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 this qoute. I got it from leaky page.

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The publishers are legally allowed to make money quoting other people’s books, and it’s not taking away from JK’s encyclopedia – it’s entrely different.

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Neptune, just because the book will make money, doesn’t mean he wrote simply because he wanted to make money.

Don’t confuse the two.

I agree that publishers probably DO want cash in. Bad judgement on Steve’s part. But bad judgement in choosing that company, not in wanting to make a print form of the Lexicon.

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Hmm, if Steve did get an advance for the book and perhaps spent the money already, then he has no choice but to stand by with RDR books on this one. If that’s the case then this is a truly sad story.

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KioRustleweed are you a Steve fan? Explain to me how he’s not making money from his lexicon book. He went to a publisher and agreed to publish the lexicon website in book form. They are charging $25 for the book on the publishers website. The book has Steve’s name on it as the author. STEVE will be getting paid for every book that sells. He will be making money by re-packaging JKR’s info….

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I do not understand why it could have been possible to make a Harry Potter Lexicon book without clarifying the judicial condition, or did I understand something wrong? If so Steve is to blame not to have asked the author(Rowling)of the books, that´s clear. Anyway. I just wonder why the whole issue could not have been handled without public knowledge?

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Not: She could have checked it? Do you think she had time to go through all her interview tapes (I’m sure she doesn’t have them but if she did) and check to make sure she’d been asked before in between press conferences? She probably forgot, and if there was no inkling at the back of her mind that maybe she had been asked in the past, why would she think to check? Why is that so hard to believe? If she hadn’t forgotten she would have just said she felt it could be a spoiler for book seven, which it sort of is.

So nitpicky…

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I didn’t buy the HP books just for the info inside them – I bought them because of how they’re written. Steve is not copying that.

It’s ok to make a reference work – plenty others have been made, just this will be the best.

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QUOTE* KioRustleweed

“Neptune, just because the book will make money, doesn’t mean he wrote simply because he wanted to make money.

Don’t confuse the two.”

Um, hello… Why else would he agree to sell the lexicon in book form when it’s already online FOR FREE if he didn’t want to make money from it.

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Chrissi: It would have been handled without public knowledge had it been settled before and without all this avoidance from Steve and the publishers. Remember this has been going on for TWO MONTHS and we just now found out about it.

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Neptune, I’ve already explained.

Yes the book will (or would have) made money.

But just because it will make money, doesn’t mean that he wrote it BECAUSE he wanted that money. Yes he would probably have appreciated that money. But you do not know for sure that he was going to keep that money for himself and buy a jacuzzi. Most likely, he was going to use it promote his FREE website.

Steve, I am sure, did not set the list price.

The publishers most likely are the ones who are money grubbing.

I am saying that you should not condemn Steve as a miser until you have hear his perspective on it. That is all.

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Jane – you are allowed to quote another book up to 3000 words, but the core of the book has to be either a review or a commentary (in other words, the author has to have a unique perspective) and using only the quotes as reference. If it’s true the the book is a print version of the Lexicon website as it stands now, then it is most definitely copyright infringement.

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JKR doesn’t sue people for fun. She does it because she HAS to do it in order to protect her intellectual property generally.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for general ignorance, people. JKR is merely trying to prevent free-for-all use of her intellectual property, and if that means suing SVA or a parade organization in India, that’s what it means. It’s not her fault when people decide to go overboard with the use of her intellectual property for their own profit.

I said it on another comment thread, but some parts of fandom really need to get over themselves. You people did not make HP what it is today…JKR, and the millions of HP book-buyers who wouldn’t know a fansite if it bit them on the butt, did. JKR owes you nothing, yet has been incredibly lenient and accepting of websites and fan fiction. Talk about giving an inch, taking a mile. Sheesh.

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All I can do is put myself in JKR’s place and I find that I wouldn’t want people to make some money out of something I worked so hard to create.

But SVA did NOT have permission by JKR and he and his publisher appear to have deliberately ignored the request by JKR to stop and, not only that, appears to think that he is entitled to publish the book simply because he has put so much effort into it.

The simple fact of the matter is: HP was created by JKR and that should be respected. SVA was not asked to create the lexicon (despite the fact that it was appreciated by the author) and by the looks of it, pushed JKR into a corner, leaving her with a situation that she cannot, in any way, ignore and that, no matter what the outcome, is very damaging towards her.

Should she show SVA any favoutism just because she likes the lexicon? Why should love for the books or voluntarily picking out details out of them be the measure for a person’t entitlement to what is, essentially, someone else’s work?

People are essentially arguing that this suit is unfair towards SVA. But ask yourselves this: if you were in JK ROWLING’S place, would you think it was fair towards yourself?

All this could have been avoided if SVA had asked for permission before he started and respected the answer.

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Maybe someone can explain why it’s wrong to make money from making a reference book?

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I still think that a fan has a right to an unofficial book. If they spent the time to go through the books maticulously, they deserve to have the guide and to publish it. It seems like the fault is on the publisher, not so much the Lexicon. I found out that The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles” was written by Katherine Ramsland in collaboration with Anne Rice. It seems like JKR would not allow this kind of collaborative effort. But I know a lot of people who would buy both books—wanting the Lexicon’s to support their efforts to the fandom (which have never been compensated for financially before)l, and then JKR’s as the official of the two.

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Oh, I love coming to Leaky for thoughtful, rational conversation, where people weigh their words and can discuss any topic with open minds and logic.

For those who insist on bringing up the Dumbledore Revelation—look, we all suffered through about two weeks of that nastiness. This thread is about the sad situation surrounding the planned publication of a “lexicon”, exact contents not disclosed. Please discuss the Dumbledore stuff somewhere else, not here, and I promise not to pay the slightest attention to you.

For those getting into heated shouting matches, please stop. You are detracting from the conversation.

And to those trying to make sense out of the snippets of information about the planned publication of a ‘lexicon’ and the current legal situation, thank you for your calm, your patience, and your insights.

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QUOTE* KioRustleweed

“Neptune, just because the book will make money, doesn’t mean he wrote simply because he wanted to make money.

Don’t confuse the two.”

Um, hello… Why else would he agree to sell the lexicon in book form when it’s already online FOR FREE if he didn’t want to make money from it.

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“Um, hello… Why else would he agree to sell the lexicon in book form when it’s already online FOR FREE if he didn’t want to make money from it.”

Because he wanted to share his labor of love, his hard work for the fandom, in another medium.

If he really wanted to “Cash in” Steve would have skipped the FREE website part and just made the book.

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Jane, No. You are wrong. JKR’s book will not be just “new stuff” and therefore “different than Steve’s”. It’s an ENCYCLOPEDIA. Everything is going be included in her edition. It’s going to be a comprehensive book, inclusive of everything we know (or Steve knows) and things we don’t. This is one of the main reasons why she wishes for their to be one book. Steve’s book would be redundant.

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Neptune

Even if i’m behind JKR,the point people are trying to make is this:

they highly doubt that steve woke up one morning and thought “hey,i could make lots of money buy making a lexicon book” they believe that the more likely situation was a woke up one morning and thought “hey,i’d be really nice for fans to have the lexicon in printed format,like that they won’t need a computer to access it everytime they need it”

Of course,that doesn’t change the fact that despite his good intentions,what he’s doing is illigal.

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I’m quoting this from Legal beagle over on the other comment board….

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’m surprised Steve would keep pushing the subject which is the way this sounds. I want to hear both sides of the story before I snap to any judgments.

I can see where the confusion started. As a couple others here noted, JKR is quite liberal when it comes to people using her literature to inspire art, music, fanfic and even other books; and even making money off of it. Steve’s book must really cross a line. It seems like the line here was that the HP books didn’t inspire the Lexicon book but were used to build every piece of it and the fact that JKR has said a few times that she’s going to publish something similar made the line a bit more clear.

The Lexicon is an awesome web site but maybe he should’ve just kept it on the web.

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The encyclopedia about Pullman’s work costs $24.95. More quotage:

“I can’t recommend it too highly to the reader who’s found anything interesting or enjoyable in this story of mine. I know I’ve returned to it frequently during the writing of the book I’m doing now, and I know I’ll continue to do so.” —Philip Pullman

Sounds an awful lot like ”...I have been known to sneak into an internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop…etc…”

Mr. Pullman clearly knows the difference between a reference book done with intelligence, care, and love and a cheap cash cow. Mrs. Murray needs to listen to more librarians and teachers and fewer lawyers. She’s getting horrible advice that will affect the legacy of the Harry Potter series for years to come.

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@Kelly, thank you. I did not realize the whole story earlier.

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Whoknowswho, it depends on how you construct the reference book. If its primarily your own words, that’s one thing; if its primarily made up of another’s words (in this case, JKR’s), that does get into copyright issues.

freeluciusnow21, you have hit on an obvious solution, which would be to have the planned publication be co-authored, and bear JKR’s name as well. Rice got money from collaborating Ramsland. So, why not in this case, with JKR giving her share to charity if she wishes?

But, its now up to the contending legal teams to work out.

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“Maybe someone can explain why it’s wrong to make money from making a reference book?”

It is only wrong if the referenced material therein has been lifted from someone else’s intellectual property, rather than information already within the public domain. JKR owns the world she created and no-one has the right to sell a version of that without her agreement.

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It was very nice of Steve to compile Harry Potter facts into a free-to-use fan site we can all share and enjoy.

It is very ignorant of him and his publisher to think they can make money off of it.

They should have cooperated; it seems so far that Jo and her people were trying to be amiable. He might even had the book published after all, if it was deemed to not infringe.

It is an unfortunate turn of events, but it seems Steve brought it upon himself here. Now even if the book did reach the shelves, I don’t think it would do very well. I would say this is a rare exception to “there is no such thing as bad PR.”

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freelucius21 said: “I still think that a fan has a right to an unofficial book. If they spent the time to go through the books maticulously, they deserve to have the guide and to publish it.”

What colour is the sky in your world? A fan has the RIGHT to publish an unofficial book. Wrong. Dead wrong. Just because someone “spends the time” to do something does NOT mean they DESERVE anything, let alone being paid. This reaks of entitlement, and it’s disgusting.

Furthermore, many people write original books and screenplays that are never published. Do they DESERVE to be paid for it just because they “spent the time”? What if the writing is horrible, should they still be paid even if the work is horrible?

Just because you “care” about something and spend time building it does not guarantee anything. Life does not work that way.

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What I’m struggling to understand is a) Why the publishers didn’t make some adjustments to the book b) There have been other (worse) reference books out there, and they’ve gotten the okay, and if SVA would have altered the Lexicon, it would have been the same as the others, just better c)JKR’s encyclopedia is entirely different from a reference book, and I would get it for the new stuff, not the old info

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I think Jo is instructing her lawyers to reveal all this information because she now realises the backlash against her. Many respected and long standing members of this fandom are now turning against her – I think what she has done is appalling. Why shouldn’t Steve make a little bit of money after all he has done for the fandom and Jo over all these years? Leaky makes money, so does MN. Why not the Lexicon?

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Well. I am neither with Jo nor Steve.

Steve can “prepare derivative works based upon the original work” Not sure if that is what he plans to do or if its no more than a ‘cut & paste’

Jo next move will be to sue little kids making Hogwarts sandcastles. Or anyone who draws a lighting bolt scar on their forehead.

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“Because he wanted to share his labor of love, his hard work for the fandom, in another medium.

If he really wanted to “Cash in” Steve would have skipped the FREE website part and just made the book.”

He did share his labor of love on a free online website for YEARS, and now that the books are completed and he can complete and gather all the info from them he wants to sell his “labor of love” for $25 a book. He wants to be paid for something he worked hard on, but the creator never asked him to do it. She allowed him to present her info online for free, but she never gave him permission to re-package it and sell it for profit.

I like listening to Steve on Pottercast, I have nothing against the guy, but to think think that he wasn’t thinking about the money is just silly, especially when it’s already online for free. He’s trying to cash in….

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Y is RDR pushing this? the stuff written on this news post all indicate their clear disadvantage even before the case is taken to court. That makes me wonder if theres something they know that they’re not revealing bc honestly ud have to be stupid to fight the sort of claims WB/Jo are making.

i dont know if Steve’s in control now, as much as he was earlier in the game when he could have called it quits and walked away respectfully. that also makes me wonder if Steve has signed away his rights where theres a conflict with the rights of RDR. Im also now starting to wonder if Steve had this plan from the beginning bc he has put far more effort into the site than someone who just happens to enjoy the books.

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@TigerLily: The difference there is it’s the AUTHOR’S PREROGATIVE whether to give permission or not. Pullman endorsed, Rowling does not. Case closed.

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Lexicon does not just focus on the canon universe. The Lexicon encyclopedia would by nature have more content in regard to the films, games or other offshoots than Rowling’s would. Additionally, I am at least under the belief that unofficial works raise more interest and funding for the official works. There will clearly be a several year gap without any new material from J.K and between now and when her encyclopedia will come out, there is certainly room for a print compilation.

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Leaky and Mugglenet are discussion sites, they’re not selling stuff using intellectual property, they sell advertising (at least I think they do). Steve would be selling the intellectual property itself

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I will never be able to look at Rowling the same way again. This is just sad.

Apparently now WB and Rowling are on the idea that because this are her characters, her story; then she can do whatever she likes with any work that contain her characters. No need to give credit, since the characters are hers to begin with. Never mind legaly, that is moraly wrong. How about their work and effort in organizing that information? Nice way of thanking the fans for supporting your work.

Rowling was never perfect doing math or timelines. Steve site gave fans a more clear vision of her work. In fact it was so clear that she admitted to using it to check some detail at any point. Apparently because it’s from her work, WB and her felt there would be no problem in using Steve’s work and not give him credit for it.

Now she’s attacking the printed version of the book only because it’s not free. Has she looked in Amazon? Because theres a truck load of companions books about HP and one of them even has the name of ‘HP Encyclopedia’. All those authors have made money of her creation. At least Steve is a fan. There are a couple of books there that is obvious that the authors are not huge fans of the HP series. Yet here is a true fan of the series trying to put his work into print and that suddenly is a problem. If someone benefits from my work; I would hope he’s a true fan and not and opportunist. What makes Steve any different than anyone of those authors?

I’ll tell you what makes him different. His book is a problem because it’s well analyzed information, something that I’m sorry Rowling is no good at it. Because of that they don’t want the book to be published. Never mind that this is a fan that has donated to your books probably hundreds of hours and that you have benefit from it. I don’t know who said it before, but I agree. Why didn’t you team up with him and made an Encyclopedia of the online version of the site? Then the additional information that you had was added. Now, that would have been a book worth spending money on.

Even more astonishing is the attack of the Lexicon site on the lawsuit and the way Little now talks about the sites that are fine as long as they have “appropriate material”. Next thing she’ll be doing is dictating what we can say on sites. Wait for it.

It’s a laugh that she thinks Steve book can affect the sales of her book. Really, who would buy a Lexicon book over a Rowling book? The idea is laughable.

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I think people are wilfully misunderstanding the law if they think we can’t dress up as HP characters! Rolls eyes like Mad Eye Moody.

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NOT: I can read. I saw the BBC interview. I also know the earlier quote you are referencing was made during a pre-DH release interview. Give it a rest.

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This is incredibly sad. I’ve always enjoyed listening to Steve on Pottercast and the Lexicon is a wonderful resource. However, after reading about all of this, I sincerly hope that Leaky discontinues their relationship with Steve and the Lexicon. I certainly hope that he doesn’t make any more appearances on Pottercast unless it is to deliver a heartfelt apology. This is not the behavior of a true fan who respects Jo and her work. She has already promised us an encyclopedia, and we will get it eventually. I for one and willing to wait patiently for hers.

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Also note that this is just the latest in a recent string of lawsuits. It seems that J.K Rowling and Warner Bros have become obsessed with stifling creative fan expression. A religious festival in India was sued for making a Hogwarts replica, for instance. It is truly sad to see someone who started as a common reader with a heart turn into a corporate entity

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Neptune, no one is arguing that it has reached a point where Steve and his publishers are committing copy-right infringement. Well, I’m not arguing that. Other people are, ha ha.

My whole point is that Steve, or more likely, his publishers have handled it very badly and brought it to the point where legal action is unfortunately necessary.

BUT I am arguing that we should not condemn Steve as money-grubbing jerk. Not until we hear his perspective at the very least.

We have only seen one side of this story. And I think people here should stop wishing shame upon Steve’s head. If he were really money-grubbing, he would’ve skipped the FREE website part and just tried to publish a book.

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Symphonyofdissent: More material on the books and games? ...What? That is plainly untrue. The lexicon features game and movie spells and lists who plays who in the movies, but it is 95% or more book material.

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I’m with John – except that Steve does copy passages – which is just cutting and pasting. If he just left out that part . . .

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Well its been an interesting day. The funniest thing I’ve read is the assertion that Lexicon “helped” make Harry Potter famous. Question is what percent of the people who read Harry Potter actually has seen the Lexicon website? 5 percent would be very generous. Sure it helped the fans who wants to know every single detail about HP but it doesn’t exist to the casual Harry Potter fan.

Anyway I just find it funny when the fans think they’re bigger than the author. Ciao everyone!

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Neptune, some people just prefer print version to electronic media. He wants to share. There are a lot of Harry Potter fans out there who don’t visit website, but purchase “fan” books.

Thats all there is to it.

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Once again, a reminder that it’s important to get the facts before taking sides in any disagreement. I fully support Jo in this one and I’m very disappointed in Steve’s actions and attitude.

What a sad way to end such a wonderful series, under a cloud of law suits and animosity. I really wish Steve had thought this one through more thoroughly—no one should profit from just re-working someone else’s creative work. In school, this sort of thing would earn him an “F” for stealing the work of another.

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Also Symphonyofdissent Two lawsuits is a very short “string of lawsuits.”

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The idea that someone whom JKR has called a friend would turn around and try to profit (steal) from her and the charities is just revolting. SVA Lexicon has been a great place to check a fact from JKR’s HP Universe. I have used the site when there is a question that I cannot answer from my memory. I won’t use it again. JKR has been very generous with the fan driven web sites based on the series, but putting a web site down in print and profiting by it is theft of JKR’s ideas. No matter how much of his time that he spent on the Lexicon, SVA did not come up with anything original on his website, it is all JKR’s original material. If he had asked for permission to publish the Lexicon WITH THE PROFITS TO GO TO CHARITY, that would have been different and perhaps something could have been worked out. SVA’s greed has risen up to bite him in the b*tt after he tried to stab JKR in the back. I’m with you JKR! Jo’s Army, UNITE! (Spell in unison: SVA,,,, BEGONE! With lots of waving of wands, a la Lockhart!)

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I removed the Lexicon from my favorites. The Leaky should seriously weight the evidence and consider dropping the Lexicon as a partner site. The reason TLC is my favorite site for all things HP is because of their reputation. They get permission from WB & JKR before using any material that is copyrighted and I support that. I am not happy with how Steve’s people are handling this and not working with WB JKR. To me, WB & JKR tried to do the right thing here and were not met with the same respect.

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TigerLily, Laurie Frost wrote the themes and character analysis in her own words for that book, she didn’t sit down one day and copy & pasted them straight out of the HDM books as in this case. You are barking up the wrong tree.

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“he would’ve skipped the FREE website part and just tried to publish a book.”

And made no money. He’s using the popularity of his web site to make money, it doesn’t take a genius to see that.

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Steve is not just reworking JK’s work. Yes, he’s doing something illegal as it stands, but he did much, much, more than just copying. He made timelines, organized e/t, figured out problems with the books. ..

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I removed the Lexicon from my favorites. The Leaky should seriously weight the evidence and consider dropping the Lexicon as a partner site. The reason TLC is my favorite site for all things HP is because of their reputation. They get permission from WB & JKR before using any material that is copyrighted and I support that. I am not happy with how Steve’s people are handling this and not working with WB JKR. To me, WB & JKR tried to do the right thing here and were not met with the same respect.

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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.

Posted by Jamie on November 01, 2007 @ 04:36 PM

Thanks for the laugh Jamie.

Look people this Steve guy is in the wrong and that is all there is to it. End of story.

I don’t think we will be hearing from him any time soon since it looks like from the article posted that his publisher has put a “gag” on him.

I hadn’t even heard of his site until this came up yesterday and quite frankly I don’t think his site is that great at all. The way some of you go on about it made me think it was going to be something special. It’s not. Besides JK’s offical Leaky is the only one I visit to get my HP info because the effort put into it with the layout, info and graphics is way better than the others put together.

I know I’m not the only one who has noticed over that years that certain HP website owners (main one starts with M ends with NET) get a little to big for the boots thinking that they know everything and you don’t in Harry Potter land. I just can’t be bothered dealing with egos – Leaky gets my vote.

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Quote John: Apparently now WB and Rowling are on the idea that because this are her characters, her story; then she can do whatever she likes with any work that contain her characters.

Of course she can! She created them, they are hers. Only she can make money off them. How would you like it if someone coppied your work and tried to make monry off it?

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Steve is NOT HP Lexicon. There are working other fastasical people, for the whole HP fandom. Don’t make them suffer for one’s mistake.

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Reference books ARE constructed for educational purposes—that’s the point of them. They are used in libraries and schools. No one gets “millions of dollars” rich from selling a reference book. Just ask the college kids selling Britannicas door-to-door!

The claim that Steve’s book would be taking money away from a charity years from now in the future is simply ludicrous! This author has NOT ONCE thanked her fans for ANYTHING, and this treatment of one of her best, and best-known, fans shows a complete lack of respect for all Harry Potter readers around the world.

Wake up, people!

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It’s not copying, it’s organizing – which took hours and hours of work. Steve is still wrong though.

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fantastical, sorry

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It’s organizing her work. She never asked him to do it and he has no right to sell it for profit.

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I’m behind Steve on this one. Not because I’ve met him and like him, not because I agree with his methods here, but because I’d like an encyclopedia of the World of Harry Potter without the extra Jo facts shoved down our throats.

You’re done Jo. The world is complete. You don’t need to tell us more. We didn’t need the epilouge, and we didn’t need any other information that you’ve decided about the future of these beloved characters.

I know most of you won’t agree with me, and that’s fine. I don’t really care.

I just think that Jo has pushed it too far. If it was important it would have been published in the book. Everything that she’s added after, including the epilouge and including future information in her encyclopedia has and will destroy what made this world so special: the fact that it was open ended.

In my own opinion, humble though it is, it feels as though she is now just out for the publicity. The last book has been published, therefore we must find other ways to keep Harry Potter in the news. It’s wrong.

I agree with the people that say there is room for both, because there is. One will contain the new shiny information that Jo will throw up on us, and one won’t. We don’t know all of the specifics of the case, and people are way too quick to turn their backs on the Lexicon now. If you boycott the Lexicon, Leaky or any of their other partnered sites, it’s your loss, and we won’t miss you.

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Mason: “This author has NOT ONCE thanked her fans for ANYTHING, and this treatment of one of her best, and best-known, fans shows a complete lack of respect for all Harry Potter readers around the world.”

JKR has shown plenty of appreciation (see book 7, first page and website.

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This fandom is seriously deluded if you think Steve has any right to do what he intended to do. Big deal how rich Jo is? Its her books, her story etc and who the hell does he think he is that he can take it and make a few pound out of her hard blooody work. Anyone supporting him and calling Jo names should be ashamed of themselves. You are a disgrace. I bet Jo is so glad she can move on from Harry Potter soon because some of you are a disgrace to fans. Take every single one of them down Jo-you have every right!

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wow, if you want to think the worst of this situation, be my guest. I doubt I can dissuade you.

Clearly creating the Lexicon was a giant premeditated set up so that when the 7th book was published Steve could use a good reputation and all his material to publish a book and cash in.

Makes sense to me!

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It was really nice to have the lexicon, but it is JKR’s work that he is using, it is her property, knowing that she wanted to publish a companion book why would he do it and especially without permission? Its taking credit for someone else’s work. Its really sad, I am disappointed and have lost a lot of respect for Steve and the lexicon.

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And surely his writing a book after he has a successful website means he’s OH SO NOT A MONEY GRUBBER! Come on now.

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I think Steve could have done this in a slightly different way withut stepping on any toes. That publishing company has a lot to answer for. . .

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My best to Steve, though I do support Jo in this suit, as I should. She has her right definitely.

I still do not understand why the theory books are not guilty, though. Yes, they are not just rehashing her characters and plots and devices, but they ARE trying to make a profit on something that she, and only she has created (by that I mean any books about Jo’s life, the phenomenom or the fandom are fine).

Also, I still do not understand why anyone would want to sell or buy the HPL anyway. That would be like trying to publish Wikipedia or IMDb.

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I’m astounded at this idea that authors need to “thank” their fans or go out of their way to make them happy. I called it disgusting before, but quite frankly I’m now freaked out by it. Jo gave us a wonderful story, and we “thank” her by buying the books which we enjoy. So what if Jo has never formally thanked her fans? It doesn’t change my life a bit, I still am thankful she wrote HP. You don’t know her, and she doesn’t know you. She doesn’t owe you a thing.

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I am terribly saddened by this whole situation. I had always hoped that Steve would publish a hard copy of the Lexicon, so I could have it as a resource, but I had assumed that he would get Jo’s permission first. I hope that they will be able to work something out. It would be a shame for us to lose the Lexicon. I have used it as a resource for years. The amount of work that has gone into the design and organization is incredible.

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marillawhite, the theory books are not wrong because even though they ARE making a profit from HP, they are doing it the right way:

-quoting less – and analyzing more -not quoting only stuff from the books, but putting their original thoughts in -quoting less than the limit (I’m not sure what that is, but the lexicon overdid it)

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I remember that time when Steve asked Jo if she knew anything about WB using Lexicon’s timeline and it was a loooong time ago. Could’ve expected it’d grow for years and kick people in some nasty way.

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The other imbalance of power in this besides the money and legal clout is that Steve Vander Ark cannot say anything in the press in his own defense because his lawyers have probably gagged him, while Rowling and her attorneys can issue press releases that go around the world, defame Mr. Vander Ark’s character on HP fan websites, etc. Doesn’t anyone see the lion after the mouse in operation here? And for what? The amount of ill will among the fandom that this suit will create is not worth any possible gain.

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MB – JK doesn’t need to thank them, but she has many times

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Didn’t Mugglenet also publish a book about Harry Potter? And quite a few other people? I don’t understand why this book is a copyright infringement & the other ones were not.

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Yes, Steve is the “mouse” in the “lion and the mouse” but he’s still wrong.

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I am not basing my faith in Steve simply off of the fact that he has a free website.

I am basing it off of the care he has shown towards the fandom and towards the canon. Feel free to have a different opinion, but nothing I have heard or seen of Steve gives me the impression of money-grubbing.

I don’t think I’m wrong. But trust me, if I am, I’ll be very disappointed.

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Is Jo’s website, her updates, her books, her dedication at the start of book 7, her letters to many fans, her book tour etc etc NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU ALL?! What do you want? Personal recognition for buying her book?!? Seriously, deluded people.

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As I said before, the other, theory books are not wrong because even though they ARE making a profit from HP, they are doing it the right way:

-quoting less, and analyzing more, not quoting only stuff from the books, but putting their original thoughts in, and quoting less than the limit (I’m not sure what that is, but the lexicon overdid it)

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Regrets to Steve, but even tho I really appreciate what he did and don’t think he’s at fault here, he’s still not allowed to publish the Lexicon and sell it

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2 comments -

1) To the person that referenced the Star Trek manuals – those are all authorized by the owners of the Star Trek franchise. Those aren’t independent works.

2) To the person who commented that Steve should get some $$$ for his work, what do you think all those Google Ads plastered all of his site are for? Especially with the traffic today, he’s probably making a boatload. Don’t cry him a river – he’s doing fine.

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”, but nothing I have heard or seen of Steve gives me the impression of money-grubbing.”

EMMM KioRustleweed-does the fact he planned to release a book not suggest he wanted money?! I think so. The website was fine, it was a free resource for all. Putting it into a book which he knew Jo always planned to do is purely a cheap attempt at exploiting fans. I cant say it enough-hes in the wrong. She has every right to stop him.

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I think it’s unfortunate that anyone gets sued over copyright infringement.

If Jo wanted to take the high road, she could announce that she wishes Steve wouldn’t publish it and ask fans not to buy it. She could ask Steve to donate half of his profits to charity. Then she could donate the millions she is going to spend on lawyers to charity.

But instead, she opts to rip apart one of her most dedicated fans in court.

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The issue is not whether Steve will make a lot, a little, or very little money out of this (how well did other theory books do?) or whether he is in just for the money or not!

The issue is whether legally, he can do this. And the answer so far seems to be no.

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RJ- Yeah, I thought she had (thanked the fans) but I didn’t want to say so without knowing for sure :)

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I’m with you JKR! Jo’s Army, UNITE! I had to laugh right out when I read that ;-) and I support it…

Let’s please stay friends all the same! Can you imagine how Jo does feel tonight? Otherwise she would not of up-dated her Website today!!! And while I am here, can someone answer me this question: is it not so, that every time we visit/click one of the Harry Potter websites (or other sites),it counts? Do they earn money with that? I have noticed the commercials – especially on Mugglenet..if this would be true, some people are already making A LOT OF MONEY with J.K.Rowlings Harry Potter !

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Derek, I sincerely doubt that Steve makes money off those google ads.

I’m pretty sure all proceeds are used to support the site.

Could be wrong, though.

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I’m behind Jo 100%. She should protect what’s hers!

Em,

Here’s the difference between MuggleNet’s book and Steve’s book:

MN’s book analyzed the HP series and wrote about their predictions of what would happen in DH.

Steve’s book regurgitates the HP series. It gives the details of the characters and events that are written in the books already.

I think that’s what’s going on. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

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But she asked him not to publish it for two months and he ignored her. So the most dedicated fan ended up showing his true colours.

He’s 100% in the wrong here and brought whatever happens on himself.

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The many posts that blast J.K. Rowling for “not caring about the fans” and being “greedy” are horrible. It reminds me that these ignorant (meaning uninformed, not stupid) people probably vote for President with the same ignorance and cancel out my vote. Sad, sad, sad.

J.K. Rowling, WB, and their legal teams should press this as hard as they can to stop the release of this Lexicon book. RDR Books should be forced into bankruptcy unless they agree to stop it. Steve Vander Ark needs to make a public apology.

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RJ you are right. Legally he cannot do it.

That doesn’t mean that people should condemn him a some jerk just in it for the money. I’m arguing for less insulting of Steve, and more tolerance. At least until we hear his perspective.

I think if he or his publishers had handled it correctly, he could have published it legally.

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I think all the fame she’s gotten is showing us Rowling “rolling” off her rocker. She needs to shut up about backstories to HP (who cares?), write more books if she wants to (we’ll read them), and get her lawyers/henchmen off speed-dial. THey say fame can make you paranoid and crazy. Anybody need any more proof of that?

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Yesterday I was really confused and I couldn’t figure out what to think. After reading more into it I can see Jo’s angle a little more clearly. Yesterday my first thoughts were “What’s the Big Deal?” but I think I understand what this book actually is now, it’s just a re-organization of Jo’s material without any original material from Steve. I don’t think Jo would complain if he had a lot of his own original material in the book along with her material. Yes, he did take the effort to re-organize it and that is a lot of work and commitment I am sure, but it’s plagiarism. Plagiarizing could be hard work too, especially if you were completely re-organizing it. I do feel sorry for Steve though. He is such a huge fan, obviously, and I hope this doesn’t ruin Harry Potter for him. This whole situation feels very awkward and uncomfortable to me. I don’t like tension, it’s stressful. I hope that in the end it is all just a big misunderstanding and that more of the blame goes to the publisher. Maybe Steve was just really confused or something. Legal stuff with copyrights and stuff is complicated, I don’t understand it very well. Plus, he was probably facing the prospect of a lot of time and probably money he spent on compiling the book being a waste. I just hope this ends peacefully and works out for both sides of the lawsuit. I still love you Steve! The Lexicon really is an awesome website!

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Pawnblue wrote: “But instead, she opts to rip apart one of her most dedicated fans in court.”

Which wouldn’t be happening if, in “dedicated fan” form, he would have simply not pursued publishing the book after she asked him not too.

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KioRustleweed: I agree absolutely.

I’m sure what happened was more the publishers, and not Steve, and some compromise could probably have been worked out. . . if they’d answered more emails.

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I’m totally and definitely with John. She has become an obsessed freak, a very disagreable person. As someone asked in an old movie “HOW much is enough?”

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Glad to see we’re all pretty much behind Jo now. Yesterday’s comments were getting damn depressing.

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marillawhite : “I still do not understand why the theory books are not guilty, though.”

From what I understand (and please, if I’m wrong, someone please correct me!), one needs to make a very clear distinction between two types of books.

A book that relates to OPINIONS on the books, which includes theories about what was going to happen later in the series or involving analysis is acceptable.

Here is what JKR says: “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.”

The other type of book is based purely on FACTS, which is, presumably, what SVA is supposed to be doing. It is not his opinion – he is taking something out of the books, re-phrasing them, and selling it for profit in a different form.

This is JKR’s view: “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.”

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RJ,

Yeah that whole email thing seems pretty bad. Thats part of the reason I’m waiting to hear from him.

I think it must also have been some bad judgement on Steve’s part too. Why the heck would he send a complaint about the timeline thing? That seems a little brash of him.

Its too bad because I’m willing to bet this could’ve been sorted out much easier. And I would LOVE to have a print version of the Lexicon.

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After all these insults to Jo:

She wrote the books – she’s allowed to sue other peoplpe if she thinks that they’re plagiarizing illegally. Whether she’s right or not is a different story – but as she is, I don’y think you can call her a freak for stopping someone from plagiarizing from her.

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Glad that was clarified. It seems an amicable approach was tried first and JK was just forced to do this. It also demonstrates either she or her people do read these comments, specially on important matters like this, so I’d just like this opportunity to say…

Hi Jo! Love your books! I’m also 100% behind you!

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About the timeline: according to Steve (on his website, have not verified this), the timeline was obviously a copy because of its similarities and that it copied a mistake of his too! He wrote a wrong date and somehow they had the same error. Sounds like copying to me.

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I think it all comes down to “Where do we draw the line on what point is considered infringment”. I think the suit was filed for 2 reasons. 1.) Being the obvious is that RDR didnt have common sense or decency to answer any questions or send them a copy of the book. (Which on their part is stupid because if it was in fact “just” a printed version of what the website is then it would have stopped the law suit. So its kind of obvious they knew it was infringment.) 2.) If JK would have permitted this then it opened the door to tons of fanfics, encyclopedias, ect. being published.

I dont want to take sides but the fact remains that the line has to be drawn somewhere. We should be happy that she permits the website which has way more than 3000 EXACT quotes from the books/movies. (Which legally means that it’s infringment)

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Legally, yes we are behind Jo.

But to be honest with you, in the spirit of the thing I’m behind Steve. (Jo I think is too, she seems saddened that legal action became necessary)

I just think it was handled very badly.

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Can you publish fanfics (with proper disclaimer, etc.)? I’d love to know the legalitiez of that.

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Love seeing a global celebrity and mega-multimedia corporation beating up on a school librarian. Pass the popcorn!

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I am, as should the entire fandom be, behind Jo totally and completly. That being said, I think the lexicon is a fantastic resource and, having heard Steve’s opinions on many Pottercasts in the past, greatly respect him, both as a Harry Potter fan and an intellectual. I do not believe that the creator of that valued site, a partner to TLC, is at fault, I instead blame the publishing company he chose to do business with. Never be rude to Jo. Its as simple as that.

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I seem to be in the minority here, but I have to support Steven VanderArk here, not JKR.

There are definitely already similar books on the market (although not so complete, perhaps). I own one of them.

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RJ, no, you cannot publish fanfics for profit. And yeah I think WB obviously copied the time line from the Lexicon but if you come down to it Steve does not own that timeline, and WB is being gracious in even letting him put it on the internet. The fact that he’s trying to bring that up in court is seriously making me LOL, it’s just going to make him look worse to the judge.

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I’m going to add my voice to this topic and say that I’m behind JKR, but sad because she’s been forced to this position. I have enjoyed reading through the Lexicon and have found it to be a nice little site, a tribute to a fan’s love for a book and the world an author created. But, there’s a fine line between tribute and plagiarism. I don’t know if Steve crossed it on his own, or with some help from his lawyers and the publisher, but it was crossed. And, anyone who thinks that Jo is being too litigious, remember she’s protecting her work. How would you feel if it were you and you’d spent a decade of your life creating something out of nothing, and then have a host of people try to cash in on what you’d created.

Not to mention that Jo has had to deal with some pretty nasty people who don’t like her series, who’ve been mean and petty. They’ve tried to ban her books, they’ve accused her of being in it for the money, or practicing witchcraft, etc. They’ve said all sorts of mean things about her, her family and her work. She shouldn’t have to deal with someone who was supposed to be a fan who turned out to be just another person trying to make a buck off of her work. Shame on you Steve. I won’t be visiting the Lexicon ever again.

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I’m with Jo. Steve was someone i always seen as a decent guy and i enjoyed listening to him on Pottercast when he did Cannon Conundrums but what he’s doing here is just wrong! He’s a complete hypocrite.

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I cant believe some of these posts Im reading bashing Jo!!! How can you all sit there and say your a real fan and thinking rationally??? The only thing I hear when I read these posts are children screaming “We want more! We want more!” How much can this poor woman give us??? Honestly if she wanted to she could have just given us the 7 books said to hell with us and run off with her money. But no she stuck it out and gave us EVERY SINGLE LITTLE DETAIL WE’VE ASKED OF HER. Is that not enough? Are we asking her to use her works for our own advantages? To go against what states in the law as illegal and let us do it? Let someone else make money on all her hard earn 17 years worth of blood, sweat, and tears? Take away from charities that NEED the money? What are you going to ask for next????

Im surprised she even wants to write about the HP world anymore. I would be disgusted and say the money is not worth this abuse from people I dont even really know.

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Re: publishing fanfics.

Isn’t there a rule about non-author written sequels, prequels and fictional companion books being written so many years after the original authors death? Hence the many Peter Pan and Jane Austen sequels out there?

This is just my curiousity right now, not related to Harry Potter or the Lexicon anymore.

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“Steve’s book regurgitates the HP series. It gives the details of the characters and events that are written in the books already.”

True, but I don’t think ANYONE can argue that anyone will EVER think Steve created the Harry Potter charactors. Rowling is known for HP, shes a household name just as much as Harry himself. So I don’t think hes using her ideas to make money, if he were writing a fictional story about the charactors to publish, I could see the problem.

But this REFERENCE, this COMPILATION I think is compleatly different. He isn’t claiming its his own work, and I don’t think anyone of us could be foolish enough to think anyone will ever assume it is. Hes just organizing it, and I think that should be allowed. I think if I wanted to compile a book listing all the charactors in Lord of the Rings, providing information which quotes directly from the books, as long as I reference the books, and do not attempt change, develop, or add to the charactors, I think that should be alowed.

Again, I think Steve put a lot of work into the lexicon, probably giving the Potterverse more thought and more organization then JKR ever did herself, and I think he should be allowed to profit from the work if he so chooses.

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I’m all for Jo. I never thought Steve would do something like this, but he IS the owner and is responsible for the encyclopedia. Think about it, about all Jo’s given us.. she’s been more than lenient. I don’t understand why he would want to make a book out of the Lexicon. I’m not saying I know the entire story. I’m just saying.

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Thank you Leaky and Jo’s team for getting that information to us! This is much easier to understand.

Was this tiny little publisher the only one that Steve could get to buy his book? I visited their website and they’re certainly no great shakes. I have to wonder if larger publishers turned the book down because of the copyright issue.

There’s a rebuttal statement on the RDR website, but frankly most of their arguments don’t hold water. There is one point, I believe, that WB should clarify. Which lawsuit came first? Steve’s against WB or WB against Steve?

As I’ve said before, WB can go hang and I had faith that Jo would not let me down. I consider Jo and WB two very separate and distinct intities. Jo was instrumental in getting my dyslexic son to become a voracious reader. WB hasn’t done anything except change the books that have so inspired my son.

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I’m TOTALLY with you, STEVE. Remember my words? Hugs from RITA and her mother

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I do have to say that I’m with Jo on this… but I’m not going to be so quick to shun Steve Vander Ark. It really seems as if this was just an act of bad judgment on his part… he probably assumed that since so many other Harry Potter related books (primarily, Mugglenet’s book) have been published, his would be okay as well. And I don’t think that he wrote the book solely to make a profit, just as the Mugglenet crew didn’t write their book solely to make a profit. However, that still doesn’t make the book okay… and Steve’s publishing company definitely screwed up.

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Ashes: “Hes just organizing it, and I think that should be allowed”

But it’s not allowed, legally, and he does cut-and-paste many phrases. The Lord of the Rings book (I think) has lost its copyright by now. Jo’s has not, and he’s overdoing the cut and paste. Yes, he’s spent a lot of work on it, yes, if he published it differently (with some changes) it would probably be legal, but the publishers have refused to discuss it.

Thanks, JKR, for your fantastic books – and thanks, Steve, for dedicating so much time to it – and I hope something can be worked out between them.

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I dont think that Steve is doing it to make himself look like the guy who made HP but I do think that maybe he’s been bitter to the fact that the Lexicon is so much hard work and he gets no income from it.

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“I think he should be allowed to profit from the work if he so chooses.”

The law says different. Otherwise anyone could nick stuff from anyone else and sell it on. But they can’t. As for not ‘using her ideas to make money’ of course he is.

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Well done Rosa P and all of you who defend JO. I’m with you JKR! Jo’s Army, UNITE!

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I am, of course, behind Jo on this one, but I feel bad for Steve. I’m sure he realises that he shouldn’t publish the book now, but it’s kind of out of his hands now. If he says anything, he could get sued by his publisher, and it’ll be a whole mess.

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I have enjoyed this site and the lexicon site for a number of years now and it is with sadness that I now remove the lexicon from my favourites. It would sadden me further to have to remove TLC from my favourites. I hope that the editors will soon make their position on these recent events clear.

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Thank you Mistral. It seems that now the series is over people resort to tabloid style hatred and stereotyping.

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“Isn’t there a rule about non-author written sequels, prequels and fictional companion books being written so many years after the original authors death? Hence the many Peter Pan and Jane Austen sequels out there?”

I think it is 70 years after an author dies. It also depends on the type of work and when it was published, and what country.

Posted by marillawhite on November 01, 2007 @ 06:04 PM

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Jo has allowed all sorts of analytical, speculative companion books and I have got a few of them and enjoyed reading them.But an encyclopaedia which takes her ideas and catalogues them is a different thing. Especially as she is planning do do the same thing herself. Permission needs to be sought and if not given then such a book cannot legally be published.

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I think the problem arises from the fact that JKR had said that a HP encyclopedia was in the future. Her die hard fans knew this as did Mr VanderArk.

If she had never thought/mentioned it and SVA came up with the idea – no problem. SVA and RDR books start promoting a “HP encyclopedia”, shopping it to publishers in other countries, etc. Knowing what she had already planned.

If SVA had gone to JKR and asked, there probably would not be a problem, it may have been published, published abridged, or not at all.

It seems as though SVA went to RDR Books first. He may be in a contract with them that he cannot get out of, even though he might want to not publish the book or at the least work it out with JKR. RDR seems to be the one pushing forward with it now.

JKR and WB’s lawyers have been told the book will be a “print version” of the Lexicon. Which has chapters, quotes and illustrations directly from the HP series. Is this where the problem lies?

If SVA was just putting out a book of his own essays and drawings inspired by HP, I would back him completely, but there is so much of her original work on his site, I think there is much in the way of copyright infringement.

SVA does give WB the trademark mention at the bottom of every page, but nothing towards JKR’s copyright.

Hindsight being 20/20 he should have gone to JKR first.

I believe she is correct in trying to stop the publication. And hope it can be worked out peacefully.

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I’ve always had a lot of respect for the Lexicon. This is all a bit of a shock. Thanks to Leaky for providing fans with the transparency they desire and posting all this info. Want more details before I pass judgement.

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opps, messed up that post above…here we go

“Isn’t there a rule about non-author written sequels, prequels and fictional companion books being written so many years after the original authors death? Hence the many Peter Pan and Jane Austen sequels out there?” Posted by marillawhite on November 01, 2007 @ 06:04 PM

I think it is 70 years after an author dies. It also depends on the type of work and when it was published, and what country.

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As much as I would gladly purchase a copy of the Lexicon to put on my shelf, I do believe the rights to such an encyclopedia belong to Jo. I have been a fan of the Lexicon and Steve since I first discovered it only months after it was created, and simply cannot believe they have been involved in anything like this. I can’t wait to hear Steve and Leaky’s take on this!

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Beating up on a school librarian—yes, I think so. And one of us, too, a major fan. I agree-shame on Rowling. Shame on fans, too, for jumping all over this person who is one of us and who cannot currently speak up for himself. What’s wrong with you people?! Legal-schmegal. This is not morally right.

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RJ: Legally, I think its debatable, hence the lawsuit. And cut and paste is in my opinion, a credit to Steve. He is VERY good at referencing, and he references ALL Of his facts, its what makes the lexicon so great. When you write a scientific paper to be published, you can directly quote as much of another persons paper as you like as long as you properly reference it. Steve’s lexicon in my opinion, is much more like a scientific paper then a story or ficitonal work.

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The statement on the RDR website sounds like they’re try to cover their asses. Sound’s like a bunch of babies to me.

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I”m sure from the moment the email was first sent to Steve, his hands were tied. That being said, you would think that he would have (or should have) gotten some sort of tacit approval to do something like this before he shopped the book to a publisher. Did he think of copyright infringement when he started the book? Or, perhaps, did RDR publishing contact him and get the ball rolling. I think there’s more to his side of the story than is out there.

Bottom line, though…JKR and WB will win, hands down. At least some charity will benefit from it.

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If Rowling’s projected encyclopedia is so similar to the already exsisting Lexicon – then there is no point in her wasting her time and talent in producing it. Rowling is an artist. I wish she’d stop squandering her gifts by involving herself in murky lawsuits.

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“What’s wrong with you people?! Legal-schmegal. This is not morally right.”

It is morally right to protect your intellectual property. On the other hand, it’s not moral for fans to think that Harry Potter is theirs to do with as they please.

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Ashes & Corey “Steve isn’t using JKR’s material, hes compiling it all into a reference work, referencing her material, I don’t believe is illegal.”

Read the details of the lawsuit and you’ll see that Jo asked for a copy to verify whether or not it infringes on her work. The publisher would not give it. Original work is allowed to be sold. Personal thoughts on HP are allowed to be sold. Copy and pasting is allowed for non-profit sharing. Copying and selling not is illegal.

Steve is hardly the only one who has done a lot of un-compensated work on a fan site. He’s not even the only one to win an award on Jo’s site.

Jo does not use Lexicon to get new ideas. Just as a reminder because the site is a regurgitation of her OWN work.

Google turns up 632,000 results for “Harry Potter fansites.” That’s a lot of people sharing, comparing, and discussing Jo’s work. None of that is for financial gain.

And no, Corey, it’s not about money taken from Jo. It’s money taken from charity. Anything from Jo’s own encyclopedia is for charity. Anything gained from this lawsuit goes to charity too.

Libby, I think you’re the only sane one here.

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I agree James

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lucky-lou

Who’s not moraly right? So its morally to make money off of someone else’s hard work? Yes Jo has made tons of money off the books and is why all the money made off her future books about HP will go to Charity. But should someone make ANY profit off of her 17 years of hard work? I dont say its not about money because if it was then he would have said he would contribute his part to charity as well.

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But he is selling it for profit. While he has the site, it is ok. It is free.

I’m a member of some groups who make Star Trek and Doctor Who fan films. These are films are ok, as long as they are not sold for profit. The BBC and CBS are ok with it. If these films are sold at conventions, then those companies will be very cross.

A while ago George Lucas sued someone because they were selling material that while fanmade, was still containing copyrighted material.

All of you people slagging JKR off, take a moment and think about. Read some of the other posts here, they know a lot more then me. She is only doing what is right to protect her property.

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I’ve said it before on other comment boards and I say it again (just for fun) – Steve was very very very foolish to even think about publishing a book version of Lexicon.

its all about stoppingmaking people making profit from your creations without your authorisation. Its as simple as that and perfectly justified.

What is sad is how easy it is for so called Jo fans to turn immediately against her when anything apparently negative surfaces without giving thought to a valid reason for her actions. I am glad to see this article but I am puzzled as to how we are getting to read all this detail as I thought no one should be commenting!

Anyway, Jo Rocks – yeah I am a biased fan ;)

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“It is morally right to protect your intellectual property. On the other hand, it’s not moral for fans to think that Harry Potter is theirs to do with as they please.”

Exactly! Thank you.

No one asked Steve to create the Lexicon. And it’s cool that he spent all that time and effort updating and cataloging the site, but none of that gives him any legal right to profit off of JKR’s work. You can’t just compile all that info into a new package and sell it as your own. It doesn’t work that way.

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at least put ur tales of beedle the bard on the internet

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I’m with Jo on this. I mean, how many jobs has she created with her writing? All the websites, movie productions, and books have meant jobs for people out of thin air, just from her writing from her imagination. But you give people an inch, they’ll try to grab a foot. No good deed goes unpunished. I bet she’d rather take a beating than have to deal with this, especially considering it involves one of her biggest fans. Not in the brochure when she signed up for the job, I’m sure.

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I can’t even process the fact that some people are STILL on Steve, and the Lexicon’s side in this matter. It was pretty clear yesterday, just by the brief info we got, that Jo and the WB tried to reason with RDR and Steve, and they were ignored, and even treated rudely.

The facts are there. The Lexicon is an online encyclopedia of JK Rowling’s work. It’s allowed to exist in it’s website form because it is free. Now Steve and RDR are trying to make a profit from it, while ignoring Jo’s wishes. And to make things worse, everyone knows Jo is making her own encyclopedia. People are saying, “yes, but Steve’s Lexicon version is different, because Jo won’t include those mundane details, so both should be allowed.” Guess what. How does ANYONE know what will and won’t be included in Jo’s version? OR what is included in Steve’s? And if it really is just a printed version of the lexicon, and you’re upset that you now won’t get to own it, why don’t you just visit the website like you always did?

Seriously, what the hell kind of fan is Steve to try and “compete” with his favorite author by releasing his own version first? Something tells me his reality has been blurred a bit. Yes, he obviously put a lot of work into organizing Jo’s world for the fans. But, that work is still not much more than a online filing cabinet of Jo’s creations. Just because you copied and/or pasted things from different sources, doesn’t entitle you to the rights to those words, and the characters, and the story.

Though, honestly, it does seem like his biggest mistake in this matter was letting RDR handle the WB and Jo, instead of talking to them himself. I mean, can you imagine how it must feel for Jo to HAVE TO sue a big fan of hers like this?

It’s obvious this decision wasn’t entered into lightly. Just look at the many other HP-related fan books, music, stories, and art out there. Most don’t, but some ARE making a profit. Obviously, she’s really lax when it comes to copyright infringement, and giving her fans a chance to use her characters to express themselves in different ways. But there’s a line there, and Steve obviously crossed it. And as soon as he knew that Jo was not okay with this book, that should have been the end of things. Steve should be ashamed, and RDR are really screwing him and themselves over by trying to “bite back” and argue this thing.

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To me, the issue isn’t so much if JKR has the legal right to sue as it is if she should give a break to someone who loves her work so much that he’s put countless hours into organizing it. She hasn’t started her encyclopedia, last I heard. It might not come out for years. Everyone’s going to buy it anyway to see what the additional information is. In the meantime, it might be nice for some people to have a print resource of various information.

I don’t know Steve Vander Ark or much about him, but the way I see it is, Steve scratched JKR’s back. He loved her books and even once helped her in the writing of one, albeit in a small way, as she herself has said. Now she’s failing the “you scratch mine” part of the original “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.”

Her own organization isn’t always very good. There are essays and message board threads about the countless mistakes you can find in the books, from character information to timelines that don’t make sense. Personally, if I were her I’d say, “Hey, thanks, Steve. Maybe when I get all my new information in order we can re-publish your encyclopedia with my stuff added. I really appreciate all the time you’ve taken from your life to make such a good resource for my fans.”

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This is soooo embarrassing! Imagine what she must be saying reading all the hurtfull and hatefull comments being made about her about outing DD and now all these hurtfull and hatefull comments about her on this matter that she had no choice but to make.

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To all the people that are commenting, make sure you read this ENTIRE post before commenting. I really dislike it when people make misinformed comments and it makes you look stupid. Anyways, I’m really disappointed in Steve. Even if his lawyers told him they would take care of it, after that first e-mail he should have been like No I’ll deal with this. I mean, come on, Jo was e-mailing him directly. He really needs to get on the ball and make amends with Jo so he doesn’t lose every cent he’s made in the past with the website.

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will someplease explain to me how lawyers can stop publicaiton of a book that they say by their own admission, they HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN???

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I too would like to know TLC’s views on all this. They are reminding us at the bottom of their stories that the HPL is part of their family thing. Im sure many fans want to know-especially with Melissas plans for her book-I know they are different books but still, interesting.

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Emily, actually Jo’s agent was emailing him directly. Prehaps you should read the entire post again. ;)

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What I really want to know is that if its not about the profit on Steves part and the book is supposly just a print out of the website then why wouldnt we be able to do that ourselves??? We can print out the website right now if we all wanted to! And it would be for FREE! SO why do it through a publishing agency and price it at $24.95? Are we paying $24.95 for it to be bound??? lol… it’s rediculous…

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Great post Maria

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JKR created Harry Potter, the Lexicon is about the books/characters JKR created thus it’s hers to decide what happens and what books are published. He has no right to take what she made and sell it. The free website is one thing. As for her using it so what! She’s out and around and she doesn’t have her notes and checks there that doesn’t mean she has to let him make money off her. I can’t believe someone would have the audacity to try to write the book she already promised to write. Talk about trying to beat someone to the punch. Yes her book will have more ‘new’ knowledge as well as what we already know, but it will (at least for what I was expecting) have much of the same stuff if not all the Steve would be publishing—how is it okay to use her book to make money.

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“will someplease explain to me how lawyers can stop publicaiton of a book that they say by their own admission, they HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN???”

Well obviously because the title implies it is a straight lift of JKR’s intellectual property and, since the publishers have refused to show the contents to prove otherwise, the lawyers are proceeding on the understanding that there is a copyright infringement.

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jo didn’t email steve directly from what we’ve been told. she sent her “people” to do it… agents and lawyers. i agree with the big lion attacking the small mouse theory.

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“will someplease explain to me how lawyers can stop publicaiton of a book that they say by their own admission, they HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN???”

They haven’t seen it because Steve’s publishers have refused to give them a copy.

Also, JKR, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, WB, and others own the copyrights. If they don’t want a book published, especially if their efforts at seeing the book have been ignored, that’s their right. They’re absolutely entitled to defend their property from what they see as infringement.

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Having spent the better part of my afternoon reading both sides of this debate, I can express only one thing for sure, which is that JK Rowling has - time and time again - gone above and beyond to reach out and happily coexist with her fans and the fan sites. There was a time when authors, creators, and production houses regularly and rabidly went after fansites in other fandoms with Cease and Desist Orders just for daring to display a handful of screen-captures, and (to my knowledge) neither JKR nor Warner Brothers has ever done this to us. They have recognized the value of the fandom to excite and invigorate the franchise, and even opened up wider connections, granting outstanding fansites such as Mugglenet and Leaky more access, and graciously allowed (and in JKR’s case, even promoted) webmasters to provide free content to the fans.

Whatever the legalities involved, I am saddened to think that, because of any of this, JKR and Warner Brothers might now begin to rethink allowing such activities, and that cornerstones of the online Harry Potter community (such as the Leaky image galleries or the online Lexicon) might now be in danger. One of the joys of this fandom has been the wealth of information, imagery, and movie clips that have proven to the copywrite-concerned companies that free online sharing of their copywrited images and information will encourage and increase rather than harm their profit, acting as free and positive PR.

JKR has time and time again respected and encouraged all manner of fandom activities that directly and legally infringe her creative property - including the Lexicon, fan art, fanfiction, image galleries, etc. - and to my knowledge all she has asked in return is that her original ownership of this world she invested 17 years of her life in be respected, and that people do not attempt to turn a profit on the coat-tails of those 17 years without permission. In light of her past positive relations with the Lexicon, I am surprised and saddened that the staff of the Lexicon either did not consult with her on this project or respect her wishes after she granted them such overwhelming leniency with her work (something she was certainly never under obligation to do) in the past, and that they might have now made JKR, her publishers and Warner Brothers reconsider allowing the fandom such reign.

JKR has respected and encouraged the fandom from the beginning. Regardless of the dollars involved, I believe she has earned our respect in turn and that her wishes in this matter should have been followed in the spirit of continued good will.

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I don’t know why things were struck through, up there… I didn’t intend to put in any strikethrough, and don’t think I can go back and fix it… Ack! Any mods out there who can help me?

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Great post afterthree

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Nothing to debate. Harry Potter is hers.

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Excellent post, afterthree!

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Conveniently, I just took a class that dealt with “Fair Use” under copyright law…which is where I think this would fall. There are a few key aspects that are looked at when deciding if you are using copy written material under Fair Use guidelines. The 2 that are glaring to me are that it cannot cause financial loss to the copyright holder, and that you can’t use more than 10% of the copy written material. Obviously this book has the potential to cause financial loss to Jo/Scholastic (read-the charity she’s donating the profits to). And if the book contains even a time line, it’s going to be copying 10% of the material, because the series of events in the book is a significant part of the material. So even if Steve and his publishers wanted to claim that it was Fair Use…they would have no case.

Obviously siding with Jo. She has every right to object to someone else profiting off of her work. Yes, Steve worked to organize it, but as others have said, without Jo he wouldn’t have had it to organize. Organizing information doesn’t make you an artist…it makes you a secretary.

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Judging how UGLY and undesign and messy to negative Lexicon’s site is, his book version probably would be just as ugly and undesign and no way I’d want that to pollute my bookshelf.

I guess judging from what Steve-defenders are saying, I can also take what’s on his site as a ‘reference’ and publish my own lexicon book too, I would do a much better and prettier job. I have the same entitlement too.

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For thoughts who are against Jo on this one you need to wake up and smell the copyright. Go read up on it along with fair use, Steve has crossed the line big time and has taken advantage at Jo’s leniency.

Some of you have no idea how lenient she is. Fan fiction, fan art, filks est. Some Authors wouldn’t allow such a thing never mind encourage them openly.

At the same time though there has been a lot of abuse towards Steve. People also need to stop doing this and wait for him to defend himself. It’s obvious he’s been told not to comment at this moment in time.

It’s sad Jo had to resort to this and it’s couldn’t be settled another way. And as for certain person who said Jo should let he creations go because the books are finished and she shouldn’t do any more. Shame on you she happens not to be quite done yet and wishes to do something else both for charity and to please her fans.

Also what’s wrong with Jo using the lexicon when she couldn’t get a hand on her own books at the time to use as a reminder. Sorry she can’t remember every detail of the book she’s been writing for years, sorry she is only human.

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Thank you Rosa P! ”...if its not about the profit on Steves part and the book is supposly just a print out of the website then why wouldnt we be able to do that ourselves??? We can print out the website right now if we all wanted to! And it would be for FREE!”

Steve could have just added a “printer-friendly” icon to the site.

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Nicely put Yuck!!!

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wow leave it to the internet to once again disillusion me to how unbelievebly quick to judge people can be. no wonder there are so many wars in the world, you hear one side of an argument and everyones ready to pick up their pitch forks and tar and feather either Jo or Steve. WE HAVE NOT HEARD BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT PEOPLE.

shame on you for passing any sort of judgement based on one article found on leaky. it disgusts me that anyone could think they could form an educated opinion based on what we know. did the daily prophit not teach you anything? everyone has an agenda, never make a judgement based on ONE source of facts.

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Books_4_eva I think you were refering to me and for your information I didnt say she let her creations go and should be finished with the books. I said Im surprised after all the abuse she has taken that she hasnt done so yet. Its very hard to be in the media and talked about as it is for witchcraft, gay rights, ect. then to be bashed continuously over and over again by supposed fans must be depressing.

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Thank you siyrean. Great analogy. Let’s make love not war fellow fans!

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Great post, afterthree.

And for those of you using the “One of Us” theory, seriously, that works when you’re 12 but not so much after. Come on, is that really how you define yourself? Is it really “the members of my fandom right or wrong!” Pul-eaze.

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Seems to me that the HP train and JKR is become a tad sue happy lately..Everything from extra companion books to bamboo hogwarts models ..Harry is every where and a part of the 21st century. SHe has enough money and if the fans didn’t want more more more Harry we wouldn’t buy it. This takes nothing from her or us..so its time to let it go and quit jumping on the USA sue happy wagon.

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I totally agree with Jo on this matter, BUT

what’s going on with steve? i mean this is our steve, why would our steve have reacted in such a way

i expect pottercast to address this or even get steve on (of course he might not be able to if there are legal restrictions)

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lol why what could his defence possibly be that Jo obviously hasnt heard from them already before she made this public?!

Jo is the only one in this who deserves support. Steve say ££££$$$$ and he is stealing from jo. That is not allowed!! Its not that hard to understand guys, please come on, how can he be justified!! Its absurd. Some people here look at Steve like a bloody celebrity. Its wrong. Big deal he took Jos info and put it in some order. Wow. Doesnt give him the right to publish it in encyclopedia form-especially when we as fans have known for several years it was what she planned to do herself-FOR CHARITY.

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The statement on the RDR website sounds like they’re try to cover their asses. Sound’s like a bunch of babies to me.

Posted by Lamb on November 01, 2007 @ 06:17 PM

They must have taken it down already, I don’t see it. What did it say?

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that was not me

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It is incredibly clear to me that Rowling and the WB are completely within their right to do this. That being said, when RDR and Vander Ark lose the suit, will TLC and Melissa, who has said she is completely loyal to Jo and the integrity of the Harry Potter series, remain affiliated with a webmaster who so blatantly infringed upon Jo’s rights for his own personal monetary gain?

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Bethers

Why is it Sue Happy?? If you spent 17 years of your life creating something out of thin air why wouldnt you defend it???? And dont go there about JK having enough money. She planned on doing the same thing with more info on HER OWN work and donating it to Charity not her own pocket like Steve and RDR.

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I’m with Jo on this one. Steve has no right to make money from Jo’s work. He should have asked her fist. She said already that no permission was asked. It’s her creation not Steve’s.

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I have four comments to make:

1. – I’m finding this publisher rather odd – what harm would have come from sending Christopher Little a copy of the book? They may have agreed to let the publication continue (or they might have still sued, but its not like giving them a copy of the book would automatically mean that if they didn’t like it they could stop publication). Reminds me of how I feel about New Line lately as they for some strange reason are unable to do what Peter Jackson asked either (though the LotR cases are completely separate and to do with financial issues, not copyright).

2. – I thought that the DVD timeline may come into it. And I was right.

3. – While at first I thought that Steve was stuck in the middle, I am now starting to agree with others that he does seem to be getting a little too big for his boots. Until he makes some form of public comment though I’m going to reserve judgement.

4. – Fantastic journalism by Leaky – we have news outlets here in Australia who would most likely ‘forget’ to mention they are partners/owned by the same company or whatever. Yet if you were here I’m guessing that you wouldn’t fall under those guidelines, but you still do the right thing. Plus your coverage is non-biased as well – its a good example for other media outlets.

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Thats sooooooooooo out of order!!! i’m glad jo’s not taking it and takin action!!! we’re all behind you jo!!!!!!!

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http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7299302&nav=menu44_2

According to Woodtv.com (link above)

“Publisher Roger Rapoport of RDR Books saw the site and got with the editor to make a book version. Now, though, less than a month until the publishing date, Rapoport ran into problems with Rowling.”

May not have been SVA’s idea, but he went along with it.

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“They must have taken it down already, I don’t see it. What did it say?”

There’s a link right on their front page. It’s basically the publishers playing the “this big meany is picking on a small book company, why me?”

Well, because you are illegally selling a book that has copywrite info.

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I’m still 100% with Steve and I think WB and Jo did use his work without paying. So it’s just proper that the lawyers use it. What people must understand is that it’s her world, her characters and plots., but it is not the world the characters or the plots the real content of Lexicon or the book. It’s content is the organization of information and the quick way to know things. I worked in a Brazilian site for four years and i have used Lexicon a lot to translate the news about her website, for insytance. I have all the books, but when I had to know if some character mentioned at her website (like that member of Weirds sisters) had already appeared in the books, I wouldn’t reread all of them, I would use the Lexicon. When there was a character with Dragon-Pox, I would use the Lexicon. I have worked on similar stuff and I know it is not easy nor quick. As a matter of fact, this is Steve’s area of expertise, he is a librarian, someone whose work is to organize information. The mere existence of information doesn’t mean it is easy to know it. Just think of Google, what people woukld with the net if there weren’t sites like Google, altavista and Yahoo? The information is there, but it is almost useless, if we don’t have easy ways to access it. Steve did a work in his area of expertise – to make it simpler and quicker to access information about HP. WB has repeatedly stated that they used his site (and not only his timeline – the time line isn’t in the books, btw, he had to deduce it from sparse information) in DVDs and films. He was always gracious about that use. but now, it is different, people are just ignoring all the enormous effort he had to compile and organize all this information. I think Jo is being ignoirant and arrogant, when she doesn’t admit there are different creative works here and Steve is not stealing hers (but she has stolen his, a lot). Steve has already helped her make a lot of money, because WB used his work and I suspect the foreign language translators did too (when the RAB issue transpired, it was evident there was a large group of translators consulting him). now she could just admit it and let it be.

Now just an example. Do you think that people that make dictionaries should pay Jo copyright when they add the words Muggle and Quidditch in their new editions? No? Well, Steve’s work is similar.

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at first, i wasnt too sure which side i was on here, but after reading all this, i think im on JKRs side. it seems like they gave the publishers every chance to work this out and were pretty much denied. at some point, you have to take action.

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This matter was out of Steve’s hands when he signed with RDRRDR could do anything to him if he says or does something that could potentially harm them in any way. HE hasn’t behaved badly, they have.

JKR is certainly within her rights. That being said, I don’t think she should do this. So what if they make money off of it? What dire consequences follow? It won’t take anything from her or the charities she hopes to benefit with her own encyclopedia.

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If he just changed the title to the “unofficial HP Lexicon” would he be allowed to print it? Why can other sites print their books, like mugglenet or the great snape debate? It doesn’t seem like Steve to do this.

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Steve’s online “fame” has gone to his head, now he thinks he can get away with making money off of Jo’s work. He should have asked permission first then there would have been no problems here, although I doubt she would have given him the OK even then. Good for Jo protecting her work!!!!!

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I should really read the whole lawsuit before I post. I realize now that Jo is in the right and that Steve is steeling her work to make money. A free Lexicon online is one thing, but to sell it in a book without permission is another. Shame on Steve.

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And, funnily enough, the Lexicon has turned off their comments. Though I suppose that could be for legal reasons as well.

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It’s her work he’s reorganized and now he’s trying to make money off of it. Plus it’s going to compete with the encyclopedia she’s writing FOR CHARITY. She has every right to sue.

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dude steal someone elses name please, its the internet, its not like anyone will know who you are either way. i’m am not making any judgement till i have a lot more information.

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oh sorry Rosa P it kind of got mixed together with eveything else I was getting a little annoyed.

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dude steal someone elses name please, its the internet, its not like anyone will know who you are either way. i’m am not making any judgement till i have a lot more information.

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Completely agree Wydok.

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This blind, thoughtless following of a celebrity is unbelievable. Can’t you people see she’s bigger than he is and she’s going to win and she’s going to hurt a person very badly to do it? It doesn’t matter if she’s right legally. She has the power to give this super-fan a break, and she isn’t going to do it. She will crush this man, both his finances and his reputation. He’s a librarian, for god’s sake, not some sleazy Rita Skeeter type. He was not going to get rich off of her story, and he was not going to take food out of the mouths of caged children in Eastern Europe either. There will be people now who will turn their backs on Ms. Rowling because of her Cruella DeVille tactics toward fans and not buy her book, whenever it comes out—that will take money away from the charity, which is a darned shame.

Ms. Rowling is hurting her own cause. If even one child suffers another day because of her ignorance, greed, and possessiveness over this petty issue, she will have negated one day of good she may have brought to the world if she had just kept her focus on the bigger, more important things.

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And another thing, Steve should have just asked permission to use Jo’s work. I mean, who in there right mind would take someone else’s work and try to sell it for money?

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@FflippingTonks:

Analysis and criticism of another person’s work is within the rights of “fair use”, so The Great Snape Debate and the Mugglenet prediction books analyze the events in the HP series. What this guy is doing is just reprinting information we already have directly from the books.

Unless he plans on including the analysis and criticism included in the Lexicon, but then that means he should be sued by the people who wrote those essays.

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@lilypad

How are children suffering by preventing the Lexicon to be printed? Is it going to be printed on Cancer-curing paper?

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LilyP you should re read the comments before posting. Its already been discussed and solved that as long as theres less than 10% of what is HP word for word then its legal. The deffinitions for Muggle and Quidditch are deffinitely less than 10% of the seven books combined. So yes Dictionaries should be able to add those in without permission. Its perfectly legal.

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“Ms. Rowling is hurting her own cause. If even one child suffers another day because of her ignorance, greed, and possessiveness over this petty issue, she will have negated one day of good she may have brought to the world if she had just kept her focus on the bigger, more important things.”

Umm, I don’t want to become involved in this argument, but I do believe that the website says that any money won is going to charity. How is a child going to suffer because of it? Fact still remains that whether we believe it’s morally right or wrong, legally she has the right to her material, and its up to the courts to decide.

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Here’s the thing, Steve’s timeline is made up of all of Jo’s characters, places etc. The point is it is not Steve’s info so he has no rights to it. Just because he took Jo’s information and put it in another format does not makes it his. Come on people. Those of us in the US (not sure when other countries are taught) learn about plagiarism and copyright somewhere around age 10. For Steve to think he has any rights to Jo’s characters is crazy and all of you who think he has a right to publish her work need to go back to basic 6th grade English class. When you see sequels to classics like Pride and Prejudice or Gone with the Wind it is because the copyright has expired or the family of the author has given permission. Neither is the case with what Steve is trying to do. How sad for a so called Harry Potter Fan to do this to Jo. If I was Jo I would feel like I was stabbed in the back. WB has granted Steve access to the movie sets, he has got to do so much that so many of us wish we could do in the HP world. He was given this treatment because Jo saw the work he did on his website and acknowledged it. What did she get in return? What she got was a so called fan that used her and WB to make a buck. It does not matter if Jo has all the money in the world. It is not about her making money it is about her right to protect her work. The difference between Melissa’s book and Mugglenet’s book is that they are not taking Jo’s material and repackaging it as their own material. Mugglenet’s book was an opinion book and Melissa is about the fans of HP not about the characters of HP. Jo please know that there are so many of us behind you on this and you have so many fans that just love Harry Potter as a great story and we would never think to use your hard word to profit for ourselves. You and only you have a right to say who gets to use your beloved world of Harry Potter.

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lilypad, she asked them to stop since sept 12th and they denied her requested, she was ignore and treated rudely. Stop being a fangirl of Steve’s and actually read the lawsuit. If it wasn’t for Jo and her creation Steve would never have even been to make a free lexicon online, then it get to his big head and try to sell it as his own work….

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Thank you Lamb! I was going to the wrong RDR publisher website

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Go to RDRBooks.com and read their statement. You will laugh. A LOT. “Knowing that the Harry Potter novels have had a profound effect in encouraging literacy among young people around the world, we believe that publishing the website content in printed form will 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.” LOL! Steve is just trying to help teh childrenz!

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@Lilypad

You are unbelievable! How can she give Steve a break and not everyone else?? Explain how she can possibly do that without looking unfair? If she gives him a break then everyone on Mugglenet would have a hissy fit! You cant do that to people. We all as fans are being treated equal by her doing this. Shes saying this is not right and I wont let ANYONE do it.

@ Books_4_eva

Its ok. I figured you got messed up thats why I wanted to let you know. No harm done!!! ;)

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Maybe some else spotted and mentioned this earlier on this board but I just noticed The Lexicion link on top of the Leaky Page does not work anymore. Click on it, it takes you to Podcast! Is Leaky disassociating themselves from Lexicon for the moment?? Until this issue is over?

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I forgot to address an issue in my previous post. there are lot of companion books in the market. why did Jo go against Steve’s and only his? Perhaps I’m too harsh on Jo, but it seems to me that it’s because she knows he would write the definitive encyclopedia, not she. People are writing here about lots of works done by lots of sites and that all this work was non-profit. Yes, but even so, there is one site everybody uses when a quick reference is needed(including WB), and it’s not Jo’s. It’s the Lexicon. The real reason why the Lexicon is being sued is because it is a very good work and everyone really interested in a printed encyclopedia would want it. And I sincerely doubt Jo has the competence to write an encyclopedia similar to the one Steve did. she is always messing up her timelines in the books. she also uses different names for some spells or for Departments of the MoM. A tool like the one Steve has built would have helped her a lot not to make those mistakes. Her encyclopedia will be interesting and appealing only if it something along the lines of her previous companion books, where the creativity is the important thing, not accuracy. So I hope she realizes her creative work is something completely different from Steve’s and real fans want both.

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Amy S, that’s hilarious. Give me a break, they are hoping to make money off the fans who already go to the online Lexicon not the poor starving childernz in 3rd world countries who don’t have internet access, but are huge HP fans and want more info and want to put money in the pocket of some “fan” steeling Jo’s work….

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I can hear Maud Flanders now “Wont somone please think of the children?” lol Saint Steve, saviour of underpriviliged children who need an encyclopedia for a book they were probably too poor to buy. Great work RDR, dig the hole deeper!

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Very interesting to read. Well done by Jo’s and WB’s lawyers. Cant understand why they wanted to do a book out of the lexicon anyway. I mean most of the fact is in the books and you got your site.

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I cant read the entire statement on the RDR website! It makes me sick!!! How can they market the book through the law suit lmao… And to top it off some of the stuff their saying is rediculous!! It specifically says that its the same thing as the website. So why would I pay for it??? When I can print it on my own for FREE!!!

For anyone who wants to know, I work for a printing company. Anyone who wants it bound can shoot me an email! Trust me its a lot cheaper than $24.95!! And if your imoverished and underprivileged than Ill give you a discount! lmao….

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I’m so silly, I need to learn to read the entire artical and all the other comments on the board before commenting myself. There IS a difference between the lexicon book and the other books which are just fans giving their take on HP, where the lexicon takes Jo’s info and is trying to sell it. That’s just wrong Steve…. I wish he would have thought about this before he sold the lexicon book for some quick cash.

I feel bad for the fans who are dumb enough to buy the book and put money in his pocket.

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@LilyP

The past companion books were written as a oppinion/theory book. Thats why Mugglenet was able to publish that book and not their version of the encyclopedia.

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BTW, the Lexicon link still works. It is the TLC link. The links are still off since the site reconstruction. The Lexicon link actually leads you to Accio Quote, Acccio to the shop and so on.

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I just read that other fans, including the mugglenet staff had planned on making their of lexicon type book but they were asked to stop and they did!!!!! Then there was someone else in Europe who was doing the same thing and asked to stop and did, yet Steve and his publishers wont. That’s sick. I thought Steve was a big fan of Jo’s, why would he do this to her?

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Oh, and I guess all Jo is asking is that the money made from the lexicon book go to charity. I agree with her. Steve has no right to profit off her work. It would be nice of him and the publishers to give the money to a charity, maybe a charity that will help these poor kids that don’t have internet access, or maybe the money could go to buying kids computers so they can see the already free online version of the lexicon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Lexicon is not working! Or is just my comp??? Someone else check…

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I think JKR’s doing the right thing.

Fan-entitlement issues, much?

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SORRY! its my stupid computer!!!! The site is not down!!

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RDR Books is really wrong. Their statement makes them look like idiots.

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sorry if this has been mentioned but I see Jo’s agents have answered some Leaky questions-

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.

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Lilyp, get your FACTS right okay? For the last time, all the theories books (including the Mugglenet book) out there are allowed within limits because they fall under academic studies and critical, meaning their content is the writer’s opinion and theories on Harry Potter books. This is NOT WHAT STEVE is putting in his book. What Steve is doing is purely lifting dates, names and facts from the harry potter books and re-arrange them as a encylopedia/Lexicon. There is NO opinion, NO criticism, NO academic analysis involved. That is NOW ALLOW. Are you that stupid to understand this difference? Have you ever taken a literature class? Know what ‘literary analysis’ is? That is not what Steve’s book is, his are straight facts COPY from books and that is copyright infringement.

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“Lexicon has no rights in Harry Potter.”

Exactly

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I can’t believe the lexicon could be so careless. now, they may never be able to right any Harry Potter related book because they couldn’t comply with JKR or WB’s initial four requests to see the book. If they’d just let them see the book and made any necessary changes, they might’ve still been able to sell it. I’m so shocked that Steve Vander Ark and the lexicon couldn’t comply with any of Jo’s requests when they owe so much to her.

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1st Amendment Rights? C’mon RDR you can do better than that. If you want to talk Constitutionality, what about your move to impede Jo’s rights to the books and the fact that the Lexicon would be making a profit off of this?

Besides, why would I want to pay 25 bucks for something I can just get for free on the internet? Plus I can just click on links instead of having to look up and flip through pages.

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Yes, RDR… “underpriveleged children in impoverished countries” routinely have 24.95 to spend on HP ripoff books. Their parents sure wouldn’t buy food or medicines with that money (if I roll my eyes any more today they’re going to get stuck like this). Can we assume RDR will be donating several hundred thousand copies of this book to each of those underpriveleged kiddies without computers? I’m betting not.

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Yuck, you are completely right. I really need to learn my laws and learn how to read properly. I’m so slow sometimes when it comes to this stuff. I feel bad for Steve, but why would he do this to Jo if he’s a fan of her work? Why would he steel from her. I don’t understand.

I also feel bad for Jo, it looks like she truly asked him and the publishers to stop and they didn’t. It’s her creation, not Steve’s to sell.

I’m disappointed in Steve…

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Mom Weasley, exactly what I was thinking.

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What I mean about Ms. Rowling’s Cruella DeVille tactics hurting her cause is that there will be people now who will not buy her encyclopedia for charity when it does come out because of her actions. That will hurt the children. Her cruel actions in this are not worth taking that chance, in my view, for whatever small gain she would get in money for the charity. Mr. Vander Ark has helped Ms. Rowling by helping build up her fan base over the years as well as helping her books be taken seriously be being something worth having a reference written about them at all. The first time he needs help, she crushes him in public and defames his reputation through the media and Internet websites. Not pretty.

She’s more powerful than he is—we all agree on that. Where’s the compassion?

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I need to learn the laws and I need to properly read the lawsuit that was filed. Steve has no rights to Harry Potter at all.

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I’m rather upset that Steve seems to have tried to take Jo’s work, order it differently and then try to sell it to us. I would think a librarian would know copyright laws and would understand he’s breaking them.

I’m just glad that Leaky remains such a respectable site.

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Disappointed in him? Seriously people…it’s like going into someone’s garage and stealing their lawnmower. The man uses characters he did NOT create, in a world he did NOT create, and from books he did NOT create. He is a thief, plain and simple.

Shame on any fans who did not support Jo in this—she does not HAVE (yet she generously tolerates fanfic) to give any licence whatsoever to anyone concerning her intellectual property. Steve just got too big for his britches and tried to cash in with the snakes at his publishers.

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Oh, and she asked plenty of time since Sept 12th to stop the book being published but Steve and the publishers refused and treated Jo and her people rudely. She did all should could to protect her work, and when they didn’t comply she took the next step. I have no doubt she feels bad about the way this ended up, but she has to protect her creation. It’s her not Steve’s.

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I havent read through all these comments yet, but I did see someone make a really ridiculous and immature statement on the first page about Leaky, so I just wanted to say a quick word myself (I’m sure others have already said the same):

I want to congratulate you on your professionalism during what I am sure is a very difficult time. I’m sure it has to be tough to report on this stuff, yet you have been completely upfront about everything. You’ve handled this news with journalistic integrity, and have not shied away from full disclosure. Congratulations.

Now, I’m off to read through this thread.

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The lexicon link worked for me. It takes you to an intermediate site and you have to hit another link.

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Wizengamut is correct!

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“Rudely” is a word used by JKR’s lawyers—remember that. We’re only hearing THEIR side of the story. I’m sure Steve V. would have plenty to say if he was allowed to say anything by his attorney. He’s probably scared **less by now. I would be.

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I find the following statement from RDR disgusting:

“we believe that publishing the website content in printed form will 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 is trying to give legitimacy to this whole business, but is, in actual fact absolute rubbish. I’ve lived in a developing country for nearly my whole life and have, in fact, known many of those “underpriviledged children” and the truth is, with the illiteracy levels, the shaky publicly funded education, the high price of books and the fact that not everyone can afford to pay for english lessons not to mention that they wouldn’t be able to order the book, not having computer and internet in the first place, I’m sure buying the latest UNOFFICIAL HP encyclopedia will exactly what’s on their minds when it is released.

One small thing, though: just how many of those books are they planning to sell? By that comment it would seem quite a few, which means they would, in fact, be making a great deal of money out of this.

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If Steve is such a big fan why would he use Jo’s hard work and repackage if it’s his own to make money off of. That’s so wrong. People have the right to protect their work, Jo’s is in the right to stop this book from happening.

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It’s completely disgusting Gringa. I hope Steve isn’t backing them up on these sick statements, and for that matter the TLC.

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With TLC’s update, we are now into the realm of “He said, she said” and the “merry-go-round” begins, kids! At least TLC is keeping the readership appraised of what’s happening. Not so, Lexicon, or other sites. How ‘bout we “move on” and just watch, for a while. This is going to go on for a LONNNNGGG time, I’m afraid. I really want to know what’s happening with HBP, now. 387+ posts is quite enough. I think we need to let THEM “sort out their priorities”. JMHO

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Why does everyone think Mr. Vander Ark would make so much money on this? You’ve got to be kidding. He’s not going to sell as many books as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books sell. Who are you kidding? It’s a reference book, for god’s sake. Most people are not going to buy either one of these books-they’re just going to be pages of entries of facts-talk about unexciting reading! It’s like reading a dictionary! References are used for other purposes, for writing papers in school and stuff like that.

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It gave Steve and Lexicon uttered bad image that he’s allied with the likes RDR and now comes their laughable justification. Buying a $25 lexicon would be LAST of an underprivilege kid’s concern. If i’m freaking underprivilege kid with limited money I’d rather save up to buy and enjoyed the actualy harry potter novels. It just seems to me he’s grasping at straws and spelling out that’s he’s really after personal, selfish, greedy monetary gain.

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But I have to realize that money is not the point here. It’s Jo’s work, not Steve’s to sell. If Jo allowed Steve to get away with this, then that give all of us a free rein on her material. I could go to the lexicon right now and re-write what is on there my own way and try to sell it, but that wouldn’t be fair to Steve right? or Jo for that matter.

Man I really am slow at these things. I need to read other peoples post and the entire lawsuit before I make stupid and silly comments.

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OMG Im embaressed by this comment-

“Mr. Vander Ark has helped Ms. Rowling by helping build up her fan base over the years as well as helping her books be taken seriously be being something worth having a reference written about them at all.”

He helped her build her fan base?! How?! Surely his site is used by fans-people who have already read the books and wanted more info. LOL How does that give him credit for building the fanbase?! Its her books, her story, her characters that made the fanbase. Another fine example of people getting confused about who or what Steve is. He is not a celebrity, or an author. He is a fan who got recognition and is using it now to make money.

I certainly took Jos books “seriously” and again I find it absurd anyone can claim that just becuase Steve had the time to set up this online encyclopedia that it makes people take her books seriously. Such daft stuff people are coming out with.

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You know … I think I might now know how Prime Minister Fudge felt when he was told Voldemort was back. He preferred to be in denial as the thought of “he must not be named” was too horrible to bear. I plan to exercise my right to be in denial and ignore all of this.

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So sad. Still no word from Steve. If he has anything worthwhile to say to defend himself, why on earth has he not yet posted it on the Lexicon? Does he not realize his reputation – and by association that of the other people at the Lexicon, and by extension, of so many of us – is suffering more by the minute?

The only thing left for him to do is ditch that RPR outfit, apologize to Jo in public and do whatever he can to settle the matter out of court. Then, maybe, with time, he might regain some sort of standing in the fandom. Until then, I am very sad to lose canon conclundrums.

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That is embarrassing Ryan. Steve has no rights to Jo’s creation. He is steeling her work to make money from and that’s wrong.

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I don’t expect to hear from Leaky regarding their stance on this. Why on earth would I expect or need that? The people at TLC obviously adore Jo and they also have wonderful friends at the Lexicon. I think it’s pretty much a no brainer that TLC staff is sick at heart to see their good friends come down to this. Why on earth would anyone think they need to come out with a statement of support for one beloved friend or the other? Isn’t it enough to know that there is much sadness without demanding bitterness be spread also?

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Melissa, Thanks for presenting this so professionally. You’re the best journalist I’ve ever seen or read.

It makes me sad to see this happen and JKR does have every right to do what she did. Harry Potter is her world. She worked hard to bring it to the world and it’s sad that a fan as well known as Steve made such a bad judgement call. I enjoyed Steve being on Pottercast and admired him for putting together the Lexicon web site, so this leaves me feeling very disappointed in him. In no way does this reflect how I feel about TLC. I am very proud of The Leaky Cauldron and their staff for everything that you’ve done during this trying period.

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oh this is getting so confusing! to me it seems that steve wrote the book thinking he had perfect legal right since everything on the lexicon site is copywrighted. he wrote it and it was set to be published. then jk comes in saying he can’t. then his publishers told him to let them deal with this and they didn’t handle it very well. i don’t think that it is neither jk or steve’s fault. they both feel that they have legal writes to do what they are doing. its all a question of which overrides the other.

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Many many rounds of applause to the TLC staff for providing us with all available information, and for staying (very appropriately) neutral.

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Did the Leaky staff know what Steve was doing? Did they support this before this all came about? They can’t be that stupid to support someone who is trying to make money by publishing a free, online version of gathered info Jo created and charging $25 a book for it.

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“Many many rounds of applause to the TLC staff for providing us with all available information, and for staying (very appropriately) neutral.”

I agree! The fact that TLC could have easily ignored this piece of news and chose not to shows a great deal of integrity. My opinion of the TLC staff has gone up considerably.

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Lacey, Steve has NO RIGHTS to Harry Potter. NONE, ZIP, ZERO. I could sit here and take all the info I can find from the books and make my own chart, but that doesn’t make it mine. It’s Jo’s creation, not mine. I have no right to sell it. Steve’s lucky she has been so nice not to stop his website, but now he’s getting greedy and trying to sell that info in book form for $25.

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(Joining in the round of applause, with budb) Thank you, indeed TLC, for being the “voice of fairness” in this mess. Posting BOTH SIDES, as they “come in”...You definately deserve kudos and thanks!

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lilypad- Please, take your meds and get off the computer!

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“Melissa, Thanks for presenting this so professionally. You’re the best journalist I’ve ever seen or read.

It makes me sad to see this happen and JKR does have every right to do what she did. Harry Potter is her world. She worked hard to bring it to the world and it’s sad that a fan as well known as Steve made such a bad judgement call. I enjoyed Steve being on Pottercast and admired him for putting together the Lexicon web site, so this leaves me feeling very disappointed in him. In no way does this reflect how I feel about TLC. I am very proud of The Leaky Cauldron and their staff for everything that you’ve done during this trying period.”

After taking the time to read through most of the comments… all I can say is this: I agree with you LisaRosa, and all who have voices the same opinion… What a mess! This is just crazy!

So thanks Leaky, and thanks Melissa, for being the absolute opposite of that Skeeter woman, and keeping it as neutral, factual as it can be! I am thorougly impressed…

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I agree that the Leaky Cauldron is to be congratulated for their coverage. They come out smelling like a rose. Reading the article as it is updated and reading the comments is rapidly becoming addictive. I want someone else to make a statement so the article can be updated again! This is good stuff.

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There is so much about the RDR statement that made me chuckle, but the line about making the Lexicon available to “underprivileged children and those in impoverished nations” left me LOL!

Do these people realize how transparent they are?

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There is a person on here posting as me, and it’s annoying and childish. My position is that Ms. Rowling is too big to concern herself with petty lawsuits like this. Anyone who posts as me saying anything otherwise is not me.

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Oh, and BTW everyone, you’ve made it over to Fandom Wank, where they are delightfully watching the crapstorm raging over here, and copying some of the more inane comments verbatim. Congratulations.

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OWG what ever, how dare you pose as me. Your views are stupid and wrong, I’m smart enough to realize that so there is no way you are the real lilypad. Steve has no rights to Harry Potter at all. It’s Jo’s work, no one else’s.

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No one comes out of this looking good. Steve, WB or sadly, Jo Rowling. It’s all very sad that it’s come to this.

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Lilypad- What a moronic comments- had you read everything I’ve been posting it would, ah SHOULD be abundantly clear that I have been on JKR’s side since yesterday when this all started. Why don’t you take you own advice and READ before you post.

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i don’t know about you guys, but i can’t wait for pottercast this week.

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various odds and thoughts, or odd thoughts…

1. from the legal timeline posted on TLC: 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.” Steve is acting correctly, he should not say a word, or at most “This is a sad situation. I like JKR, I have worked well with her in the past, and I hope we can find a friendly resolution to this sad situation.” Anything more than that is inappropriate. Don’t expect to hear from Steve, folks!

2. TLC is not required to have an “opinion”, although we can assume the individual staff members do. They are not required and should not be asked to give their opinions. For legal reasons, it probably would be inappropriate for them to do so.

I would add that like many I come here for information, even rumor…TLC is acting with class, giving us the available information and that’s it.

3. The focus must be on the planned contents of the “lexicon”, and frankly none of us knows what those contents are (were?). 3a. As discussed in detail above, there are sharp limits on how much material can be taken directly from JKR’s works or other copyrighted sources. I won’t rehash that discussion. 3b. IF original essays posted on the HP Lexicon site are the bulk of the planned book, THEN each of those authors must sign a contract with RDR allowing the individual essays to be printed. Such a contract also would spell out what compensation would (or would not) be given to the contributers, even if its just a single free copy.

So, without knowing what the contents are, we can only shake our heads, and wish for a friendly solution to the sad situation.

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Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those commending Leaky for its transparency (acknowledging that the Lexicon is a partner site) and fair and balanced reporting of this news event.

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Obviously there are either two lilypads or you have multiple personality disorder, in either cases I apologize to you (or, ah, both of you) because honestly, I can’t figure you out.

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I’m very happy that Leaky is providing as much information on the subject as they can. Thank you for keeping us so well informed, like always.

I don’t agree with what Steve did. I wonder, however, if he simply made it clear that this was an “Unofficial” encyclopedia, much of this would be avoided. Still, I have a problem with people writing encyclopedisa and other companion books without the authors permission. That is common sense.

Note to everyone, before you decide to publish ANYTHING make sure you understand your country’s and international copyright laws.

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This is really upsetting. It’s truly shocking to me that Steve would try to sell something like an encyclopedia, knowing full well that there will be a real one by JKR very soon. It’s even more shocking that he didn’t just back down, since he supposedly respects JKR. It’s so disheartening to me. I don’t think I can even listen to Canon Conundrums anymore. This feels like a big kick in the stomach, for some reason.

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I’m dying for PotterCast too, Lacey! So sad that Melissa won’t be there…

But I truly hope that it won’t all be about this lawsuit, cuz I’m eager to go back to the usual format With all the crazy newz after crazy newz lately… I wish we could go back in time and all be happy… and argue about stupid stuff like Mister Blood and Mushka the Death Eater… Does anybody else feel the Dementors breeding around here?

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Oh dear, Steve… You aren’t publishing a book about YOUR opinions. You are organizing information from books written by JKR. I’m sorry that you have invested so much time and energy, but in truth, you didn’t think this one through. You are not providing new information based on her work. You are provider HER work in YOUR format. That doesn’t count. Your first amendment right to publish does not work if it isn’t your original ideas. I’m so sorry for this: maybe it would work if you donated the money to charity??? After all, you didn’t start the Lexicon to make a buck. You did it because you appreciated the beauty that was Harry’s world- written by JKR.

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Obviously there are either two lilypads or you have multiple personality disorder, in either cases I apologize to you (or, ah, both of you) because honestly, I can’t figure you out.

Posted by MD

oh, thank you MD, for your yesterday’s comments and today’s! so agree with you. and your last comment made me laugh soooo much! thank you! (still crying from laughter)

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It’s just sad, reading all of this. I wanted to go post something on The Floo site, but they’ve closed their comments.

Thanks TLC for being above the board here and letting us say how we feel.  Thanks for being honest in your affiliation to what must be a tough time for you guys.

If JKR asked him to stop in September, then I have to think Steve (and his staff) should have just told the publisher to stop. People are right, he is stealing her material and asking us to pay for it.

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i was wondering how exactly steve’s book would be a copyright infringement, what makes it different than cliffnotes or a shakespeare guide?

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Jo, he isn’t ask her permission and he’s making money buy selling her info in his format. Steve has no rights to Jo’s creation. He is steeling her work to make money from and that’s wrong.

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well said Mrs. de Mimsy- Porpington!

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Cliff Notes contain analysis, review, commentary and scholarly notation in tandem with synopsis. Cliff Notes also cover work in the public domain, or with the consent of the publishers and authors.

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Do people not get that Harry Potter and it’s wonderful world of magic and buttseck mystery would not exist without her. It is not something that is you know out there waiting for someone else to research and report on.

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thanks aferthree, I wasn’t sure. I’ve now decided that both steve and jk have good points in their cases. i just going to watch what happens and not pick a side.

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This whole double personality lilypad thing is actually really funny! LOL Isn’t there a free bed now, right beside Lockhart? (just kidding! – This is seriously making me crack up!)

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i’m supporting jo in this, partially because it seems like she isn’t aware of what’s explicitly in the book and was told it is just a copy/paste from the book, which is understandable. HOWEVER, what bothers me far more is that the lexicon book is being sued when mugglenet’s ‘unofficial companion book and encyclopaedia’ was published and is being sold:

http://www.amazon.com/Mugglenet-coms-Unofficial-Harry-Potter-Companion/dp/1569756325/ref=sr_1_2/103-7310914-7694211?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193963637&sr=1-2

if the publishers want to win, that’ll be their way. if jo and wb didn’t sue mugglenet for doing the same thing, they can very much use it as leverage to win their case.

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If a TLC staffer is monitoring, could you sort out our Lilypads for us, please?

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Did Steve fall off the short bus and get run over by the back tires? Whatever did he smoke that made him think that the HP lexicon in print would be okay?

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Leaky can tell-they see our ISP’s as well as usernames. They can see which is the real usual Lilypad and which is the fake. They can band the fake. Contact Sue asap to get it done!

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So I’m going to get into trouble for posting my opinion?

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I think that PDR Publishing is more to blame than Steve. Still, I don’t know why he tried to publish the book without asking permission. Maybe he assumed that Jo would be supportive? I don’t know. It’s an unfortunate affair all around.

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I agree that JKR has a right to protect her work, but I just don’t understand why she’s blocking this particular book, when mugglenet & other fans have released books based on Harry Potter. Thank you to the person that said that the distinction is between analysis/interpretation and verbatim reprinting of information from the novels. The only trouble with that distinction is that other “encyclopedias” have been published without being sued by JKR, so what is the difference with the HP Lexicon?

For example,

“The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z,” was published & is still sold without being blocked. What’s the difference?

http://www.buy.com/prod/the-unofficial-harry-potter-encyclopedia-harry-potter-a-z/q/loc/106/204996098.html

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All Steve had to do was ask for Jo’s permission. If I love someone’s work and use it in some way that makes me a little money, I’d ask that person’s permission out of respect, if not anything else. Having said that, I think I’ll wait till Steve comes out with a statement before I decide how much he’s to be blamed for this. If the claim about him not replying to their email is true and if he never asked the publishers to stop, then he’s in trouble with the fans (more than he already is in). At the end of the day, sadly, Steve has probably already lost the respect of many fans. It would be a shame if the lexicon suffered because of this.

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Ok. I figured Jo didn’t just up and decide “I’m gonna sue Steve and his publisher because I think it’d be fun.” I am behind Jo about this, and have been since yesterday’s article. However, I’m not sure it’s right to completely jump on Steve about this. We don’t know the whole story. Obviously, Jo’s purpose yesterday was to let the public know that she doesn’t want anyone to publish a companion book or an encyclopedia. I know that Leaky and Lexicon are affiliated so MAYBE Steve decided to let Leaky do all the publicity of this news instead of the actual Lexicon website. But notice, Jo didn’t want to draw attention to the complaint against the Lexicon. Now she’s had to explain her situation much clearer. This is the problem when news gets out. I hope this does not cause conflict between the fans of a wonderful imaginary world who have usually been so united. I still support the Lexicon, just not on the book. I will still go to the site even if I am behind Jo.

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its not like steve could just call her up and be like, he jo i’m going to write a encyclopedia, is that alright with you?

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I can’t help feeling that it’s those greedy folks at Warner Brothers who are pulling the strings. I’m a little disappointed with JKR for siding with the big corporation over one of her fans (especially since I have no problem believing that WB poached the timeline on the DVDs from the Lexicon).

The Lexicon is a fan’s interpretation of the books, totally different to Jo’s own notes and it’s release in a book version wouldn’t stop people from buying the official encyclopedia.

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““The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z,” was published & is still sold without being blocked. What’s the difference?”

french website poudlard.org reports that the author of that book is also being sued,it’s just not getting as much attention because it’s not steve that wrote it.

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“its not like steve could just call her up and be like, he jo i’m going to write a encyclopedia, is that alright with you?”

But that’s exactly what was needed alice. Maybe not in that casual way, but before he ever decided to print such a book, he should have gotten her blessing. That’s how I see it. I own some of those companion books already published, but they are like, 100 pages at the most, and give definitions of already known things and animals (like hippogriffs for example). Jo did not make those up, so it was not infringing on her creativity… As for the Mugglenet book, it was a book all about theories. not regurgitations of Jo’s work…

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alice, steve could very easily had his lawyers contact jo’s lawyers. it is a very common practice when one is attempting to write a book about copyrighted material.

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“french website poudlard.org reports that the author of that book is also being sued,it’s just not getting as much attention because it’s not steve that wrote it.”

Oh, thanks for the information! I can’t speak french; was this author sued when her own unofficial book came out, or is she just being sued now? Because it seems to me that if both authors are being sued just now, it’s less a case of Steve provoking something, and more a question of a general crack-down on unofficial fan books. Maybe the real distinction is timing – JKR’s publishers allowed unofficial books before DH was released, but are blocking them now that she plans to release her own encyclopedia. Mostly as a way of stopping competition.

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“Many many rounds of applause to the TLC staff for providing us with all available information, and for staying (very appropriately) neutral.”

I join the applause! Thank you, Melissa, for acting so professional through all of this, despite TLC’s difficult position. You are great!

I give my full support to Jo on this matter, as she said herself; “It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author’s hard work, reorganize their characters an 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.”

Jo has put many years of hard work into the Harry Potter books, and the rights belong to her, not the Lexicon. Publishing what is apparently just a re-organization of the information given through the books and interviews, without Jo’s permission, is wrong.

I really think Steve and his publishers should have handled this differently, and I hope the matter will be sorted out soon.

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“its not like steve could just call her up and be like, he jo i’m going to write a encyclopedia, is that alright with you?”

but when he gets e-mails from JKR’s lawyers asking him to not publish the book,then he should listen.

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I agree stine.

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Fair enough if Jo wants profits from the encyclopedia to go to charity, but I doubt Warner Brothers have any such motives.

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Maybe she should be suing the Oxford English Dictionary. They have published some of her words in their Lexicons. Brewer’s Guide to Phrase and Fable. They should be sued too for having entries on Muggle and Hogwarts, etc. I’ll bet they didn’t even check with her first.

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Adding from the poulard.org site:

French: Nous en profitons pour signaler que deux des livres dont nous avions annoncé la publication prochaine, Lexique Harry Potter et Harry Potter de A à Z, sont actuellement poursuivis par J.K. Rowling et son agent pour les raisons évoquées ci-dessus.

Google translation – We are taking the opportunity to point out that two of the books we announced the forthcoming publication, Lexicon Harry Potter and Harry Potter from A to Z, are currently being prosecuted by J.K. Rowling and her agent for the reasons indicated above.

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I just cannot see how Steve is an innocent party in this as defenders keep saying. Please! It’s so obvious JKR gave him so many chances to back down yet he knowingly pick that wanky publisher to represent himself and went ahead disrespecting and disregarding JKR’s rights and request. He expect to be make profit, and he stand by 120% by his publisher’s ridiculous statement (yeah what kind of intergity this guy has if he could side with publisher who would make ridiculous claim like the “OMG I did it for improvished children BS. Just face it, his reputation is completely tarnished to the gut.

He’s just completely delusional, it’s a pure case of delusion of granduer. Pure greed and ridiculous entitlement. I’m disgusted with him and all his so called supporters.

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Steve totally created it! He scanned through the books, copied it onto the computer and everything, by himself!

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Oh, so that’s how it works! :D

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be painstakingly saving the Lexicon to my computer, and then uploading it as my own creation.

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No wait maybe Brewer’s Guide to Phrase and Fable should sue Rowling since she took so many names and ideas out of it and never gave them credit except in interviews.

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theredwitch, get some sense puhlease, you’re making a fool of yourself with your inapplicable and useless comparison. Read the actual article that TLC staff has painstakingly type up then type comment okay?

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I think felt that he was following copyright laws when he wrote it, since he had everything on his cite copyrighted, I feel that he really didn’t intend for it to be against it. jk is completely right, but I think that steve’s publishers just told him to stay out of it. i’m sure that he didn’t want all of his hard work to go to waste. i can understand steve’s side, and my opinion of him has not diminished, i just think he mistakenly got himself in a bit of a pickle. I think its steve’s publishers fault.

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I pray to God your joking theredwitch

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Squibby- Glad you liked it. I’ve rarely ever posted here, but when the comments were leaning away for Jo yesterday, I just couldn’t refrain (and with number of comments, other people could not either!). Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your comments, as well as Neptune’s.

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It’s not Steve’s! It never was Steve’s! How is this not evident to people? How is this not crystal clear? Just because you put time and effort in as a fan does not mean you magically obtain the right to make money from the original idea of Harry Potter.

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em,looks like i got confused,you’re right,i havn’t heard of that book,the on getting sued has a similar title “harry potter from A to Z” but is by a different author and isn’t out yet. Has anyone read that book?If it is a “study” like the summery says,then i don’t think it would be the same thing as steve.

I also have heard mugglenet had plans to do one but after getting e-mails from JKR’s lawyers they stopped.

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lilypad (the false) can’t catch me. I can change my name, and I can run…

Anyway, lilypad’s (the false’s) antics are boring and childish. I’m outta here until and unless I decide to appear again under a different lily, that is, name.

It’s a sad business, all the way around. I just wish Ms. Rowling would simply keep to writing books—she’s better at that than public relations, obviously.

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Just so long as Dumbledore is still Fabulous ;)

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what i mean by steve having a copyright is that he went and had all the information copyrighted that he wrote on the website. I know that it sounds like he shouldn’t have been able to do that but he had it done. i just believe that he never his intentionally broke the copyright, since he does have a copyright on the site, if you don’t believe me try to copy something from there.

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frogprince, don’t pretend that you were always me, your making a full of yourself. Mrs. Rowling IS writing books, she’s planning on writing an encyclopedia which the proceeds to would go to charity and Steve tried to do it before her by using her info and putting his name on it. Great fan he is.

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totoum,

I’ve translated the poulard.org site, and it looks like it’s referring to a different book. The HP encyclopedia I referred to was written by Kristina Benson, was published & sold on July 7, 2007, without legal problems. The poulard.org blog article is from Oct 26, 2007, and it refers to several “upcoming” Harry Potter reference books that will soon be released. It then lists six or seven books, and added that SEVERAL of these authors are currently being sued by JK Rowling & her publishers. The Poulard article refers to a different book, “HP from A to Z”, which was written by Aubrey Malone & scheduled for publication on Nov. 7, 2007. This author IS being sued. The only difference I can see is the timing – Benson’s book was published before Deathly Hallows, while Malone’s book will be published after Deathly Hallows.

From poulard.org via Babelfish:

“To come… Around Harry Potter

A whole pleiad d’ouvrages saw or will be born in French in the next weeks around the phenomenon Harry Potter - Lexicon Harry Potter, volume 1 to 7 of Steven Van der Ark, left on November 15, 2007 at Alterre - Harry Potter of A to Z (all that you always wanted to know about the saga of the small wizard and his creative) d’Audrey Malone, left on November 7, 2007 at City - Magic L’univers… of Harry Potter de Méziane Hammadi, left in November 2007 in the same editor - L’integrale of the magic worlds of Harry Potter de David Colbert, left in November 2007 in the pre-with-clerks - Harry Potter, angel or demon ? of Isabelle Smadja and Pierre Bruno, left on November 15 2007 in Puf

Note : several of these books are currently prosecuted by J.K. Rowling and its agent, J.K. Rowling not wishing that “lexiques” be published; and other guides on Harry Potter whose profits would return to their author personally, and who would compete with her own encyclopaedia.”

Aha! These lawsuits are about stopping unofficial competition with JKR’s own official encyclopedia.

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Lacey, get it one and last time: NO Steve NEVER had NEVER will have copyrights from the materials he lifted from JKR’s book. He’s only an organizer of information, informations that he copy off from JKR’s published copyrighted book. When you reference something from a published book you don’t have ‘rights’ to any of that. And you’re not allowed to publish these info off as your own and get profit from it.

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It’s Jo’s world. To do anything in it, for profit, you should have permission.

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What a great charity giver jo is. She is in fact making her fans give to charity without them getting the credit really. She writes these books, sells it or auctions it, then gives that money to charity. It never seems to come from her already billionary bank account. The jk worship is out of hand.

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Um, FAKE lilypad, she is writing books as a favor to her fans. She doesn’t have to do these but she does it for her fans to enjoy and instead of profiting from them she’s giving the proceeds to charity and you chastising her for it? Give me a break.

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She’s not making people buy the books, she’s saying “here is an book, an extra treat for the fans. If you want to buy it you can and your money will be going to a good deed.” STOP using my name and making look like a total dumb person who is Steve fangirl.

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I stand by JKR on this one. She has been so generous with her fans, allowing much more latitude than any other author I’ve ever known. However, it is her work, her characters, and her story. When she says nicely that enough is enough, we must respect that. I like Steve, and I appreciate all his hard work. But at the end of the day, it’s just not his to publish.

I feel so bad for Jo. It’s like when you let your kids stay up late once, or let them see a show on TV that’s not really appropriate. Unfortunately the way you pay for being nice is that they expect it again, or expect more. It’s hard to be firm and fair, but you have to do what’s right. I’m sorry she has to play the bad guy.

I hope she knows that some of us understand, and still respect and support her.

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Why does she need to sell or auction books in order to give to charities? I’m sick of famous people using charities to make themselves look good. If jo is going to broadcast that she gives to charities then show me you do it out of your bank account, and not by selling some extra books.

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I don’t see how people can be against Jo on this one….SHE ASKED STEVE NOT TO DO THIS FOR 2 MONTHS!! He IGNORED HER REQUEST! How do you expect Jo to handle this? It sounds to me like she has done all she can without taking legal action. She tried to be nice, and it didn’t work. Wow I would really like to see some of you JKR haters get placed in a similar situation. By ignoring rowlings request, he disrespected her. It is her work, therefore she has the right to say what can and cannot be done. It seems to me that people are forgetting who has rights to the story here.

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Basically, based on what I’ve learned, I don’t think this is about Steve or the HP Lexicon. Or the French HP A to Z book, either. It’s just that JKR has decided to reign in unofficial fan reference books at this time, probably because of her plan to release her own comprehensive encyclopedia. From what I can tell, she has a complete legal right to do that.

But that’s not really the “fan writers” fault. Beforehand, fans wrote & published “unofficial” Harry Potter guides without being sued or blocked from doing so. Post-DH, JKR & her publishers changed their policy and decided to block these guides. That’s fine – Harry Potter is her universe & her copyright. But then, what bothers me is the public relations blitz of releasing the complaint, making allegations against HP Lexicon, and basically making them look like a “bad guy.” That seems unfair to me, especially given Rowling’s vastly greater power & influence. Maybe they should just say that this was the decision, without trying to blame anybody for it.

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Folks, there are conflicting claims about exactly what the content of SVA’s book would be. We don’t know. Therefore, arguing for SVA/RDR vs JKR/WB/lawyers is not going to get anywhere.

I look forward to further accurate information on this topic, and others, from our gracious hosts at TLC. Thank you Leaky for keeping us informed, and for creating spaces in which we can argue until our fingers bleed.

Fight nice, please.

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FAKE lilypad, are you implying that you have gone thru all of Jo’s bank statements and have found out that she has made no donations? Get your facts right, she has publicly donated to charities and they have been mentioned in news.

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Has anyone noticed the connotations of the phrases in the lawsuit? Such words as “hawking”, “rudely”, “duplicitously stalling”, “surreptitiously”, and “cannot be trusted” clearly show WB’s unfavorable attitide toward RDR Books but not SVA. I think that SVA would be perfectly willing to bow out now, but his publisher might not allow him to do so, especially so close to the publication date. Unfortunately there will be negative effects for both parties.

All this guarantees that an encyclopedia will be published, and I’ll be there for any collection of all things HP, no matter who authors it.

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wow. thats all i can say…

well, Jo, i do believe that you’re right, tho i wish this hadnt happened!!

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The publishing house have now released their own q & a and it makes interesting reading. Apparently this lawsuit was filed against them and Steve within 2 hours of Steve asking for his own copyrighted stuff to be removed from DVDs.

Jo Rowling has lost a fan here. I was never a WB fan anyway.

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We all know Jo is brilliant. I, like a lot of people on Leaky, trust her to make the right decision. It’s her series!

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LOL, convenientlyk, the LAWSUIT says differently, you know, the non-legal document says diffrently, but RDR says ON THEIR WEBSITE that they filed within two hours of that letter? sure. Whatever, did you see the first amendment hting? Or how Steve is JUST TRYING TO HELP THE CHILDREN?!

This is so disgusting. I feel so bad for Jo..

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From RVR’s website – “One of the highest compliments has been paid by the lead plaintiff in the suit, Warner Bros., which has taken Mr. Vander Ark’s copyrighted Harry Potter timeline and included it without permission among the Extra Features on three Harry Potter DVDs and intends to use it on the upcoming Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix DVD. Mr. VanderArk is also interviewed in the Extra Features section of the forthcoming DVD, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

I’m sorry, this just made me less supportive of RVR, & wondering if they ever talked to a lawyer or PR person at all. They just confirmed that they consider SVA’s timeline “copyrighted material”, and that they complained to WB about them using a timeline on the DVD. That’s just unbelievably arrogant. Who are they to claim “fair use” & free information now, when they tried to stop the WB from using a timeline? ANY fan can write a timeline, & the WB could as well. I think it’s hypocritical for them to try to stop other outlets from publishing info about HP, but then argue that they have a right to publish any HP info they want. And they claimed copyright violation? On a time-line of somebody else’s novels? LOL.

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I agree with Jo’s words against writing books about her books for personal gain. However, the facts stand that if Steve’s book is a violation of this statement, it does not stand alone. She is comparing Steve’s book to her in-the-works Encyclopedia. I do not think the two books would be in competition – if anything, the Lexicon would compete with other books similar to the Lexicon’s which have been printed without question. There have been many other encyclopedia-style books about Harry Potter already printed, and reprinted. As the RDR website states, the Lexicon book is no different.

The RDR site also brings up the interesting issue of WB using Steve’s time line, which I think should be a bigger issue than that of his book.

This is causing so much tension! I really hope it is sorted out fairly, to state the obvious.

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Yeah. I read that and at first it made me a little mad at JK and the WB BUT

You really need to read EVERYTHING before you make up your mind. Yeah, it was within two hours but it was after about five letters trying to compromise. They knew after Lexicon threatened to sue them that he wouldn’t ever compromise so they filed the suit. They wanted to file the suit before he could do anything first. Read the whole LC post before you jump the gun on JK here..

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Yeah, but the other books have been opinions/editorials/blablabla. At least according to JKR and the WB, this one was more like an encyclopedia, which is very different.

I’m not saying the Lexicon’s book was actually what the WB/JKR says it was, but I do wonder why the Lexicon refused to let them look at the book before it was published if it wasn’t…

If it was, indeed, like all the other books on the market then WB/JKR would have let it be published and this whole thing would have been avoided.

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“Yeah, but the other books have been opinions/editorials/blablabla. At least according to JKR and the WB, this one was more like an encyclopedia, which is very different.”

But that’s just not true. Other unofficial encyclopedias have been published without problems.

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Also, in response to em, even if the Lexicon provides “free information,” the same rules of plagarism apply. It is illegal to copy anyone’s words without credit or permission, even if they aren’t copyrighted. If someone posted a summary of a book, for example, on a “free information” website, such as a forum, it would be illegal to copy that summary and use it for my own benefit, even though it isn’t copyrighted material from the person who wrote it AND the person who wrote it does not own rights to the book on which the summary was written.

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I’m sorry but this whole lilypad thing is making me laugh really hard. This thread needed some humour!

On anothe rnote… I don’t believe for one second that WB decided to go after this book only after Steve sued them, which is what the publisher is claiming. You’re telling me after years of WB using his outlines, he waits until he has an inappropriate-at-best book deal to sue the people who have been letting him operate an infringing website for years? And that WB was so worried about a lawsuit – one that Steve would quite obviously NEVER win – that they decided to attack his book? I’m sorry, but I do not that seems exceedingly unlikely. In this case, WB’s version of events make a whole lot more sense.

Also, if you look at the rest of the ridiculous statements that the publisher is coming up with in that statement, well… it certainly doens’t help their credibility.

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I want to thank Melissa and the rest of The Leaky Cauldron’s editorial staff for reporting this news story in an objective way, without sprinkling editorializing comments in between the facts. Your professionalism is to be applauded.

I’m a bit dismayed by some commenters on the original news story, who seem to be asking Leaky to tell them what opinion to have on this subject.

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“Yeah, but the other books have been opinions/editorials/blablabla. At least according to JKR and the WB, this one was more like an encyclopedia, which is very different.”

But that’s just not true. Other unofficial encyclopedias have been published without problems.


Do you have a link to a published, unofficial HP encyclopedia? Because I have never seen one.

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Steve made a fairly large mistake. But hes not a bad guy, give him a break. Im actually behind Steve, he must have some other reason besides cahsing in.

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I have to agree with Jo on this one…legally she is correct

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iheartsev,

First of all, plagarism is not illegal, just dishonest. In addition, plagarism involves claiming someone else’s work as your OWN ideas, and HP Lexicon, Mugglenet, etc. have never done that. This dispute isn’t about plagarism, but copyright violation.

JKR has copyrighted her novels, but there are “fair use” exceptions that allow readers to use & resell the novels. For example, I could type & post four paragraphs from Deathly Hallows in this comment, and that wouldn’t be a copyright violation. Criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research are usually covered under the “fair use” exception. There’s no stark line between “fair use” & copyright infringement, so the courts use a complex test based on whether the defendant is making money from the use, how much he’s repeating from the original work, etc. etc.

Basically what I’m saying is, there’s no clear bad guy here. RVR can claim it’s fair use, and claim their own derivative copyright on the HP Lexicon material, and JKR can claim it’s a copyright violation, and only an experienced federal judge will be able to determine whether it’s a copyright infringement or not. The dispute is murky & complicated & will probably keep a fleet of copyright lawyers very busy. I don’t think any of us know enough about copyright law to confidently state that JKR’s all wrong, or that RVR is all wrong, so in my opinion it’s way too early to make judgements about anyone involved. And in my opinion it’s certainly not appropriate for either side to try to win converts or gain public support by tearing down the other side, or referring to charity proceeds or providing HP Lexicon to disadvantaged children sniff. That all just reeks of a PR campaign to me – from both sides.

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I agree with Jo on this one. The Lexicon is great, but it’s wrong to try to sell that information. And it’s disrespectful considering we knew she was intending to write a reference-type book herself.

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JKR is not a goddess, she is not perfect, infallible, divine. We should not grovel on the ground and be grateful to hear any word that passes from her lips. She is human. I swear, there are people who would praise and support anything she did, just because she did it.

Warner Bros. Christopher Little and Bloomsbury have not seen the actual, printed book so I don’t quite see how they’ve decided that it contains all the trademarked info they claim in contains. Yes, I know that RDR says look to the site to see what the book will be about. The RDR book is 400 pages – the info on the site would take up far more than that. So clearly the book is not going to be the same as printing out every page of the Lexicon and stapling it together.

I am reserving judgment on this whole topic until (or rather if) the book actually makes it to print.

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Though a lot of this mud-slinging seems to be between the WB’s lawyers and RDR’s lawyers, I believe that Jo’s side is in the right. If RDR had agreed to comply at the beginning, provided an advanced copy, marked the book as “unofficial” or added a disclaimer, it seems to me as though a publishing agreement could have been reached. There are two sides to every story and of course right now we seem to be getting mostly the WB and Jo’s side, but as of now I believe they are in the right. I don’t think Jo is personally trying to be selfish, I think this is a sticky legal matter that she felt compelled to join for legal reasons.

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Em-

Thank you. However, I have read reports that Harry Potter A-Z is also being targeted by Jo – anyone know if that is correct? Also, I was not yet aware of Mugglenet’s new book, but after reading about it I see that it has not yet been published. To me, their book seems to be just as inappropriate and ill-intentioned as the HP Lexicon’s, so it is interesting that they do not seem to have been targeted (yet?). As for the Complete Idiot’s Guide to HP… well, that is just odd. Not too sure what to make of the fact that it has been published and JKR doesn’t seem to have a problem it. Very odd.

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First off, JK has donated a large chunk of her money to charities, especially to the MS society of Scotland due to her mother’s death by the disease. Plus if this lillypad, whichever, real or fake, needs proof that JK’s last set of books, The Quidditch and Magical Creatures Hogwarts textbooks, did go directly to charity, they need only contact Comic Relief, the UK organisation which recieved the full amount of gross profits from the books.

Finally, upon final donation, JK and Harry Potter fans were thanked for the contribution. If this person requires a tax deduction for purchasing the books, I suggest they not participate in charitable functions, such as putting a dollar in the box for a Rememberance day poppy or giving a homeless person money for coffee, because you obviously don’t have the spirit for it.

About the lawsuit, JK, as rich as she is, has the sole right to deem who can and cannot profit from her creation. It is entirely understandable that she would condone supplimentary works such as movies, websites, books and action figures. An encyclopedia is supplimentary, however unlike the WB universe of Harry Potter whom have hired actors and used their likenesses in reference to book characters, in the academic as well as legal worlds, summarising someone elses work and calling it your own (which is basically what a timeline and encyclopedia are) is not your own work.

What is sad is that this all comes down to profits, but that is the world be live in, even when a movie sucks it’s still deemed good if it made a lot of money.

Profit wise I will wait and buy JK’s version, the other wouldn’t be worth reading anyway, if its just a boring summary or guide how does that factor into my enjoyment of the books? I could summarize it myself for my own personal use, however remembering it from my own reading I find is a lot more enjoyable for me. The only thing I would get out of JK’s version is the new information, what do we need Steve’s book for anyway?

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Why is she playing this out in the press? Has Rita Skeeter gotten a hold of some polyjuice and the real Jo Rowling is locked up in the Tower of London?

zr

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I just headed over to the Lexicon again to see if they have any news on this yet; they don’t. In the last few news items, there have been fan comments about it though, ones on both Jo and Steve’s sides, however those comment boards have been closed it says. It doesn’t say a reason for it; however, on older news items you can still post a new comment. What do you guys think about that?

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Amy S,

If you go upthread, posters discussed the two “A to Z” encyclopedias. The one I posted was published w/o any legal action. Now a different “A to Z” encyclopedia is going to be published in Nov. by a different author, and they’re being sued. And I agree, it is odd that HP Lexicon’s encyclopedia was blocked, while Mugglenet’s apparantly was not. I checked the website of the Mugglenet published, Ulysess Press, and there’s no mention of any action by JK Rowling. The upcoming Mugglenet encyclopedia is still featured on Ulysess Press’ website. You can pre-order Mugglenet’s encyclopedia now, meaning they & the publisher is making money on the encyclopedia already – yet no legal action has apparently been taken against them. On the fact of it, this makes JKR/WB’s actions seem rather inconsistent.

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Oh, all these people so keen to defend one of the richest person in the world (has she passed her bilion yet?) sueing someone who will probably just get less than 0.01% of her earning out of this. Should we really feel sympathy for her? “It’s all mine, mine, mine!” we can hear her cry.

Should we also bring up that she sued the organiser of an Indian festival in Calcutta for making models of Harry Potter characters, trying to ruin the fun for many people? All those poor Indians trying to steal money from this rich woman? Poor poor Rowling, she lost that case.

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Yeah what a meanie. I mean all she did was spend the last 17 years of her life coming up with the stories.

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“Should we also bring up that she sued the organiser of an Indian festival in Calcutta for making models of Harry Potter characters, trying to ruin the fun for many people?”

Oh, wow. I didn’t know about that one.

KOLKATA, India (AFP) – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is suing organisers of a religious event for constructing a replica of her imaginary Hogwarts Castle in an eastern India city, officials said Thursday.

Rowling and her publishers Bloomsbury are seeking two million rupees (50,000 dollars) from the organisers constructing an elaborate castle from canvas and papier mache in Kolkata for the upcoming Durga Puja festival, court officials said.

The Delhi High Court has summoned the builders on Friday to present their case, they said. The suit, which runs into 394 pages, argues the organisers of the Hindu festival can stage the upcoming event in the gigantic marquee only after paying two million rupees to the British author.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071012/wl_asia_afp/entertainmentindialiteraturepottercourtreligion

That seems a bit…. uh….. mean. A bit, uh, greedy. Maybe this suit had something to do with the upcoming Harry Potter amusement park?

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hac, the money Jo will earn if she wins this lawsuit is to go to charity, as will all of the profits off of the official HP encyclopedia. Whereas, if Steve wins, the money will go straight to his pocketbook. Clearly Jo is the greedy one here!

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RDR Books sounds like a bunch of uneducated buffoons who don’t understand copyright law. And what was all that hooey about publishing the book for under-privileged children in impoverished nations who don’t have computers and can’t get to the information that’s free on the website? So, let me get this straight, these ‘poor foreign kids’ are gonna pay you for the book instead?! What a bunch of hypocrites!

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I honestly don’t like the “sniff, sniff, it’s for charity!” thing. That seems like such a blatant appeal to readers’ sympathies. I mean, if you compare the possible hypothetical loss of proceeds due to an unofficial encyclopedia, to the certain, huge legal costs a lawsuit will entail, it seems like a wash. Maybe the WB & JKR should just give some money to charity themselves and avoid the whole hullaballo.

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@Hac: And how did JK Rowling become one of the richest women alive? By spending 17 years working on a frigging brilliant story, that’s how. She was poor before she started writing Harry Potter, but she didn’t try cashing in on someone else’s work, did she? No, she came up with something of her own, something that she slaved over for years. If Steve does the same he can reap the rewards, but profiting off of JK Rowling’s creativity is wrong.

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“Plus if this lillypad, whichever, real or fake, needs proof that JK’s last set of books, The Quidditch and Magical Creatures Hogwarts textbooks, did go directly to charity, they need only contact Comic Relief, the UK organisation which recieved the full amount of gross profits from the books.”

That is the point. How come she didn’t give it out of her pocket.

Jo’s thinking on: oh, I need to give to charity. Lets put these hp extra info together, sell it, and give the money away. I really don’t feel like giving my own billions away. Isn’t that great idea. Oh, this is amazing. I have idiots fans who will buy anything hp related I put out there. I’m smart aren’t I. :) End of jo’s thinking.

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“profiting off of JK Rowling’s creativity is wrong.”

What about the hundreds of other writers who have profited? If you search “Harry Potter” on Amazon, there’s literally hundreds of reference books, guides, critiques, etc. that other people have published about Harry Potter. Should they all be blocked?

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What it comes down to is if they let anyone get away with anything close to what they are planning, ie: books and amusement parks, they will have allowed a precident and will afterward be screwed over time and time again legally. Not to mention the millions the WB has put into the amusement park, created yes for profit but also because WE want it and it will be for OUR enjoyment, same as the books.

The India incident is clearly an example of this, if they didn’t object the next thing you know there is an un-offical Indian theme park going up and they would be unable to do much about it. She only lost that case because their intent was not to profit but to have fun, this case is different, Steve and the publishers would directly profit and obviously don’t care about our enjoyment, since they’d be charging us for things we previously enjoyed via the webpage for free.

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I have been reading these comments throughout the day. I live in the same town as Steve does-I know him. We were once friends. Steve’s smart, obviously. He could have put the brakes on this project a long time ago, but didn’t. Don’t pity Steve, he knows exactly what he’s doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t entered some of the comments I’ve been reading. Steve and his publisher are 100% in error on this one. You’re smart people, you don’t need Steve’s book. He however, does need the profits. Sorry folks-always follow the money trail. JKR needs to protect her rights as the creator of HP. Steve and his publisher need to protect their investment.

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“they’d be charging us for things we previously enjoyed via the webpage for free.”

- wouldn’t the website still be up? I agree that the Indian suit was probably to avoid future problems with the planned HP amusement park – but still. A billionaire British author demanding two million rupees from an impoverished country isn’t all that charitable.

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Just read the update and Steve’s publishers are a bunch of a**holes. I really hope they lose now before I didn’t really care but now I hope they are so bloody embarassed by this that no one goes to them to get their work published.

Bloody hell bringing the first Amendment into it. I feel like it’s an episode of Boston Legal. Get Denny Crane in here asap.

This is not about greed on Jo’s part and for anyone to say that is just mental after all the things she has done for different charities. You have no right to mouth off at her.

This guy and his publishers are in the wrong plain and simple. End of story.

I wonder if he will be on the OoTP DVD now lol.

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Well, xbella, the point is that she got the money! All these charity business is nonsense, if she is interested in charity, she would have just give the charity out of her own pocket. The charity is there just to make her look good. And duh, so some poor sod trying to get just a tiny fraction of her money is so terrible to JKR? “It’s all mine, mine, mine!!” JKR cries.

Want to comment on the sueing Indian festival business? How mean and spiteful is that? The organiser recreated the Titanic one year from the movie and no one complained, but JKR is just so precious?

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I agree with Rachel. When I read Jo’s first comments on it, I thought they were a little uncharacteristic for her. But the new post today, and the info from the lawsuit changed my mind completely. Now reading the self-serving response from RDR makes me absolutely on Jo’s side. They are in the wrong, they know it, and they shouldn’t hide behind the 1st amendment, which won’t work anyway.

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The festival organising secretary, Santunu Biswas, said his team would go ahead with the preparations for the four-day festivities, eastern India’s most celebrated annual religious carnival.

“What we are building is not a violation of copyright act anywhere in the world because it’s a religious festival and has nothing to do with money-making,” Biswas told AFP.

Another organiser, Robin Mukherjee, said he was stunned.

“The summons came at a time when the marquee is almost ready and we don’t know what to do now as we cannot afford to pay the fine,” the visibly angry official added.

“It’s just a theme …We have also modelled the Titanic and no-one sued us,” he said.

Yeah, there’s really no way to make that look good. Suing a religious festival? Jeez.

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This is so insane. Maybe this is all a publicity stunt to draw attention away from the “Dumbledore is gay” thing. :D

Okay, okay, seriously though…If I write a song, copyright it, and publish it, let’s say Bob buys my album. Bob listens to the album, enjoys it for a while, then sells it at a garage sale.

I have every right to demand that money. I would also have every right to stop him before he sold it, if I had the chance. And if he refused, I would have every right to sue him. He could scream “First Amendment” all he wanted, but unfortunately Bob chose to make money off my work.

On a related note, it was so very nice of Steve to make that timeline. Too bad it wasn’t his intellectual property, nor was it any kind of work for hire. I’ve done derrivative works myself, with the complete understanding that the owner of the property could take my years of labor and sell it for themselves. And I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

Remember that until this is handled in court, it’s all just opinions.

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“Bob listens to the album, enjoys it for a while, then sells it at a garage sale.

I have every right to demand that money. “

Actually, you have ZERO right to demand that money. Resale is covered under fair use, & is not a copyright violation. That’s why I can resell my CD’s on Ebay, & I don’t have to give the original artist the proceeds.

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It doesn’t matter if the person is rich or not, so what if she is rich? she didn’t steal this money, she earned them. That’s her book, that’s her idea, you want to publish a book, why don’t you write something on your own? If you did, like he claims, why not to show it? why hide it? if your put a lot of thought in that book, show it to JKR, so she can see, yes, it’s your review, and not just “cut and paste”. I just don’t get it, why some people have to insult the author they claimed just some time ago was their favourite author? shouldn’t you be ashamed of yourself? JKR is the person, who is asking to let her work be hers, yes, she is not planning to write that book right away, so what? She will do it when she is ready. I don’t think I want to hear SVA side of story, he could’ve done it. Even when he was on Pottercast, he could’ve mentioned something, like, oh guys, I’m working on a book (like Melissa),but why didn’t? maybe because he was hiding something? why??? maybe because he knew it wasn’t right? maybe because he wanted to brag about it: look, she is taking her time, and I’m ready, I’m better, I know this better than she does. oh, this is just sad.

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Oh Saille, the point is that she sued! Just because people are having fun making replica. Nothing about theme park, just models for a short festival which will all be demolished when the festival is finished. How mean-spirited can that be? Next time when you have a village fair and someone make a model of Hogwarts make sure JKR don’t hear of it, OK? She will sued the pants off you.

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And watch out, prom organizers! LOL.

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I can’t believe how many people there are trying to defend Steve. No matter how you slice it, it’s not his stuff to sell no matter how he packages it or how hard he works on the packaging. I hope he loses his shirt for continueing to let his publishers force the book forward. He’s a Rita Skeeter and he’s been caught in the jar. All you morons out there supporting him have no clue. The law is 1,000% on JKR’s and WB’s side.

And I personally have never bought one single other book that gives an in depth analysis of Harry Potter. If I want good, quality understanding of the world of Harry Potter I read the books, go to Jo’s site, and check the news here for interviews.

What really irked me was the bit FROM Steve’s side claiming that they were doing the poverty stricken areas of the world a favor since they couldn’t afford computers. You honestly think they’d be able to afford some companion book to a seven book series either? I’m never touching the lexicon ever.

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“What really irked me was the bit FROM Steve’s side claiming that they were doing the poverty stricken areas of the world a favor since they couldn’t afford computers.”

Yes, that was moronic.

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It sounds like Steve has gotten himself mixed up with some shady people. I feel sorry for him most because his previously hailed name is being dragged through the mud by this lawsuit.

I hope Steve removes himself from the lawsuit and washes his hands of the book and situation. RDR books is going to be in BIG trouble. Especially since there’s trial based precedence.

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Well, xbella, the point is that she got the money! All these charity business is nonsense, if she is interested in charity, she would have just give the charity out of her own pocket. Posted by hac

And how do you know she hasn’t? maybe you’re her account (under cover or something) She is a writer, she is writing a book, puts a lot of time, effort and herself if you will, and she doesn’t ask for money, she gives it to charity, when you volunteer, isn’t it the same? she is volunteering by doing what she can do best.

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I am behind Jo, but I do see copyright infringement on both the Lexicon’s, and WB’s parts. There’s evidence that we can see that they copied the timeline for the movies (namely the one for CoS), while it is very true about what the Lexicon’s done for us. And this is the second lawsuit I’ve found out about today. Let ‘Harry Potter and the Copyright Infringement’ begin!

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I believe it has been reported that Jo does support many charities out of her own pocket, and the fact that she doesn’t shout about it makes it far more selfless. The only reason she broadcasts the fact that it’s for charity when it’s a book she’s selling is to encourage people to buy it … to encourage support for said charity.

At the end of the day though, it’s her money, she earnt it, it’s her business.

The Lexicon was my introduction into the Harry Potter fandom so I find this whole thing depressing. However, I fully support Jo in protecting what is hers.

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Lillypad, Comic Relief is an organization that is based on the idea of using entertainment to gain awareness of its cause. The money is important but secondary, JK offered books, Little Britain got stars to appear in their show for the charity, as did other popular UK shows. Did she also donate seperately? I would say that is likely, but perhaps she is not trying to win us over a-la Hollywood stars by telling us who she’s given money too. I mean she was only reported on for her outstanding contributions to the MS society because they asked her to come and recieve an award, she didn’t give to get the award, but went to help give the charity some publicity in hopes that others would donate, even if they did it just because they “worship her”.

This book thing is the same thing, she gets to give, we all get fun new HP merch., and the charity gets publicity as well as money, win, win, win. Ragging on someone because they have more money than you and haven’t decided to feed a whole country or adopt the entire population of an endangered species with it is just moot, she has a family to raise and give a good education to, and I highly doubt if you, sir/miss, would not feel you should spend the money you rightfully spent years of your life earning as you see fit.

As for the India issue, em, asking for money again sets a precident that those who try to do this sort of thing have to pay a price, and I must say you need to go to India before you call it “impoverished”, they do quite well there on a global scale.

As for the free website issue em, would he keep it up? No one knows for sure, it sure would be a smart business plan not to, that way we are forced to pay for it, especially over time when it becomes something of a novelty and people in the next wave of fandom want to know what this whole Lexicon web ruckuss is all about, or just want to get information.

I honestly think he was trying to get a jump on JK’s book, trying to steal some of her initial profits from whenever she did write the book. By getting there first he is posing a serious threat to her franchise, and I think she has every right to want to stop that from happening. I also think compiling a reference guide to another person’s work does not give you copyright ownership of that material, just the way in which you have compiled it. That in essence is the only “work” he has actually done.

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Everyone, Steve is from a town with a ton of reputable publishers. There’s probably a good reason he went with this guy. Like the others knew it wouldn’t legally fly? Really, don’t pity the guy and don’t get angry at JKR for not letting him cash in on her genius. Steve, write your own stuff—you’re talented enough. What’s the deal?

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ALSO:

You might liken this situation to a singer doing a “cover” of someone else’s song. It would be like me trying to record and sell my own version of Michael Jacksons “thriller”.

I would have to pay him and get his permission to record the song and sell it.

This is the exact same thing.

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Squibby Oh, we hear all about her charities all the time, don’t we? She keeps going on about them.

And she was so kind as to make just one book out of seven available to the public, all for charity of course, and the world-wide publicity that she is a kind-hearted woman. Just don’t mention her nasty lawsuits.

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“Squibby Oh, we hear all about her charities all the time, don’t we? She keeps going on about them.

And she was so kind as to make just one book out of seven available to the public, all for charity of course, and the world-wide publicity that she is a kind-hearted woman. Just don’t mention her nasty lawsuits.”

Yeah, ‘cause people have no business protecting their property.

Especially if they’re rich.

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Saille – yes, exactly. She has a price for everything. How about a heart?

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Good point Derrick H. If people can’t understand this issue because it’s a book/site look at it from a song point of view.

Copy write is a HUGE issue in the music business. You have to be so careful. Some artist will not let ANYONE touch their songs and if even one bar is the same they will come after you guns blazing case in point The Rolling Stones vs. The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony.

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Some people on this web sight seem to have a lot of money envy. Don’t judge someone based on their income, whether they are poor or rich. Everyone has a right to protect their property not matter their economic status.

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hac, ok, I see it differently, she is talking about cahrities, to bring people’s attention, I didn’t know about many of this organizations, so at least I know now. And she did explain it about these 7 books, she wanted to do something personal for people who helped her, she had 6 people to give the book, but isn’t 7 a magical number, so she made one extra, for someone who wants to buy it, how can you divide a book between so many people? the only answer is an auction. so here you go, and money go to charity. Yes she did incrust (sp?) them with the stones, but that’s her choice, she is making a gift. I hope you see my point (hope my avatar is back)

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“sking for money again sets a precident that those who try to do this sort of thing have to pay a price, and I must say you need to go to India before you call it “impoverished”, they do quite well there on a global scale.”

- the Indian organizers weren’t asking for money, it was a free religious festival. And the organizer said that they didn’t have the money to pay the two million rupees JKR was demanding. It’s just mean, I’m sorry. As for the rest, you’re right that they might be intending to take down the HP Lexicon web-site, though it seems that would stop the major source of publicity. Also agree that they were probably trying to get a jump on JKR’s own book (as was Mugglenet & the many other new encyclopedias). And it’s also my understanding that their derivative copyright would only cover the improvements/compilation, not the original Harry Potter material. RVR’s response looked totally amateurish & ignorant about the law in general. So… I’m not really defending RVR. I’m just pointing out that there’s two sides to the story & we shouldn’t be sucked into buying the PR from either party. Honestly, neither side is looking very good to me right now.

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I love the lexicon and go there often because it helps to read about characters and things I might of missed. But SVA has no claim to anything associated with Harry Potter. The mere mention that he owns the Timeline used in PoA DVD is ludicrus. Can you actually be so pompous and arrogant that you feel no one else could do a timeline but you. I could go in my books and write my own timeline. Just because SVA is organized and effecient does not give him any claim to the Harry Potter Universe. No matter how much time he spent doing it. Plus the idea for the Black Family Tree(of which I think SVA fleshed out and also laid claim to in an interview or something) came from JKR. SVA is a joke he is presenting nothing new. All information on any Timeline came from the books and must be cited as such. Just because you did it first does not mean you own it.

Also, JKR can use the Lexicon any time she wants its her material,it is plagerized to Heck, anybody who thinks otherwise needs to go back to school and study. SVA should just consider this an honor that he is so accurate and nothing else.

I find this whole thing sickening. All JKR bashers should be ashamed. She has everyright to protect her creation.

Also in response to NOT. The PANDAL should have been sued. WB and JKR could not guarantee its safety and Millions of people would probably have used it. In suing the responsibility was entirely on the Festival Organizers. Also, I think your comments about JKR being a Liar is nothing more than FLAME. It’s about time all Potter fans disallowed this FLAMING of JKR to go on. I know most Potter fans are educated and intelligent and do not participate in FLAME WARS. But I am about to start. I am sick of TROLLS on all of these sites. Go start an ANTI-JKRPOTTER site and be done with it. That includes everybody that say the books are badly written and have plot holes and Deus ex Machinas. To these people I say again go back to school and study.

Why am I ranting, because I feel SVA is just another JKR FLAMER who thinks he is better than she is. The idea that the information on his site is somehow important and valuble on its own merit shows a pompous controlling attitude and it is all SVA. Just look at the WARNING on his site that has already been referenced in these comments, he thinks it is all his. If his book is published, any Harry Potter Character Breakdown or Which Spell was used in which book, will be claimed by SVA and he will sue you, just like he did with the stupid time line.

FTR I never bought the Mugglenet Book because Leaky gave away their predictions for free. I will probably buy Melissa’s book because it is a comment on fandom of which I have been a part of for many years, and it seems like a labour of love. Thank You, and remember everything Star Wars is licensed by George Lucas and if its not, he is suing your a#$. JKR is going the same way, deal with it.

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On Jo’s side here, all the way. She created every bit of this world, from the owl droppings to the hippogriffs. She’s given millions upon millions of people countless years of joy and inspired millions to love reading, changing lives forever.

I’ve never looked fondly on all the people trying to cash in on the HP popularity by writing books about it. I’ve been surprised Jo let so many come out. Friends who know how much I love HP have actually given me a couple of those kinda of books as gifts and even a whole “unauthorized biography” DVD about Jo’s life. I’ve always found them not really worth my time. You can tell they are in it just to make a quick buck and capitalize on her success.

So anyway, to Steve and the people in the wrong here, please stop your Lexicon book plans and beg Jo for forgiveness. I can’t believe you would ruin her good opinion of you in this way. Without her brilliance and creativity and wonderful books, you wouldn’t have anything to make a website about. How dare you try to use what she’s done to profit yourself.

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More odd observations

first, Steve VA isn’t saying anything at this time, RDR publishing is. Please stop confusing the two as if they were two lilypads.

second, the JKR charity issue is bogus, and those claiming she is motivated by greed or seeking pr are just looking to argue. do everyone a favor, ignore them, and they will stop.

third, in India and in China, there are different cultural norms as well as different legal definitions of intellectual property rights and copyrights. in both regions there have been instances of what we (despite our differences of opinion in this discussion) would see as out-right theft according to our cultural norms and legal definitions. the lawsuit against the festival was pre-emptive, and my guess is the last minute nature of the suit was because the news of the construction didn’t reach WB or other legal representatives of JKR until very late in the process. Seriously, when was the last time anyone in this discussion read a newspaper or magazine from India?

Until we have more detailed information about what the planned contents of SVA’s book would be, we can’t judge (as non-specialists) if the law suit has merit or not.

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this breaks my heart. i have high regard for Lexicon/Steven. and as JK said, much as anyone has great love or admiration for a person’s work, “it does not become theirs to sell”. i dunno how Warner and RDR will work this out but i’m already disturbed at all this.

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IndigoMisfit – no, we are not judging her solely on her income, that is only part of the equation. She writes books which talks about love and honour and fighting evil and injustice, but she then go and sue everyone in sight, including religious festival, just because they aren’t paying her money? Hypocrisy is what I’m talking about.

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All I can say is, people who think JK doesn’t have heart, need not waste my time. Anyone else agree? I think her writing shows just how much heart she has, and I think her actions speak for themselves. If she sues to protect her rights she is wrong simply because she is rich? That seems to be your argument Hac, and I wait for the day you work hard to produce something of your own merit (not someone elses) that causes you success and someone tries to take a part of that from you, a part of something that is essence as a large part of yourself as Harry Potter was for her, I hope then you can see past this envy for the rich. Many rich people are heartless and evil, but I dare you to accuse JK of being one of them in this forum, and still hope for people to see your side. You’d best go to back to the Lexicon SIR, we know who you are and that is where you belong.

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Oh, and I also hope that Melissa, even though she’s writing about the fandom, will get Jo’s permission/blessing before she publishes. Just so Jo doesn’t feel stabbed in the back by more friends. I’m sure Jo will be fine with Melissa’s book but if it were me, I would want to be asked for permission first.

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Saille, so who am I?

So many poor deluded souls who feel the need to malign those who don’t buy the official JKR line.

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Can’t we hear from Steve? I cannot believe that he would do this – I’m on Jo’s side and I would have thought all her fans would be too especially Steve, since he’s got that disclaimer on his site – Melissa do you think we can hear what Steve thinks of all this? Gosh it’s so awkward and it seems to sadden both Jo and the fans – I hope it all get settled outside court with Steve just backing off

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hac, it’s just you don’t see a problem, the problem is that people can not use someone’s property without even a permition, consent. Esp. in India it’s a tricky business, you probably don’t remember that commercial that they had a couple of years ago in India, about some boy flying on a broomstick to a some castle, just a castle, and you can see just some train, which happens to be red. WB had to make a statement, but Idian copmany said it was not true, is just a boy (who happend to be wearing a yellow and red scarf, glasses and a scar on his forehead), if you don’t defend your rights, no matter who is using an image, people will just walk on you. I bet I can’t come to your house, take your car and drive to a church, can I? it’s yours, and you will get me arrested, won’t you???

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Hac, are you an artist? Have you created anything in your life? I’m a photographer, and I’d be angry if someone took my pictures, put them in a book, and sold it as a collection of my work without my permission. That is exactly what Steve is doing. He is taking Jo’s world and putting it in alphabetical order. Period.

As for the India thing, they were asking for money. Once again, people are trying to make money off of those images. Warner Brothers has a right to those images. I think it was the WB who were upset, not Jo (but that was never made clear).

Still, it’s her work, she has the copyright. End of discussion.

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Lily,

it is clear that since mid-Sept Steve is mute on this subject. that point is clear from the up-dated information TLC provided us. for legal reasons, he should not say a word. RDR is doing the talking, tho they too should have legal representation telling them to keep mum on this sad situation.

Can we have an end to the personal attacks, whether against JKR or SVA? and especially can we have an end to the personal attacks against one another?

Now, if you want to say nasty things about lawyers in general, and dump crap on them, why, hand me a shovel! ;-)

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HAC, she didn’t want the money, she just didn’t want them making the thing, the money is a legal thing that has to happen, legally you have to put a finacial penalty on infringement or it isn’t valid, copyright=money earning and product distribution rights, hence the legal sum. Just because it is a religious festival does not mean it is relevant, everyone in the Macy’s parade has to pay rights to use motifs on their floats if they decide to do so, religious or otherwise. The religiousity of the parade is making an excuse for them not to be punished, she would have sued other religions just the same.

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Cees, Melissa already has permission from Jo. She mentioned it in a Pottercast a long time ago. The difference between her book and Steve’s is Melissa’s book looks at how HP affected the culture. From what I understand, it’s a documentary. (sorry if I got that wrong Melissa)

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ok Saille, no matter how many times we are going to repeat it, people just don’t hear us, do they, sad, really sad.

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Squibby – All this nonsense about people coming to my house and take my car. You don’t understand anything about intellectual property, it is not theft in the same sense. It is called copyright infringement, got that?

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“As for the India thing, they were asking for money”

No, they weren’t. That’s why they won.

Avatar Image says: She created every bit of this world, from the owl droppings to the hippogriffs

JKR created owl poop? JKR created Hippogriffs? I know many people consider JKR a goddess and worship her as such but she didn’t actually fashion animals and people out of clay.

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Budb,

I wasn’t abusing Jo or Steve – I was just saying its a sad situation and I hope it all ends well for everyone :)

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oh, hac, I got that, can you get it? I’m afraid not. maybe my example wasn’t the best, I admit, but I guess there is no point to discuss anything further, tone of your post is really saying everything, so I’d rather stop.

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Yes Squibby, I think we really must hang it up. I just have to say to you Hac, I do not follow the official party line, I just happen to disapprove of people who try to make less of a person’s achievements in order to criminalize them in the eyes of their fans. We have our side, you have yours, and it is clear you have never created something so dear to you that you couldn’t bear to have someone try to steal it from you. That itself is sad.

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em, You’re right. I messed that one up. I guess I’m not sure why they sued them, unless WB thought they were making a profit off of it.

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To me, it really sounds like Steve is getting some seriously bad advice from RDR. You have to wonder if he initiated this whole thing, or if RDR approached him and said how easy and legal it would be to put the Lexicon into print. If Steve was told not to respond, you can bet lawyers and $$$ are involved. I think RDR was trying to take advantage of him, and thought they could make a quick buck.

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I don’t think there’s any way they could’ve thought that. The article says that JKR/Bloomsbury’s complaint was 394 pages long. Imagine the number of billable hours they had to pay their lawyers for that! In the course of gathering enough information to fill that 300+ complaint, I assume they would have realized that the community group was not charging anyone.

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Forgive me if I’m offending anyone here, but I don’t trust the lawyers’ versions of this story: they talk the “suit”, not the “truth”.

I would still very much like to have Leaky directly interview Steve, as he has alwyas seemed like a rational, honourable chap to me. I am certain that there must be a great deal more to this story than the snakes in suits would have us believe.

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Lily, i know you weren’t, that was just a general plea for courtesy addressed to all, not you specifically. Sorry that wasn’t clear

b

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Oh, fandom. How stupid can people get? This is like trying to publish fanfiction… without the fiction. This is just reorganizing the books and making money off it! Hey, maybe I should write down all the birthdays of Tolkien’s characters and publish that! He’s dead, so he can’t even sue me. I am so very, very creative. rolls eyes

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mollywobbles, IANAL, but as I understand it, if you want to retain your copyright you have to take action to defend it. This is why WB targeted the Indian festival. (Not that I want to stand up for WB…the festival weren’t making money from it…)

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wow, i just wish Steve and Jo could talk this one out privately and maybe split the money if ever the books sell out. part for charity and part for Steve’s hard work. Both of them are great wise people, I hope there’s a clean way out of this. Jo should be very proud of Steve; she gave him a job that he enjoyed, that WE enjoyed and found help from to thoroughly be fascinated from all her work! Hopefully, we’ll have BOTH of them on POTTERCAST!!! :D

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I first heard about this story while walking by a newspaper stand and seeing a headline about it on the front page. I live in Michigan and it was the Grand Rapids Press so a “local” paper if you were for the story to be a major headline. At first glance I did not realize it was referring to SVA, but once I found out I was in shock. Thinking about all the compliments Jo has given the site, it just didn’t seem right. At first I thought it was another commentary book written by SVA, but once I realized it was to be taken from the site I was completely behind Jo and remain still. The website is well organized and the information is helpful, but it is based on Jo’s work and directly quotes from it alot more than copyright law allows. To me it sounds as if Steve got mixed up with the wrong publishers, at least I hope that’s the case.

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Steve may be poorly advised, but in a way I understand why he is upset against WB… They had no qualms about stealing Steve’s time line. They are like vultures. They don’t really care about justice, only about MONEY.

I won’t comment on Jo’s copyright though…

My point was just: WHY IS WB EVEN INVOLVED!!!

This whole story is SO sad…

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WB are involved because they own the rights to Harry Potter – Jo retains only the publishing rights. She sold her soul to the devil on that one.

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em – Its JKR/WB, not Bloomsbury – as far as I am aware, the character rights are held by WB and publishing rights by JKR, so Bloomsbury/Scholastic aren’t involved as there are no contracts as to the future encyclopedia.

And so much for the fandom going quiet once the books were finished! Just wish that all this had started after my exams, not while I’m supposed to be studying for them – I keep getting distracted.

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I have a lot of respect for Steve Vander Ark and the staff at the Harry Potter Lexicon. They deserve credit for their work.

However, I feel it boils down to this:

“All this could have been avoided if SVA had asked for permission before he started and respected the answer.” – Posted by Gringa on November 01, 2007 @ 05:02 PM

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“WB are involved because they own the rights to Harry Potter – Jo retains only the publishing rights. She sold her soul to the devil on that one.”

I agree with that – never understood why they weren’t just licenced like LotR (and Narnia as well I think). They’re also involved as Steve and the publishers want compensation for WB using the timeline – part of the case is finding that WB has not taken them. Actually, now I think about it, when was the DVD release date announced? Perhaps that is why the US date is delayed? I’m not sure if a US ruling could affect the UK and other Commonwealth countries, hence why it is only the US date is delayed. I could be completely wrong on that though; I’ve only ever studied Australian business law as part of my accounting degree.

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You see guys. “Harry Potter” is nothing else than a combination/combine. It has no soul, of course. It´s all about money. Hard facts indeed.

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I smell greed on Steve’s part. If an impoverished child/person does not have access to the internet/cannot afford it, I’m sure they would spend their money on more worthwhile things than a non-JKR HP encyclopedia.

Sorry, JKR’s in the right here.

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You JKR/HP fans should think about important things of life.

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“Steve may be poorly advised, but in a way I understand why he is upset against WB… They had no qualms about stealing Steve’s time line. They are like vultures. They don’t really care about justice, only about MONEY.” – Posted by Loop on November 02, 2007 @ 01:34 AM

Loop, I’m with you on this one. In my own opinion, most corporations are grubbing thieves dressed up in nice, clean suits. It’s a shame they’re involved.

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As far as I can see it. This is nothing more then Steve Vander Ark trying to make money from the work of others and JK Rowling. I know for a fact information found on Harry Potter Lexicon was not written soley by Steve, but by many many people. Steve provided a ‘forum’ to keep it organize. Which I admit he did a kick as job in doing! Good job.

But, now he is using the effort and work of others including himself, to make a rpofit. I think people who helped Steve organize and written some of his information would have gotten a slap in the face.

I have visited the site, and see it contains fan art from several artists. Will Steve use them for his book without asking the artist for permission? The site uses excerpts from the books quite generously.

In the end, all the work from Harry Potter Lexington are work from hundreds of people who wanted to help people find information. To go and collect the information from the website and to make a book to profit… is so… ungrateful!

Steve’s book will have problems seeing itself published just because production and sales of the book will be ceased pending the trial. Not to mention JK Rowling and WB can easily extend their financial muscle and litigate that any retailers who sell his book will not be allowed to sell her OFFICIAL book. Do you think Amazon, Barnes and Noble, WAlmart, etc would take the risk? HELL NO!

Lastly, Steve’s book would certainly feel incomplete… considering the only person who would know intimate details to things like Moaning Myrtle’s last name, maps, etc. would be JK Rowling herself… So who byuy a book from a POSER who’s website provides a free service, when you can wait for the real author and read her true intentions and secrets.

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i hope that leaky will do an interview with steve this weekend for pottercast, i want to hear his side before i jump to any conclusions

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Sigh. What is up with all of this? Buh?? I’m so tired of HP lawsuits and post book stuff in general, honestly. Basta. I’m done with Leaky, the Lexicon, fansites, Pottercast, and JKR—everything but the seven books themselves. Book seven ended. It’s over. Let’s move on.

Before I get stoned by folks on here, I’d like to say I’ve loved the Harry Potter books for a long time (1999). I’ll forever cherish the characters and the stories it sparked my my mind’s eye and imagination. In that regard I will always be a fan. But I all I want or need is those seven books.

As for all the extra crud: movies, book tours, dolls, toys, DVDs, interviews, encyclopedias, theme parks, post books announcements and the like, I’ve had enough. And, I’ve had enough of fandom obsessions that feed into all of this drama and that make any of the aforementioned things an issue or ‘news item’ at all. Why do people buy all of this crap anyway? Does it really make your Harry Potter experience that much better? In regards to a Lexicon book, why would anyone need to buy what’s already online for free?

If you need to buy all this extra stuff, and if JKR or the Lexicon needs to sell it, or rather fight over who gets to sell it, then I think people really need to reconsider how out of hand the fandom has gotten. There have been a lot of positives that have come out of the HP fandom, and a LOT of negatives. Lately, mostly negatives. Bigotry and blind author worship and cashing in, to name a few.

Our obsessions have turned Harry Potter into a franchise and a ‘cash cow’ and now we have to read about crap like ugly lawsuits that don’t paint anyone in a good light.

Blah! I’m outta here.

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HOnestly, how much money do you think Steve and others would make from this book? It’s not going to make them millions, possibly a few thousand which I think he deserves after all the hard work he has dedicated to the Lexicon over the years.

WB and Jo disgust me. Turning on the fandom like this.

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Are you kidding? It could make millions. Absolutely. The idea that Jo has ANYTHING BUT A FULL RIGHT TO HER OWN MATERIAL is unbelievable. People, puhlease. You can’t just reorganize a work and resell it if it’s not in the public domain, and Jo’s work IS NOT.

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I really don’t understand what the fuss is about. If Lexicon book is going to consist of 25% or more direct quotes from Rowling, RDR books will lose the lawsuit and pay a handy amount of money. If Lexicon books is going to be using more than 75% of original material(speculation, analisys, reviews, academic articles, etc.), they are in their own right, and Warner Brothers will not stop them. The court will decide.

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JKR, WB, and anyone else with legal right to Harry Potter, et al are NOT obligated to pay a person who created a fan site. This Steve guy does NOT “deserve” recompense for his “hard work” on the website. JKR did not hire him, WB did not hire him, and none of the publishers of the HP books hired him. To expect them to do so borders on the criminal.

I also think that the “they stole my timeline” argument is weak. The timeline solely consists of facts gleaned from JK’s work entirely. Any one of us could have read the books/watched the movies and come up with the EXACT same references. It is reasonable to assume that JK did not write the timeline on the DVD. It is ALSO reasonable that the WB people who were responsible for the timeline did NOT use the website, nor is there any evidence they knew the website existed.

My family owns a few buildings. We have had a big problem with taggers/graffiti “artists”. Yes, some of them are quite talented. However, just because it is a “good” product does not mean that we are REQUIRED to provide them with the blank canvas of the “blank wall” on one of our buildings. (That argument has actually been given to us in the past, after we have had to pay several thousand dollars to repair the damage)

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JKR and Steve never spoke to each other? IS Jo now above speaking to a normal “sinner”. I´d be really pissed off if someone I usually get along well with suddenly sends me their lawyer. No wonder they got a rude reaction.

Look at all the mistakes she made with the timeline in her books. I guess without the Lexicon the last HP books had never been published due to much more mistakes.

I understand though that she possibly fears that any fan would start publishing a lexicon and has to stop it before it really starts.

But WB? I have my doubts on Jo ever since she cooperated with WB (and those doubts doubled after her last interview when she said something along the lines that her money is a reward from God -as I understood it. Capitalism is send from above?)

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Jo never speaks to sinners (remember the tiff with her own father)! Or think about Lily´s pitiless behavior towards Snape. She is like the Pharisee in the temple of Jerusalem. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”. -Luke 18:11-12

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Steve isn’t entitled to aprivate chat with Rowling. Her agents, her spokespeople, spoke to Steve. Becuase the lady herself didn’t sit down with him doesn’t make her agents any less HER AGENTS. They act on her behalf, which is what they are doing. There is nothing at all that says that JKR has to have personal chats here. That’s why she HAS agents and lawyers. This is what they do. She is not a lawyer and could make a statement that means something other legally than what she meant, and as we’ve seen, the Lexicon will use anything against her. It smart of her to stay the heck out of it.

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And here I was, thinking things would calm down a bit after the DH release! How very wrong I was.

I don’t know all the facts, so I won’t judge on the case. I’m trusting that if the book really is a reurgitating one, it won’t be allowed. If it isn’t, it will be.

I guess it didn’t occur to SV at the time that he could have asked JKR beforehand. But, well, that chance is over now. Sad indeed.

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BS it didn’t occur to him. he’s not an idiot. and let’s not forget they tried to settle it out of court FOUR TIMES. Crazy. Sad, Lexicon. Sad.

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I can only say that a true fan would never have acted like that. I am ashamed at how Steve behaves. Also, it’s quite obvious that his publisher has never tried to come to an agreement with Jo, from what I have read in the details of the lawsuit. What’s worst, they actually claim 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”. Honestly, how many Congolese children do you know who have been able to afford the whole Harry Potter series but would not be able to access the WWW? Everybody who has taken the time to become familiar with the situation in, e.g., “impoverished” African nations would know that for the vast majority of the people it is much easier to access the internet than ordering a book from an American publisher. Books are extremely expensive in most underpriviliedged countries, and it has been the internet that has provided access to global discussions, not hard copies of whatever publication. They obviously mock at Jo’s charity efforts, and I really cannot endure that they besmirch something which I have always taken to be one of her most decent activities. They try to pass their greed as generosity – how low can you sink? Besides: I am a scholar, and I can tell you that collecting information and rearranging it in an encyclopedia has nothing to do with scholarly research and/or genuine interpretation … if one of my students would hand in such a paper, I would accuse her/him of plagiarism ….

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Joanne Rowling stood and prayed thus with herself, “Harry Potter, I thank You that I am not like other human beings—Snapes, unjust, Slytherins in general, or even as my own father. I arrange charity performances, I arrange auctions for the greater good, for example I gave away my ugly handbag, and sometimes I give alms of all that I got paid by my childish fans .” Gospel of Rowling: The Neverending Chapter

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I Think that Jo had every right to d owhat she did. but i wish that it could have been dealt with better it all seems to be so nasty. I have to say shame on Steve. That wasn’t right mate.

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Man the owner of that publishing house is full of bullcrap. First Ammendment rights??? What the hell does this have to do with freedom of speech? That publisher looks more shady by the second.

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Wow.

I hope Steve gets WB / JKR a review copy QUICK.

IF this Lexicon is as purported to be, most certainly this is a copyright violation. JKR / WB have every right to defend their copyright. An advance copy would have likely alleviated most of this.

If RDR books doesn’t stop, and NOW, then the 10 “does” (defendants who could be named later) could possibly be extended by WB to include all other fan sites, such as Leaky. And they could likely do this without JKR’s consent. That would be the end of all our favorite sites. JKR has been a sweetheart to us and our obsessions. We don’t need for one of our representatives to do this much damage to our access for more of the series we love.

As for the timeline, anyone could make one… and it would look just like the one on the Lexicon. It’s a timeline. They all look the same. If 2 timelines are created from the same dates/information, then you’ll see 2 timelines that look just alike.

I certainly hope Steve puts a stop to this. He’s a smart, reasonable guy. A court case could get really ugly.

We ALL need to come together and tell Steve / RDR to chill out and comply. It’s their baby, legally. At this point, if this book comes out, I will not purchase it.

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I agree I now will not buy the book at all under any circumstance. Firstly, it just couldn’t possible be as good as one that Jo writes, but also because their actions have been so openly malicious and despicable.

I also think the argument that the book is for underpriviledged children who do not have access to the internet is absolutely astonishing and embarassing for the company. If they truly wanted to do those children a favor, they would GIVE them the book, not make them buy it. This notion is totally disingenusous and shameful.

Frankly, their copyright infringement is preposterous and their actions have been rude and totally provoked by their own profit-seeking.

I think everyone should boycott buying their unofficial book.

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i thought steve claims to be a ravenclaw? publishing this lexicon sounds more like a slytherin thing to do. i’m disappointed in you, steve.

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I think moderation in our reactions is a good thing. I see some people outright attacking JKR, saying she is greedy and holier-than-thou. I see some people attacking Steve, saying he’s a disgusting human being, lowlife, whatever. You know, probably they’re both normal people. They are now embroiled in an unfortunate (and polarizing) legal situation. Why don’t we wait until more facts come to light before name-calling?

I tend to side with JKR on this one. Not only does she have the right of it, legally, but I think that she has made much wiser moves publicity-wise than RDR publishing has. Her people hastened to explain their suit and paint her in a good light, and then RDR comes on the scene late and sounding amateurish. To deny the emails and letters that were sent from JKR’s people (RDR says they only had contact from WB), and to claim that the whole thing is a smear campaign against them started “less than two hours” after RDR filed the timeline suit against WB, is pretty ridiculous. RDR’s claim that the Lexicon book would benefit children in impovrished countries? Laughable.

The whole suit comes down to the fact that JKR and WB assume that the book is the same as the Lexicon site, which is indeed copyright infringement. RDR says that the book is a scholarly commentary, which would not be. If RDR had given JKR’s people a review copy, the whole matter could have been settled. The fact that they (seemingly) went out of their way to not provide that copy, and then possibly lied about communication, seems awfully shady to me.

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I feel SO sorry for poor, misunderstood, Jo Rowling [/sarcasm]

It’s all for charity mate, (in her best smashie and nicey voice), the hideous Lexicon are taking food out of skinny kids everywhere. Poor Nicole Ritchie and Victoria Beckham need her charity book.

Did I mention Jo’s book is for charity?

Jo becomes more Slytherin by the day.

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I agree with you Mars. JKR has been absolutely lenient in allowing fanfiction, fanart, and fan sites. She even encourages it. Most other authors wouldn’t even allow such a thing and they have the right to say ‘no’. And this is how one of her ‘greatest’ fans treats her? Shame on Steve. I for one support JKR.

Also for the India parade suit? Would JKR have been sued if one of the rides or whatever were unsafe and caused injury to anyone just because it bears the Harry Potter name?

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I really appreciate all the info laid out for us about what we know so far. What a crazy last few weeks. I wish Jo the best in getting this sorted out. Best wishes to the Lexicon too. What a nightmare for all involved. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the future of other parts of the fandom…the rock groups, fan fic, galleries, etc.

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Two things jump out from this news post.

1. Jo Rowling and WB HAVE NOT READ the Lexicon book. How can they possibly say it infringes copyright?

2. The writ makes reference to the fact that the Lexicon website uses promotional material from the HP films.

Leaky Galleries, watch out.

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cries at the fragility of the fandom

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Let’s all keep firmly in mind that Rowling ALLOWS Steve Vander Ark to publish the HP Lexicon; if she wanted to, she could shut down the website on the same grounds of copyright infringement. It doesn’t matter if you publish a book, publish on the Internet on a website, or publish an audio version, the fact remains that Rowling has the final say in who gets to repurpose her fiction.

Let’s also keep VERY firmly in mind that Steve Vander Ark does make money from the website: he accepts banner advertising, he solicits donations through Paypal, and he runs Google’s AdSense classified ads, for which he gets paid EVERY time anyone, anywhere in the world clicks on one of them.

By his publisher’s count, the HP Lexicon gets over 25 million “hits” annually. Multiply that by the number of years it’s been in existence. And keep in mind that there’s other foreign editions on the web that Steve has authorized, plus more in the works, and so the website is actually a never-ending money machine. How much money Steve makes is his own business, but let’s not disregard the fact that it’s very much a commercial enterprise. And I have no problems with any of this, except that once he repackages it as a book, he’s extended his “permission” from Rowling that he enjoys for his website and basically is licensing it out.

Like any other popular author, Rowling will be the subject of many more books to come. Biographies, academic studies, examinations of the wizarding world—these have already appeared and more are in the works. The difference is that these authors have ADDED new material in the form of commentary. As we don’t know, and SVA’s publisher refuses, to show the manuscript to Rowling’s lawyer, it’s a matter of speculation as to exactly WHAT the book consists of. The publisher chides WB who asked for a copy and told them to find someone who knows how to print out stuff from the Internet and print out the HP Lexicon online.

In all of this, the publisher comes away looking small, petty, and exceptionally argumentative. He’s free to publish SVA’s book, just as Rowling and WB is free to take him to court, with the possibility that, if RDR Books loses, they stand to lose everything: the judgment and punitive damages awarded could wipe out RDR Books.

Of course, if RDR Books won in court, then it’d open the floodgates for more books like this: people eagerly, anxiously, and quickly looking to make a very fast buck by rushing to press similar compilations.

As we do not know what is in the book until a copy is made available outside RDR Books, there’s nothing but speculation on this point. But don’t lose sight of the fact that Rowling, who has been vilified on this site and on Mugglenet.com by some of her so-called fans, has over the years been very generous in letting fans write fan fiction online, publish legitimate books, put on unofficial conventions, etc. But she MUST draw the line somewhere, and she draws it where someone else’s work competes with her own work. Honestly, who can fault her for that?

Steve Vander Ark has probably made a lot of money off the advertising on the Lexicon, and I say that’s adequate compensation for the time he has put in. The Lexicon has gotten him speaking gigs around the world at HP conferences and visibility on WB’s Harry Potter DVDs. All of this translates to Steve being a brand-name in the Harry Potter universe.

Frankly, there’s other books Steve could publish, well within the limits of what’s permissible, and simply by promoting it on Lexicon, he’d have significant sales. That, after all, is what the boys at Mugglenet.com did, which resulted in the sale of 335,000 copies, according to PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (August 8, 2007 story). PW notes further that “Ulysses Press plans to use the more than $2 million it will earn” on the Mugglenet.com book to “continue what it calls ‘auteur’ publishing.’”

AS the Mugglenet book retails for $13.95, if they got the traditional 10% of cover price, the boys have rightly and legally earned $467,325, or roughly a half-million bucks (given that most book contracts have “escalator” clauses so that if you sell more copies, your royalty rate goes up.)

It is the worldwide exposure of Mugglenet.com as a website that helped the book reached such a sales level, aided by a NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW story.

Let Steve drop the current book project and consider alternative, LEGAL book projects in the Harry Potter universe. Rowling has said on her website that “criticism or review of Harry Potter’s world … would be entirely legitimate – neither I nor anybody connected with Harry Potter has ever tried to prevent such works being published.”

Steve is free to make however much money he can make by writing an ORIGINAL book within those guidelines, but he is not free to recast Rowling’s books in encyclopedic entries without recourse—and that’s the basis of her lawsuit, which was done after all other options were exhausted. In other words, Rowling had NO CHOICE at that point.

Steve has done a lot of good work with the Lexicon and he should now use that visibility and popularity to write an ORIGINAL book. Then fans can buy it, or not buy it, based on its own merits—and Rowling would allow him to do so without legal interference.

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What a mess – hopefully they are able to settle this thing with minimal damage. This could have repercussions for other aspects of the fandom, even of others, otherwise. It does seem like JKR is at least in the legal right here; she does have to protect her work, but the whole thing is just weirding me out. Agree that the publishers have made themselves look dodgy with some silly arguments and retorts. And LemonFresh, with you all the way. Good luck to both parties in sorting what feels already like a protracted issue.

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Thanks to The Plain Truth for your well-composed and equally well argued commentary. There’s nothing much to add, really, but the hope that Steve will finally be able to decide between what is right, and what is easy[ly earned money) ...

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@skybluegaze, not everybody who read the Harry Potter books is a fan of the author. The whole story is simply annoying. I think Steve should have asked before. Because HP belongs of course to Mrs. Rowling. Anyway. This is nothing else than fuss.

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Man, JKR is getting some serious stick of late, it’s terrible.

First there were those who hated book seven – were they reading the same book as me? Best damn thing I’ve ever read!

Then Dumbledore’s gay – I don’t want to start all that again, so I’ll just say I was fine with it.

And now this – and quite frankly I say let ‘em get on with it, it’s not our business, let them sort it out and I hope it will resolve itself in a pleasant way (though it’s not looking too good right now)

Jo, if you’re reading this, don’t let the b**s grind you down, I still think you’re awesome!

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tiny tim- I’m pretty sure the writ states that the ‘Infringing Book’ is the one that they have a problem with using the promotional material from HP films, or else a suit would have been filed a while ago.

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@smithy:

Lexicon has info based on her work, her interviews and etc. Stevie is publishing something based on her work…something that took 17 years of her life to produce. It violates copyright and is therefore illegal. And Jo is suing against the unofficial encyclopedia book, NOT Lexicon. Go reread the post.

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*steve

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I agree with Jo, because regardless that Steve put all that work into making the website (and timeline) it was still based off of HER work. The timeline would never have existed if Harry had never been published. So he has absolutely no chance (or excuse) to say that he deserves compensation, etc.

HOWEVER, that being said, I don’t think Steve is behind all of this. I think its RDR thats at fault, because they are the ones that went out to try and promote the book, they are the ones that lied to WB and Jo. Many of you state that Steve could have stopped all of this, but honestly, not really. Once he signed with RDR it became RDR’s ‘right’ to publish, which therefore even if Steve did say to not publish it, a) they could have refused him outright and b) sued him for rights, monetary damages, among other things. So either way, he would be sued. Also, it seems its the publisher, RDR, thats not presenting JKR and WB with the book, to show to them that its not copyright.. but since they refuse to proves it is.

As for Steve’s comments, well it sounds like his back is up against the wall, and of course he’s trying to defend himself because he’s being attacked for what RDR mainly did.

So in the long run, I can see why Steve thought to publish the book, but this is WB/JKR vs. RDR not WB/JKR vs. RDR/SVA.. unfortunately, he’s being dragged through it. And also as far as any and all material, its all Jo’s, and we have to remember that as fans we wouldnt be here without her. I think it very fair that she allows all these sites to exist, because there are some entities that shut down any fan websites that pop up.

And someone else made the comment that Jo is ‘sue-happy’ to which, no shes not. She has millions of readers and people who like to capitalize on those readers and so obviously more than one is going to start popping up.

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I really hope Jo changes her mind: from the pandal scandal to this sue, adding that Beedle won’t be avalible for fans (but she announces it as a great news, while only ONE will read it) and she moreover finish with WOTM. What happens with you, Jo? You are dissapointing a great part of fandom. You should think about it.

I am really TIRED because she always has to remember us she gives money to charities. She should be shamed! She should remember that of “your left hand shouldn’t know that your right hand does”. I am not going to support her only because she gives money to charities, it’s a rubbish reason she uses to convice us. Jo, please, I really admire you, but you are not the same Jo than before HP7.

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To “The Plain Truth” I live in Europe and had to leave the Leaky Cauldron yesterday after midnight, while all you folks where still debating! I had asked, if some of you knew if the Sites earned money if we hit their sites. First thing in the morning I came to check. Your comment, (I bet you are a lawyer ;-)) confirmed what I have long assumed, that each time we hit one of the Harry Potter Websites (or other sites.) the owner of the site earns MONEY. Wow, have you any idea how many times I went and watched for Harry Potter news? I admit this is more than okay with me – I really esteem what all those sites have done for us Fans, but not forgetting that they are Fans themselves! So returning to SVA, he HAS profited from JO and her Harry Potter story already – and nicely! And let’s not forget that we the fans, went over to the “Lexicon” and helped innocently to complete his already awesome “Lexicon” to perfection with our comments – did SVA not invite us to send in our suggestions! How many of us have gone and taken out their books and sent in corrections – never having in mind that our smart Steve would one day want to print the “Lexicon”! Now, if you look at it from the money-making point, it does not sound so nice anymore!!!! As I said above, I absolutely don’t mind if my favorite HP Fan sites earn money each time I hit their site – but I cannot agree with those all of a sudden J.K.Rowling-haters, that Jo is greedy….who is greedy now!!!!!! As so many of you said before: It is HER STORY – she invented the world of Harry Potter. One last word, thanks also Melissa and her Leaky Cauldron site. This is probably not a easy moment for them.

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I never thought the time would come when there would be Jo vs some sort of fan thing.

I’m reserving judgement as I am being torn apart by both parties arguments. I feel very sad :-(

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Sirious Black, your list is missing out the indian festival and of fans being upset on not getting to read her fairytale stories! Yeah, last few months must go down in Jo’s diary as a very interesting period. But on every incident, I think JK was always in her right and in my mind has never once tarnished her reputation of being kind, giving, loving, very charitable and above all intelligent person.

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Whatever the legal and behind-the-scenes goings-on, and whatever the rules as to who is talking for Steve, I still want to hear from him. At the end of the day, the fandom is what makes all of this happen for JKR, WB, and the Lexicon. And if he still has not realized by now that what’s coming out of that publisher of his is not helping him (either with Jo or the fandom), he’s a lot slower than I thought.

I really think he needs to at least let us know his perspective on this – I want to believe the best about him, I want him to be working really hard to make this go away, and to see the mistake he appears to have made with this, but there are so many rumours and comments swirling about that I really cannot see Steve in all this chaos. That is why he needs to step up and say look, I am not hiding behind that awful statement from the publisher, I am distancing myself from it – trust me, I am sorting this out.

It’s really painful to find out this has been going on for so long – there he was, joking around with the pottercasters on the last canon conclusions as if nothing was wrong, and meanwhile, he knew he was upsetting Jo all along. That feels like betrayal to me.

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This is major overkill on her part – since he’s already done so much work, why doesn’t she work with Steve instead of slamming him?

And oh, yes – all her interviews in the last few months about not deciding whether or not to do an encyclopedia at all? Not true. Evidently she’s been working on one for at least a year (while she was supposedly working exclusively on DH), and already has a team of editors fact checking. This sort of duplicity makes me doubt whatever she and her publishers say, since this is far from the first time she’d said one thing and done another.

Finally – if she’s so concerned about charity, why not assign the royalties from one or two of the Potter books themselves to charity? She doesn’t need the money, and the charities will get a lot more from, say, Prisoner of Azkaban than an encyclopedia that not everyone will buy.

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Ellid: Please READ the articles! They tried working with him for TWO months before filing a suit. Geez!!

I hope no one who disagrees with Jo on this ever goes into law. It’s extremely simple legalities. There’s nothing convoluted or “Slytherin” about it.

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Ellid et al.,

I don’t believe you. That sort of hogwash is not just factually incorrect, it is also demeaning. When will you understand that all of this material is entirely Jo’s and she’s free to do with it as she pleases, without owing an explanation to you or anyone else. Unlike Steve. She’s also stated her reasons for her actions clear as day, again, unlike Steve.

It is a question of respect for Jo to support her on this 100% – and to accept the fact that Steve’s made a mistake. Which still means we can hope he’ll arrive at the same conclusion rather sooner than later, too, and start making amends.

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No, I’m not a lawyer: I work for a living….

Regarding the comment, voiced several times all over the Internet, that Steve Vander Ark should come out and speak his mind: He cannot do so. He is party to a lawsuit and the best thing for him to do is say nothing—save it for court. His publisher, however, is speaking out, and making a bloody fool of himself in the process.

I have met Steve at a convention; I like him a lot, and I respect him. And more than anyone in the world, he’d love to post here and clear the air, but he simply CAN’T do so because it’s not in his best interests. The best thing to do when you’re being sued is (a) get a good lawyer, and (b) keep your mouth closed.

There’s plenty of time to give your side of the story, in court, before the judge, and not have this matter tried in the court of public opinion. Steve will have his day in court and he will carefully rehearse what he has to say, and it’ll then be promptly reported here.

PS: In my opening sentence, I hope everybody understands that I was making a joke about lawyers not working. But they are such stuffed shirts that it’s OK to make an occasional joke or two…. All in good fun, I say.

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Here it is, 7:38am EST, and this is STILL going on. I last posted, at 8:02pm EST, last night. My last post was on page #10. There are now 16 pages. I found something curious, both in the article, by TLC and RDR’s response: How is it that RDR/Steve Vander Ark, etal, know what’s on the ‘Order Of The Phoenix’ DVD? Have they seen an “advance copy”? Or are they making an assumption, based on previous DVD’s? I haven’t read all the posts, so this may have been covered, already. Another point, brought up by the RDR Response is the use of Lexicon’s work, “without permission” in previous DVD’s. Are they saying that, they didn’t “file suit against JKR and WB, back then, so their “borrowing, without permission” should be ok? I’m really confused, now, and I’ll keep checking back. But I think this “horse” has been “beaten to death” here. It’s not, as I said in my last post, going to go away. IT will be some time. Let’s get back to HBP and it’s progress, OK?

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i don’t get it!

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ive seen pics from HP5 dvd timeline and it is definetly a copy of Lexicon’s timeline. you can see the pics on harrymedia.com

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em – Its JKR/WB, not Bloomsbury – as far as I am aware, the character rights are held by WB and publishing rights by JKR, so Bloomsbury/Scholastic aren’t involved as there are no contracts as to the future encyclopedia.

Posted by billywig_99 on November 02, 2007 @ 01:46 AM

No, according to the AFP article, the Indian festival was sued by JKR/Bloomsbury. Though I guess it doesn’t much matter either way. Hogwarts Castle at Center of Indian Festival Lawsuit

“Organizers of a religious event in the city of Kolkata, in eastern India, were shocked to learn that J.K. Rowling-author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books-was planning a lawsuit against them because they had constructed a replica of the fictional Hogwarts Castle for the event.

J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury, her publisher, decided to sue the organizers of the event for two million rupees, or $50,000, because they had constructed an elaborate castle using canvas, bamboo and paper mache for the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata.”

http://www.totallawyers.com/legal-articles-hogwarts.asp

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@em: The suit (HJR/Bloomsbuy vs Durga Puja Festival…obviously NOT the title of the actual suit) was thrown out of court. Neither side “won” or “lost”.. Is your comment directed at JKR’s “apparent sue-happy” stance? At anyrate, I am going back to my current work, as I am a seamstress and have projects due by the 10th. I hope TLC can find some other news, to take this place. Perhaps, just keep readers apriased of what’s going on, in the suit. I am still of the opinion (as expressed by many here, over the last 24 hours) that TLC has handled this with great care. They have done a fantastic job, as journalists. I applaud them, for their efforts.

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Haven’t been keeping up much with the fandom lately. Wow. This is really weird. Almost sounds like a fight my twin sons had a few years ago over a video game:

Twin A: It’s my game. I just let you borrow it. Twin B: But I play it more than you do. And I’m better at it. I’ve taken it up several levels! Twin A: It’s MINE! Twin B: I’ve EARNED it! Mom: Hmm…well, you could voluntarily give back the game and thank your brother for letting you play it for so long. I’m sure he’ll let you borrow it again.

Or, you could act like an ungrateful brat and chances are he’ll never let you play it again. It’s not yours. It never was.

A mumbled “thank you” and peace was temporarily restored.

Of course, you can’t expect the same sort of conclusion in this fiasco. We are, after all, dealing with adults here…...

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No, I’m just correcting billywig_99’s comment. Whether you’re pro-Durja festival or anti-Durja festival, the lawsuit wasn’t filed by the WB. And JKR/Bloomsbury’s complaint was dismissed & thrown out of court by an Indian judge – the festival organizers won the legal battle. Like I said, it’s not an important detail. Though now that I think of it, it does tend to indicate that this is less a WB/Lexicon thing, and more about JKR taking steps now to protect the copyright. Personally, I think the Indian thing was a shot across the bow to prevent any other company from trying to create their own unofficial HP amusement parks.

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You guys need to stop bashing Jo like shes out here to hurt us! Do you really think she would do this if she didnt HAVE to??? Do you think even from a business point of view it would be smart of her to pick on her belived fans??? Shes not stupid! She did what she had to do to protect her world that she made up over 17 years of her life. And for those who are saying its about the money and she has enough, get over it. Its hers to have, its her creation and its great so she deserves every penny out there. Theres no reason why she would give proceeds to charity if she felt that she wanted them for herself. Steve is wrong or just stupid for falling into this mess. He should answered the letters he recieved. HE SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THEM A COPY TO PROVE ITS ONLY A SO CALLED PRINT OUT OF THE WEBSITE! Come on people open your eyes. Its got infringement printed all over it! I believe Jo’s side 100% for the simple fact that they were never given the book in its printed form.

Think about it! If thats all the book is (a so called printed version of the website and WB could have done it themselves by printing the website out) then why didnt they just send them a copy to shut them up and stay out of the legal battle? And on top of that!, why would someone be that dumb to pay $24.95 for a something that we can print out for free right now! Does binding cost $24.95 now? I would love to differ! I work in a printing company and if you would like to know binding cost less $1.50. Unless they were printing the book on gold leaflets then I dont know what the point of this book has to better the impoverished children who dont have enough money to buy food but have enough money to buy Steves book.

End of story…....

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To The Plain Truth,

I take your point, and I was assuming as much. But I am not looking for him to fight it out in the Court of Public Opinion, as it were. I am not expecting that from him anymore than from Jo. I just want to know that the real person Steve gives a damn about what the fandom is thinking, and reassures us he’s working on it. (Actually, I want him to say it’s all just a giant misunderstanding and RDR are crooks and have run away with the Lexicon w/out his knowledge or consent, but that just may be wishful thinking …)

The only other thing is that given the nature of the beast, meaning the fact that his whole enterprise relies on its popularity with fans, I do not think enforced or voluntary silence even on such a fairly general level as Jo’s been talking about this on her site is in his best interest. Whoever his lawyers/PR people (if any)/representatives at the publisher’s are, they’re messing up big time and he should be position to see that.

Even if he were to win in court (highly unlikely, even if this is not settled out of court), who’d be interested in what he’s got to offer afterwards?

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To everyone, who keeps telling, that it was JKR/Bloomsbury, who sued Durga Puja festival: that’s rubbish. I’ve sent an e-mail to Jo’s Literary Agency and they have answered, that was the matter primarely brought up by Warner Bros. Period.

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I can only say; if it has JKR’s name on it, I’m gonna buy it. I don’t think I’m alone in this and it tears my soul apart in this being the first time I have to disagree with Jo.

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Honestly, what does it matter? I think I’ll go with the published news articles rather than an anonymous poster claiming to have contact with JKR’s agents. Do they answer emails?

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HPBrian

Read my post up top and open your eyes.

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@ em Honestly, why should I listen to Rita Skeeters of this world? I’ve asked them and they were kindly enough to answer me. If you call me a liar, then I can live with this, really.

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Sigh. I’m not calling you a liar – I’m saying that every major news outlet, from the AP to the Guardian, has reported that JKR/Bloomsbury filed the lawsuit. And yeah, I will believe that over an anon poster. As a news editor, it bothers me a little that people are willing to dismiss actual newspaper articles from reputable organizations with vague “Rita Skeeter” allegations. Especially if people are willing to trust an anon report or private email from one of the parties over the published facts. If it’s wrong, please provide a link to the email or any news articles to the contrary.

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Where are people getting all this information from? This is insane, I feel like I am in the twilight zone.

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Can’t the Leaky people say anything about this?

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Rappaport spoke to a local Michigan paper – “Steve created this Web site as a volunteer project on his own time and stopping a book of his own creation is not something that happens in America. It’s something that could only happen in a police-state.”

http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2007/11/muskegon_publisher_grand_rapid.html

LOL. He really needs to stop talking.

Can’t confirm or deny any rumors, but the same article states that “Vander Ark was in England Wednesday and unavailable for comment, Rapoport said did not respond to an e-mail sent to his address at the lexicon site. Vander Ark resigned from his job at Byron Center Christian Schools about three weeks ago, school Administrator Glen Hendricks said.”

Oh, the Drama!

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“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.”

Yes because those underprivileged children in impoverished nations have an extra $30 laying aorund to purchase a new book.

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I feel sorry for Steve. Is anyone seriously going to confuse his book with Jo’s? And there have been many encyclopedias and companion books to the Potterverse. The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A-Z by Kristina Benson, The Ultimate Unofficial Harry Potter Trivia Book by Daniel Lawerence, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter by Tere Stouffer, The Pottersaurus: 1,500 Words Harry Potter Readers Need to Know by Eric D Randall, and An Unofficial Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World: Exploring the Harry Potter Universe by Fionna Boyle, among others. Many are also being sued, but after they were published, and it wasn’t made front page news. Jo did not single those people out on her site. Steve is being treated DIFFERENTLY than the others, which is why I have a lot of sympathy for him.If he added some commentary to each chapter, would it them be different from Jo’s book, and okay? The only one who is going to win here is the lawyers, certainly not the charities.

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I’ve always felt that JK has been a little free when it comes to protecting her copyright material. That I thought was very evident with fan fiction (Who wants the press of saying she doesn’t support children writing), but when you actually enter the book world you are stepping into her territory. Steve should have seen this coming, especially since he is breaking down her plots and characters. Hopefully, the people who support fan fiction will not try to publish any collections (even if they are for charity) in the future. They will probably get the same result.

Remember a big part of why we are talking about a WGA strike is because writers are fighting to protect the property they create (In that setting it is the showing of their work on the internet). I fully support an artist’s right to own, control, and protect their material.

Remember, Harry Potter never truly belonged to us (I know it is harder for the younger fans to realize but it is true). It is her invention, we are just lucky she has decided to share it with us. Think of it this way—You can enjoy a painting at an art museum, but you aren’t allowed to bring your own paint and touch it.

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It sounds to me like Steve got stuck between a rock and a hard place because he chose to work with a less that reputable publisher. After reading all the information, I have to agree with Jo, but this really worries me:

“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”

This could open the door for a lot of crap. Do you know how many fan books/sites/etc are derived from Harry Potter? This decision could really tear the fandom to pieces!

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IndigoMisfit on November 02, 2007 @ 09:20 AM;

Where are people getting all this information from? This is insane, I feel like I am in the twilight zone.

moomin;`LOL!!!

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@ em

With seeking to view my personal mails, you seek to violate my secrecy of the post. And it isn’t like the TLC did not contact said Agency to clear the thing with lawsuit against SVA. “The Christopher Little Agency has also answered some questions for Leaky in response to what has been mentioned in comments:(...)” and so on.

So try and contact them under: christopher@christopherlittle.net on some topic and you’ll see, if they will answer.

Of course, you don’t have to believe me a word. But remember: the thing with being anonymous is that you normally trust what other say, in order to be trusted in return.

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response to Post “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.” just because JKR has used the site doesn’t mean a thing. the real issue is HPL’s to publish the authors work “without permission” all the Star Wars and Star Trek stuff is different because it was done with the express written consent and even the encouragement of the publishers and owners of those properties. that is the issue. I had once thought that the suit was silly because the content of the Lexicon book would be different than any companion piece that JO would do, which would contain new information. this new statement from JO makes much more sense to me. HPL can’t publish a book like that for their own purposes with out the blessing of Jo and her publishers. and doesn’t it seem silly for them to ask for money for something that people could once get for free on the website already?

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I saw a post at Publisher’s Marketplace that might explain why Steve can’t get out of this mess even if he wants too:

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/rights/display.cgi?rights_no=4902

According to that, Steve has already SOLD the British, French, Australian and Canadian rights to his book to RDR. Meaning money was already given to him by RDR. And considering this was way back Sept. 10, chances are he has spent that money already. Unless he can pay back RDR, he has to stick with his publisher.

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Die Zimtziche

Re-read the article and recalculate your thoughts please. You make no sense what so ever. And also re-read all these comments that answer all the questions that might come up. Then you can tell us how you feel.

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Oh, come on guys. There are already a bunch of companion books out there and nobody gives a d… s…. about it. How convenient they´re pushing this law suit to gain even more publicity for the “real thing”. Sorry, JK, I lurve Harry but I feel that´s not about copyright infringement at all.

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Reading the first few comments i realise very few people are on the dise of steven vander ark. I personally don’t see what JKRs issue with the book is. This book would not decrease the sales of any book she would do later. How many of us wouldn’t buy it because of this? And the whole its being used for profit thing is complete rubbish. What about all the other companion books that hvae been used for profit, what makes this one so different? Oh yeah the timeline complait they did previously

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“With seeking to view my personal mails, you seek to violate my secrecy of the post.” LOL, are you claiming a copyright infringement? It makes me wonder why they wouldn’t bother to correct the 20+ news outlets that reported that JKR & Bloomsbury were behind the lawsuit. And like I said, who cares? It’s authorized by JKR either way. I did email them – we’ll see if they respond. Maybe I can break some news here!

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Lutece and Abi

Did you bother to read any of the comments before yours??? The previous published books including Mugglenets were books on theories and ideas about the books and were not considered infringement. The Encyclopedia is clearly just a copy paste job of all 7 books seperated into more specific sections. Thats why Mugglenets version of an encyclopedia was not allowed and took out of publication. The issue is that ANYTHING with more than 10% of the originators work is considered infringement. The Encyclopedia would deffinitely have more than 10% of what is in the books. Another issue is that if JK already promised a book that will give it proceeds to charity and now Steve is trying to cash in on it first, why should he? Hes gotten a big head because the success of his website. Oh well, and if the site started to charge money for it then it would be closed down as well. Jo LETS IT STAY OPEN for US because it is free. And if its not for Profit on Steve’s end then what is it???? Think about it! If thats all the book is (a so called printed version of the website and WB could have done it themselves by printing the website out) then why didnt they just send them a copy to shut them up and stay out of the legal battle? And on top of that!, why would someone be that dumb to pay $24.95 for a something that we can print out for free right now! Does binding cost $24.95 now? I would love to differ! I work in a printing company and if you would like to know binding cost less $1.50. Unless they were printing the book on gold leaflets then I dont know what the point of this book has to better the impoverished children who dont have enough money to buy food but have enough money to buy Steves book.

End of story…….

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I have been a huge Potterhead for a long time now and, as most of my firends will tell you, I have pushed many people to start the series. Like many of you, I enjoy getting lost in Rowling’s imaginary world and was elated to hear that she was thinking of making her own HP encyclopedia.

Now, I’m not so sure I will buy it.

Rowling has done a lot of great things for our society…she has caused a generation addicted to technology to pick up the age-old tradition of reading books and she has contributed a great deal of money to various charities. She, no doubt, has left a mark that will not fade in the near future. But, like someone else commented earlier, Rowling is not perfect…she is human and will make mistakes. This lawsuit is the latest in a list of mistakes the author has made/is making. Those who argue that SVA’s text will take away from Rowling’s revenue when she eventually writes her own encyclopedia are crazy. Rowling’s encyclopedia will sell the same amount of copies because SHE wrote (or will in the future) it.

It seems to me that Rowling (or at least the people who advise her to take legal action) should reconsider the argument at hand. If all the other “guide to HP” type books are allowed (and have been around for a couple of years now), then SVA’s text should be no exception. Unless he has printed Rowling’s text word-for-word and has added no further input, he has the legal right to analyze the text, organize the information, and sell it in a bound grouping of pages.

Between this, the Hogwarts model suit, and the PR stunt that was Dumbledore’s outing…I am losing respect for the decision makers behind all of this.

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Wow, I just saw the update from SVA’s publishers. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The attempt to paint SVA’s book as some kind of public service is just incredible.

Providing the Lexicon info to kids in poor Third World countries? How idiotic….like impoverished kids without internet access can afford SVA’s book….or even CARE about the book, when there are more pressing concerns like, um, food and shelter. @@

Their posturing as defenders of the First Amendment is equally pathetic and completely off-base. The First Amendment has never, ever granted the right for someone to profit from another’s work.

I have to wonder if these comments are not being manipulated by people who work at the Lexicon’s publishing house, given the number of pro-SVA, anti-JKR posts there are here. Surely there are not that many clueless HP fans?

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I don’t know what you guys don’t get. This is not about making less money or some grudge against Steve. This is about the nature of his book, which in all essence of the word is a data mine (encyclopedia) of JK Rowling’s work. This is copyright infringement in every sense of the word. Heck even among commentaries and reviews, the content of your book has to be 75% original! In the Lexicon, how much do you think is original and how much is taken from HP books?

JK has tried very hard to just talk to them about it but they IGNORED her. So what is she supposed to do? Just let it go?

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I have to agree with Em… no offense Aillinne. But JKR has clearly posted letters to her fans on her own website… why wouldn’t she say there that she didn’t issue the lawsuit. Acutally I beleive she states that she is participating in it and explains why.

“As it 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….” 31/10/07 jkrowling.com

But thats funny higher sources would tell you otherwise.

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I KNOW how I feel. I feel sorry for Steve. His book cannot possibly take away from sales of a book Jo hasn’t even finished writing yet, and is no where near publishing.

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Agitated

Obviously you dont read the comments before yours either. So ill copy them for you here…......

Did you bother to read any of the comments before yours??? The previous published books including Mugglenets were books on theories and ideas about the books and were not considered infringement. The Encyclopedia is clearly just a copy paste job of all 7 books seperated into more specific sections. Thats why Mugglenets version of an encyclopedia was not allowed and took out of publication. The issue is that ANYTHING with more than 10% of the originators work is considered infringement. The Encyclopedia would deffinitely have more than 10% of what is in the books. Another issue is that if JK already promised a book that will give it proceeds to charity and now Steve is trying to cash in on it first, why should he? Hes gotten a big head because the success of his website. Oh well, and if the site started to charge money for it then it would be closed down as well. Jo LETS IT STAY OPEN for US because it is free. And if its not for Profit on Steve’s end then what is it???? Think about it! If thats all the book is (a so called printed version of the website and WB could have done it themselves by printing the website out) then why didnt they just send them a copy to shut them up and stay out of the legal battle? And on top of that!, why would someone be that dumb to pay $24.95 for a something that we can print out for free right now! Does binding cost $24.95 now? I would love to differ! I work in a printing company and if you would like to know binding cost less $1.50. Unless they were printing the book on gold leaflets then I dont know what the point of this book has to better the impoverished children who dont have enough money to buy food but have enough money to buy Steves book.

End of story…….

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“Joanne Rowling stood and prayed thus with herself, “Harry Potter, I thank You that I am not like other human beings—Snapes, unjust, Slytherins in general, or even as my own father. I arrange charity performances, I arrange auctions for the greater good, for example I gave away my ugly handbag, and sometimes I give alms of all that I got paid by my childish fans .” Gospel of Rowling: The Neverending Chapter”

TOO FUNNY!!! After reading through all of these comments, I totally agree with what you are trying to get across here. People…JKR is aa author (albeit a fantastic one)...not a god.

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Die Zimtzicke

Ok so then if you ever write something so spectacular then Ill be sure to cash in on as well. You’ll have enough money where your 17 years of hard work wont really matter anymore now that you have a few extra dollars in your pocket! (Sarcasm and pitty for such stupidity)

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No, not copyright infringement, the secrecy of the post. And how could I know, for sure, that my answerer wishes to be known? I didn’t ask him for permission. And I’m not so picky to go further with the old festival lawsuit. And it was, as far as I know, WB who released statement on Durga Puja festival problem. Hope, we can leave it this way.

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exactly, she’s an author. And being an author, she has power and right to protect her creation. If someone tried to copy anything I created, I would send the wolves on them too. (or maybe just some lawyers)

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“I have read all of the comments, thank you. Be careful not to judge all comments on here as “fact”…you have no clue who the authors are.” Posted by Agitated on November 02, 2007 @ 10:12 AM

that includes to your comments too. Don’t be to quick to think that your theories are correct either. Everyone here is posting their opinion.

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“With seeking to view my personal mails, you seek to violate my secrecy of the post.” LOL, are you claiming a copyright infringement? It makes me wonder why they wouldn’t bother to correct the 20+ news outlets that reported that JKR & Bloomsbury were behind the lawsuit. And like I said, who cares? It’s authorized by JKR either way. I did email them – we’ll see if they respond. Maybe I can break some news here!

Posted by em on November 02, 2007 @ 09:58 AM

The jk people didn’t come out and say we had nothing to do with this (the indian) lawsuit. Their were mentioned as party to the lawsuit. If they weren’t party to it, they would have correct the dozens of news articles. so I not going to buy anything they say now in their private emails.

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How come there are no ads on leaky, or is that just my computer? I don’t see any ads on the side bars. Only the one on the very top. They don’t even have the pottercast flash player thing on the left side. what is going on?

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@ HP4LIFE That’s missunderstanding. In my “conversation” with @ em I was talking firstly about India Incident, then about SVA lawsuit. I don’t deny, that JKR is directly involved in the latest, but I’m not sure about the first. CLear?

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Thank you.

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No ads, probably because Leaky is scared they’ll be next. As one article stated, the Leaky is a law exam question all to itself—filled with thousands upon thousands of copyright infringements.

I’m still not on JKR’s side on this one. WB is known for bullying the little guy, so it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them at all.

WB is trying to say that the Lexicon has “no rights at all.” If it is copyrighted, it most certainly does. This should be interesting how this plays out.

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I see adds on leaky so I don’t really know what you are talking about.

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I only see the one ad on top. I don’t see anything else ad or not on the side bars. Is that just me.

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If Steve spent all that time updating his website with new spells, potions, witches and wizards, he would’ve finished an entirely original book by himself, instead of using someone else’s and make it into a reference manual. I’m never going to that website nor buy the book = = = IF = = = it ever gets printed. (which I doubt)

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You know what else I noticed? There’s no new Wizard of the Month on JK Rowling’s website. Instead, it now just links to an archive of past featured Wizards. This might be the first time, ever, that she hasn’t posted a new wizard. It kind of makes me wonder if she’s decided to stop posting new information on her website, where it’s in the public domain, & instead reserve all new information for her encyclopedia.

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Folks, can we stop bashing both JKR and Steve? Its really inappropriate

Those who are bashing JKR: I’m sorry, you claim to be HP fans, yet clearly you have not followed the author’s career, her history of giving (publicly and privately) to charities, or her encouragement of her fans. Nor do you appear to have read the books. If you are so against JKR, and in some cases clearly indifferent to her books, why are you posting here?

To those bashing Steve VA, again, none of us have all the facts, none of us know the propopsed contents of the book, and we all know that over the years he has been a “good colleague and fan”...so, why are you attacking personally? He’s keeping his mouth shut for legal reasons, as he should, and cannot answer the bilge being spewed by some. And those attacks on his personal life, those allegations…man, haven’t you ever heard of defamation of character? His personal life is irrelevant to start with, and raising allegations here in this discussion is just wrong.

Last, stop bashing one another. Its tiresome to “listen” to, like a bunch of little kids.

NONE of us know exactly what the proposed contents of Steve’s book would be, and there are conflicting descriptions from secondary sources (RDR and the legal papers filed). Go back through this thread, read the posts that are specific to copyright and publishing rights, skip the bilge…

and for the love of pete, stop the nasty bickering….

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That’s what is so tragic. Sad. Tragic. The truth is the truth, it is not “bashing”.

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One of the things that I think you all are forgetting is that leaky is a non-profit. No one actually gets money from the clicks, it pays for all the hosting and servers and, I’m sure, some of the travel that the staff does. All of that is within the boundaries of a non profit organization.

I think most of the reactions to this lawsuit are ridiculous. JKR is protecting her creation. Steve and his publisher are trying to make a profit. And when you talk about publicity stunts- the publisher is the one to gain the most from this. This is all free publicity for their book. I am disappointed in Steve. I always looked forward to listening to his views on PotterCast and now I don’t want to hear from him.

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“All of that is within the boundaries of a non profit organization.”

Yeah, it is, except they sued a non-profit already, what’s to stop them from suing The Leaky Cauldron? Even though they lost the lawsuit, the community group still had to pay legal expenses to defend themselves. Mostly what worries me is the chilling effect that this could have on fan creativity in general.

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Okay.. I’m curious… How many of you would buy both books by JKR and Steve, or just one of them, or none? Lawsuit or no lawsuit…how many people would buy both books?

I would.

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Okay.. I’m curious… How many of you would buy both books by JKR and Steve, or just one of them, or none? Lawsuit or no lawsuit…how many people would buy both books?

I would. Posted by brucebat on November 02, 2007 @ 11:34 AM

I would by both too.

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The whole JKR-SVA situation resembles relations between a genius and his/her good assistant, who will get neither glory nor recognition for his/her work, because only genius is to be acclaimed, not the simple one.

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“The whole JKR-SVA situation resembles relations between a genius and his/her good assistant, who will get neither glory nor recognition for his/her work, because only genius is to be acclaimed, not the simple one.”

Wow. As much as I respect Steve for all his work, he is simply regurgitating JKR’s work, therefore he has no claim to it.

I think that IF the book has analysis, then it will be ok. BUT as the publishing company is declining to share the actual book, I don’t understand how else JKR’s counsel is supposed to act. If they had nothing to hide, then they should have shared.

And to answer the above question, no, I will not buy the “Lexicon” book if it is ever published, Why would I buy it when I can see it online for free?

Will I buy JKR’s? Absolutely.

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I would never buy Steven’s book, what’s the point? I never buy companion books, not when he’s not really an authority on the books and JKR himself, why would I want to read something he organized? (I barely visit lexicon, I hate how badly design that page is, and no doubt the books will be badly typeset and organized too). If I want characters’s background info and world setting, I would want the OFFICIAL version, not a fan’s limited version where he just lifted off from the printed Harry Potter Books. Just give up Steve, this is just ugly.

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@ DBsk8dance

“Wow. As much as I respect Steve for all his work, he is simply regurgitating JKR’s work, therefore he has no claim to it.”

Oh but it’s exactly WHY the situation looks like genius-assistant conflict. The hard-working assistant begins to think, he/she has “earned” some rights to [... – fill here as you wish] and it escaltes to dangereous level, when both sides see themselves as the betrayed ones. The assistant is to be pitied, but not to be encouraged in his/her wrong-thinking. IMO, of course.

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I never buy these kinds of books. I was planning on buying the jo one, but I changed my mind long time ago. If I’m still interested in the hp world when it comes out, I will check the internet. I’m sure it’ll be all put in there for free. I don’t want to give more money to jo anymore. I loast my trust in her. I might just buy the steve one becasue of all this.

No one still know whats up with the leaky site?

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I will absolutely buy Jo’s book, and I will be pleased to know that the money I spend on it is going to charity, as did the money I spent on “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. I might have bought Steve’s book, because I love the Lexicon (and I love to hold books in my hand rather than sitting in front of the computer). Now, though, even if it were somehow published, I will not buy it.

When, someday, an affordable, non-jewel-encrusted, non-hand-written version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is also published, no doubt also for charity, I will buy that too. ;)

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They’re taking pre-orders for the Harry Potter Lexicon book right now on bn.com. If you disagree with what JKR is doing, or just want a copy for yourself to check out, you can always put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, and voice your disapproval with your wallet.

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Ah! Thanks to JK Rowling’s official web site and you here at The Leaky Cauldron, I finally get it. Guess I’m real slow. You see, I thought that a copyright meant that no one else could use the copyrighted intellectual property, or a portion thereof, for profit WITHOUT PERMISSION of the copyright holder.

smacks forehead How wrong can I be?

Evidently, it just means that author has the copyright until someone else say… creates a web site using that author’s characters, storyline and quotes from the books directly. Then voila! No more original copyright! Then the copyright is owned by the second party who created the web site.

Mr. VanderArk states: “I’m the one who did all the work…” Gee, silly me. I thought that was Jo Rowling who actually wrote the books. And gee, silly the other millions of people on this planet like me who’ve written stories, essays, drawn illustrations, done paintings, given speeches and done research all in the name of Potter – for free! On our own dime simply because we love the books and characters so much!

I guess, using Mr. VanderArk’s logic, that means we all own the copyrights to Harry Potter! looks around with hand shading eyes from the sun Guess my checks should be arriving soon, eh?

I’ve gasp! copied and pasted this from The Leaky Cauldron:

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.”

There! See? We ALL own the copyright. Thank you, Mr. VanderArk for pointing that out. And since my time and talent has been used to write Harry Potter fan fiction stories, beta the stories of other people, do research for said stories (some of it at your site) then Mr. VanderArk, you may email me for my address where I will accept payment for my royalties.

Huh. Funny. I don’t see any checks flying my way.

Perhaps Ms. Rowling owns the copyright after all in conjunction with WB whom she sold the rights to in order to have these wonderful films made so we can all ooh and ah over Rupert, Dan and Emma. I’m thinking that’s so.

And I’m wondering if my disgust with Mr. VanderArk could increase at all. Well, even though he’s supposedly doing this book out of the goodness of his heart since, according to Leaky Cauldron’s quote from the web site of the book’s publisher, RDR books:

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.”

Oh, it’s for the underprivileged children around the world. Now I see! Well, if that’s truly the case, why doesn’t RDR distribute the books to children around the world for free, you know as a charity?

What’s that? Oh. They want to make money on the sale of the book? Don’t underprivileged children have to have money to buy the book then? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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@Ea.Estel

Nope. Don’t know any of the parties involved at all. Just interested to see what’s in the book for myself, after all this fuss.

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What people need to remember is this: We don’t know EVERYTHING yet. I personally will wait to judge anyone until after all the information is out. We know a lot, and I am a little worried about Steve and how this really happened, but I am going to hold off on commenting about it all until the facts are truly laid out for us.

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LOL PigWithHair. thank you for taking the time out and posting everything I wanted to say!

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There are some incredibly shallow, ignorant and pathetic people about, they’re really are.

How could you just turn on Jo after everything she has done for us? We’ve all been following Harry Potter and Jo for years and all of a sudden – you hate her and won’t buy her future books? That is disgusting and so very short-sighted of you. She hasn’t changed. You have.

Jo has given us everything we could want. She didn’t have to interact with us. She didn’t have to chose fansite awards. She didn’t have to acknowledge our exsistance. She didn’t have to let us write fanfiction, let alone encourage it.

People turning on Jo have very short memories. What? Are you angry at her for finishing the series? Are you angry at her for having money? Get over it.

I wouldn’t be suprised if Jo never wrote another Harry Potter related book again. She has seen now, with her own eyes, that her “fans” are ready to turn on her in the blink of an eye. She has seen your true colours.

How could you people just stab her in the back?! I feel so sad, bitter and ashamed of you all.

Jo, if you read this, please don’t give up on all of us. Some of us have an ounce of common sense and loyalty. I believe in you, always have, always will.

ROWLING’S GIRL, THROUGH AND THROUGH. ROWLING’S ARMY.

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“[...]unauthorized use of Mr. Vander Ark’s copyrighted material [...]”

Since when can you claim copyright to unauthorized work lifted directly from someone else’s intellectual property? That would be worse than trying to claiming copyright to a fanfic, given that this timeline is nothing more than a restatement of what is already in the books. If not for that absurd and frankly arrogant lawsuit (which I might add was launched during a requested and very kindly granted grace period—so much for Steve being too grief-stricken for legal activity) I would have had a certain amount of sympathy for him. As it is, I’m going to have to put my support behind JKR for this particular lawsuit; Steve was given ample opportunity to cooperate (this is made very clear in the lawsuit) with the legally and ethically reasonable request, and his response was to thumb his nose at JKR/WB.

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Right on, Rowling’s Girl – ROWLING’S ARMY! :)

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What a MESS! I feel bad for both sides.

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I echoe the current sentiments of surprise and shock that Steve would be involved in such a thing. But if he sold his book to a publishing company, perhaps they have more legal rights over it than he does at the moment, so he might have little say in the matter. Does anyone with any law degree know what happens legally when you agree to sell your story to a publisher?

The publisher’s argument that the printed lexicon would be used for “underprivalged children in developing nations” is just laughable. If they can’t aford the internet, how are they going to afford a 400 page book? They are worried about where their next meal is coming from, not the finer points of the Harry Potter series.

I’m behind Jo on this one.

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So, after catching up on the all the comments that had been posted since I left yesterday, I sit here in absolute betrayal and bewilderment that the worst. possible. thing. that COULD EVER HAPPEN on The Leaky Cauldron has, indeed, occurred.

The name of Michael Jackson has been invoked in a comment.

Friends, we have reached the point of no return.

And PigWithHair – please take a bow. You are the recipient of the Gold Star commentator award today..

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Prior to pitching his book and signing the contract, Vander Ark could have asked JKR/WB if it would be okay to publish a book form of his web site and/or negotiated the details. He’s a librarian so he’s familiar with what copyright entails.

JKR said in July, she might do the encyclopedia. That would have been another time to shelve the idea. The publishers didn’t.

Just because WB used a timeline which JKR worked on doesn’t mean that she lifted it from Lexicon. It’s her creation-she knows the timeline better than anyone. Maybe the Lexicon had the details right. ie I write a song, and someone else transcribes the lyrics later for their own use after singing it a billion times. It’s still my song, regardless if other people sing it.

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Pigwithhair I couldnt say it better myself!!! lol…

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“The name of Michael Jackson has been invoked in a comment.”

What the heck are you talking about. Who invoked MJ.

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RDR Books saying that they’re printing to book for “underprivalged children in developing nations” who “don’t have web access” is mostly laughable because it’s a small publisher and one of the only places someone could purchase the book is online. If someone has an online connection to purchase the book, then why would they need to purchase it in the first place?

Speaking as someone working in marketing and public relations, the RDR statement on their website is terribly amateurish, and the tone of it is quite combative. If this is what they released to the public, this tends to lend more credibility to the suit’s claims of their rudeness.

Also, for those who are questioning the book’s content, consider that RDR said this in the same statement: “The entire book is drawn verbatim from the material that presently appears on Steve Vander Ark’s website, http://www.hp-lexicon.org…” which strongly suggests that the content is identical to that on the current online Lexicon, which does not contain nearly enough commentary to be considered “scholarly”, and does infringe legally on copyright.

I think Steve is a very talented academic figure in the Harry Potter fandom, but I don’t think the Lexicon - save for a comparably small handful of essays, extrapolation and theories - qualifies as an academic work.

I do also think that, if someone at WB did lift Steve’s timeline from The Lexicon as a “quick and easy” special feature without using Rowling’s original source material and figuring it out anew (or even checking it), that he should be given credit for the time and effort he spent figuring out and creating the timeline. Should he expect to be compensated financially for that? I’m not sure. That specific debate is up for people who know copyright law better than I do.

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The Terry Pratchett Discworld books have a Companion which is an encyclopedia of all things Discworldian by Stephen Briggs. The difference is the Discworld Companion is published with the blessing and involvement of the Discworld creator Terry Pratchett.

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ROWLING’S ARMY. How sick.

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Good luck Jo! After everything you’ve done for millions of fans and all the notoriety you’ve received, I’m so glad you are still so protective of your work. It’s yours and you deserve it!

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Not inquired: “What the heck are you talking about. Who invoked MJ.” “You might liken this situation to a singer doing a “cover” of someone else’s song. It would be like me trying to record and sell my own version of Michael Jacksons “thriller”. I would have to pay him and get his permission to record the song and sell it.This is the exact same thing.”

Posted by Derrick H. on November 01, 2007 @ 11:57 PM

I guess you’re “Not” into reading all the old posts before you do…

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ROWLING’S ARMY. How sick. Posted by NoArmy! on November 02, 2007 @ 01:53 PM

Go away then? There is a Lexicon forum you might quite like. I am allowed to show my support for Jo, and heck, at least I wrote why I support her.

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There are so many inconsistencies with this copyright infringement issue. There have been so many books written based on her writings. And to go after the Lexicon after Jo herself and the WB have used it for research just seems to be a slap in the face. I did a little searching and found these books, The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z by Kristina Benson and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter (Complete Idiot’s Guide to) by Tere Stouffer. How are these books any different then the Lexicon? Both are guides for interpreting the books. To say that the fans won’t buy her book for charity belittles the fans. Of course as HP fans we would make it a bestseller overnight. Why wouldn’t we support her efforts even more when it’s done for charity. This whole situation saddens me. When other people and sites are allowed to print their HP views and profit from it. Why not support a site that has not only been a favorite of the fans but source for research.

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Hope, read this: http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=102

She says why Lexicon’s book is different to the rest. Hope this helps.

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Why I can’t support JKR:

- Because she doesn’t want this unofficial encyclopedia to be published, but she isn’t going to publish nothing alike. - Because her lawyers say that this book go against the saga spirit and that they want to preservate it. Does this book really go against the saga spirit? Rubbish. Nobody has defended more the canon that HPL. - Because I am tired that JKR ALWAYS has to remember us that she gives money to charity. What happens with her concience? - Because she wrote a news on her website without saying it was for HPL: she was cobard. - Because when we knew it was HPL, she rewrote the entry and said some things as “reasonable solution failed”, but she didn’t say which were this “reasonable solution”. It smells.

I can’t go with Steve either. He thinks HPL is him, and it absolutly false. HPL wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the people that really works there, and Steve isn’t one of them. I think that his agent has been very rude too. But will all, I believe in justice and I think HPL has to win this. With the indian pandal and this, JKR is being advised by the worst people. She has still time to change. And Steve, too.

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I support JKR, but Hope’s post brings up the one point that makes me pause. There are other encyclopedias out there? Then this particular lawsuit does stand out as different, doesn’t it? However, if you try to play hardball with a mega-corporation (compensation for the timeline), they’re going to play hardball back, every time. It was probably not the best idea to play hardball like that. The defendants are in way over their heads but probably didn’t realize it and helped bring this on themselves. I feel for everyone involved. Lawsuits suck for everyone (except the lawyers).

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I find interesting who sued first, because it’s confused with the news. Steve to WB or WB+JKR to Steve.

If Steve sued first, he really didn’t know what he was doing. He has been always proud about the timelines on DVDs. If he sued before WB, he is definetly.

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Funny, the timeline that Steve is whining about was on the Chamber of Secrets DVD… Are you kidding me?? That was release FIVE YEARS AGO!! Why is he just making a stink about it now? Probably to divert pressure of the lawsuit.

This comment is made in the “Open Letter to JK Rowling” on the HP Lexicon: “Speaking of that official timeline, there is some pretty convincing evidence that they took the timeline directly from the Lexicon. Do you know anything about that? The folks at Warner said that they took a timeline and gave it to you for review. Was the timeline they gave you from the Lexicon’s calendars? “

This linked to another page on the lexicon. See lexicon page here: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/timelines/essays/timeline-facts.html

I know Steve is likely having to deal with whatever his publisher dishes out, and this suit is more WB vs. RDR than JKR vs. SVA, but that’s because the respective rights have been sold to larger, more monied entities. Despite this, I think Steve should turn over a copy of this book to WB immediately to dispel any half-truths and answer a few of the questions. If it’s just a printed copy of the Lexicon as on the web, then it’s definitely a violation of copyright and trademark. If it REALLY is just a collection of critical essays, then no harm, no foul. Everybody’s happy.

The withholding of a copy is the suspicious part.

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www.hp-lexicon.org is now offline!

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@Frits

Funny, that. It’s back up, now. All of the clicks just now probably overwhelmed the servers…

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Frits: What do you mean? I’m still able to access the Lexicon online without a hitch.

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IANAL, but from an ethical pov, I see Jo as completely in the right. Of course, the law is not always rational, so she might have waived some rights by allowing the fansites to exist. On the other hand, websites don’t waive thier rights by allowing Google to index their content, and for all intents and purposes, that’s what the Lexicon is: an online index/reference to the HP books.

The fact that JK used the Lexicon is neither here nor there. She used it as a fast search tool, not for inspiration for the books. I also don’t see what kind of original work Steve claims to have rights to. The timeline is a simple summary plus a few deductions that any reasonably intelligent, reasonably dilligent person can deduce from the books. It is neither original critique, nor original content.

This is a despicably weasely way to make a quick buck. For shame!

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Dinan wrote: “Because she doesn’t want this unofficial encyclopedia to be published, but she isn’t going to publish nothing alike.”

Um, what? Perhaps your use of a double negative is because English is not your native language, however, if what you are under the impression that she is not going to publish an encylopedia, you are mistaken. This is what this whole issue is about. Perhaps you should read the posted article. Or, just the first paragraph.

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If you are a fan of Potter, you should be always respectful of the wishes of JK.

To not respect her wishes or requests, as Steve has done, in relation to her creation is wrong.

It’s not a matter of him vs. her over a matter; it’s a matter of not respecting her wishes (No matter how unfair you think it is and no matter what we learn in the future).

The second Steve did not agree with JK and her wishes, the next second I lost respect for him. He should be off pottercast.

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The response on the RDR website makes it sound like they are even more likely to lose this case. While they insist that the book has tons of original content, they also say that “The entire book is drawn verbatim from the material that presently appears on Steve Vander Ark’s website” which if true means that the book contains tons of material straight from the books, a clear copyright violation.

They talk about the first amendment and censorship, neither of which applies in this case. The first amendment only protects original speech, it doesn’t protect you when you repurpose someone else’s original (and copyrighted) material. Nor is stopping the release of copyright violations “censorship”. The RDR folks give the impression that they haven’t the foggiest clue about how copyright works, or that they’re resorting to a misinformation campaign in an effort to win the public sympathy – they realize they can’t win, so they just want to make JKR look bad when they lose.

Their response mentions the many books and articles about Harry Potter – do any of the books already published contain as much material straight from the source books instead of original content ABOUT the books?

Overall, the whole RDR response comes off as very unprofessional and resorts to pleas for sympathy instead of anything with a legal basis. Assuming good faith on the part of Steve, it’s a shame he ended up working with such an organization.

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Steve, how dare you! Your actions, and the actions of RDR, are absolutely despicable. This is Jo’s work, not your own!

BOYCOTT STEVE’S BOOK!!!!!

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Steve did not “end up” with this particular publisher, he CHOSE them.

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I worry that because of this, Jo might feel pressured to write the encyclopedia pretty soon instead of taking her time and separate herself from Harry a bit like she intended to. Hope we don’t end up with a rushed job in the end.

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If someone that knows a bit about law and copyright could answer this for me. Could it be that, Steve/RDR sued WB for the use of his timeline because RDR now owns some rights to the Lexicon? Is it possible Steve might have signed over something to them? Since if it’s true they are just printing what is already on the website onto a book, then he would have had to have signed over something about the website, yes? It could be that it’s RDR who came up with the idea to sue WB for the timeline (and i’m sure Steve would have had some sort of say over whether they could or not).

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Anon, PigWithHair -

Quite to the point, thank you. Also, the whole timeline bit is pathetic. Arranging someone else’s information in a certain way is not creating new content (unless of course SVA claims credit for the invention of the concept of a timeline or calendar, too). Appears more like a feeble attempt to hit back at someone who’s caught him/them doing something wrong.

My sympathies go to the Leaky Staff (who, I sincerely hope, have tried their best to dissuade their friend from doing anything so blatantly stupid, if and to the extent they’ve been aware of it), and especially to any Lexicon Staff involuntarily associated with any of this. I believe they are mostly die-hard, respectful fans, and they don’t deserve to be – and thankfully are not, for the most part – blamed for any of this.

I am still very sad about standing to lose a respected commentator and Canon Conclusions in this way.

P.S.: To all the people commenting here, PLEASE at least read Melissa’s post and Jo’s statement on her site before you say anything. That clears up a lot of things right away.

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What’s this? It’s finally becoming readily apparent how ridiculous intellectual property laws are? Fantastic.

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This is a really unfortunate situation, but I think Jo and Warner Bros. are totally in the right. Copyright and laws protecting intellectual property exist for a reason. Imagine if somebody wanted to write an eight HP book. Without these laws protecting Jo’s rights as the creator of Harry Potter, anyone could capitalize on her ideas. There is a clear difference between fansites and fanfiction, where nobody gains or loses, and published works for profit.

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“Steve did not “end up” with this particular publisher, he CHOSE them.”

Of course. But he didn’t necessarily know at that point that the publisher he chose to work with would handle this whole thing so horribly.

As far as the timeline goes, if it’s mostly a re-arrangement of info from the books, then it would fall under the “derivative works” aspect of copyright law, meaning that the Lexicon wouldn’t be able to copyright it in the first place (at least not without permission from JKR, and she’d end up partially owning it in that case anyway).

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There are some incredibly shallow, ignorant and pathetic people about, they’re really are.

How could you just turn on Jo after everything she has done for us? We’ve all been following Harry Potter and Jo for years and all of a sudden – you hate her and won’t buy her future books? That is disgusting and so very short-sighted of you. She hasn’t changed. You have.

Jo has given us everything we could want. She didn’t have to interact with us. She didn’t have to chose fansite awards. She didn’t have to acknowledge our exsistance. She didn’t have to let us write fanfiction, let alone encourage it.

People turning on Jo have very short memories. What? Are you angry at her for finishing the series? Are you angry at her for having money? Get over it.

I wouldn’t be suprised if Jo never wrote another Harry Potter related book again. She has seen now, with her own eyes, that her “fans” are ready to turn on her in the blink of an eye. She has seen your true colours.

How could you people just stab her in the back?! I feel so sad, bitter and ashamed of you all.

Jo, if you read this, please don’t give up on all of us. Some of us have an ounce of common sense and loyalty. I believe in you, always have, always will.

ROWLING’S GIRL, THROUGH AND THROUGH. ROWLING’S ARMY.

Posted by ROWLING’S GIRL on November 02, 2007 @ 01:04 PM

Couldnt have said it any better, ROWLING’S GIRL, THROUGH AND THROUGH. ROWLING’S ARMY!!!!!!!!!!!

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Rowling’s Army? I love it!

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Princess Fiona, how dare you?

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The Plain Truth, you are so stereotypical. You really annoy me.

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Artemisia, I sympathize with your comment about the possible loss of a respected commentator. But I do have hope that Canon Conclusions will continue, even if it does end up being without Steve. I think the other Pottercasters have contributed at least as much as he has to those discussions, and I have complete faith that they would carry on very competently in his absence.

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“after everything’s she’s done for us.”

This kind of statement is pathetic. She wrote a story and got it published. Millions of us bought the books and bought tickets to the movies. She got rich off her fans. What did she do for US, again, exactly???

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I love reading the comments from the people who are all for Jo. Why are so many of her fans turning against her? It’s her book! It’s her rights! Not Steve’s! And not yours! So it’s her decision…. not yours! I think it’s a good decision! Go Jo!

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You don’t lose the right to your intellectual property by becoming successful. Rowling is entirely in the right in this matter, and Vander Ark’s behavior is disgraceful.

Given how out-of-date and incomplete the HPL has become, it’s a wonder he even believes he could sell it—-and unfathomable that he’d attempt to sell his arrangement of someone else’s work.

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There have been plenty of unofficial guides to things before. That is nothing new. If not this one then another. Sometimes I think this fan group is exceedingly rabid. I love the books, and will wait to see what the evidence is before I rush to judgement vilifying right and left.

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I had a question about Mugglenet.com’s Unofficial Harry Potter Companion: The Encyclopedic Guide to the Books, Movies and More. Has this book been stopped too, because it is still available for pre-order on Amazon. Although I don’t know what the contents of the book will be, the title seems pretty self explanatory and seems like it also would be in violation of copyright issues.

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I’m a bit confused, too. What’s the difference between Steve’s book and all of the other ones that are out there? Have there been any details about what’s in this book?

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I think some people are missing the point. Jo has no problem with the lexicon sharing information with people …. freely. I see her point. And I’m also sure that if Steve would have replied to Jo or her publishers upon their first attemt, something would have been worked out.

Jo doesn’t care about the money, she just doesn’t want to see her fans paying money for something they can go online and get for free. They are basically selling a website.

So even if for some assinine reason, this book gets published, I won’t be buying it. Why? because I happen to know where my print button is.

100% behind Jo.

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I’ve always thought Steve was a great guy with the fandom’s best wishes at heart but damn this really tarnished my image of him. It’s blatantly clear that what he’s doing is wrong. It’s not his work, Jo created all of it, he just threw it all together. That doesn’t make it his and it certainly doesn’t mean he should be able to profit from it. He’s a smart guy, he should be able to realize that he’s in the wrong here. And that business basically spat in WB and Jo’s faces when they were asking them the nice way to not go through with this. Really disgraceful.

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Looks like Mugglenet’s new “companion” book is due out the same day as the HPL (11/28/07). I hope they’re not in trouble, too? Maybe they got “permission” first…? This could be getting even worse than we thought…

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Guys. PLEASE, please, pretty please read the info about the suit and Jo’s explanation on her website FIRST, BEFORE posting here about how confused you are and how you don’t understand the difference between what SVA appears to be doing and those other books. All the necessary information is freely available and really not very hard to understand.

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if it is so easiy to understand, why do you think a smart guy like Steve didn’t get it?

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Having spoken to and interviewed Steve Vander Ark, I am more inclined to believe that Steve is not wishing to profit from Jo’s work. That said, I think that RDR Books was rather obtuse in being rude to WB and refusing to send them a review copy of the book, because if you take it from the website itself, then the pictures used on the site and the passages taken from the HP books DO constitute copyright infringement if reproduced. I do think that Steve should be compensated for his work on the timelines used in the DVDs, though.

Best of luck, Steve.

Cheers, Mary-Ann xxoo

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Hear that noise? It’s the fandom dying.

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Anonymous: Do you even like the Harry Potter series? JK Rowling has added so much to all of our lives through her story. I can’t believe that you can’t appreciate that!

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Good, Good. The hate is flowing in you know. Your journeys to the dark side are now complete.

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@ volichica2 EXACTLY the right question, and every time an answer that is right gets posted it gets deleted.

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after everything’s she’s done for us.”

This kind of statement is pathetic. She wrote a story and got it published. Millions of us bought the books and bought tickets to the movies. She got rich off her fans. What did she do for US, again, exactly???

Posted by anonymous on November 02, 2007 @ 05:07 PM

If its ‘just a story’ to you then why did you buy the books in the first place? Why did you go and watch the movies in the first place? If you have to ask such an inane question and don’t know the answer yourself then why are you even in the fandom in the first place.

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Now calm down everybody! Or I will have to send you to your room without supper. LOL

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Jo has become rich because she wrote a fantastic series of books that millions of people worldwide loved enough to buy,view and own in print, film and merchandising form! Wwll done to her. Thank you Jo.

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I think SVA understands the difference between what’s allowed and what’s not quite well (it is fairly well defined and has been stated here and elsewhere repeatedly). In fact, part of what makes this so infuriating is the way in which the Lexicon has always emphasized its respect for Jo and its sensitivity to copyright infringement. It’s the core of their g*n editorial policy! Was that all sanctimonious BS? Cause that’s what it appears if we’re to follow the only “official” statement that’s come from “Steve’s side” so far. Which is why I so urgently want something else on this from SVA himself.

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Well, you’re only looking at Warner Brothers version of complaint.

I’m willing to bet RDR will release their own version of the timeline and will probably include the emails that won’t make WB look very flattering either. Those cease and desist emails have a certain heavy handedness to them.

Where is this headed? If they are serious about the Lexicon work being included in the OOTP DVD without any compensation, I suspect RDR will threaten or follow through with an injunction on release of the OOTP DVD, which is why I suspect this is all hitting the fan now.

I fully expect RDR to issue an injunction. Yeah, it’s going to get ugly. The money RDR stands to lose will pale next to the money WB will lose in Xmas sales.

As long as the Lexicon continues to be free, WB’s arguement might have some holes in it. I’m guessing if WB’s case was airtight this would have already been crushed.

Of course, I’m not a lawyer – I don’t even play one on TV.

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Gosh. This is even sadder than I thought it was. I don’t blame JKR one bit, but I’m so sorry it has come to this. Thanks, Leaky, for bringing us the facts.

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I support Jo 100%. This book violates the first rule of plagarism; you can’t take another persons work, re-arrange their characters and ideas, put your own name on it and then sell it for profit. It’s called plagarism, and it’s illegal. As a librarian, there is no way Vander Ark didn’t know that. Beyond that, I can’t believe he would be so arrogant as to think it’s his right to write the encyclopedia. This is her work and he is stealing it. I feel ashamed for him.

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I do enjoy the books and movies, and I am a fan. It’s just that I can’t see why people don’t understand she did not write these books for free and give them to us. This “all she’s done for us” stuff is ludicrous! That makes it sound like she entertained us with her talent out of the goodness of her heart, for free. The woman created a product, sold it, branded it into films and merchandise, and we bought it. We enjoyed it. She gave a few very controlled interviews where she called all the shots-the questions that would get asked and answered, when, how many, etc. None of this makes her holier-than-thou and worth some kind of adoration society. She didn’t do it for our own good, our health, our safety, or anything else other than to write a story she herself enjoyed and hoped to sell for profit. She likes to write, and she’s good at it. She wrote; we bought. She did it to make money like anybody else. And it’s that profit, and future profits, that she’s protecting to this very day with all these law suits-it doesn’t matter what she does with the money. She can give it charity, build a new home, or stuff it under her mattress. She just wants to make sure she keeps raking it in.

Geez, people, this author-worship has got to stop. Wake up and think for yourselves, if you do nothing else. We’ve enjoyed her stories, but we paid cold, hard cash for the pleasure of reading them, and now she’s one of the wealthiest people in the world with the power to go along with it. We don’t owe her anything, and she didn’t give us anything we didn’t pay for.

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I agree with anonymous. It’s time to stop the blind hero worship that Ms Rowling has enjoyed for so long. Her use of the lawyers is becoming repetative and her claim that “charities suffer” is pretty despicable. She and WB want to hold on to their chas cow.

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I disagree with the post by “anonymous” that it’s all about cold hard money. When I read the books and was enjoying them so ridiculously much, I remember thinking: “No matter how much she’s made from these books, it’s not enough to re-pay her.” I remember thinking that this was a prime example of something being priceless. Just my opinion, but I believe history will bear me out.

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“Her use of the lawyers is becoming repetative(sic)...”?

Are you kidding me? How else is she going to defend herself? In case you missed it, the well-mannered approach was thrown aside and pretty much spat upon. Generally, when I’m attacked by someone who fails to stop when I ask them to, I fight back with what I have. She owns it. It is 100% hers. Is this really all that hard a concept? No author worship, no “but he’s just selling all the hard work he’s done”, no. It’s hers, she has every right to choose when to allow and deny permission. She allowed the site since it was provided for free. She’s denied the book since it is not.

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I do enjoy the books and movies, and I am a fan. It’s just that I can’t see why people don’t understand she did not write these books for free and give them to us. This “all she’s done for us” stuff is ludicrous! That makes it sound like she entertained us with her talent out of the goodness of her heart, for free. The woman created a product, sold it, branded it into films and merchandise, and we bought it. We enjoyed it. She gave a few very controlled interviews where she called all the shots-the questions that would get asked and answered, when, how many, etc. None of this makes her holier-than-thou and worth some kind of adoration society. She didn’t do it for our own good, our health, our safety, or anything else other than to write a story she herself enjoyed and hoped to sell for profit. She likes to write, and she’s good at it. She wrote; we bought. She did it to make money like anybody else. And it’s that profit, and future profits, that she’s protecting to this very day with all these law suits-it doesn’t matter what she does with the money. She can give it charity, build a new home, or stuff it under her mattress. She just wants to make sure she keeps raking it in.

Geez, people, this author-worship has got to stop. Wake up and think for yourselves, if you do nothing else. We’ve enjoyed her stories, but we paid cold, hard cash for the pleasure of reading them, and now she’s one of the wealthiest people in the world with the power to go along with it. We don’t owe her anything, and she didn’t give us anything we didn’t pay for.

Posted by anonymous on November 02, 2007 @ 08:20 PM

Finally a post I can agree with 100%.

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The reason Steve’s lexicon is drawing a law suit and the other encyclopedias mentioned have not is because they are not just collections of information about the characters from the books. The encyclopedia of Harry Potter I own doesn’t even talk about the characters, it traces the mythological origins of a lot of Jo’s creatures, like centaurs and werewolves. Therefore, they are not breaking copyright laws. From my understanding of the book Steve is trying to publish, it isn’t essays and mythological origins, but lists of characters and their attributed. Basically exactly what you would find if you looked up “Harry Potter” at the online lexicon- green eyes, scar, yada yada. It’s not presenting any new information or analyzing the characters or creatures. That’s why Jo and her lawyers are trying to stop the publication of Steve’s book and have been fine with the other encyclopedias published about Harry Potter. The other key to the lawsuit also seems to be that Steve’s publisher wouldn’t give Jo’s lawyers an early copy, which is suspicious. Also, Jo’s laywers are claiming that Steve wasn’t putting any disclaimers in his book, telling readers that it isn’t official or condoned by Jo. “The Unofficial Guide to Harry Potter: A-Z” outright says in the title that its unoffical.

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I hope the estate of Tolkien sues Rowling for her blatant plagiarism. Wormtail/Wormtongue – Thestrals/Nazgul – jeez, even Ron turned into Gollum during DH.

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The Characters, oh … for instance, Beatrix Lestrange. Did Warner Brothers check the legal situation about Office Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, a character created by British author Gladys Mitchell (1901 – 1982)?

The lexicon is scholarly work definitely. Good luck to Steve V. and his team.

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For those who think she isn’t getting lawsuit crazy, how about that religious festival she sued for their replica of Hogwarts? It would be like Dr. Seuss’s estate suing my hometown for the homemade replica of the Grinch that sits in the annual Santa Claus parade. Get a grip. She doesn’t ‘let ’ us play in her world. We paid. And now it is out there in the world and she wants to control how we think about it. She borrowed lots from other writers. Maybe they should be suing her.

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Jo is completely in the right here, legally and morally. What Steve and his publisher are doing is just not right. I will never visit the Lexicon again.

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Maybe he could write his own book with his own characters. You know, like Jo did? Seriously, I can see why he thought to publish it. But, once pointed out, it should have become clear it wasn’t a good idea.

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@ Viggo fan well, go and read the Kalevala and see where Tolien got his inspiration from… I love Tolkien, but everyone got their inspiration from somewhere…

and @anonymous This case is not about author-woreship. She gave us a story, we paid for it…but everything that this fandom is, is only possible because Jo lets us use her world and play in in with Wrock, Podcasts, Fanfiction, conventions, theory books…we could be much more limited in this fandom if it wasn’t for Jo. But – obviously – she thinks Steve took it a step too far by trying to publish a book she wants to publish herself. It’s her story so she has every right to do so. I just hope, she wont get that pissed off by all this stuff that all the rest that’s so important for the fans will get limited as well.

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For those who think she isn’t getting lawsuit crazy, how about that religious festival she sued for their replica of Hogwarts? It would be like Dr. Seuss’s estate suing my hometown for the homemade replica of the Grinch that sits in the annual Santa Claus parade. Get a grip. She doesn’t ‘let ’ us play in her world. We paid. And now it is out there in the world and she wants to control how we think about it. She borrowed lots from other writers. Maybe they should be suing her.

Posted by theredwitch on November 02, 2007 @ 09:53 PM

WOW 2 LAWSUITS?!!! Damn you are right she’s really out of control ‘Being very sarcastic’. So would you have rather she never wrote the books then? Again its her world, her story, if steve was so sure his ‘encyclopedia’ wouldnt infringe on her rights then why didnt he and his publishers just give her a damn copy then huh? Let her see for herself that she has nothin to worry about? Why all this beating around the bush bull@#$% then? AS a matter of fact why didnt he and publishers make sure that they werent doing anything wrong then. I mean he’s a librarian for godsake, he should know these things.

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A potions expert called Severus? Check out the book, The Name of the Rose.

Jo’s plagiarism is now open to interpretation as well.

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Saying that the Lexicon books for for “unplivilaged” children who don’t have acsess to the interent but CHARGING for it? The lexicon doesnt chagre per veiwing of their page so why charge for the book especially if it is aimed for children wh don’t have money???

Maybe I should be giving the Lexicon ideas, I guess.

I would liek to here Steve’s side of the story before I judge but right now I am seriously doubting both him and RDR books.

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mentor man – the character in that book is named severinus and he is a herbalist.

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Hey something is wrong with Leaky’s website…interesting.

“I agree with anonymous. It’s time to stop the blind hero worship that Ms Rowling has enjoyed for so long. Her use of the lawyers is becoming repetative and her claim that “charities suffer” is pretty despicable. She and WB want to hold on to their chas cow.”

Agreed 100% the hero worship has to stop. She has turned on her fans. I have lost a lot of respect for her since post Harry Potter.She has changed and greed has taken over and it has got to her head.

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Jo shouldn’t have waited this long to defend herself. Mugglenet crossed the line with that damn book of theirs and I was horrified that she just sat by and let them do it. I cannot believe any of you would support these losers, though I suppose you just don’t realize the business-like approach these “fans” take in their quest to profit off of Ms. Rowling’s universe and former good favor. Sad, really sad.

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“Jo shouldn’t have waited this long to defend herself. Mugglenet crossed the line with that damn book of theirs and I was horrified that she just sat by and let them do it. I cannot believe any of you would support these losers, though I suppose you just don’t realize the business-like approach these “fans” take in their quest to profit off of Ms. Rowling’s universe and former good favor. Sad, really sad.”

(Sigh) Losers lol…

Jo is sure doing a good job with PR with the fans now. Anyway this kind of the has been done loads of times with movies,guides,toys guides (Pokemon), and no one ever sued anyone. Jo seems to be the only one making a fuss and having a hissy fit she isn’t getting the money when she is richer than the queen. God selfishness and greed sure screws up a person.

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The “all she’s done for us” comment was actually started about how she interacted with us on the internet and gave us a website to play around on…you know what? Forget it. If you can’t appreciate the good she has done and have to have it explained to you then maybe you shouldn’t even be here. I won’t argue with people because there is no point. I respect Harry Potter, Jo, Leaky and the fandom in general to start warring with people who cannot be reasoned with. Who have all ready found Jo guilty without an ounce of proof that she is completely 100% in the wrong.

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I’m just going to cut and paste a comment I made on another HP site regarding this. Sorry if the “you people must be young” thing is offensive, but the individuals posting on the other site were rather immature. I’ll probably write a different comment here tomorrow, but wanted to just put in my two cents. :-)

Gah, I am SO annoyed after reading some of the comments people have made against JKR. She has EVERY right to sue for this. To all of those people who keep calling her greedy or money-minded, you seem to have this completely backwards! It is this STEVE person who is selling HER work in order to make money for himself. If his sole intention was just to provide a nice source of HP information for the fans, he has his website for that- a website Jo has endorsed. Instead, he is attempting to make money by publishing a book that basically just recycles JKR’s ideas/characters/world…. I assume that a lot of the people claiming Jo is doing this to be mean or whatever are young or something, and don’t understand what plagarism is. In that case, let me present this example to you: If you worked really really hard and wrote an essay for school, and then one of your classmates took your paper and rewrote it and turned it in as their own work, they would obviously be cheating, right? Getting a grade which they don’t deserve, because they handed in work that wasn’t their own? This is the same thing, people. This guy is taking her work, re-formating it, and trying to make money off of it. It’s cheating, stealing… and I commend JKR for having the guts to stand up to them, for sticking up for herself and her work. I’m sure it’s been very hard for her, having to go up against a previously loyal fan. It reminds me of this PS/SS line: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

I’ll also add that it’s ridiculous for people to argue that she should let it go since she’s already so wealthy. It’s still her property. I have a rather huge dvd collection, probably much larger than the average person’s. Doesn’t mean I’m going to be okay with one of my friend’s coming over and helping themselves to whatever they want without asking first. Not a terrific analogy, I admit, but just because one is intellectual and they other material, doesn’t make it any less the property of the owner.

Amen to the whole “Rowling’s Army, through and through” bit, btw.

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I still support Steve and the Lexicon in this. I hope they win. Maybe it will start turning the tide back against all the ridiculous, unchecked corporate greed over art and intellectual works (and sources of unbiased news and information) that has proliferated over the last 15 years. It’s succeeding in dumbing down the masses and stifling culture.

The complaint filed by WB/Jo’s people is childish, petulant, and comically colloquial (e.g., “hawking” foreign rights? Selling or negotiating would be the professional terms. Also, to what song lyrics are they referring? Jo doesn’t write songs so how would that be relevant?). Who was “ruder” to whom is also irrelevant. If you try to intimidate people, as lawyers get paid to do, you shouldn’t expect kindness in return. Some people fight back. It is clearly trying to damage SVA’s personal reputation. Lots of acolytes here are more than happy to help that along apparently, which is despicable.

If he should have taken action over the use of the timeline earlier, then Jo should have taken action against the fan sites (particularly, the Lexicon) and all the other books earlier. They’re doing it now. We’ll see what happens. I hope to see a copy of the Lexicon book in my local bookstore soon. I’ll be snapping it up.

The reply by RDR re: helping children who have limited computer access is about on par with Jo suing left and right out of concern for charity or children (or lost profits – as if!). It is possible to be a fan of a book (or person) without becoming completely gullible. The sycophants on fan sites continue to turn my stomach. I’m sure not all of them have the excuse of being children either. By the way, I hope all the Jo-is-always-right people took up the torch for gay rights from her with just as much vigor recently. Use your fanatical tendencies for good. Human rights are more important than capitalism.

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To all those who have been wondering what the difference is between other books on the HP series, which were published, and the one Steve is planning: it’s obvious that the other books contained material that was written by somebody else than JK Rowling. Literary Criticism, biographical information, fictional analysis, stuff like that. And, to all those who complain about being disappointed in Rowling (yes, I am talking about you who wants to stop “hero worshipping”): What nonsense is that? She’s an author, a decent person, a hard-working person, not a goddess. To project your fantasies and wishes unto another only shows that you are pathetic (and not very mature, either). If you’d work really hard on some kind of project, and somebody else would claim credit, would you appreciate that? This has nothing to do with money. I have to admit that I always wondered how generous JK Rowling was in the past, I mean, I wouldn’t have given permission to all those fansites if it had been my creation …. We all act as if we own Harry Potter. The series has become so famous that it’s actually hard to imagine a world in which we did not care about Harry. The characters in the books have become globally known, some terms appear to be generic, BUT THEY ARE NOT. Let’s keep that in mind. They are J.K. Rowling’s.

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Zhiyal on November 03, 2007 04:05 AM: “The characters in the books have become globally known, some terms appear to be generic, BUT THEY ARE NOT. ... They are J.K. Rowling’s.”

Only in a way. She sold them. They are Warner’s now.

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This raises the question of whether other fan books will be targeted. In particular, wasn’t there a Mugglenet one?

The Lexicon has been nothing but a faithful fan site for years, fancy turning on them like this when everyone else is left alone.

What difference does it make putting their website into a book?! It’s been available online to all of us for so long anyway!

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Actually Mike there haven’t been only two lawsuits. If you do some searching, you will find that there have been many more. Remember when WB tried to shut down all fansites? But there have been others even beyond that. Take your head out of the sand.

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I think that the Leaky Cauldron is going to have to tread very carefully around this matter. As I understand it Melissa, John and Sue seemed to be very close friends with Vander Ark. How much did they know prior to everything becoming public?

The Lexicon is haemoraging respect, and rightly so. Vander Ark is behaving atrociously. I think to protect the Cauldron, Leaky should “break ties” with Vander Ark and the Lexicon to avoid being embroiled and tarnished by the same brush.

It has been a bad week for HP fans everywhere, first the Tales of Beedle the Bard and now this. Personally, I support Jo on the latter but not necessarily the former.

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To Jo and Steve, This is breaking my heart. I am hoping and praying this can still be resolved.

To Bel, Lisa, John, and any other Lexicon staff, I don’t know what to say…much love, hugs, prayers, vibes, etc. being sent your way. I can only imagine how horrible this must be. Please know people are thinking of you!

To Melissa, John, Sue, and all of the Leaky People, This has got to be so hard. Hugs to you too.

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@ Suprme Mugwump FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED It’s very simple to turn back on HPL and its team, to go away and say: “We have nothing to do with them!” And I’m happy that TLC is now neutral, I hope they will announce their decision after trial and that they will be still partners with HPL.

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Thanks anonymous at the top of this page.

RDR appears to be-how to put it?-rather sleazy.

Rowling and WB absolutely have the legal right to protect their rights to Harry Potter. You only lose your rights when you fail to defend them. I don’t know enough about the other HP books to have an informed opinion on them, but unless a book contains original analysis or criticism, not a cataloging of facts and quotes from the books, it is not protected under fair use. Like it or not, that’s the law. SEE LEGAL BEAGLE’S POST ON PAGE 5 OF THE INITIAL POST BREAKING THIS STORY FOR THE BEST SUMMATION OF THE LEGAL ISSUES INVOLVED.

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Go Jo! They have no right she is the nicest person ever! Im behind you 100%

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I don’t understand, of all the unofficial Harry Potter merchendise to target, why a print version of the Lexicon? What are they going to do next? sue sparknotes?

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Yeah Crissy, you don’t understand at all, that why you made such ignorant comment. Read everything TLC typed up first. Get educated first before you open your mouth.

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did they take down the lexicon site now too? i get an error when i go to it…anyone else?

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“What difference does it make putting their website into a book?! It’s been available online to all of us for so long anyway!

Posted by Victoria on November 03, 2007 @ 06:39 AM”

Because the website was free. The book is going to cost $25 a piece, meaning that the author and publishers are making a PROFIT off of JKR’s ideas and work. That is a HUGE difference, legally and morally. The former is a fan doing something for love of the books and in order to help other fans… the latter is a someone deciding to try and sell something he has no right to sell, in the hopes of making money off of JKR’s readers/fandom. It’s really horrible. I think it’s great that she’s trying to protect her readers from being taken advantage of. She’s not just looking out for her own rights here, guys, though that would certainly be enough of a reason to sue.

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Oh, please! It’s “for the children”, I’m sure.

o.O

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Wow elp try not to get so personal. This is supposed to be a discussion of the news.

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I love JK Rowling. I love Steve Vander Ark (I have shaken his hand).

This quote outlines why I have a problem with Steve’s choice:

“Skeeter was certainly quick off the mark. Her nine hundred page book was completed a mere four weeks after Dumbledore’s mysterious death in June.”

He was too quick. He was too secretive.

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If JK aka Narcissa Rowling, had read the lexicon herself, Deathly Hallows would have been a better book. She may have even filled in a few gaping plot holes. Oh well, maybe she’ll buy a copy and clue in.

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I had been following these comments to see what people’s opinions were, and different points of view on the lawsuit. However, I’m quite disappointed that they seem to have devolved into immature, partisan snarking.

Yes, I am on Jo’s side and no, I am not going to state my arguments as they’ve already been stated and the people who are determined to think badly of her are not going to change their minds. It’s just sad that we’re starting to insult each other.

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From muggleborn1184:

“This could open the door for a lot of crap. Do you know how many fan books/sites/etc are derived from Harry Potter? This decision could really tear the fandom to pieces!”

Derivation in an intellectual property sense sense is different from inspiration in a creative sense. I doubt it would open the floodgates to litigation.

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LOL@chiron. I agree 100%, perhaps we should ask Steve to re-write Deathly Hallows. Couldn’t be worse than the rubbish Jo asked us to pay her good money for ;

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Interesting article and comments in the Wall Street Journal’s Law blog:

http://tinyurl.com/yslawd

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Hello all. Just wanted to pop in and give you all my opinion as a practicin copyright attorney. One of the best aspects of the law is that it is supposed to take matters such as these and remove emotion and decide strictly on the laws, statutes and case law. In this instance, there actually does not seem to be any suitable defense to what Mr Vander Ark is doing. Legally speaking, a reference book is not an analysis or critique and hence is subject to copyright laws. Also, giving the deceptive actions of Mr Vander Ark, his representation and publisher, the Deceptive Trade laws tend to point to implicit yet unintended guilt on their part.

So, given that this is a lawsuit, I would remind people when dicussing this to try to think unemotionally and see what your opinion is from there. Remember, it is not what you THINK someone should be able to do. It is what the LAW says they can or cannot do. Feel free to email or comment with legal questions.

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Johnk:

It appears that you are correct and SVA’s case is wrong – but are you basing your arguments on the plaintiff’s case? As of now, it appears that RDR is reserving its arguments for the court – a pretty wise idea, appears to me, when taking on a billionaire’s lawyers. They are also contradicting several assertions made about what WB said was the case – they said they did make an effort to compromise, etc. Either might be telling the truth.

Also, although the law may be on JK’s side, I think that she still has a choice whether to prosecute or not – and her fans can still want some latitude from someone who’s become a billionaire towards a middle school librarian, who, in all likelihood, won’t get much from a long “lexicon”. How many other books like this have made that much money?

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The only part that I based on the plantiff’s argument was about Mr Vander Ark’s deceptive trade practices. This obviously is one sided and there may be an explanation for it.

However, the majority of my commentary comes strictly from the law and Mr Vander Ark’s own description of the book as a comprehensive reference book. Under copyright laws, reference literature or commercial items must be authorized by the copyright holding party. This is not even a debatable item.

Further, if you notice, in companion books some itmes still need authorization such as pictures from movies, books, covers, etc… Also, if an extended passage is used that falls under intellectual property laws, then those passages require authorization as well.

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WB/JKR are 100% correct to stop the publication of this book IF this book is to be a print duplicate of the Lexicon as it currently exists. RDR Books refuses to provide a copy so WB can verify the contents, so what else is anyone to think?

I feel bad for Steve. Everyone’s badmouthing him, but is he the evil one here? He’s probably being told by his publisher not to worry and they will take care of everything. For all we know, he’s sitting there watching this publisher flush his life down the toilet and there’s nothing he can do about it.

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I don’t think Steve is bad guy. In fact I don’t think he’s a good guy. I have no opinion on him. He obviously loves the Harry Potter universe and has put a ton of time and money into a good deal of this. Realistically though, he is trying to make a profit off of someone else’s work at this point.

If I was Steve’s counsel I would have told him to rewrite and make it a comprehensive analysis of the Harry Potter universe. However, I do think he has received bad counsel to this point because it doesn’t seem like JKR or WB would authorize the use of any of their material now given how things have gone. With all this is mind, it seems most likely that all work done will never be seen.

For this book to come out it will need to be legally determined that there is a minimum of 50.1% of original content from Mr Vander Ark. However this would then not be a reference book as it is marketed.

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Boltonia, if you’ve heard the latest news coming out, you wouldn’t be feeling too bad for Steve.

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johnk, you would have noticed that legal action was not taken against Mr. Vander Ark, but against his editor rsp his publishing house.

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‘Et altera pars’, you partially correct. Legally the lawsuit is filed first against the distribution channel, I.E. the publisher. This is stop distribution and prevent what the plantiff feels is unlawful use of copyrighted content. However, if you noticed from the lawsuit, there are 7 unnamed (not publically released) co-defendants that are individuals, not corporations. 99.9% chance this includes Mr Vander Ark and individuals from the website involved in the publication.

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I think that it was probably a bad idea of steves to think of this book in the first place. To make a website you must have some copyright knowledge, did he actually think it would be published.

I back Jo on this one and think JohnK has some interesting information.

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Ok, johnk, thank you, I didn’t pay attention to that, and I agree with the 99,9% probability. Well, let’s wait and see.

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Johnk: What is ‘original content’? Plenty of stuff on the Lexicon is definitely original in that the timelines and explanations of all the different spell, etc., are all written by SVA – original wording of explanations, for example. Also, the dates/timelines and descriptions were definitely not put together by JKR – in fact, when you look at the various timelines, there’s plenty of contradictions that come out. I’d say that if you analyze a book enough to derive that many contradictions/gaping holes, you are not copying anymore – you are doing analysis as well. This analysis doesn’t even include the material on how, for example, full moons/leap years fit into the timelines, or how the pronunciation of various words is different based on different people’s interpretations. All that does not at all come from JKR’s books.

I’ve read many books of analysis (sadly) as a college student writing term papers, in which there definitely was less than 50% original thought – there were more rearrangements of events, and descriptions of characters, and so on.

I’d like to list some books that look rather like SVA’s as well, though I must confess I never bothered to read any – I like JKR’s style of writing, and am not very into encyclopedia’s myself.

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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Hi RJ. A simple way of thinking of original content is that it cannot be a regurgitation of someone else’s copyrighted material. If the timeline he made was a simple reformatting of JKR’s events, it gets tricky. In that event his format can be considered his intellectual property but with JKR’s copyrighted material. Confusing I know.

The issue with college texts and papers is two fold. In college texts, there are multiple factors. First when it comes to theorums and postulates, the commercial use is usually trademarked and copyrighted, but for educational purposes the IP is shared if it is not new. Second in college texts, credit is given at all times to the original pieces with many various forms of footnotes and awknowledgements. Also, most of the time those writing are other professors that hoping to published by as many papers and text books as possible so they can achieve tenure. Third, in college text books it is usually a discussion of different issues and ideas. Add these three issues together and it makes non-fiction college text books something that if anything, proves JKR’s case, not against it. Follow these differences: 1) JKR doesn’t want to share her mayerials with Mr Vander Ark. Those cited in texts are trying and needing to be published by as many people as possible. 2) Authorization and citation is almost always given in text books. JKR won’t give hers.

When it comes to college students papers, this doesn’t falls into copyright laws unless they become published for commercial gain. What you are talking about is plagarism. Much of this issue with Mr Vander Ark and JRK surrounds when he took a free public forum (his website) and then went for commercial gain with unauthorization use of others copyrighted material and intellictual property.

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Out of all the Harry Potter Fan websites, I admit never being particularily fond of the Lexicon. I feel Belinda to be an excrutiatingly “know it all” and annoyingly self righteous being, and figure the people who created & maintain this fan site as so called “editors” have no other interest in life. I am therefore NOT surprised to learn that these people think it is THEIR legal right under the First Amendents rights to copyright and publish the written work of another for THEM to capitalize for profit. I hope, firstly, this doesn’t happen, & finally to “You” Lexicon people, if you take such great pride in knowing how to catalogue information, why not create & publish your own story, so I can then create a fan site about it, catalogue it & sell it to make money too.

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One poster has cited the excellent encyclopedia by Laurie Frost on Philip Pullman’s series, HIS DARK MATERIALS, and talks about it in reference to Steve Vander Ark’s encyclopedia.

I have the Frost book and there are some key considerations here: 1. Ms. Frost contacted Pullman when she originally decided to write the book. Pullman gave him her consent and, in fact, wrote a brief introduction. Steve Vander Ark wrote letters to Rowling, and after he was rebuffed, decided to go ahead anyway. Subsequently, the publisher decided to proceed, despite several follow-up e-mails from the Rowling camp. In other words, RDR Books is willing to test this case’s validity. In the interim, it’s enjoying (as all controversial matters do) unprecedented publicity, as all the major newspapers, wire services, and print/electronic/web publications are reporting it.

Here’s what all this boils down to: IF RDR Books wins the case, which is unlikely, then it will stand to benefit tremendously in terms of book sales of this title. If it loses the case, it may appeal, but will ultimately lose, in which case the losses could be substantial.

This is really not, as RDR Books would have us believe, a matter of the David v. Goliath, the little guy against the big guy. Vander Ark is free to write any number of books about Rowling’s universe, but he is not free to recast his encyclopedia and simply publish it in print form without recourse. Of course, Vander Ark (as is obvious) has lost Rowling’s respect and a substantial number of fans in the Harry Potter community. This issue has clearly divided Harry Potter fandom, and the legal issues will clearly define in the future for all prospective writers/editors/compilers what’s legally permisslble and what is not in terms of books about Rowling.

2. Had Frost’s book been unauthorized and Mr. Pullman decided, regardless of whether or not he was going to publish his own encyclopedia, that he was unhappy with it, he probably could prevent its publication because it draws substantially from HIS DARK MATERIALS, though it does add some original content.

3. In all the forums (here, at Mugglenet.com and blogs), there’s been numerous questions about the legality of the other books published by Rowling. There have been several dozen, and more are scheduled. Keep in mind that in the cases the books are out of print, THERE IS A REASON FOR IT. In other words, the legal firm that represents Warner Bros. has systematically identified these books when they’ve appeared on the radar and routinely contacted the publisher/author in cases where they feel infringement has occurred. If the books are STILL in print and being published, it is logical to infer that Warner Bros. did not feel there was sufficient infringement to justify further action.

There have been numerous books of recent vintage (notably the Mugglenet.com book), but the ongoing publication of the older books begs the question: If these violated copyright, don’t you think that Warner Bros. WOULD have contacted them? I don’t see this as an arbitrary concern on their part; I see it as a deliberate one. In other words, the Warner Bros. legal game-plan seems to be that (a) they continually monitor online what’s being published in the Harry Potter book world, (b) they contact publishers/authors as soon as they identify books that they feel violate copyright; (c) changes are either made to the book for a revised, legally acceptable edition or the book is put out of print if the material therein is so substantial that the book CANNOT be rewritten. (This raises another point: If a book is so significantly drawn from Rowling’s texts that it cannot be edited or rewritten to the point where the book itself has enough content to justify publication, then it’s clear there’s too much of Rowling’s work in the book and not enough of the author’s.)

There’s been a lot already written about whether Jo is right or wrong in going after Steve Vander Ark on this book, and that’s going to be a matter for the courts to finally determine. But the fact remains that she does allow what she perceives to be legitimate books to be published. She also allows fan fiction to be published online. Overall, she’s been pretty tolerant and generous.

Anne Rice does NOT allow fans to publish fan fiction on her website. John Grisham (a former lawyer) will sue any writer who does a companion-style book. So this issue isn’t exclusively about Rowling. It’s about what another writer can legally publish, and what he cannot.

RDR Books and Steve Vander Ark will have their day in court. Unless there’s a settlement, which would likely occur at the last minute, this matter will go to court and RDR Books will have published the book, so there will be no question as to what its contents are. If Warner Bros. prevails and gets an injunction, the book’s publication is stopped and copies can be recalled from bookstores and distributors. And RDR won’t be able to print more copies.

Frankly, this is a huge, expensive risk for RDR Books, but they apparently feel they are in the right and they DO have every right to defend themselves in court, and not fight it out in the non-legal court of public opinion.

From what RDR Books tells us, they expect to publish on Nov. 28. Which means they must go to press in the next week or two, if they want copies to ship on that date to their accounts. And then we will all see what the fuss is about, and the lawyers on their respective sides will do battle, and we’ll have to wait and see who prevails—and who doesn’t.

No matter how this turns out, this has had a major impact on how Potter fans view Steve Vander Ark and Jo Rowling. Both have been (in the eyes of the fans) saint and sinner, and fandom is choosing sides.

At this point there’s little Steve and Jo would agree upon, but they would agree on this point: They’d prefer the bickering in fandom to stop and have the fans concentrate on the positive things going on in the Potter universe, of which there is plenty to celebrate.

Rowling’s enduring popularity insures that her books will be read a century from now and that writers will continue to examine, explore, and write what they think of the Harry Potter universe. We may not like all of these books, but if the writers have a LEGAL write to write them, they should. And we, as customers, can either buy those books, or not. Nobody is forcing us to spend our money on the books.

It’s time for all of us to move on. Life’s too short, don’t you think?

PS: I’m not a lawyer. Think Snoopy from PEANUTS with a briefcase.

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correction: I couldn’t edit the piece after I posted it, but re: Pullman, I clearly meant: Philip Pullman gave his consent to Laurie Frost to write/edit/compile an encyclopedia based on Pullman’s three-book series, HIS DARK MATERIALS.

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While I love Steve VanderArk’s work on the Lexicon, I do not understand his recent actions. To first threaten WB with a lawsuit is absolutely ridiculous. Second, to expect to sell the Lexicon when it is already free online doesn’t make sense. This just doesn’t seem like the Steve I’ve listened to so many times on CC.

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I think people are being too harsh on Steve. This is a lawsuit- its going to get ugly, but before all of this happened we were friends and ” allies ” of both JKR and the “fans” ( in this case, steve). i don’t think this is anyones fault- just a bit of a misunderstanding. Thats my opinion, at least.

I just hope this all gets cleared up quickly- i never thought that it would come down to this, to be honest with you all. the author v.s. the fans? the fans v.s. the author? its befuddling and makes me kidn of sad. it seems the fandom is not as complete a unit as it seemed.

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Just wanted to add a comment regarding the lawsuit against an Indian religious festival. Another poster said that Warner Brothers, had filed the lawsuit, not JK Rowling. This dispite numerous press articles stated that JKR & her publisher had filed the suit. When I asked the poster for their source, they said that they had personally emailed JKR’s literary agency, Christopher Little. They recommended that I do the same to prove that they were telling the truth. I wrote an email to Christopher Little Literary Agency on Fri, Oct. 26, and have not received any response at all. So either the other poster was making things up, or I’m just not as important as they are.

To JohnK – what is your opinion on the Indian lawsuit? It seems to me that that’s much less justified than the suit against SVA.

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@ em: Just wanted to add a comment regarding the lawsuit against an Indian religious festival. Another poster said that Warner Brothers, had filed the lawsuit, not JK Rowling.

Follow the link to the Reuters report of this story. Reuters indicates that attorneys on JK/WBs behalf filed the lawsuit.

http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-29955020071011?pageNumber=2&sp=true

The festival constructed life-size models of Harry and Co., Hogwarts Castle, and a mock Hogwarts Express, at great cost, in order to draw more people to their pandal.

Forget for a moment that this was a religious festival. Instead, think of it as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They’ve decorated or entered specifically themed floats/balloons/falloons/balloonicles. Whatever the theme may be, if it’s copyrighted material, permission must first be acquired before it can be used in the parade. The parade is an American holiday or ‘holy day’ festival, yet they must still comply with US and International copyright laws.

The pandal was for the religious festival known as Durga Puja. They claim they had no intent to make money off it. However, they did intend to draw large crowds of people to their pandal by using the popularity of Harry Potter, and while on their way to the pandal this ‘foot traffic’ would stop and purchase items from various grocers/market-places/stalls. So, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, in a way, they were intending to attract tourist dollars as well as celebrate their festival.

As for the amount of dollars requested by JK/WB, 1.) In order for the court case to be heard a compensatory request must be part of the suit, and 2.) those who built the replicas forked over 1.2 million rupees [$30,000] to construct it. Claiming they didn’t have 2 million rupees [$50,000] to pay in damages for copyright infringement is not entirely truthful.

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Oh dear. This has not been dealt with in a mature way by the publisher by the sounds of it. I think Jo has every right here – it’s all her creation, her hard work. Yes, understood, Steve has put many hours into this and has done a great job but the material is not his to sell.

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The thing is, JKR lost. They spent God knows how much money writing a 400+ page lawsuit & suing this community group, only to lose in the end. The group could finish the paper mache castle, & tear it down after the festival ended 5 days later. Is this REALLY the best use of JKR’s time & money? I’d understand more if they were going after pirated DVDs/books, which are very common in India. But this? This is just a waste of everyone’s time & spoiling people’s fun.

You’ve made the analogy to Macy’s. IMO, it seems more similar to Mardi Gras. It’s a huge party, & different community groups contruct models for display during the festival. Hypothetically, the Mardi Gras floats attract more visitors who might spend money. Hypothetically, prom themes attract visitors & money for the school too. I don’t get why JKR bothered with this one – it’s bad publicity, bad use of money & time, and a bad result for JKR in the end anyway.

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You are certainly entitled to believe as you wish, but the ‘no harm, no foul’ argument has never been a convincing one to me.

So, why did JK/Penguin India publishers/WB file suit?

“Warner is thought to have been informed by its legal advisers in India that this was a commercially organized event which was selling 40 to 50 stalls at a cost of $600 each and banner advertisements at a cost of $250 each to local and internationally recognized companies.”

Ergo, WB believed it to be a highly commercial venture and in a statement, they commented on it:

“Sadly, the organizers of this large-scale commercially sponsored event did not approach us for permission to go ahead,” the company said in a statement issued in London.

“This event falls outside the guidelines set up by Warner Bros., J.K. Rowling and her publishers to help charitable and not-for-profit organizations to run small-scale themed events that protect fans and allow everyone to enjoy Harry Potter books, films and events in the spirit in which they were created,” it added. ~~ Of course the truth is that to sell the stalls/banners pays for the puja, so money DOES exchange hands, just not necessarily for profit. Further:

“Allowing the organisers to use Potter replicas till October 26 – the last day of the festivities – Justice Kaul ordered the “defendants (organizers) in future to model their pandals on any of the subject matter only with the leave and liberty of the plaintiff (Rowling)”.

Refusing to impose compensation, the court termed the organiser’s use of Potter characters in Durga festival as a “non-profit making enterprise” without any aim to derive financial mileage. “

And another comment from WB:

”...The injunction was made in our favor, but the court decided that there was insufficient time for the Harry Potter elements of this particular event to be amended or withdrawn. We are pleased that the court has recognized that such events cannot proceed without Warner Bros’ permission which should have been obtained.”

About Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul’s rejection of Warner Brother’s claim for compensation – on the grounds that a claim could not be made on a public purpose such as a puja – the statement issued in London said: “Court requirements in India meant that minimum damages initially had to be claimed, but we expressly waived these in the court hearing.” ~~ The injunction ruling ultimately was in favor of JK/WB.

JK/WB were entirely within their legal rights to pursue what they considered a commercial venture that infringed their copyrights. If the Delhi High Court hadn’t seen it as infringement on some level they wouldn’t have made the puja organizers swear on oath~in writing~that they wouldn’t use the copyrighted HP material in future without the owner’s express consent.

” The court’s decision came after the puja organizer gave a written undertaking before the Bench that they would in future use the subjects and symbols of her stories only after receiving her prior explicit permission. “

Finally, lest I be accused of plagiarism or copyright myself, you may read the entire articles for yourself:

http://spicyipindia.blogspot.com/2007/10/potter-troubles-over-for-puja.html AND http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14542794

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You’re quoting directly from JKR/Bloomsbury/WB’s own complaint and press releases. Why? According to unbiased newspaper articles, JKR did indeed lose the lawsuit.

“Indian Potter fans cheer Hogwarts ruling”

Oct 13, 2007

KOLKATA, India (AFP) — Indian fans of Harry Potter books welcomed Saturday a court verdict that gave the go-ahead to organisers of a religious event to build a life-size replica of the fictional Hogwarts Castle.

The Delhi High Court threw out on Friday a claim by author J.K. Rowling that the giant structure constructed in the city of Kolkata infringed copyright.”

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hvjlDttN9USYjz3X-aODSyuSe0ZQ

“India Court Rejects J.K. Rowling Claim For Copyright Infringement” – http://www.leakylounge.com/betaforum2.3.1/index.php?s=6e75a25f44e05957b3a7fd3f1fd41b1d&showtopic=55900&pid=1446865&st=0&#entry1446865

You said: "Ergo, WB believed it to be a highly commercial venture and in a statement, they commented on it." They believed that, and they were wrong. The judge ruled against them, and called the festival a non-profit enterprise: "Refusing to impose compensation, the court termed the organiser’s use of Potter characters in Durga festival as a “non-profit making enterprise” without any aim to derive financial mileage." That's why JKR lost - and she did lose. The festival organizers were allowed to use the Hogwarts castle without paying JKR more money, & without having to tear down their work.

Technically, JKR probably has the right to try to sue anyone who makes a Hogwarts-looking castle – I’m just saying that it looks bullying & mean for them to do this, and they didn’t even get what they wanted in the end. The judge dismissed JKR’s complaint against the community group. And I kind of like that this small group faced down some of the biggest corporations in the world in court – and won. Go Durga Puja!

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@ em: You’re quoting directly from JKR/Bloomsbury/WB’s own complaint and press releases. Why? According to unbiased newspaper articles, JKR did indeed lose the lawsuit.

I’d understand your post better if it was a press release whipped up and printed ‘verbatim’ by WB with no reporter giving their own background set of facts for their newspaper, the full story.

The reason those quotes appear is that the sources you just cited above, i.e. ‘AFP’ and ‘google.com/article’ have no such quotes to give the full story.

Note that the author of the blog, who’s Indian, cited all of those sources for a reason: to impartially give both sides of the story while disagreeing with the suit, in general. As any good journalist should.

Had you bothered to check upon where those reports cited by that blogger originated from, you’d have noted: ‘IANS’ aka ‘Indo-Asian News Source’; ‘IE’ aka India4u Entertainment; ‘TOI’ aka ‘The Times of India’; AND ‘The Telegraph.co.uk’ by reporter Peter Foster.

It may appear bullying and mean to some. It does not appear that way to me. Again, the ‘no harm, no foul, what’s the problem’ argument has never worked for me. The fact is, copyright is copyright. IF you don’t protect your copyright, you LOSE it!

How many people have claimed [rhetorical question here]: We’re sorry officer, we didn’t know how fast we were going…we’re sorry you’re honor, we didn’t realize we were breaking the law. etc…etc…etc…

Bottom line, ignorance of law is not a defense for breaking it. Being a religious festival does not exempt it from enforcement of the law.

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@cara: The point is, they lost. You quoted the press release that JKR’s associates released before the lawsuit was heard. Those were the allegations that they put in the complaint – not proven, not reported by an unbiased source, but one party’s own allegations. And in the end, the judge ruled that those allegations were not true & tossed out the complaint. He ruled that the group was not a profit-seeking entity, but a nonprofit. So the Macy’s comparison is not a good analogy, IMO. This is not a major company, but a local festival. And yeah, protect the copyright – but at some point a cost/benefit analysis has to come in. JKR probably spends tens of thousands of dollars filing this suit, only to lose in the end. Just think how much of that money they could’ve given to Indian charities insted of big-shot attorneys. And unless you’re a copyright attorney, I don’t think you can make a judgment about the merits of the suit – there’s certainly a huge difference between a major complex copyright suit & a traffic ticket! For one thing, speeding is actually an illegal criminal offense, while this lawsuit was filed in civil court as a tort. I’d really like to hear JohnK’s opinion on the case, but I guess that poster’s gone.

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@ em: You quoted the press release that JKR’s associates released before the lawsuit was heard.

I quoted both before AND after, specifically because you wanted to know what was WBs motivation and those were the only sources that quoted ‘the motive’.

IANS, TOI, IE news sources--the ones that were linked—are independant news sources. Yes, they quoted WB, but they also reported the facts of the lawsuit.

Warner Brothers ‘pleased’ with Potter judgement Saturday, 13 October , 2007, 16:50—-clearly reported after the judgment.

As for Macy’s, yeah, it’s very similar. They sell ‘banners’ to commercial sponsors for a yearly ‘holiday’ event. They promote the parade. They have the ‘best in show’. It’s free for people to enjoy. Vendors jockey for position to earn money off of the crowd. Just because there’s a huge celebration, religious or otherwise, does not mean people are allowed to break the law and not answer for it.

@ em: For one thing, speeding is actually an illegal criminal offense, while this lawsuit was filed in civil court as a tort. I’d really like to hear JohnK’s opinion on the case, but I guess that poster’s gone.

Yes, this suit was filed civilly, but as a former legal secretary, having drafted the legal documents that were filed in court, I can tell you that both Federal and International copyright laws can/do carry CRIMINAL penalties for violators: hefty fines/imprisonment; rulings of second or third offenses of infringement can lead to triple the sentence/fines.

“In Indian copyright law, if the premises of a person is being used for an infringing activity, that person would be liable for that activity,” Mr [Akash] Chittranshi [known as the driving force in the fight against book piracy in India] said. “The market is not immune from liability.”—-Please note that Mr. Chittranshi and his law offices have represented Rowling in regards to copyright infringement in India before, so take his words as you will.

Again, if the Delhi High Court hadn’t seen the pandal as infringement on some level, then they wouldn’t have had the festival organizers sign a writ in front of the bench, swearing that they would not use JK/WBs copyrighted material in future without their express permission BEFORE Justice Kaul issued his ruling.

Perhaps JohnK will return and answer any further questions you have. :)

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Supporters of Steve need to watch the amusing video entitled “The Dr. Dhil Show” (you can google it). Steve is plagiarizing, period, end of story. If Steve is using the argument that underpriviliged children don’t have computers to visit his website so they need to have access through his publication is ludicrous. Jo can do so much more for those children when she publishes her own encyclopedia and donates the money to charity!

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@cara: The point was, the festival was allowed to proceed, JKR wasn’t allowed to collect the two million rupees they were demanding – so the festival basically won. It’s petty & mean. Of course the WB will now say that they’re “pleased”, what else can they say? It’s done. But they didn’t get what they wanted. It’s not like Macy’s because, as mentioned numerous times, this festival is not organized by a corporate buisness, but by the community. And I understand that they can still sue a non-profit, but it’s bad PR for them to do so, and the group got to make the castle anyway. This was not a good moment for JKR. And I continue to believe that this lawsuit was filed more as a warning & as protection for JKR’s own upcoming amusement park. I’m very glad that the Durja Puja festival won, & very disappointed in JKR for filing such a long, time-consuming, ultimately useless lawsuit.

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Dear JK Rowling Hello. I feel that you are the authentic author of all Harry Potter books. I feel that even though Lexicon is partner to the site of the Leaky Cauldron. That doesn’t give the partner full rights. As the author has. If the author wish to share the rights of there book, then that is up to them. If the author wants to share any profits that he or she makes that is up to them. JK Rowling no matter what the media tries to dump on you. Don’t give you, your book encouraged a lot of people of young age to get back into reading books again. As well as any age group for that matter. If your ever in need of an extera creative hand. Look me up. Laughs

Avatar Image says: does this just talk about jkr. or are you able to talk to jkrAvatar Image says: rqczphdxznvusjlqwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how's life? hope it's introduce branch ;)

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