and promote his website. He will see about $3 for each book, meaning he is making MONEY by re-packaging JKR’s hard work.

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Since there are trademark claims as well as copyright claims at stake here, JKR and WB may have had no choice but to sue on those grounds. While copyright can’t be lost through failure to defend against infringement, trademark rights can; if you allow your trademark to be infringed, it stops being your trademark. Note that trademark infringement is much more narrowly defined than copyright infringement; only a few uses of trademarks count as infringing (basically using them to promote a product or service that’s in the same market as the trademark holder’s product or service); mention in comment is specifically not infringement.

Neptune: while you’re right on everything else, you actually don’t need permission to sell recordings of yourself singing a song written by someone else. You just have to pay the publisher of the song a statutorially-defined royalty (currently about 8 cents per copy sold, if I remember right). You do need permission to perform the song live or use it in a video; that’s why bands often do covers as album tracks but don’t perform them in concerts. The legalese for all this is “mechanical rights are subject to compulsory licensing.”

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“Based solely on the guidelines given from JKR’s people, the others who’ve made books about the HP world, regardless if it was speculations, are guilty too!”

Nope, you misunderstand the situation. Anyone can write a book ABOUT works of fiction, analyzing it, reviewing it, etc. You can even quote small doses of the copyrighted material. Copyright law specifically allows that, it’s called Fair Use. You just can’t just repackage the copyrighted material and sell it in a new form.

So if you do it right, you can make money off of someone else’s work, you just need to be making money off of your own material ABOUT the work.

Generally, most fansites are probably OK. The lexicon could probably get shut down, but JKR has said she’s fine with it – unfortunately, the Lexicon folks may force the issue and create a situation where overly infringing sites may have to be remedied. There’s nothing wrong with having a HP fansite. But it probably is a copyright infringement to have tons of content that just reproduces material from the books or movies – the huge galleries of movie stills, scans of every cover and chapter illustration, etc are probably questionable. WB could grant permission, but that’s probably a can of worms, instead they’ve just let it slide. If the Lexicon forces the issue and argues that letting it slide makes it OK for them to do a book, it could potentially put WB in a situation where they have no choice but to force sites to get rid of infringing materials.

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I’m on Jo’s side. First of all, I can see where she’s coming from. There is no new material, no scholarly commentary, no analysis in the Lexicon’s book. There are many unofficial Harry Potter guides, but when you think about it, they all contain speculation or analysis, not just regurgitated information (that is available for free on the Lexicon site anyway, as JKR said). Also, it seems like the publishers behind the Lexicon book haven’t been dealing with JKR and WB’s lawyers very well. JKR says on her site that her lawyers did try to talk to the company first, but the suit was filed when they wouldn’t back down. There are also details about rudeness, lying, not responding, ect. in there. Altogether it’s unfortunate. I, too, would like to hear what Steve has to say.

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i cant believe the lexicon would do this. i am so disappointed in the website, JKR has not given Steve rights.

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Looks like my initial agreement with the lawsuit was right after all…Its one thing to have a free website for fans…its a totally different thing when you intend to make a profit from book sales on content that is someone else’s intellectual property. For Shame Lexicon and RDR!

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to all “poor steve” people, read the lawsuit complaint posted by TLC carefully. Steve is the greedy opportunist who gave us fans all a bad name.

Get it in your head puhlease, are you guys so thick in the head to be unable to distinguish the difference between work of opinion/academic studies/criticism about Harry Potter series (ok to publish) versus what Steve is doing: basically summarize and re-word facts from Harry Potter series and present as his own work = NOT opinion, NOT studies, NOT critial writing. And that is not allow. Get it right before you keep on insisting “but so-and-so release a HP theory books too”

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LOL…the money going to Charity…the richest woman in the United Kingdom has to sell a book to give money to charity?? give me a break…follow the money…this is pure and simple greed…so the money for the book goes to charity…but all the “residuales” go to ?? “someone’e” pocket.

JK has the right to be in this for the money…but why the talk about “charity” as if that makes it ok to turn on a trusted colleague?

That’s like Bill Gates saying, wait til I sell my next Mircosoft product, then I will give to charity. I would have more respect for JK if she just came out and said…I’m in it for the money.

And who is next in fandom? Wizard Wrock bands who are on iTunes making money? Playing for libraries? Playing in parades? Playing at bookstores?

It is Ok for OBatR to play and sing if they play for free? Where does it stop? We are playing in Jo’s world and she is a mulitmillionaire…so why so greedy?

And please, Neptune, don’t tell me it is for CHARITY…that is an insult to all of fandom.

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The fact is people ARE allowed to write books about other books and they are allowed to do it for profit. (Seen any of the books about The Da Vinci code?) A scholarly sort of reference book should be the least of all such projects to cause a kerfuffle. The other fact is that no one here has actually read the Lexicon’s book, including Jo and her lawyers. This whole thing is disgraceful. She should indeed be ashamed of herself for suing him and putting that disingenuous disclaimer on her site today. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I’ve got a few books next to me right now that summarize and quote from her books and interviews, as well as the various newspaper articles about her and her success. There are tons more in my local library and still more on amazon.com. Obviously these authors were not sued. This reminds of when she stopped Jarvis Cocker from putting additional songs he wrote for the GOF film on his own album because “children would be confused”. BS. It was really about the law suit from The Wyrd Sisters against WB (and Jo). I don’t like litigious people but it seems like SVA should have sued WB earlier for stealing his timeline without crediting him. This doesn’t bode well for the encyclopedia she is supposed to be writing, but I will probably buy both if they are both released. This whole thing is making me want the Lexicon version more though – and I’d never even heard of it until today. It will undoubtedly be more accurate regarding what is already published and on record than Jo’s would be. This is really just beyond the pale.

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Wow… very shocked. I agree with Glenn, and am waiting for the next PotterCast.. wow, very torn. I love the Lexicon and Jo, of course..

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Interpretation of the books really is very different than what Steve is doing. Interpretation and analysis come from the reader, the facts that Steve gets come from the book, from JKR.

I’m really pretty disappointed in Steve, he should have made sure that it didn’t violate copyright before he got so far into things. Although I do have to say that it sounds like he was unfortunate in his choice of publishers. They seem like real jerks. It was the publishers, not Steve, that were delaying.

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I have known Steve personally for several years. Trust me, Steve is not all that innocent in this matter. He has been making poor choices in his life as of late and thinking that it’s o.k. to profit off of someone else’s genious is just one more bad choice. Steve picked his publisher and he is standing by the publisher’s decisions. Keep that in mind. He had every opportunity to stop.

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You know, funnily enough, no-one seems to be remembering the fact that JKR’s book will be for CHARITY. So basically, The Lexicon will be taking away from funds that go to good causes. Yeah, that’s really something to be proud of. You go, guys.

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WHATEVER the Lexicon’s reasons for any of this, whatever the details of what they were planning to do – it’s a disgrace. I cannot believe this is happening. I’ve always appreciated Steve’s comments and views, and I’ve been a fan of the Lexicon. But I truly do not understand this.

I think it should go without saying that the moment Jo asks you to stop doing something related to her material, you stop doing it. Period. She’s been so generous with fans, and with charities, that anything else just wouldn’t do. I am very disappointed. I’d also like Leaky’s position on this – though I admit I have not read all the comments.

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The reason people are not discussing the charity angle much is because it doesn’t matter! The idea that Steve’s book would be able to take money away from JKR’s book is ludicrous. It is not as if anyone who is fan enough to buy his book is not going to buy hers, too! The issue is whether he has the right to make a profit for himself from her work.

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The Lexicon is an incredibly useful site, I won’t deny that, I use it all the time (but it needs to update stuff from DH, damn it!). But that’s just it, it’s a fan recourse site. It’s a site that they put together because they’re fans, and other fans use it for easy access to information from the books without having to fish out their copy and flip through the thousands of pages.

It’s perfectly fine as a website and having a book version is completely unnecessary when you can access it online. A book version would also take away from the convenience of it, being easier to access than flipping through thousands of pages.

JKR does like the Lexicon, and she DID give them a fansite award, but that’s because it was a fansite, it wasn’t gaining any profit from her creation, and it was a neat site. They can’t take information from her book and publish it for profit without her consent. It’s like fanfiction, you can take her characters and other such things in the books that are of JK’s creation and use them to your heart’s content in a fanfiction, but you can’t publish the fanfiction as a book for profit!

I realize that there are essays and other such things that JK did not create on the lexicon’s website, but everything else is basically JK’s creation that they’ve put in convenient and organized categories and they can’t re-publish that to make money on something that JK put about a decade of her life into creating.

If they let them do this, basically they’re saying that JK can put the decade into coming up with everything and do all the work putting it into the series, but as long as you have the time and energy to sort everything out you can make money without putting in any of the dedication that it took to actually write the series.

It’s a FAN site, and no fan should be able to use the published material that they are a fan of for personal profit.

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Folks, there are conflicting versions of what the contents of the planned Lexicon book would be, and without that detailed information we’re just going to go on and on.

Thank you to TLC for providing accurate information as it becomes available. Like so many others, I turn first to Leaky for information, and join the discussions only when I’m trying to make sense of the available facts. So, I’ll continue coming back to TLC for information on this, and other issues, and appreciate that there is also a space where fans can argue until their fingers bleed.

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I’m with JKR on this one. What Steve is doing is against copyright law. He has no right to do so. It’s her work, her creation. I’m so disappointed in him.

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First off, if JKR is reading these sites, I would like to say I back you 100% on this suit with Steve and RDR books.

To Anonymous and Shaking My Head: you all crack me up stating HP fandom is ludicrous and we should be doing something better with our time, why are you taking the time to peruse such articles and comments and than post one yourself.

To Author and Jenn I completely agree with you!!

To Deepty thanks for the update regarding the Indian Festival and the case being thrown out, however, I did search for the article and the lead organizer of the event stated due to the court fees he isn’t even sure if the parade will be able to continue. Anybody know if it is still commencing?

To anyone who knows about Copyrights- Author: you seemed well versed can you please explain, - Publishing Rights JKR has on her characters - Intellectual Property - Character Rights that WB has - And how all this would affect JKR in either having to go to court or all the court statements list JKR as Plaintiff. - Basically my concern is how much rights WB has taken from JKR and the possibility of increasing restrictions on publications regarding HP. Since, JKR herself stated she wanted Companion Books able to be published- I was wondering if any of the rights she has given to WB would necessitate her to file suit solely on the purpose WB has filed suit.

I was completely against the suit regarding the Indian Festival, that’s why I was concerned about the copyrights. However, it seems JKR’s denial of certain books seems to be linked to Encylopedia’s published after her announcement of an Encyclopedia she would be publishing. So, she isn’t really contradicting herself, also, from what Leaky has posted (thanks) regarding the lawsuit it seems JKR is most aggreived with not being able to look over the material before it is published. Seems completely legitate on her side, her belief of Encyclopedia competing not really legitmate but sums up her refusal for other Encyclopedia books- she is setting a matter of precedence with this lawsuit.

A concern I have is why the publisher RDR books believed they could continue with this book, their seeking for publication in other countries, without the go ahead by JKR or WB. Is there a legality I am missing, what leg are they standing on?- they have lawyers too, some advisor gave the go ahead.

To LilyP- Regarding textbooks refer to the first two pages and the back page- Index, References etc. These are called references because they took their material paraphrased or quoted and re-organized into their collective material, by citing the book, or previous publications, means they have obtained the proper copyrights to publish and sell this book for profit.

If JKR wanted to sell a book for profit why didn’t she just publish the Tales of Beedle of Bard (sp) for all and leave a few handwritten bejeweled ones for an auction? Wouldn’t she make more money? Than all her fans can be pacified once more with another JKR book. To LEAKY the catalogue for the Beedle book will that include the actual stories or just excerpts?

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Why can’t Jo use Steve’s material as a collaborative body of work, to enhance what she plans to cobble together in the future? Why would she not embrace such a well put together effort? Steve is a librarian, for pete’s sake! I’m sure she has salaried researchers/editors on her payroll before. The founder of the Lexicon should be considered as an ally in Jo’s world. This is bad form on her part.

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@Ginny,

are you a preacher? It´s goofy the way you try to disabuse others.

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Oh, for heaven’s sake, people. There is so much misinformation in this chat thread. Allegations made by attorneys in a lawsuit complaint are not facts, and assertions of precedent are not law. The defendant will file its answer to the lawsuit within 60 days, telling their side of the story. Then when the case ultimately gets to trial, the judge will decide what the law is and a jury will decide what the facts are. Right now, you guys are basing your opinions on papers written for purposes of intimidation by lawyers who have never seen the book and know nothing about it except that they can charge their billionaire corporate clients a lot of money for this litigation, just as they’ve done recently in prohibiting bookstores from holding Harry Potter theme charitable fundraisers, banning Harry Potter character Halloween costumes, and suing a village in India for building a ceremonial “castle” and calling it Hogwart’s. This is not about J.K. Rowling or Steve Vander Ark being greedy. It’s about greedy lawyers who will soak Ms. Rowling for millions in legal fees over the several years this litigation will be pending unless it gets thrown out of court.

Further, you should realize that some of the people posting comments on this site are members of Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter team,” whose job it is to shape your opinions by steady repetition of false statements of law and fact. Why not wait to hear both sides and get all the facts before passing judgment?

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Potter universe meltdown over the last 3 weeks…..Dumbledore…....Lexicon lawsuit…....fans not happy about the new book that will not be made available to the general public…........and we thought it was all going to slow down after DH!

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(Please excuse my english, i am not a native speaker, nor do i live in an english-speaking country.) So many fascinating comments here – thanks to ‘legal beagle’ and others who commented upon legal matters and provided detailed information on other ‘companion books’ or the tactics of the disney corporation. What has been stressed, though, is the important difference between legality and ethics in this matter.

Writing is business. But writing is more than business, too. To put it bluntly, JKR sold her soul as a writer to WB, and so she is in no position to integrate fandom in the wise and generous way like, for instance, Marion Zimmer Bradley was able to do.

I admire the scholarly work the lexicon people did, their dedication to detailed analysis, though all the panicking about canon which started some time ago seemed gruesome to me. If it is true that the film makers used the lexicon’s time-lines actually, they should have payed for it, and not too small a sum. (We do not know, if the lexicon received anything, at least to keep their site going; probably not.)

Prima facie, copyright etc. law seems to be on JK Rowling’s side. Another question is if time is on her side. All the insisting on creativity is treacherous. It is very much the question if she, in novels to come, will be able to keep up to the emotional intensity she put into the potter books; very much the question if there will be a comparable marketing machinery again. So the potter-grapefruit has to be pressed on and on. These days I read (but cannot remember where) that JK Rowling is considered as one of the leading young entrepreneurial personalities in the UK (not: as one of the writers of excellence). And most certainly, we all will live to see her being made Dame of the British Empire. OK, best wishes and good luck.

Best wishes also for the six autographs of three fairy tales hitherto untold. As for the moonstone-encrusted seventh autograph which will be put to auction for ‘charity’ – now, this is really bad taste. In the 21st century, people deserve rights, not charity.

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hey, is the lexicon down for anyone else? i tried to click the enter button on the front page and got a “500-internal server error” wtf?

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@ rosalie I’ve got the same problem, but I’ve checked recently and it’s O.K.

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Okay, I’ve been out of the loop for a few days, I pop back in, and what do I find? JKR and Warner Bros. have filed a law suit agains’t Steve Vander Ark. I thought it was a bad joke.. Seriously, I am a big fan of both Jo and the Lexicon! And Steve he rocks too.. So why on earth would Steve & co write a lexicon book? That’s doesn’t make any sense. They would have to close the site for it to make any profit (if not, all the information in the book would be online anyway, and far easier to attain than to buy the book). And I really don’t think Steve would close his beloved site, just to make a few bucks. I hope this is a misunderstanding. Because if it isn’t I don’t get The Lexicons reasons for publishing. And I do side with Jo in this matter. These are her characters, her story, and others shouldn’t be allowed to copy it for personal gain. And the Lexicon knows this!

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“These are her characters, her story, and others shouldn’t be allowed to copy it for personal gain.”

What is copying if there are plenty of other books out there that were guides, encyclopedias, ‘pottersaurus’es. . .

How is a ‘lexicon’ different? Below are some books I posted elsewhere, as well:

The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z by Kristina Benson (Paperback – Jul 7, 2007)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter (Complete Idiot’s Guide to) by Tere Stouffer (Paperback – Oct 2, 2007)

Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World: An Unofficial Guide by George W. Beahm, Tim Kirk, and Britton McDaniel (Paperback – Jun 30, 2005)

The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek (Paperback – Aug 10, 2004

The Pottersaurus: 1,500 Words Harry Potter Readers Need to Know by Eric D. Randall (Paperback – April 26, 2007)

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts by David Colbert (Paperback – May 4, 2004)The Definitive Harry Potter Guide Book Series: The Prisoner of Azkaban by Marie Lesoway (Spiral-bound – 2001)

An Unofficial Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World: Exploring the Harry Potter Universe by Fionna Boyle (Paperback – Sep 1, 2004)

A Muggles Guide To The Wizarding World: Exploring The Harry Potter Universe: Fionna Boyle Paperback, 2004

Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter: Astre Mithrandir, Galadriel Waters Paperback, 2003

Mapping the World of Harry Potter: Mercedes Lackey Paperback, 2006

The Harry Potter Companion: Acascias Riphouse Paperback, 2004

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i’m on jk’s side in this. she is right, you know. it’s nothing against the fact that they have created an encyclopedia. i mean, it’s in the site and she didn’t file a lawsuit on them for that. it’s about the fact that they’re taking this ‘encyclopedia’ to the market. i mean, they have no right. in the first place, the characters and the world aren’t theirs. it’s one thing to make it and another to gain money from making it.

what i want the result of the case will be is that the ‘encyclopedia’ information be taken away. jk’s alright with reviews and analysis and stuff, just not the ‘rearranging’ of information. she’s ok wit mugglenet’s ‘what will happen in book 7’, remember?

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This is just so sad! There is sooooo much more that JKR will have in her books, that there will be no competition with the HPLexicon’s book. I don’t remember there being this big of a deal over any of the other HP-linked books I’ve seen in the past. HPL isn’t going to have anything in their book that isn’t already out there someplace they just took all the work out in finding it. I really think this is all WB driven.

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I agree with Jensenly; Potter Universe meltdown indeed!

As for the suit, I agree with this statement made by the plaintiffs; says it all to me:

“While Ms. Rowling has permitted some fan sites certain latitude to make use of the material in her books, these sites are generally free to the public and exist to enable fans to communicate, rather than to permit someone to turn a quick and easy profit based on her own creativity. Ms. Rowling never gave anyone permission to publish a 400-page Harry Potter Lexicon.”

Avatar Image says:

I agree with Jensenly; Potter Universe meltdown indeed!

As for the suit, I agree with this statement made by the plaintiffs; says it all to me:

“While Ms. Rowling has permitted some fan sites certain latitude to make use of the material in her books, these sites are generally free to the public and exist to enable fans to communicate, rather than to permit someone to turn a quick and easy profit based on her own creativity. Ms. Rowling never gave anyone permission to publish a 400-page Harry Potter Lexicon.”

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

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(sorry for the double-post)

Iris

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Poor Steve, I think he is an awesome guy and the Lexicon is amazing. I was shocked to hear this Ive never even heard of the book they plan to release…I hope it works out soon.

What a shame. :(

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From Amazon.com The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter by Tere Stouffer

The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek

The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z by Kristina Benson

...Those dont sound like analysis books to me, just straight up HP info from the novels. Just like the Lexicon. Im really confused now. :/

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Press Release:

http://main.gvsu.edu/writing/index.cfm?id=4A3B896C-FB2C-E1BB-38EEA89FE21712D3

Avatar Image says: Красота — это в общем-то гениальность, даже больше, чем гениальность, ибо она в объяснении не нуждается. Avatar Image says: Автор, посты у вас, конечно, очень интересные. Но вы не думали заменить дизайн? Avatar Image says: Я подписался на вашу РСС ленту, но посты почему-то в виде каких-то иероглифов :( Как это исправить? Avatar Image says: Очень забавные мысли, хорошо рассказано, все просто разложено по полкам :)

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