Update on JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Case


Nov 08, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli

There’s a brief update today to the case regarding JKR/WB vs. RDR Books / Steve Vander Ark; to recap, JKR and WB have filed suit against RDR Books’ attempt to publish “The Harry Potter Lexicon,” a book that publishers say is “verbatim” from the Web site. You can read the full details of the suit here, along with JKR’s statements (or download the suit for yourself ) or read statements from TLC interviews WB and RDR here. A previous update is also here.

The day before last, a court ordered RDR to hand a copy of the manuscript to J.K. Rowling’s lawyers, and one was delivered, according to those lawyers. JKR/WB are seeking a preliminary injunction (source here) to the sale of the book, and have not apparently been deterred by viewing the manuscript. RDR has also made claims on their web site that they have “repeatedly offer[ed] to settle this case to Ms. Rowling’s satisfaction and publish the book,” requests which apparently have not been agreed upon. TLC has asked RDR what the offer of settlement was and has not been met with a response.

As seen here, some deadlines have been set: JKR/WB have until today to file motions, for the preliminary injunction. The defendant (RDR) has until Nov. 15 to respond and the plaintiffs (JKR/WB) have until Nov. 19 to respond to that. A “show cause hearing” is set for Nov. 19 in New York.

Update: A new document authored by a recently retained lawyer for RDR claims that owing to RDR’s lack of an intellectual property lawyer, status as a small publishing house (it claims sales of a little more than $100,000/year), and present plan to have legal briefs prepared by a cousin of the house’s owner (not an intellectual property lawyer), a delay in responding to JKR/WB is necessary. The lawyer requested a seven-week delay, until the first week in January, which is after the current US publication date for the book. The letter notes, however, that during the delay RDR would voluntarily freeze their actions, amounting to the same results as a preliminary injunction on publication. According to the document, the application has been ” denied without prejudice to counsel for defendant and plaintiff appearing this afternoon[.]”

Update 2: RDR has issued a press release that claims their request for a delay has actually been approved, and that JKR/WB are not required to submit their full supporting document requesting a preliminary injunction until January 7. They also claim RDR’s response is due Jan. 22. Since this seems to be in conflict with the above document there will be a further update soon. The wording on the RDR press release is that a judge has “accepted an order proposed by RDR Books” – which may just mean the document was accepted but the motion not actually approved (hence the word “denied” written on the actual document); we’re trying to find out what’s true here.

Also, the entire page containing previous statements by RDR regarding the Lexicon book has been deleted. (Update – it’s back up, with the press release on it.) The product has also been removed from pre-order on the site.

TLC would also like to briefly thank our members for keeping discussion on this topic as civil as possible, and for continuing to do so. Thank you.

The Harry Potter Lexicon is a partner site to The Leaky Cauldron. The opinions and claims argued here do not constitute The Leaky Cauldron’s opinion or claim (of which it has none).

125 Responses to Update on JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Case

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I have always appreciated Leaky’s honesty and fandom responsibility in these tricky matters. Although this is a hard time for you all, you have shown your professionalism at all times. Just know how much we appreciate it.

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RDR had no comment about WHAT the settlement was… to me, this sounds fishy. But the whole case has sounded fishy. Why couldn’t they have not sought publishing after JKR said “no”?

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Thanks for keeping us updated Melissa. I’m glad that a copy of the “book” has been handed over for Jo’s and WB’s people to see. That should have been done in the beginning.

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I’m a little confused by this since I don’t speak english too well. However, I do understand that WB and Jo have now seen the manuscript and still wants to proceed with their legal actions against it. I thought that some of the problems in this matter were because WB and Jo hadn’t yet seen the book, and that the problem would become the slightest bit smaller when they had done so. Apperently, I was wrong. I’m a little disappointed that they still disapprove of the book after reading it – I thought they’d realise that the book was different from what RDR said it was once they had read it. That it was more about analysis and critisism than rambling facts. Because if it is just facts, it issn’t legal to publish it. And that’s that. But I was so sure that it wasn’t just facts… I listen to PotterCast, I know Steve can analyse things.

Oh well. I just hope that this turns out well in the end. A compromise would be ideal, but that might be asking for to much.

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As a patron of both TLC and the Lexicon I was shocked when I heard about the suit. However, I also hold a BA in English and plagarism is a very big deal in the literary field. JKR has every right to put forth this suit since the facts that are on the website have come directly from her work for over a decade. I hope that both parties involved will reach some understanding since the Lexicon and JKR have had such a long relationship.

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Eriskay, the problem is that someone else would be making money off this book and that someone is using someone else’s characters, events,etc. The only one who should be allowed to make money off of it, is Jo Rowling and she hasn’t given permission for this guy to do what he has done. To leave it on the net, FOR FREE, is fine. To try to make money off it, is not. Jo has said she would be doing her own such book and that the money made would go to charity. For this guy to do it, would take away that money and he has quite simply, no right to it.

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Melissa, and TLC, thanks once again for keeping us informed.

Eriskay, it takes time to read through a book manuscript, trust me on that! And if it is not in “proof” form (the final version before publication) but rather standard letter size paper hardcopy format, it will take a couple of days to compare what is in the manuscript to JKR’s writings/words. If its in a electronic format the process goes faster.

patience, as we continue to hope for a sensible settlement to this sad situation.

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Publishing is publishing—whether for profit or not. Someone could not publish in paper form and give away for free copies of copyrighted material either. The case will have lots of repercussions for publishing on the Internet. It’s interesting in that way. If it’s found that both book and website are “publishing,” then Ms. Rowling may, ironically, be on shaky ground. By not having objected to the Lexicon’s publishing of the material before, and even praising the site, she may not be able to stop it from being published again in another form. If the case turns that way, I would think many HP fan sites will likely be shut down.

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I wonder who’s going to be at this “show cause hearing”.

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I’m so sorry that this whole thing has turned so nasty. I always appreciated Steve’s very indepth knowledge of Harry Potter and his ability to analyse deeply. I fully understand his wish to make these things available to a greater audience (and he did so with his website). Upto now, I have a very bad impression of RDR’s handling of the whole thing as they seem simply to ignore the legal aspects of what they do. I can’t imagine that Steve is not capable – with all his intelligence – what this all is about (whether it is justified or not, which might be a question of opinion, but that’s not the discussion, it’s about laws, and laws are laws, they should be followed).

Thanks TLC for your professional and neutral reporting!

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TLC, endless thanks to YOU for your professional reporting of this matter. I think it is the most important thing going on in HP fandom right now and I am saddened to see that every other fansite is simply ignoring the issue at this point.

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That document does Steve no favours. Its very very damaging indeed-

One line in particular- “Moreover, Defendant had the audacity to accuse Warner Bors. of violating the purported corpyrights of the Infring 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 the Defendants conduct.”

This is likely to get messier before it sorted. Im sure JO wont be in court or anything-although she is a big part of this I doubt she would appear.

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Yeah I don’t think Jo or Steve will be appearing in court anytime soon…

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Thank you for the update. Keeping the news “manageable” (not to quick to keep up with) makes it easier to understand, and to get some kind of feeling for. Thank you also to Melissa.

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I, too, very much appreciate Leaky’s coverage on this. The dates in this most recent post are very helpful, especially.

I am confused by a number of things. Most of all, though, I wonder about books that have already been published, and not, apparently, challenged by WB or JKR’s people, books that are guides to the Harry Potter world, books that seek to help you understand all of the many characters, words she’s created, locations, etc. How are they different from what Steve is creating? And, along with that, how about products like Cliff’s Notes, isn’t Steve’s book sort of a similar thing to that? I’ve never heard of Cliff’s Notes being illegal. And Amazon lists a MuggleNet book that is due to be published later this month, that seems to have the word “encyclopedia” or something similar, right in the title. How is that different than Steve’s work? I’ve always thought the MuggleNet online encyclopedia section very much duplicated the Lexicon, though I admit I haven’t spent much time at the MuggleNet one, so I don’t know for sure.

I really think having lawyers and firms who’s business depended on the copyright issues involved in this process has caused this to escalate to a major “thing”. If it could just be Jo and Steve coming to an agreement, it would be much better, but it’s gone way beyond that. It makes me very sad. I feel like I can see both sides and I wish it wouldn’t be so nasty.

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Tiffany, if you hold a degree in English you might be familiar with one Will Shakespeare – only two of three of his plays weren’t re-written versions other people’s work. Not that this was considered a bad thing, it was the norm.

The concept of copyright is a fairly new one. If it wasn’t for plagiarism literature wouldn’t be what it is today.

Thought isn’t property.

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Rewriting other people’s works is a bit different, of course. Shakespeare worked using older material as his inspiration.He certainly wasn’t the first to tell a ‘star-cross’d lovers’ tale, for example. Composers sometimes took themes and melody lines written by others and put their own spin on that music, writing variations on those themes. That is part of the creative process. It is not the idea which is original, but how that idea is developed and shaped.

But simply gathering facts and material from the ‘Potterverse’ and repackaging that information into book form isn’t a reimagining, or a variation. It’s an attempt to make a profit off of material that isn’t the packager’s to sell.

Neither Rowling nor WB own the idea of an “orphan boy discovering he’s a Very Important Person in a magical world, then entering that world so that he can defeat an Evil Force which threatens it.” Story patterns are as old as storytelling itself, and no writer can copyright a pattern.

What a writer can copyright is how that pattern is presented. Everything relating to the ‘Potterverse’ is Rowling’s (and WB’s). They have every right to sue for infringement if another person is attempting to make a profit by repackaging those particulars.

I hope that, if the suit goes forward, the plaintiffs win.

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Well, I hope they can reach an agreement. I love both sides and couldn’t imagine the HP fandom without the Lexicon to win our Dueling Clubs.

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Ok, so Steve counter sues JKR and WB for using his timeline on the DVD’s, a timeline that he made completely off the information that JKR has given, from books that SHE wrote, and characters and a world that SHE created.

That has to be the most illogical and hypocritical thing I have EVER heard of! Shame on you steve!

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I was definitely on the Lexicon’s side for awhile, but I am starting to rethink everything. Regardless, the definitive information in an encyclopedia would have to be directly from JKR anyway. Mr. VanderArk even said that if there was something that JKR said, like the date of a birthday, that even if it doesn’t fit with the book’s timeline, anything she said would be canon. Therefore, without permission from her or Scholastic, it would be impossible to have a correct representation of the novels. I hope that all of this comes to a quick conclusion. Thanks for keeping us posted.

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It is not at all unusual for attorneys to not discuss settlement offers/discussions. First of all, such negotiations are usually agreed to be confidential, and typically all documentation of such negotiations bears a heading such as, “Confidential: For Settlement Purposes Only.” In short, nothing of significance should be read into attorneys for either side refusing to discuss any portion of a settlement or settlement discussions. Also, there can be legal effects associated with statements made by one party or another…statements can be used as admissions against the other side, etc. Once attorneys are involved, especially the caliber of attorneys that Jo can afford, the depth of information available to the public will be limited, almost exclusively, to what is filed with the court (that is, those documents Leaky has linked to at Justia.com). Remember that everything filed with the court, although it is supposed to be truthful, will be slanted in favor of the party who filed it, as much as possible. Therefore, reading the filings by Jo’s attorneys will (and should…that is the point) sway the reader to think she is right, while the filings by the publisher’s attorneys will (and should) sway the reader to think that it is right. Copyright law is very complex, and this case will rely greatly on past legal precedent, something that is not always clear from the pleadings.

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and i have to say overall,—like what many others have said, i’m very saddened by this. It just seems to me that RDR is taking this a step further than it needs to go. I can’t say for sure if i think this is exactly what Steve things himself, but it certainly seems like the lawyers want to make this a bigger fight than it needs to be. I support Jo fully, she absolutely has the right to take the proceeding steps she has thus far.

I’d like to see this end amicably, though i don’t know if this is possible, with the agressive nature of RDR. I don’t mean to sound terrible saying that, but JK has made so many appeals to make this friendly and they have not taken those opportunities. I’m going to try and remain positive about this, and hope that it really well end amicably.

And thanks to TLC and Leaky for their professional stance, i have great admiration for you for reporting it this way.

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oops, my bad. I meant to say “what steve thinks”, not “what steve things”... haha.

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If anyone is confused or doesnt understand some aspects of the case-definitly read this. Its the case against Steve/RDR. Its very fascinating reading and its an excellent case against them. They have provided plenty of information…http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/harrypotter.pdf

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Waiting patiently, and watching carefully. Thank you, TLC, for your unbiased reporting of this “event”.

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Mrs. Lovegood, even though it’s listed on Amazon, Mugglenet is no longer releasing their encyclopedia after they received a cease and desist order from Jo and WB. RDR and Steve received the same order and chose to ignore it.

I’m not sure why more companion books haven’t received the same heat. It’s possible that they did, but we just haven’t heard about it. It’s also possible that those enclycolpedia’s weren’t attacked as heavily because many of them included “Unofficial” or Unauthorized” in the title. That is one of the reasons JKR/WB are suing Steve: false advertising. The book does not say that it is an unofficial lexicon.

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“By not having objected to the Lexicon’s publishing of the material before, and even praising the site, she may not be able to stop it from being published again in another form. If the case turns that way, I would think many HP fan sites will likely be shut down.”

I fear this is a very good point. Any site or fan endeavor (including wizard rock) that contains Potter or related material that does not fall under the critique/commentary category – or considered otherwise entertainment – could be at risk for a sort of preemptive shut down before they ‘get the same idea’ to commercialize their work.

I can’t say I’d blame them if they did though. In fact it just makes me all the more infuriated with the RDR/Lexi camp for taking advantage of all the allowances Jo has given fans to enjoy her material collectively with each other in good faith that the fans in charge of them wouldn’t turn around and shove her generosity back in her face.

Potter fans should be beginning to realize that a ‘victory’ for this Lexi book can quite realistically cripple our fandom as we know it. The only question is, what can we do other then sit idly by?

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It’s been interesting to see how all of this has unfolded in the Harry Potter fan community. TLC has consistently reported everything without bias, but the folks at Mugglenet.com have made no comment on its website regarding the official status of its encyclopedia, which seems similar in scope and content.

Obviously, in SVA’s case, nothing can go forward until the plaintiffs have had an opportunity to review the manuscript in question. Now, after reviewing it, the plaintiffs are proceeding, on the grounds that the contents violate Rowling’s copyrights to the Harry Potter novels.

All of this has nothing to do with the other books about Harry Potter written by other writers. This has everything to do with one specific book—the HP LEXICON in book form.

At this point, the lawsuit will run its course, unless RDR Books decides to not pursue the book project. At this late date, though, less than 3 weeks away from the publication date, the book in question must either be at the printer or must immediately go to the printer, to meet the ship date of Nov. 28.

As a longtime Harry Potter fan and admirer of Ms. Rowling and Steve Vander Ark, I can only hope that this ugly matter is soon resolved and Rowling can let us know if she’s planning a facsimile edition of her handwritten book, with the proceeds to benefit charity. (The encyclopedia is years away, it seems.) The 7-copy edition, with her illustrations, is a “must” for all Harry Potter fans, and a mass market edition is the only way we’ll ever see a copy.

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TLC reader : “TLC, endless thanks to YOU for your professional reporting of this matter. I think it is the most important thing going on in HP fandom right now and I am saddened to see that every other fansite is simply ignoring the issue at this point.”

As you do, TLC reader, I come to TLC knowing I will have professionnal informations that I need about that sad affair. And I thank TLC for it.

Posted by on November 08, 2007 @ 09:24 AM

Avatar Image says:

Just want to add my voice to the chorus: Thank you, Leaky, for your ongoing professional reporting on this topic.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks also to the person who are sharing their professionnel “law” point of view of the case. Very instructing about law process (hoping to never fall in it!)

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This just proves that Mugglenet is substandard. They hide things and put their own slant on everything and are always the last to report news. Go Leaky!

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RDR has no case. I suspect they will settle. But not amicably. A book will be published. But not a print version of “The HP Lexicon”. Fans will not be happy, because it will be less than promised. JKR will not be happy, because this has really rained on her parade. And who will buy “The Unofficial & Unauthorized, Abridged & Expurgated Harry Potter Lexicon”? The fans who must have everything. Sadly, I think the Lexicon has lost its innocence and its days are numbered.

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Melissa and the TLC staff, would it be possible to get a statement from Emerson and MuggleNet about thier project and its status? Emerson has of course worked closely with Melissa, and is highly thought of by JKR…let’s hope the MuggleNet book is facing fewer problems.

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Thanks Melissa I have been curious about this but with this info, the whole ordeal is starting to look more and more like something the lawyers on each side are insisting on. Not to cause trouble for anyone but to just keep everyones a* covered.

Have you gotten any sort of feedback from Steve or does he have to keep tight lipped because of the aforementioned a* covering?

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Oooo! I didn’t know asterisks did that! Fun sorry for going a little off topic and apparently shouting. Maybe I’m getting senile.

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this is sad. all it would of took since JK has copy right of HP (look in the inside cover of DH) would of been a respectful letter and a copy to her to see what she thinks. then it would of NEVER gotten that far. But since every one thinks she done writing harry, it was just a “well she done, so i can do this.” Dissappointmet to many many fans, and steve site has right click disable also. so who is fooling who? JK allowed many fan sites and infos, it made it easier for peole to get addicted to harry and learn. so much info, yet she never brought down the axe. now because of this i think alot will be happening and many sites will probably dissapear because of one self center act. sad sad.

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Are we sure that the publishers have actually released a copy of the book to Warner Bros.’ side? As far as I can understand the documents (and I am not any kind of legal expert), RDR have only been ordered to hand over the book, (as per Exhibit C of Document 7), there isn’t any confirmation (within those documents) that they have done so.

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This whole situation makes me feel so deeply sad for all parties concerned. I hope the eagerly disputing lawyers won’t make it impossible for Jo and Steve to ever feel good about each other again.

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I have to site with JKR on this one.

There is a HUGE difference between sharing free information with the public, and publishing it for profit. JKR has always published her additional books (like the Quidditch book and such) for charity. Is the Lexicon giving its profits to Charity or will the book only benefiting the Lexicon? There is millions of dollars that can be made on something like this. Thats why The Lexicon cannot publish, why Mugglenet had to stop selling its T-shirts (yo, anybody remember that?) and why fanfiction remains free. Because we aren’t selling our fan fascinations for a profit. But when you start selling fanworks for profit then you step on the rights of artists.

I should know something about this, I’m an active member in the Creative Commons music community, and the reason why CC exists is to keep people from taking the music of artists who allow it to be accessed free in order to try and turn a profit.

My mind is made up. She made be rich, but she has a right here and with all the charities she helped out with her publications being the ones that will or will not benefit from the sales of these books then I think she should have the first say in what fans can and cannot publish.

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Hi Avalon – just a few points, the material taken was just as often contemporary as it was old (i.e. from writers still living). The difference between the versions would generally be a matter of language (which is what made Shakespeare famous, not the plots)

And on the subject of repackaging, some of his work was once published without any money going to him. And I don’t think he was bothered by it.

I don’t deny that legally she’s within her rights (though I’m not a fierce believer in those particular rights) but I don’t see what she has to gain from this. She won’t be losing anything by allowing the publication or any publications like it.

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This whole thing is a sad reflection that even Jo is human. When I walk through book stores, I see many, many companion books written about Harry Potter. Analysis, comentary, critisims, etc. None of these books add to the creative lisence and so are allowed to be published. Now, the Lexicon does not add to the creative property either. it is a rehashing of dates and hard info, just as an analysis book is. There is one reson and one reson only that this book is being singled out and not any of the myriad of other books about HP. This one has the potential to “confuse” people away from buying the “Official” encyplopedia that Jo will put out some time in the uindetermined future. This lawsuit is a thinly vieled attempt at squashing an otherwise legal activity for marketing purposes and it is wrong. Jo and more importantly WB knows that we all in Jo’s Army will march to what ever beat they choose to lay down. Or atleast they think they will. I ask you all to think about this with an emotional detatchment form Jo and her work and truly think about it in regard to all the other books out there about HP that were they let publish because it generated interest.

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In response to roonwit’s question, although only the parties and their attorneys know for certain what was done, the court order dated 11/2 ordered RDR to produce documents responsive to the requests for production attached to the Cendali declaration (all of these documents are available as .pdf files at Justia.com) on (or before) November 6. One of the documents requested was a copy of the book (the requests for production are one of the attachments to the Cendali declaration). Although certainly possible, it is highly unlikely that RDR defied the court’s order and didn’t do this. If they did defy the court’s order, they’ve got a whole new level of trouble to deal with (such as being held in contempt of court).

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To the person who said “publishing is publishing whether free or not” I suggest you do some research first before spouting garbage.

There are two competing concepts in publishing, COPYRIGHT and FAIR USE. Copyright was designed to give protection to authors to encourage publication, and Fair Use was designed to allow some latitude for creativity with regards to someone else work. Fair Use is your only defense against copyright and in Fair Use the purpose of the work is very important. So there is a HUGE difference between a free website and a for-profit books in the language of Fair Use.

So again do a little research before spouting of nonsense.

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Myrth, the whole point is that the lexicon book, a “rehashing of dates and hard info” as you put it, is NOT an analysis. An analysis or commentary contains original work by the author, or uses someone else’s information to illustrate a point or draw a conclusion. Whether or not you think these companion books have merit is your own opinion, but the question here is not about quality, it’s about legality. It is simply not legal to take someone else’s work and rearrange the facts and then call it your own work. That would be like a student cutting and pasting their roomate’s term paper and turning it in; any way you slice it, it’s just not their own work.

Someone was saying a while ago on a previous thread somewhere that the book would be legal if it was considered to be a scholarly work, but I don’t think that this argument holds water either. By the time you are writing at a graduate school level, what would be considered “publishable” in peer-reviewed journals, the focus should be on original research. You can analyze and synthesize someone else’s facts, as long as you reference them, but it has to be done in the context of proving your own point. That is what I was taught in graduate school, anyway.

I really lose more respect for SVA with every new thing that I read about this case. I hope that there are not more long-lasting consequences that will impact other fans and fansites. By disrespecting Jo’s wishes and preciptating this situation (though I will be the first to admit that the publishers sound awfully sleazy), he has painted all of the fans, even those of us who are very aware and respectful of the fact that none of this belongs to us, in a very bad light.

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@ Author By Night: RDR had no comment about WHAT the settlement was… to me, this sounds fishy. But the whole case has sounded fishy. Why couldn’t they have not sought publishing after JKR said “no”?

According to RDR Books statement on its site, it “has repeatedly offer to settle this case to Ms. Rowling’s satisfaction and publish the book.” It wants to end the lawsuit in a manner that allows them to still ‘publish’ the book.

@ anonymous: By not having objected to the Lexicon’s publishing of the material before, and even praising the site, she may not be able to stop it from being published again in another form.

Point in fact, JK/Publishers/WB HAVE objected to things/info listed on HP Lexicon before. They’ve sent cease/desist to them, most recently and notably over the RAB is Regulus page, where they quoted an ‘anonymous’ source for the info. They complied with the c/d request and by doing so they acknowledged Jo’s copyrights.

Taken along with the published email that allegedly came from Steve that acknowledges an HP Encyclopedia, like the book format of the Lexicon, would infringe Jo’s rights; taken also along with the undeniable fact that JK/Publishers/WB have launched many c/d’s off to infringers [both on the net and elsewhere] and when they failed to comply, launched lawsuits to protect copyrights to Harry Potter, frankly, the defense will have a hard time establishing that Jo relinquished her rights to Harry Potter in any format.

@ Mrs. Lovegood: How are they [other HP Guides] different from what Steve is creating? And, along with that, how about products like Cliff’s Notes, isn’t Steve’s book sort of a similar thing to that? I’ve never heard of Cliff’s Notes being illegal.

The guides are +75% original thought, analysis, essays. They use the smallest portion/snippets of HP canon to make a protracted statement/argument.

Steve’s on the other hand, simply recites known HP canon. It’s not critical analysis, original thoughts/essays. They also clearly state their unofficial/unauthorized versions and denote who are the owners of copyrighted material.

Have you ever read an article in an encyclopedia that quoted 90% of the original work? NO. That’s blatant infringement. The article must be unique/original commentary while containing some literal ‘key’ facts. Steve’s Lexicon, if you’ve read it, contains info directly derived from the books, and reworded it without no added analysis. Lexicon quoted tons of established HP facts on their site, but they forgot the critical analysis. RDR states the book is comprised ‘verbatim’ from the site, this means what we see in electronic form is what we’ll get in a book form.

As for ColesNotes/CliffNotes/SparkNotes, the Lexicon wouldn’t pass for any of them.

CliffNotes, ColesNotes, Sparknotes: each provides in-depth commentary, analysis and study guides for literature, poetry, history, film and philosophy.

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Also with regards to copyright, the law gives a lot of leverage to the author with regards to permission (unlike trademark where a misstep can make you lose your rights). So JK can approve of one form of publication and disapprove of another form even if they’re similar. Also its selective enough such that even if there was a written letter stating JK is giving permission for the website, that permission does not transfer to the book. She can approve of one book and disapprove another.

In other words, copyright is all about very specific permission. If you don’t have permission then it has to fall under Fair Use or you can’t publish it.

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I think you need to read the Lexicon site a bit more closely. Yes, there is restated material there but there is also many, many essays giving analysis about that material, just as the rest of the companion books do when they quote her work. I recently read a two sided book right before DH came out about Snapes nature. It had whole paragraphs lifted from the previous 6 books. There is a readers guid for each book, and at current count 148 esseys spanning 7 years. That is more original material in commentary form than may companion books on the market right now.

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I’ve talked to some people familiar to the case and they theorize that a sort of publicity stunt was involved here. The small publisher knew from the start that they would have to settle eventually and publish a watered down version of the book but they tried to blow it up initially to create publicity for the book. After all a small publisher doesn’t have the capacity to market the book the way it is marketed now.

But they may have pissed off JK and WB a little too much (especially after comparing the case to the bombings in Japan) and all indications show that the WB is going for a complete shutdown of the book.

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siriusfan: The time line is confusing but the way I read it it is the declaration filed on Nov 6 (actually filed on Nov 5) and the deadline is that for the publisher response, ie. 15th November but of course I don’t speak legalize so I could be wrong.

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The major factor why people close to the case think this is a publcity stunt is that, everyone in the publishing world, small or big, knows how JK and WB works with regards to books derived from Harry Potter. They send a C&D, they talk about it very quietly, they edit it and THEY ALLOW THEM TO PUBLISH IT.

Yessir, that’s why there are many books out there, because JK and WB are very lenient as long as you let them edit it so their rights are still completely protected. So RDR knew about it and they know that no matter how hard they push they eventually have to let WB and co. to edit the book.

So the question is why did RDR go through all this crap when they know they could have published this easily as long as they followed WB’s rules? Most think its to create publicity thus increasing sales. But the same people think they may have done it a bit too much.

Anyway this are all just speculation. But its hard to fathom the way RDR handled this case.

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Myrth, one of the recent news posts suggested that none of the essays from the HP-Lexicon site would be in the book. It was just the hard facts.

Once again, if a companion book is a critique or analysis, then it is different from an encyclopedia. For instance, there are at least two books that compare virtue ethics and Harry Potter. Though parts of the HP text are used in the books, they are cited appropriately. The analysis (how philosophy related to HP)is the author’s unique work. It’s no different from writing a character analysis paper in Literature class.

The question I have, were other HP encyclopedias that were printed prior to the Deathly Hallows release sued for similar reasons. If they weren’t, why or why not.

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I stand behind Rowling in this but it is also sad that Steve seems to have just been getting bad advice from RDR Books. From what I read, they publisher is not interested in what Rowling wants but rather to make a profit and sell those books to the “less fortunate”. This would make the Lexicon encyclopedia a bootleg. Not much different than the USA getting a pirated copy of the OOTP DVD. Bootlegs are illegal and no questions about it.

Now what I am really confused about is who wanted to negotiate with who first? I first heard about Rowling and WB initiated a negotiation but had not been successful and therefore, had to file the lawsuit. Now RDR is saying they have been trying to negotiate and Rowling is not responding. Would it be because it is too late for that now the lawsuit has been filed?

If Rowling wanted to settle this before without a suit, I think she would have wanted Steve to work with her. She praised his work on the site and even used it from time to time. It would make a lot of sense. It would have been great if Steve helped her our with her encyclopedia and he would have been able to help organize new details and backstories. If I were him, I’d go for working with Rowling! Wouldn’t it be awesome if only one fan knew everything else Rowling had created that didn’t make it into the books? That would be a tremendous honor. If that was the actual negotiation, he just kissed that honor goodbye. All that just to make a quick buck for something that has already been published online.

From what I understand, companion books that have already been published were all about essays predicting what would happen according to the authors. They do not state hard facts as much as the encyclopedia would. Someone mentioned Cliff’s Notes and I think the reason why were they never sued is because they were summarized versions of the very complex and lengthy books. It still is not the reading material itself and wasn’t covered with detailed facts and tidbits. I am guilty of using them as study guides in school but my lit teachers always found a way to find things that weren’t mentioned. Now the encyclopedia will be a play by play about every character and everything related in the HP world.

I doubt that the sites will be closed down. None of them are really making a profit. I am a web owner myself and even though advertisements pay, it’s a very small amount that would put in a buck or two to maintain the domain. These fan sites are maintained by fans that want to share their talents and love for HP. They put in their hard work and effort into this without making money off them. Now if the Lexicon feels the site shouldn’t be up because of the suit, that is Steve’s decision. No one forced him or any HP fan pages to make a site. JK Rowling appreciates the fan sites so much but once they want to make a profit off them, that’s where the line is drawn.

Thanks TLC for giving great updates on this. I feel very passionately about how unfair it is for JK Rowling getting so much backlash from people after the whole Dumbledore thing and now this lawsuit. I really hope a friendly settlement would be made and maybe like I hope, Steve would end up working with JK Rowling instead.

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@ Myrth: I think you need to read the Lexicon site a bit more closely. Yes, there is restated material there but there is also many, many essays giving analysis about that material, just as the rest of the companion books do when they quote her work.

Those essays are substantially FAN submitted and are original works, works that are NOT copyrighted to the Lexicon even though they have appeared on that site.

Please also note, from a TLC report linked below, those essay writers were 1.) not contacted by the Lexicon with a request to use their material, and 2.) the Lexicon staff have stated that those essays will NOT be part of the Lexicon book:


Following yesterday’s post which said there was a possibility that essays would be included in the Lexicon, several Lexicon essay writers have publicly said that they were not asked for permission to have their essay reprinted, and some essay writers have been assured by Lexicon staff that there will be no essays in the book at all. We have asked the publisher which is correct and will amend this post if we get an answer.

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There are in fact compilations books before (in fact there are two books with A-Z of Harry Potter in their title) and almost all are contacted and edited by WB’s legal department. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a whole department dedicated to that.

The things they are very adamant about from what I hear are trademarks (which includes cover design and font), the word Unofficial and disclaimers. Once you let them edit it, they allow you to publish it without being sued.

Which is why RDR’s moves in this whole case are fishy at best. They know, every decent publisher knows, how Harry Potter’s legal team operates. So why did they do the crap that they did?

As I said one of the theories is that its a publicity stunt. Generate some news, then eventually settle. Either that or there’s some sort of blind pride involved or something.

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Leaky, thanks again for your professionalism. I know that I can come here to get the full story. Thanks for that.

I find it odd that RDR wont say what their suggested “compromise” was. Based on some of the stuff we’ve read here about how they respond to questions (like telling the WB to ask their technical support if they cant print the site), they dont seem like the most professional or cooperative outfit. Something tells me their idea of compromise is “we’ll print the books as is, with all that copyright infringement, and you just forget about suing us”. LOL. Anyway… I hope this works out for the best, tho I’m not sure how it will. JKR/WB seem to be fully in the right here. Unfortunately, SVA (and RDR) seem to feel he has some sort of entitlement: that since he created the online Lexicon, he’s entitled to publish and make money off of it. Sad.

Avalon and SeriousKrack: Well put!

To Myrth:

I beg to differ. Those other books are usually analysis based. They discuss canon, but they also analyse what it means, what it could mean for future books, it’s symbolism, it’s place in myth and history, etc. It’s not just “here are the facts from the book”, it includes original creative content. That’s where the Lexicon book has gone wrong: it’s just canon facts, presented in the Lexicons format. That makes all the difference.

And as for those essays on the Lexicon, that is a very cloudy area, I think. Originally, they implied that those essays may be part of the published work. Then, there seemed to be questions from people who wrote those essays that they were not asked for permission to pushlish them in Steve’s book. Then RDR backed off and said there were no essays in the book (again, more fishy info from them). So, it seems that any potential new material (that STILL didnt belong to Steve) has been ruled out from being in the book.

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@ Beth: Then RDR backed off and said there were no essays in the book (again, more fishy info from them). So, it seems that any potential new material (that STILL didnt belong to Steve) has been ruled out from being in the book.

The sheer hypocrisy of violating Jo’s copyrights because she complimented the site and ‘therefore may have unintentionally surrendered her rights’ and the appearance of the fact that copyrights of the fan owned essays ARE being protected, is galling to me.

Either allowing to use material [Jo’s or fan submitted] with ‘feedback’ releases copyright to ‘fair use’ or it doesn’t. RDR can’t have it both ways!!!!

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I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the Lexicon site, but I am sure that the vast majority of the essays on the Lexicon were not written by SVA. That being the case, he owns no more rights to them than he does to the actual HP books, and it would be a whole new copyright infringement if he published them. As far as the reader’s guides on the Lexicon, again I don’t claim to have read them all, because once upon a time I clicked on one, and found nothing but summary – no original material. Quoting, even lengthy quoting, within the context of a commentary or analysis is perfectly acceptable; we’ve all done it in papers for school, but it is cited appropriately, and the quoted material should not make up the body of the paper. And of course more leniency would be given to a high school student who is stil learning, versus an adult trying to publish a book for profit. I didn’t read the Snape book you mentioned, but I read about it. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t the whole point of the book to examine the arguments for Snape being good versus evil? Quotes then would be used to prove each point. There is a huge difference between saying “X said this, which makes me think that Snape is good/bad/indifferent/whatever,” or even “X said this and I loved it/hated it/wanted to scream,” versus just saying “X said this.” As many others have pointed out, a Lexicon is by definition not a commentary or analysis.


I totally agree with you as well. I can’t understand why they would not be willing to turn over manuscripts and work with WB and JKR. It seems to me that if you want to publish a book that involves someone else’s work, you ought to be prepared to jump through hoops to make all parties involved happy….

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To all stating that no essays would be in the book. I would like to point out this Update notice:

Update: RDR books answered our query with a lengthy statement that neither confirmed nor denied. We’ve asked for a more direct answer and have yet to receive one.

We have info from “some essay” writer that no essays would be in the book. This is hardly confirmation from RDR itself. Untill that is stated i will go by what is officialy stated which is that essays are a possibility. If they are included, I will stand by my statments that this is a viable book in the vein of companion books and clif notes. If there are no essays, then the legality changes dramaticaly, and it would no longer be a valid use of the material. I would urge however for you all to keep in mind the difference between a press release and “some essay writers” unvalidated statement.

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I have spent alot of time on the Lexicon site and I can definatly state that it is a commentary and analysis site as well as informational.

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Hi, roonwit. At Justia.com there is a facsimile version of the federal court’s electronic docket for this case: http://news.justia.com/cases/20070525245370/ (I believe all federal courts are now on an electronic system, which is pretty slick when it comes to researching high-profile cases like this, because you can get .pdf files for almost everything that has been filed in the case). One would assume (and hope) that future filings will be posted at that link, so we can continue to follow what is happening.

The word “response” can refer to several different things. I believe what is going on is that the “response” to the production requests (that is, the book and a few other things) were ordered to be produced on (or before…you can always respond early!) November 6 (the first “ORDERED” on page 2 of that 11/2 court order). I haven’t read all of the court papers posted yet, but my guess is that the Plaintiffs’ attorneys told the court on 11/2 that they needed to see those documents before they could finalize their motion for preliminary injunction.

The second “ORDERED” on the 11/2 order sets up a briefing schedule on the Plaintiffs’ “proposed motion for preliminary injunction.” In other words, this order was entered before that motion was actually filed, likely due to the tight timing here (the publication date is fast approaching). The Plaintiffs were given only a few day to actually file that motion (which is due today), but you’ll notice that it is a couple of days after RDR was supposed to turn over a copy of the book, etc. The word “response” that you see under this second “ORDERED” refers to RDR’s brief (a “response brief”) in response to that motion. That brief is due on (or before) November 15. If RDR does file such a brief, the order allows the Plaintiffs, if they choose, to file yet another brief (the “reply brief”) that will “reply” to what RDR says in its response (hence the requirement for overnight delivery; the tight turn-around on these briefs doesn’t allow enough time for delivery by mail, and you really can’t file a response or a reply to something you haven’t had a chance to read).

Usually when a motion is filed, the opponent is given leave to file a “response,” and the party who filed the motion is given leave to file a “reply.” It’s sort of like a tennis match/ping-pong game with the back and forth. Again, assuming that RDR does file a response and the Plaintiffs file a reply, and that Justia.com continues to follow this case, those court papers should be available at that site shortly after they’ve been filed. Hope that helps.

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Well WB’s lawyers definitely have a copy now. They are already using it as evidence. And the way I see it, WB’s lawyers are very, very good. RDR still hasn’t responded yet although they have up to Nov. 15 to do so.

I’m quite certain RDR is desperately scrambling to negotiate a settlement. I’m still of the opinion that all RDR wanted was the publicity and then settle to generate more sales (I mean they’re in a frigging serious case, why blab as much as they’ve been doing in their website [it can be used against them] unless they were shooting to settle all along). But it seems WB is not giving them an inch.

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just wondering is what Mrs.Lovegood is saying true? that MuggleNet is also publishing an encyclopedia book? and that thing about Cliff’s Notes, is that also true?

i mean MuggleNet and everyone else pretty much used the Lexicon, so isnt that kind of stupid if MuggleNet is allowed to publish Lexicon stuff but Lexicon isnt allowed to publish the same stuff? im confused? why r they picking on Steve if everyone else is doing the same thing?

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They make it sound so heroic of them to offer to “settle this case to Ms. Rowling’s satisfaction and publish the book.”

This whole thing is JK Rowling refusing to let them publish the book! Way to go, RDR, trying to settle the case to JK Rowling’s satisfaction…

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If SV wants to publish the Lexicon he should be working with JK not doing it independently. HP is her world not his and JK is right to sue IMO.

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@ Myrth: I have spent alot of time on the Lexicon site and I can definatly state that it is a commentary and analysis site as well as informational.

Firstly, the Lexicon staff have stated, and I quote, “that there will be no essays in the book at all.” Perhaps they’re reassurances, freely given to their partner site, are just for show? As for the publishers, well, judging by the ludicrous things they’ve already stated on their website, I’ve no doubt as to their integrity [and glaring lack thereof].

Can you, as a friendly visitor to the Lexicon, unequivocally state that 75-90% of the Lexicon’s content is complete, unique, original commentary/analysis derived SOLELY from Steve/Lexicon staff? [Keep in mind that the 1000+ paged site has been pared down into a 412 page book.] Fact is that 75-90% of the content is derived SOLELY from Jo’s work, re-structured and in many instances, slavishly copied ‘verbatim’.

What IS on the site--BARRING FAN ESSAYS—is a re-ordered list of known facts to the fictional Potterverse: books 1-7, 2 companion books, the Black genealogy that was auctioned for charity, Jo’s website, interviews/web chats, HP films. Simple reorganization of copyrighted and trademarked material, without authentic/original contextual analysis, does not constitute ‘fair use’ of said copyrighted material.

For the Lexicon book to be a ‘scholarly work’ as alleged by RDR, for it to qualify as ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material in a ‘derivative’ work, it must contain a SUBSTANTIAL amount of original content and ensure that it uses the barest minimum of copyrighted material.

I’ve enjoyed the Lexicon, I STILL enjoy it. It’s an excellent online resource and I don’t believe anyone is saying it’s not. However, the legal issue is ‘copyright infringement’.

Copyright says who owns the intellectual property [J.K. Rowling]; the owner has say in what format the copyrighted material is distributed into [books/audio books, films, toys, games, cards, posters, etc…], and who has the right to distribute the copyrighted material, i.e. who is licenced by the owner to use their property [WB, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, etc…]. Copyright provides legal remedies for those who infringe on the intellectual property rights of others.

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JK or WB is most definitely not picking on Steve. It was Steve or RDR that didn’t want to play with the rules. WB has said (and everyone in the publishing community knows this) that they always talk to people first, negotiate a way to make sure the book doesn’t infringe and then allow them to publish the book. They are very, very lenient but very smart in protecting their rights. They only sue as a very last resort.

It was RDR who ignored WB, until they were forced to sue them. The UK book was slated to publish Nov. 5 and they only sued at Oct 31. The sequence of dates alone tell you that they tried everything possible to talk to RDR first before suing.

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Siriusfan: My confusion is because the document telling RDR what they had to submit (7 exhibit C) wasn’t filed until 5th November giving them (under your hypothesis) 1 day to assemble all the evidence requested including the book and deliver it, which seems unlikely. Though actually re-reading 3 it sounds like the request was sent to RDR on 2nd, so you could be right and the copy for the court was just filed later. Mars: There is no evidence from the book in the court documents so far, the exhibits 7 A 1-3 are clearly printed from the Lexicon website.

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anne: If SV wants to publish the Lexicon he should be working with JK not doing it independently

One of the earliest stories on this was that Steve had approached JK and asked if she wanted to collaborate. She said no and really, he just should’ve dropped it all right there. Not gone ahead with his own venture when he knew it was illegal

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@mollywobble: “The question I have, were other HP encyclopedias that were printed prior to the Deathly Hallows release sued for similar reasons. If they weren’t, why or why not.”

Based on the “no longer available” or “out of stock indefinitely” tags on most if not all of those early encyclopedias, my guess is that, just as Mars said, WB allowed an edited version to be published ONCE.

Another situation of which I am personally aware is the vast difference between the original Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter (Analysis of Books 1-4) and the two follow up guides to books 5 and 6, all by Galadriel Waters. The original took each book chapter by chapter with summaries of the events interspersed with comments and clues. There were no summaries in the last two books. Instead, brief quotes were given with possible interpretations of what they might mean. A friend who was part of the New Clues project indicated that the original provided too much information specifically about the plots and the format had to be changed so that “Analysis” was the focus.

I believe Mars is correct in his comments about WB and other companion books, “everyone in the publishing world, small or big, knows how JK and WB works with regards to books derived from Harry Potter. They send a C&D, they talk about it very quietly, they edit it and THEY ALLOW THEM TO PUBLISH IT.” RDR refused to follow the rules.

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Ahh oh well, I thought it came from the book. I guess WB has no choice but to use the Lexicon website as evidence.

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yes Mars I understand that, but i also understand that Steve is being almost picked on. i just found out that MuggleNet is also publishing an encyclopedia. I went to Amazong and found about 5 other books that are termed ‘encyclopedia’ but unfortunately none of these are really rightly called this because they are incomplete. every single one of them. Steve’s site is fairly complete. there is NOTHING about HP in this world that ISNT on Steve’s site. so if he would be allowed to publish that, then theres nothing else left for Jo and the rest to publish. I guess u could say Steve’s going for the big apple and no body likes it bc that means others cant have a bite. i understand this is Jo’s world and she has every right to it. but this is kind of making me wonder if this has anything at all to do with copyright stuff. it seems more about what i said earlier. i did support Jo originally but upon discovering that there are a good 2 dozen other books out there calling themselves encyclopedias meanwhile carrying less than satisfactory content, i think Steve’s case is being treated differently. and the presence of companion books has nothing to do with Jo’s humanity or lack thereof. they kind of come with the package.

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Roonwit: I agree that the timing on the court’s docket appears a little backward, and I also agree with your point that the document requests were sent to RDR on 11/2. The requests are dated 11/2 (see the last page, next to the signature line), and therefore were likely sent to RDR that day, possibly even by e-mail, considering the timing of this whole case. I believe they were filed on 11/5, not as an indication that that is the date they were sent to RDR, but because they were attached as an exhibit to a declaration, and 11/5 is the date that that declaration was filed. Luckily things should be a little more straightforward, at least in terms of court papers being filed, as this moves forward.

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Please, not the ‘they’re picking on poor, beleaguered house-elf Steve’ argument. [Yes, someone actually compared Steve to a house-elf and JK/WB as the evil abusive masters on another TLC comment board!]

The point, HPFanatic, is that despite the enormous amount of Potter information appearing on the Lexicon website, the website doesn’t OWN copyrights to Jo’s work, therefore the Lexicon legally cannot sell it. I’m amazed at how many comments are from people who don’t understand that fact.

If I allowed you to borrow my car, it doesn’t mean that simply because you’ve been driving about town, with my permission, that you suddenly have the right to sell it and pocket the proceeds. As the owner, only I have that right.

As for the Mugglenet Encyclopedia, they [like the Lexicon] received a cease/desist letter and apparently have complied with it; just as they complied with a c/d from WB when they formerly sold unlicensed Mugglenet T-shirts.

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As I said, I’m still of the opinion that this is all a publicity stunt by RDR and they will eventualy comply with WB (assuming WB will ever allow even an edited version of the book considering RDR’s irrational actions and statements).

They could’ve published the Lexicon easily (although probably heavily edited including a subtitle with the word Unofficial something) if they had complied with the C&D like all other books before them. But why didn’t they do it? Why did they force WB to sue? Why all the unneccesary statements in the website that doesn’t help AT ALL?!! (Trust me, any legal mind will tell you that the best thing to do in this situation is to shut up) I still think the answer is publicity, they wanted A LOT of it and intended to settle all along.

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Well put, Cara. I have read on another site that the other books were published AFTER WB and JKR edited and approved them. The site claimed that one author (Kristina Benson) blogged about everything she had to change/adapt to satisfy WB and JKR.

HPFanatic – please note that those other books had to go through an approval (and editing) process. RDR is refusing to go through this process. I cannot find two dozen encyclopedias. I can find a number of books, all of which could be titled “Essays I’ve written about Harry Potter.” That’s the big difference; the authors thought and created a book of their own ideas. SVA simply wants to list all of JKR’s ideas.

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A comment from another site intrigued me: Right now, according to the RDR website, the defense that they will use is that by letting the Lexicon website thrive, JKR has granted copyright to Lexicon and all its forms (including a book).

While this is so wrong in sooo many levels (including the fact that an author can revoke any copyright granted anytime he/she wants unless there’s a contract) let us assume the wild possibility that RDR wins with this defense. Do you guys know what will happen?

As the guy in the other website said its the end of fandom. It is. No author will ever allow a fansite to go up since apparently making a website grants you copyright!!! So what RDR and Steve is telling us is that they’re willing to drag down the entire fandom with them.


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I wonder if RDR has pre-sold a lot of books (and has spent that money?) in hopes that no suit would be brought?

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I have two more questions:

First, is someone from Leaky going to try and attend the court hearings, or will they be closed to the public? I know Melissa lives in NY and there are other people who frequent this site that seem to live close enough to go there when they want to. I’d love to read live coverage of the hearings from an HP fan’s POV. How about it, Melissa? You don’t have to answer ahead of time, but I think you should try and go.

Second, from reading this thread and information on the various communications that went back and forth between the parties regarding this, it seems that WB starts communication with an entity that is planning to publish something that may infringe on copyright by sending them a cease and desist order, followed by negotiation between the parties, after which sometimes an agreement is made so they can publish or sometimes, like with the Mugglenet T-shirts, they have to stop selling them. But my point is, the communication starts with a cease and desist order, do I have that right? Because, I can see how that would be rather intimidating and would not be seen as an invitation to further communication. Why not just send a letter requesting further information, rather than a legal action?

I’m on Jo’s side of this, I think, but put yourself in Steve’s shoes. (1) he gets an award and praise from Jo herself (2) he is under the impression, whether it’s true or not, that WB used his site as a reference, at the very least, when putting together the timeline on the DVD (3) other authors have published guides to the HP world, though I admit we are still unclear as to how much of those were original thought and content (4) Steve got to go to the set of the movie (5) Steve’s run this website since 2000 without any ads that I can see; with 25 million hits that must have cost him a pretty penny. So, what in all of that evidence would lead him to believe he was wrong to go and publish his Lexicon. So then he enters into an agreement with a publisher and some money must have changed hands if we’re this close to publication—work has been done, someone needs to recoup their investment, and they get a legal notice, rather than a friendly letter inviting them to discuss this some more. Am I reading this the wrong way? I can see why he might be upset about it, but maybe I am not understanding it correctly.

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Mrs. Lovegood: what in all of that evidence would lead him to believe he was wrong to go and publish his Lexicon

I think a glaring fact is if an email that he is reputed to have sent out in the past is true, if he did in fact send this email out (which given all other disclaimers on his site, I’m inclined to believe) than it’s clear he knew that publishing such a book without JK’s permission was wrong: The following is the alleged email from Steve to the former owner of “The Potter Prophet”

Hello, Matt and Jessica: As the editor of the Lexicon, I get email every so often from fans asking me to publish the Lexicon in book form, so I’ve dealt with this question before. Basically, it is illegal to sell a book like that. Jo has reserved all publishing rights to her intellectual property, which means that she’s the only one who may publish any book that is a guide or encyclopedia to her world. And since we’re fans and supporters of Jo, we wouldn’t do anything that would violate her rights, even if we could get away with it. We wouldn’t get away with it, though, since Neil Blair, her solicitor, is very quick to defend his illustrious client in things like this.

So while it’s a smashing idea, it simply isn’t something that’s allowed at the moment. Believe me, when the series is finished, I plan to petition Jo to allow the Lexicon to work with her to create the ultimate Harry Potter encyclopedia. In the mean time, we’ll have to use the various online resources. Thanks for the email! Steve Steve Vander Ark

According to previous reportings, he did ask Jo regarding a collaboration on the encyclopedia and she said no.

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oh ok…now i understand why the other encyclopedias were so bad…b/c jo took out a good chunk.

wondering, the ones i found were clearly termed ‘encyclopedia’ or ‘everything you need to know about HP’ or ‘harry potter A-Z’. essays and analysis are different from this case so i wouldnt drag those in obviously.

Cara, i do understand the copyright issue. but as i said, i dont think this has anything to do with copyright. i used to think that, until i checked out the other ones and i realized none of them were half as good as Lexicon’s would be (if indeed its like the website). Steve’s encyclopedia is bound to bring in big profits. its complete so it basically means any other books coming out after are gonna have to work hard to find something besides the stuff already published to offer: more competition. And when an author is planning on publishing one such book herself, clearly she wouldnt want another person to beat her to it. not when she can drag in copyright issues. i know she is going to give it all to a good cause, but im just very sorry for Steve now. after spending all those hours making a site, hes being told thats its a no no if he wants to get some money for all his efforts.

i mean i think this is pretty pathetic. they dont apply this in business do they? otherwise we’d have only one brand of each item. only Starbucks could sell coffee, only WB could make movies, only Bebe can make t-shirts, only california could export fruits and veggies to canada. then the concept of ‘competition’ would become meaningless, and the guy who started the ideas behind each would be getting his ‘fair share’ for his ideas for the rest of his life.

i dont know…and im not a big WB fan anyway. when the time comes they’re just as bad as RDR or any other gigantor out there.

and saying that Steve’s book is just a rearrangement is kind of stupid because afterall he did say it was an ‘encyclopedia’ not a ‘literary analysis’ so as with all encyclopedias, the Lexicon book will also be a load of info based on whats been given in the books,interviews, and other such sources.

i would say steve is wrong to try to publish it, but seing how much he has put into it over the years and how much people have used it for their own personal or profit-bound purposes, i think its unfair to say he has no right to take something home for himself.

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I was a dummy for wondering where Leaky stood in all of this the first time I read the case… I apologise. I was just absolutely mortified when I saw it… Hence, the rash questioning.

I really hope that they settle this SOON.

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Your logic is so flawed:

i mean i think this is pretty pathetic. they dont apply this in business do they?

Yes thay do. Really.

otherwise we’d have only one brand of each item. only Starbucks could sell coffee,

Only Starbucks can sell “Starbucks” coffe, unless they sell the license to someone else. Etc for other cases. Steve is quite free to write his own original fiction novel about a young magician (that’s much more like the other cases you’re takling about). He just can’t call him “Harry Potter”. Then he can reap honest rewards for his book. JUst like JRK did/does.

All the administrative work, however extensive, he did on JRK’s novels and other material, was done on volontary basis and as such he had to know there’s no money in it. Just like fanfiction writers know they’ll never get paid for their stories – they can recieve compliments, improve their writing and that’s it. Same goes for Steve.

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I hope that the book is still published on schedule. Personally, I would love a copy of it.

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This is written in the complaint (and WB can’t lie about this since that would be perjury):

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.

So before the C&D, they did contact Steve, but because they didn’t respond, they had no choice but to go to the standard C&D route.

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To HPFanatic on November 08, 2007 @ 05:49 PM: Of course you don’t have to be a Starbucks to sell coffee, but you do have to be a Starbucks to sell “Starbucks coffee” and sell it as such (I think).

RDR talks of “1st Amendment Rights”, etc, but they’re a business. They could make more money than they’ve ever made before if they sell this book. They are doing it for the money. (most of their offerings seem to be written by the publisher or are out-of-print works dropped by their orig

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I’m pretty dang sure that Steve and RDR are trying very hard to negotiate a settlement right now. Because looking at their stated defense at their site, no decent lawyer will go that route. (I mean c’mon, to claim that allowing a website to flourish is equivalent to granting a copyright? No author will ever allow a fansite to go up if that’s the case) So I don’t think they’re serious about fighting the lawsuit and all this is just trying to gather publicity for their soon to be edited book.

The question is will JK or WB even let an edited book pass considering all the trouble RDR and Steve has caused? My gut (and the lawyer inside me) says they will take this slam dunk case and shutdown RDR completely.

Note: They never sued Steve, only RDR.

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A new document has appeared in the justia news report. It looks like RDR asked for a delay and were denied.

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First and foremost, fellow Potterheads, none of us know the exact contents of the planned book. I checked on Amazon as well as the RDR site, and neither has even a table of contents up. We have no way of knowing if the planned content is primarily original commentary or if its primarily from JKR’s writings. As I read the information available today, a copy has been turned over to WB attorneys for review, and it will take time for them to read and compare the manuscript to JKR’s published writings. And, folks, attornerys are unlikely to be avid HP fans who will recognize phrases from the books (with the exception of those attorneys who are in fact part of our discussion here..The Few, The Proud, The Brave!)

Second, SVA issued a statement that he would not be discussing the case publically back in mid-September; his recent statement online was clearly at his legal counsel’s advice and reflects legal language, not his. He’s acting appropriately here, and keeping quiet.

Third, RDR is a very very small publisher, local to SVA. Why he chose to go with them, perhaps we’ll learn one day. But, for all practical purposes, RDR lacks the expertise in publishing a work that has a huge potential market and for dealing in advance with the numerous legal issues involved. Any good editor would have had the permissions for quoting copyrighted materials done with months ago. With all respect to RDR as a small publisher, they are out of their league.

Last, part of the wonder of legal fiction is that—even tho this entire matter has moved far beyond either JKR or SVA—their names must appear on the legal procedings as if the two of them were duking things out. Please be gentle to both, let’s have fun and blame the lawyers? Steve has very little input into what is occurring any more, and there are times I wonder just how much control JKR herself does.

Someone asked about the time it takes to print a book, after the final editing. For the book to be released on 28 November as planned, most of the work of printing should be completed by now, and stocking and boxing for distribution should be about to start. Whether RDR got that far is another question…

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Mars, I too hope that they slap them with a fine so big they have to shut down. I try to curb my inner cynic as much as possible, but I can’t help but agree that this seems like a huge publicity stunt. Oh-so-classy… At least a lot of people will know that they have no integrity if the company does survive.

And, I’m sorry to bring this up again, but the “Poor Steve” arguments really don’t work for me. The fact is, it is your responsibility to know what the law is. If you get a speeding ticket, you cannot contest it in court and say that you didn’t know what the speed limit was. It is your responsibility to pay attention to the speed limit. If I was planning on publishing a book that centered around someone else’s work, especially something as high-profile as HP, I would make darn sure that I knew the ins and outs of copyright law, because it would be the responsible thing to do. And, wow, if that email is true, SVA will move up into the same category of sleaziness as his publisher, in my mind.

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I’m still confused. I just went to Amazon. A search for “harry potter encyclopedia” came up with:

The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A – Z by Kristina Benson, Equity Press, July 7, 2007. The “search inside” function on Amazon reveals this to be a list of characters, divided into “wizard” and “muggle” categories, listed alphabetically, with information on each, encyclopedia format. In stock at $19.99.

The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Kronzek. This book clearly contains information from various sources, not just the Harry Potter books, though it does contain entries (similar to an encyclopedia) about magical items in the Harry Potter books and mention of Rowling’s characters. In stock for $10.85.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter which doesn’t have a “search inside” function. The description says it contains “in-depth information on the facts behind all seven books . . . all relevant influences . . . from religion and mythology to science and literature” and that it “can be read from cover to cover or used as a quick-reference guide.” Oct. 2007, in stock at $11.53.

Fact, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World: an Unofficial Guide contains entries divided into 4 categories and then listed alphabetically, with illustrations that are not part of the copyrighted works of JKR or WB. The sections are “Fabulous Beasts” etc., “Wizards through the Ages”, “All Things in the Magical World” and “Enchanting Places”. The key here seems to be that, in addition to explaining how these items fit into the Harry Potter world, the author attempts to explain other occurrences of these or similar items in other literature or legends or real life, thus, I suppose, providing the required “commentary” that makes it not simply regurgitating Rowling’s work? Published in 2005, in stock at $11.53.

There are others, but these seemed most similar to the Lexicon, esp. the first one I listed, among those that are still “in stock” at Amazon. Copyright law must be very, very complicated if it allows The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia to be printed and not the Lexicon. Is the key here really a prominent disclaimer and the word “unofficial” in the title?

I have to say that if Jo wrote a book and all it contained was the information that is on the Lexicon, I’d be supremely disappointed. I expect, or at least when I first read she planned an encyclopedia I did expect, a compilation of information that never managed to make it into the books, stuff like Dean Thomas’ backstory, alternate chapters that she had to take out or re-write, annotated history of the Goblin wars and a map listing the other tunnels that were on the Marauder’s Map that we never learned the details of. I don’t see the Lexicon, in book or electronic format, to be any kind of a competition to a book by Jo. I totally support her right to protect her work. I just am very puzzled why this particular work seems to be singled out and others that seem, to my stupid and uneducated mind, at least, very similar, have been allowed to be published or at least, not challenged.

Shh, there’s a website that’s selling t-shirts with a white doe on them and the word “Always”—is that a violation of copyright? Where, exactly, is the line, here? I am truly puzzled by this. I must be really stupid.

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I have always appreciated Leaky’s honesty and fandom responsibility in these tricky matters. Although this is a hard time for you all, you have shown your professionalism at all times. Just know how much we appreciate it.

Posted by Cian on November 08, 2007 @ 08:27 AM

^ well said, cian. thats the attitude that im going to have on all of this!

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He does not have to become a novelist to publish a book. In areas where law is complicated or where people perhaps want to change law, they bring a suit and let the courts decide. It’s not as simple as ‘the law should be followed’. The opinion in this case will be clarifying or perhaps changing to some extent what the law is. That’s how our system works. Law evolves through legal opinion (i.e., court decisions).

I hope all the people who are so against this stop buying dictionaries. The people who compile those don’t have copyright to all the words in our language or to their meanings. Rearranging and organizing all that info apparently has no value that entitles you to earn money. They should get real jobs as bestselling novelists. Plus, they put their dictionaries online for free years ago so anyone can use them. How outrageous of them to continue to charge for hard copies in book format! They’re ripping off word fans! Down with all reference materials. Up with ignorance and irrationality.

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I have a gnawing feeling that if Steve (however unlikely) wins against JKR/WB…JKR/WB will be forced to crack down on fan sites and restrict their contents after learning that they had been too lenient on Steve.

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Mrs. Lovegood,

I own some of these companion books (got them for my birthday…) but they are not that great: They contain information that is not Jo’s.

Example: information on basilisks, goblins, runes – or information on Flamel (he was a real person), the history behind certain names like Malfoy and Minerva (without talking much about the Potter characters)...

So these encyclopedias are very much only stating what can be found in history, english and mythology books. Remember guys, there is alot in the Potterverse that is not Jo’s property.

What is hers, is her story, her characters, and much that can be found in the Lexicon. I think that this is what will play in the case. If Steve/RDA have a book about unicorns, hidden meanings in names, veelas and centaurs, then Jo hasn’t got a chance. BUT if they want to publish a book containing what happened to Harry in his third year, who is in the Weasley family, who lives/dies in the series etc., then I’m afraid that this is clearly infringing on Jo’s work!

Anyways… that is what I think… I hope they can come to an understanding soon… I want my Potter World back to normal!

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SERIOUS: “I hope all the people who are so against this stop buying dictionaries. The people who compile those don’t have copyright to all the words in our language or to their meanings.”

That is such a ludicrous thing to say, even sarcastically. Individual words/meaning-of-words are not copyrighted, which you are well aware of. Creative/intellectual material, art, etc., is the PROPERTY of the creator. Compiling and selling a generic dictionary isn’t even comparable to what the Lexicon is doing. Your statement is ridiculous. If you need an example, read up on how Donald Trump could not get a copyright for the phrase “You’re fired!”, or how Paris Hilton couldn’t copyright “That’s hot!”. The law has lines drawn to prevent absurd things such as that. SVA/RDR have crossed that line.

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UPDATE ON TLC NEWS ARTICLE Not sure when today this was added:

“Update: A new document authored by a recently retained lawyer for RDR claims that owing to RDR’s lack of an intellectual property lawyer, status as a small publishing house (it claims sales of a little more than $100,000/year), and present plan to have legal briefs prepared by a cousin of the house’s owner, a delay in responding to JKR/WB is necessary. The lawyer requested a seven-week delay, until the first week in January, which is after the current US publication date for the book. The letter notes, however, that during the delay RDR would voluntary freeze their actions, amounting to the same results as a preliminary injunction on publication. According to the document, the application has been ” denied without prejudice to counsel for defendant and plaintiff appearing this afternoon[.]”

from budb now, to make sure there is no confusion: RDR (named for its owner) is clearly out of its league. That has been obvious by the statements made by RDR employees. So, let’s wait and see….

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and folks, please, stop bickering. You are almost as bad as Ron and Hermoine.

or, as I always told my kids, fight nice

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Serious, no one is claiming that only novels should be published. No one is claiming that copyright laws are straightforward, either. That is why lawyers get paid the big bucks to interpret them. Like I said, if I was trying to publish any book involving someone else’s work, I would make sure that I was knowledgeable about the laws, even if that meant reading up on legal precedents and getting legal advice. And come on, the dictionary comments are not adding value to the discussion.

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I do feel upset over this situation, we have all become so involved with the “Potter-World” that any way of “referencing” situations in the books helps us as fans have a greater understanding. Many people havent got “web-access” and are hugry for information.Steve has been brilliant in detailing the books which I have found great.I am sorry that some havent got the access to the internet so a “book for reference”would be something many will want. Ofcourse when Jo publishes her Book most will still want to purchase that too.Copyright law will be involved I realise. It would be wonderful if we coud settle all this amicabley, both will be different. The questuon of “for profit” is slightly different. Where do we draw the line ? (its a small world with room for all it would be nice if we could all “get along”) Thanks Melissa for reporting all this in a neutral manner. I do hope it can be “sorted” I do abhor bitterness many-times working together is the best way forward.

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this is such an odd case. if she said NO IN THE FIRST PLACE, WHY ARE THEY STILL PURSUING IT? really now. it just makes sense to let it alone. No matter what they show her, she’s not going to say yes to it.

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I love the fatalist attitude of some people, I really do. Let’s not forget that JKR has always had a policy against pornographic fan art and has always actively had it removed upon discovery. Also, plenty of websites have been taken down because they went too far and abused Fair Use. Just because those behind the Lexicon book are being such giant morons doesn’t mean they’ll bring down all of fandom with them. Fans that frequent online sites are the minority. We’re a drop in the bucket compared to the book buying fan base at large. If SVA gets his book published it will most certainly hurt JKR’s sales. Say you own a HP encyclopedia, unless you’re a more rabid fan (like those of us who visit websites and the like to get a better fix of our addiction), one is enough. And if RDR is anything like it has seemed to be in this whole mess, they’ll proport their book as being better than JKR’s. Why? To help sales of course! If you’ve got the premiere encyclopedia and yours came out first, of COURSE it’s going to take sales away from anything else that comes along, even if it is from the author. The loyalists who would buy only Jo’s or both are mostly those who visit these sites. The vast majority of the book buying populace will buy the best of what’s available and be done with it.

Too much emphasis is put on what a fansite can really do. The book’s the thing. (And it might be worth noting that not once has JKR & WB said they’d go after the Lexicon site, they’re leaving it alone) Our online fandoms will be left alone since we aren’t doing the thing that’s riled the hornet’s nest. It’s all about the book.

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According to HPFanatic: “Steve’s site is fairly complete. there is NOTHING about HP in this world that ISNT on Steve’s site. so if he would be allowed to publish that, then theres nothing else left for Jo and the rest to publish.”

I would beg to differ. I imagine that there is oodles of information in Jo’s brain and scattered throughout her thousands of pages of notes that did not make it in to the books. The Lexicon is a great site for checking up on information that is derived directly from the books, but I can’t wait for Jo’s encyclopedia which I’m sure will be rich in detail that as yet is unknown to any of us fans.

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HPFanatic, I dont think you’re understanding things. It’s not that the WB can only make movies, but only WB can make Harry Potter movies. Its not that only Starbucks can make coffee, but only Starbucks can call their coffee Starbucks and include that horrible mermaid logo. Just like, it’s not only JKR that can publish BOOKS, but it’s JKR that can only publish Harry Potter books (unless, read carefully, they get express permission and approval of JKR herself). It is ALL about copyright. JKR owns it. In all other book examples, they’ve read what was to be published before, and they’ve edited or approved as seen fit.

And you’ve actually proved your own point: about the case being about copyright “i used to think that, until i checked out the other ones and i realized none of them were half as good as Lexicon’s would be (if indeed its like the website).” The reason they arent half as good, is because they DONT infringe on the copyright, and include ALL of JKR’s canon. That’s what would make Steve’s “good”. It would simply be ALL canon info, repeated.

And you say “it’s not as if it’s just a rearrangement… he said it’s an encyclopedia… not a literary analysis.” I think you have that backwards. if it WERE a literary analysis, then it might be ok, because he would analyse the literature. That means original thought. But because it’s an encyclopedia, it is just rearranged canon.

Just because he put a lot of work into something (and I agree, he and his staff have), doesnt give him sudden rights to the material. It doesnt work that way. He (allegedly) put the work in because he loves the books, and is a big fan. If he really thought he could get a big payday out of it someday, he was sorely misinformed.

um… ok… elly already made these points, and in a much more concise form. LOL

budb: We can make an educated guess about what is in the book, because RDR has said that it is exactly what is in the site. they also said (rudely) that if WB wanted a copy, they could just print the website. also, I wouldnt cry about RDR being too small to know that they were doing wrong. They are a publishing firm. Even if they werent aware, I’d say the first letter, from JKR/WB saying they should stop should be enough at least to look into it.

serious: There is just no point in responding to something so ridiculous.

Wind Lane: I agree completely with what you say about the general book buying public (as opposed to us on these websites) with one exception: they wont by the best of what’s available, they’ll buy the FIRST that’s available. They wont really care (or know) that JKR might come out with one later, and they wont really care (or know) that there will be layers and layers of backstory. They’ll buy the one that comes out first and think they’re done.

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I heard the argument that if RDR published the encyclopedia, they would be available to those who cannot rely on internet access or who are less fortunate. Whether they have it available to the poor or not, they will still be selling it for profit! It is considered a bootleg if they did not have permission to publish them in the first place. I posted about this before. Here’s a similar analogy: The US will not have the OOTP DVD available until December. So does that mean, I could get a copy of the movie, create my own menus and rearrange the chapters, burn the DVD, and then sell it to the poor unfortunate HP fans in my neighborhood? Sounds a bit farfetched but I’m sure that is ILLEGAL.

I have relatives that cannot afford to buy just any books. They are willing to save money to buy HP books by JKR. They know about the encyclopedia and like myself and many other fans, would rather wait for the more valuable version from JKR with more new info and backstories. A printed form of the Lexicon is no problem. I’m actually in the process of doing that right now just in case this doesn’t settle very well and BAM! The site is down.

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The fact that RDR has been operating without a intellectual property lawyet speaks volumes.

The fact that its retained legal counsel probably told RDR to take its PR site down speaks even more.

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Just because those behind the Lexicon book are being such giant morons doesn’t mean they’ll bring down all of fandom with them.

They could if they won the case on the grounds that permiting online website (from JKR) gave them right to publish a print for-profit version. Or even if the ruling is somewhere on the line. Because that would be a precedence for other cases and all sorts of people could decide to try and abuse copyright. I don’t think it’s likely that they’ll win, but some of this matter is an untried case, even if the law implies what should happen.

The cases like fan-porn and other books are different, because in those instances the other parties decided to cooperate with JKR&co – remove the offending material, not publish, do what they negotiated (OUT OF COURT) with JKR&co. Steve&co went to court/didn’t prevent being dragged to court and are as of now fighting for their right to make money off JRK’s copyrighted material on the grounds that she allowed website/other books etc. THAT could bring down the fandom.

Previously it was believed (an actions implied) that stuff like fan-websites is harmless for the author. This could change it. It’s not that some boring HP fanfic on-the-web could be harmful, but if they go by Steve’s example a whole lot of people could now try to publish (in book for, for profit) “Alternative ending” or “A novel about Harry’s childreng” etc.

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I looked at the bio of the lawyer that RDR books is linking on their website that says “the suit against RDR books is well summarized in this article by an experienced California copyright lawyer”. Well guess what? The dude isn’t even a copyright lawyer! Has to be a relative or something, because his blog is claiming things about copyright that are just absurd. Like his prattle about copyright abandonment. Any copyright lawyer will tell you that copyright abandonment is the hardest thing to prove. And copyright can be revoked anytime unless there’s a contract involved.

Here’s his bio:

“Mr. Williams’ practice focuses in the areas of complex business litigation with emphasis on environmental, real estate, land-use and computer matters and their respective insurance coverage and related tort issues. Mr. Williams also handles corporate and commercial lending issues.”

Experienced copyright lawyer? I don’t think so.

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Well, it RDRs page was temporarily down, it is back up now.

The book is no longer listed though.

I wonder if they’re preparing to back out and leave Steve twisting in the wind. As much as I want JKR to win this suit, as upset I am with Steve for going ahead with this book after Jo said “No”, I don’t think he should be the only one to pay the piper, as it were.

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The fact that RDR has been operating without a intellectual property lawyer speaks volumes.

No kidding. What kind of two-bit publisher doesn’t have an intellectual property lawyer on hand? WTF? The first part of being a publisher is having your own IP rights, and the rights of your clients set in stone before your books ever go to print.

Sheesh. This only reinforces how amateur Steve’s efforts at getting published have been. And how pathetic all of this has been. What a bunch of rookies, especially when faced with arguably the biggest IP in the world right now. LOL!

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I believe the reason why JKR/WB have objected to this book and not the other similar ones that have been published is this: I’ve flicked through some of the companion books and all seem pretty poor, not to mention, published long before DH. Instead, this book now is the one that could actually make lots of money, and she may fear the Lexicon sales could jeopardise the ones of her own planned encyclopedia (and if she believes that she’s dead wrong). Yet the fact that she righteously objects to this book being published when there are already others looks inevitably spiteful. The defense should use this argument. And because of this argument, I think a salomonic sort of solution is needed. JKR/WB should sue the other publishers as well, and if I were the judge I’d let the book be published as long as, and only if, JKR received the royalties she’s entitled to as intellectual proprietor of the facts, and SVA his share as compiler.

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“righteously” was not supposed to be striked through in my above comment! I hate this format thingies.

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Minnie, most of the books are written by roger rappart, and poorly edited at that. I have seen very few books on their website that arent written in part or whole by the same guy who was trashing jk rowling and wb.

This is a person who no doubt could never get any of his books published, so he created his own publishing house. also, a fair few of the prizes listed on the website, dont exist outside rdr book’s website, or are awards that can be researched to have been started and maintained by roger rappart, which has only ever given them to his books to try to give them prestege.

basically what we are dealing with is a failed writer trying to make money and publicity.

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Another quote from Steve Vander Ark, this one made on a Yahoo usergroup board, HP for GrownUps:

Thu Dec 14, 2000 9:08 pm

Re: Beacham book

- In [email protected], Amanda Lewanski wrote: > Steve Vander Ark wrote: > > > You know, I’ve been toying with the idea of approaching Scholastic > > about doing an annotated HP series. I think that would be very cool… > > In all seriousness, why not publish the Lexicon? Donate the proceeds to > JKR’s favorite charity or something, but people would love it. Thoughts? > >—Amanda

Well, technically speaking, the Lexicon IS published.

JKR herself said that she was going to do her own encyclopedia when the series is done and that fans should “accept no substitutes.” The publishers of the Beacham book were sued by Scholastic etc but it failed to stop the book going to press. I don’t want to offend anyone or cause problems, especially with Jo. I would love to have her give her blessing to such a project (I have these fond little daydreams of getting email from her one day saying she liked the Lexicon and offering suggestions). But without her permission, I won’t publish it in any form except online. She’s entitled to that market, not me and not the Beacham author. I’m just filling in until she gets time to do it (or wants to hire me to do it for her! Now THERE’S a thought!!!)

Steve Vander Ark The Harry Potter Lexicon

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Nuri, if you’ve read all of this through you’d have known that many (could be most or all – we only have anecdotic cases, so we don’t know what %) of those other books went through the C&D road, as did SVA – the difference is they cooperated with JRK and decided not to publish or edit the books (cut some of the contents, put ‘unoficial’ on the cover – basically, do whatever WB asked of them). SVA and his publishing company decided not to, until they were forced into it by a law suit. It could be that those ‘inferior’ books are inferior (by your opinion) since they had to cut all of the contents that you like about the Lexicon and are JKR’s property.

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Hmm I wonder if it would piss off the judge that RDR announced that their motion for a 7 week delay was approved when in fact it was denied. Man RDR is making one blunder after another.

I would have to say that there should be a TRO (temporary restraining order) coming out today or tomorrow.

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Mars: The request for a delay was initially denied, pending a meeting later in the day, and as we don’t know what happened in that meeting (there is no documentation from it yet) so RDR could well be correct if a delay was agreed at that meeting. I am sure it will become clearer in the next few days.

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Hmm I guess you are right. We won’t know until later today I guess. Any documentation agreed upon yesterday should show today.

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Cara – I very much sympathize with your thoughts on all of this, and I am completely confounded at what on earth possessed Steve (MouldyVoldy, perhaps?) to change his stance like he evidently has. There must have been some powerful motivation for his 180 degree turnaround and his acting against everything he’s said in the past, all Lexicon policy, all common sense and decency re: Jo. I’m not buying that he’s so naive that he couldn’t see what he was doing and what would be coming.

Also, the evidence that he did indeed approach JKR at some point to propose collaboration and was rejected is mounting, ever more inexorably leading to the conclusion that he knowingly – and again, against all expectations – chose to ignore her express wishes early on.

RDR, at this point, is simply pitiable, though given just what we already know of their behavior, they’re getting what they deserve.

What bugs me, though, are all the people apparently out there (including Mugglecast’s host) who really want to have a copy of that book. Why on earth? It can’t be for content, ‘cause all of that can be had online for free (no claim for original, not web-published content has been made by anyone for that book). Plus in most cases, an encyclopaedia is not more practical in book format than in searchable, digital format (who’d seriously lug around a fat book just to look up stuff?) – unlike a paperback novel, say, that you’d read on the train or something. So, apart from the (hopefully few) fanatics who compulsively collect every item that has any connection whatsoever with the Potterworld, why on earth would anyone bother? To make a point? I am all for making up one’s own mind and judging for oneself, of course, but in this case, apart from the feel of such a book (which in any case looks increasingly hypothetical) in your hand, there does not seem to be much one might need to make up one’s mind about.

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Mrs. Lovegood and other – Yes, other Harry Potter merchandise and books exist. Why do you assume that those producers/ publishers didn’t get permission from JKR and WB? I posted elsewhere about at least one author who had to go through hoops to get permission to publish her “encyclopedia.” She does a blog about her poor old self and mean rich JKR. If it’s out there, those people went through proper channels and got permission. RDR and SVA refused to do things properly. Now, they have consequences.

Separately, who is elanor isolda? Much of fandom seems to know her and her role in this mess but I am at a loss.

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I still don’t get it. Publishing is publishing, whether online or in hard copy. Rights need not be associated with profit—right? Guy X cannot do what SVA has done to Guy Y’s novels online without worrying that Guy Y will demand the site be taken down out of rights issues. Also, Guy X cannot do what SVA has done and EVEN GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE in paper form without concern for a suit like this one. What’s the difference? It doesn’t matter if there is a profit or not in intellectual property rights cases, does it?

And Mars—are you a lawyer, or do you just play one on TV?

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Whether it is free or not is one of the tests of Fair Use. Because he is charging for the book, one of the 4 tests of fair use went from being totally on Steve’s side to being totally against him. Expelliarmas did a great job on the lounge giving us a lesson in fair use. It can be found at http://tinyurl.com/3xfr93.

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Posted by wondering : Separately, who is elanor isolda? Much of fandom seems to know her and her role in this mess but I am at a loss.

Posted by Wind Lane on November 08, 2007 @ 10:11 PM : . Let’s not forget that JKR has always had a policy against pornographic fan art and has always actively had it removed upon discovery




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Wondering: elanor isolda is an english fan and more importantly the woman Steve left his wife for. So, his ‘girlfriend’. She makes more sense than anyone on this side, but I still kind of doubt she’s completely impartial.

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