NY Judge Issues Restraining Order to Prevent Publication of Lexicon; JK Rowling Updates

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Nov 09, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

As stated in a public document and now on JK Rowling’s Web site a judge has issued a restraining order against publication of The Harry Potter Lexicon.

This document, signed by Judge Robert Patterson in NY, denies RDR Books’ claim to delay the matter until January and grants a restraining order for JKR/WB to prevent the book from being published or licensed anywhere worldwide until February 6 2008, when the case for a preliminary injunction may be made. J.K. Rowling says in her “news” updates section, in an entry titled “Lexicon continued,” that this mean the book “cannot be completed, published or marketed until the court has had time to decide whether it would break the law if published in its present form.”

She goes on:

I take no pleasure in the fact that publication has been prevented for the present. On the contrary, I feel massively disappointed that this matter had to come to court at all. Despite repeated requests, the publishers have refused to even countenance making any changes to the book to ensure that it does not infringe my rights.

Unless their position changes, we will all return to court next year. Given my past good relations with the Lexicon fansite, I can only feel sad and disillusioned that this is where we have ended up.

Earlier today, RDR Books issued a press release that claimed that a judge “accepted an order proposed by RDR Books, agreeing to temporarily withhold publication of Steve Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon.” The release did not mention the restraining order. A motion to delay proceedings owing to RDR Books’ need to retain and familiarize a copyright lawyer with the case was denied.

RDR Books claims on its site that the delay was voluntary and perhaps even their idea, but that contradicts what has been put forth in legal documents as well as what JK Rowling has said has occurred. Also, a source has told TLC that it was Judge Patterson’s preference to restrain the case (and therefore publication) until February, not RDR‘s.

The RDR statement says:

“It is our wish that Ms. Rowling join Mr. Vander Ark in his campaign for literary freedom and free expression by dropping her complaint against a book we are confident she would enjoy reading.”

Update: We have a copy of the judge’s letter (you can download it here, which will be available for download shortly. It says that the book has not been fully typeset for printing, that RDR has instructed its typesetters to cease operations, and that the book “cannot be printed and distributed to the public at this time.” The court orders that the book and all those associated with its publication cannot complete the book, typeset it, print it, distribute it, advertise it, promote it, sell it, license it, accept orders for it – not in the US or anywhere abroad. It also ordered RDR to take the book off Amazon, their own Web site, and any other means of “advertising, soliciting orders for, and distributing the book.” Also any money that RDR gets from activities related to the lawsuit shall be placed in escrow (holding, supposedly pending outcome of the suit). The order will remain until the court has ruled on JKR/WB’s filing for a preliminary injunction.

The preliminary injunction will be filed on January 7, 2008; RDR‘s opposition will be due on January 22, 2008. The reply by JKR/WB is due on January 29. The preliminary injunction hearing will take place on Feb. 6, 2008 or “on such other date as the court directs.

Update 2: You can now download here JKR/WB’s lawyers’ response to RDR lawyers’ attempt to delay the case (a delay attempt that was denied by Judge Patterson after this letter was filed). The letter notes that although RDR is a small company with limited resources, “RDR faced no such obstacles in garnering significant and international attention for itself and its book. Indeed, upon information…RDR continues to trumpet its intention to publish its book.”

The letter also says “RDR has used this lawsuit as an opportunity to publicize the book and disparage my clients in the press,” and said the plaintiffs (JKR/WB) are eager for a ruling because it would only “perpetuate the cloud…and would most likely be perceived as some sort of vindication for RDR—which had been given every conceivable chance to resolve this matter amicably.”

JKR/WB also referred to the request for adjournment as 11th-hour, claiming RDR had since last week to request it, and claiming that if the schedule were delayed new facts would develop or facts would change JKR/WB’s briefs, which had been prepared for submission today.

You can download this letter here.

Update 3: WB has made a statement: “Although sad that this had to go to court, the judgement granting an order against RDR books is an important step in helping us to protect our intellectual property and at the same time, protect JK Rowling’s right to produce her own companion book to the Harry Potter series she created. Both Warner Bros. and JK Rowling are clear that this claim is a matter of infringement of copyright, not a matter of literary freedom.”

Update 4: There is another update on the Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark: “t’s very hard to know what to write. For one thing, everything I write these days ” everything I’ve ever written or said, in fact ” is being dissected and analyzed to make me sound like a fool or a liar or an arrogant jerk (as I’m sure this will be as well). People who know me and have talked with me know that this isn’t the case….To read some of what I’ve seen online, fans have decided that I am just trying to make huge amounts of money or that I have no respect for Jo. Some fans, along with WB, have speculated that I took the material they graciously allowed the Lexicon to use and slapped it into a book without permission. Some have jumped to the conclusion that I blatantly ignored demands that I not create a book from material on the Lexicon. That just isn’t who I am. I would never, never do something like that….One question that gets asked of me over and over is if I have ever met Jo or talked to her. The answer is no, I haven’t. I have always wished for that chance, but it’s never happened. There is a crazy part of me that believes that if she and I could just sit down and chat about this, we could get it all sorted out and put this miserable incident behind us….Maybe then all of us could put it behind us and just get back to enjoying Harry Potter together.”

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, and another one here.


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).





463 Responses to NY Judge Issues Restraining Order to Prevent Publication of Lexicon; JK Rowling Updates

Avatar Image says:

Great news. I’m glad justice is being served.

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Yeesh. This is getting really nasty on both sides it seems.

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Good!

Avatar Image says:

This is just an interlocutory injunction. Preserves the status quo until the matter is determined.

If the situation is truly how J.K. Rowling has described it, and the publishers really have been unresponsive and ignored her, then I hope Jo wins.

Avatar Image says:

Wow. This is getting bad, i feel sorry for Steve… :[

Avatar Image says:

Atleast this messy business will now lay dormant until febuary.How about some good news about HP @ Warner Brothers?

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I don’t feel sorry for steve. at all.

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I believe you only have half of the story. If you had stayed to see the resulting hearing at 5pm, you would have heard RDR voluntarily agreed to delay the release of the Lexicon book. The Judge agreed to this, and moved the hearing on the injunction back from Nov. 19th to Feb. 8th. This will allow both sides a chance to properly prepare for the injunction hearing. I don’t understand why you are publishing partial news and a story that is technically outdated yesterday at 6pm. Is there some reason why you are not telling your readers the whole truth about this case? Are you going to censor this post as well? Please try to get your story straight, or tell your readers that you don’t have time to go down to court to find out that your source, Justia.com, has not yet reported on the second hearing. Do you honestly believe that this kind of sloppy reporting and misinformation will allow your readers to trust you? Try to get your facts straight.

-A concerned reader

RDR Books Agrees to Delay Publication of Harry Potter Lexicon

Earlier today, New York Federal Court Judge Robert Patterson accepted an order proposed by RDR Books, agreeing to temporarily withhold publication of Steve Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon.

The order delays the publication of this 400-plus-page book until Judge Patterson can preliminarly determine the merits of the lawsuit initiated by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. In a complaint filed on Halloween, the plaintiffs contend that the proposed Lexicon violates Ms. Rowling’s copyright, an allegation RDR Books denies.

Plantiffs’ papers in support of its request for a preliminary injunction are due January 7. RDR’s response is due January 22. The hearing on the plantiff’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for February 6. The Lexicon, which is now in preparation, will not be published until the book is ready to be examined by the court, which will decide if it violates the rights of Ms. Rowling, one of the world’s best known authors. Ms. Rowling has suggested that the Lexicon could hurt the performance of her own encyclopedia, which she has not begun writing.

J.K. Rowling has given her fan site award to the seven-year-old Lexicon (www.hp-lexicon.org). and praised it on her own website::

“This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter (which is embarrassing). A website for the dangerously obsessive; my natural home.”

The Lexicon is enthusiastically used by more than 25 million visitors annually including academics, critics and Harry Potter readers.

“It is ironic that publication of Steve Vander Ark’s Lexicon is being threatened by Ms. Rowling after he has joined other librarians to fight organizations that have attempted to ban or curtail Ms. Rowling own work,” says RDR Books publisher Roger Rapoport. “It is our wish that Ms. Rowling join Mr. Vander Ark in his campaign for literary freedom and free expression by dropping her complaint against a book we are confident she would enjoy reading. We will continue to defend our author and the Lexicon in this David and Goliath battle with an eye toward protecting the rights of readers and writers everywhere.”

Avatar Image says:

Wow, this is certainly getting bigger. I was totally against Steve for what he was doing at the beginning of it all, but after talking to my brother-in-law, who’s a lawyer, the issue is not as black and white as I thought. Steve is redesigning the information Jo has given. He is not selling the information itself, which people can buy in the form of one of the novels, he’s selling a new way of looking at the information – broken down and regrouped into a new format. I still think that Steve and the publishers were in the wrong, but it’s a gray area, for sure, and I’m anxious to see what will happen in the end.

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To the person incorrectly titling themselves “In Defense”, the legal documents filed by the judge do not lie, and those conflict with RDR’s claims of voleentary restrained from publishing the book.

it should be noted that the legal documents released by the court do not state RDR making such a request, but that the judge in reviewing the case took out a restraining order against RDR to force them to withold publishing the book.

This person titleing themselves “In Defence” no doubt is a employee at RDR Books trying to do what they had been doing all along. contradicting the courts, and perjurying themselves to try to spin public support that so far has not been sucessful and has turned a great deal of people against them, many who arent harry potter fans themselves.

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Wow. “In defense” are you some PR person from RDR? What a way to twist facts to make it appear you were kind enough to voluntarily delay the book. You’re still hoping you can fool some people with the kind of garbage you guys have been spilling since day 1.

A TRO (temporary restraining order) is the preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction part is OVER. It has been filed and served. They are now moving to the actual determination on whether RDR broke the law or not. Stop with crappy PR already. You’re only making yourself look worse.

Avatar Image says:

This whole thing is very unfortunate. This injunction/agreement was inevitable, so I am not surprised. But the case is far from settled. I’m sure there will be more developments as time goes on.

I still am of the opinion that the Lexicon is an academic work analyzing the books, rather than a re-telling of the story which would be a clear infringement. (And since it is about the books rather than the film adaptations … why does WB have legal standing? I know licensing agreements are complicated … but this crosses my boundary of common sense I’m afraid.) I do still have concerns about the contents of the Lexicon coming from so many contributors. Did they all waive their rights to their work when they had it published on the Lexicon website? (It is quite possible that they signed an agreement giving the rights to their work to the Lexicon – I don’t know as I have never contributed to the Lexicon.)

It’s all very ugly and unfortunate. The Harry Potter fandom has been an amazing thing on so many levels and has been responsible for a number of people being introduced to new experiences. Unfortunately, it is now giving a number of people their first introduction into copyright law.

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“disillusioned”? What does that mean? I’m starting to worry for her.

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I feel stupid as fan.

Jo always finds time for update her website about eBay and Lexicon issues, but we don’t have FAQs, RUMOURS, WOTM, EXTRA STUFF and other updates from months or YEARS ago. Now I know which are Jo’s preferences.

It’s mi opinion.

Avatar Image says:

Who does JKR think she is? Does she really think she owns Harry Potter? Harry Potter is a real person, and his story belongs to everyone!

What do you mean Harry Potter isn’t real? JKR really does own the story? Trademarks? Copyrights? I have a bad feeling about this…

Avatar Image says:

Wow. That had to be the worst attempt at spin I’ve ever seen. How utterly pathetic.

Avatar Image says:

shut up. the lexicon is one of my most favorite harry potter site! and the work is always been great!

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“In Defense,” The Lexicon is a partner site to TLC, and Steve Vander Ark is a friend to many of the Leaky Staff. He’s also a Pottercast host, which is run by Leaky. So why would they avoid any new information, or “not tell the whole truth.”

Avatar Image says:

This is all so sad…

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Mr. Blood—WB has legal standing because they’re officially licensed to make the HP films and they hold several HP trademarks of their own. If you take the time and read the original lawsuit, it’s all explained in there.

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This is a really sad situation but I feel that Steve (which I am sure is a great guy) and his people behind the book; could have easily prevent all this by simply talking with Jo and her people when they made that request.

I support Jo 100%

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by now, you would think RDR would get a clue on how to present itself, wouldn’t you? Clearly, the publishing house exists mostly to print and market the owner’s own books, but still at this point a more dignified approach, and one that incorporates basic common sense and legal advice, would be more productive. does RDR stand for Rinky Dink Riters? (the spelling error intentional, obviously)

Folks, please stop the Steve vs JKR stuff. Steve is essentially on the sideline, and has been for the past two months or more. Everything has been RDR, and if my own experiences with publishers is a useful reference, he actually has little or no input into what is happening.

Mars, I always read your postings since you have much to contribute, clearly have knowledge, and present with clarity ...please dont let your annoyance at some of the other participants get in the way of your solid postings? Its not worth it (think of your bloodpressure!)

And, Melissa and Leaky, as always thank you…may I ask again if we could learn more of what’s going on with Emerson and MuggleNet?

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It’s sad because JKR is trying to protect her books, but some “fans” think they have more of a right to them than the author herself. I really hope she starts banning sites after this, if only to give those fans a real reason to complain.

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An attempt to discredit us on our own boards is really below the sporting line of what’s fair, whomever is-or-is-not-an-agent-of-RDR that posted that comment. You seriously have no idea the lengths we’ve gone to, to preserve fairness on this site, and trust me, not because RDR has been so nice to us that we should. Both sides are presented, and that is that.

Thank you, everyone.

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And I agree with Karina. We haven’t gotten anything (except the Beedle the Bard, but that was recently) since Deathly Hallows came out, and now she’s posting all of the time about the law suit? It’s not right. I expected her to post some kind of “So, you have the book, let me tell you what it means to me” thing. Or at least a “Hey, enjoy the book!” But we’ve gotten NOTHING. Her diary is still from the 18th, and everything else has remained stagnant. I may be on Jo’s side about the suit, but I’m disappointed in her about her website. It feels like she’s sort of forgotten the fans, and now with this Lexicon debacle, she might forget us even more. Talk about disillusioning…

Just my opinion, of course. I still love Jo!

Avatar Image says:

budb: As far as I know, keeping in mind that I am not MuggleNet, their encyclopedia will not be published. There is no cover art image, there has been no announcement, no preorder push, no press – that’s not a coincidence. It’s only on Amazon.com, I understand, out of some fluky inability to take it down.

That’s all I’m going to say here for now, guys – please be nice.

Avatar Image says:

RDR is only making it worse by continuing to engage in “bad faith” acts. Trust me when I say, judges hate that very much. Sometimes its better to just shut up. Every day RDR is losing whatever leverage it has for a settlement.

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Melissa, thanks! Keep up the good work, and thanks so much for keeping us informed. And I personally am looking forward to your own book, which promises to be very original and deal with the unique impacts of the HP fansites.

And may I also echo, to everyone, fight nice?

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Hey bdub. Couldn’t help it bro. That attempt at a spin post seems to assume that the readers here are stupid.

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NotTheHBP: “In Defense” has a point. Since we have heard from both sides that the delay is in force, then we can take it as true. The document linked to in the article was presumably superseded by what happened at the 5pm meeting that document mentions, and any documentation from that meeting is yet to appear.

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MarlenaNargle – I always thought she was not talking about DH on her website in consideration for those who were(are waiting for the translations. Plus she took a well deserved holiday after the book was released and then she went on her book tour. I personally think it’s unfair to demand a diary updates and so on after she just finished giving us the last Harry Potter book and then taking the time out to visit I don’t know how many children in USA on her book tour. Plus she obviously has her hands full at the moment and have been for the past months with this lawsuit, writing the companion books and god knows what else. She will probably update again one day when she feels the time is right. Of course she is finding the time to update about this whole Lexicon lawsuit because that’s close to her heart at the moment and she wants us to know where she stands and how she feels about this.

Melissa and the rest of the Leaky crew – I really appreciate how diplomatic you guys are regarding this whole matter. I still feel that I can read your news about the matter and still get the accurate and fair coverage. Thank you for that. :)

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JK said that the judge already issued a restraining order. Considering the history of statements from both sides so far, I doubt that they would lie about that. And I’m pretty sure Melissa did some background inquiries before posting.

Besides RDR said their voluntary stoppage was up to January 7 (the original date in their motion that was denied), but the TRO extends up to Febuary.

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Thanks Melissa, and though I already send you guys a feedback in gratitude for your wonderful handling of this situation, thanks again for showing just how much better harry potter fans, even ones with connections to the lexicon or in my case, a huge fan of the lexicon are then RDR which has made clear perjurish lies throughout this entire ordeal as it has unfolded.

I do not know the details of when contracts were signed with RDR to when jk rowling’s camp said no to this book, so I am trying to refrain from commenting on how much involvement steve has in this, but I take it from how jk rowling has handled her post, and the fact that steve is not named as a defendent in a case that steve is sadly now along for the ride.

Kudos to jo for being so diplomatic in this entire preceddings far, and shame of RDR for not being capable of doing simple task like editingg their books, most of which were written by this roger fellow. shame on them for not understanding the conccept of copyright laws, trademarks, and intellectual property laws. Shame on them for lieing against the cold hard facts of court documents to try to get public support that they are not getting. Shame of them in general for shady ill mannored and unprofessonal business tactics that even though I am not a published author, I have found to conflict with my research on publishing and writer’s rights on what makes a reputable and trustworthy publishing house. they have broken every rule that I have found in my researching.

Avatar Image says:

Mars, i know, it gets to me periodically and i snarl as well…that’s when i know its time to take a break from Leaky and watch the movies while re-reading the books…

picture Hermoine muttering “Just ignore them, just ignore them”

Avatar Image says:

Feel sorry for Steve??? He is going against Jo’s wishes. The second Jo said no, if he was a TRUE fan, he would have backed off. This shows a complete LACK of respect for her and her talent. If Steve doesn’t see that, he deserves to be embarassed like this.

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Roonwit, RDR’s statements however do not tie up with the offical court documents that were released and noted of in the news post that this comment is attached to. the documents make it clear that RDR did not request said restraining order but that it was a decision made by the presiding judge. court documents are filed by the court when judges make desicison and are impartial, not to take sides, but to state the facts of the descision made in the case, be it if the case is ongoing or not.

RDR is claiming that the restraining order is at their request, the court systems say otherwise. this also conflicts with the statements that were up even yesterday by RDR saying the book will be published as planned. Now they are claiming that they asked for the restraining order. the court says they didnt and that it was a decision made soley at the discression and choice of the judge unprovoked by RDR to allow time for the issue to be further investigated.

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And I agree with other comments. Leaky is doing a great job covering this, but I do recommend that until it is resolved you should take Steve off Pottercast.

Avatar Image says:

I am behind JKR and WB in this case, but I also hope that Steve doesn’t get off too badly. I can’t support the Lexicon in ignoring Jo’s wishes, since this is quite obviously copyrighted material, but I’m not sure how much control Steve has over this anymore. It seems more like a battle of the lawyers or something, and rather out of hand.

Avatar Image says:

ENDORSED LETTER addressed to Judge Robert P. Patterson from David S. Hammer dated 11/8/07 re: a request for an adjournment of the briefing schedule and to meet with the Judge today. ENDORSEMENT: Defendant’s application for a seven week delay in answering plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied without prejudice to counsel for defendant and plaintiff appearing this afternoon before 5 PM with a draft Temporary Restraining Order which would be in place during further briefing of the pending motion. SO ORDERED (Signed by Judge Robert P. Patterson on 11/8/07) (kco)

this is the docuement discription which shows that the judge deined RDR’s request.

Avatar Image says:

Oh, and also, anyone who says Leaky hasn’t been posting the “whole story”, you need to catch up on your news.

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I have some knowledge with regards to publishing contracts. It is standard in all contracts (that I know off) between an author and a publisher, to specifically state that the author takes responsibility for any copyright infringement by the book. Of course if they knew they were infringing in the first place, Steve may have been smart enough to put in the contract that RDR takes the responsibility.

In any case it is standard to put in the contract that one of them has to take the responsibility (or specifically state that they share it) if copyright infringement crops up. Unless they didn’t sign a standard contract of course and it wasn’t specified who is to blame, in that case WB can focus their case on RDR.

Avatar Image says:

Hmm I also noticed the “disillusioned” comment by JK. That’s a scary comment.

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Mars, thats a point that keeps running through my mind. How could RDR not have a basic understanding of copyright law if they are a publisher. having flicked through their books in the library, they dont even have a basic understanding of editing. I am not a master of grammar and syntax, but I can spot glaring mistakes when I see 8 or 9 of them on a single page. Seeing that the editor is also the writer of the majority of the books published by RDR, I guess I should not be shocked. but still, there is no excuse for not having a basic understanding of copyright laws and trademark laws and intellectual property laws.

every writer seeking publication owes it to themselves to research this for their own protection. even more so every publishing house better know it because if they dont, then I personally think they should be held responcible for it. even if you do not have a IP lawyer in house, you still should understand it. I also love how they are saying it will take 7 weeks for their cousin who is a lawyer to research copyright laws. honestly, I think that is overkill.

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I agree with Mars in regards to contracts. It sounds like my understanding as well (I have a MFA in writing). It should be clear though to people want to support Steve in this—He is making a decision to stay in the fight. It’s not like he has made a bad decision and can’t get out. No, he is putting up a fight. And for that reason, I am disgusted by his treatment of Jo.

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Well remember that this is a publisher who doesn’t even have an IPR lawyer in their phonebook at least. The question is, what the heck is Steve doing with them???

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NotTheHBP, I agree with you that writers seeking publication should research copyright laws in this case. Steve’s a fantastic ambassador for the fandom, but I’m not sure he is completely innocent in this case. What I hope is that he did ask someone if his book would infringe on Jo’s rights, and that person gave him bad advice. I doubt we’d ever find out for certain, however.

In the mean time, RDR is being completely ridiculous. They better pray this publicity stunt doesn’t backfire in their face.

Avatar Image says:

See, that is a question I have mars. Did they approch steve, or did he approch them. there is so much we dont know about how this all started out before it became apperent to chirstopher little agency.

If they apporched him first, before steve had asked permission, that was a bad choice on steves part to sign a contract before seeking counsil with jk rowling’s camp.

if he apporched them after jo said no, then he really is to blame.

its about dates that are why I havent totally made a judgement on steve’s involvement in this and how deep it is and when it began in the coughtimelinecough of all of this.

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I’m a freshman in highschool, so I don’t pretend to understand these things, but it seems painfully obvious even to me that this is copyrighted. I am 100% behind Jo, because Steve’s (and his publishers) treatment of this case has been terrible. It seems like they hold no respect for Jo or her wishes. She owns Harry Potter, and she can sue somebody for practically re-publishing her work. So it’s facts about Harry Potter with no other work done to it? No theories or anything original, just assembled facts? How could they expect to not be sued? It’s a really weak case they’re making for themselves.

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I think, besides the mistreatment of Jo’s wishes, the thing that bothers me the most is how you keep hearing RDR speaking about their rights. I’m all for free speech, etc., but it’s like they are using our rights for their own misuse of another’s property.

I said it before earlier, but since Steve is not fighting to get out of his contract and continuces to go against Jo’s wishes, he deserves all the embarassment he is getting. And I hope he and RDR have to pay her lawyer expenses for this.

This is Jo’s property and I’ve always believed that as a fanbase we’ve taken it for granted that since we love the world we are owed something in it. It’s Jo’s world, period. We are just lucky that she allows us to read it. I think everyone who writes fan fiction should take note. These are her characters, her plots, don’t consider ever putting your fan fic in print or this will happen as well to you.

In saying as much, Pottercast should really reconsider their idea to do “new Potter stories” with actors. I can see that coming back to bite them as well.

Avatar Image says:

Well the case is far from resolved. The court needs time to read all the evidence and make a determination (including a timeline). And honestly at this point, all the judge needs to see is the book. Is it infringement or does it fall under Fair Use in its current form? As I said in a previous post, copyright abandonment is almost impossible to prove short of a letter from JK signed and sealed.

Apparently from JK’s post, they are still trying to request the publisher that they be allowed to make changes in the book (so as not to infringe her rights) and apparently Steve and RDR are STILL refusing. I honestly don’t get it.

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I’m speechless at the arrogance of RDR’s statement. I studied intellectual property cases while in law school and was shocked they (Vander Ark and RDR) thought they could get away with this, but this is getting ridiculous! RDR will never be able to print this book. Are they hoping Rowling will pay them to go away?

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Not to mention their utter lack of respect for us, the fans. The fact that RDR seem to be trying to use us by posting anonymously in these talkbacks to try and drum up support is I think pretty disgusting.

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I have a few theories, and remember this are just theories.

1.) It’s possible that they have already printed a lot of books and they don’t have the money to print an edited version.

2.) It’s possible that Steve has already gotten money from RDR and spent it and thus he can’t get out from RDR’s clutches.

2.) We know that RDR has already sold the book’s rights to other publishers and it’s possible the they have spent the money and has no choice but to go through with this or go bankrupt since they can’t return the money to the other publishers.

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Ouch. Poor lexicon. Poor Jo for being in that position.

Poor me because I was going to buy it! :-)

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I still believe Leaky should watch this very carefully. This is a fight over intellectual property (not just copyright) and trademark infringement. So far the U.S. Congress has kept the lawyers hands off the internet, but as we can see here with the sympathy (and I fee it too) toward J.K. Rowling, the fact remains that if the intellectual property and trademark lawsuits are justified, the internet will be next. We haven’t forgotten that Time/Warner (which has some other issues going on as well) tried to challenge the fan sites in 2004 until someone realized it would be a pr nightmare.

Just imagine when these lawsuits turn to the internet. That day is coming, friends. But so far, Congress has beat them back. How much longer, though, how much longer?

zr

Avatar Image says:

bah I numbered them both 2 lol

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“fee” is supposed to be “feel” – Freudian slip, I’m afraid. And it may have been 2002 when WB was yanking the images off the fan website. I can’t remember if it was 2002 or 2004.

zr

Love you guys, Leaky – if I sound cranky lately it’s because I am alarmed. I’ll try to go find my sense of humor. It’ seems to have gone missing …

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There is so much we dont know about when all this began to happen – contracts signed – that we need this information. We can already without a doubt say that RDR is not the victim in this case. they have lied left right and center, defied court statements that are impartial to either side but making desicions based on law and not RDR’s claims that they dont have a lawyer that understands copyright.

honestly, if RDR is bankrupt, it wont be that much of a lose to its authors, because there are so few who arent the owner of the publishing house. hopefully they can find more reputable publishers and I wish them the best of luck.

People who perjur themselves in attacks against jk rowling/wb in relation to harry potter tend to get hit hard with heavy fines. nancy stouffer was found to have created false documentation, some of which if it was real, she would be in federal prison as those are docuements that are not public accesable and are considered private information. she lied about publishing deals with publishing houses that either didnt exist at the time, or had closed down before her books were ever published. she walked away with 50k in fines and fees she had to pay on jo’s and wb’s lawyers. I have a feeling history will be repeating itself, and RDR will get hit hard for malpractice.

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Well if you have read the complaint ZR, WB has specifically stated that they are not including the Lexicon website in the complaint. Only the book.

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Although I think RDR has apparently handled this badly, you have to keep in mind that no matter how awesome Jo is, she still is telling us her and her publisher’s side of the story. RDR isn’t too great at PR, but I’m still not convinced that they’re wrong. Steve’s book might be Fair Use – in fact, I spoke to a someone who’s studying law and he said he thought it was okay. I don’t think either Steve or Jo is “helpless in lawyer’s clutches” but that’s my own opinion. And RDR were the people who proposed a delay – and wrote in their letter that they were willing for a freeze on the publication. Check the doc, folks. Before you call anyone a RDR PR person, I’d say WB probably has more money to pay for that themselves.

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RJ, jo rowling is the holder of the copyrights that the lexicon infringes upon. also, it should be noted, if you had read the news posting, RDR’s request was denied by the judge. the TRO is far diffferent from what RDR was requesting, and was enacted by the judge without counsel of the two parties.

Jo is working to protect her creation from other people repackaging and profiting from. she told steve no, and steve either went ahead with it, or was already locked in a contract with RDR he could not get out of.

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RDR’s request was denied – agreed. But they said they were willing to freeze publication in their request. (by the way, someone said in the comments that the hearing is delayed. Does anyone have info either way, about the conclusions of the hearing?)

And not all “repackaging” is illegal -there’ve been plenty of books that do that, and they’ll be plenty in the future. The lawsuit’s here to decide that.

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Wow, Rowling is really letting the money go to her head. Apparently she’s forgotten where she came from, and is now afraid of others continuing or adding to what she has decided to end. While I will always enjoy the books, my respect for Rowling dwindles almost daily.

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Hey, just because I think Jo might be wrong, doesn’t mean it’s okay to throw insults at either party. This is a legitimate lawsuit – nothing to do with money going to either side’s head.

Let’s keep this argument civil.

By the way, thanks to leaky for fostering an atmosphere of civil discussion and straight reporting.

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Potterverse, goodbye (just checked Leaky, The Lexicon and Rowling’s site at alexa.com).

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the other books that have been allowed to be published RJ were not repackaging, they were crytical analyasis and essays. the lexicon has said the book wont include the essays which make up the entirty of any form of critical analyasis that exists on the lexicon.

Also, the other books are not encylopedias that just takes the facts from the books and repackages them in lists for profit. the website was allowed to exist because it was not for profit.

and keene, just because jk rowling has finished the seventh book those not mean she looses ownership of her world. she retains the copyrights and trademarks and full owernship of the entire harry potter universe as it is her intellectual copyrighted property. if your respect for her is dwindling because she is protecting her rights and property, you might want to rethink the position she is in. this isent about money. her encylopedia she has been discussing long before the lexicon became a entity within the fandom will not finacially benifit her in any way because all royalties that would go to her are to go to charity.

this isent about greed, its about her rights being infringed upon.

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Well we will know soon enough, but based on the evidence produced so far, all of my colleagues say that this isn’t even close to the “line” (that vague area where Copyright and Fair Use overlap). There is more than enough to say that the Lexicon book took too much (especially the pictures, Lexicon should’ve gone for original illustrations or something). And the fact that is is for profit doesn’t help (Yessir, in Fair Use the more money you will gain from the book the more it hurts you).

Of course, RDR hasn’t presented evidence yet. So we reserve our rights to change our opinion. :)

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Mars, what is your opinion on the fact that RDR has not provided evidence. the only thing I see them doing to make a stab at fighting back other then claiming innocence is to claim warner brothers and jk rowling stole the timelines. technically, jk rowling owns every event in the timelines and therefore the timelines would not have existed without jk rowlings copyrighted books from which they are dirived. the timelines were great even though they were inheritenly flawed when you really looked at them in detail, which to steve’s credit, is understandable because to build them you have to make decisions on when somethhing happened when it is not easily noted in the books that the timeline is built from.

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There were books similar to encyclopedias – an “unofficial encyclopedia from a-z” and a harry potter word book, as well as many others. Steve is not just copying the books – there probably couldn’t have even been a lawsuit with that.

Steve has written – in his own words – the different times and places different spells have been used, just as one example. As another, he has discussed different pronunciations of words, looked up the full moons and calendars to fit everything in – for once and for all, this is not just cutting and pasting. (I’m still not sure if it is legal nonetheless, but I think Steve has a point.)

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“Wow, Rowling is really letting the money go to her head. Apparently she’s forgotten where she came from, and is now afraid of others continuing or adding to what she has decided to end.”

And it is exactly this sort of arrogance from the fans that assume Harry Potter is theirs do do with as they please is the reason why she needs to take steps to protect her work to begin with.

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Agreed. Don’t have this blow up into a whole internet lawsuit and curtail all the great stuff online.

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RJ, the A-Z book was very incomplete even for a book published before deathly hallows, and also was granted permission from jk rowlings camp because it actually was found to be within fair use copyright laws. also, alot of these books that are published are published because the publishers work with wb/jk rowling to ensure that they are allowable within copyright laws. the lexicon website in published book form those not conform in its current state to fair use laws. the issue is that this book is being published after jk rowling and wb first said no, and then the publisher refused to comply with wb/jk rowling, the people who have full and total ownership of harry potter, and therefore, by international copyright laws has the right to block anyone trying to profit from it if they see fit.

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ALL the “encyclopedia’s” you guys keep refering to have all been contacted by JK’s agent and where properly edited to protect her rights. Heck even one author blogged about the changes JK asked of them.

JK has been very lenient, they’ve been allowing books to be published AS LONG AS THEY ALLOW THEM TO EDIT THEM SO AS NOT TO INFRINGE THEIR RIGHTS.

The case with Steve’s book is no different. Just look at JK’s latest post:

“I take no pleasure in the fact that publication has been prevented for the present. On the contrary, I feel massively disappointed that this matter had to come to court at all. Despite repeated requests, the publishers have refused to even countenance making any changes to the book to ensure that it does not infringe my rights.”

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Exactly Mars, RDR was given repeated cease and desist letters when they refused to work with WB/JKR. This is not a matter of JK Rowling or WB over stepping their bounds. this is a case of a publisher refuseing to comply with people who control the copyright and trademarks of a book that infringes and repackages that copyrighted material…

expecially after years of jo saying she will be writing a encylopedia. RDR is idiotic for claiming that because jo has not started the encylopedia yet, that she has not legal right to it.

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NotTheHBP: Well considering that RDR is claiming that they don’t even have an IPR lawyer (and can’t afford one) and is only using a cousin of the publishing house’s owner. I have no idea how they’re gonna defend themselves.

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Good news. I hope JKR/WB bury RDR.

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JKR does not own the events in her books, actually. There are plenty of Spark notes and Cliff’s notes books that make pretty free use of other people’s book’s events.

The Fair Use laws don’t automatically compel you to ask the author – as long as you’re within them. And you don’t have to give them to the copyright publisher to edit – as long as you’ve made sure yourself that they’re not infringing.

And completeness -as to encyclopedias – is not a measure of infringement.

A note – to Melissa, if you see this: (“I miss Melvin” too, btw) You really should have all “sources” in news stories identified by name.

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Well, I agree, RDR dug their grave by refusing to comply with the people who have full ownership of all copyrights, intellectual property, and trademarks.

RDR deserves what they are getting. they were given multiple chances to work with WB/JKR on this issue and they ignored and practically slapped them accross the face and went on with it. RDR may not have a IP lawyer in house, but that is no excuse for not having one they can consult, and even worse, a basic understanding of copyright law. RDR is at total fault here for refuses to work with WB/JKR.

the biggest warning every author I have talked to, and every book I have read is that no reputable agent or publishing house those not have a good understanding of copyright laws. both to protect themselves, and to protect their authors and illistrators from people infringing upon their copyrights. RDR clearly did not understand that extremely crucial aspect of publishing, and they are now going to pay the price. Ii am confident the judical system will rule against them for their actions taken in bad faith.

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Well there’s a new update and apparently the preliminary injunction is not over yet. The judge used the word restrained but not really an injunction. So they sort of granted RDR request, but the judge won’t accept that it’s voluntary to make sure RDR can’t wiggle out of it.

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What it looks like to me is that RDR is counting on an illiterate fan base when they make their statements with regard to their actions; that they hope we either will not see or will not understand the legal documents.

Of COURSE they are VOLUNTARILY witholding publication; Judge Patterson ORDERED them to. Technically, they are complying voluntarily. They could be appealing to a higher court to overturn the restraining order – or they could ignore it completely. I mean, they COULD still publish the book as no one has destroyed their presses – it would be fatal (even to the point of criminal, as in JAIL TIME) to ignore a restraining order, but they could still do it. Perhaps this is what they mean by “voluntarily”?

That might sound sarcastic, but it really seems to be the spin RDR is putting on this because they also claim that they turned over a copy of the book “in a timely manner” to WB. Of course they did – about 15 seconds after the court ORDERED them to – not at all anywhere near timely from when it was originally requested.

This is not simply the little guy versus the big guy, RDR is handling themselves horribly and it is not helping their case either in the courts or with their image.

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Mars, Melissa just shot down one of your theories. She just updated the story, and she said that the book has not been “typeset.” So they have not begun printing the book.

RJ, as for the other books you mentioned, we do not know if WB and JKR filed similar suits against those books. We know that in the past, some manuscripts have been edited by WB to make sure they do not infringe on JKR’s rights. Also, one of the charges against RDR and Steve is “false advertising.” No where in the title or on the cover does it say that this is an “unofficial” encyclopedia.

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“JKR does not own the events in her books, actually”—RJ

What do you mean by that RJ?

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mollywobbles : True. And I think that was one of RDR’s mistakes – not to agree to “unofficial”. But not all other HP books have had the word unofficial on them – I searched ebay for the so-called 46 books – found more like 26 – and some of them didn’t have unofficial.

And RDR does not need to agree to have them edited by WB (even tho that was prbably a mistake not to) as long as they’re within the law.

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RJ, not to sound rude, but it has become apperent you are not very knowledgeable on copyright laws.

The events in jk rowling are copyrighted to her because she created them. they are her intellectual property.

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Has RDR reps really appeared here in the talkbacks… heeheehee… That is really pitiful. Really presents the idea that they are quite ignorant of the business.

The PR is awful if Jo takes on fan fic, potter sites etc. Can you imagine if she tried to finally put a stop to fan fic. “Jo says no to children writing.” Eek!.. Who would want that bad pr? No wonder she has been lenient so far with fan fic and the lexicon, etc. It was only a matter of time before someone crossed the line. I have to admit I am surprised it was the Lexicon, I always expected the Sugar Quill to be the first and try to publish something and get in trouble.

This is JK’s property. I support her fight. Go Jo!

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I think the judge is very smart on this one. RDR has the right to seek proper legal council before the preliminary injunction so they gave them 7 weeks but the publication of the book also have to be restrained properly (the word “voluntary” gives too much wiggle room for RDR).

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Sorry mollywobble. I posted the above before I saw your other post.

JKR does not, contrary to popular belief, own her events to the extent that they-must-not-be-named in any other book. Some people have said that she does. Spark notes, cliff notes, and the like have summarized many books events. If the authors owned the events, how could they have done that?

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thank you for all the updating! great work, but an uncool affair. just look at this:

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/suing-your-fans

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Also, RJ, the reason for this suit is because RDR refused to hand over a copy of the manuscript so WB/JKR the copyright holders could confirm if the book would infringe upon their rights. they made numerious request, and eventually court ordered demands that RDR surrender a copy of the book.

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Bottom line, Jo does not want this book done. She does not. You can tell by her statements that she is saddened by this and I don’t blame her. She probably even feels really hurt. Because of the relationship she had with the Lexicon. It should not be published, I never would have bought it anyway, and Steve should really respect Jo’s wishes. I love the Lexicon site, I am always intriqued and amazed when I go on there and I feel very sad about the whole situation. :-(

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mollywobble: Yah, so the excuse that they can’t edit anymore goes out the window.

So again why are they still pursuing this?

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I don’t deny that RDR seems to have been pretty stupid over this whole lawsuit.

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wow, it is hard to keep up with postings, they are happening so fast.

RJ, cliff notes does not infringe upon jk rowlings fully within the international law legal ownership of the events within her boooks because cliff notes with fully knowledgeable of copyright laws and works under fair use laws. when they feel there is a chance that to properly do the cliff notes, they will contact the publisher sometimes to get permission to go beyond fair use laws to properly summeries the book.

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NottheHBP: the key word is “sometimes” they contact the publishers. You are allowed to summarize books events without contacting the publishers.

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to a point. Fair Use laws do not give you unlimited free reign to do whatever you want with other peoples property. accordingg to RDR, the book is a print off version of the lexicon that was allowed to remain because it was a free non for profit resource for fans. given its current state, it has already been shown that it would not qualify under free use beause 80-90% of the material is taken directly from the books without anylasis and commentary.

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A note – to Melissa, if you see this: (“I miss Melvin” too, btw) You really should have all “sources” in news stories identified by name.

And, RJ, in a perfect world, I would. We never use an unnamed source unless it’s necessary. You really should show me your journalism creds before giving me lessons in Journo 101. :) Thanks.

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RJ, you should also consider the fact that many of the books in cliffnotes are by authors long dead. There is a rule that after 75 years of an author’s death, everything is up for grabs. So they don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do that… And for the still living authors, the publishing house is smart enough to ask first. There are a lot of important books that aren’t in cliffnotes because the author said no.

RDR has stepped over the line. JK has probably the best lawyers on her side, if she didn’t have a case, I think SHE would know.

RDR and Steve are going against her wishes, really, RJ, you don’t need to know more than that if you are a fan.

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Like NotTheHBP says, Cliffnotes and Sparknotes seeks permission first if they are worried. If you can go back and read the very first news post on leaky about this case, WB claims that Steve never asked permission to publish the Lexicon in printed form.

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Melissa, I’ve been a fan of pottercast and this web site since I discovered it a few years ago. I want to say, (even though I rarely post), I think you are doing a stellar job.

Good luck with your book. I look forward to reading it!

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Sorry, Melissa. Not a Journo student – but I stand corrected. Hope that “source” isn’t too scared of crazy fans.

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I know about the dead author +50/75/100 years copyright laws. However, plenty of books about living authors’s books can and have been written without editing from the author.

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Well to summarize it up in lay man’s terms:

1.) RDR wanted an extension before the preliminary injunction because they claim they are poor and cant afford a lawyer that can answer fast. In return they will voluntarily freeze their publication.

2.) The judge wanted to give RDR the time they asked for but at the same time he didn’t want the freeze to be voluntary (I’m guessing the judge doesn’t trust RDR he he ). So in compromise both parties agreed to allow the judge to move the date of the preliminary injunction at the same time an order to restrain any and all activities related to publishing the book including advertising.

3.) I guess that’s it lol

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And tho I’m a fan, I think it’s important that RDR be allowed to do whatever is within the law.

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its a matter that if you havent done your homework, dont state things as facts. it should be noted that you dont have to be a lawyer to understand RDR is made mistake after mistake after mistake in this matter, and they have said alot of things that go against the judicial rules to try to give themselves a better image. they are spinning in ways that can be considered perjury, and if the judge decides to persue that, RDR is in huge trouble. however, people need to remeber that the books that have been published are not the same as the lexicon book. those books were not found to infringe upon copyright becaue a great deal of them were written within fair use laws, or the authors openly worked with WB/JKR to ensure that the books were acceptable.

most every one of those books are also purely commentary and critical anaylasis. encylopedias dont all under that, as they are a regurgitating of facts. RDR has mishandled this and they are the reason for this lawsuit, that they refused to work with the owners of the copyrights at hand.

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“However, plenty of books about living authors’s books can and have been written without editing from the author.”

maybe because the author didn’t mind?So he didn’t use his rights even if he could have?

just a wild guess

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It’s a shame that this couldn’t have been settled out of court between JKR and Steve. Very sad. I kinda feel bad for both of them. What a weird situation!!

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I have the odd feeling, based on the passion RJ has for RDR’s rights, that RJ is a plant… How many other people agree with me? Show of hands?

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Im not going to raise my hand on RJ being a RDR plant. In defense, who posted on the first page would be a more likely canidate in my mind.

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totooum : When I said :“However, plenty of books about living authors’s books can and have been written without editing from the author.”

I meant that the author’s consent wasn’t necessary.

Again, I am unsure if the Lexicon’s book is one of those books, that needs author’s consent. However, it is not just a copy of her books, or even a random rearrangement of facts. Rather, it has plenty of analysis

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So many people have been asking what the difference is between something like the Lexicon and Spark Notes, so I thought I’d have a stab at it.

Spark Notes are first, “A Study Guide”, which actually puts them in a different category of Fair Use – as in for educational purposes. These are a summary of sorts, not a detailed account of everything in the books(s). Not that it’s an easy distinction to make, but does anyone actually read spark notes for entertainment purposes? There just isn’t that much there when compared to the novels.

The Lexicon, however, is a total repackaging of everything; like a dictionary of everything JKR created. It’s not just a summary of events to aid a reader.

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FYI, Cliffnotes does care about copyryights and other’s rights… You can tell because they care about their own… This is from their web site—

To request permission to use material from a CliffsNotes title, please visit our Web site at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions or contact our Permissions Department at (317) 572-3447.

So I think the debate over whether they just take material without permission is moot.

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Well done, Leaky! I appreciate your stellar and professional reporting. We are lucky to have you here for us.

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I think it’s funny you think I’m a plant, as I’ve said plenty of times that RDR’s been pretty stupid over it.

Are you so sure of copyright law that you think anyone on the other side is a plant?

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RJ, how do you know that “However, it is not just a copy of her books, or even a random rearrangement of facts. Rather, it has plenty of analysis.”

Interesting that you know that… Seriously, RJ if you work for RDR why are you wasting your time here? Don’t you have more important things to do?

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No but you seem sure of it. Calling RDR stupid is a great way to deflect the idea that you are a plant, RJ. Wellc done.

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Few things to note:

1.) This is not a TRO. This is more like a kind of preemptive order.

2.) Wierdly enough I’ve never heard of a publishing house wherein the book has not been typeset for printing and yet the book is already set to be published within the month. shakes head

3.) All in all when they said RDR was a small publishing house, I never realized it was that small. It’s like a person created his own publishing house so he can say his books were published.

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Well, I can easily say I know more about copyright law than anyone that works at RDR since I would have never made this mistake in the first place.

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Well, I still see a high possiblity that “In Defense” was a plant, because he was just copying and reposting RDR statements from the website which are filled with things that contradict the legal actions that have been enacted so far. has anyone noticed no legal documents from the court have been found dealing with RDR’s cease and desist on the timelines created solely from jk rowlings intelectual property?

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Melanie: “Spark Notes are first, “A Study Guide”, which actually puts them in a different category of Fair Use – as in for educational purposes. These are a summary of sorts, not a detailed account of everything in the books(s). Not that it’s an easy distinction to make, but does anyone actually read spark notes for entertainment purposes? There just isn’t that much there when compared to the novels.”

Is anyone going to read the lexicon either for entertainment? I’d read JKR’s for entertainment, but not the lexicon.

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Since it’s a Temporary Restraining Order it IS a TRO, Mars. That’s what TRO is. The letter says that the PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION will be decided in January. Therefore this is not a preliminary injunction. This needs to be explained, really?

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While I think the legal aspects of this is all interesting, we need to step back and remember this is going against JK’s wishes. She is posting against this on her own web site, for frak’s sake.

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Mars, are you serious about RDR planning to also use illustrations from the HP books?

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RJ, or anyone else, if you’re still confused about “Fair Use” rules, this a good site to check out: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html . It comes directly from the US Government.

The point is, if you’re going to make a profit on a book, if it’s NOT for educational or journalistic purposes, and the book uses a large majority of someone elses work, you need to get permission for the orginal author. Steve and RDR never asked permission.

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Interesting that you know that… Seriously, RJ if you work for RDR why are you wasting your time here? Don’t you have more important things to do?

Posted by , on November 09, 2007 @ 01:30 PM

Don’t you have more important things to do yourself then defend jo. You and other around here must be jk plant, or just worshipers.

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Good job Mollywobble

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I dont really get why the lexicon getting sued, when mugglenet seem to exploit harry potter fans and to make money WAY more….??

Good points everyone btw. its interesting to have a comment box with actual decent comments for once.

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if I am understanding this correctly, RDR wanted to postpone the release until it was cleared up, but did not volunteer to stop work on the book until the judge, seeing the flaw enacted the TRO to put a blanket ban on it completely to prevent them from working on it. the key question is will they keep the promise or secretly continue to work on it.

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In addition to my last post, RDR is arguing that because JKR praised the online version of the site in the past, she was giving Steve permission to Print it. WB and Jo are arguing that just because you like a fan website, it doesn’t mean you can make it a print version and sell it.

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Yeah, actually I think I would be proud to be a JK plant (Which I am not, never met her, would like to though). And I do worship and respect her talent, and in regards to her work, I respect her wishes about it.

All JK worshippers raise your hands!

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Thanks – mollywobble, for that link. I checked it out and:

While they do say getting permission is the safest way to handle it , there is no obligation to.

Quoting: The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Although it’s great to get permission – it never says straight out that you must.

Quoting again: Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

So Jo does not own the events she made up.

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Umm don’t be so excited. There’s a difference between a TRO and a restraining order. If its a TRO, it will specifically state “Temporary Restraining Order”. Once a TRO has been issued and served (usualy after a preliminary injunction) a Show Cause Hearing is set. After that the judge can decide whether to issue a permanent restraining order. Again as I said, this is not yet a TRO. Only a pre-emptive restraining order.

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heeheehee… Seriously, RJ you are such a plant.

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Well considering the book is apparently not yet typeset apparently the contents of the book are still in contention. I’m actually confused about this part.

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RJ, once against, not a law student, lawyer, or educated in copyright laws.

A author has copyright ownership of the events in their books that they created. if a person lifts those events to use them in their books, they are infringing on the originators copyrighted creation, which explains my puffed up little poppin jay why jk rowling has in the past sued and won against people lifted events and plots from her books to created harry potter knock offs. tanya grotter and the magical double bass is a prime example of her winning to protect the copyright on the plots and events in her books.

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This whole affair is really sad… Since I am no lawyer, I am just reading the facts and doing my research here and there. Thank you Leaky for providing all this info to us fans.

I’ve read over and over in these past threads about these encyclopedias that already exist on the market. All I can say (and I’ve written this before) is that the ones I’ve read don’t have anything that is copyrighted by Jo. I have a few of them at home and all they contain is information on things like centaurs, veelas, basilisks, or info on where certain names come from (like Malfoy, Minerva, etc.). It is not Jo’s property in that sense. The info can be found in mythology, english or history books.

My opinion (based on all the information that I could get) is that if Steve/RDR wanted to publish a book containing info on sphynxes, wolfsbane and giants, they have that right fair and square. BUT if they were to publish a book containing info on Horcruxes, the Black family tree, who lives/dies in the series, etc., then I believe that this IS infringement on Jo’s rights. But what do I know… I’m no lawyer.

I’m really sad about this whole thing. I always loved to listen to Steve in CC on PotterCast, and I’ve used the Lexicon before… I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, but (I’m sorry to say this) as a fan, he should have respected Jo’s plea not to publish such a book…

Thanks, Melissa & TLC staff, for this great reporting!

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In reading all your new posts, and claims by both persons, and the lawsuit, I back Jo 100%. Steve is infringing oh her rights, and she can sue him about it. Now, I may be totally wrong, but yea. I’m not professional lawyer or anything. Having people from RDR books (or whom appear to) on these comments coughrjcough is quite disturbing. I hope this all turns out well~

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RJ, you’re confused by what “extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work” means.

For example, much of the Harry Potter books are about love. Though “Love conquering evil” is a huge theme in HP, Jo can’t copyright it. That is what they mean by ideas.

Now, factual information is also different. Jo can’t copyright “halloween,” but she can copyright what happened on Halloween in 1996 in her magical world. The same things goes with the magical creatures in the book. Jo didn’t invent a hippogriff, for example. But she did invent their temperment and how to approach them. If you read the Lexicon, those descriptions are included, and are rightfully Jo’s work.

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I support jo also. I myself am a writer preparing a manuscript that I hope once I finished my second and third drafts to start persuing agent and publishers. I am keep a extremely close watch on this story because I am seeing all my research in author rights and copyright laws in action. I am taking this as a learning opertunity to see how it plays out in a judical system.

However I am refraining from all out vilinazation of Steve. honestly he has made some bad choice it seems, but there is not enough information for me to say we should take him and the queen, down to the guioltine, and shorten him a little bit.

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Someone here’s a bit off their rocker…

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dont worry sha, I always wear my elbow pads, knee pads, and padded head gear when I use the rocking chair.

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NotTheHBP, remember—- before you show your book to anyone (agent, fellow writers, etc.). Get a copyright from the library of congress (loc.gov). It’s really easy and cheap and will protect your manuscript.

Speaking as a writer (and professor in writing), it’s a tough world out there. But as long as you are happy with the work and it satisfies your artistic hope, getting it published is just an added bonus. It’s a tough road to walk towards publication. Don’t let the roadblocks bring you down.

Also, remember, very few writers can live on their writing alone. Don’t expect a big cash day. Just concentrate on writing the book you want, than everything else that happens is a nice bonus, whatever success you find.

Good luck.

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NotTheHBP: I agree that Steve has made some bad choices, and RDR books aren’t helping him one bit. I hope Steve can make the right choices from now on, and I hope if RDR books lose Steve doesn’t go down with them. Furthermore, I hope that his website will continue to run and be a nice place for fans and that he doesn’t try this again.

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thanks for the tip. I was about to print a copy out and mail it to myself to prove it was mine like some authors say to do, but I dont think I want to waste the ink cartrage it would require to do that.

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“Although it’s great to get permission – it never says straight out that you must.”?

and

“So Jo does not own the events she made up.”?

—I actually typed a pretty lengthy reply about these claims and “interpretations” but I think it’s absolutely unnecessary. How can you take something totally out of context like that?

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Nah, it’s easier and better to go to the loc.gov and just print up a form and send it in with the manuscript. It’s a stronger arguement for your protection than anything you could do in the mail. Also, the second someone opens the envelope (by accident perhaps), you lose the protection.

It’s not that much to copyright really and worth it…. and, funny enough, if you do it, you will have all the same protections for your manuscript as JK has for Potter!

You can protect yourself from future lexicon books about your book if you want… heeheehee…

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I can’t believe Steve is still garnering sympathy. He is in the wrong and he should be held accountable for his actions. He not only let Jo down, as she tells us on her website, but he’s let the fans down as well. He’s tarnished his reputation and that of his website. I pity him because he’s an idiot worthy of Darwin.

Go Jo!!!

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is 45 dollars the fee for copyrighting it, or do you have to pay a extra fee on top of that. the chart was confusing on the loc website. it had numbers next to phrases like copyrighting published photos, etc. but there are not dollar signs to denote it as apart of the charge.

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Poor Jo, this is such a sucky thing to get drawn into, and it is not her fault.

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okay, who thinks RDR’s next move is to claim that jk rowling stole the idea for harry potter from steve vander ark?

or that its her fault this is happening and that there would be no lawsuit if she never wrong harry potter to begin with.

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Not a problem, You want short form TX. http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formtxs.pdf

And yes it is 45, but your work is protected in the strongest way possible.

On a side note, what did Bunney mean by “an idiot worthy of Darwin.” Darwin was a genius.

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It might have been a reference ’,’ of darwins study on the theory of survival of the fittest in that the smartest and strongest survive to pass on their genes to the future generations. it made me think of the darwin awards, awards given to people who do stupid things that ultimately kill them, and are givin awards posthumusously for mercifully removing their genes from the genepool.

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Thanks for the explanation.

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THANKS AGAIN LEAKY for your thorough reporting!

Apparently RDR is trying to appeal to the public with its “David and Goliath” story, but it’s certainly not working in court and I doubt it’s working with most HP book fans either. RDR just looks more and more pathetic to me.

I can’t believe Steve ever thought it would come to this. What a sorry mess!

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That’s a pretty darn clever reference in itself. I’m not necessarily directing it to anyone, though.

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Yeah, one of this years Darwin recipients went to a gentleman who strapped a jet powered engine to the hood of his car.

But we digress…

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I’m sure, Steve had a LOT of warnings that this was coming if he continued. Wasn’t it said that mugglenet cancelled the publishing a similar book before it got to this point?

I don’t feel sorry for Steve. His statement a few days ago didn’t help his case with me at all. And RDR hardly has made him look better… This is all about greed, plain and simple.

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Yes mollywobble, as fun as it is to smile as the stupidity of others, we must focus ourselfs back on the Stupidity of RDR books for now.

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LOL !you are digressing, but we are learning so much here ! How to publish a book safely, What is Darwin !

And yes as a regular reader of the comments about the RDR case, I think that maybe RJ is not the “usual fan”! But anyway it is good to have two documented sides on a discussion.

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On the lighter side…

Did anybody read this article and misread Judge Robert Patterson as Robert Pattinson and think “Wow, his career sure took a turn after he played Cedric in GoF!” Nobody? Just me then? Hmmm, perhaps I should take a lie down.

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NotTheHBP, Your work is copyrighted the minute you write it. Your words, your work. Mailing it to yourself will NOT protect your work. If it makes you feel better, then reg. it with the copyright office. When you start looking for an agent or publisher, do not make the paranoid newbie mistake of saying it’s copyrighted. They know that. When you take a picture, the moment you snap the shutter, you own the copyright to that image. Same with words. Whether you had the legal right to take that picture or write those words is another matter. IP laws are incredibly complex. I hope you have great success with your manuscript and congratulations on finishing it. Revise, revise, revise…

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the annoying part was that RJ had no real concept of copyright and we kept having to reiterate copyright, trademark, and intellectual properties laws over and over again.

but you forget the RDR side: JK Rowling and WB are voldemort and they are hiroshima no kidding RDR has said those things

I can see it next, they will be saying things like: JK Rowling kicks kittys and poisons puppys and steals candies from babys before tieing them to the road and running them over with her car smushing them.

RDR really should be shut down.

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“’It is our wish that Ms. Rowling join Mr. Vander Ark in his campaign for literary freedom and free expression by dropping her complaint against a book we are confident she would enjoy reading.’” They expect us to agree with that???? That is among the most stupid statements I’ve ever heard. I wish Steve would actually do something other than one statement. He knew how massive the fandom is, he knew this would be reported ny TLC, how could he expect most fans to agree with him? He should have just agreed with JKR from the beginning…wait, it’s against RDR though isn’t it? I suppose it is out of his control now…

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dont worry phil, I smiled when i saw the judges name too. if it really was robert patterson, actor who portrayed cedric, jo would have this in the bag. of course, technically she already those.

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To be honest, RJ’s perception really made me feel uncomfortable. An artist should own their work. To say that when it is published that a person loses the power over the characters and plots makes me feel very uncomfortable. That is one of the reasons I have some problems with fan fic. While it is a practice of young writers to copy and borrow from writers that inspire them as they grow in their craft, it kind of crosses a line when they put it out for public consumption. It’s also one of the reasons that the acting troupe for Pottercast makes me feel uncomfortable.

Still this (Steve and RDR) crosses a line, and I think the line for JK was someone making profit off her accomplishments without her permission. and entering the book market.

Ok, I really need to think of a name if I am going to continue this, ”,” is kind of lame.

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Helios Lightra, thats RDR trying to make jk rowling put to be the bad guy for daring to write a complex and beloved series then going out of her way to stop people from unfairly making a profit from it without her permission to use her copyrighted property.

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Regarding copyright: Once a work is in fixed form ( i.e., written down or recorded), it is covered for copyright purposes. This is NOT the same thing as copyright registration, which requires a fee and paperwork. Most creators (authors, musicians, artists) wait until the work is PUBLISHED before registering it, which is useful in a court of law if there’s a dispute as to ownership.

Unpublished authors, musicians, artists, and other creators should not worry about REGISTERING the work initially, which is needless. Once published, it’s important to register it.

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Whatshername, I think you would have a very hard time getting an attorney to argue for you if you are plagerized if you aren’t registered with LOC or WGA.

I’ve had unprotected work plagerized before (and published). Just saying that is mine is never enough. Registering gives you the paperwork, the cement in your arguement.

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“Mars, Melissa just shot down one of your theories. She just updated the story, and she said that the book has not been “typeset.” So they have not begun printing the book.”

But the UK version was set to be published on November the 5 (before those publishers decided to work with WB/JKR; now it’s sometime next year and it looks like the number of pages is shrinking) – source Amazon UK. I imagine they had to have the book typeset already, if not even printed. I’m curious what happened there.

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RJ, this is getting rather repetitive. The points you’re making have been made and unmade several times before on various comment threads, including those on Leaky’s main page. So perhaps you – and anyone else who’s still confused about some aspect or other about this – might find it instructive to look at those first before chewing over the same points over and over again here.

Meanwhile, while I have no interest whatsoever in nor any knowledge about SVA’s private life (nor do I think any of it belongs here), in a previous thread, there was a link to this: http://elanor-isolda.livejournal.com/144967.html?style=mine. The person behind this is allegedly very close to SVA, and it is the clearest and most concise statement yet of “that side” of the mess. If accurate, it answers some of the questions that have been cropping up here repeatedly, which is why I am posting it – along with the question of why on earth he was unable to tell us as much himself, if it is true?

However, even if it is 100% true, it is still beside the point. Even if Jo did not tell Steve not to publish the Lexicon, that would be because he did not ask her. According to this, he approached her to collaborate on something Lexicon/Encyclopaedia-like (specifics irrelevant for the moment), and she said no, thank you. He did not ask her “uh, d’you want to collaborate on this and if not, can I just go ahead and do it by myself?” So she did not address that question – my guess would be because, especially given SVA’s own previous pronouncements on the matter, she’s never imagine he’d try anything so problematic in terms of her copyright.

So no – she did not tell him then not to do it, but she certainly has by now. So unless SVA’s been faking his whole attitude to Jo, her work and the fandom (and I am inclined to believe he has not), he must be doing whatever needs to be done to reign in those insane RDR people right now. If he is not, I can only imagine some conflicting loyalties in play, as in, perhaps he chose RDR in the first place because of some private connection. In which case he might be wedged between a rock and a hard place, which I am sorry to say he’s got to blame himself for. It should never have gone this far.

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“The Writer”, I think it is always better to lean to the side of safety. Agents and publishers (and producers and directors if you are writing a screenplay) get hundreds of letters a day about books and movies. You never know if a sentence or a thought in your query could be passed on to someone else later on as an unique idea to try (You see these lawsuits all the time when someone claims a movie or book was stolen by their idea).

If you love your work and want it fully protected, register it before you show it to anyone.

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I think it would be worth it, just to be safe. finding a agent as a unpublished author can be almost as challenging if not more so then finding a publisher, and you want to have a safe guard incase you run accross a unreputable agent, or publisher like RDR books.

I probably will fork ovver the 45 dollars just for sense of security.

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Hey guys, lets stop attacking RJ. He or she may just be a confused fan, that’s all.

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I think RJ’s been gone for a few hours now.

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I am an employee of RDR books and have spent a lot of time reading articles and comments posted. One thing we have to remember is there are two sides to a story and unfortunately only one side is being told. There are many statements that JK Rowlings made in the suit filed against us that are not true and or misconstrued. Any persons who read this information in the suit will obviously automatically jump to conclusions and support JK Rowlings. Warner Brothers has infact violated copyrights from the lexicon website by publishing the TimeLine that Steve Vanderark created. Typos and all. Upon reading our book, JK Rowlings lawyers discovered that it does not contain any song lyrics, Harry Potter pictures or long excerpt from the books as stated in the Lawsuit. Steve has in no way violated copyright laws and I believe that once the judge sees all of the information the court will judge in our favor. The Law suit also mentions that my boss used the excuse of a death in the family to delay our response to the Cease and Desist Letters, and was instead off in Germany at the Frankfurt book fair hawking foreign rights. This is completely false. I work in the office and I am a witness to the fact that He and his family were out of town planning and preparing for the funeral. He was in MI while the book fair was going on. I also witnessed my boss on the phone with JK Rowlings Lawyer. She was very abrassive and spent much time screaming at him on the phone. They want one outcome from this and one outcome only. To stop us from printing this book. JK Rowlings mentioned on her site that all she wanted from the begining was to see the book and be able to make a few changes. This is completely untrue. They never intended to work with us and allow us to print the book. From the begining they ordered us to Cease and Desist. We are not what the articles and comments are portraying us to be. An author is simply taking credit for his work. The years he put into it without any profit being made. This is his work not JK Rowlings work yet they saw fit to use it on Harry Potter DVD’s. I think there are some double standards here.

Colleen – RDR Books.

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NottheHBP, another piece of advice I give to someone who has completed a new book—- enter some writing competitions. Enter as many as you can (if you are a young writer, there are some for high school and college age writers). Not only does it build up your writing resume and might lead to publication, it can also help create a buzz for the work (Think of how much better it sounds in a letter to an agent when you can say “my work was honred by…”)... Also, FYI, many competitions will require you to have a WGA or LOC copyright before you can enter.

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Wow, Colleen just called JK Rowling a liar…. That’s a great way to convince people to buy your book.

By the way, why does a publishing house CARE what we write here. Seriously, don’t you have better things to do.

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it should be noted that any timeline based on the harry potter novels are based soley upon jk rowling’s copyrighted intellectual property colleen. She, as the originator of the harry potter universe those have the right to request a halt to publications that infringe upon her property. while steve and various other volunteers worked together to compile jk rowlings property into a free online resource that list various elements of the stories, under international copyright law, they cant not claim it as their own because they did not create it.

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Colleen,

if you had really spent the time you say you have reading about this, you would know that

- Leaky has posted things quite contrary to what you claim has been said,

- people’s judgments about your employer are based exclusively on their own behavior, as in, their statements in interviews and on their website.

Really, this is beyond ludicrous. I’ve never ever in my life come across something quite as pathetic. When on earth will someone tell RDR they really, really need to stop spouting BS all over the place?

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I’m not on here to convince people to buy our books. I simply would like people to look at the information on both sides. You are believing every word in the suit filed but that is information only from one side.

Steve VanderArk created the Timeline. You will not find that timeline in any of the Harry Potter Books. This is information he went and researched and put together. His work not hers and he did not give his permission for them to use it. They simply went on his website that has a copyright law on it and copy and pasted. I believe that is plagerism.

Colleen

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I find it sad that these things had to end up at court. Sad for both sides..

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Colleen, also, before you pose, jk rowlings lawyer is not a female, and she those not personally handle lawsuits, prefering to leave that up to her lawyer, Neil Blair, who is not a She.

Also, given the fact that statements on RDR book’s website are in complete contradiction of the legal filings filed by the judge preciding over the case. the offical court documents do not tally with RDR Book’s claim that the court accepted their voluntary halt. the court documents clearly state that the judge rejected them, choosing instead a more legally binding course of action.

RDR Books has mishandled this, often breaking the law on multiple accounts from trying to seize copyrights from their rightful owner, to perjusius statements that are contradictory to statements released by the court system. If you really work for RDR books, I would recommend preparing to find another job, because RDR is taking actions that border on Federal crimes. perjury is a serious charge, and your attempts to sway public opinion by lieing to them about the outcome of the preliminary court hearings are not going to help you gain support, in the court, and in the court of public opinion.

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He researched… heeheehee… HE READ SEVEN BOOK!... heeheehee… Wow, he must be a great researcher if he can make a list of things from seven books. heeheehee…

Colleen, you are a joke.

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The information posted in my first comment about the lawsuit I read on this site.

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Jo and WB absolutely have to fight this… otherwise HER story, HER work and HER 17 years will be up for grabs. Other authors would use SVA/RDR’s encyclopedia as an example and take liberties where there are none to be had. She has no choice in the matter, but Steve does. He needs to back off and respect the law. My fear is that he started believing a little too much in his temporary fame, and felt that he was above the (copyright) law. I hope to heck I’m wrong, though.

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Seriously, Colleen, without being mean (and I’m sorry if it sounded that way before), but you really don’t have a leg to stand on. It all belong to JK. It’s her world. If she says no, you gotta accept it.

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Collen, those timelines could never exist without jk rowling creating and writing every single event listed in the time line, all of which are apart of her intellectual and copyrighted property. Steve Vander Ark did a wonderful thing by putting these copyrighted events into a timeline to provide fans a laid out view of how the events played on in a calender sense. however, every single event in those timelines are copyrighted jk rowling, and therefore, steve did not create any of it, he simply compiled them and put them up as a calender by taking what jk rowling created herself for her books, which are copyright jk rowling, and now, Warnerbrothers.

you can not claim ownership of events in a fictional sieries that you did not create, therefore, you can not copyright them as your own under the guise of a timeline because none of it is your creation, you just dated them on a calender chart.

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“Rowling” not “RowlingS”

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Colleen, if you truly have artistic respect for JK and her creation, you should’ve backed off the second she said no.

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Wow. RDR Books is filled with a bunch of rank amateurs who have no freaking clue how to act when you’re getting sued.

Here’s a hint, Colleen—laying low, keeping your mouth shut, and not acting like a jackass actually helps your case in court. If you’re just going to shoot your mouth off, you might as well just tattoo a bullseye on your forehead and hand your opponents the guns and ammo. Take my advice and do your employer a favor. RDR Books needs to just go away and STFU for a few weeks, lay low, and stop running off at the mouth. You’re not doing yourselves or your case any favors.

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Minnie, Collen, if she really is a employee of RDR books is proving and reproving the ignorance and unprofessionalism that has become quite apperent over the past few days as we have gotten more information. collen from the actuall courts who are handling this case and are required to be impartial. we are seeing RDR Books act in such a way that makes it very clear that this is a unreputable publisher. even a small publishing house should have some basic understanding of copyright law, which collen, sorry, but it those not include if a author gives a award to a fansite, then she automatically hands over full copyright and intellectual control over their works.

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Its funny because RDR would have a better chance of winning if they would just shut up! lol… They keep updating their site with all kinds of stuff that contridict the law suit and legal papers filed, they insult us as Fans by blaming us as a reason for publishing the books after they said on their website it was for the “poverished and underprivilaged” children (like they have $25 to spend on a book instead of food, and now they have their employees spying on us and trying to persuade us to be on their side???

Seriously Colleen why do you care what we think? Is it because its true what was said? That being stubborn and not being cooperative with JK and WB was a plot to produce media and controversy for the book so it would sell better?? If thats the case and thats what you have to do to sell it then it must not be all that good.

My advise would be to just stop while you still can and while your at lunch go on monster.com and find yourself a job with a “better and more respectable” company. (Or atleast a company with some brains…)

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I totally agree Minnie. heeheehee… Can you imagine we actually had someone from RDR reading all of this and actually commenting? What a hoot!... heeheeheehee…

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I’m not the one making the decisions and I never said I didn’t have respect for JK. You are now putting words into my mouth. I also don’t believe that anything I wrote would constitue a remark as immature as calling me a jackass. This was also my first comment about any of this and so I wouldn’t call that running off at the mouth. Everyone has a right to make a comment here.

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There would’ve been no such timeline if JKR didn’t write HP.

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Colleen -

just to give you an example of the reasons why you have no credibility: contrary to what you wrote above, Leaky reported that WB claims that your boss or whoever he is was not physically in Germany at the time in question, just negotiating the rights to sell the book in Europe. Go back and read the post.

Also, anyone can put together a timeline on just about anything. It is just like putting any information “researched” from wherever into a table, and then claiming it as yours. SVA has not invented the idea of a timeline, nor the concept of time, nor any of the events on that timeline, period. None of it belongs to him. Even bringing it up borders on impertinence.

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The point is, Colleen, your employer is getting sued right now. It’s a good idea to sit down and STFU and let the legal process play itself out. You’re not helping matters by posting at all. Any respectable business would know that. Don’t you people have lawyers telling you this sort of thing? Sheesh.

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Wait… wait… I have an idea… Let’s give Colleen a chance to argue her for her company… ahem…

Colleen, why do you think fans you have access to the internet will want to buy a print copy of a book they can get for free?... and also… wait for it… a book that is against the wishes of the creator who they adore?...

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Colleen,

Ms Rowling’s lawyer may well have been abrasive and I don’t blame her. Vander Ark is attempting to cash in her client’s work with a product that simply doesn’t meet under the 4-prong test (purpose/character, nature of copyrighted work, amount of original used and effect on original works) for “fair use” under the 1976 Copyright Act.

If the book is, as claimed, simply the contents of the Lexicon site, it is a blatant violation. Rowling’s lawyer is irritated she has to waste time on this ridiculous matter. I would be too, especially given the incredible arrogance and disregard for the law of both SVA and RDR. This is to say nothing of Rowling’s stated wishes which I would have thought Vander Ark, as an avid fan, would respect.

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Colleen, I respect your determination. However, you’re not looking at this logically. Steve did not “decide” or invent what days certain characters were born, attended classes, died, etc. Steve got that information from Jo. Most of that information came directly from the books, her official website, or interviews. Yes, he put that in a timeline form, which has been a tremendous online resource for fans. However, these are fictional characters and fictional events. Steve did not make a timeline of WWI. Someone owns these characters.

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I love how colleen is claiming jk rowling’s lawyer is a female…. last time I checked, Neil Blair is all male, not female. colleen, if she actually works for RDR is making up lies. Neil Blair is well known within the fandom, and often comments on rumors lik 8th books and such. We know that Neil is not a girl, and I have never heard melissa say he has a girlish voice.

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I guess we can see why things are going the way they’re going. We can use Colleens post as an example of how ignorant the people that work for RDR are.

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NotTheHBP,

When I poked around the files at justia.com yesterday, I was (not unpleasantly) surprised to see that the three attorneys for the plaintiff all appear to be women, with a woman named Dale Cendali apparently in the lead. (I know that some Dales are men, but this one is not!) I assume it was one of these women who called RDR, according to Colleen’s account.

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Actually the Lawyer that spoke to us on the phone was a female. It was obviously a Lawyer from Neil Blair’s firm.

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Seriously, Colleen, if you can’t convince Potter fans to buy your book, who do you think is going to buy it? This was a bad deal all around for you guys.

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Just as I repeatedly ask that we stop bashing JKR and SVA, and that we play nice together in our discussions, may I also suggest that Colleen (who claims to be an employee of RDR, but who knows) be treated with courtesy and respect…just like we want to be treated ourselves. She is a guest here, just as we are.

Also, I think both Mars and I wondered about the typesetting. My personal experience is that the typesetting should have been completed some time ago, if the book was to appear on 28 Nov as originally planned. The fact that it was not yet typeset strikes me as odd.

Melissa and TLC, thanks yet again for the updates. I’m certain that you don’t get too tired of hearing your guests here in the discussion area say how much they appreciate your efforts.

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It’s never, ever a good idea for any of the parties in a lawsuit to talk openly about any details about that suit, or about what’s been going on. Save that for the courtroom.

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Regardless, jk rowling/warner brother’s lawyers have the right to be abrasive seeing as RDR books continued to break the law after reciving cease and decist letters having refused to send a copy of the lexicon manuxcript to them, the sole owners of harry potter copyright and intellectual property. your refusal to comply is the reason you are being sued, and the reason the courts are contradicting you. you can do your spin campaign all you want, but you arent going to get any fans beause it those not that much brain power to understand the simple concept that if you are repackaging a persons novel without their permission, you are in defience of international copyright law.

RDR is reaping the rewards for their bad faith practices and illegal activitys. enjoy unemployement.

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Jo and WB are likely to have a whole team of lawyers, British and American, work for them, and it is not unlikely that some of them are women. I am also inclined to believe that Colleen’s both got himself yelled at by a lawyer for Jo – and I can’t say I blame her.

Seriously, Colleen – after all the stuff your company’s been up to, how can you be surprised? Are you denying RDR’s said all the things Melissa has reported? Or that have been on their website?

How can anyone not see how far round the bend this company has gone by now?

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And she’s still on here???? What part of STFU is better for your case do you not understand? You are in no way helping RDR in any way. And to be honest even though I think they probably put you up to this (because they make themselves seem like the type to be stupid) if they didnt then I hope they never find out your on here for your own sake. If they find out they might fire you for jeopardizing the case.

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Coleen, just one word: HIROSHIMA.

I think that there were also mentions of first amendment, David and Voldemort and doing it for underpriveledged children. Your arguments might sound reasonable, but I can’t take anyone connected to that sorry spectacle seriously.

I understand it’s tough without a lawyer, but you wouldn’t need one if you had possesed at least a bit of common sense. WB/JKR doesn’t even need to do anything, you (by which I mean your company) are digging the hole all by yourself.

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I think Budb you would be hard pressed to find a potter fan who would not feel a little sensitive when someone claims JK is a liar.

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“Collen’s boss”, obviously.

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Rosa P. and other. Please be respectful! You are making HP fans look horrible. If you disagree with her views, please do so in a respectful manner.

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Neil Blair is male and works for the Christopher Little Agency. You probably spoke with Dale Cendali, from O’Melveney, a firm working with CLA and who also represents WB, who is female.

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Colleen, While we are all interested in hearing more, may I (and I think the lawyers among as will second this suggestion) encourage you to discuss your participation in this topic with the attorney representing RDR first?

Please know that you are welcome, and that your postings are in fact being read carefully.

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budb: We don’t get tired of hearing that the fans have somewhere they can discuss this matter. It’s really helpful to us in this very stressful and trying time for everyone on all our sites.

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I am considering wearing my “the internet is for pottercast” t’shirt I bought at the eugine oregon podcast with the snape button I won during the secound round of trivia to support TLC, the most professonal harry potter news source when it comes to reporting sensitive news.

Colleen, you keep saying that we are only getting one side because melissa is only siding with WB/JKR. honestly, almost every single article links to statements made by RDR on their website and elsewhere, allowing RDR to have its say, and what it is saying is already being proven by the offical court documents to be contradictory of the judicial documents of the court. I am sorry, but once thing you learn fast is that Harry Potter fans are highly intelligent bunch, and they think all sides before speaking up except for in the case of harry/hermione ron/hermione ship wars, when people go overbored

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As long we’re tossing out writing/publishing tips, I’d like to add another. If you are ever in a position of wanting to use copyrighted material:

1. Ask permission in writing. 2. Abide by the response that you receive in writing.

Any reputable publisher or copyright holder who knows what they are doing will want a written request for use and will give you a written response. If they grant permission, they will outline the terms that govern the permission they’ve granted. It’s important for both sides to have a paper trail to refer to if questions arise later. DO NOT rely on verbal or “understood” approvals. Always, always, always get it in writing. You DO NOT want vagueness or uncertainty to surround use of any previously copyrighted material.

P.S. From what I can see, RDR has done everything exactly wrong. I don’t see how they have a leg-or any other body part-on which to stand in this one.

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I second budb’s yearning for thoughtfulness, civility, and courtesy towards everyone involved in this conversation. As budb says, we’re all guests here. It’s fine to argue and criticize, but let’s not laugh at each other, or put each other down!

And, yes, thanks very much to Leaky for keeping us informed.

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Honestly Mollywobble and Budb after they sat there and released a statement claiming to do all this for us as fans I am disgusted with them and have no respect for them so Im sorry if offended you in any way by my post but please know that it was not directed towards either of you.

My anger stems from all these claims that come straight from RDR’s mouths. That they do it for charity, oh no wait a minute better yet they did it for us or no not that they must have did it because others have already done it, or was it because it was only a print version, lol… Come on seriously every single thing they have said has proven to be rubish and whats there to respect from someone who is that ignorant to stick up for a company that lies, makes super fans look bad and greedy, and try to fool people in a law suit to buy their book. Its all very obvious as the days go by that RDR and SVA are doing all of this for the money. (Or maybe for the CHILDREN!!!!! LOL)

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I’m not going to make any more comments, but I find this entire exchange quite incredible. I’m sorry if any of my comments offended, I think I was just stunned by the situation and little annoyed by what I was reading (I’m all for the rights of the artist over their own material). Have a great weekend everyone. Good luck with the book, NotTheHBP.

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Rosa, I know it wasn’t directed at me. I’d just hate for you or anyone else to get kicked off the boards for saying something out of frustration.

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wb/jkr likely has the building foundation for a defemation case againse RDR which is comparing them to nulcear bomb drops and evil dark wizards.

RDR, please stop acting like you are gods gift to publishing. Everything you have done so far is everything that every guide to finding a reputable publisher has said is the kinds of things you dont want to see a publisher partaking in.

Seeing that most of your books are written by the same author, and even though I am not the god of grammar and syntax, and I have been up for like 20 hours trying to get my body clock back into normal cycles so my spelling is worse then normal, I flipped through some of your books and could find 8-9 glaring mistakes on each page, one page having up to 15-20.

the role of a publishing house is to help prepare a authors work for publication, and editing is apart of that. learn to edit, or hire someone to edit your bosses own books because everyone knows you are biased about your own work, thats why publishing houses have in house editors that are not the writer who wrote the work to make sure it is polished and ready for printing. even famous and prolific writers still go through proper editing, and thats why there books are sucesses.

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I’m only 15 so I don’t really understand all this legal stuff so keep scrolling down if you want something like that. I just wanted to say (though its probably not to helpful to either arguement) that think this is an awkward and messy situation that i’m sure everyone wishes weren’t happening or that it could have been dealt with amicably. But I think that people are forgetting what it is that this whole situation is about. Harry Potter. It’s the series of books that gave us all a community and great friends along the way. And the problem at the moment is what seems like being torn between two great friends so I really admire TLC for their professionality. So if you’ve managed to make it to the end of this post (well done!) I just wanted to remind people of why we’re all here. so please – play nice!

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Cara…. YOU ROCKS. THEY CALL ME TATER SALAD!

okay, back to the conversation at hand.

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Rosa P,

No one is claiming that RDR’s spokepersons have been the most articulate. However, we are saying that there are ways to have a civil discussion and polite disagreement.

As for anger, gee, let me see, what things anger or upset me, far more than anything connected with HP?

the horrible situation in Darfur

the crisis in Pakistan. oh, and that one in Myanamar, the other in Afghanistan, then the one in Iraq, and worries about Iran and the nations that border the eastern Mediterranean

civil war in the Congo, yeah, that’s a big one.

naturally the current economic uncertainties in the US are on my mind, the more so since I live in one of the 36 out of 50 that are in financial problems.

the urban center I live near has one of the highest murder rates in the US, not to mention diseases and drugs and school failures….

should I continue? oh, yeah, global warming, let’s not forget that!

Sure, I am interested in this sad situation, in part because it does also have implications for my own professional life. But I have far better things to get really upset about….

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I love how after being told (via the restraining order) that they couldn’t publish the book, RDR suddenly and benevolently agrees not to publish the book. Then they claim that the book is not being published because they agreed not to publish it, as opposed to the restraining order. Is that spin?

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“But I think that people are forgetting what it is that this whole situation is about. Harry Potter. It’s the series of books that gave us all a community and great friends along the way. “

Bravo (or brava, if appropriate) EnglishWellies!!!!

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This whole debate is very interesting and I thank TLC for the Board on which to post, as well as for providing us with what seems to this skeptical eye a fair recap of the events as they happen.

I wish, though, that this much effort had been marshalled towards getting Christian Coulson re-cast as Tom Riddle!

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Thanks budb, I really appreciate it!

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Please Colleen, I don’t want to be rude – but please leave this forum – and using Hermione’s words: “don’t insult our intelligent”! You don’t work for RDR – or else you would not have a job by Monday!!!! But should you work there all the same – take it from me, with your above comment you have not only insulted J.K.Rowling – but also her true fans – the Jo worshipers as some have called us! I have always loved “The Lexicon” – and I would be thankful if you would not mention the TIMELINE again, I am so fed up with it… Shall I be mean – if a Timeline would of been so important – Jo would had included one right at the beginning of her story…..and believe me – from now on I shall pick up my books and search for myself if I want to check on something – and should that so called “Harry Potter Lexicon” be published next year – it will never be bought by me. And NO I am not paid by anyone to write this comment. I am only a fan.

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Mistral, well said… I will not buy HP Lexicon either… shame on them!!

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EnglishWellies, very nice post. I think it’s exactly how we all feel. It’s not an easy situation by any means.

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colleen,

Don’t waste your time with these people on this comment. They are not rational. They worship this woman (jo is pretty much their god), and the hp books their holy books. They also have zero respect for any other views.

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To ##!# Well, there’s a great way to win an argument, insult us and JKR too. We are not defending Jo on blind faith here, we can read the legal information that’s been released, and the contradictory statements issued by RDR and make up our own minds.

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I appologize for getting carried away with my comments and I especially value your concern Mollywobbles. As for budb I also appologize but I would ask that you dont insult what I consider important. Yes it angers me and I am the type of person to voice my oppinions no matter how harsh they are but that does not mean that I dont care about the “more” important things going on through out the world. And if it wasnt that important to you I would point out that you shouldnt have been on the comment board for over an hour now.

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It’s not about respecting other views. It’s about the fact that RDR Books is currently getting sued. When a company gets sued, they generally let their lawyers do the talking so as to not jeopardize their case. It’s an idiotic move to allow your employees to talk openly about things when you’re facing a lawsuit. It annoys the judge and makes your side look bad. Just let the lawyers talk for RDR and everyone else lay low. This is basic common sense and is something the lawyers should make very, very clear.

It’s bad form to talk about legal proceedings when you’re a part of them. Save it all for the courtroom.

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!#,

If we are such Jo/HP worshipers and your not then why are you here??? May I add that your on a site that is built for and by Super Fans like ourselves???

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Colleen:

You need to read the suit again and so does everyone at the company. The suit does not claim Rapoport was IN GERMANY. It claims the rights were being sold there – you know, people have phones, and business is sometimes conducted over them.

And as someone who works in a publishing house you really should be able to comprehend that from the document like, well, we all can.

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@ ##!#:

We respect all views. What we don’t respect are assertions that blatant theft of protected materials.

I’ve said before, the Lexicon wouldn’t pass to even be considered Sparknotes.

NOTE: Sparknotes DO use more than the 90% original content/10% copyrighted materials in their study guides. Each Sparknotes topic, before it is published, ensures it has the permission of the copyright owners in order to use more than what is covered under ‘fair use copyright for derivative work’. If they fail to obtain permission, they respect the copyrighted material and don’t go to print.

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Ah, I just noticed the three updates that Melissa added to this news story. And I have to say, I’m really impressed. Thanks for summarizing all those documents, Melissa, and for giving us access (or direction) to the documents themselves.

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I’ve never read letters from judges before. I love how they get to end with the phrase “IT IS SO ORDERED,” in all caps. I’m tempted to make that my new e-mail closing. :D

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Colleen, your comments come dangerously close to claiming that both the JKR/WB legal team and the judge lied in legal documents to make your company look bad. It is time to turn off your computer and let your company’s lawyer know you may have made situation even worse.

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Arithmancer, I wholly agree with you about Melissa’s posts thanks to TLC for making this all so fair and easy!

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Has anyone noticed the new site saying there will be an 8th book called James Potter and the Hall of Elders Crossing…?.....what is this about?...you can check out the site at www.elderscrossing.com it made WizardNews….

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It’s weird to me that so many of these public statements and legal letters - from RDR, from WB, even from WB’s lawyers - have typographical and grammatical mistakes. I guess that’s just the way things work in this sphere; no one devotes too much effort to the editorial trivialities. The small stuff sometimes gets lost, I suppose, in the rush to make timely statements, etc.

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Actually, I am reviewing the legal documents available, and those posts that contribute to my understanding of those documents. Those are of professional interest to me, Rosa.

I love HP since the books and films allow me to escape from the horrors what will be on tonight’s news. And I am following Leaky for information about all things Harry, since I have found it to be the best source available. But, I’ll save my righteous indignation for more important matters …

Sure, you are allowed your opinion, that is true of everyone. My request is that you be less strident. When a person is attacked, the chances are they will be silenced and not participate in the discussion, and that simply is not fair. If I should notice someone doing that to you, I would also come to your defense, and ask that person to be courteous. Its that simple.

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an eight book?

hm, i want a good solid 600 pages of Regulus Black at Hogwarts…imagine growing up on Grimmauld Place, with a mum like that? Or having a brother like Sirius? Snape would be there, along with the other three Maurauders…and perhaps Lucius Malfoy in his 6th or 7th year (we don’t know exactly how much of an age difference separated Sirius and Regulus…). Why did regulus become a Death Eater, at 16? And what lead him to the Horcruxes, his revolt against Voldy, and his death at 17?

The writing would need to be totally different in tone and style…an interesting challenge for any author!

Ok, totally off topic, but I can wish….

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yes, but an 8th book?....and not written by JKR?....how could anyone use her characters but her?...now nothing seems to be making any sense…

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budb, I know: Regulus is really, really interesting. I’d love to see his full story. Wasn’t it great, at the end, how Kreacher led the house elves’ charge against Voldemort in Regulus’s honor?

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Oh, what a nice stunt. I am curious as to what whoever is behind that one will be selling.

Meanwhile, thou shalt not mess with JKR.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

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Getting a little off-topic but… :P

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That mystery “Book 8” site appears to be a very elaborate promo site for a fanfic. No, I’m not kidding. It looks impressive, but there are little things that are wrong, like the free stat counter on the page that lead me to believe it’s fake.

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Artemesia: Very judgely. :)

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I wish the final book hadn’t been released, or that some early HBP movie pictures would come up, or the sneak peek to HBP would get on YouTube next week. Then there’d be something interesting to talk about. WB and JKR have both used the timeline from the Lexicon and never given credit to those who organized it all. The Lexicon doesn’t have the rights to a LOT of things I’m sure, while publishing this book, but I think it’s hypocritical and sticky on both sides. While I’m a big HP fan, and a longtime Leaky commenter, I really wish there was more to talk about than this silly matter. But, alas, there probably won’t be much to talk about until December or January… or July. big sigh

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I did notice that Colleen was normally courteous. I really wish that all courteous persons of every side could express themselves and not been asked to go away from the comments. The remark was made that there is no other (serious place to go to discuss this matter, even for those who support the Lexicon. Which is my case : I support the Lexicon work, I think it’s shame that it is so much plagiarised (= copied word for word by many without giving the reference). But I reserve my judgement about the Lexicon Book project. And personnaly I didn’t needed it, but I absolutly need J Rowling’s Encyclopedia ! I am a great fan of Harry Potter’s book but for me, J Rowling is just a human being, an author of good stories. I totally respect her right to defend her work and copyright. But I have no respect for WB, who (for me!) has no showed respect for HP books…

So for me the situation is more complex than for some of other posters… I can’t think in black and white. thus the posts that I do apreciate here are the factual or the courteous ones.

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Colleen might have been courteous, but if she really is an RDR employee, she had no business posting here at all since her employer is getting sued, and in those situations, it’s best to let the lawyers and/or official spokesperson send out press releases or talk publicly about the case. A random employee posting RDR’s impressions from behind the scenes is potentially damaging to their case in court, since it will send a signal to the judge that they’d rather fight things out in the court of public opinion instead of in his courtroom where this stuff belongs.

It’s a terrible idea for your client, or anyone who works for your client to talk about a case in public. Pretty much any lawyer will tell you that. This is basic common sense.

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@ Colleen,

Like Madeleine said, it’s “Rowling” not “RowlingS”.

If you are who you say you are and have spent a lot of time reading about this case, how can you not know JO ROWLING’s name???

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Arithmancer, we can hope that JKR picks up on the Regulus idea, and writes such a thing…. but, then, i am an eternal militant optimist!

as for the rest, as someone once wrote, “a pox on both your houses”

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“Well considering that RDR is claiming that they don’t even have an IPR lawyer (and can’t afford one) and is only using a cousin of the publishing house’s owner. I have no idea how they’re gonna defend themselves.”

We have a lawyer in the family … my cousin Vinny!

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I feel really stupid, confused. Could some kind person tell me briefly what’s going on (I mean what Steve Vander Ark has wrote to annoy JKR and WB)

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Colleen’s the office manager at RDR Books. She really shouldn’t be posting here, trying to defend her publisher. Leave that up to the lawyers.

Jo Rowling wanted changes to be made to the book, and RDR Books refused. Now, it may be, in the end, that RDR Books won’t be able to publish it at all.

Steve should have agreed to make changes and then issue the book in an approved edition; it would have sold well, regardless. Now, Steve doesn’t have a book to publish (for now) and he’s lost the good will of Jo Rowling, which took years of effort to accrue. Plus his status and image in Harry Potter fandom has been damaged, as well.

What should have been a celebratory event for everyone has turned into a PR nightmare instead. There are no real winners in this fight. (Even Rowling comes out with a black eye, since not everybody agrees with her.)

Strike #1: no book, Strike #2: no help from Rowling, Strike #3: injunction preventing publication, for now. Three strikes, Steve, and you’re out. Time for the publisher to hang it up.

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I think your being silly about the typo made by Colleen. Everyone makes typos. It was stated in an earlier comment that there are even typos in the lawsuit.

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Oh man…so we really wont see an end of this any time soon :(

It’s really scarry how many pro-RDR comments there suddenly are. We had pro-Jo, pro-Lexicon and pro-Steve….but I can’t remember ANY pro-RDR in the last (what is it by now) 3 or 4 news items. I find it rather creapy how they try to manipulate us. It shows again how unconscionable they are…I just say ‘If you do not know how to print that material [from the Lexicon Website] please ask one of your people to show you how.’ WTF

I still dont really know where to fit in Steve in this whole mess. He could have a real bad contract with these RDR people, but he didnt acquit himself well in the past days. And again, if Jo asks you to stop useing her material, especially if it’s for your own profit, I would have though Steve to be the first one to drop it…then again, (maybe) contracts he got into to early…I really want to give him the benifit of the doubt, but at this point…

I think by now it’s too late to solve this thing to end on good terms with each other. I just hope that it can be solved with as little damage to the fandom, Steve and Jo as possible. After all the excitment for the book and the growing excitment for the things yet to come, at this point (personnally for me) Jingle Spells, Terminus and the HP theme park, it is really sad that we have to deal with this lawsuit. But, obviously c’est la vie and the Potter Fandom has proven before, that we are strong united and we’ll get through it.

Oh boy, that was mainly me just assuring myself that all’s going to be fine…so never mind, if I got a bit carried away ;)

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Steve is clearly involved in all of this because of the whole timeline issue that RDR keeps throwing around. That has nothing to do with RDR at all, since the disputed timeline is supposedly from one of the previous DVDs (Chamber of Secrets, maybe? I don’t know for sure), waaaay before RDR ever entered the picture at all. He just hasn’t been named in the suit directly yet, possibly at Jo’s request.

But he’s definitely involved just because they keep yammering on about the timeline when it’s irrelevant to the issue of the Lexicon book.

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Colleen should be careful before she goes around commenting about pending litigation involving her employer and possibly herself. I’m not even a lawyer and I know that. Lawyers will twist your words around until you’re not even sure what you said, Colleen. Even your written words. And I’m sure the high-priced attorneys at WB are particularly good at it.

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I typed in the Harry Potter Lexicon on Amazon.com. Over a dozen books came up in the search. Can someone tell me why JK and WB didn’t sue and of the publishers of these books?

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If RDR Books publisher Roger Rapoport really thinks the following: “It is our wish that Ms. Rowling join Mr. Vander Ark in his campaign for literary freedom and free expression by dropping her complaint against a book we are confident she would enjoy reading,” then why wouldn’t he let Jo see the book?

If I wrote anything at all, and someone rearranged my work and resold it, I would certainly be upset…especially if I had let it be known WORLDWIDE that I was currently writing a companion book TO BENEFIT CHARITY. Honestly, the royalties in question are the only thing I keep thinking about. Jo has made it clear that her book is going to help fund literacy programs for children. Why would anyone want to take away from that?

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One point I’d like to make is that everyone at RDR seems to be concerned with the amount of time Steve put into his work. Just because you spend a lot of time working on something doesn’t make it yours. I play guitar, and I know a lot of “cover songs.” But, they are in no way mine just because I changed the key and the tempo and sang it my way. I do not get payed for playing other people’s songs without their permission, and I think that is just fine—because I didn’t make the songs up, I just borrowed them for my own use.

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Sue, the difference between RDR and the publishers of the other books is that the other publishers allowed JKR/WB representatives see and alter advanced copies of their books. The changes made insured that the books 1) had an appropriate amount of original content not copied directly from the Harry Potter books to qualify for fair use, and 2) that the other books were clearly unauthorized editions.

RDR refused (for what it’s worth rather rudely according to the WB representative) all requests for a copy of the manuscript until forced to do so. This means that there was no way for the lawyers to know whether the book fell under fair use. Furthermore, the publicity material surrounding the books did not clearly state that the book was not endorsed by JKR. This may be clear to fans, but RDR’s wording could easily confuse the average consumer.

Enter lawsuit stage left. It is also important to note that we have no idea how much fighting went on behind closed doors before those other books were published. The only reason we know about the issues surrounding the Lexicon book is because the lawyers were not able to settle quietly.

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And by publicity material I mean the title and description posted on-line.

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Has anyone noticed that RDR is breaking the Temporary Restraining Order?

They were ordered to halt all production on the book, which included taking it down from all resources such as online stores, and their website. they were told that they can not promote the book until a decision is made in the courts on if they should allow the book or not.

The book is still being promoted on the website with the perjuris attacks against WB and JKR a full day after the court ordered them to remove it. They are going against the court order, which will hurt them further.

RDR, GET A BRAIN, STOP MAKING IT WORSE FOR YOURSELF BY NOT FOLLOWING THE COURT ORDERS!

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@NotTheHBP: I can already sense further injunctions being sought if all that stuff isn’t off their site by Monday. WB and JKR are in no mood to play around, if that letter they sent to the judge is any indication, and they won’t take kindly to any further stalling on RDR’s part at adhering to the court’s order.

Not a good plan on RDR’s part. Not good at all.

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I agree with Karina on page one. We are now learning a lot about Jo Rowling’s priorities now. She has stated several times she hasn’t even started writing the encyclopedia, and yet she is allegedly suing over the lost money to charities that will benefit from it. Forget updating the FAQs/rumours/fan sites, all she is doing it telling us about her legal action.

Thanks, Jo. I’ll stop looking in on your site now. I’ve had enough of this whole thing.

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mr. magic, yes, how dare jk rowling being a human being with rights. she is not your property and if she wanted to take a break from harry potter for a while after spending 17 years of her life, longer then many of her fans have been alive, how dare she take a break.

besides, meybe the reason she is not doing faqs and updates to her site is because she plans to put everything else she has to tell in the promised for years encylopedia.

no wait, your right, how dare you jk rowling for not being our slave.

end sarcasem

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OMG. I can’t believe that people are upset with Jo for protecting her property. That’s got to be the most asinine thing I’ve ever read.

Her only priorities in this case are making sure that the rights she has as an author are upheld, and the integrity of her intellectual property remains intact. Anyone who gets mad at her for that is clearly misinformed about what is really going on in this suit.

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I know this is just another drop in the bucket post, but I am impressed with the clarity and speed at which facts and updates are provided by the Leaky Cauldren. These unflinching, unbiased reports allow for us all to make up our own minds and I think that one reason shows just how well run TLC really is.

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I know others have pointed this out but it needs addressing again.

Colleen, it is JK Rowling, not, JK RowlingS. Yes everyone makes typos, but misspelling a name repeatedly is not a typo, it is instead, ‘I don’t know the correct spelling’.

Also will RDR just admit that it only wants to print the Lexicon as an attempt to move away from the vanity press and enter into the big league of publishers? Give it up RDR, your actions have proven you’re not yet ready for the big league.

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Exactly covered in bees, besides, they cant move into the big leagues of publishing until they actually learn copyright and trademark laws. RDR has made it clear they dont care with their callous treatment of the owners of the copyrights and trademarks that are being infringed upon, plus their serious disregard for the legal pressedings and court orders that are now being placed upon them.

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Go Jo! Woot woot!

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Colleen? JK Rowling is plagerising? That post is pathetic.

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From the Grand Rapids Press:

http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/grpress/index.ssf?/base/features-1/1187506415152250.xml&coll=6&thispage=1
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That link was to a profile the Grand Rapids Press did on R. Rapaport. Also, there is a Colleen as office manager listed on their web site. I feel sorry for her.

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What disgusts me is that people (I’m no sure if Colleen is the only one) from RDR are coming on here and calling JK Rowling a liar, or implying that Leaky isn’t putting out the whole story, or some other nonsense like that. To say that JK Rowling is plagerising is ridiculous, when she WROTE THE BOOKS, last I checked. RDR is making a pathetic case worse for themselves when they try to blame the author of the books for something like this. The timeline wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t even know it existed in the movies, even though I have all the DVDs and watch them often. It makes me feel sick to hear “fans” disrespect JK Rowling and her wishes to this degree.

RDR: DROP THE CASE AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.

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Well, I’ve got my order in for “The Unofficial & Unauthorised, Abridged & Expurgated Harry Potter Lexicon” by Steve Vander Ark, as seen on YouTube. The book consists of 400 loose-leaf pages copied from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, but reshuffled by the staff at RDR Books—(not to be confused with the cast of SNL). The book is interactive: you can stand at the top of a flight of stairs toss the pages down and reassemble them according to where they fell. This entitles the reader to register a new copyright on this original and transformative work. It’s called creative escalation.

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I didn’t know anything about Steve, so I was googling around looking at stuff and came across this interview he gave in June ‘04. Note the part of his quote I put the ** around.

http://www.theurbanwire.com/jun04/stevevanderark.html

UrbanWire: How does it feel to have been finally recognised by JK Rowling?

Steve Vander Ark: “Well, it’s incredible, of course. The email arrived a few days after the site was already posted, so it wasn’t a surprise or anything. An email came in from Jo through her website (so no, I don’t have her email address), which was a form notice addressed to my staff and me by name, which was nice.

“I was in the process of doing some reorganization to make things run smoother on the Lexicon, and all of a sudden we were getting massive traffic. It was great to me recognized by Jo for the work we’re doing. *It was nice to know that she doesn’t resent it, since it’s her world and we’re building a huge website about it.** The best part was knowing that she uses the Lexicon herself to research things. That was so incredibly amazing to discover. It doesn’t get any better than that. It really validated what we were doing. If it’s good enough for her, we must be doing a good job of it.”

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My 6th grade class just learned about plagiarism, and I thought this case would interest them. I showed my class a video I found on the internet (google “Dr. Dhil”) It is a very tongue in cheek way of learning about plagiarism.

So, anyway, as I was reading over previous posts, I remember reading that Steve V. wanted to allow underprivileged children without computers to have access to his Lexicon through his book (he is pocketing the profits). I also remember reading that JKR was/is going to write a Lexicon of her own and donate profits to charity. If Steve’s concern is really for underprivileged children, then he should back off and let Jo do her thing…I can only imagine the profits she could produce and donate to the underprivileged. So my question to Steve is: Do you really care about the underprivileged children of the world? If so, why don’t you let Jo (who’s proven she can earn huge profits) write/sell her Lexicon. You are stealing her thoughts for your own profits. Do the right thing.

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This whole thing is getting scarier! It divides us all hp fans! First the Dumbledore’s issue, now this I don’t blame Ms. Rowling for practicing her rights and I don’t see anything wrong that TLC tries to defend themselves. What pathetic about these issues are people who like to jump on conclusion, thinking that Ms.Rowling’s preferences is just about money etc. I, personally, am not siding anyone here. And I think it is wrong to choose sides because we ‘fans’ don’t really know what’s behind this whole picture! I only hope that this matter will be settled amicably. Goodluck to both parties in this issue.

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I have a question for all the legal-heads posting here: If the Colleen who commented on this site is really the same Colleen who works for RDR, would discussing/defending the Lexicon book on a HP-fansite violate the court’s order forbidding RDR from promoting/advertising the book? Defending the book’s publication seems to be a promotion of the book in and of itself, to me. But I don’t know if I’m being too critical,and I’d be interested in hearing more educated views on the possibility. Thanks! :-)

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Well there’s no gag order about not discussing the case from the parties involved, and it would be hard to prove that Coleen is promoting the book here. Intent is important and words has to be taken in context. I don’t think that you can argue that there is an intent of promotion.

Although it is a good idea though to not talk at all since she part of RDR and thus her words can be used against RDR.

Heck that’s what I’ve been saying all along, if RDR was serious about winning the case they should shut up. But I think there intent has always been to milk all the publicity that they can (this increasing the sales of the approved version of the Lexicon) and then settle. Unfortunately their intent is so frigging obvious that JK and WB will not allow themselves to be used that way.

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i feel so sorry for Jo and for Steve! i wish that this had never gone this far…. this could’ve been settled out of court so easily.

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I’m sorry but I find this whole thing about Steve’s greed. Yes, he has worked his guts out on that website but it was fundamentally not his material he was shuffling about and recategorising. I think the quote above from Karen by Steve shows he has always known he is only playing in someone else’s paddling pond but only with their permission. Now he has overstepped the mark. If I made up a song but then someone came along and reshuffled the lines and published it as an original work, I would be peeved.

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I hate that you can’t edit these posts. I have so many spelling and grammatical errors. :)

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I don’t know if it voilates the court’s order, but it’s a bad idea in any event. The last thing RDR needs is to make themselves look even more amateurish and unprofessional than they have so far. Just read the letter thatJKR/WB’s lawyers wrote opposing RDR’s request for an adjournment. They’re clearly not happy at the moment, and anything that could potentially add to that irritation, like an employee of RDR publicly talking about the case, only makes it worse.

It’s a very basic rule of thumb when you’re facing a lawsuit. You don’t talk about it in public with anyone. It’s bad form.

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Anyone who says Steve is horrible, or not a true fan, or is showing a lack of respect to JKR, or deserves to be embarassed, you have GOT to be kidding yourself. Why would anyone spend so much time creating a site as he has if they don’t care for Harry Potter or JKR? Why would anyone waste time doing PotterCasts if they’re not a TRUE fan? To the entire Leaky staff, particularly to the comments Melissa has left, thank you so much! This must be stressful for you as well as all other Harry Potter fans. Keep up the awesome work.

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Many people seem to be on SVA’s side(including his girlfriend (not his wife) with whom he now lives) but how did he and RDR get together. Is it possible that other, more reputable publishers turned down this work due to concerns over copyright violations? RDR does seem shifty, to say the least but SVA is the author who contracted them to publish his book.

Also, there are a number of legal sites who are watching this to see how it affects fan sites. It seems that RDR’s defense is “JKR didn’t shut down the fan site so that counts as a copyright waiver.” So, either JKR sues every fan site sorry Leaky or she waives her copyright? This defense could be far-reaching.

As an aside, I don’t know SVA or the Lexicon – that site never interested me. What little is coming out in this lawsuit makes him look like an entitlement brat.

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If he was a true fan, he’d have respected JKR’s wishes when she denied permission for the Lexicon book to be published and backed off. If he was a true fan, he wouldn’t have ignored four different Cease & Desist letters, forcing this lawsuit to even happen at all.

I’m sorry, but no matter how much of a fan he’s been in the past, if he was really on Jo’s side, we wouldn’t be talking about this lawsuit at all, because it wouldn’t exist. This is just about greed, and about trying to cash in on someone else’s work after they’ve said no, and due to some sort of entitlement. Just because the site’s been praised before, that doesn’t mean that anyone gave him permission to publish for profit. It doesn’t work that way.

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Bellatrix’s parole officer: I understand what you mean, but in a sense, isn’t Steve TRYING to do shuffle things around and call it his own? I know that sounds really bad and it probably makes him sound worse, but I don’t think Steve has bad intentions. I think he’s trying to almost provide a guide to Harry Potter for people who don’t have access to the books (although if they had access to his book, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t have access to Harry Potter) or who want something more. I see what you mean, but I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with you. I’m sort of on both sides of the argument, I can’t pick which.

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Man any lawyer that says that leaving a website is a copyright waiver is most definitely not a copyright lawyer. Copyright is different from trademark. In a trademark if you don’t aggressively protect it, you can easily lose it. But copyright is a whole different animal. Copyright gives all sorts of leeway to the author (including the ability to revoke any copyright you may have granted directly or indirectly, barring any contractual issues). That’s why there a whole different law (Fair Use) to counteract copyright.

Copyright abandonment will never fly for a judge (unless you have a smoking gun, like a letter from JK granting you permission). The best defense against copyright infringement is Fair Use.

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@Mars: Exactly. Which is why RDR’s attempts to claim that the Lexicon’s existence is somehow an abandonment or waiver of copyright is laughable. JKR would specifically have to abandon her right to her work, and as we’ve seen, she’s not doing that.

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That’s also the reason why authors and their publishers are more aggressive about protecting their trademark. If they let people to repeatedly use their trademarks they can easily lose it.

But as for copyright, you can write all the fanfiction you want about Hermione and you still won’t own Hermione.

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You can be the Ultimate, Unabashed, SupercalifragilisticMega Expert on all things Hermione and you still won’t own Hermione.

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Is it obvious that I have a crush on Hermione? :)

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Wondering:

They must be napping. Been looking for any images of EI and can’t find any labled as such. Is there a resemblance to a Weasley?

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At first, this comments thread started out civil but once again it has deteriorated into Steve bashing when this matter is now, as it has been for a week, a legal battle between WB and RDR. I’m fed up with this.

An observation, if JKR’s “Encylopedia” doesn’t deliver, there will be indeed a lot of vitrol put forth. I just find it amazing that people are now going into Steve’s personal life to attack his character. Isn’t that the same tactic the Religious Right, the Anti-Potter crowd, have used against JKR. Of course, I guess that shoe doesn’t fit when it comes to supporting JKR. Wow, Amazing.

Pardon the tone, but this really speaks poorly of the Potter fan base at this point.

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“You can be the Ultimate, Unabashed, SupercalifragilisticMega Expert on all things Hermione and you still won’t own Hermione.”

But you can develop a crush on Hermione and she will own you . . ;)

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Oh man she owns me big time he he

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Don’t fool yourselves. It’s all about money and bussiness.

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@ TAZ:

Yeah, you’re right, it is.

It’s about JKRs money/business aka HARRY POTTER.

And RDR/SVA wants to take what neither are entitled to.

*rolleyes

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Don’t fool yourselves. It’s all about money and bussiness.

Well, duh. What was your first clue? The fact JKR has sold over 300 million HP books, or the fact that WB has made over $4 billion in box office receipts with the HP films?

I really don’t get why making money is such a bad thing. Folks around here bring it up like it’s evil, or something, and that makes zero sense to me. Jo is entitled to make money. She wrote the books, and has earned her success. WB is entitled to make money, since they’re officially licensed to make the films.

Steve, on the other hand, is a fan who is trying to play fast and loose with copyright and trademark law to justify publishing his book for profit. The law really doesn’t work that way.

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RDR is laughable. They push WB/Rowling to initiate litigation rather than comply with a simple request and now they’re begging for donations to their defense fund in their ‘David vs Goliath legal battle’. Absurd.

And this little gem of a quote: “The plaintiffs now claim that they are carefully studying the proposed Lexicon book to see if they can find anything which infringes on their rights.”

Pfffttt….

Well, at least it appears that Methuen publishers have complied with the request to a manuscript and currently the page count is down from 412 initially posted to just 340 at amazon.co.uk. Looks like they found a good chunk to literally remove and there will probably be a massive re-edit of contents to focus on analysis, not regurgitated facts.

{I wonder how long that will be up, since the court order included entities in the United States and abroad?}

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Well, the whole fuss is over now. Great. Close the comments site though.

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“Why would anyone spend so much time creating a site as he has if they don’t care for Harry Potter or JKR? Why would anyone waste time doing PotterCasts if they’re not a TRUE fan?”

For Fame&Glory and a chance to eventually cash in? It looks like it more and more.

It made him a minor celebrity in the online HP fandom and if he was permited to publish this book he could potentially make millions – even if it sold badly it would bring him thousands of dollars. Didn’t he quit his job? I think he needs the money.

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Does anyone else here think JK is being a bit of a jerk? Getting a bit too greedy? I mean common she sueing everyone. With all the suits and the whole “gay is good” thing I have just about had enough.

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Judge Robert Patterson makes me think of Robert Pattinson..

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I personnaly don’t think that J Rowling is suing for money. As some posters have very well explained in those comments, as an author she has to protect her copyright, that’s all.

As I understand the case now (THANKS to TLC !), the suing happened because, contrary to other Companions books, this one was not submitted to JKR lawyers for a pre-reading (See for example Maria’s post on page 7).

What could be, now, the motives of Steve Vander Ark ? Greed doesn’t seem the right word for me (I don’t appreciate when the comments are turning to so called “character analysis” – and real projections).

Maybe SVA couldn’t drop the idea of getting some recognition (financial, and more) for his work, knowing or thinking that others would publish books partly based on his his work?

If so, I find this very human. And J Rowling steps to protect her rights are very human too. They are human persons, thus fallible, like us all. May all the fans re-read Harry Potter and give them a second chance!

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No, matt, the majority here [and elsewhere] appear to support this lawsuit. They also generally support the Lexicon site, which is an excellent online reference source.

General consensus is that RDR is a very shoddy run establishment and no one knows for sure what, if anything, Steve’s role in all of this is. Many are disappointed in him but there are just as many that support him.

Legally, Jo MUST assert her ownership to her copyrights when they’re being challenged or she will ultimately lose them.

Others are perfectly entitled to take 17 years of their life, hard work, and livelihood and toss it away with inattentive carelessness, but don’t expect everyone else to be that idiotic.

I’ve used this analogy several times now:

If I allow you to drive my car and even so fit to compliment your driving skills, does that mean you’re entitled to take my car, sell it, and pocket the proceeds? No, absolutely not! That’s theft, plain and simple. I* own my car. *I say who drives it. As the owner I’m the only one with the legal right to sell my car and profit off it, no matter who I may allow to use it.

As the owner, I* may seek relief in court via civil and criminal laws that are in place to punish those who would infringe upon my property rights. *I, the owner, must petition the court with the complaint in a timely manner [statute of limitations]. If I stand by and do nothing then no one is punished and I’ll have lost my property and my right for compensation.

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I just wanted to say that the likelyhood of “Colleen” actually being an employee of RDR is very small imo. I’m betting it’s someone just trying to stir things up. Also, people should really stop bashing SVA until we actually hear his side of the story. RDR is definately not SVA’s spokeperson.

And in all honestly, this Lexicon encyclopedia doesn’t seem interesting or a good read imo. I mean, im not going to read it cover to cover. But to each his own i guess. Extra info on characters etc sounds way more interesting ^ ^

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I will add to Cara’s post that J Rowling, as the author, has all the rights to ask to see any Encyclopedia book about her world before publication (even if she had not the project to make her own).

We don’t know what would have happened if RDR had accepted that process. Would J Rowling have authorised some of SVA work (such as time lines), or on asked for very deep cuts (such as characters summary)?

But it seems to me that any wise publisher (and author) would have prefered a “reduced Lexicon book” to this sad mess.

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I think that Colleen genuinely was as she claimed, an employee for RDR.

Firstly, the same spelling and grammatical errors appear on the site. Then too, she seemed to s.p.e.w [forgive the pun ;) ] the same drivel that RDR has on its site. Lastly, how else would she know the attorney her boss spoke with on the phone was a woman? Most assumed that RDR had spoken with Neil Blair, a guy. In a clarifying post, Melissa states that one of Plaintiff’s attorneys representing Jo/WB in this matter is, indeed, female. Her name appears on the court papers.

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Legal issues aside, I really hope that this story and similar ones in the future will not affect the daily life of Jo and her fans (me included).

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I don’t know Cara, but they’re valid points. Still, if you could figure out all those things, it’s possible someone else did as well. Maybe im just thinking too much >_<

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Everyone in my workplace is thoroughly convinced that this is without a doubt a publicity stunt to promote the Lexicon. We don’t know if it’s RDR or Steve’s idea but we believe there’s no other way to explain how things have turned out so far.

They (meaning RDR and Steve) knew this would happen. They knew from the start that JK’s group will contact them make sure the book is within copyright rules. Everyone in the publishing world knows that if you write a book related to Harry Potter, they will do that. But instead of working quietly with JK’s group, they wanted the lawsuit to happen to generate worldwide publicity for the book. They milk the publicity and eventually allow JK’s group to edit the book. And then ka-ching!

But their intent is too obvious. And they may have underestimated how JK and WB will handle this. I would be pretty disappointed at Dale Cendali if RDR can get away with this plan. But this one will be tricky.

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The BBC is reporting the story on their website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7088336.stm

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When I say tricky I mean I don’t think RDR has any plans of trying to win this case. RDR’s goal is a settlement wherein they could publish an edited version of Lexicon (with the added bonus of free worldwide promotion of the book). I could see it now, if a settlement occurs RDR will spin it as a win (David vs. Goliath) and cash in on their gamble. The only way JK’s group can win here is a total victory and that will be tricky.

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Y’know the thing that I find most disturbing is that these people are clearly dishonest…..actually if space aliens landed and asked “what is sleazy?” you would take them to these RDR people. One has to wonder why the heck Steve Vander Ark is still associating with them. I hope it is only because he has some sort of unbreakable contract vow going and not because he wants to or actually still believes he is right or is all caught up in the “I”ve got a book ” thing. I can see how with the Mugglenet kids having a best seller and Melissa Anneli working on her book and academic works out from people like John Granger over at HogwartsProfessor.com Vander Ark would want some of that same attention and profit. Still the difference is pretty clear, those other folks have original ideas, he has a list of JKR’s ideas. We know for example that the Mugglenet book was theorizing about what might happen, seems that Melissa is doing original research and interviews—-we heard her talking to Georgia Laura awhile back. But the Lexicon is just a reorganization of Jo’s people, places and things. However, the degree of sleaze coming out of those RDR people should have sent him running. I expect he may have ended up with them because they were the ones who would tell him “oh no, this doesn’t infringe on copyright” so they could make a buck off Harry Potter

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Just read back through and I don’t know if Coleen is from RDR or not but this struck me:

“An author is simply taking credit for his work. The years he put into it without any profit being made. This is his work not JK Rowlings work…..”

Try this. Go to the Lexicon. Remove anything that references JKR’s work. What you have left is Steve’s work.

Nice blank pages Steve!

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Just got a note from Amazon saying that the Mugglenet book has now been cancelled. Am I the only one feeling like the Harry Potter fandom is under attack? If I were one of these big website owners, I think I’d shut down the site and then let JKR see what’s missing when these popular sites are no longer around. Things would get quiet pretty quickly. Silence is bad for business, any business.

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Seriously, Jo? Seriously? Are your fans really so unimportant to you?

I now think how I’ve been feeling since last year is validated—ever since the announcement of the release date for DH was just plastered on the front of your page, I worried that you’d really just humored the fans to keep up the massive PR blitz to sell more books. Anyone in advertising knows that word of mouth is something that you can’t buy, and it is the most powerful thing out there. You humored us right up until the point where you didn’t have to anymore, where we were so hooked we line up and wait for hours to read your book. Once you got the millions of us to that point, you stopped. You said repeatedly after the release of the book that you were so happy, so relieved that you could now openly discuss the book. Since then, the only thing you have seen fit to update on your website since the release of DH has been news about a lawsuit, a lawsuit that seems completely ridiculous when you turned a blind eye to the dozens (and possibly hundreds) of similar books that were published in the years leading up to the release of DH. Before, it seemed that your philosophy was “no publicity is bad publicity”; now, you seem to only be worried about increasing your profits. Also along the lines of increasing profits: Most of the events after the books have been limited to those under 18, which just comes off as trying to recruit new readers to increase your sales (and therefore, your profits), at the expense of your long time fans. My sister and I started reading the books 7 years ago. Now I’m 23 and she’s 21 and neither of us had a chance to even try to see JKR because we’re too old.

I work for a PR company, Jo. I am not an idiot, and I know how the system works.

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Oh Caroline, PUHLEASE.

You work in a PR firm, good for you – now find your richest client, and tell them that they have no rights to protect their copyright interests because they’ve reached a certain amount of money in their bank account. See how long they stay your client, and clock how long it takes them to laugh at you.

This absolutely DOES. NOT. increaes JKR’s profits: The book she’s protecting is for charity. Not to mention she’s got to be racking up tens of thousands dollars in legal fees, and it does not MATTER that she can afford it, this puts her in the NEGATIVE column for trying to write a book that benefits other people.

You’re bitter you didn’t get to see her. Get over it. We’re adults and are supposed to have that fine ability. Let the kids have fun. Be bitter elsewhere.

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For those that are so busy bickering here that they haven’t bothered to check the main news story for updates:

Leaky has added a fourth update, about a posting on Lexicon from SVA. Unlike his previous one, there are no obvious influences from legal counsel. The tone is appropriate, he does not give any details relevant about the case, and he simply asks that people stop attacking him or JKR personally. Certainly it was posted after discussion with counsel, but its nicely done, and clearly an effort to let things calm down.

I suggest that—since the two individuals involved, SVA and JKR—have asked that we calm down, that we do. labelling individuals greedy, discussing their personal lives, and similar attacks are simply inappropriate. attacks on other posters are also inappropriate.

As we keep repeating, the matter really is not in the direct control of JKR and SVA any more, and it hasn’t been since at least Septemeber, if not before. If anyone wishes to set up a boxing match to decide who is right, who is wrong, then its between the WB/etc attornies and RDR.

Annia, picking up on your comment: “I will add to Cara’s post that J Rowling, as the author, has all the rights to ask to see any Encyclopedia book about her world before publication (even if she had not the project to make her own).”

This is the point that interests me, professionally—I dont ever recall a case like this before, even with Christopher Tolkien’s determined efforts to control his father’s legacy. Does an author (ie, the author’s legal represenatives; and we should rephrase author to “copyright holder”) have the legal right to review and approve a manuscript in advance. This is potentially an important point, with implications far beyond the publishing of fiction. I know of cases where after publication books were yanked off shelves, and fines and damages paid for copyright infringement…. but not in advance of publication. And in essence to grant the copyright holder (and their attornies) the right to step in and edit and approve a manuscript?

I am increasingly leaning toward Mars’ suggestion about a publicity stunt, but then such a plan would suggest RDR’s top management possessed a greater degree of sophistication, of “slick-ness” if you will, then their statements and actions have shown. But, the result is the same, isnt it: considerable free publicity, and if the book does ever get published, then sales should increase (or, more likely, RDR will sell the contract to another, larger publisher that is better equiped to handle a mass market paperback). Note, please, SVA does not have a choice if RDR sells the contract—in fact, that happened to me, personally, and against my wishes.

An end to personal attacks, please?

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This is turning out to be quite interesting… But my opinion is still in the middle.

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“I work for a PR company, Jo. I am not an idiot…”

You just play one on the message boards?

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This discussion space is made available to us thanks to The Leaky Cauldron. We are all the guests of Leaky, and in joining the “conversation” here we are implicitely agreeing to engage in civil, courteous and polite discussions….especially when we disagree.

Curiously, only in the US is it considered acceptable to attack and insult individuals as part of a debate. Rarely do you see flaming or shouting from any of our European friends, tho there are acceptions who clearly have been overly influenced by the cultural level of the US. Can we move the discussion up a level of two, please?

Fight nice.

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Oh this is getting so ugly. How did it get to this? I feel awful for SVA. He his being personally attacked for what seems is behaviour his publisher performed. JKR is being attacked for being insensitive to fans when it’s a copywriters duty to defned their copywrite or else risk loosing it. Both are being attacked and both needlessly.

I don’t understnad why RDR wouldn’t cooperate with WB and JKR. Additionally, I don’t know why WB and JKR would have a problem with an author writing an encyclopedia. It’s unofficial. Unofficial books are writen all the time. I don’t think any of use have enough information to make sound jundements. We’re all going off emotion right now.

I’m gald SVR book has been put on hold until the matter can be settled. I only hope this can be handled in a civil matter. I’d hate to see JKR or SVA look bad.

To Leaky: Please continue to include SVA in PotterCast. I have always throughly enjoyed his input to Cannon Conundrums. I’d hate to see him vanish from the show over this dispute.

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I personally think Rowling has every right to be mad and to take action. I know if I was in her shoes I would. She’s worked pretty dam hard on these books to have some guy come along and take that from her. The only person that has the right to make a profitable a harry potter book is Rowling. Its one thing if you’re doing fan fiction on the net and that’s only for pleasure, so there is no profit being made, but it’s another if you think just because you’ve read all the Harry Potter books you have the right to write a book about them . And if that was true every Tom, Dick, and Harry would be able write their own unauthorized book. Umm that’s not a bad idea maybe I’ll write my unauthorized Harry Potter. I’ll call it Harry Potter and horribly bad fan fiction (hahahahahahah).

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The Lexicon should have thought about this. They would have been making money off of this yes?

Gr. I’m also angry at the Lexicon cuz they don’t seem to have updated about Dumbledore/Grindlewald.

UPDATE NOW! for god’s sake…

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@ budb – copyrighted MS in advance: a most interesting question. i do not have but a very general understanding of some continental / european copyright legislation which, in principle, protects ideas, plots, frameworks for works to be, e.g. literary fiction or scientific works.

of course, there are requirements of proof and specification. under the legislation mentioned, your draft plot, novel, conceptual framework, whatever, needs to be concrete enough to be identifiable; i’m not so sure now if knowledge about other persons’ plans or intent (to infringe / to publish) is required for establishing a copyright infringement. the classical case would be that one writer A tells another writer B about some work not yet published or shows B an unfinished or not yet published manuscript, and then B goes and, very quickly, publishes a novel, play, article, poem, whatever, which evidently makes use of ideas, plots, wordings etc A had had or had used before. the most important proof would be that about before. (about proof of knowledge, i am, as mentioned before, not so sure.) the identity or close similarity of concepts or mere plots might be a tricky thing to rule for the judge.

the general idea underlying this type of copyright legislation is that identifiable unpublished ideas, plans, frameworks, concepts, conceptual frameworks should be protected as well as published works. (if you take this general idea further, then one the question could be whether an ‘identifiable enough’ conceptual framework of a ‘hp-lexicon’ could be protected by that type of copyright legislation.)

i really wonder how all of this is treated by british or US copyright law.

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Some have jumped to the conclusion that I blatantly ignored demands that I not create a book from material on the Lexicon. That just isn’t who I am. I would never, never do something like that…

Sure you wouldn’t, Steve. That’s why you and your publisher ignored four different Cease & Desist letters asking you not to publish your book. That’s why you and your publisher refused to voluntarily turn over a manuscript when JKR/WB asked for one, so you ended up forcing them to sue you so they could get their hands on a copy. You never ignored any demands at all.

Pfft.

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That post is obsequious and rather inappropriate by SVA. It’s a fawning “poor me” style that is not doing him any favors – people are smarter than that. He just wants to sit with her and discuss it? Sorry buddy, so does everyone else wnat to sit at JKR’s table. Why should you get to when you have so blatantly disrepsected her? And note, I don’t mean copyright or anything like it – I’m not a lawyer and though my opinion is that he broke it, that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to the ignored letters, the contradictory statements, the refusal to work with her people. Now he’s out there claiming he’s Jo’s man through and through?! Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? And insulting to those of us who try to be respectful of her? If your’e Jo’s man through and through you don’t refer the first contact from her people to lawyers and refuse to hand over a manuscript. You try to work with her to see where her issue is – AS SHE’S DONE WITH SO MANY OTHER BOOKS – and come to an agreement. You might have even been able to publish with her blessing right now – unless what youer’ donig violates her copyrights. And if THAT is the case, then buck up, BE her man through and through, and accept it’s wrong and move on. Otherwise don’t claim to be this poor betrodden saint. Ugh. I’m ill.

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Update 4: There is another update on the Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark: “t’s very hard to know what to write. For one thing, everything I write these days — everything I’ve ever written or said, in fact — is being dissected and analyzed to make me sound like a fool or a liar or an arrogant jerk (as I’m sure this will be as well). People who know me and have talked with me know that this isn’t the case….To read some of what I’ve seen online, fans have decided that I am just trying to make huge amounts of money or that I have no respect for Jo. Some fans, along with WB, have speculated that I took the material they graciously allowed the Lexicon to use and slapped it into a book without permission. Some have jumped to the conclusion that I blatantly ignored demands that I not create a book from material on the Lexicon. That just isn’t who I am. I would never, never do something like that….One question that gets asked of me over and over is if I have ever met Jo or talked to her. The answer is no, I haven’t. I have always wished for that chance, but it’s never happened. There is a crazy part of me that believes that if she and I could just sit down and chat about this, we could get it all sorted out and put this miserable incident behind us….Maybe then all of us could put it behind us and just get back to enjoying Harry Potter together.”

have you guys seen this update on leaky?

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That post is obsequious and rather inappropriate by SVA.

It’s also self-serving and insulting to the intelligence of anyone over the age of 3. I think I’ve finally lost what little respect I had left for Steve. He’d have been better off not saying anything at all.

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I just wanted to thank Mars and Minnie for responding to my question on the last page… much appreciated! :-)

I thought SVA’s newest comment was much better. I’ll agree that he’s probably (and I say “probably” because I’ve never met him, and can only assume here) a pretty good person at heart, but I do still think that he made a huge mistake in continuing to pursue publication of his book after many stop signs were held up in front of his face. And he should accept responsibility for his actions there, whether they were ill-intended or not.

And I realize it was probably hypothetical, but his statement about if he could just meet JKR and settle this one-on-one sort of bothered me. I don’t really know why, though. Maybe because by posting that statement on his webpage, he’s sort of inviting JKR or her people to read it and arrange a meeting between the two. While this isn’t bad in and of itself, I don’t get why he didn’t post that previously. By posting it now, it comes across (to me, anyway) as if he’s hoping he’ll both get to meet JKR in person and sweep all this under the rug, now that the court has put a stop on the book until next year. It seems like he realizes that he and RDR are going to lose this case, and NOW he wants to settle things as a friend to JKR. I’m sure I’m being unfair here, but that was just how I felt after reading the statement. shrug

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yep, cv. tho my reading of SVA’s most recent post is obviously very different from Minnie or Wow’s.

Bottom line remains, we still have no clue what was the planned content of the now not-being-printed SVA book. So, we’re talking in circles, or indulging in bickering. And given the court documents released, we shouldnt hear anything substantial until January.

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I’m glad that both Jo and Steve provided updates, perhaps it will help calm the furor.

I still have issue with some of Steve’s update though: “Some have jumped to the conclusion that I blatantly ignored demands that I not create a book from material on the Lexicon. That just isn’t who I am. I would never, never do something like that…”

This recent statement just doesn’t jibe with what he wrote nearly seven years ago regarding publishing the Lexicon into book format.

“JKR herself said that she was going to do her own encyclopedia when the series is done and that fans should “accept no substitutes.”....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….But without her permission, I won’t publish it in any form except online. She’s entitled to that market, not me....”

I hope this ends well. If RDR was intending to settle at a future date, and I’m not sure I would credit them with that level of craftiness given their prior statement, they’ve certainly gone about it in the wrong fashion.

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It is very standard in a contract between an author and a publisher (especially in a small publishing house like this) that the publisher has most of the power. Precisely because the publisher is giving you money to publish the book. RDR probably gave Steve a standard contract to sign and honestly Steve has no leverage to ask for a contract that is more pro-author, unlike say JK Rowling.

They can sell it to other publishers, with or without your approval and decide how to fight any lawsuits against the book. Of course you can revoke it (remember what I said about copyright rules) but then you have to pay the consequences of breaking the contract. And if Steve doesn’t have the financial capability to “pay the piper” so to speak, then he has no choice but to sit back and hope things end up all right.

P.S. You don’t have to be “slick” to attempt a publicity stunt like this. In fact a certain level of stupidity (or is it bravery?) is required to have the cajones to pull it off.

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budb : “Does an author (ie, the author’s legal represenatives; and we should rephrase author to “copyright holder”) have the legal right to review and approve a manuscript in advance. This is potentially an important point, with implications far beyond the publishing of fiction. I know of cases where after publication books were yanked off shelves, and fines and damages paid for copyright infringement…. but not in advance of publication. And in essence to grant the copyright holder (and their attornies) the right to step in and edit and approve a manuscript?”

budb, and everyone, I’m sorry for my affirmation (on my previoius post). I was thinking while writing… In fact I know nothing about this sort of case (or law): I’m learning here, and concluding too fast… But glad to have contrbuted to a question, anyway.

And, budb, I’m suprised at your hints about “continental ways” ans US ways of discussing. Because in France (where I live) it is also difficult to find courteous Forums!

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ah, Annia, at least the academic discussions among my french colleagues don’t deteriorate into name calling as often as they once did! Je suis historien de la vie culturelle et intectuelle francaise pendant les entre-deux-guerres. ;-)

But, to bring up a concrete example: as you may know, J-P Sartre left the bulk of his estate (including ownership of the copyrights to all/most of his writings) to a child he fathered. What if that young man (or attornies on his behalf) filed a suit against ‘unauhtorized’ anthologies, critical editions, or other research tools? Unlikely, granted, but there always seem to be individuals who for financial or sheer grouchiness file suits…

Mars, i think the real oddity that strikes me is that the typesetting wasn’t completed. That puzzles me, but clearly we won’t have an answer for that, ever.

PS, you are assuming they have cajones! ;-)

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“Does an author have a legal right to review and approve a manuscript in advance?”

Well the simple answer is no. You don’t have to ask anyone’s permission’s to right a book. BUT if your book has the POSSIBILITY of infringing someone else’s rights then that someone else has a certain amount of latitude.

Of course everything starts with a polite request to review your manuscript and if you decline then the C&D (ceast and desist) will come in. But that is part of the hazard when you are critiquing, reviewing, analyzing or doing a parody of someone else’s work. Copyright and Fair Use working hand in hand. :)

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By posting it now, it comes across (to me, anyway) as if he’s hoping he’ll both get to meet JKR in person and sweep all this under the rug, now that the court has put a stop on the book until next year. It seems like he realizes that he and RDR are going to lose this case, and NOW he wants to settle things as a friend to JKR. I’m sure I’m being unfair here, but that was just how I felt after reading the statement.

You’re not being unfair at all. That’s exactly how his post comes across. It’s completely self-serving in that now he wants to meet with JKR and sit down over tea to work things out, when before all this, he couldn’t have been bothered, as he and his publisher repeatedly ignored JKR and WB. It smacks of desperation, and of him trying to gain sympathy by acting like a poor, maligned innocent who just can’t understand why he’s getting sued.

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Does anyone remember Bored of the Rings?

Oh, where is sophomoric college humor when you need it!

To our friends in the UK, who will soon be watching OotP on DVD….we do expect a report about the deleted scenes and other extras, ok?

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Well no lawyer in his right mind would grant Steve’s request. If I was Jo’s lawyer the first thing I would say is “Whatever you have to say to Jo you can say to me.” I would never expose my client to any possible legal stunt that could be used against her in those talks.

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Well, I’m unmoved by SVA’s new statement. He hasn’t really apologized. And the letter implies more than it explains. And he doesn’t actually denounce those unkind things being said about Jo, he just says he’s read them and won’t repeat them “here”. I confess I moved my cursor over the word “here” to see if it was a link. (I’m so bad.) But, really, he asks rhetorical questions when he should be declarative. He claims to have worked diligently with WB/JKR with his website, but doesn’t explain why he didn’t work with them on the book. And he doesn’t apologise for RDR’s mistakes when he can’t understand why we’d think the book would be exactly like the website. (Steve, we think that because RDR told WB to print out the website if they wanted a manuscript.) The statement is an improvement and it shows honest concern for the situation, but, if he doesn’t want us to analyse and dissect, he needs to more direct and concrete. He might begin with “Mistakes were made….”

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@ budb: sorry, i misunderstood your question – you did not ask whether the encyclopedia-project could be copyrighted in advance.

one thing is certain: the right to

  • read manuscripts in advance,
  • suggest modifications,
  • approve of them or not,
  • and to interdict publication as the strongest measure,

was the censor’s right in absolutistic regimes (in some european countries until the 19th century and later on). furthermore, catholic clergy was obliged to present manuscripts to their bishops (in some cases to the vatican) in order to get a permission to print, the so called imprimatur. with the index, the vatican’s list of banned books gone, this practice turned out of date.

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Well no lawyer in his right mind would grant Steve’s request. If I was Jo’s lawyer the first thing I would say is “Whatever you have to say to Jo you can say to me.” I would never expose my client to any possible legal stunt that could be used against her in those talks.

Exactly. His chances of being able to sit with Jo one on one and work this out are less than nil. That will never happen.

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Steve misspelled “diligently” as “dilligently” in his woe is me post. Sorry, I just had to say that.

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Well to be fair to Steve, he can’t say anything against RDR. You can’t break ranks in this situation especially if Steve signed a standard contract. A standard contract puts all the blame with regards to copyright infringement to the author and immunes the publisher. He has to stick with his publisher or he will take the fall for this one. At least as long as the publisher pursues this, they take part of the blame.

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Exactly, Mars, SVA is trying to find a nice safe way of being nice without offending anyone. He certainly cannot say anything like “Mistakes were made…” for legal reasons. In short, he needs to not say anything of any significance.

pf, the imprimatur is still around and used, and due to some specific changes in the relationship between the Vatican and Catholic Universities in the US its actually undergoing a revival for certain types of publications.

The Soviets used a similar system incidentally; and during the German occupation of France a very tight control was exercised over all publications, even in the sciences.

but, the history of publishing and censorship is far outside our purpose of talking about HP!

ok, i need to work on, well, work! back later

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p.f. – censorship? Man that made me laugh. It’s basically the same as RDR’s first amendment nonsense.

Of course nobody has those rights that you mentioned. But you do have a right to prevent anyone from infringing their rights. The argument that you can’t stop a book until it actually has done its damage is well .. I can’t think of a word that’s not rude.

It’s like saying that you have no right to prevent me from stabbing you. Once my knife is deep in your body, then you can sue me.

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http://www.hp-lexicon.org/whats_new.php This is the url to Steve’s statement on hp lexicon today (November 10), where he signs himself “still jo’s man through and through.” I tried to copy it to paste it here, but of course was not permitted.

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budb – in general I agree that discussions here should be civil, but you’re not quite right that we Americans are the only ones who get heated during debates. I guess you haven’t seen a session of the British House of Commons when voices are raised and sarcasm liberal? Or the Indian parliment when the members get up,rushing at each other and overturning chairs?

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or about 15 years ago when the police stormed into the Spanish parliament and tried to spark a coup…sure, I know. but on a daily level, in the US more than in Europe, shouting has taken the place of discussion. that’s all I mean (one could argue the opposite: that in Europe, exhausted after years of wars, revolutions, etc etc, people are too exhausted to argue the way we currently do in the US).

I still wish the first chapter of HBP would be written into the film version, with Tony Blair as the muggle prime minister. ain’t gonna happen, i know, but…just picture that scene?

;-)

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budb – you may be right – i’ve been an american abroad for 21 years and may not know how discussions are now carried on back “home”...

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linden swallow, popping in between tasks… think of the reponses to the Dumbledore Revelation and the difference between those from folks here in the colonies, and those overseas as one example.

curious, and dont give too much away: 21 years abroad. military, or by any chance with a large global US based university with personnel in Europe and Asia?

right now, i’d be happy with three months in Paris, two more to travel France and Italy, and finally a month in the UK on the HP tour. well, there’s always the chance of winning the lottery!

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davidenglish, you’re reading my mind (I also want to know where I can order a copy of that “interactive encyclopaedia”, please).

budb, in Germany, where I live, the DD is gay story happened in the week leading up to the release of (the German version of) Deathly Hallows. And guess what? The former still did not make the news.

Still, I have to say I feel rudeness and negligence in on-line fora or on discussion lists is fairly evenly spread around the world (one of my pet peeves being that people’s spelling gets so bad that trying to figure out what on earth they’re on about is basically guesswork). Someone complained that it’s impossible to edit one’s posts here – perhaps that might create an incentive to be more careful what one writes instead of spewing forth whatever comes to mind?

In any case, the rules are universal: I used to teach a political science class on argument and reasoning, and the most fundamental insight was generally that the moment anyone claims to be making a logical argument, the success of their endeavour will depend on the extent to which they follow the basic rules of logic. One of the most common fallacies generally committed in this context – and one that undermines any argument attached to it – is called an “ad hominem” attack, in which someone’s position is dismissed not based on substantive merit, but on personal characteristics of the person holding that position. Yet such criticism is simply not tenable.

Mars, about the before-or-after thing: what happens if crimes are pursued before they’re committed can be seen in a film called “Minority Report”. Indeed, as far as I am aware, legal systems around the world mostly punish crimes after, not before, they’re committed.

As to copyright, RDR had smartly led WB and everyone else to believe they intended to publish a print version of the on-line Lexicon, which would have violated the terms of copyright granted to the Lexicon (and everyone else) by Jo. So the whole action is not peremptory at all: WB and Jo’s lawyers were working on the basis of the Lexicon contents. After some contradictory to and fro on the part of RDR, attention is now focused on what is apparently a completed manuscript (which had to exist given the projected publication date). In effect, dealing with the copyright issue now instead of after publication of said manuscript could end up saving RDR a lot of money they might otherwise have to pay for pulling and shredding the offending books after distribution. Plus the damages Jo might’ve been able to claim after publication would presumably have been higher.

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Its always interesting to learn about other Leaky participants…there are a fair number of discussants that have multiple advanced degrees, a lot of teachers from all levels, and so on.

Actually, the case I had in mind that sparked Mars’s comment was the unauthorized publication of LotR by Del RAy (if I remember right), back around 1970. Ballantine ultimately got the rights to publish, Del Ray was forced to pay a fine and yank the books from stores…man, I wish I had bought a set to put on e-Bay!

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neither military or large university, sorry … but at the moment I’m a PhD candidate, and am very interested at the number of academics in the fandom …

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Well let’s put it this way, a police can’t arrest someone even if he knows someone is about to do a crime (which is the concept introduced in the Minority Report, authority pre-empting something that hasn’t happened yet) but an individual can definitely do steps to prevent being a victim of a crime. That’s why you have restraining orders and protective orders.

It’s not like you can easily prevent someone from publishing a book. You have to go through a process, you need proof that this guy is gonna be publishing an infringing book. In the end, the request to review a manuscript is essentially that, a request. You can decline. But of course if you decline and there’s enough proof that the book is possibly infringing then you can ask the court to stop the publication of that book while the matter is being resolved.

There’s a difference between authority punishing people for crimes that hasn’t happened yet (only authority can punish people) and an individual trying to prevent a crime to happen against him.

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linden swallow, tried to send you a msg thru leaky’s system, no luck using linden swallow for the addressee. you can contact me using the screen name I use here.

if you look on the right hand side of the Leaky home page, where the polls are, in the comments section you’ll find at least two regular contributers who are also ABD.

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It’s true that it’s much prudent (and less expensive) for JK and WB to just wait for an infringing book to be published, sue it and collect damages but that’s obviously not the way they want to handle things. They would rather everyone just toe the line, using their own money to enforce it, and everyone goes home happy.

Heck we should be grateful this is how they handle things. That’s why you see so many HP books out there.

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And in fact it is my opinion that RDR took advantage of this policy by JK and WB. They knew this was gonna happen. Used it to generate worldwide publicity for their book, hope it ends in a settlement and then cash in on the now very publicized, albeit edited, book.

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Hi Cara, Mars and Minnie. Well, it cannot be said that you haven’t been presistantly vocal about the issue. As I stated earlier this week, I don’t condone RDR’s conduct or Steve’s actions. As I have stated in the last week, what I have observed is the manipulation of the WB corporate lawyers, which has obviously worked to great effect. Has anyone else noticed that the HP phenonemon has taken a very corporatized turn since 2000 / 1999 when Warner Brothers bought the rights for the movies. Another person made the fair point about the lack of trvial updates on JKR’s official web site. Of course this is about money. Throwing accusations of ‘lack of integrity’ is a very dangerous game and it becomes a two way street. As far as the accusations of a lack of original thought as far as the Lexicon’s content is concerned. Is this coming from people who have actually visited the site on a page by page basis? Actually, I have to agree with others, I’d rather move on at this point.

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@Matt—What you don’t seem to see is that all of this isn’t just coming from WB. JKR is involved in the suit as well, and her lawyers are just as corporate as the ones WB has. They pretty much have to be, considering just how much money the Harry Potter series has generated, both in print and on screen since the first book was released. With the kind of money and attention the books and films get, it stands to reason that the folks who own said books and films would be very interested in maintaining their rights to their work.

Honestly? I know I’d file suit if I were in Jo’s shoes in this situation just because it’s my work. Books that I’d worked hard on for almost twenty years, and which I created from scratch. I honestly can’t fault her for defending her rights, nor can I fault WB for being a part of this suit as well, since trademarks are much easier to lose than copyrights. They have to protect what’s legally theirs.

It’s not a foreign concept for people to protect their property, and that’s what this suit is about.

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@Mars: Re; arresting people before they’ve committed a crime:

Notwithstanding conspiracy to commit (which is itself a crime) in many countries, including the US since the Patriot Act and, more recently, Pakistan, it IS lawful to arrest someone and hold them before a crime has been committed.

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As I’m reading comments posted I keep hearing the same things over and over. JK and WB filed a suit against RDR Books because they felt the Harry Potter Lexicon would be infringing on their personal property. I”m no expert so I apologize for any mistakes or typographical errors here. It also states that no other persons can benefit or make money off of the Harry Potter World. As far as I know this is a reference guide. Does this mean that no person is allowed to create a reference guide for any book series? i.e. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Spiderman Comics series, Harry Potter, so on and so forth. We are attacking Steve, yet non of us have actually seen what the Lexicon book contains. The only people that know what is in this book is the author, the publisher, and now JK and WB. How can you make vicious slanderous comments about someone without really knowing what is in that book? Why would a publishing company be called sleezy, and shifty simply for publishing a reference guide to a much loved book series? We are assuming it is the Lexicon web site word for word. Assuming. We have no hard proof. We are making accusations and vicious remarks based on something we are assuming. This book would have caused others to buy the whole Harry Potter series in order to utilize the book in which it was written. To help us understand the books in their entirety.

The next thing that I keep thinking is that if no one is allowed to profit off of Harry Potter except for JK and WB then what are these fan sites doing? This is in no offence to the Leaky Cauldron I”m simply making a point. The Lexicon website is not for profit and does not make any money. This web site however, along with a few others do generate thousands of dollars. That would be considered profiting off of The Harry Potter World right? If JK wins this suit then that means that all reference guides to Harry Potter that are making money should be pulled off the shelves, and all Harry Potter websites that generate income should be shut down.

As far as the vicious slanderous comments being made against people we don’t know, it’s uncalled for. This is a lawsuit between WB/JK and RDR Books ( Roger Rapoport) It is not against Steve Vander Ark or any of the office staff at RDR Books. I think people need to try and stick to the true concrete facts that have been presented to us and stop the twisting of words, assumptions, and accusations. You can be loyal to someone without attacking the other parties character and creating false rumors and spreading viciuos statements without really knowing them.

This is suppose to be an adult website. We are adults and should be able to hold civil debates and each are entitled to our own opinions. We also all deserve to be shown respect for those opinions even if you don’t agree with them.

Just my thoughts.

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Why would a publishing company be called sleezy, and shifty simply for publishing a reference guide to a much loved book series?

Because of the way they’ve acted throughout this entire affair. On their site, they’ve made comparisons to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, talked about police states, and have basically shown themselves to be incompetent and clueless across the board. The fact that they didn’t even have a lawyer on board, much less an intellectual property lawyer? Even more so. That’s why they’re called sleazy and shady.

We are assuming it is the Lexicon web site word for word.

Because that’s what RDR said it was. That’s why. They told WB and JKR to have someone show them how to print out the website when they were asked to see what was in the book. They’re the ones that have said over and over and over that the book is a printed version of what’s already on the site.

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Sue: I’m sorry, but I think you should maybe re-read the comments if that’s the impression you got. Yes, some people are turning this into a character debate about Steve. I don’t know him, so I don’t know what’s true or not. However, as far as RDR is concerned, I think the majority of the people who are making “vicious” comments about them are more due to the remarks and attitudes that they have displayed on the RDR website, as well as the responses given to Leaky in their interview with them. People aren’t pre-judging them based solely on the fact that they are in a lawsuit with JKR. They are reading the facts of the case, reading how RDR has behaved in response to the lawsuit, and reading what RDR themselves have said, and DECIDING FOR THEMSELVES that they disagree with RDR’s position and attitude/manners. We are not just foolishly being anti-RDR for no reason. We’ve found their defense to be ridiculous for logical reasons… their comparisions to this case to the bombing of Hiroshima, their refusal to work with JKR/WB to try and resolve the issue before it went to court, their (silly) claim that they are publishing the book in order to provide the Lexicon to underpriviledged children in 3rd world countries (as if they have $25 to spend on this book), as well as the overall rudeness that has saturated pretty much every statement that they’ve given since this started.

I find your comment rather ironic… you accuse us of unfairly passing judgement on RDR/SVA, but you seem to have done the exact same thing to those of us posting here who disagree with RDR/SVA. Please, don’t assume we’re forming opinions ignorantly or without reason. Because most of us aren’t.

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Another point I’d like to add and this is my last, promise. Based on what has been reported, it sounds as though, at some point Steve approached JKR about collaborating on the Encyclopedia and she declined. Or he approached her handlers. Of course we don’t what transpired on those E-mails, so this is heresy, but it seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea. The Lexicon was one of the first sites back in 2000, to arrange and organize that material. During this period, there was a lot of gaps to fill and much of what was written was based on educated guesswork, which turned out much of the guesswork was spot on. While I don’t condone RDR’s actions, it certainly must of been frustrating for Steve.

Furthermore no one can convince me of the following, and those educators who are knowledgeable of such issues will have to admit this, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias are usually written by multiple people, a staff of editors and writers. Considering the gargantuan task of JKR writing such an Encyclopedia, that is, if such an Encyclopedia was really in depth, I doubt she’d write such a book without a small staff of research assistants or writers. After JKR declined and ask Steve to not publish his work, she could have offered to have Steve help with the research and writing aspect of her Encyclopedia, which she could have always made adjustments to fit her writing style. Now if Steve, declined such an opportunity, that might change my opinion if he’s simply being driven by greed. For example, many Star Trek reference books, the major publications, have been co-written by fans.

It strikes me, if this is how it played out, from behind the scenes, that it demonstrates some terrible public relations sense on JKR’s part. Which is rather surprising considering her past great Public relations instincts, for an outright decline under the context of the history of the Lexicon’s work, demonstrates a ‘us verses them’ mindset about the long standing fan base. When it comes to lawyers and press agent spin, things are never so cut and dried, I’m not so fooled.

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Sue said: “This is a lawsuit between WB/JK and RDR Books ( Roger Rapoport) It is not against Steve Vander Ark or any of the office staff at RDR Books.”

Keep in mind that according to the official court documents, this case is between “Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. and J.K. Rowling, Plaintiffs, against RDR Books and Does 1-10, Defendants”.

In legal terms, a “Doe” or “John Doe” is a name used as an anonymous placeholder. So, there are in fact ten other defendants besides RDR Books. One of those defendants could very easily be Roger Rapoport, but that leaves nine other defendants. I think it’s a very logical step to assume that one of those would be Steve Vander Ark. The other eight could very easily include members of the RDR Books office staff.

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Hopefully, my hope, is that RDR either has the rights of the books seized because of copyright infringement and perjury on their count, or the book is blocked from ever being published at all.

To all the people who have said jk rowling could never match the lexicon’s encylopedia… ugh, wrong. jk rowling created every single fact in the lexicon and much much more that she can put into her offical encylopedia.

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Is anyone else extremely amused by the “Something (Already) Written This Way Comes? Why kids cheat and plagiarize” advertisement on the left side of Leaky’s page? Because I definitely snickered!

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“Of course we don’t what transpired on those E-mails, so this is heresy…”

I think you mean hearsay…..heresy is dissension or disagreement with established thinking, usually religious thinking…oh maybe you DID mean heresy smile

“she could have offered to have Steve help with the research and writing aspect of her Encyclopedia, which she could have always made adjustments to fit her writing style”

But why on earth would Jo need Steve Vander Ark to help her with an encyclopedia of a world SHE made up??? She doesn’t need him to research anything. She knows EVERYTHING because she is the one who created it. That is the whole point here, she created it he listed it. The fact that he made a list of, basically her every cool thoughts--which is what the Potter Universe is—doesn’t give him any ownership to what Jo created. You are trying to make it sound like Steve Vander Ark is somehow of equal status to Jo and he is not. Of course he does the same thing in that recent post of his, asking her to sit down and have a cuppa with him and good chums that they are they can work it out. He’s not her friend, not her associate or her writing partner. He has no relationship with her beyond fan—- he has never met her, she owes him nothing.

I honestly thing that he needs to just stop and back down them maybe he will stop looking like to use his words “an arrogant jerk “

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Considering the gargantuan task of JKR writing such an Encyclopedia, that is, if such an Encyclopedia was really in depth, I doubt she’d write such a book without a small staff of research assistants or writers.

While that might be true, I’m quite sure that her publishers would have editors and researchers on hand that she could work with to help her out. She doesn’t need to hire a fanboy like Steve Vander Ark to help her compile an HP encyclopedia. She can get help through her publishers if it’s needed.

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I honestly don’t care what Steve says. Copy write infringement is copy write infringement no matter who does it and what it’s about. If Steve truly respected Jo, he would stop the book’s production and leave it alone. Jo has a rite to publish her own encyclopaedia/dictionary. If she had decided to write an encyclopaedia/dictionary, I’m sure she would have asked for Steve’s help … not any more! I’m thoroughly disappointed in Steve, I used to think so highly of him for going through the trouble of creating the Lexicon. Now I’m just disgusted.

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I know I shouldn’t do this. Griza, actually I did mean ‘Hearsay’ and that was a spellcheck error on my end. My bad.

Minnie, actually yes, JKR isn’t obligated to hire a fan. Yet in truth there have been cases of fans being hired by the inviduals they have built web sites for. I know of a woman who was major fan of James Wong and Glen Morgan, writers for the first four seasons of the X-Files. If some feel the need to not address I points I made, that’s their choice.

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Nicely said, Sue!

And also Steve AND Jo are the awesomest people on the planet, and I hope they get this settled peacefully, then perhaps this donnybrook would cease.

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I’m with you on the Jo part, Berts, but Steve has shown no reason at all for us to think he’s anyone but someone who is good at organization and can’t take no for an answer. I can think of a few million people I hold in higher esteem…

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Mars, I basically agree with you. I do think all parties win if copyright infringement is prevented before it happens (and a lot of trees might be saved, too). I just wanted to make the point that pre-emptive action is a double-edged sword.

To Sue, Matt et al.,

I think there still might be some misunderstanding as to what Jo seems to be planning. Quite apart from the fact that we won’t see this any time soon, I really don’t think she’ll be putting out a complete inventory of the world she’s created, much in the way the Lexicon does – because anyone can do that: list characters, names, and places, conjecture when events must’ve happened, “discover” underlying connections to historical events, other literary works or mythologies, for example. That’s the kind of stuff that can be found in many existing companion books, and also – hardly originally – on the Lexicon site. It does count as creative/analytical work and hence can be published.

But she’s stated before that the kind of material she’ll be working with is unknown to us for now, because it is background information she created which has not made it into any of the books yet. So I’d expect the bulk of her book – if and when it is published – to be “new” material, even if it might include some stuff we already know. Moreover, I’d be surprised if she did not come up with something more creative in terms of format than the Lexicon’s lists of things – her style is highly inventive and whimsical, which is a big part of the fun. There’s no reason whatsoever why she’d include Steve – or any other fan – in the preparation of such a work.

Now – what about, in addition to and different from such a book, putting together, in book format, an encyclopaedia of Jo’s magical world? In principle, that’s a neat idea – after all, there are encyclopaedias of our world, as well – and they’re quite useful, on occasion. However, there are two problems with this:

1) Our knowledge of Jo’s world is not nearly complete. Once her book comes out, it might be as complete as it ever will be, but she may always drop more info as she goes afterwards (which would be fine, as the continuous flow of new information has not stopped other reference works, which do run the risk of becoming outdated, though). But we know that her book is not yet out, that a major chunk of new information is forthcoming directly from her, and to publish anything claiming to be a complete guide to the HP world now would simply be misleading – and force people wanting a truly comprehensive guide in book format to purchase another, updated version once Jo’s book is out. So now is not the time.

2) Unlike our world, Jo’s world is her invention, and copyrighted. So while nobody owns all the info contained in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (and I am sure there’s some arrangement with respect to its references to works that are copyrighted), someone does own all the info that would be contained in a Lexicon of the HP world. And she’s said she does not want it used in that way. End of story.

Whatever analysis or commentary on the HP world there may be in addition to the factual info does not belong to Jo in the same way – though it obviously depends on her work – but it’s not as unique as a Lexicon would be. So, as it looks now, SVA et al. are either infringing copyright by publishing a fairly unique, most likely best-selling Lexicon, or else they’re putting out just yet another book of commentary, which may not necessarily stand out among all the others, but which WB would probably approve.

It pains me to say this, but in too many cases, fans have a tendency to overrate their work and their own contributions to a creation such as the HP world. I am not saying that HP-spawned creativity in whatever form is bad in principle – most emphatically not – but there is a reason why true originality and high quality are prized in the marketplace. Where fan-creativity is channelled in ways that produce something truly original and worthwhile, such as Wizard Rock, for example, it is appreciated and valued. But where fans just appropriate the object of their affections and try to manipulate it in self-serving ways (like, for instance, those fan-sites claiming to work on an 8th book because they did not like the 7th), such output remains unoriginal self-aggrandizement.

Sorry about the long post.

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It pains me to say this, but in too many cases, fans have a tendency to overrate their work and their own contributions to a creation such as the HP world.

I think that’s the biggest danger in all this. It’s one of the reasons why, even though I write the occasional HP fan fic, I’ve tended to stay out of the fandom at large. It’s all too easy for people to start thinking they’re important, and that they have just as much of an impact on the books and on HP as a whole as Jo does, when that could never be the case.

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“It pains me to say this, but in too many cases, fans have a tendency to overrate their work and their own contributions to a creation such as the HP world. I am not saying that HP-spawned creativity in whatever form is bad in principle – most emphatically not – but there is a reason why true originality and high quality are prized in the marketplace. Where fan-creativity is channelled in ways that produce something truly original and worthwhile, such as Wizard Rock, for example, it is appreciated and valued. But where fans just appropriate the object of their affections and try to manipulate it in self-serving ways (like, for instance, those fan-sites claiming to work on an 8th book because they did not like the 7th), such output remains unoriginal self-aggrandizement.”

And…

“It’s all too easy for people to start thinking they’re important, and that they have just as much of an impact on the books and on HP as a whole as Jo does, when that could never be the case.”

I think the two of you have really gotten to one of the central problems. Since the beginning JKR has tolerated, in facet encouraged her fans to use her characters and her world in creative ways. Fan Fiction is the most obvious. And they have done so to an astounding degree. Given some of the stuff fans have Snape and Harry and even the giant Squid doing an a daily basis all over the internet I was floored at how people reacted to Dumbledore just quietly being gay. In all that I think the lines of ownership get blurred. Some authors are very protective of their creations and strongly and actively discourage fan fiction. But in the Potter Universe, Jo leaves people to write all the time, some good some bad and some worse than bad But while I personally have not yet read a bit of it that approached the real thing I see people reviewing and praising and talking about fan fiction as if it were original work. It is not. Cannot be because it starts out using Jo’s world and Jo’s people. If Suzie builds a house with Bobby’s legos who’s house is it? If Suzie takes Bobby’s legos and sorts them by size and color does that make them her legos? And does having sorted them give Suzie a right to sell Bobby’s legos to Sam? JKR lets people play in her world. People get a little carried away with how important that makes them. Take away Jo’s creation and none of it exists. I don’t know Steve Vander Ark. He is probably a nice guy but he and JKR are certainly not equals when it comes to her characters and her creations.

And totally different thing but how do some of you get italics and bold to show up on your posts???

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Please use grown up words for grown up documents. A complaint is not a ‘suit.’ A judge’s order is not a ‘letter.’

By not using the correct terms (identified on the documents themselves), you are making your article hard to read, you make yourselves appear confused or ignorant, and you are also teaching your readers the wrong terms. This is a chance to inform and teach your readers.

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And it’s another ringer from RDR or SVA here to try to discredit leaky! Woo!

No one here is confused because of wording in article. The press at large refers to it as a suit, and the document I downloaded sure as heck looked like a letter to me.

Anonymice are so confusing.

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Regarding the post by “Budb” about equating this situation with Rowling to the situation with JRR Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS: Budb, whomever s/he is, has gotten all the facts wrong. This is a huge problem with the Internet—people writing and posting without bothering to inconvenience themselves with the facts. Here, then, are the facts:

1. The mass market paperback edition was not published by “Del Ray” but by Ace Books. 2. The mass market paperback edition in question was published in 1965, not “back around 1970”. 3. Ballantine didn’t “utlimately got the rights to publish” since it had the rights to begin with; at that time, they didn’t see the need to publish a mass market edition, but was forced to do so in order to compete with the Ace edition. 4. “Del Ray” was not forced to pay a fine; Ace Books, after getting a lot of bad press, took the royalties and offered to give them to a scholarship fund for SF/fantasy writers, to which Tolkien objected, saying that he’d rather have the money than see it go elsewhere, since it was his work in question; subsequently, Ace Books paid him royalties on all copies in print and then allowed the book to go permanently out of print, which meant that the Ballantine edition was the only edition available. 5. Ace Books didn’t “yank the books from the stores”—the remaining copies were sold and JRRT got royalties on them, and the book quietly went out of print.

I don’t know who “Budb” is, but to him I say: Better to have people think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. In other words, Bud, please get your facts STRAIGHT before posting; otherwise, you’re going to look like a purblind fool.

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Thanks for the clarification, LOTR…the reason for the obvious ”?” was that I wasn’t sure it was DelRay. Afterall, I was going by memory of events from 35 years ago As for the rest, you are incorrect re books being yanked (I was working at a bookstore at the time, and did the yanking). Beyond that, you want to argue, and I don’t argue like that. Find some one else who responds to being insulted.

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LotR did give me another thought tho, one appeals to my sense of the universe as comedy. I suggested elsewhere that, given the timeframe of the HP characters, one of the posters tacked up on the wall in Sirius’s bedroom could be one of those Farrah Fawcett posters that every teenage boy seemed to have. But, at the same time, there were poster maps of Middle Earth available too! We’ll see what the set designers come up with, but the idea of having those two on a young wizard’s wall would be both appropriate and a good laugh.

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Great post TrustSanpe and Artemisia. I was thinking along the same lines. So many fan sites seem to have armies (hee) of fans who believe that JKR owes them. There is a definite sense of “we made her and we can break her.” There’s is a completely unjustified sense of self-importance that I find disturbing.

I am a librarian and I get to meet hundreds of Harry Potter fans through my job. I have only ever met one who went to fan sites – and that was just Mugglenet. The fan sites just aren’t as big as the Harry Potter world; they’re more a drop in the ocean.

As I said before, I have no sympathy for SVA – he CHOSE this publisher. In my book that makes him as shifty as RDR.

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I just think if they talked to one another, in person, they might realize that Steve’s only doing what all fans want: the Lexicon in an easy-to-read version. And why not work together, so everyone gets something out of it? That way Jo and Warner earn something from the rights and sales, and all the fans have this amazing lexicon! I’d love it, because a website isn’t as easy to read in the couch as a book, and printing it all out would take aaages. Pity they don’t work together…

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I just think if they talked to one another, in person, they might realize that Steve’s only doing what all fans want: the Lexicon in an easy-to-read version.

1. Why should Jo sit down with Steve? Because he’s a big name fan? There’s no chance of them sitting down together without lawyers around, simply because there’s no way that either her lawyers or WB’s lawyers would allow that to happen. It’s gone too far now for everything to just be resolved over a cuppa in the kitchen.

2. If Steve were really interested in an easy to read version of the Lexicon, he’d either reformat the site to make it more readable, or he’d compile all of it into a printer-friendly version and offer it for free download to fans as one large file.

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@Wondering – if you’re still on, asked a question of you on p.8

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I realize this will probably fall on deaf ears, but for what it’s worth… I think LOTR fan was way out of line with the remarks he made about budh. They were incredibly rude and uncalled for. Budh hasn’t said anything offensive to anyone on here that I’ve seen.. in fact he’s tried very hard to keep the peace between posters in the past. Even if budh had some of his facts wrong, there was no reason to insult him or have that type of negative attitude. If you want to correct someone’s statement, just do so. Trying to embarrass someone who had no ill intent is just mean.

Sorry, budh, if you wanted to just drop it, but I just really was bothered by that and thought someone should say something.

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I can’t believe Jo. I’m sure that whatever the Lexicon “makes” off their little book will be a pittance to the millions Jo has occumulated.

I agree that it does not give anyone the right to infringe on her “intellectual” property, BUT.

She set a precedent, imo, when she gave the Lexicon that Fansite Award. She admitted and boasted of jumping on the internet to view Steve’s site when she needed a quick reference or fact.

It apparently didn’t infringe on anything intellectual for her THEN, did it?

If all he is doing is publishing the same facts, and it is in HIS words with HISeffort.. then it ought to be HIS intellectual property.

ducks flames

Look, I understand copyright. She owns Harry Potter, and heaven help us if anyone else makes a buck from it without a licensing agreement. I actually DO condone such a law. But what is the big deal?

How many ‘new clues’ books were out there? People made good money off those books.. and Harry Potter.

It isn’t Steve’s fault that Jo didn’t want to write another book for a LONG time. Sure.. she claims to be planning to write her version of an encyclopedia… which I’ll buy and think it fun.

THAT will be HER intellectual property. She put Harry Potter out for public consumption. She has fair right to the money. I just wonder if Steve publishing the Lexicon on paper is that big of thing.

If I were him, I’d be right pissed, and tell her to not bother with his site anymore. If that’s how she feels about it.

I guess I am more on Steve’s side. While I agree she has ‘rights’ to Harry Potter, I don’t think that a paper book of something that has been published on the web for all these years is infringing on anything other than her pocketbook.

She sounds petty to me. There should be some compromise. She did make good use of Steve’s work… where was HIS recompense? A tarnished plaque on a website?

Sorry for the rant.. but I had to get it out there.

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ah, the thought is appreciated, goldfish, truly. i’m just letting it go, assuming that passion for JRR’s books carried LotR further than intended. life is too short to get angry over such things, yes?

the context of my off hand and memory based comments was the real point, however, since the discussion at that time was about filing legal challenges prior to vs after publication. Since none of us has any definitive information about the proposed content of SVA’s book (beyond the sweeping “verbatum from the website” silliness of RDR’s spokesman), none of us really can decide with absolute certainty if plagiarism would occur if the book was released. there’s a lot up on the Lexicon that was written by people other than JKR, after all. We’ll just need to wait and see what the courts decide.

I think Mars first raised the issue of a publicity stunt by RDR to boost sales (or to sell the publishing rights to a larger publisher), and I increasingly agree.

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Rant away, Karlii! Sometimes it feels good to get it all out! :o) However… (and you knew this was coming), this isn’t a battle just between Jo and the Lexicon book. If Jo and WB allow the RDR/Lexicon book to be published, then a precedent will be set unto which an endless amount of “encyclopedias” will be published. Countless little publishing companies will jump on the bandwagon to earn some HP bucks: to get their fair share. But you see… the story doesn’t belong to them. This wonderful world belongs to Jo whom so kindly shared it with us. If hundreds of books are published that “rearrange” info found in the series, then there will indeed be a great loss of money intended for charities. And that, truly, would be devastating. I guess I don’t understand why people are not grasping this. It isn’t just one Lexicon book; it is the hundreds of others that would follow. It would behoove RDR and SVA to understand this as well. And I say that with the most respect, as I truly think Steve is a loyal HP/Jo fan. All of the hard work and long hours put into the Lexicon are appreciated and respected- but it was done out of love and admiration for Jo and Harry. It is not o.k. to take it to the next level and hope to make a buck, which is what they are doing. If it was completely altruistic, they would give the book away for free.

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@ Karlii: If all he is doing is publishing the same facts, and it is in HIS words with HISeffort.. then it ought to be HIS intellectual property.

The Lexicon is not a transformative work [Think parodies, like Weird Al. Think pop art, like the images of the Campbell soup cans/Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol.]

The Lexicon took Harry Potter and made a…..list of known facts. Unless Steve is going to argue in court that he somehow invented an amazingly unique and copyrighted version of cataloging then he’s not “entitled” to anything.

Barring the essays, the Lexicon is not commentary or analysis. It’s “The facts, ma’am, just the facts” and often copied VERBATIM [word for word from the books/images].

My comments on another board

The other HP books didn’t infringe copyrights, if they did then they’re no longer available for purchase. If not, then their content was 90% original thought/analysis and 10% copyrighted material, the test for fair use of copyrighted materials in a derivative work. Picture if you will a well known movie critic, like Ebert, reviewing a movie. You’ll see one, maybe two snippets of the film but not the film in its entirety. Then he will explain the gist of the plot with a brief summary of it, he never reads the film script “verbatim”. Lastly, he’ll give his own thoughts and ideas regarding what did and did not work for the film such as the actors/actresses, costumes, set design, script, directors/producers, musical score, and basic filmography styles. All of this commentary is unique, original analysis.

In 2000, Steve made this comment: But without her permission, I won’t publish it in any form except online. She’s entitled to that market, not me…..”

Just last year, sometime prior to release of Deathly Hallows, he managed to convince another fan that to publish an HP Encyclopedia would be illegal because it would infringe Jo’s copyrights.

So why is it suddenly not infringement for Steve to publish the Lexicon for an HP Encyclopedia less than a year after he convinced someone else not to do it? Remember, this was TWO years after winning that fansite award. He displayed no such sense of ‘entitlement’ to publish the website.

Ask yourself this. If everything HP were removed from the Lexicon, what would Steve have?

Answer: Nothing.

HP, all of HP, belongs to Jo. She let us share that world. It doesn’t mean we’re entitled to take what is not ours and make money off it.

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I can’t believe Jo. I’m sure that whatever the Lexicon “makes” off their little book will be a pittance to the millions Jo has occumulated.

FYI—Jo is donating ALL of her royalties from her encyclopedia to charity. She’s not going to make a dime off the book personally.

Steve, on the other hand, would just pocket the money for himself. Personally, I’d rather see a worthy cause get the money instead of a fanboy who got too self-important about his place in Harry Potter phenomenon.

I agree that it does not give anyone the right to infringe on her “intellectual” property, BUT.

1. Intellectual property is real. No need for quotes around it.

2. There is no “but” to that statement. He doesn’t have the right to profit directly off her property. She told him no. That’s the end of it. Period.

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I guess I don’t understand why people are not grasping this.

Because they can’t grasp the concept that just because a fan is allowed to do something online, that doesn’t mean that same fan is entitled to profit from all of that offline, out in the real world.

There’s a lot of jealousy (i.e., “Doesn’t Jo have enough?”) entitlement (i.e., “Well, Steve worked on the site, he should be allowed to profit from it”) and outright contempt for JKR’s right to her own work and her own property in all of this, and it’s really sad. She created this fantasy world for people to enjoy. She didn’t create it for all of us to take advantage of her goodwill and her generosity. People really need to get over this false sense of fan entitlement. It’s really sickening to see.

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See – for me it isn’t sense of “fan entitlement at all. It’s about the freedom to write works of analysis and/or criticism. If Jo (or WB, or whomever) succeeds in this action, a serious blow is dealt to the freedom to analysis works of fiction academically.

Does Steve have the right to copy text Jo has written? Not extensively (unless he has permission.) Nor does he have the right to use the contributions of other authors (such as those who have contributed to the Lexicon Website) without their permissions. From what I read, Steve believes he has not (or at the very least has had no intention to) violate(ed) those ideals. Since Steve is demonstrably not a moron, I think it is only fair to take him at face value on those issues.

Likewise, Jo has shown time and again that she is encouraging of the creative expression of the fandom and also extremely generous with her money, time, etc. to the causes of literacy and education. It would also be impossible to conclude that she has not made extraordinary contributions to the fabric of our society by writing these books that 1) we all love so much and 2) have introduced so many to the joys of reading. I think Jo deserves a lot of latitude when it comes to not interpreting her actions as those of a greedy troll.

However, I still am of the opinion that while I do support Jo’s right to enforce her copyright, that 1) does not extend to the limit of preventing analysis of her work and 2) will never believe for a moment that any third-party work will put even an imperceptible scratch into sales of anything Jo will ever write. To suggest the latter is simply an insult to the intelligence of anyone who would read such a statement. And to restrict the former is to work against the academic goals of education for which Jo has been such a champion in the past.

As I have said before, I think the whole affair is very unfortunate. I hope that there can be an agreement that ends up being acceptable to everyone – even us fans!

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It’s about the freedom to write works of analysis and/or criticism.

And guess what? Jo hasn’t stopped legitimate analysis and/or criticism of her work. There are plenty of books out there for that. The Lexicon, on the other hand, is little more than a repository of facts that she’s already written in her books. Sure there are some fan essays on there, but have you checked the list of them lately? Of all the essays on that site, less than a dozen of them are Steve’s, and the last one of his is from 2003, where he’s talking about WB’s timeline.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

1. If Steve is seriously trying to pass this book off as literary criticism and/or analysis, why hasn’t he published any more essays on the HPL since 2003?

2. If you removed all of the fan essays that weren’t written by Steve, not much would be left. How, then, is the site still an analysis of the books and not just a repository of facts given the very real lack of his own essay input?

3. If the Lexicon is supposed to be the definitive guide to HP as SVA claims, why is the site so out of date for many of the witches and wizards on the list? Just look at Snape’s page, for example. It lists his death date, but the actual page itself has no mention of how he died, or his ultimate loyalties and motives being revealed. And that was one of the biggest questions in the series!

4. Because the site IS out of date, how can anyone justify putting the Lexicon in print now, especially since Deathly Hallows was just released in July? If you’re going to try and suggest that SVA’s book would be some sort of literary criticism, or analysis of all the books, why not have the site fully updated first?

I look at those questions and can’t justify the Lexicon book’s existence. Even if he wasn’t infringing on her copyrights and trademarks, how can anyone look at the site as it is now and say that it’s ready to go to print, especially since the final book just came out a few months ago? That makes no sense.

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I hope that JKR wins this case. I wouldn’t be surprised if after all this, she feels very uncomfortable with fansites existing.

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@ Mr. Blood: It’s about the freedom to write works of analysis and/or criticism.

People ARE free to write works of analysis and/or criticism. However the law demands they do so within the confines of Copyright/Trademark laws. If it infringes, then it has no business being in book format. I’ve read the entire contents of the Lexicon that is viewable to the open public. I’ve made comments/suggestions. Sent in corrections of facts. I love the Lexicon, it is a great online resource of HP canon but it’s NOT analysis.

J.K. Rowling doesn’t have a problem with people publishing or making money off of books that provide commentary or analysis, but someone just ‘reorganizing’ her work and selling is a different animal altogether.

@ Mr. Blood: 2) will never believe for a moment that any third-party work will put even an imperceptible scratch into sales of anything Jo will ever write.

Even if it doesn’t impede sales from a future book, it does cause significant if not irrepairable harm to Jo’s rights in future. Failure to act to protect her rights may be seem as having giving up her future rights. If its part of the public domain, she no longer owns it. None of it. THAT

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...ooops…is the harm in allowing this book to go unchallenged.

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My contention is that the Lexicon, in the form I have seen on the web, is in fact analysis as it takes a significant amount of work to draw the information presented from multiple sources. It is not simply a paraphrasing of the story (in fact, from the resources I look at mos often which are spells, potion ingredients or character summaries) you can’t even recreate the story from the information given. I’m sure there are sections where that is not so much the case (such as plot summaries.)

Analysis need not include opinion. An editorial would need to include opinion, but not an analysis. Further, I would say that determining the quality of the analysis is not the purview of the courts – they only determine whether or not a copyright has been infringed.

So I still contend that disqualifying the Lexicon from fair use on the basis of a lack of opinionated analysis sets a dangerous precedent in the area of academic freedom to analyze and redact a work of fiction.

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You’re assigning far more scholarship and importance to the Lexicon than you probably should.

It’s a fansite. A really detailed fansite. But it’s not much more than that. Please don’t try and overinflate it to the level of serious academia.

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My contention is that the Lexicon, in the form I have seen on the web, is in fact analysis as it takes a significant amount of work to draw the information presented from multiple sources.

See, that’s just the problem – the source is (and can be) only one – JKR. That’s the biggest difference between this and other ‘proper’ lexicons.

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See, that’s just the problem – the source is (and can be) only one – JKR. That’s the biggest difference between this and other ‘proper’ lexicons.

Exactly! Thank you. Jo is the primary source for everything on that site. Whether it’s the main HP books, the HP companion books, interviews she’s done, public appearances, or internet chats she’s participated in, she is the ultimate source of information for everything HP-related since it’s her world. She created it, and she knows it better than anyone else.

When the source for the vast majority of your site is one person, why should anyone settle for a secondary site? Why not just have the original source—in this case, JKR—fill in all the blanks for you, and give you all the backstory and supplemental information? At least their work would be complete, and offer more insight. The best anyone can hope for with the Lexicon is an incomplete, unfinished book that would lack the inside knowledge that only JKR would know.

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You’re assigning far more scholarship and importance to the Lexicon than you probably should.

My point is that it isn’t my place – or more specifically the court’s place – to make that determination. The quality of the work is not at issue – it is whether or not there is any work at all. I contend that there is. And hence, the Lexicon is an analysis of JKR’s work, not a reproduction of it.

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Mr. Blood,

To satisfy my own curiosity I have just looked through the entire potions section of the Lexicon, and found less than 15 references that were not taken directly from the books, and these were all very brief quips. The spell section does list derivations of the incantations, but it is just that: a list. And, as many people have posted here and elsewhere, much of the legal issue seems to be the percentage of original information versus the percentage of information that is drawn directly from the books, as quotes or summary. The percentage of each entry devoted to the derivation of the spell is a small fraction of that devoted to citing instances where the spell was used in the books. The same can be said for the character pages.

I agree with you that analysis does not need to include opinion, but it does need to do more than just regurgitate facts, even if it spits them back in a different order or a more organized format. Analysis needs to have a point. In my opinion, (and many others have posted similar sentiments) claiming that the Lexicon (or any lexicon for that matter) is an analysis or commentary is a contradiction in terms. A lexicon by definition is a dictionary, which means that its primary purpose should not be analysis or commentary. As far as I can tell from what I have been reading about this topic, books that have been analytical or editorial have been published without a problem. This case has become an issue exactly because the work in question is not an analysis or commentary. And of course because the publisher has been so unprofessional…

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I do feel sorry for Steve. He’s been bamboozled by a guy whose publishing company is primarily a vanity press & a few out-of-print works by other authors thrown into the mix.

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@Chiara:In my opinion, (and many others have posted similar sentiments) claiming that the Lexicon (or any lexicon for that matter) is an analysis or commentary is a contradiction in terms.

Perhaps I should clarify. I am not exactly saying that the Lexicon is an analysis of Jo’s work – but that it is the result of an analysis. As such it has academic merit. Baring such work through legal action sets a very dangerous precedent. I’m actually marginally confident that the legal system will agree with that point, although I certainly do not claim to be an expert in the law.

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desertwind: I agree. I think that neither Steve nor Jo would have wanted things to come to this. But other powers are at work here …

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PS—There is just something so lame about this publishing company and it’s not because it’s a small publishing company. There are many good and concientious small publishing companies and it’s a pleasure to support them.

No. The problem is the publisher. He’s an ass. His whole attitude seems to be “trust me”. Would you?

(For instance: the book was advertised with a November publishing date and it’s not yet type-set? What’s up with that?)

Who know what would’ve happened had Steve hooked up with another publisher.

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A paper has no academic merit if all it does is regurgitate the facts, as the Lexicon does.

I’ve followed Chiara’s lead and looked at the Encyclopedia of Potions on the Lexicon as well. Most of the entires are just simplistic bullet points from the books pointing out in what chapter of which book an ingredient was mentioned, and in what context. There is almost nothing in that entire list of ingredients or potions that offers anything original or new. It’s just a list of stuff that JKR wrote down, with almost nothing added by Steve.

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@Minnie: A paper has no academic merit if all it does is regurgitate the facts, as the Lexicon does.

My point is that it is not the domain of the courts to determine academic merit – that’s process generally left to a process called “peer review.” The courts must make their decisions based on an entirely different set of criteria called “the law.”

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And what I’m saying is that as a matter of peer review – since Steve, like the rest of us, is only a fan and nothing more – the Lexicon site offers very little in the way of original material or new content. If I’d turned in papers written in that style when I was in college, I’d have failed miserably.

As far as the law goes, just from looking at it, the site blatantly infringes JKR’s copyrights.If the print version of the Lexicon is anything like the website, no judge in the country will uphold his manuscript as fair use. He simply uses too much of Jo’s material for it to be fair use.

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@Minnie: There comes a point in a discussion when people simply disagree. It’s doesn’t mean they are bad people or even that they don’t like one another – just that their opinions diverge. I don’t think the Lexicon violates Fair Use standards, and you think it does. Cara asserts that the harm that Jo Rowling suffers stems from not challenging the use of her works in the creation of a lexicon – but the exact same standard of infringement applies to the website, which Ms. Rowling has left unchallenged (as far as I know.)

But this is the power of open discourse – to discover the fundamental places in which we disagree – and to do so without attacking one another (or those who are not here to defend themselves.)

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I don’t know Mr. Blood. JK said she is against the book. Shouldn’t that be enough for any true Potter fan.

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I think to many people are getting caught up in the whole SVA aspect of this. Let us remember that he is not a named defendant in the complaint. Yes, it was pointed out that there are 10 Does named; however, my understanding is that this is done in law for expediency as the names of the players are not known at the time of filing. Certainly, SVA was known and could have been named directly in the complaint if that was the intent.

No, I think that SVA was duped by a greedy publisher. I think that he got bad advice, and contracts being what they are, he is now stuck in this very awkward position. I won’t say a word against him. I honestly do not beleive there was any malicious intent in his desire to publish the Lexicon.

That said, I completely agree with the actions of JKR and WB. They must protect their copyright or risk losing it. JKR has been especially protective of her intellectual property, notwhithstanding her allowing the fandom to play with it on the internet. Even JKR’s agreement with WB is very strict around what can and cannot be made into film. I think I remember a quote something along the line of JO’s needing to be certain that there would ne no “Harry goes to Las Vegas”.

So, if JKR and WB sit back and let RDR go ahead and publish the Lexicon, they give implicit consent for other publishing houses to do the same thing. SVA is carteful with Jo’s material. Others may not be so respectful. And once precedent is set, JKR and WB may have no case.

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I agree, RJ black. However, somewhere in the back of SVA’s mind he knew that publishing a written form of the Lexicon was copyright infringement. God bless him, but he made a few bad choices: 1) thinking this book would be a good idea and 2)hiring RDR. He is not entirely innocent, but I believe that everyone makes mistakes and he is feeling the weight of his choices. Unfortunately, as every Harry fan knows… “it is our choices… blah, blah, blah”. He’ll recover and move on, but this book won’t and shouldn’t.

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Rant away, Karlii! Sometimes it feels good to get it all out! :o) However… (and you knew this was coming), this isn’t a battle just between Jo and the Lexicon book. If Jo and WB allow the RDR/Lexicon book to be published, then a precedent will be set unto which an endless amount of “encyclopedias” will be published. Countless little publishing companies will jump on the bandwagon to earn some HP bucks: to get their fair share.

Ok so if this is true then why do I have a copy of a book called “The Magical worlds of Harry Potter” sitting on my counter. On the cover it states that it was not authorized, prepared, approved, licensed, or endorsed by JK, WB or any other individual or entity associated wtih the Harry Potter Books or Movies. Inside this book it is much like the Lexicon containing a lot of the same information. So why was this book published and allowed to make money if JK is supposedly writing her own encyclopedia and worried about others infringing on her property?

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@desertwind PS—There is just something so lame about this publishing company and it’s not because it’s a small publishing company. There are many good and concientious small publishing companies and it’s a pleasure to support them.

No. The problem is the publisher. He’s an ass. His whole attitude seems to be “trust me”. Would you?

(For instance: the book was advertised with a November publishing date and it’s not yet type-set? What’s up with that?)

Who know what would’ve happened had Steve hooked up with another publisher.

How can you label someone an ass without really knowing who they are? Have you spoken to him personally? Have you seen his publishing business with your own eyes? Have you experienced working with him? NO Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. Just because things have turned out the way they have doesn’t mean either party is a bad person. You don’t personally know what the contract was that Steve signed or any changes that could have been made with the information taken from the Lexicon and put in the book. There are things called editing, rewriting, and such that take place in publishing and printing a book. Just because it wasn’t completely typeset yet doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have come out at the end of Novemeber. No matter who Steve went with as far as gettting this published.. I believe we would have the same outcome. He is well known and regardless of who published the book JK would have found out and gone after him.

We need to stict to facts and stop the character bashing when we don’t know the true characters we are bashing.

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Beats me, anon. I’ve never read the book. Nor have I read the new RDR/Lexicon book, but I have read the Lexicon website extensively and by RDR’s own words the book is a printed form of the site. Ask yourself this… do you really think that Jo and WB are on a personal manhunt to MAKE SURE that SVA doesn’t get any of her money? No, that would be silly.

My assumption is that Jo’s legal team is constantly on top of all new HP related book releases and they felt that the majority of the book you described does not constitute copyright infringement. The chapter titles indicate that there must be opinion in the book (for example…”what does ice cream have to do with witchcraft”... I’m certain that wasn’t mentioned in any of the seven books). I don’t profess to be an expert; I am merely basing my opinion on what has been reported. And, at this point, it can be safely assumed that the new Lexicon book (thus far) is going against the copyright, and not that JKR is trying to wage a personal vendetta against SVA and the Lexicon.

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Posted by anon: Inside this book it is much like the Lexicon containing a lot of the same information. So why was this book published and allowed to make money if JK is supposedly writing her own encyclopedia and worried about others infringing on her property?

I believe I have that book as well (someone gave it to me as a present or something), unfortunately I don’t have it here with me at work. However I did go to Amazon.com and look at it, it has an excerpt from one of the first chapters and just by reading that alone it’s clear that the book is what’s being termed as a ‘critical analysis’ book. The author did not simply compile facts and events directly associated with HP. Instead, he picked aspects of the books and delved into actual myth and legend regarding those topics. The first chapter is about Alchemy, about it’s origins.

Does the Lexicon websitehave items like this? Yes, in essays written mostly by other fans. However, it’s been stated in other news items and postings that the Lexicon staff has not approached those essay authors regarding their essays being in the book (and if those essays were published without their authors approval, that’s opening up another can of worms).

Posted by anon: You don’t personally know what the contract was that Steve signed or any changes that could have been made with the information taken from the Lexicon and put in the book

Except for the fact that early on (and this can be found in one of the previous news postings) RDR claimed “The entire book is drawn verbatim from the material that presently appears on Steve Vander Ark’s website” that if WB and JK wanted to know what was going to be in the book (when they refused to hand over a manuscript) that they should have one of their people show them how to press “PRINT” while on the website.

So realize that as fans, we are going off of what has been officially released in court documents, as well as what has been publicly posted/stated by RDR on their website. Going by that, and all the other stupid statements that they’ve made (David vs. Voldemort, Hiroshima, etc), RDR seems to lack severely in their PR department and are, quite frankly, making asses of themselves (pardon the language). Is it all the information? Of course not, and I don’t think anyone is claiming that it is. But how a company handles things publicly, especially while being sued, says quite a bit about their character, and even if it’s not the head of the company that acts that way, the actions of his employees who are spouting this stuff reflect back on him, in a managerial type position, he should be able to keep control of his employees and how they make the company look.

Hope my post made sense (I hate Mondays)

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Just an idea, since we know that there will be other periodic updates to this story. Can we agree that as those updates are available we NOT cover the same ground again? We can steer new participants to the topic to the thread here, as well as the earlier ones, and indicate that there are discussions about copyright, legal processes, etc etc already available. This would prevent us from re-inventing the wheel, and allow us to focus on disagreeing about (oops, “allow us to focus on” ;-) the newest information.

Just a thought….

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You’re absolutely right, anon. I don’t know the man personally and you obviously do. I apologize.

What I should have said: The publisher is behaving like an ass.

Look. Something is just not right in the way RDR (the company) is behaving. As an outsider, I come to two conclusions: RDR is either a terribly unprofessional publishing company that has honestly taken on a project way out of its league. Or, RDR has deliberately driven toward a lawsuit for reasons we can only guess at.

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@Karen No, I’ve not seen any images. She reports her self as younger and she “can’t get him to stop calling me Ginny”. I understood that you were asking questions about Elanora – I think that’s one of her screen names.

She’s been posting a vigorous defense of SVA…the highlights are at Fandom Wank.

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@ Mr. Blood: The courts must make their decisions based on an entirely different set of criteria called “the law.”

You’re absolutely right. The thing is, copyright law gives the copyright holders the right to say what “medium” their stuff appears in. If Jo says it’s okay that her material appears in a free to the public, non-commercial website, then that is her right. Just as she has the right to say that her material cannot be copied verbatim from that same website into a book format. If she says her Harry Potter books can appear in book format, in audio format, but not in ebook format, that is her right as the copyright holder. That’s what copyright IS.

There are 4 tests for ‘fair use’ in a derivative work. The only one I see JK not winning slam dunk on is #4, however #4 has the power to effect her rights/earnings/ownership to Harry Potter in future.

The Lexicon is not a transformative work, not what appears on the site. What appears on that site is slavishly copied, unoriginal, copiously imitative of Jo’s work.

I think it a much more dangerous precedent, Mr. Blood, to say that any website can take copyrighted material, acknowledge it as copyrighted on their sites, and then say ‘Hey let’s sell this stuff in book format.’ If you think that people won’t take a win for RDR/SVA in this direction, you’re wrong. There will be no way to uphold anyone’s copyrights, all any defender will have to do is site back to ‘this’ case law. That’s not taking an alarmist attitude. That’s speaking the plain truth.

@ anon: “The Magical worlds of Harry Potter”

Yeah, I own this too. It’s a good read. The complete title is “The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts.”

It clearly states it’s unauthorized, acknowledges copyrighted materials and sources.

Colbert’s book is a lesson in the mythologies that Jo drew from to create Potterverse, it does not take 100% everything Harry Potter and put it in print, instead it follows the standard of 90% original/10% copyrighted materials.

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@Wondering – Thanks. Saw one at Sectus then which matches, just curious. She’s got a statement on her own site too.

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“Her diary is still from the 18th, and everything else has remained stagnant. I may be on Jo’s side about the suit, but I’m disappointed in her about her website. It feels like she’s sort of forgotten the fans, and now with this Lexicon debacle, she might forget us even more. Talk about disillusioning…”

Man! You do understand that you got a HUGE new book less than four months ago right? And a book tour? Whadda expect ,that the lady spend every day baking cookies for the fandom? She writes books, we read books, she goes a darn sight further than most authors in catering to fans. Which probably got her in the mess with Vander Ark in the first place. He seems to feel that she “owes” him some special access to her creations—-or at least a private meeting. You feel forgotten by Jo??! Well tell Vander Ark to back off and maybe she will have the time and inclination to keep her website updated to your satisfaction. Jeez!!

It also baffles me why JKR is called a money grubber her and people are accusing her of chasing a buck. She is giving the bloody profits of her “History of Hogwarts” or whatever it will be called to charity. Vander Ark is the one out to make a buck people. I bet you that if he and his RDR buddies issues a statement that all the profits from this lexicon book were going to say Friends of Literacy or Save the Children JKR would be a lot more open to seeing it published. Because it ain’t gonna happen. Because Vanser Ark and his people ARE chasing the money.

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I don’t understand why Steve Vander Ark is getting called greedy. He simply is wanting to publish a book. I don’t think he thought he was going to make millions. It costs a lot of money to publish a book. And then there is marketing it and selling it that also takes time and money. Hoping that you don’t get any returns from whole salers you really don’t make a huge fortune. The other thing is how the information that has been offered to us is really from JK’s side not RDR books. All information in the legal documents was issued from JK and WB attorneys. The news that JK and WB sued RDR books was all over the internet and on the news before RDR Books even new they were being sued. I think it was a publicity stunt on JK and WB’s part. Wanting to get as much public support as possible based on their facts without giving RDR a chance to properly give their side of the story. In many of the cases they had little chance to respond properly to any stories because of deadlines and what not. It states it pretty clearly on their website. I think people are unfairly judging here without really knowing everything. We really don’t know what exactly is in that book. It says it’s the website. But the lexicon website is over 1000 pages. This book is only a little over 400. I think we really need to stop the character bashing on both sides and let the courts decided who is right and who is wrong.

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budb – nice try. Been there, done that. Yet unfortunately – here we go again.

Anon – RDR have brought all of this unto themselves: they are being judged exclusively by their own behavior, especially the statements they’ve made through various outlets in the context of this issue and the many ways in which they’ve been manipulative. (After all, we’ve nothing else to go on.) If that does not, in your opinion, accurately reflect who they really are, then I’d encourage them to start adjusting. Fast.

Mr. Blood – yes, this is about the law, and we’ve been through the legal terms many, many times by now. But in law, just as in terms of academic merit, the issue is straightforward: anything created by Jo is, to SVA and the rest of the fandom, “raw data”, so to speak. To just take it and publish it (w/out permission) is neither academically nor legally acceptable. Nor is it enough to rearrange the data in a certain way, for instance, listing all the spells together, sorting characters by houses, or what have you. Yes, that does take some work, but it’s not enough to transfer ownership of that data, ‘cause it does not create something substantially new (again, neither the concepts of a timeline, a table, a list, a cluster, etc. belong to Mr. Vander Ark, nor do any of their contents as seen on the Lexicon).

That is because it is what you draw from the raw data that makes the difference, as opposed to (re-)presenting that data itself in a certain way. If Jo wants an inventory of her world, she can commission someone to do it for her, if she does not feel like doing it herself, because that does not demand any creativity (except perhaps for graphics, but as far as I am aware, that’s not what the Lexicon’s claim is based on). So nobody has any problems with the Lexicon publishing their essays – after all, that’s been done before. It’s the rest that’s the problem.

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Artemisia, yeah, each time we try, and it does seem that each time a few more listen… I just really hate listening to the bickering. Well, one can only hope, right?

12 months, 8 days until HBP. Then we can argue about whether or not we liked the movie, and who to blame for the aspects we did not.

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and actually, until there is a new update, there really isnt anything new we can say here. since we’re just spinning our wheels, and i found some interesting points out that i wanted to learn, i think i’ll just say aurevoir, mes amis

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anon: All information in the legal documents was issued from JK and WB attorneys. The news that JK and WB sued RDR books was all over the internet and on the news before RDR Books even new they were being sued.

Please!

RDR/SVA had from the date of initial contact date, which was September 12th, to work with JK/WB. They chose not to.

A final request was made on Oct 24th, when JK/WB set a deadline for response by RDR/SVA as Oct. 29th. That request was thrown back in their faces on that same day, Oct. 24th. Yet JK/WB did not rush to file a complaint. They waited until the deadline they issued and their waiting was in vain as RDR failed to respond by that date.

Note, from onset of contact with Steve and RDR the attorneys representing Jo/WB worked quietly. No one knew of this issue EXCEPT the entities that were involved. Nice way for JK/WB to seek publicity and win people to their side, right? Uh, no, I think not.

RDR is the one who’s attempting to try this case in the court of public opinion, making remarkably asinine comments on their site, even posting on message boards in their own defense.

Not so the other side.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 31st. It had to filed by that date in order to get a request of TRO before a judge prior to Nov. 28th, the publish date of the book. What, did RDR think that WB would just let the issue slide? Respond repeatedly in a rude and unprofessional manner and then ignore the deadline, they’ll go away? That just goes to emphasize their lack of professionalism. Taken with the fact that they don’t even employ an IP lawyer, wow, that pretty much says it all.

If Jo hadn’t made a small statement on her site the 31st, when news of the complaint did break there would have been a larger uproar than already has been and it would have been to the tune of “How come she didn’t say anything at all about this? She always keeps us apprised of such things in her news section.”

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Wow… I knew (lol to Cara)... that that rant of mine would start some good discussion! ;-)

Things I have noted in the page and a half of comment since yesterday:

  • Wayyyy too many people are being wayyyyy negative about SVA. RDR I could see.. but Steve? What’d he ever do to you people? Oh.. and I am SURE Jo has been a great help to you..

(sorry.. long day and I am feeling sarcastic).

  • I have also noticed a lot of belittling of the Effort put into running a site like the Lexicon. And if you EVEN think it runs for ‘free’, think again. Steve and all his associates put in hundreds of hours a week to keep that thing running smoothly. And I think they have done a great job updating the pages as quickly as they have done. It is more than copy and pasting.. there is a LOT of code that goes with it. Please don’t demean the work and effor they have all put forth.

RE: You’re assigning far more scholarship and importance to the Lexicon than you probably should.

It’s a fansite. A really detailed fansite. But it’s not much more than that. Please don’t try and overinflate it to the level of serious academia.

Posted by Lani on November 12, 2007 @ 01:24 AM

@Lani: What is your definition of “serious acadamia”?

And I must applaud Mr. Blood. I agree that we all have to agree to disagree… (lol… did you follow that?) But the dangerous precedent WOULD be for the courts to get their teeth into deciding ANYthing beyond copyright.

We must ALL be wary of any organization (gov’t or otherwise) who might want to infringe on OUR rights to Free Speech. We give away too many of our liberties… and I hope we won’t regret it later on.

I think there must be some sort of fine line here for Steve and Jo. Perhaps a collaboration. He and his crew have done a LOT of work compiling all the trivia and minutae that goes with these books. And while SHE has more extensive facts, she could make use of his effort and allow him some credit for it.

I am not saying she should necessarily PAY him for it, but acknowledge where the sweat came from for the compilation.

That’s something for the lawyers to decide.

Steve is just a hardworking guy who has put a lot of effort into his site. Harry Potter was not the first Fandom he worked on either.

I don’t think Steve or anyone at the Lexicon had ANY intention of trying to defraud the second richest woman in the world. Puhleeze…. ;-)

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Right to free speech doesn’t cover theft of someone else’s work, karlii. If RDR is correct and the book is copied verbatim from that site, it’s infringing Jo’s copyrights.

I’ve stated repeatedly that I like the Lexicon, I’ve used it, I’ve contributed info to it, I’ve even gasp donated to its PayPal account and clicked many of their google adds to see what they were about and maybe help generate income to keep the site open and operational. I am a Harry Potter fan after all.

I’m a moderator on a fairly large Harry Potter forum {that shall-not-be-named}. None of us get paid for what we do nor does the site exist to profit off of Harry Potter. We volunteer our time away from our families, our money, and our HP knowledge to keep the peace and let others enjoy what we do: Harry Potter. When we do funding drives, like to help buy a new server, we’re very, very careful in what we do in order to NOT infringe on copyrights.

I personally have not belittled the effort it takes to post, moderate, upkeep that site. What I have stated repeatedly, and will happily do so again, is that unless Steve has invented a remarkably unique cataloging technique then he’s not entitled to any compensation, and especially for something he VOLUNTARILY did.

I’ve steered clear of discussing Steve’s personal life because 1.)I don’t know him, 2.) because it’s none of my business, and 3.) that’s just wrong on so many levels.

Anyone want to discuss the copyright issue?

*Looks around to see all the flies swarming as I continue to beat a dead horse. {Hey, it’s dead, it can’t feel anything. lol…blegh, bug.}

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From karlii: I have also noticed a lot of belittling of the Effort put into running a site like the Lexicon. And if you EVEN think it runs for ‘free’, think again. Steve and all his associates put in hundreds of hours a week to keep that thing running smoothly. And I think they have done a great job updating the pages as quickly as they have done. It is more than copy and pasting.. there is a LOT of code that goes with it. Please don’t demean the work and effor they have all put forth

Most people here (I won’t presume to say all) are not saying that the Lexicon is a small site, or that Steve (and the staff) haven’t put time and money into it. But just because they made the CHOICE (volunteer effort here) to create the website, it does NOT entitle them to a piece of the Harry Potter pie, especially WITHOUT JK’s permission.

As for being negative towards Steve, again I don’t presume to speak for everyone, but I think some of it may stem towards the idea that (according to emails he reportedly sent out in the past) he has said that creating a book form of the Lexicon without permission from JK would be wrong and illegal (see past comment threads on some of the other news postings on the lawsuit). It makes him sound hypocritical to say the least.

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two months until january… everybody has to wait anyway.

just a tiny remark to the argument most repeated here – the lexicon were just a re-arrangement of the author’s inventions. for instance, writing the time-line of a hp-novel requires work and in-depth-knowledge of the intricate narration. imo time-lines are interpretation and therefore something quite different from what an author does.

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@ p.f.: imo time-lines are interpretation and therefore something quite different from what an author does.

In that case, I’m gonna take the timeline from LotR that I wrote up for my own personal use [like back in college a few years ago…okay, more than a few], and rush off to a publisher. The Tolkien Estate shouldn’t mind that. Besides, they can afford it.

Sorry, but on second thought, I think the Tolkien Estate would sue my socks off.

If one manages to comprehend and retain what’s been read, then just about anyone can write up a timeline. This doesn’t mean it has transformed the information from what it originally was: Known places, dates, times, people, creatures, events.

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My definition of serious academia? Something a lot more involved than simply compiling and regurgitating the details and minutae from a series of books. Anyone with both the desire and enough spare time on their hands can do that. You have to offer something more. Something tangible, and make a larger point about all that research. Just putting it all together and arranging it in a different order doesn’t make it new or relevant. You have to bring more to the table than just a dry reading of facts.

The Lexicon IS a good site. But it doesn’t offer me anything more than what I can already get from the books. Ergo, I don’t see it as serious research. It’s just a really detailed fansite, IMO.

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@cara: writing time-lines would kill me, seriously ;-)

imo time-lines of LotR are not so good an example because JKR uses quite different narrative techniques (and there a so many more years to cover in LotR… ). and just because of rowling’s elaborate timing in narration, the time-lines amount to reading and re-reading and keeping up with details and deciding which was important and which not. so it amounts to interpretation which always is hard work.

if you’d be sued by the tolkien estate, you’d have a good case. there was this guy commenting to an article in the financial times’ law blog – forgot his name – who was sued by the tolkien estate for his time-lines and allegedly won the case (though not in new york).

i think one of the most interesting comments about the affair is the one on this blog:

http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2007/11/accio-lawsuit.html

and the discussion the author had with professor patry:

http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2007/11/harry-potter-lexicon-suit.html

scrivener comments upon the licencees’ interests (and their language). when i re-read both blogs, no: blawgs, it gave me the idea that the complaint might have nothing to do neither with JKR nor with vander ark nor his publisher nor the lexicon projekt in concreto. it might as well be the outcome of some strategic objectives & decisions in a big corporation that could have been taken years ago to be met at the next occasion arising, just an occasion to create a precedent. of course, that’s just fantasizing about the case and should be taken cum grano salis. when information is limited, though, one fantasizing is s good as any other.

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sorry, it was the wall street journal http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/11/02/harry-potter-the-copyright-infringement-lawsuit/

and the commenter was Michael W. Perry, author of ‘Untangling Tolkien’.

Avatar Image says:

@ p.f.

Actually, I’d already read those blawgs. Patry is a corporate attorney who works at loosening copyright constraints so as to allow copyrighted materials to be included in google searches for free.

The other is basically stating that WB is acting on Jo’s behalf because they have a better chance of success filing a civil copyright complaint as opposed to just trademark issue. Well, hey, if an attorney thinks they have a better case in another venue, then it is their responsibility to their client to take the better way.

As for timelines, I have a great recall capacity and found it a bit difficult to write the timeline for LotR because it jumps forward and back, hither and thither, days/months/decades/years. I’ve not had to construct a timeline for Harry Potter because its fairly easy to follow, it was written [at least the first several books] with children in mind.

Michael Perry, by the way, wrote ‘Untangling Tolkien: A Chronology and Commentary’. His work is very similar to a lot of the HP fan publications. He maybe used a little more copyrighted materials, however, it was necessary to explain the timeline and analysis of events in the epic, from the first age to the third age. Note that there WAS analysis and commentary. It wasn’t just regurgitated facts.

Avatar Image says:

Patry is a corporate attorney who works at loosening copyright constraints so as to allow copyrighted materials to be included in google searches for free.

Exactly. It’s in Party’s interest to argue for JKR to lose some rights to her work, because that’s exactly what he’s trying to accomplish for all copyrighted works. His arguments on his blog need to be taken with a huge grain of salt just because Google wants to weaken copyright across the board to be able to broaden their search engine.

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RDR seems like a real shady publisher. I wish Steve would have gone to someone more credible to publish his book. Steve has such great insight when it comes to Harry Potter and you can tell by listening to him on the Potter Cast that he truly loves HP. I do not believe that he’s trying to make millions off of Jo’s back. I believe that he wants to share his work with a larger audience. I’m sure there have been many requests for him to put together a book with Steve being the Potter fan that he is. My wish is that he lose the publisher and find an amiable way to solve this.

Avatar Image says:

kapua79.

it would not have mattered one bit if steve went to a more reputable publisher, he would have been served cease and desist letters frequently no matter where he would go, even after jo repeatedly told him no.

also, any reputable publisher would not give steve the time of day to publish the lexicon. they would to publish the essays if he could get the rights from the writers.

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I volunteer at an animal shelter and a school. Should I submit a bill for all of my hours now? For SVA, The Lexicon is what many people call a hobby.

And I do think that SVA was hoping to make money from this. He just quit his job. IMO he hoped to make a career from this. Write a book, start charging for appearances and lectures etc. It looks as if he wanted to become the original Pre-eminent Harry Potter Scholar.

Avatar Image says:

Ok, I refuse to take sides, but I just can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous RDR is being.

“It is our wish that Ms. Rowling join Mr. Vander Ark in his campaign for literary freedom and free expression…”

hahaha. WOW.

WB: “RDR faced no such obstacles in garnering significant and international attention for itself and its book. Ineed, upon information…RDR continues to trumpet its intention to publish its book.”

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Artemisia : “If Jo wants an inventory of her world, she can commission someone to do it for her, if she does not feel like doing it herself, because that does not demand any creativity (except perhaps for graphics, but as far as I am aware, that’s not what the Lexicon’s claim is based on). “

I think Artemisia had a very good point here.

My argument about acamedical research is getting feebler.

Because myself, I’m quite obsessionnal, and I have to try to make timelines and map about every book ou series if they are not given with the books ! But I will agree this is some of kind “obsessionnal work” (like crosswords).

Anyway it is hard work to do that with some authors (Ruth Rendell’s Kingmarkham…). It is the case, for me, with J Rowling about some matters. (Try to date the prophecy, with book five and the two declarations of Trelawney about how long she is at Hogwarts, the declaration of Snape about this same matter, other declarations of Dumbledore…) It needs a word to word reading… perfect for the obessionnal mind, indeed.

But yes, J Rowling could hire somebody to do that.

Avatar Image says:

For budb, and others who read French:

I found of the French site Le Forum de l’Encyclopédie Harry Potter a link to a french advocate blog (maitre eolas. There is an interesting discussion about the legal side of the case (in the middle of discussion about the last book.

http://www.maitre-eolas.fr/2007/11/06/780-alors-ces-reliques-de-la-mort-billet-avec-spoilers

See the posts n° 37., 62., 65., 100., 110., 116., for the discussion about the legal case.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Annia…is the tone there a bit less vicious? I just popped in between tasks today, and appreciate that you took a moment to share that blog info with us.

Since this thread is winding down, and I doubt more than a few will ever read this, I’m posting here a question that has been on my mind for quite some time, and assume it will never be discussed or answered (in fact, I doubt there is an answer).

One fact about the comments on Leaky that I’m sure most of you who read/post realized a long time ago. As a news topic is ‘pushed down’ the front page list of articles, and then disappears into the back pages, the discussion drops off signifcantly. Its a bit like “Short Attention Span Theater”, and people become distracted by next tid-bit to fight about.

Why do so many post in these threads in anger? Why are some so clearly just looking to argue and fight online? There’s more going on than just the “anonymous” factor, that sense that your online screen names hides who you really are, and that false belief you can say whatever you want without fear of being found out. Realistically, if one was as nasty in real life as in the online postings, that person would have few friends indeed. Is participation in the Leaky threads substituting for lack of a real life for some, or as therapy for real life’s problems?

But to be “angry” at SVA, or JKR? Or for that matter at WB or RDR? Or the sheer excrutiating pain of the Dumbledore Reveleation discussions (how many of those posting had even read the books????)? Yesterday it was Lavender Brown—what will it be today, or tomorrow?

Please let’s leave our anger, our sarcasm, and our personal issues off the Leaky discussions.

To those who brought knowledge of the legal issues to our discussion, who posted thoughtful questions, and who particiapted in a discussion rather than a shouting match…thank you.

Avatar Image says:

@budb You have manages to bring up a topic that fascinates me. Not so much the dropping off. that I can understand because I think everything has been said for now. When there’s more news on the case, I’m sure there will be more discusssion.

I think many people post an instant reply without thinking through their responses. In truth, I don’t mind sarcasm or snarkiness – if it’s intelligently done. But the name calling makes me crazy. In real life, this behavior would lose you friends and get you in a world of hurt. Walking up to someone and ridiculing them just invites harm and retribution. But, in an anonymous world, you can feel ten feet tall and bullet-proof. However, I do see more of this behavior creeping into everyday teen life. I’ve often wondered if those teens that act like this spend a great deal of time flaming people online. I have had several in-person discussions about the HP series. Yes, there have been moments when someone voices and idea that is completely moronic. But, since I wish to keep my friends, I usually ask for canon and an explanation of how they reached their opinion. I am sure that if I flamed like some people here, I’d get slapped. And I would deserve it.

That said, the other thing that sends me? The whiny “You can’t judge…” or “Everyone has to be nice” type of replies. It’s sort of the same thing. One person setting themselves up as an arbiter and expecting everyone else to play to their rules. I do judge. It’s how I avoid chisellers, cheaters, liars, reprobates, thieves and general scum. I also look at someone’s actions – not their words. I feel no need to be nice. civel, yes. clear and level-headed, yes. But nice, no.

Do you know the Bard Paisley song “So much cooler on-line”? I think it sums things up pretty well. So, thanks for a great post. Now, I’m going to read other posts and snicker at the “personal issues” that get exposed. There’s a slight chance I’m going to hell…

Avatar Image says:

I just had to get it out of my system, wondering…hopefully, I did so politely?

There is an article in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education section C, as part of a series about the type of harrassing behaviors we are lamenting also showing up in on-line college classrooms, especially in Second Life. I know from experience that it is happening in both traditional and online college classrooms at an increasing rate.

You’re right: we can disagree, and do it politely.

Avatar Image says:

I just read through all the news items related to this with a friend of mine. He agrees that RDR has not only shot themselves in the foot, but managed to fully cut off both feet. In this latest story when we read the comments by SVA ”...fans have decided that I am just trying to make huge amounts of money…” I had a bit of a movie I like pop into my head:

"Listen. We're not just doing this for money. We're doing it for a s--- load of money!"

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