J.K. Rowling Updates “Companion Books” Article; RDR Books Responds

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Nov 01, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

As reported yesterday, WB and JKR filed suit yesterday over The Harry Potter Lexicon’s intent to publish an encyclopedia. The action went hand-in-hand with a statement JKR had made on her Web site about not supporting unofficial companion books because they take away from the proposed book she will be writing for charity. Today she has updated that news posting:

“As is now widely known, a complaint has been filed in the name of Warner Bros and myself against the publisher of a proposed Lexicon, written by Steven VanderArk. This decision was reached, on my part, with immense sadness and disappointment, and only because direct appeals for a reasonable solution failed. I never dreamed, in the light of our previous good relations ’ including giving the Lexicon a Fansite Award – that this situation would ever arise.

From what I understand, the proposed book is not criticism or review of Harry Potter’s world, which would be entirely legitimate ’ neither I nor anybody connected with Harry Potter has ever tried to prevent such works being published. It is, we believe, a print version of the website, except now the information that was freely available to everybody is to become a commercial enterprise.

It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author’s hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else’s work, it does not become theirs to sell.”

UPDATE: RDR has now updated their website with a lengthy response, and has changed the title of their response page to read “Purveyors of quality literature (and the 1st Amendment) since 1983,” a title that does not include the parenthetical elsewhere on the site. The article does not address RDR’s alleged failure to reply to cease and desist letters or provide a review copy, and claims that the book is being published in part to “make its information available to underprivileged children and those in impoverished nations, who may have no access to computers or to the World Wide Web.”

It also claims the action began after RDR Books sought a cease-and-desist order for the timeline, which is disputed in the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court (which claims the first letter came weeks earlier). It also claims the attempt to stop publishing is an attempt to squelch the press and is a first amendment issue.

Excerpts of the statement are as follows:

Does the Lexicon appear to have Ms. Rowling’s blessing?
“No, the Lexicon makes it perfectly clear that this unique reference resource is in no way endorsed by Ms. Rowling or Warner Bros. … It is an original book with a vast array of independently written scholarly articles.

Why did Warner Bros. and Ms. Rowling target the Lexicon when dozens of other similar reader’s companions are on the market?
“At the moment, books published by Penguin (The Idiot’s Guide), Mugglenet.com, Sparknotes, Broadway, Hampton Roads, Ulysses Press and many other publishers are in print around the world. At least 46 such books are presently available in bookstores and libraries….

The action against The Harry Potter Lexicon was commenced soon after we contacted Warner Bros. requesting fair compensation for their unauthorized use Mr. Vander Ark’s copyrighted material on millions of DVDs. The court filing was followed within less than two hours by vast, carefully orchestrated international publicity campaign designed to impugn the reputations of Mr. Vander Ark and RDR Books.”

Is this a First Amendment issue?
Yes. What’s at stake here is the determination of Warner Bros. (which owns trademarks, not copyrights, on Harry Potter characters’ names and place names) to limit freedom of the press. This entertainment conglomerate wants to stop books before they are published, which threatens our First Amendment rights. If they were able to stop this independent critical work, publishers and writers everywhere would find it more difficult to publish important books that benefit all of us. The chilling effect of this lawsuit is its attempt to add harsh new limitations to the principle that, in the immortal words of A. J. Leibling, “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” When a person writes a book and publishes it, that book is subject to general analysis and criticism by the public. In the same sense that J. K. Rowling reviews a Jessica Mitford book in a London paper, critics like Mr. Vander Ark provide literary analysis and comment about Ms. Rowling’s books.

Has Steve Vander Ark or RDR Books discussed the print publication of the Lexicon with J.K. Rowling?

>> No. We have been unable to contact her. Although Ms. Rowling has been named as a party to the lawsuit, the only discussion we have been able to have about the book has been in the form of threatening letters and abusive telephone calls from Warner Bros. staff attorneys and the New York office of a large international law firm that also purports to represent Warner Bros.

We continue to keep all lines of communication open at our end in the hope that we can resolve this matter so that readers of all ages can benefit from the scholarship of Mr. Vander Ark and other librarians and professors.”

Thanks to Harry Latino for the heads-up.

Details of the lawsuit, as obtained by TLC, are below:

-The suit says any money award given to JKR or WB as a result of this suit will be donated to charity.
-It claims Steve Vander Ark made claims to rights in the Harry Potter series and threatened to sue WB.
-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.





832 Responses to J.K. Rowling Updates “Companion Books” Article; RDR Books Responds

Avatar Image says:

100% Jo! You have every right. Now I have to sit and read this thoroughly!

Avatar Image says:

How could somebody do that to JKR after everything she’s done for us? Seriously? Bad form.

Peace, Rotae

Avatar Image says:

The HP Lexicon just lost a lot of respect.

Avatar Image says:

Jo its your story, your world I’m behind you 100%. You had no choice after everythings been said. I still cant believe that Steve would do this, utterly appalled at his behaviour. God she must be so saddened by this, I would really like to hear what the Leaky gang thinks of all this. Cant wait to here your thoughts guys.

Avatar Image says:

The HP lexicon just got a lot more publicity :-D

I hope steve got money up front for the publishers use of his work because I doubt this unofficial lexicon will ever hit the shelves.

Avatar Image says:

It doesn’t seem like Steve has much to do with this. it seems to me that his publishers are telling him not to worry about and let them handle it because i’m sure they will lose money if they had to cease and desist. i’m torn because i can see how both sides have good reasons for doing the things that they do.

Avatar Image says:

and now with all this proof you try to exempt steve? come no. read the thing. He got the emails. He’s the author and could have stepped up and taken responsibility and he DID NOT.

Avatar Image says:

Tread carefully here. J.K. said she has used this site herself. There is room for both. While a J.K. book will have more substance (sub plots etc) the Lexicon’s will have the mundane details that Jo is too busy to put into print. The Lexicon should aim to complement J.K.’s work, not replace it. See all the Star Trek manuals for examples.

Avatar Image says:

It’s going to be funny seeing everyone who hated JKR this morning and turned their backs on her coming crawling back.

Avatar Image says:

Tread carefully here. J.K. said she has used this site herself. There is room for both. While a J.K. book will have more substance (sub plots etc) the Lexicon’s will have the mundane details that Jo is too busy to put into print. The Lexicon should aim to complement J.K.’s work, not replace it. See all the Star Trek manuals for examples.

Avatar Image says:

I am in total agreement with Jo here. Said agreement is further fueld by Steve and PDR’s bad behavior regarding the suit. Asking for an extension due to family tragedy and then using said time to prepare a lawsuit against WB and hawk the book to other countries? Distasteful.

I have the utmost respect for the Lexicon as a site, and have used it time and time again. If they’d just planned on publishing the book and then pulled out on it when they were first asked to at the beginning of September, I wouldn’t have any problem with it at all. But dragging this out in such a tacky manner has earned them this lawsuit.

As for the timeline being used on the PoA dvd. He might have an argument against WB for that, but not JKR. Not her doing. As for JKR using the site. She said she’s used it for quick reference when she doesn’t have her books with her. That doesn’t really change anything, and she used the SITE which has been said to be okay.

JKR has been more than lenient with her material. We have an entire movement of music based on her work- some of which does take direct passages from the books. There are loads upon loads of supplemental books for the series- both positive and negative. She encourages both fanfic and fansites. She’s not clamping down on every possible HP copyright like some have said.

Avatar Image says:

I’m behind J.K. Rowling 100%! But I don’t understand why Steve didn’t tell the public about his book?

Avatar Image says:

Under the advise of legal counsel I refuse to comment.

Avatar Image says:

New post on “What’s New” at HP Lexicon website! Not a word about this lawsuit!

Avatar Image says:

The name “Mozter” comes to mind…

Avatar Image says:

I admit, that this now sounds completely different and I really can understand Jo.

Avatar Image says:

It just makes me sad to think that Steve van der Ark would try to capitalize on this. The website has always been an open forum to all HP fans, and it doesn’t seem that he’s thought this through; to try to use what JKR has given us over so many years for his financial gain, when he is basically just a fan as well. The website is well organized but that doesn’t give him the right to get money for the structure of it, or for putting it in print, to get the jump on what Jo plans to do in the next few years.

Avatar Image says:

I’m not to worried about JK, Steve has no legal leg whatsoever. He’s shooting for the moon just to gain a bit of profit. Even if he wins this suit, the legal expenses alone is more than what he will be making because trust me there’s no chance in hell a true fan of JK will be buying this book. It’s in the Web for free for goodness’ sake! How badly does he need money to push through with this? Do you think he’s in some financial trouble or something?

Avatar Image says:

it seems like JK is on a run to sue anyone who tries to celebrate anything having to do with her books. This is the second time in a month she is trying to sue someone. I understand that they dont want anyone to cash in on anything having to do with HP, but come on. Is this that serious? Like another comment said, HP Lexi is probably trying to add little details for hardcore fans that JK thinks too mundane to put in her books.

Avatar Image says:

I am, also, 100% behind JKR! Given the “timeline”of events, leading to this, I am suprised at Steve Vanderark has acted so rashly and irresponsibly! How very sad. Events are more clear, now. I am, most definately, a fan of HP, JKR and TLC!

Avatar Image says:

I don’t understand how anyone could think that it’s okay for anyone except for JKR to make that book. I didn’t understand it even before JKR updated her news post. JKR has already quite famously stated that she’ll be writing the HP Encyclopedia herself…and everyone knows HP is copyright to her, her publishers, and Warner Bros. The Lexicon and those other publishers don’t make that list.

I won’t visit the Lexicon again. And if I ran Leaky, I wouldn’t want to be Partnered with them anymore.

Avatar Image says:

This is truly a sad turn in events relating to Harry Potter fans. JKR is completely right, which is sad…I must wonder why Steve would even write the book in the first place without checking with Jo…sighit appears the fandom has become large enough to begin to fracture…with the knowledge of Dumbleddore’s sexuality a portion of those who were prejuduiced broke off (though I can’t say it’s bad that the prejuduiced peopl left). Now the most respected fans are getting into trouble. October and November willnow be known as a sad period in HP fandom history. JKR is completely entitled to this.

Avatar Image says:

I’m still behind Steve.

Avatar Image says:

Let’s not bully Steve Vander Ark too quickly here. He may have used some bad judgment, but also may have gotten in over his head. The majority of the blame, from the lawsuit specifics, seem to fall on RDR Books, who stand to gain enormous profits.

J.K. Rowling and WB are trying to protect their property. RDR Books is trying to take what is not theirs.

Avatar Image says:

Whatever, he is the author, and has rights to tell his publisher to stop. Let’s not call him a meek little bystander either.

Avatar Image says:

Taking the “lexicon” & “leaky” sites off my favorites.

Shame on you.

Avatar Image says:

I am completely and utterly behind JKR. This is her work, that she’s been devoted to over the years. It’s taken her 17 years to complete it, should that deserve some respect?

How much joy have we all got from the books over the years? How many of us have grown up with Harry Potter? As fans, shouldn’t we be angry that someone who calls themselves a fan, would go and use JKR’s wonderful work for their own gain? Not only that, but putting a price on what they’ve offered for free before.

I’m appalled at this, and couldn’t believe it at first. My heart goes out to Jo, let her know some fans are staying true to her.

Avatar Image says:

Why taking Leaky off your sites? they didn’t do this and are he only ones telling us anything abou tit…

Avatar Image says:

cross-posting from another thread, I’m starting to forget which discussion is happening where, for which I apologize.

ok, so the legal argument now centers on whether or not the planned book is primarily composed of direct quotes from either JKR’s writings or interviews she gave. In that case, the matter does become one of publishing copyright [not intellectual property] —JKR owns (with WB, Scholastic, etc to some extent) the copyright to anything she wrote; the copyrights for interviews are usually held by the interviewer (that is, when she was interviewed by Meredith Viera, the copyright would be with MV’s employer, NBC. again, much depends on the contract JKR signed when she agreed to be interviewed).

Legally, anyone can write a book about HP (etc), and quote up to X number of words from a specific book (I do forget the exact number of words, its something like 3000 from a single published work) without seeking permissions from the copyright holder. If Steve’s project was to be a hard copy version of the site, then considerable portions would be direct quotes from JKR’s writings, and he can’t do that without the permissions. If on the other hand he paraphrased the bulk of the information, had as few direct quotes as possible, and provided correct full citations for his information (those good old foot/end notes!), he should be allowed to go ahead.

alas, i know a bit about the murky intellectual property legal debates, and a bit more about copyright (I say alas because I really wish I didnt need to know such things). Steve probably is being advised by his legal rep not to say a word at this time….

I just spotted Frtis’ psoting about nothing on Lexicon today. Again, Steve is probably being told to not say a word…

No matter how you cut it, this is sad.

Now, my personal (vs professional) opinions: 1. A Lexicon based what is available already on the web would almost certainly be very very different from what JKR ultimately gives us in the Encyclopedia. Therefore, there can be a market for both, IF a compromise can be found (perhaps a % of the Lexicon’s profits to charity? or “co-authorship”?). Let’s be honest, we’d all buy both!

2. Steve could recast the material along the lines suggested above, paraphrase, give citations for legal reasons and avoid direct quotes…and then he should be able to avoid legal problems. A lot of work, but not impossible.

Avatar Image says:

I didn’t have time to read the comments and respond this morning, but I supported Jo even before she updated the site. Steve wanted to make a profit on information that is out on the internet for everyone to see, and it’s not his original work (like the various analysis books out there about the series) but a compilation of information found in the books, information that is owned by the W.B. and J.K. Rowling. This is like someone writing summaries of the books and selling them to make money. I like Steve, but it was poor taste for him to continue to push this encyclopedia after being told not to go forward with it.

A little off topic, but isn’t the timeline used on the POA DVD incorrect anyway. I know it said Hermione was born in 1980, but we know she was born in 1979.

Avatar Image says:

Sorry about the “double post”.... @Susan…I don’t believe that JKR is “on a run to sue anyone who tries to celebrate anything having to do with her books”. As is now clear, she has a good reason, behind her suit. It was also attempted to stem this unfortunate event, even before all this “hoopla”. It could have VERY EASILY BEEN AVOIDED. I am pretty sure (my own opinion, BTW) that JK has quite a bit in mind, for her Encyclopedia, that is not “too mundane” for hardcore fans. How rediculus to even suggest such a thing! JMHO

Avatar Image says:

Steve’s publisher went about the whole thing wrongly. It seems JKR’s people have tried time and time again to have a dialog about this. But that camp didn’t seem willing. Well, now they get to reap the reward of not talking. I find it difficult to feel to badly considering the information presented in this article. Steve, you should have just talked to her.

Avatar Image says:

I am thinking that Steve is going to get a load of crap for this. He did not make himself look too great. Jo’s doing an awful lot of suing lately though isn’t she?

Avatar Image says:

Jo has got to be kidding. Who is giving her advice these days? They should be fired. What a public relations disaster. Suing the Lexicon – after she’s admitted she’s gone to the Lexicon to look up facts herself?

Has she been imperio cursed or something?

Very disappointed – this could have been handled so much better. Fire your PR firm, Jo – they are giving you terrible advice on how to handle these things. Or take a long break. zr

Avatar Image says:

Hey Steve – create your own ideas and publish a book not poach someone else’s work. This includes the many contributors on the Lexicon that have written essays and articles. You could save face by contributing every penny to J.K.’s charity.

Avatar Image says:

I’m with you Jo 100%. The Lexicon should be ashamed that they have to put Jo through all this. People are talking all this junk about her without knowing the full story. Jo’s going to write an ecyclopedia and that’s the only one I’ll read.

Avatar Image says:

Seems to me JKR is entirely within her rights to protect all the wonderful work she’s done.

But this is very sad. I’d like to hear from Steve VanderArk.

Avatar Image says:

I’m so confused as to what is going on.

Steve’s trying to publish a print version of the Lexicon and Jo and WB are saying it’s copyright infringement? Am I getting this right?

Someone help me out here.

Avatar Image says:

ZoeRose,she not suing the lexicon site,that has nothing to do with this

“this could have been handled so much better”

what is she supposed to do when steve and the publishing company ignore her request for 2 months?

Avatar Image says:

This is just weird and awkward and unexpected. I’m still reserving judgment until we get even more information. Many did previously agree, before all of this happened, that WB totally did use the Lexicon’s timeline, though. Just sayin’. Thanks Leaky for getting this stuff to us so quickly. :)

Avatar Image says:

Oh yaeh, one more thing. Why is Leaky backing up the Lexicon for anyways? I always loved Leaky but maybe not so much anymore…What Jo did was right. It’s HER stories. HER characters and HER world. She was just kind enough to share it with us. And now Steve feels the need to take advantage of this? I’m ashamed, if anything.

Avatar Image says:

Hmm so how was this a PR disaster? PR wise this was handled very well, a great amount of sympathy is on JK’s side and only Steve’s “fans” are siding with him on this one.

So she used Lexicon’s site, what does have to do with copyright infringement? Absolutely nothing. The Lexicon is a collection of HER work. What is once free for every fan of HP, Steve is now trying to profit from it. He has no legal or ethical leg to stand. None whatsoever.

Avatar Image says:

Ouch. I really assumed that this was going to be an analytical companion book. I mean, why would an encyclopedia full of things HP fans already know be a good idea? ...The whole reason JRK was writing one of her own was to release NEW information.

This summary changes my view on the case..

Avatar Image says:

Sounds like bad judgment on lexicon and the publishers part.(Though mostly the publishers because they have more to gain or loose) This very unfortunate.

Avatar Image says:

I like Steve so I don’t think he intentionally did anything. Then again, I haven’t read much on this, but i mean still. you know? How sad.

Avatar Image says:

I’m so confused. What exactly is the issue here?

Avatar Image says:

I agree with what this girl said: http://shampoopy.livejournal.com/4166.html

I am sure lots of people will now come crawling back. Not just shame on Lexicon, shame on the fans that turned on Jo so very quickly. How awful Jo must have felt all day having to read some of the comments about her!

Avatar Image says:

It was very nice to hear some more explanation on this!! I think I feel the same as everyone else seems to: I’m very sad for the Lexicon but agree that it’s in Jo’s right to do this.

Avatar Image says:

This is a tough and messy issue. I guess I think that if Jo thought the online Lexicon was cool, she’s being a little petty suddenly saying that Steve is not entitled to sell the same material in book form, after all the hours of work he put into the website. That website was one of the fan sites that helped promote the books and therefore increase HER success, after all. It’s not hard to extrapolate that he realized that finally he could get some compensation for all his effort, and that if Jo approved the site why wouldn’t she approve the book? (Fans need to eat too!) On the other hand, Jo certainly has the legal right to retain control over her creations.

I think one solution is that Steve should apologize (even if it was really his publishers up to whatever negotiations were happening) and agree to give the majority of the proceeds from the book to the charity or charities of Jo’s choosing, keeping only a small portion as payment for his web work (which DID, after all, support Jo’s own income). The book should be clearly identified as “Unofficial”. Jo and her lawyers and the WB folks should definitely see galley proofs and be able to demand changes pertaining to copyright issues. But I think the book should be allowed, after that scruitiny.

Jo’s Encyclopedia will not be out for years. It will sell extremely well because people who already bought (at least) 7 books are likely to be completists about having EVERYTHING. Steve’s book can only have content that already exists along with any speculation he may have, so Jo’s book will have tons of new (to us) material and be totally definitive. Therefore worth having even if you do have Steve’s book, too.

Obviously, this is just my opinion. But I hope the issue can be resolved with minimal anger and animosity. (I suspect that this suit is actually meant to scare off any other vultures who want to make a buck off Rowling’s work, even more than to stop or punish Steve. And in that regard, I kind of wish sh’ed laid down the law earlier, there is some serious drek out there!)

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Leaky isn’t backing the lexicon, they’re just saying they’re partners. you have to admit that stuff even if you don’t wnat to i guess. i really wonder what leaky’s stance really is.

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Steve, what were you thinking? Seriously…

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I think the lexicon’s website is down as well?

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Heidi,

You had it right, the argument is that Steve VA’s planned book would be primarly composed of direct quotes from JKR’s writings, and that the legal folks are stepping in to prevent publication on grounds of copyright infringement.

So, let’s hope a sensible compromise is worked out?

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Still appalled that JKR is all bent out of shape. If a print version of the lexicon will detract from her own encyclopedia (which could and probably is years off) that guess what? THE ONLINE VERSION WILL TOO!!! So what’s the problem? A guy selling something he made? For shame! Some of the blind devotion to JKR is scaring me.

Besides that, the “lawsuit for charity” bit has me rolling.

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I dont blame Steve too much for this. First of all, what we were reading were excerpts from the case. That means that JKR’s lawyers wrote that whole bit about him being rude etc. That is probably not entirely accurate. It is their job to make a persuasive argument making this essentially Anti-Steve propaganda in order to win the case. JKR created the fandom but Steve created the Lexicon. He may have gone about it the wrong way but his idea to publish it is not all that crazy..

honestly, we dont know all the facts of the case so I think its cute how quickly everyone wants to pretend they know who is definitely right and definitely wrong. I have faith that Jo would not arbitrarily sue one of her biggest fans but at the same time, i’m annoyed about all the negative comments about Steve.

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APPALLED that people can take side with steve here. unbelievable. let’s not paint him as a poor pawn here, he had every right NOT TO DO IT and had the COMMON SENSE not to either. phlease.

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Jo’s obviously read some of the comments out here today and that’s why she has updated her site… It’s sad that she should feel the need to justify herself to her fans! Agreeing with everyone who’s said shame on those who so quickly turned their backs on her.

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Somethingwicked: I did not pick up any indication of support or otherwise for the Lexicon on Leaky’s part. I’m sure Melissa and the other senior staff are attempting to remain entirely neutral and not make any rash decisions. After all it has only been two days, any sudden decisions from leaky would not be a good idea at this moment. They are simply reporting the news, as always, and giving all the facts available to them.

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“A guy selling something he made?”

I didn’t know Steve made Harry Potter

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He made the lexicon. That’s what he’s selling. More power to him.

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I have never understood how comercial HP websites or reference books got away with making money from Rowlings work. When I finshed reading this and understood that Rowling had tried to the utmost to be polite, and these people simply ignored an authors right to her own work… for shame. And to have the audacity to claim that she owed you due when you were attempting to make money from her work! I’m done with the Lexicon.

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Heidi – copyright infringement is very straightforward for this case. If you write a review, commentary (with the proper citations of course) then you are absolutely free to do so. But the Lexicon as it stands is a set of direct compilation of her work. Now the Worldwide Web is different. Copyright is very sketchy here since there is little to no profit.

But once he prints the Lexicon as a book to sell for profit the rules become clearer. And considering most of its content are direct quotations, facts taken from JK’s work or interviews (since it is an encyclopedia) then it is most definitely copyright infringement.

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I seem to remember several original essays being contained in the lexicon, so let’s stop pretending Steve just regurgitated the books, ok?

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unless that book is ALL ESSAYS, then yes, he just regurgitated the books. and if the book is all essays then it’s not a lexicon. so let’s not be blind.

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“He made the lexicon. That’s what he’s selling. More power to him.”

So if he writes and sells a book about the marauder’s adventures at hogwarts and does a really good job after putting a lot of hard work into it,more power to him right?

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I’m just going to repost what I posted on the comments 2 news posts ago. I also want to add that I don’t respect people who lie either. Jo lying about never been asked about DD’s love life. Wow. Not just one time, but repeating it on bbc this today. I don’t feel sorry for her.

“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.

Posted by Not on November 01, 2007 @ 12:19 AM

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And I cannot believe that some people here are arguing that once an authors material is out there for fans to play with, the author must simply submit to what ever they want to do! That they lose the right to decide what happens to their own work! Is this seriously the Pro-Lexicon argument!!

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Not: The suit was dropped. That is old news. They were allowed to keep the castle.

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I’m behind steve too. Sorry, but I think some of you have crossed the line from ‘fan’ to ‘suck up’. Steve isn’t using JKR’s material, hes compiling it all into a reference work, referencing her material, I don’t believe is illegal. I have a big problem with Jo’s people saying Steve wants to “turn a quick and easy profit based on her own creativity.” First of all, by no means do I think compliling the lexicon was either quick, or easy. Its taken a long time and I believe Steve has likly complied a more organized compleate work then Jo herself (who has admitted to using it, and futhermore admitted to using it when she ‘couldnt run intoa bookstore and buy a copy’ or her own book to factcheck. The fact she phrased it like this instead of saying ‘refer to my own notes’, makes me think she knows this is a more compleate organized work then her notes. Making an encyclopedia and making a fiction or fantasy novel are two very different tasks, and I belive Jo is more qualified for one, and Steve for the other. I will not be surprised if Jo’s work takes some pages from the Lexicon website’s style/organization. I will admit RDR is handling the situation poorly and childishly. Its too bad Steve is afiliated with them. But I still support him and his right to publish this book.

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Jee: that’s my site (http://shampoopy.livejournal.com/4166.html), glad you agree ;)

I have to join in with the “shame on you” to the people who turned their backs on Jo without knowing the full story (not just referring to people at Leaky comments – most of the worst comments i’ve seen today have been elsewhere) and will now, likely, come crawling back. It’s awful Jo had to justify herself on her website. No doubt shes read comments here and there today and felt just awful!

I hope it can all be resolved quickly and with very little stress.

I’ll support Jo always. I am grateful for everything she has given us all these years.

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“He made the lexicon. That’s what he’s selling. More power to him.

Posted by Corey”

He made the Lexicon using Jo’s work. So when you really think about it, all the information on the Lexicon, not including reviews, essays, etc, are Jo’s property. If Steve was just going to publish the essays, reviews, thoughts, then yes, he would be fine. But he’s publishing what’s Jo’s, and not his. And no, we’re not talking about the website, we’re talking about most of the content on the website itself. And most of it is not his. So he has no right to publish any of Jo’s copyrighted work.

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JK Rowling has been far more lenient with her copyrighted material over the years than some other authors I could mention. She is one of the few authors I know who actively encourages fan fiction, for example. It’s sad to see her kindness and trust in us repaid this way.

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Ed, she is talking about the Lexicon BOOK, not the free website.

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Ugh, while I care about JKR and stuff, this is all really silly business. JKR used the Lexicon, the Lexicon made a big mistake and denies stuff, and now there’s a big case again the Lexicon, who had pretty much organized JKR’s piles of paper. Silly mainly for the Lexicon (which’s being stupid), and sad now that all the books are out and JKR won’t be writing for a few years. Well, at least I have Shakespeare to study (no sarcasm, don’t kill me, I like it). I honestly just hope this spat with end abruptly and we will get some cool movie news soon.

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I just want to say I support jk rowling and steve in this. I think it was a unwise of Steve to consider this, but its to be seen if he sought to publish this, or said publisher apporched him.

J.K. Rowling created the entire harry potter world in which the lexicon could never exist in the first place without it. the timelines, which were compiled by steve, and I thank him for it because they are really great and helpful were compiled from material copyrighted and owned by jk rowling. all of the events in the timeline are copyrighted by jo, Steve just did a absolutly wonderful thing by sitting down and working out the order.

I love the lexicon and I feel sad that a Publisher has forced it to come to this. I dont think Steve is the kind of person who would have done this will ill intent towards jo, but knowing there was to be a encylopedia as fans have known from comments by jo for four or five years, I would have thought he would have taken the cue not to publish his own.

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I would be shocked if JKR wasn’t planning to use the Lexicon to write her encyclopedia.

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So, the issue is that Jo and Wb says it’s copyright, and Steve and his publishers say it isn’t, is that it?

If you’re a true Harry Potter fan and you try to publish something on the books and Jo says that it’s copyright, how can you argue against her?

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Wow, I think Steve’s publishers messed up big-time.

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Oh, c’mon, is JKR within her rights? Obviously. See, LegalBeagle’s post.

That’s not the point. The point is why can’t he still put out his book? He’s just compiling the material for reference, not creating new stories to sell.

I’d be flippin’ honored if someone wanted to put together reference works based on a world I created.

Sounds like she needs to take a lesson from the Serenity/Firefly crowd and let fans have a little freedom.

Will she win? Of course. But that doesn’t change the fact that it still stinks.

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Not: The suit was dropped. That is old news. They were allowed to keep the castle.

Posted by Kelly on November 01, 2007 @ 04:16 PM

The point is she sued. I remember reading that the judge told the group not to use it without permission again, and not award jo an award. Good for him.

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Bad form, Steve. Shame.

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awkward….

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“the most complete and amazing reference to the magical world of Harry Potter”

How does that give “the false and misleading impression that the book is an official Harry Potter book”?

I think this is an idiot suit, and I also think (and have thought for years) that copyright law needs some major revisions. Creative Commons (and the like) FTW!

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Ashes, of course it is illegal to take someone else’s work without permission and then present it in a re-organised form for sale. You cannot simply ‘compile’ someone’s intellectual property in this way. If it contains mostly original comment and analysis that would be different, as it would be if permission had been granted but….it seems it doesn’t and it definitely hasn’t.

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This is another example of someone trying to cash in. Harry Potter belongs to JK and WB. Period. Or should I say “full stop.”

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Just because you compiled someone’s work, no matter how good a job or how hard you worked doesn’t mean you can publish it. You did all those on your own volition because you enjoyed it as a fan. Why should you profit it from it?

I still think that Steve is in some sort of financial trouble. No way you would risk all your hard work and good will he created with JK unless he really needs money.

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wow. just wow, redwall. come on. it’s like someone taking all the pics from your flickr or imageshack or whatever, putting them in a book in different order, and selling them as “A book of Redwall’s photography.” You might be honored but your copyright is also violated and if they make a success of that book, they’ll be denying you tons of money. Whether or not JKR has tons of money already is irrelevant; it’s her creation. period.

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I think the fact that the Lexicon website did so well got to Steves head. He should have had more respect and common sense than to do this. What was he thinking??? That JK and WB wouldnt say anything when theres SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many excerpts and quotes from the books, movies, and interviews that are typed word for word??? Common Steve just give it up.

And to Corey, Yes he made the Lexicon and without JK and the Harry Potter books and movies he wouldnt have made anything. So technically he’s selling what JK made and is rightfully hers. Common Sense Buddy…..

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Man, what an interesting couple of weeks, Dumbledore came out, Lexicon and its pubs are being sued, J.K.Rowling actually hasn’t taken a break from writing, she wrote another book, but mostly just for close friends, family and top potter people and finally, Hagrid’s Hut is being built…AGAIN. My head is spinning.

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This is mess.

I mostly blame Steve’s publishers, not Steve. They clearly goofed up here. I don’t think Steve is trying to make commercial profit off of this book. But from the looks of it, his publishers are.

I would like to hear from him, get his perspective.

I really hope this can be resolved quickly. And I am still hoping to get a print version of the Lexicon. (I’ve been hoping for a long time)

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Not: Sorry, I think you’re wrong. Did you read the comments to the post? It’s standard legal action. The copyright needs to be enforced so people don’t think they can do whatever they want with their material in the future. This is especially true as the books are over. They fully expected it to be settled in a non-messy manner, and it was. Just as they probably fully expected THIS mess to be settled as well without a mess.

MORE importantly- I don’t recall Jo being even involved in that suit! I know it said her name on top of the Leaky headline, but there’s no snippets from her or anything of the like. So did SHE even sue? In fact, being that the lawsuit dealt with Hogwarts castle as seen in the movies and not the books, it’s WB’s territory not hers.

And a lot of these suits would be resolved by one very simple action- ask permission!! Shame on those who do things like this and don’t.

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I was fully behind JKR last night and I’m fully behind her now. Go Jo!

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wow. I just don’t know what to think about all of this. It’s all very complicated. Such a shame that this happened. I don’t think Steve intentionally meant to infringe copyright. I hope it all turns out okay for both parties.

Good luck Jo and Steve.

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I didn’t know common sense meant going to court everytime someone said “Harry Potter” without your permission.

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Heidi, You are getting the idea, yes, WB, JKR’s folks, and so on are saying the planned Lexicon publication would violate her copyrights. Tho, since we have not heard from SVA or RDR publishing in detail on that issue, nor have we seen any comparision of the planned book and what JKR has written, we don’t (and won’t) know ourselves. As someone put it (sorry, I forget who), a team would need to sit down with the book manuscript and really do a word by word, sentence by sentence comparison and even a word count to see if SVA’s manuscript violated copyright laws.

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Errr, you are exaggerating wildly Cody.

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Not: Think about what you are saying when you accuse JKR about lying about Dumbledore. The question was asked before the realease of Deathly Hallows and she was not revealing any secrets from that book. She would have given away what she revealed about his relationship with Grindlewald. Get off it already.

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I was not aware of this story until a few minutes ago when I read it on Leaky and I of course stand by JK Rowling. It saddens me that people would comment on Leaky(which is a Harry Potter fan site) and support Steve. Harry Potter was written by JK Rowling and she is the reason that we all have read and come to love the Harry Potter books . I’m amazed to hear that some fans are against JK Rowling and those who are should be ashamed of themselves.

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What silliness. I don’t see the point of turning a website that anyone can access (and for free, mind) into a book anyhow (well, the monetary profit obviously, but I mean aside from that).

Also, I doubt JKR is worried about the Lexicon book being competition for her own encyclopaedia. That’s just nonsense.

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Corey,

Its common sense when theres so much money involved. Its not right to take away from Charity and from the pocket of the person who came up with all these wonderfull ideas. It doesnt matter how much shes already made. She deserves every penny she makes. And its not right for someone to take ANY kind of credit for her work. If it wasnt for JK then Steve wouldnt have a website PERIOD.

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Corey: Tons of supplemental books, the entire Wizard Rock movement, close to millions of fanfictions and fanarts, and all these fansites likely agree with your statement- as imagine this- they’ve never gone to court for using “Harry Potter.”

It seems Jo agrees as well that it’s not necessary. She’s very lenient.

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This whole thing makes me very, very sad.

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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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I remember hearing Steve’s presentations at Prophecy, and he kept talking about how Jo has stepped out of the fandom, and it’s time for the fans to step in.

Jo is not finished, even though Steve really preached to the fans that it is time for us to do with the characters and content as we want. I think he is getting Harry Potter confused with his past fandom, Star Trek… It’s not a free-for-all yet, especially because Jo plans to continue with an encyclopedia of her own.

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As has been pointed out several times, the idea that Steve’s book would take money away from Jo’s is a JOKE. And if it wasn’t for Steve, Jo would have had to buy her own books so she could figure out what she’d written!

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Someone mentioned the original essays on the site…. I had an essay up there once. I don’t know if it still is up there. If it were to appear in the book, I wouldn’t be ok with that. Not only because of everything that is happening, but because I wasn’t asked. Now, its probably not still there, nor would it probably be in the book, but its how I feel.

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Jo Rowling is a control freak who created a world that got to big for her to control. My respect for her has GONE.

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@ Kelly,

I didn’t address the this lexicon lawsuit except to say I don’t feel sorry for jk. Second, the indian lawsuit, jo was part of it. Her layers were involved.

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Thank you for this! I was seriously wondering how on earth I managed to read that article yesterday without picking up all the things about Steve and the lexicon++. :P But this explaines it..!! :P Now, back to studying for my religion test tomorrow.. :(

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Thanks Ashes, that was what I was trying to say in the comments of the other article. Jo is better at writing novels and Steve is probably better at writing an encyclopedia.

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Jo could look at her own notes if she needed to remind herself of something. Just a thought.

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Very well put, Neptune

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I just want to add that in NO WAY does the Lexicon book take money away from Jo’s encyclopedia – a book she says she hasn’t even started yet. It could be years before hers comes out and it will have new stuff in it. This whole thing has made me feel the fandom is swirling down the plug.

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Except that she publicly stated she used the lexicon when she couldn’t find a book!

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I guess I just want to know how much Steve was personally involved in this. I don’t want to jump to the idea that he did this purely for personal gain, least of all because I really enjoy him on Canon Conundrums.

So for now I blame the people at RDR until I hear evidence to the contrary.

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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. That’s my personal opinion.

Frankly, the publishers are the ones who are most at fault. What the heck were they thinking when they sent that complaint about the timeline?

I think we need to hear Steve’s perspective on this.

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And that doesn’t give him legal rights TO HER WORK!!!

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Jamie, JKR created Harry Potter. She owns the right to all things HP. It is HER property. She has every right to protect it. NO ONE has the right to take her creation and try to profit from it without her permission. NO ONE not ever “poor ol’ Steve” from the lexicon who took all of her info and re-packaged it to make some money…

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GO JO! I support you 100% on this one.

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Corey – JK and WB didn’t “just sue”, they contacted Steve and his publishers since Sept and tried many times to work things out behind the scenes. But they never answered and kept pushing for the publication and made flimsy excuses while negotiating with out-of-country publishers. Obviously they were trying to stall so they can make a few bucks before WB shut them down. Unfortunately for them, JK and WB took pre-emptive action and I doubt his book will ever hit the shelves.

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Not: I didn’t address the lexicon suit either in my reply to you. The Indian situation involved something that could have been avoided by asking permission. Also, JK said absolutely nothing on the issue.

I just can’t believe how people can jump JK for these couple situations when on the overall she has been EXTREMELY lenient.

Corey: You don’t think she owns her own books? She used it a couple times when she was on vacation and didn’t have them with her. I personally wouldn’t lug those bricks around.

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I support Jo in this 100%! Shame on the Lexicon!

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“I don’t want to jump to the idea that he did this purely for personal gain”

What other possible gain? He wasn’t donating the money to charity, he wasn’t adding anything to the universe that anyone couldn’t get on his site. So material and immaterial reasons are accounted for. Of COURSE he was doing it for personal gain.

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I didn’t know common sense meant going to court everytime someone said “Harry Potter” without your permission.

Posted by Corey on November 01, 2007 @ 04:30 PM

@Corey…After all the attempts made by JK, WB and her people have been rebuffed by Steve and crew, did you really expect her to just lie down and not fight back. Unbelieveable! You are really blinded by your affection for Steve. Sad.

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Wayne, whether Steve is the best/worst/most middling encyclopaedia compiler the world has ever known is totally irrelevant to this case. It is not about the quality of his work or the extent of his efforts, but about whether he has the right to produce this book.

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“I’m amazed to hear that some fans are against JK Rowling and those who are should be ashamed of themselves.”

I agree. It’s sad to see that some fans don’t understand how unusually generous JK Rowling has been in giving her fans such a free hand with her material and take it for granted. This sort of thing is only going to make authors become even more protective of their work in the future.

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Wow..fans are really fickle. Chill out guys. This isn’t about you. Its between Jo’s Lawyers and who every they are suing. Its interesting news, not the end of the HP fandom.

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Philip Pullman, quoted in THE ELEMENTS OF HIS DARK MATERIALS: A GUIDE TO PHILIP PULLMAN’S TRILOGY

“It’s flattering, of course, to find one’s work the object of such care and attention; but how much more satisfying when the work of reference that results is so accurate, and so interesting, and so full.”

Shame on you, Mrs. Murray.

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I cannot reach HP-lexicon anymore. The whole situation, the scenario is just grotesque from my point of view.

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Flattering does not equal legal.

And it’s Mrs. Murray now? ! Talk about disrespect?

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TigerLily, does he say anything about people who cash in on his hard work?

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Thanks, Melissa, for the detailed post explaining what’s going on with this whole mess. Like most everybody else, I had no clue Steve was even writing a book until this happened yesterday, and it’s kind of a sad situation all around. Steve obviously has spent a great deal of time on the Lexicon site and I always enjoy the “Cannon Conclundrums” part of PotterCast that he participates in, so I’m reticent to think ill of him. However, we’re all here because we love Jo’s work, and it is HER work, not ours, no matter how much we love it or how much effort we may put into paying tribute to it. Technically, Jo doesn’t even have to allow any Potter WEBSITES to exist outside of the ones she and Warner Brothers authorize, but as she has said, they’re available to everyone free of charge and she appreciates the sites and those who maintain them. But books are different from websites. And sadly, a book that sounds suspiciously like the very sort of unofficial Harry Potter encyclopedia Jo doesn’t want published (particularly when its publishers refuse to share its contents with Jo or her multitude of legal and business people), does seem more like an attempt to cash in on the whole Harry Potter phenomenon than an attempt to serve as a resource for the fandom. The Lexicon website is already seen by fans as THE place to go for quick reference of facts and details (just like Leaky and Mugglenet are THE places to go for news!), so the respect and acknowledgment for the effort in creating and maintaining it is already there. (And fansite acknowledgment doesn’t get much higher than an official site award kudos from Jo!) If it really wasn’t about money, why not concede to the initial requests from the lawyers and try to work WITH Jo (since she’s notorious for accidentally Flinting some of the numerical aspects of her world) on the official encyclopedia instead? I’ll not pass judgment on Steve himself (particularly since he hasn’t made any kind of official statement on his participation in this, so we’re really just speculating about his motives), but as far as the lawsuit goes, Jo is definitely within her rights to try to stop the book.

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You can say that again, IndigoMisfit. and oh dear, the lexicon has been updated, but without any word of the suit. blah, I wonder when he can talk about it. Wow, to go from such a slow news period to so many controversial issues popping up is kinda’ overwhelming, I can only imagine how those that work on the site feel! geez louise…can’t wait for PC’s and MC’s input on this. it’s been a while since the last leakymug, eh?

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You cannot assume Steve did this for personal, monetary gain. I frankly would never believe it.

I think it a hundred times more likely that he’s just trying to get some extra revenue for the wesbite. I will be dissapointed to find otherwise.

He ought to have made it for charity in the first place, or put a disclaimer in the title, or explained it was to support the website…

He ought to have done a lot.

But I’m not going to irrevocably judge him until I hear his side of the story.

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Now that I’ve read all the info, I’m 100% on Jo’s side. It seems like Jo tried to solve this as easily as possible, but RDR didn’t cooperate. I love hearing Steve on Pottercast, but I’m just on Jo with this one.

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Corey, your vast bias is showing. She knows her world more than anyone on the planet. She doesn’t need Steve to “help” her with it. Just because her notebooks are in boxes and not organized on shelves does not mean that she can put together a spectacular encyclopedia, which, as she has stated NUMEROUS times, will include every tidbit from the world she created, from A to Z. Even if Jo said “OK” to Steve’s book there would be no need of it.

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I think some of these “fans” are starting to believe their “fame” from running HP fan websites is free rein to JKR’s work.

No one, no fan, not you, not me, not Steve have the right to make money off of JKR’s creation without her consent. I think fans are forgetting this. I think some people believe they own the rights to HP, but they don’t, JKR does and she has every right to protect her art. Some people need a wake-up call.

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As has been pointed out several times, the idea that Steve’s book would take money away from Jo’s is a JOKE. And if it wasn’t for Steve, Jo would have had to buy her own books so she could figure out what she’d written!

Posted by Corey on November 01, 2007 @ 04:35 PM

Ok seriously dude, She would have to buy her own books??!! Are you on crack?! She has all the information written down in her notes wether in books, journals, pieces of paper etc. I’m sure she used the lexicon because it was more CONVENIENT to just look it up rather than hevingto go through her books. And I’m sure the facts she wanted were small things, you all makin it sound as if she relied on the lexicon heavily to finish the books when that is not the case.

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My guess is that Steve has signed a contract and accepted an advance for the book. He has to work with RDR on this, and their behaviour is appalling.

I’m sure that JKR did not expect it to come to this and while I’m saddened, I understand why she is taking the action.

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KioRustleweed, I agree with you 100% and you stated what I said a moment ago with a good deal more eloquence. Isn’t it possible that Steve WASN’T doing this for the money? We shouldn’t judge him immediately before we hear more!

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Not: Think about what you are saying when you accuse JKR about lying about Dumbledore. The question was asked before the realease of Deathly Hallows and she was not revealing any secrets from that book. She would have given away what she revealed about his relationship with Grindlewald. Get off it already.

Posted by tinagin on November 01, 2007 @ 04:32 PM

She said she was NEVER asked about dumbledore being in love with anyone before. That is a lie. she was asked in the peter show. That is different then saying she didn’t want to answere before because it would give away DH. Sorry if me pointing out jk as a lier bothers you.

Here is what she said on bbc today, and below is the question she was asked in the blue peter show. People can judge for themselves if she told a lie on bbc today or not, but to me that is called lying.

“No-one ever asked me had he ever been in love or fallen in love. People were very focussed on what happens to Harry so I had never been asked a direct question.

“And because to answer it would immediately flag up an infatuation with what happens in book seven, I never said it.”

ROSE: My question is did Albus Dumbledore ever fall in love?

JKR: Ummmm… Well, in the course of a long life, I think nearly everyone falls in love, but you probably shouldn’t read too much into that answer. BBC “Blue Peter” Show Interview July 20, 2007

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Neptune, I’ll say it once again:

You cannot say for certain that Steve was doing this just to make money.

I don’t believe it. If it turns out he did, then I will be very disappointed.

Now whether his publishers were doing it to “cash in,” thats another story. It could be bad judgement on Steve’s part.

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Not, maybe you haven’t considered the possibility that she forgot? She does a lot of interviews.

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wow.. I hadn’t realised it was this bad.

Still, I’m very glad that you put the “The Harry Potter Lexicon is a partner site to The Leaky Cauldron” part at the end, I’m not entirely sure why, but it just seems honourable :P

runs away

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KioRustleweed, Who is he NOT making money from this? He made a book version of the already free online lexicon and it’s being sold on the book publishers website for $24.95. Nowhere on the book does it say “unofficial” but it does have Steve’s name and promotes his free lexicon 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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I meant how not who….

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RDR has misbehaved, yes. But legally, you’re allowed to quote from a book without permission up to about 3000 words, and you’re allowed to reference other books as much as you like! Why doesn’t Steve just paraphrase and reference?

He can also write on the cover a disclaimer. JK’s encyclopedia would be entirely different from Steve’s Lexicon – it would have new stuff, and Steve is just quoting old stuff.

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“You cannot say for certain that Steve was doing this just to make money.”

But i’m pretty certain the publishing company was doing this just to make money.

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Thank you Eva.

Folks, we haven’t heard anything from Steve yet. He may have made bad judgment with his choice of publishers (or in his email responses) but we really shouldn’t condemn him until we hear from him.

I sincerely doubt he wanted a print form of the Lexicon to cash in on the fandom. If that were the case, I think he would’ve skipped the FREE website.

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Not, maybe you haven’t considered the possibility that she forgot? She does a lot of interviews.

Posted by Eva on November 01, 2007 @ 04:51 PM

I did consider that but this is not the first time she said she was never asked before. she also said it the day after the DD come out too. She could’ve checked it. It was not hard to get