WB and JKR File Full Request for Injunction of Harry Potter Lexicon (Part 1)

114

Jan 16, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling’s legal team has filed its full complaint against RDR Books, the publishing company that is attempting to produce a printed, commercial version of The Harry Potter Lexicon, in an ongoing effort to get an injunction permanently halting the book’s publication. There are more than 1,100 pages in this complaint, to which RDR has three weeks to reply.

As this is a huge number of pages and of information, this post will highlight new or important information, and as we read the documents more thoroughly, we will add more and attempt to answer questions.

The complaint says that:

1. The book “compiles and repackages Ms. Rowlnig’s fictional facts derived wholesale from the Harry Potter works without adding any new creativity, commentary, insight, or criticism. Defendant’s attempt to cloak the Infringing Book in the mantle of scholarship is merely a ruse designed to circumvent Plaintiffs’ rights in order to make a quick buck.”

2. The cover of the book (which was originally free of disclaimer but later edited to include the word “Unofficial” and a disclaimer) has been designed to mislead users; the complaint also includes a survey from an independent research consultant which concludes that 38 percent of people thought the book gave a false impression of endorsement by J.K. Rowling (and 55 percent did so without any other mitigating factors rendering their answer unusable; one such factor was thinking that J.K. Rowling actually wrote the book, or that the Lexicon Web site was a place to buy Harry Potter books).

3. The Lexicon book would be “in direct contravention” to J.K. Rowling’s plans on her own encyclopedia for charity. RDR and Steve Vander Ark were aware of J.K. Rowling’s intentions and that this book would be a violation of her rights. It says Steve Vander Ark’s letter requesting employment on the official encyclopedia was sent in July 2007, and “after his services were declined, Mr. Vander Ark then set out to have materials from his own Lexicon Website turned into a book in competition with Ms. Rowling’s planned book…knowing full well that Ms. Rowling would not even be finished with her book tour following the July release of the final Harry Potter book – much less able to start on her next companion guide – Mr. Vander Ark sought to finalize and release his Infringing Book almost immediately following that July release.”

4. JKR/WB attempted to circumvent a lawsuit.

5. That RDR Books’ main excuse for its conduct is that it is a print version of the Lexicon Web site; the complaint then cites a technology authority at WB’s law firm who claims to have downloaded the entire Lexicon – “more than 891,851 individual data files totaling approximately 50 gigabytes of data” – requiring a dedicated computer working for more than 120 hours. “To print out the entire content of the Lexicon Website would take a similar amount of time, if not more, and considerable effort, if not more, because we used professional equipment…in other words, a reader cannot easily print out the Web site and read it like a book.”

6. That there is a difference between allowing fan sites copyright latitude to discuss Harry Potter and “allowing a single fan site owner and his publisher to commercially exploit the Harry Potter books in contravention of Ms. Rowling’s wishes and rights and to the detriment of other Harry Potter fan sites.”

7. The Lexicon book (the complaint includes pages from it) contains “lengthy plot summaries, spoilers, and detailed descriptions of characters…synopses of the major plots and story lines of the Harry Potter books, descriptions of the history and personalities of nearly all of the Harry Potter characters, and detailed catalogues of the fictional creatures and magical elements that constitute the “heart” of the Harry Potter books.”

8. That RDR’s attempt to pass the book off as scholarship is “a sham,” and that the Lexicon book is “not a reference book or a scholarly critique, merely a mass-market work that lifts whole chunks of Ms. Rowling’s texts and orders them alphabetically, in effect ‘rearranging the furniture’ that Ms. Rowling created while lacking any orginality or invention.’ ”

9. A rule against JKR/WB would harm the fan community by “necessitating more monitoring and restriction of fan activity by copyright owners afraid of compromising their rights against infringers.”

10. RDR’s “bad faith” actions (ignoring cease-and-desist letters, responding by claiming copyright on the Harry Potter timeline, and offering rights to the book to German and Taiwanese publishers while asking for more time to respond to WB because of a family emergency) is cause for injunctive relief.

11. That Steve Vander Ark claimed “in a ‘smoking gun’ e-mail that it would be ‘illegal’ to sell such a work without Ms. Rowling’s permission and that she had reserved her right in the Series.”

12. Allowing RDR to proceed would effectively ‘scoop’ J.K. Rowling on a work she intends to publish herself, as well as deny her the “exclusive right to be the first to create a definitive encyclopedia of the Series, as well as the right to exercise quality control over derivative works based on the Series. Moreover, when Ms. Rowling publishes her own guide she might find herself in the absurd position of defending a claim that she infringed RDR’s copyright in its unauthorized derivative work based on her creation. Nor is this possibility remote: RDR has already written to WB claiming infringement of a timeline based on the Series and posted on the Website.”

13. There would be a ‘societal’ cost to allowing publication as it would open doors to similar unauthorized works, make it unclear to official licensees who had the right to grant rights, and confusing customers about what “goods are authorized, and diluting the goodwill Plaintiffs have built up in the Series through their policing and quality control.”

The remainder of the complaint consists of many more declarations and pieces of evidence. Significant portions of J.K. Rowling’s declaration (dated January 15, London) read:

“To this day, I care deeply about how the characters and story lines are presented and what type of derivative works I license based on the Harry Potter books. I require that all licensed materials, such as the films based on the books, be of the highest quality. I also limit Harry Potter merchandising in an effort to maintain quality controls. In other words, I am careful about the way the Harry Potter books are presented to the world. I believe I owe that much to the millions of Harry Potter fans who have grown to love the books and to trust in the quality of the products associated with them.

“I am extremely appreciative of the support both I and the Harry Potter books have received from the fan community. I enjoy and encourage the free flow of ideas, creativity, commentary, and discussion of the Harry Potter books, including on free-of-charge fan websites, even if it has meant allowing these fan sites to reference copyrighted Harry Potter materials or to create derivative works such as fan fiction or art. I express my appreciation for fan sites and the fan community by, among other things, bestowing a ‘fan site award’ on one or more of the Harry Potter fan sites each year. In June of 2004, I granted just such a fan site award to the Harry Potter Lexicon fan site partly because of the free and open nature of the site. That being said, I never intended for this award or my encouragement and support of the fan community to be taken by anyone as an authorization for them to create and sell an infringing Harry Potter book (or any other materials) for their own financial gain.

“I have chosen not to license a Harry Potter companion book similar to RDR Books’ proposed “lexicon” because I intend to write my own. In addition to the two companion books I have already written — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages (the “Companion Books”) — I have stated on my web site, in numerous interviews in the press and elsewhere that I intend to publish a definitive guide to all of the creatures, characters, places, and other elements that comprise the Harry Potter world. Just as I did with the first two companion books, I will donate royalties from such a companion book to charity.

“Moreover, I have made and kept notes in connection with each of the Harry Potter books, which I have recently begun to augment with additional materials that I intend to include in my own companion guide. In addition, I am aware that both my British and American publishers, Bloomsbury and Scholastic respectively, have each compiled and indexed the material from the previous Harry Potter books and that these materials would be made available to me if I chose to use them.

“The seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series was only released less than six months ago on July 21, 2007. I was touring in support of the book, most recently in the United States and Canada, until December, 2007, after which, I took a much-needed break.

“I was thus sad and disappointed to learn while in the midst of touring in support of the last Harry Potter book that RDR Books and Mr. Vander Ark planned to release a Harry Potter “lexicon” directly contrary to my wishes. I understand that the prposed book is neither commentary nor criticism of the Harry Potter series — either of which would be entirely legitimate — but instead lists in alphabetical order the various fictional characters and things in the Harry Potter universe. It is as if I have been ‘scooped’ before I even had the chance to wind up the book tour for the final Harry Potter installment, much less to write and publish my own Harry Potter guide.

“Even worse, RDR Books and Mr. Vander Ark apparently are attempting to justify publication of the ‘lexicon’ based on the past praise I had given to the Harry Potter Lexicon fan site. As I have already explained, I have always supposed Harry Potter fans, even if it has meant allowing fan websites to reference copyrighted Harry Potter materials, but have drawn the line at selling such materials for commercial gain. By threatening to publish and sell the unauthorized ‘lexicon,’ RDR Books and Mr. Vander Ark have crossed that line.

“It is incomprehensible to me that this ‘lexicon’ should be allowed to be published simply because I encourage and support fan websites or because Mr. Vander Ark was able to finish his ‘lexicon’ while I was still touring in support of the last Harry Potter book. My fear is that if the ‘lexicon’ is published, authors like myself will be forced to restrict the use of their materials on fan websites or risk losing their right to restrict other unauthorized uses of those materials. Such a result benefits no one and hurts the fan community most of all.

“Contrary to assertions made by RDR Books and Mr. Vander Ark, there is an enormous difference between enjoying the free Harry Potter Lexicon fan site and allowing a book to be sold that directly competes with future Harry Potter works that I intend to author. Moreover, the website differs significantly from RDR Books’ proposed book. The website, to which I gave a fan site award, features exciting graphics, user forums, and critical essays, whereas the proposed book simply repackages story lines and characters from the Harry Potter series in an alphabetical A-Z listing. Also, as I mentioned, the website is free whereas RDR Books plans to sell the book fro $24.95. Lastly, the ‘lexicon’ does not measure up to the standards that I have set for licensing derivative works. In short, I would never have approved of this ‘lexicon.’

“To add insult to injury, I have learned that RDR Books intends to market the ‘lexicon’ in a way that suggests that I have endorsed it when, in fact, the opposite is true. The back cover of the proposed book contains a large and prominent quote by me that makes it look like I am endorsing the book. In fact, the quote was taken without my permission from a fan award I gave the Harry Potter Lexicon fan site in 2004, which as I explained above, is different in style, purpose and commercialism from the proposed book. Given the similarity between the names of both the website and the ‘lexicon,’ the book gives the false impression that I have approved of it and suggests to my fans that I am encouraging them to buy the book, when I am not.

“I feel as though my name and my works have been hijacked, against my wishes, for the personal gain and profit of others and diverted from the charities that I intended to benefit. Accordingly, I respectfully ask this Court to stop publication of RDR’s Books’ ‘lexicon’ and send a message to other would-be infringers that they may not capitalize on the fame and success of the Harry potter franchise in the future.”

The text of the e-mail string between Steve Vander Ark and the Christopher Little Agency requesting employment on the official encyclopedia is included in the document. The first few emails request a meeting during Vander Ark’s July appearance at Sectus, which were declined. Emma requested questions be sent through via e-mail, and Vander Ark sent the following response:

“Hello, Emma:

“Basically, the question is a personal one. I would like to be moving to London soon, but one of the things holding me back is that I don’t have a job there. I have registered with TeachLondon and have been pursuing a few other possibilities, but I’m a school reference librarian and TeachLondon and other such services are primarily looking for classroom teachers. I am a US citizen and need to have a job lined up in order to get a work permit.

“I have no idea what Rowling is planning now that the novels are finished, but if she is thinking of working on an encyclopedia or other references to the series, I would be a good candidate for work as an editor, given my work on the Lexicon. I had hoped to meet with you simply to give you a note to pass along to Rowling making the enquiry.

“I said that I have other people to talk to. Actually,that’s one person: Fiddy. I have her email address and can send a note her way. I thought it would be best, however, to send this through Christopher Little since you’re her literary agents and would be directly involved with a project like this.

“Please give me your honest opinion on this. I am 49 years old and have proved myself to be a lot more than just some teenaged fan with a website. If you think this idea has some potential, let me know how you think I should proceed. If you think I’m wasting my time, I would appreciate your being honest with me on that as well.

Thanks for taking the time to consider this.

Steve”

The response, from Ms. Schlesinger:

“Dear Steve:

“Thanks for this.

“Whilst we appreciate your very clear continued interest in Harry Potter, should Jo decide to work on an encyclopedia or other Harry Potter companion book, she will definitely not be looking to collaborate with anyone, so we regret that we can’t offer you an anchor to move over here. For the record, we have confirmed this with Fiddy, so no need for you to write directly. Thank you however for sending via us.

“All the best for your future plans.

“Best wishes

“Emma.”

Steve’s response:

“I really appreciate the quick reply. I wasn’t really thinking of collaborating, just working somewhere in the organization, but I do understand what you mean. I wouldn’t have contacted Fiddy about this once you had said it wouldn’t work, but thanks for mentioning it to her. You never know what might come up.”

————–

There are also declarations from fans Matt Lawlis and Jessica Lares, stating that they e-mailed Vander Ark and Melissa Anelli (the writer of this post and webmaster of the Leaky Cauldron) saying that he should publish the Lexicon and he demurred, stating:

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

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

[It should be noted that while the two fans state that I was on this e-mail, the listed recipients do not include e-mail addresses I've ever used, and I have not been able to locate this file in my records; probably just a little mixup.]

—–

Other declarations include ones from:

Jeremy N. Williams (Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) – attesting to the various registered copyrights and trademarks of Harry Potter.

Jeri Johnson (Senior Tutor / Academic Dean of, and Ashby Fellow and Lecturer in English, at Exeter College, University of Oxford)

Suzanne Murphy (Vice President, Publisher, Trade Publishing and Marketing, Scholastic, Inc.) – Who speaks to the differences between the Lexicon book and web site, and the standards set for publication of Harry Potter materials

Dale Cendali (partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP law firm) – giving a full record of the correspondence between the firm and RDR Books once the book had been discovered

Cheryl Klein (Senior Editor and Continuity Editor on Harry Potter for Scholastic, Inc.) – giving evidence of the publishers’ own index of canon information that it uses when editing

Neil Blair (Attorney and Junior Partner, Christopher Little Literary Agency) – chronicling his initial efforts to cease publication of the book

William Landes (Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School)

Myron J. Heifgott (Consultant in survey research) – who performed a survey indicating that between 38 and 55 percent of people would assume a Lexicon book was falsely encouraged by JK Rowling.

Sarah Odedina (Children’s List Publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing, PLC) – giving evidence of the publishers’ own index of canon information that it uses when editing

Diana Birchall (Story Analyst for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) – indicating after a review of the Lexicon book that the book reorganizes and restates the Harry Potter story, without analysis or comment, or placing the series in any social context. It also says the book “makes use of extensive paraphrasing that is alarmingly similar to the original Harry Potter text” and that many entries “quote verbatim lengthy portions of the Harry Potter books.”

Melanie Bradley (counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP) – documenting her review of the web site and subsequent findings, including several instances where Steve Vander Ark asks others not to reappropriate his work

Emily Blumsack (Associate, O’Melveny & Myers LLP)

—-

There is much more on this to come as we read and absorb it all. Stay tuned.





157 Responses to WB and JKR File Full Request for Injunction of Harry Potter Lexicon (Part 1)

Avatar Image says:

Sad, very sad that it has all come to this.

Reading Jo’s statement, one thing struck me. She says,

“I understand that the prposed book is neither commentary nor criticism of the Harry Potter series – either of which would be entirely legitimate – but instead lists in alphabetical order the various fictional characters and things in the Harry Potter universe. “

Now there are a number of JRR Tolkien encyclopadia published that do just that. I assume they may have the estate’s permission but it seems a fine line to draw between commentary and criticism particularly when these two features are often blurred in many of such encyclopaedia.

Whether Jo has been “scooped” seems, to me, to be neither here nor there. Either she has the legal right to stop such publications or she does not.

Avatar Image says:

“RDR’s “bad faith” actions (ignoring cease-and-desist letters, responding by claiming copyright on the Harry Potter timeline, and offering rights to the book to German and Taiwanese publishers while asking for more time to respond to WB because of a family emergency) is cause for injunctive relief.”

I’ll say it is. That’s really horrible. :<

I really can’t believe that all this is happening, though! As somebody who has dedicated so much of his time to documenting Harry Potter, it’s understandable that Mr. Vander Ark would want to take it to the next level, I suppose, but that being said.. it’s Jo’s world! She owns it, creatively and legally, and beyond all this talk of injuctions and copyrights, the fact that he is going against her wishes when he cares so deeply about her work is very contradictory and disheartening. Especially on the subject of him making a profit versus the money going to charity.

Avatar Image says:

This man is SAD!

I mean really, cause he couldn’t help he set out for revenge.

He speaks in a thing on the “Special Feachers” disk of OotP, and he sound like one of those people whos whole life is devoted to HP, I love HP but, I’m not THAT obbsessed!

Avatar Image says:

9. A rule against JKR/WB would harm the fan community by “necessitating more monitoring and restriction of fan activity by copyright owners afraid of compromising their rights against infringers.”

Hmmm, this paragraph could prove very interesting in the long term.

I don’t understand how Jo Rowling could be “scooped” either.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, and the members of the leaky staff, thank you for keeping us so well informed, and for remaining publicly neutral in this unfortunate situation

Avatar Image says:

It´s all about money.

Avatar Image says:

I think that this is a bad situation for all concerned and I hope that it is resolved soon. I would not buy this encyclopedia even if Jo had endorsed it because I would rather wait for the one written by her.

Avatar Image says:

@Matt

So, it´s not about HP but about JKR. Very interesting. A case of personality cult.

Avatar Image says:

I have to admire you guys for remaining so neutral. I understand how hard it must be.

I personally still side with Jo. Nothing about it seems unreasonable.And the fact that Steve himself once acknowledged that it would be illegal seems fishy to me. Did he get a bit full of himself?

Avatar Image says:

To the people who are saying Steve is out of line:

I don’t think that’s how it started out. As we’ve all seen, Steve’s been VERY cautious in the past of using Jo’s material commercially. I think this is (mostly) a matter of a small-time publishing company getting carried away with what could have been their biggest success. I’m 100% sure they knew the book would not be endorsed by Jo, and I believe they had almost everything to do with the horrible handling of the situation.

Peppa, lol. That’s all I have to say.

Avatar Image says:

sigh This is so stupid. RDR Books should have just given in; they’re publishing COPYRIGHTED material. Maybe I don’t understand it perfectly, but it seems to me that they haven’t got a chance. Saying that Jo endorsing the website gives them the right to print the book is crap, too.

Avatar Image says:

Steve Vander Ark says: ” I wasn’t really thinking of collaborating, just working somewhere in the organization,”

There is no “organisation”, Steve. There’s just Jo Rowling, writing an encyclopedia on her invented world sometime in the future. The web Lexicon has volunteers providing a lot of work and input, but Jo’s encyclopedia will be a one-woman effort.

If Jo need any help of any kind she has people working for her, her agency and her publishers whom she knows and has worked with before. There’s no reason she should turn to a person she hasn’t even met, even if that person knows a lot of Potteriana. And, I might add, even if that person hadn’t said in public that Jo was “finished” and should step back, and let the fans take over, as well as trying to publish a book against her wishes.

Avatar Image says:

RDR has behaved very badly, but that’s still Steve’s fault. Ultimately, he chose them for the project, he chose badly. Even worse still is his admission that publishing the Lexicon would be illegal, he should have kept that in mind.

This whole situation isn’t fun for anyone, least of all Steve & the peeps at the Lexicon. Hopefully, it will be resolved before they end up in court. JKR has every right to insist on her possession of copyrighted material.

Avatar Image says:

The thing I just can’t understand about this is how any fan would go against Jo’s wishes. She created this whole Potter universe, which has given joy to millions of fans. It’s so sad that people will do anything for money. Any true fan would rather have the proper encyclopedia, not a fan one with no new information.

Avatar Image says:

So regrettable but still fascinating. I’m most interested, along with Interested Fan above, in point: 9. A rule against JKR/WB would harm the fan community by “necessitating more monitoring and restriction of fan activity by copyright owners afraid of compromising their rights against infringers.” So many posters on this site and others have said that a victory for RDR/Vander Ark would spell the end for the fandom by meaning that sites etc. would be restricted. WB/JKR here claim the opposite – that a victory by RDR/Vander Ark would actually be much more destructive to the fandom. Echoing budb (always a reasonable voice) and others to thank TLC for their great reporting.

Avatar Image says:

To Mari: really, it’s rather disrespectful to say it’s “a case of personality cult”. I don’t claim to know Rowling but throughout all her interviews she has shown to be a leveled down-to-earth person, she has said countless time that she is incredibly sadden by this situation.

And this ISN'T about money, the franchise is solid as it is & will keep generating more in years to come. It's not that it's all about COPY RIGHT infringement and setting the examples for others.

This is ugly and sad but Rowling IS the owner and all bitterness and resentment apart Van Ark should realize that while the Lexicon is a wonderful tool we have all used at one point, violating someone’s right whether it’s JKR or any other author shouldn’t be permitted or encouraged.

Avatar Image says:

The Lexicon / RDR argument sounds a lot like my 9-year-old when he is trying to get his way because he doesn’t like my answer.

What part of “NO” doesn’t Steve – and I think moreover RDR – understand? Steve can claim no ownership of the material he has derived from the HP canon as his own just for rearranging it.

M Jones posted (first comment) a question about Tolkien companion books. The difference there, I believe, is that Tolkien hadn’t announced his plans to publish an encyclopedia himself and therefore the permissions may have been granted by the Estate – or at least not opposed.

In the James Runcie special, Jo stated that she wants to continue to be the authority about everything Harry Potter because ”...it’s my world.” THAT’S the point we fans forget sometimes because we are interested so deeply. All of this stuff is Jo’s because it is her invention. She thought it all up and anyone who thinks they know more about her world than she does is just – yes I’m going to use the word: deluded.

Avatar Image says:

Sorry everyone, but are all wrong, and so is JKR. Her ownership over HP applies to the books and their being copied into other media. They do not apply to review, criticism or compendia like the HP lexicon. I would suggest everyone do a little basic research into the applicable law on the issue at Stanford Center for Internet and Society’s (they’re the ones providing free assistance to RDR and hp lexicon) website.

I love Rowling and adore her works, but she’s really stepping way over the line here.

Avatar Image says:

HPL is not review or criticism and compendia actually are NOT allowed, rol. Do a little research yourself; this is not OK. Stanford is interested in ahigh profile case, and will lose.

Avatar Image says:

I just saw an unofficial encyclopedia selling in Brazil! It is not Lexicon’s, but it is the same type and it has info from all the seven books. It’s called “Harry Potter from A to Z”, by Aubrey Malone (it is a translation. I don’t know where the author is from). It has a big disclaimer on the front cover, but it is still an encyclopedia of the whole series! Here’s the cover:

(http://www.livrariacultura.com.br/imagem/capas3/779/2308779.jpg)

Go figure …

Avatar Image says:

poor steve… no fan should have to deal with such a backlash for trying to do a good thing!

Avatar Image says:

“I am 49 years old and have proved myself to be a lot more than just some teenaged fan with a website.”

...ouch

Avatar Image says:

Melissa and other Leaky staff: Thank you for being so honest and unbiased. It must be difficult for you and I appreciate that you are not taking sides in your coverage.

I support Jo the whole way. No doubt about it. I would never buy another book like that than the one she will write. I hope Mr. Vander Ark and RDR will let it go, they obviously have no right to go ahead with the publishing. It’s sad to see a dedicated fan like him go down with so much shame on the count of greed (for that is what it looks like to me – it’s all about his and RDRs greed). Very sad. :(

Avatar Image says:

I think that they should put out the book because their have been many people who have come out with some kind of their version of the books. What would be the point of going though all this when people whould know what the difference from JKR and the other company. I really think it does not matter because she is still going to sell big so what is such the big threat for this book to come out…..

Avatar Image says:

Vander Ark has long claimed copyright on his “creation” (the Lexicon) and I beleive he has been tragically mistaken that the “sweat of the brow” or effort involved in its creation vests the creator or creators with copryight protection. I am not sure why, contrary to Ms. Rowling’s express wishes, he went ahead with the publishing contract with RDR. I am sure he regrets it, but now he needs to live with the consequences. RDR seems to have gone rogue on this and I”m not sure why they think the legal fees are worth it. Perhaps they just want to be able to have Vander Ark write a book on the trial and his experiences … maybe that’s the ultimate pay off. I can’t see where they think they’ll ultimately be able to publish this and if they do why fans would buy it – for other then a curiosity.

Avatar Image says:

If Bloomsbury had only paid an indexer, then the index would be in the back of the longer books that need them and part of the published work. That is a research job, not an author job. It was really the choice of the publisher not to include an index or a glossary or any appendices or notes, though I don’t see how an index would have hurt.

If they had done so, the Lexicon wouldn’t have been necessary to the extent that it was (or they could have hired Steve to do it as a contractor) and it still would not have interfered with Jo writing her encyclopedia, because she doesn’t write like an indexer.

I got the feeling from her chapter outlines that organizing and being consistent with all that info and story threads was very difficult for her, as opposed to the writing and thinking up ideas which comes easily.

Even though there was so much secrecy surrounding the books, an indexer could have worked on it afterwards, alongside the editor. I’m just really surprised she didn’t receive that kind of help from her publisher.

Anyway it’s all very sad. I feel bad for the people at the website, and I feel bad for Jo. But she is legally in the right.

Avatar Image says:

Steve’s own words:

“Basically, it is illegal to sell a book like that. Jo has reserved all publishing rights to her intellectual property, which means that she’s the only one who may publish any book that is a guide or a encyclopedia to her world. And since we’re fans and supporters of Jo, we wouldn’t do anything that would violate her rights, even if we could get away with it…”

TALK ABOUT A “SMOKING GUN”!

I’m sorry Steve decided to ignore his own words. He did such an amazing job with the Lexicon and now it’s come down to this. VERY SAD.

Avatar Image says:

Echoing budb, I admire and thank TLC, for their neutral and comprehensive reporting of this travisty. For an intelligent, scholarly person , Mr Vander Ark is a vary sad example. :<

Avatar Image says:

Sorry, sas, but I suggest you read this article by Columbia professor Time Wu (http://www.slate.com/id/2181776/pagenum/all/#page_start).

Avatar Image says:

When it comes to other Books, like The Unofficial Encyclopedia from A to Z, a couple things are different. First that author made it very clear that this was an unofficial encyclopedia. Second, it was released prior to the release of the last book, which is also about the time she made her intentions public (to the mass media at least) that she would write her own Encyclopedia. Third, and most important, the Lexicon was a fan website that is being published into a book for profit. This is important because it could have a dramatic effect on the future of fan websites. If the court rules in favor for RDR, future authors, artists, etc. could force websites to shutdown to prevent them from stealing their copyright. Now that is scary.

The smoking gun email hurts Steve, because he freely admits that publishing the lexicon in book form would be wrong.

On a side now, as I was searching for unofficial encyclopedia’s, I noticed that someone wants to publish a book called “Harry Potter and the Sleeping Dragons.” Now, how dumb can you be if you think that will work?

Avatar Image says:

What I picked out was Jo’s comment “I have made and kept notes in connection with each of the Harry Potter books, which I have recently begun to augment with additional materials that I intend to include in my own companion guide.” Does she mean Beedle the Bard, or has she started early preparations for the Scottish Book?

Avatar Image says:

the Lexicon is pushing it too far

Avatar Image says:

This whole situation really bothers me. I feel bad for JKR and I feel bad for Steve Vander Ark. I have heard Steve speak and it is obvious from listening to him that he really loves the HP world, as many of us do. RDR should be ashamed of themselves for putting the parties invovled in this situation, including the fans. However, does anyone else get the creepy feeling that Steve is a little stalkerish after reading the above report? His email requesting a job, his wanting to move to London…it just seems a little outer limits to me.

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rol, you’re wrong. The Lexicon’s book doesn’t review or criticise. There are plenty of books out there that do that. The Lexicon is a summary of all the books, and it should be stopped.

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First of all, THANK YOU Leaky for keeping us informed about this matter more accurately and objectively than most media usually do. Secondly, Thia post in particular was very enlightening. Up to it I was supportive of SVA/RDR, (reasons explained in the 5-Jan Update: if that was the case she should have sued many piublishers before. IMHO, she’s suing the Lexicon bc it’ll be the first of the “companion books” who is not rubbish and can actually make good money.) but having read all this, now I’m divided. I still think the same about JKR, but it looks as SVA is doing it out of spite, in which case would speak very lowly of him…

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sas, did you read the article? If you believe your legal expertise on the matter is superior to that of a Columbia law professor, then there#snot much point in discussing this further. The Lexicon is not exactly a review or criticism, but it is far from a mere “summary”. As Prof. Wu points out, “This and other entries [referring to the HPL entry for house elves] aren’t, as Rowling seems to suggest, anything like an abridgment of the originals. No one would read the Lexicon as a substitute for the Potter books; it is useless unless you’ve read the original, and that makes all the difference.”

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Frini brings up a good point.

http://www.thefridayproject.co.uk/books/view/?id=63

What’s the difference between this and Steve’s book?

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and rol, you need to tell he author of that article not to equate a free website with a for-profit book. Then maybe the argument would make a lick of sense – if it doesn’t fall completely apart, which it does. Yu cannot ignore the issue of profit, which Wu does, which makeshis argumentpo plus blather and not valuable.

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Jessie, for one, it has a disclaimer on it and the world unofficial in the title. That’s just the start.

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Excuse me. “Word” not “world.”

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He does not discuss profit because it is irrelevant under applicable legal precedent. What is relevant is the extent of Rowling’s ownership rights, which he argues (correctly, imo) don’t extend to “companion works”.

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Wu says, “This and other entries [referring to the HPL entry for house elves] aren’t, as Rowling seems to suggest, anything like an abridgment of the originals. No one would read the Lexicon as a substitute for the Potter books; it is useless unless you’ve read the original, and that makes all the difference.”

The problem is Jo tends to write her own encyclopedia. Of course no would confuse Steve’s book with Deathly Hallows, for instance, but it could confuse readers who want to read the encyclopedia by JKR (whenever she finishes it).

Also, Wu completely glosses over fair use, saying it isn’t a fair use case. But it is! How can it be anything but a fair use case if his argument is the Lexicon falls under review, criticism and discussion?

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Again, I can’t type today. “Intends” not “tends.” Ugh.

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There is a aonderful encyclopaedia called “The Complete History of Middle earth” by Robert Foster which was published just after Tolkien died an has become so essential that it is even recommended by Christopher Tolkien. It has very few statements of opinion in it but is claasically, an encyclopaedia of facts. It may be that he has worked out a deal with The Estate but at least to me, I can’t see much of a difference between someone who writes an encyclopaedia and someone who writes a critical book, the latter of which Jo says is OK.

Anyway, its all very sadi. The Lexicon is a brilliant internet resource but I guess Jo would say that the operative word is “intenet” -and hence free.

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Sorry for the typos !

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I wonder whether we all are such hopeless typists. Even Melissa says the Leaky comment board’s fonts confound her as well !

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Melissa – Your articles, particularly on this, are excellent. They provide a terrific synopsis of the issues in a completely objective and professional manner. Thanks!

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The internet site is free to the readers, but not necessarily not-for-profit—don#t forget advertising.

mollywobble, I’m not an expert on fair use, so I can’t address that part of your post. As for JKR’s intention to publish her own book, it’s irrelevant. HPL isn’t copying that encyclopedia, nor is it using it as a reference. It’s based entirely on his/their own research of the HP books. As Wu says, it’s not preemption, it’s competition. In the end each of us, as consumers, gets to decide which one to buy, or both. Or neither. That’s simply called capitalism.

Again, as I said in first post, I love JKR and the world she created. I think she’s generally a good person, based on her generosity to charities. But I must say that I think she may be becoming a bit of a control freak about Harry. My suspicion is that she’s not even that concerned about the Lexicon itself, but wants to cut off other “derivative works” that are far closer to violating her ownership rights.

You’d really wish she’d have given it her ok in exchange, say, for SVA’s promise to donate part of the profits to charity.

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You know, I’ve always thought Steve Vander Ark was a little creepy… in interviews on tv and DVDs… he just seems a little full of himself to a delusional extent…

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For me the difference is that JK will publish her book FOR CHARITY, while RDR for MONEY

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Frini’s right here’s the Amazon site for the book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Z-Harry-Potter-Everything-Creator/dp/1905548974/ref=pd_sim_b_img_7 It’s Rowling’s world. All they needed was her approval or to say in large letters this is UNOFFICIAL and UNAPPROVED and that would have been the end of that. So in the end it’s about money and ego on the part of RDR and Vander whatsit.

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Jo does seem a little possesive now that all of the books have been published, but it isn’t unacceptable and makes sense. However, I agree with you arassi, Steve seems a little stalkerish and creepy in that letter.

Thank you Melissa and everyone at Leaky for providing such wonderful coverage on what is a very difficult and controversial issue in the fandom.

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Thanks to Melissa and Leaky for keeping us updated on the case.

Of course, it’s about money. About Steve and RDR wanting to make money and Jo not letting them. She has all rights to do that. It’s HER story.

It’s so sad that we all (including Jo) have to deal with this after this amazing release last year and the antizipation for all the things yet to come. Conventions, the theme park, movies…

I hope, they’ll have this law suit over soon.

Fran

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“As for JKR’s intention to publish her own book, it’s irrelevant”—Rol

It’s very relevant because part of the suit claims that the title and cover of the book is misleading. Fans who are waiting to have JKR’s “Scottish Book,” could interpret the “Lexicon” as the OFFICIAL encyclopedia. Supposedly, the cover of the printed lexicon uses the same font as the HP books, and has a similar style. If you’re not careful you could grab the lexicon expecting it to be JKR’s encyclopedia when it’s not.

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Just touching upon various points, especially rol’s. The article that was posted by rol seems to assume the lexicon book will be discussion and criticism, but the article posted by melissa suggests that Jo’s lawyers have seen an advanced copy and can see that it is not. From an academic writing speculatively, to a group of lawyers who know much more about the particulars in the case, I would say that the lexicon book is just wrong. Throw into that the part about the bitter Steve being turned down for a job and so launching this book as revenge, and my house will be backing Jo all the way! I also think it is wrong, picking up from something that Jo said, that if the Lexicon book does get published, Jo herself might get sued by them when her book comes out, as they could argue that she has copied them!!! How ridiculous is that?

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Thanks, Melissa and Leaky, for keeping us informed about this mess and for staying neutral and reporting it fairly. Steve comes off smelling like a Blast-Ended Screwt after blasting. He couldn’t work his way into the JKR team, so he’s taking his ball and going to a publisher who will either bankrupt themselves or make a laughingstock of themselves in the publishing industry. He ADMITTED he couldn’t legally publish the Lexicon, then goes ahead and does it??? FIghting this in court is a waste of good money – he’s provided evidence AGAINST himself, even if the law wasn’t against him. What a mess. I always thought it odd that he had no-right-click software on the Lexicon and “(C) Steve Vander Ark” showing up when I tried to copy something I needed for reference, because we all KNOW JKR owns her copyrights. Argh. What a mess. I hope RDR gives up soon – they aren’t doing any of us any favors with this suit.

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Well, freakin’ a, get me a gigantic unofficial stamp, and let’s be done with it!

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Another question: Is full complaint online somewhere? I’d like to read the research part and the part about the correspondence between RDR and Jo’s lawyers/WB. Or is more on that coming and I simply have to be patient?

Fran

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mollywobble , if this was all just a case of the cover being misleading, I doubt it would have come this far. I can’t imagine any sane publisher would have let this go this far if it was just a matter of stamping “unoffical” on the cover. JKR and WB believe first and foremost that the Lexicon is an illegal use of her property. The point about the book being misleading is a supplemental point, not their primary argument.

As for the idea the JKR could be sued when she publishes her encyclopedia, well, yes she could, assuming two things: 1. The Lexicon was not an infringement of her trademark and copyrights 2. She copy items from the Lexicon, or plagiarized without properly attributing.

This is problematic because JKR has admitted using the Lexicon website as a reference. On the other hand, as long is she doesn’t blatantly copy, and can show how extensive her own notes are I ‘d have a hard time seeing a court siding with the lexicon.

I’d like everyone to maybe take a step back before jumping all over SVA. I don’t know him personally, nor do many, if any, of you. He put in a tremendous amount of work over the years compiling the lexicon. Now he has a chance to earn a nice profit based on that work. Assuming it’s legal, who here would turn down the money. And before anyone answers, please first state whether you’ve ever downloaded music on the internet using p2p software (napster, limewire, etc).

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Rol, the amount of work he put in is not relevant. Its not his to make money from.

And she could well be sued by the lexicon later on under far more ample arguments than those 2 points you present. Other authors have had problems with things posted by others on the internet. Its not just about direct plagiarizing. Even broad plot descriptions and theories can be problematic. And JKR herself alluded to some problems on the recent pottercast interview with things she put on her website

.And while JKR may well succeed in the scenario you described above, why should she even have to go through that?

As for music and p2p, two wrongs don’t make a right. Why use a playground argument: “this person, or a lot people, did something wrong so doing this other wrong thing is now ok”

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I think it’s strange if someone might think that what Steve has done on his site is merely a “summary”. I actually have fun reading it, and it’s totally different from reading the novel. Thus, I do consider Lexicon is a work of originality. Also Wu in his article commented similarly: “This and other entries [referring to the HPL entry for house elves] aren’t, as Rowling seems to suggest, anything like an abridgment of the originals. No one would read the Lexicon as a substitute for the Potter books; it is useless unless you’ve read the original, and that makes all the difference.” Jo creats her own world and let others know about it. She should be more generous when people need a guide to know her world better, and the guide can come from anyone who might have a better reading and researching the work than the others. Just my small piece of thought, nothing to do with the law :)

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rol, I’m not suggesting that the Title/Cover is the whole argument. I said it was part of the argument. That is one reason why JKR’s encyclopedia is relevant, which you said it was not. That’s what I was arguing.

I don’t have a problem with Steve. He just didn’t use very good judgement in my opinion.

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Steve is oldest than J.K 0o

I want Lexicon published, but if J.K doesnt wanna, i will wait the official Encyclopedia of J.K

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To rol: Actually, copyright law is a little more complicated than that. Yes, Jo Rowling holds the copyright to each individual Harry Potter novel, and she gets to decide how those novels are reinterpreted into other media. If someone were to create a graphic novel version of the series, they would have to have Jo’s express permission. But, under the current copyright law, she also holds a copyright on the bits and pieces that make up the series. Her plot developments, characters, and made up magical spells and objects are covered by copyright law.

It’s like the brick wall in my back garden. I own the wall. I built it myself. But in order to build the wall, I had to buy the bricks first. So yes, I own the wall, but I own the bricks, too. If I were to decide to take my wall apart and rebuild it in another configuration, that’s my right as the wall’s owner.

But my next door neighbor has no right to take my wall apart and rebuild it, no matter how kind and friendly he might be. He may have watched me build the wall, he may be quite fond of wall building himself. But in the end, it’s my wall, and my bricks, and I get to choose what gets done with them.

Steve may be a very nice man (I believe he is, though I have not met him personally), and he may hold a very strong personal interest in Harry Potter and its contents. But that doesn’t give him the right to take the story apart and put it back together in alphabetical order. The Fair Use Exemption to copyright does not cover that kind of a work. If the art or the essays from the site were to be included, that might improve RDR’s case because it would be adding some sort of transformative quality to the book. But as it stands now, I don’t believe this book will be published.

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Echoing budb and others on here: thank you Leaky for remaining objective and keeping us updated with news regarding this case.

The whole situation is a shame, but I stand by what I have said before: Harry Potter is JKR’s work, if anyone else tries to publish for profit that infringes on her rights. It’s her world and she has given the fandom a great deal more leeway than some authors would have allowed. Let’s not abuse it. It is all because of her that we have Harry and his world to begin with. For that I am eternally grateful and I respect her wishes.

Thank you JKR and Leaky!

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Well said DaisyRenee!

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quote: You know, I’ve always thought Steve Vander Ark was a little creepy… in interviews on tv and DVDs… he just seems a little full of himself to a delusional extent…

Posted by no hate on January 16, 2008 @ 10:11 AM

You obvious never met Steve in person, otherwise you would not say that.

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mollywobble, I wonder if “Sleeping Dragons” is one of those Chinese langauge HP tales that were spawned some years ago? (and y’all can look up the international copyt right/intellectual property law suits those fake HP books generated!)

re Lexicon vs Encyclopedia. One ingredient none of us posting here has is the exact content of the manuscript SVA turned over to RDR. Yes, I do know the snarky comment made by a RDR staff member when this mess started, suggesting in essence that the manuscript was straight off the lexicon website, word for word. But that snarky comment is not proof, just snarky. A lot hinges on exactly what the manuscript contains, and how much of it is SVA or others vs JKR’s words.

I’m glad to see folks have shifted from demonizing either SVA OR JKR to recognizing this matter is now between the attornies for RDR and those for WB.

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snip < I’d like everyone to maybe take a step back before jumping all over SVA. I don’t know him personally, nor do many, if any, of you.>

I do. He’s wrong. It breaks my heart. Estel

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What I can’t stand about the whole situation is that JKR let herself in with a lawsuit about an encyclopedia that will be obsoleter by the time she writes her own….. as she made pretty clear in the BBC docu, that is 10 years in the future. With all this fuss Warner and she made, taken completely apart from copyroghts and the rest, IMHO she is more or less obliged to the fans to sort out her scrapbooks and start writing NOW.

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Goodness gracious secunda. You never stop do you? She is not threatening fan fiction. If you actually READ what the claims were, you would have seen the part where it says it is important for her to win this case because it will show that fan websites can continue to opperate the way they are, as long as they aren’t published for profit. Basically, if RDR’s argument that JKR gave Steve permission to publish the Lexicon in book form because she liked the website, future authors and artists will have to ban fan websites to prevent this from happening. That is when we will lose fanfiction and wizard rock.

As for Melissa, she is a great person. Knock it off! Yes she probably makes money through Leaky and Pottercast because it earns money through advertisment. It’s still not the same thing as asking Potter fans to pay a membership for the information. Why are you calling her a coward?

I don’t know why you keep coming back here and making ridiculous arguments. You’re just making yourself look bad.

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Secunda: Jo and her people can’t have spies placed in every store around the world to police for copyright infringement. The fact that you’ve seen Harry Potter cake decorations does not mean that they were authorized, nor does it prove that Jo and WB should allow anyone to create anything HP related and through their ownership of the franchise out the window.

Also, Jo is not threatening fansites. She is expressing a very rational fear that, should RDR win this case, authors may be declared to have lost their copyright by allowing fansites to exist. Can you imagine what might happen if that’s declared to be true? Would the next big author allow his or her fans to write fanfiction? To post fanart online? Not if that means allowing their own legal rights to be weakened.

The whole reason for the existence of copyright, according to the U.S. Constitution, is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” How, then would a victory for RDR promote any incentive for future artists? If their work can be hijacked the way Jo’s has been, there’s very little reason to put in all that effort.

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“Through” in the first paragraph is meant to be “throw.” Sorry. Forgot to proofread. :)

One more thing: Melissa Anelli is an honorable woman, and nothing she’s said or done about this case can be construed as cowardly. She does a lot for the rest of the fandom, and I for one won’t stand for her being slandered.

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I haven’t had time to read the whole post, but I want to say thanks to Melissa and the rest of the Leaky staff for their tireless reporting on this case.

One comment on the parts I did read: I’m not buying the claim by the WB/JKR side that the Lexicon is not a reference book. I use the Lexicon website exactly as I would use a reference book. Reference books don’t have to be original or creative, do they? Regardless of whether or not their other arguments are valid, it seems that the suit is trying to give the impression that the Lexicon is worthless, when in fact it is a very valuable resource—a great reference for readers of the Harry Potter books.

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Poor Steve! He’s like the professor in the movie The Blue Angel. He’s been destroyed by his passion for JK Rowling. He can’t help it. He thinks he’s more mature than a teenaged fan with a website, but he sure has behaved like a teenager.

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I think that one of the reasons Jo has to sue the Lexicon is because if she let’s this book be published, someone in the future might come along and start publishing fanfiction or something – I don’t know what exactly this something would be – and they would use the arguement – “Well, you allowed this book, so we should be allowed to publish our book as well.”

That said, I think this whole affair is very depressing. The Lexicon is so awesome, and Jo is so awesome, so how come it all came to this?

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Reminder to all: JKR/WB aren’t suing the Lexicon, or Steve. They’re suing RDR publishing. That’s an important difference I see overlooked too often.

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Molly, Daisy…you are both familiar with Secunda’s posting style, save your energy!

Secunda, you do raise an issue that is interesting in your 11.50 post, regarding “the timeline”. As we discussed in previous threads related to this sad situation surrounding the Lexicon, it appears that a lazy, low level employee of WB may (not proven yet) have “heavily relied upon” (jargon for copied) the timeline SVA compiled and made available through the Lexicon site… and in the process included specific errors found in that timeline. I have not seen however that SVA or Lexicon as an organization have brought suit against WB on that issue, nor have I seen mention of such a suit initiated by RDR (if legal rights to the timeline exist, and if they could be or were transferred to RDR).

Obviously, any close reader could construct a time line (my guess we all have to some degree). But, the oddity here is that the WB timeline appears to contain the same errors as the Lexicon/SVA timeline, implying copying. But because the basic information can be extracted and compiled from JKR’s writings (and interviews) by anyone, I doubt there can be any claim to copyright of the timeline by anyone.

And I will agree with you that …until recently ….JKR clearly had not worked out a complete timeline; she’s obviously been doing that for the past 6 months or so, however. Afterall, aince she has been rather busy for more than a decade, we can cut her some slack for not being perfect.

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Secunda, I don’t know why I respond to you, because it goes in one ear and out the other. Jo doesn’t want to end fan fiction. She’s said it a hundred times. How could you argue that fanfiction will hurt the sale of the Potter books? They’re the official work. You honestly think millions of people said, “No I’m not going to read Deathly Hallows because I can read some 12 year old’s fan fiction for free instead.” Man you are ridiculous.

I can’t believe you would call someone, who works her BUTT off for this fandom, a coward. You’re the coward. Hiding behind a screen name to spew your venom. You need to grow up.

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This issue is not at all clear cut, otherwise I don’t believe the wannabe publishers of the Lexicon would have taken this matter this further. However, there are, above everything, ethical questions (among others) risen by this situation. The lexicon is a fan site, and even though there is money generated through it with publicity, in theory that money is only used to cover the expenses of keeping up the website. There is (again, in theory) no profit intended, and that is why that site, and others like it, are allowed to exist. Now, publishing the content’s of the site for profit is a whole other matter, especially when the JKR is so clearly against it. To me, it really is irrelevant whether or not JKR is intending to publish her own encyclopedia. And if Steve wants to publish a companion book, write it from scratch and call it some other thing rather than Lexicon. Simply taking what is on the web, free for everyone, and try to cash in on it, to me is just wrong.

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I know, I can’t help it budb. I’m not the type to ignore something blatantly ignorant or wrong. I know Melissa can fight her own battles, but I can’t just let secunda say that without responding.

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Secunda has a habit of coming here and randomly flinging insults around; he/she will continue to be banned until he/she stops. I appreciate all the defenses, though. Thank you. :)

And thanks as always for remaining adult and keeping the tone of these posts towards encouraging discussion and not mudslinging.

There is a LOT more to this to post, forgive me if I just…petered out on it this morning. Stay tuned, and I’ll try and find out if I can just post it all for you to download. Either way it still merits summarization here because 1100 pages is a lot for anyone to read.

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Steve Vander Ark. How dare you try to use Jo in order to get a permit to live and work over here? Added to other things I’ve heard, this really does tip the boat. You sicken me.

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Thanks for all the hardwork Melissa.

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Many thanks, Melissa!

sigh…I should get back to work, huh?

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I haven’t been keeping up with every news item concerning the suit, but after reading Melissa’s post and seeing how careful she’s been to remain neutral, as I’m sure everyone at TLC has as well as everyone at Mugglenet, I have to wonder. What do all the people at HP Lexicon who have put so much time, effort, work and heart into the website think of Steve publishing “his” website in book form? I do think Steve cares very much about JKR and Harry Potter, but got caught up in the hoopla of the last book, and the praise for the Lexicon and made a poor choice. This publisher is strictly small time looking for a big score.

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Also there’s the matter- which I also see overlooked- of the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, the Lexicon is a collaborative effort. Are there not others who update definitions and so on?

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lilliesmum- jinx! XD

Also, thank you for all your efforts, Melissa.

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Secunda, bless you, but there is no way on God’s green earth that fan fics would put a dent in Jo’s earning potential. To say so seems childlike and silly and I am sure that you didn’t mean it to sound that way.

I am sure SVA is a kind man, but his bad decision cascaded and now, unfortunately, his reputation is on the line. The whole thing saddens me. And, as I was listening to JKR on PotterCast, I kept thinking “wouldn’t SVA have loved a chance to participate in the interview”. What a shame that will never happen now.

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Fame is a fickle friend, Steve.

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HAHA, there’s already a book out there in Brazil…

Vander Ark claims to not be some “teenaged fan” but he’s acting like someone turned him down for the dance, and is now stealing his lunch money..

It’s JK ROWLING’S BOOK! If you wanna get revenge on someone, pick someone with less money, less power, and A LOT less support. Vander Ark deserves whatever he gets, stick to the ”.org” part of your life, buddy.

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“stick to the ”.org” part of your life, buddy”

I wish this didn’t make me laugh out loud, but it does. Dang. I need to check my sense of humor. (hoot!- not to be confused with w00t!, because I am not that savvy).

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Thanks so much for this post, Melissa.

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Arithmancer asked a question about WB claiming that the Lexicon is not a reference book. I think the basis for that claim is that most reference books you would find in a library are composed of factual information. These would be books like the WorldBook encylopedias, the Guinness Book of World Records, directories of governement employees, and auto repair manuals.

The Lexicon book would fall more along the lines of Spark Notes, Cliff’s Notes, or other literary reading guides. Those books do require permission from the original copyright holder to publish their character lists and plot summaries. The Lexicon Book would be much thicker and more comprehensive than most of these guides are, but copyright-wise, more is actually worse. The more you use from the original source material, the less likely the work will be considered a fair use.

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This is such an impressive article. I can’t believe how well the job was done of condensing 1,100 pages into a succinct summary. That must have been some hard work, and I really appreciate it . Thank you.

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Big cheer for Melissa and the Leaky crew! It’s says a lot that you guys can remain neutral on this very difficult situation. Personally I reckon that Steve should back up..Really hope they can work this out, it such a shameful situation!

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I have not yet had time to read this entire post, or the comments. I thought I’d share the following article, however:

http://www.slate.com/id/2181776/

This was written by a law professor, and although it takes sides, it does set forth some of the legal concepts underlying the dispute. As in any litigation, it is always best for non-parties to stay as neutral as possible…almost everything filed with the court is advocacy, that is, the attorneys urging their client’s position. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true, but it is their view on the facts and the law. There is so much that we don’t know, and even reviewing the court filings, which is about all we, as the public, get to see, doesn’t necessarily mean we are getting the full story.

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The last resort of people unable to defend their position is mudslinging. I’m not surprised by some of the comments on this board today. Goodness knows, JKR has been trashed on Leaky’s boards many times before. And now, Melissa has the honor of being attacked by the flame-throwers. This stuff is REALLY DESPERATE.

Leaky is THE ONLY media outlet doing such extensive reporting on this lawsuit. Whatever one may think of the suit’s merits, Leaky deserves much applause for giving us THE FACTS about this case.

THANKS Melissa!!!!

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You’re right siriusfan. RDR will have a chance to respond, and we’ll see what they have to say in a few weeks.

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Melissa

I hope you are not directly caught up in this squirmish. When the lawyers become involved, there is only one winner. Anyway -good luck and keep up the good work.

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I work for a Canadian, Not-For-Profit company that publishes books, guides and so on. IMHO, the issue here, if I equate it to our own, is, indeed, money, and it is indeed a question of fair use. It delves deeeply into copyright law. Although copyright laws in Canada, the US, the UK and elsewhere have certain differences, essentially the principles are the same.

First, copyright is not only on the content, but also on the format for delivery, by which I mean the appearance. If the document in question is not only the actual words (or most of them, especially those made up or only significant because they appear in the original), but uses other indicia, there is a strong case for infringement. And the real issue about money is the revenue/profit generation aspect. We have no problem with people using our copyrighted material for reference purpose, training, or educational reasons, as long as they ask for our permission and acknowlege the source. However, if they intend to make money from it, even if they ask, we want either a cut, because it eats into our potential revenue, or we simply do not give permission. If they do it without asking permission, they are infringing. (This is, in essence, the point of the suit regarding on-line free sites vs. selling a book of the site – there is no incremental cost to go online to the site, and avail oneself of the content. Interestingly, if Lexcon had been a pay-site to begin with, this whoe issue would have arisen earlier).

The trouble with the law is that there are no hard and fast rules on how much of the original needs to be included before it becomes infringement – 10%, 20%? So each case ends up being decided individually, taking into consideration other factors, such as recognition of the material, or, alternatively, the opportunity to misrecognize it (the survey you reported on is a case in point – a very large number of respondents would misidentify this as a JKR work, or at least assume that she endorsed it).

An interesting point in all of this is that, for example, we use other people’s copyrighted material in some of our published documents – ALWAYS with permission! – but we actually copyright the final product as ours. This is because we have permission and because the ouput is instantly recognizable as one of our documents. If anybody infringes on the document, we have to ensure that it was OUR version of previously copyrighted material that they infringed, not the originator’s. And this is less of a problem if we are using the other material as a source of commentary that adds to the understanding of the original material as opposed to a codification in some artificially determined order of the material itself.

The Mugglenet book, which I’ve read, quotes from HP Canon, but uses the quotes as the base from which to make comments or predictions or ask questions. The Lexicon book is alleged not to add value of understanding to the content, only to order it in some potentially logical way. I read the law professor’s article that has been referenced here, and am at a loss as to how he can say that taking a paragraph from the original book and condensing it into a single sentence without changing the meaning is NOT an abridgement. Whether anyone would read the Lexicon instead of the books is not an issue, and in fact reinforces the difference between say a Cole’s Notes, which one DOES read instead of the original in many instances. But don’t forget that Cole’s Notes also adds commentary and explanation that enhances the understanding of the reader, AND they get permission from the copyright holders. And NONE of this talks about issues ofpublic domain and how public that really is!!! And by the way, I used the word “Canon” above – the very existence of that term in the HP/JKR context implies that not just the books, but the notes, scribblings, indexes and so on that are produced by JKR and/or with her permission hold special status and any unauthorized use is fraught with peril!!

See how complex this gets? I am just lad to be able to follow along, learn something in the process, and hope that whatever the resolution, everybody learns something in the end.

Melissa? Thank you, and yes, you don’t need our defensive skills, but do accept our kudos and thanks.

And everybody? Sorry for the length and any typos or other editorial issues… I’ve never responded to something I know a little about about like this before, so I guess I had a lot to say! lol

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Despite the hundreds of pages of legal documentation, or whatever, it takes to deal with this, it’s really very simple to understand why the Lexicon book shouldn’t be published, where RDR Books is going wrong and why Jo and WB are 100% right in contesting the publishing of the book.

You CANNOT do what they’re trying to do without permission. Think of it like this, if a music producer does a remix of a band’s album, making dance versions, changing the track order and length etc., they can’t then sell this remix album commercially without the band/record company/publisher’s permission! The Lexicon book would be like a ‘remix’ of Jo’s books, and selling it is illegal without Jo and WB’s permission.

The fact that EVERYONE KNOWS Jo is doing the ‘Scottish book’ with proceeds going to charity just makes what the Lexicon is doing a whole lot worse. But even if she wasn’t doing her own book it still wouldn’t give them the right to do theirs and MAKE PROFIT FROM SOMETHING THEY BASICALLY STOLE.

Melissa’s book is different, she’s creating something completely new and she’s well within her rights to make profit from it. I hope her book goes really well, she deserves it as she’s so great!!

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Ms. Rowlings has every right to the books and copyrights. She had created it and she will protect it anyway she can.

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I’ve seen a number of errors and typos in my post, so if anyone has an issue, sorry, I can try and correct it. I wanted to add a few things. First, my comment about using the “Canon” being fraught with peril was in the context of using it for profit without permission.

Second, you may have noticed that I have taken great pains to point out that even in situations where one might think permission is not necessary, it is best to get it anyway. That’s because of the possibility that others reading these things might assume that their own application or use of copyrighted material is equally exempt. Not so, so please be aware.

JKR has already said that she has no problem with fan sites, and even encourages them, and related things to flourish, as long as they are not revenue generating or profit making. It would be a shame to see such sites essentially whither away or be nipped in the bud, because of the fear that artists may have, that by being generous and allowing free use of their creations, they might be, inadvertently, giving up their rights to their own intellectual property. I’m not suggesting that all such sites should HAVE to get Jo’s permisson, nor, I believe, is she. But it mght be worth considering it from her pov.

And as a final point, I have to agree with those who have, correctly, I believe, recognized that this isn’t about SVA or JKR – it is about WB and SVA’s publisher. It is unfortunate, however, that having said that, we all tend to think of the individual as opposed to the corporate. Probably because we can focus on, villify or exalt an individual much more readily than a collective. Ah well… ain’t life just grand!!

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In the case of some encyclopedias, whether of HP or other works, they might infringe, but it’s also a matter of the rights owner(s) discovering plans to publish the encyclopedia in question. The Lexicon book was discovered by chance, according to TLC’s early news reporting. So some encyclopedias out there may not be strictly legal, but the rights owners may have been unaware or unable, financially, to bring suit. And once something is published, it’s not easy to put it back in the bag.

Finally, many books calling themselves encyclopedias or A-Z guides actually contain commentary and discussion, which makes them fair use. If you are only paraphrasing and quoting from Harry Potter, as the Lexicon book does, according this TLC report, it is not fair use, it is copyright infringement.

Sadly, this isn’t about money or personality…it’s about intellectual property and Rowling and WB defending their rights. If a court decides the book is legal, and that opinion is upheld on appeal, then so be it. But even if they loose (I don’t think they will), Rowling and WB are taking legitimate, justified action.

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I know one thing for sure. JK must surely reckon that Steve Vander Ark is such a fantastic name to use in a future book. ”..A tall shadowy figure approached them with elegant but authoritative strides. He wore a long dark coat whose tail swayed side to side with each step and a hat that casted a shadow on his face. As he approached the now trembling youths, the stranger said ‘you will come with me’ ‘who..who are you?’ ‘I am Orsen Vander Ark and you will ask no more questions’ ” Oh oh, I may get done for copyright infringement by RDR books for using Vander Ark in Comments fiction.

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For Morton K, who said “The trouble with the law is that there are no hard and fast rules on how much of the original needs to be included before it becomes infringement – 10%, 20%?”

I have read, in U.S. fair use conventions, the general rule of thumb is that if more than 30% of your words are not original to you (i.e. your proposed work is more than 30% quotation), you do not fall under fair use. It’s not, I believe, a rigid formula, but generally, it allows the commentor latitude to use quotes as examples and to illustrate points but contrains the commentor to contribute a significant amount of original material.

It sounds like there is no original commentary/discussion/analysis in the Lexicon book.

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I’m still amazed that the more we learn about this lawsuit and the ill-actions of SVA, some people just do. not. get. it.

What a headache for Jo.

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Money, money, money….Lexicon wants money, JK wants money, WB wants money!!!!!

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http://www.slate.com/id/2181776/

The article’s author (Tim Wu) did shoddy research and is too bent on putting forward his anti-international copyright agenda (http://www.slate.com/id/2084960) to speak to the actual facts of this lawsuit. He makes multiple statements that are misleading or not true (he seems to have read RDR’s website and not much else). There are intellectuals that believe that copyright is too restrictive and should be either abolished or greatly cut back. The great thing about Melissa’s reporting is that it is factual only, so ideological backwash doesn’t confuse the issue.

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This really saddened me! As I read it I felt that SVA went forward with it out of revenge, not being hired an all!

Even if this book gets published, I won’t buy it. I rather buy the book from JK (the real author) and have the money go to charity…not some greedy publishing co. and SVA’s pockets!!!

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There has been a lot written here that I agree with, but I think Morton K and performingmonkey have said it best. Regardless of it all, the material is JKR’s. The book in question does not add to the material in any way, only repackages it. That makes it infringement. And I agree, it doesnt matter if she’s going to publish her own book (ie: the Scottish Book), it’s her world. I actually LOL’d when someone above complained that JKR was being a “control freak”. Um… yeah! She is, and she should be. She spent 17 years of her life creating this world, it’s hers to control. I dont understand why that’s so hard to understand.

Sure, SVA is probably a nice guy (although, I never did like that statement he made at a convention that said something like “she’s done, it’s our world now”), but how nice he is, and how hard he’s worked do not translate into having rights to copy and profit off of someone elses work.

Thanks, TLC and Melissa, for your continued professionalism.

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Ugh. This is just.. ugh. I despise hearing about this whole case. It’s ridiculous on both sides. Especially when I logically think that JKR probably didn’t have all of her info as well organized as Steve did; she used the lexicon! And, I mean, she probably would’ve asked for his help on making it a collaboration effort to get her own encyclopedia out within the next few years. But, now with him trying to produce one it’s disappointing that there probably won’t be an actual one for another decade. What a nuisance of a situation. sigh

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Worst part:

9. A rule against JKR/WB would harm the fan community by “necessitating more monitoring and restriction of fan activity by copyright owners afraid of compromising their rights against infringers.”

Did you catch that ‘restriction of fan activity’ part?

I hate being right….

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AddyDog: I am sure I saw it suggested somewhere that some other infringing books quietly go out of print permanently when WB find out about them, since it is easier for all concerned to stop them by agreement rather than use the legal process.

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laughing man: Yes, it has been a common interpretation of an RDR win in the lawsuit that copyright owners will be forced to clamp down on fan site use of their material so as to maintain control over what books etc. are sold.

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The other thing is, I went to a forum that SVA/RDR Books held at my University back in early December and SVA openly admitted that there was no original content (No fan art, essays, etc.) only the encyclopedic section of the site and that there was really nothing special about the book version and even said that the website was still, what he considered, a better source for information. RDR was not happy about this in Q&A and at the beginning of the forum he went so far as to imply that he was going to sue back for harassment if they lost.

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“Moreover, I have made and kept notes in connection with each of the Harry Potter books, which I have recently begun to augment with additional materials that I intend to include in my own companion guide.”

She’s working on the Scottish book!! Excellent.

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Libby, Jo claims to have used the Lexicon for checking up a few facts when she was traveling and didn’t have her own notes handy. That’s all.

Perhaps she will need some help with the Scottish book, but as she says herself, there are people at both Bloomsbury and Scholastic who has ¨kept notes. People whom she knows and has worked with for several years. There is no reason she would ask a total stranger for help, dedicated fan or not.

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Sorry to side-track the conversation, but can anyone explain to me why JKR’s encyclopedia is called the “Scottish Book”? Not understanding is just bugging me. :-)

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It was considered bad luck to refer to Shakespeare’s play MacBeth by name, so they referred to it as ‘The Scottish Play’.

In order to keep from Jinxing the encyclopedia, JKR referred to it as ‘The Scottish Book’. It was in a recent Leaky podcast.

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wow, point 12 really makes me angry, to think that other people can claim copyright ahead of JK for something derived from JKs work, and that RDR have already attempted to claim infringement!

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It took forever to read through all the comments, but I’m glad I did read all of it. Thanks, first of all to Melissa and TLC for giving us the summarization of this law suit—reading through over one thousand pages of legaleze is not appealing, even though I want to know what the complaints are.

And thanks also to Morton K for your insights on the publishing aspects. That was very helpful.

I’ve thought for a while that JKR is well within her rights to stop the publication of the Lexicon, and all of this information convinces me even more.

Someone mentioned the use of copyrighted art work on cakes and it made me remember something from the 1980s. I used to go to the bakery at a local (but chain) grocery store for birthday cakes that had Disney or Warner Bros images, basically anything that was on a piece of paper. They suddenly stopped doing it and the art work was very generic, so no more My Little Pony cakes or Mickey Mouse. It all had to do with copyright, and obviously those companies had not given their permission for use on the cakes. The point is that people sometimes do things that infringe on copyright (whether it’s intentional or not), but that doesn’t make it all right to do so.

Steve and RDR, by continuing plans for publishing, have so overstepped the bounds of copyright, and just plain common sense. When the owner of something asks that you stop using their property, it’s common sense to stop. In going ahead, it just shows bad judgement and foolishness.

And of course, that email that Steve sent that stated it wasn’t legal to do just what he is now trying to do is not going to help him at all. From that, it’s clear that it is something that he understood was wrong but decided to do it anyway. I’ve met him and heard him speak, and for the life of me, I just don’t understand what he was thinking when he went ahead against JKR’s wishes. He speaks of himself as a fan, but a real fan would not be so disrepectful.

I’m behind JKR on this one, one hundred percent.

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I think we should not be so harsh on Vander Ark. Of course he is in the wrong, but we don’t know how much of this is the result of stupid RDR. Vander Ark must be feeling very betrayed by all the people who have visited and enjoyed his site. He needs to find a way out of this horrible situation, but we should not throw him to the wolves like this.

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Does anyone know how this is influencing Melissa’s book?

I can’t imagine that there’s much impact, since Melissa’s book is about the fandom and the impact of Harry Potter. But I was just curious if she or her publisher is jumping through any extra hoops to make sure all the ‘t’s’ are crossed and the ‘i’s’ are dotted.

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Melissa’s book will be fine, because it is on the Harry Potter phenomenon rather than the content of the books themselves. Also I believe Melissa has talked to people involved with the books in the course of her research, so I imagine if there were likely to be any problems (unlikely because of the type of book) they would have been sorted out already.

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When Jo was on pottercast, I did wonder if Jo was aware of Melissa’s book and if so why no mention of it. Of course, I am sure Jo gives her blessing if she does know about it as it does not in any way break any copyright infringement. I personally look forward a great deal to buying Melissa’s book.

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Actually, I also wonder if Melissa will include stories of copyright including this saga with Vander Ark? I wonder what will it be called? Melissa Anelli and the Fandom of Harry Potter? I do hope this case is not distressing Jo too much and taking up all her time. She has children to look after and chocolate cakes to bake, oh and maybe more books to write! I am not bothered about Scottish book or Lexicons. I want to read a darn good story and thats what Jo is the Queen of, storytelling. So I look forward to more stories from Jo, be it crime, fairytale, comedy, whatever. She can take her time. The wait is always worth it.

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Hi all: As roonwit rightly pointed out, my book is fine because it does not deal in the content, but the phenomenon, of Harry Potter. I also wrote Jo and others extensive letters about it before I started writing in earnest, to make them fully aware of what i was doing and that it would be respectful.

There haven’t been any hoops that have required jumping on the part of my publishes; JKR’s people have been remarkably above-board about the whole thing.

AND NO it won’t be called Melissa Anelli and the Fandom of Harry Potter. LOLOLOLOL. Sorry, the idea is cracking me up. :) Right now the title is “Harry, A History: The true story of a boy wizard, his fans, and life inside the Harry Potter phenomenon.” That could change before it hits press. I’ve just finished a draft and will be editing through the spring. I do address copyright bt the Lexicon thing happened outside the time frame of this book, isn’t the first lawsuit for HP copyright, and is ongoing, so it’s not a significant issue in this book, at least so far.

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Melissa, I cannot wait to read it – the title alone is amazing.

Steve, please, just stop. As is evident, this controversy is really disturbing the comradeship (and even civility) in the Potter fandom. I don’t understand RDR or Steve’s logic behind persuing this issue, but my personal opinion is that Steve was upset for not being able to play with Jo in making the official encyclopedia.

Jo, on the other hand, has been extremely graceful throughout this thing. She consistently expresses her admiration for the Lexicon website and her disappointment that this controversy has reached the levels it has. Bottom Line: This is HER work and imagination that Steve is reorganizing and calling his own for money. Despicable.

We’re behind you 110%, Jo!

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I have watched this without commenting as I was hoping something would happen to make me thing more positively about Steve. The emails are very enlightening about the real Steve.

I just removed The Lexicon from my bookmarks. Sorry, the comments he’s made, the actions he’s taken, I’m just not going to support him in any way.

Thanks Leaky for letting us know what is happening.

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For those interested, some of the stuff Melissa refers to is now up on justia.com at http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/new-york/nysdce/1:2007cv09667/315790/

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DaisyRenee, thanks for your thoughtful reply to my post a few pages back. I agree that a referece book for a fictional world is very different from a reference book for the real one. And it makes sense to me that a reference book of fictional facts might require the permission of the author who created those facts. I just think it’s a bit of a stretch for the complaint to say, with no qualifications, that the Lexicon is “not a reference book.” My concern is that, while not explicitly saying so, the language of the complaint seems designed to give the impression that the Lexicon’s encyclopedia entries are not of much value to fans, when in fact I suspect that most fans find them to be the most valuable part of the website.

Melissa, congratulations on finishing a draft of your book! :)

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Thanks again for the info, Melissa!

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I heard from a cousin that lives in New York that is a friend of a niece of Melissa’s editor that her book will be called Melissa Anelli and the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk. It’s all true. Honest.

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Melissa, I hope you didnt get drunk and vandalised a valuable statue on finishing your first draft ;) Thanks for giving us that mouth watering exclusive on your book though.

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I hate it when it comes to this. Look, I am huge fan of SVA and the HPL…and of Jo and the books. So…just get it overwith! MuggleNet did their little book, and then there’s Harry Potter A to Z…. I hate lawsuits. Especially ones involving Harry Potter

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I haven’t read ALL the comments; my normally spritely computer really bogs down in the comments. I really like The HP Lexicon (although TLC is my favorite HP site BY FAR!). However, Vander Ark, bless his HP-besotted heart, has definitely misunderstood what an “essay” is. The “essays” in the HP Lexicon consist of things as vapid as lists of all the places the number 7 occurs in a given book. Don’t get me wrong, many of these “essays” are extremely enlightening and entertaining. But the VAST majority of them bear no resemblance whatsoever to literary criticism. He cannot argue that his proposed book contains “essays” (which would be permissible), based on what I’ve read at his site. No disrespect to Vander Ark. I think he would like to earn a dime for all of his hard work, and who wouldn’t? But he can’t pass this book off as literary criticism. His HP work will have to remain a labor of love.

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sas is correct. Legitimate review and criticism are allowed, but there are clear standards for this type of work. Compendia are not. Copying is just not acceptable. If you would care to do research yourself, may I suggest the U. S. copyright site? There are fact sheets you can use. Bottom line: the Supremes have long since decided the law (first version: right after the Revolutionary War) protects any expression of the original idea. Stanford does not get to make up new rules as they go along.

(BTW, I will not need to do additional research here: I already have degrees in library science and plenty of coursework in constitutional law and copyright application. RDR and Stanford are playing a dangerous game based on assumption – never a good idea when faced with teams of attorneys well-trained in copyright litigation.)

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I find SVA’s presumption and sense of entitlement, as evidenced in his e-mails to Jo’s people, really offensive. No wonder WB entered them as evidence. They’re tarring him with his own brush. I have to say that watching this all unfold is a bit like slowing down for a car wreck. Sad, but fascinating in a morbid sort of way. I feel sorry for everyone involved. Adds credence to the view that money is the root of all evil. It’s certainly true in this case. Or maybe its just a lack of civility. I heard an interview with Maya Angelou the other day, in which she said that, more than anything else, the world lacks civility, and that most of the world’s problems would be solved if people just treated each other with more civility. In the end, though, I have to support Jo. I’m no legal expert, but just intuitively her case seems like the just one. An artist should have control over their own work. Period.

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this is really sad… i used to be a fan of the lexicon and took their side in this argument, but once i heard that they used a “family emergency” to market the book to other publishers, i cant help but taking jkr’s side in this. i mean, besides not responding to WB’s concerns (it sounds like it could have been sorted out with a lot less trouble) RDR has been lying to try and gain more time. that’s not considerate or moral.

and i know there are tons of other posts that say this, but thank you leaky for remaining neutral in this while not trying to edge around reporting it.

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What I want to know is, if Steve Vander Ark were able to sell this book, who would be getting the profits? Just him or the many volunteers who spent hours compiling the Lexicon? It wouldn’t just be Jo’s rights he’d be violating. It would be unethical and wrong to not allow the volunteers who spent hours raking the books for synopses and all that to not benefit from any sales. On a seperate note, Jo is a very good person and I think that if and when the lexicon loses the lawsuit, she will probably be one of the first to forgive and forget.

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Yay Morton K!! Go Canada!! The best posts of this entire topic (not just this thread) come from the Great White North.

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So, would the sales of one book make any difference for the sales of another? Theoretically speaking? Are they complimentary, neutral or competitive to each other? I have a poll for that on hp_polls at Insanejournal. Personally, I would like to own both books if that was an option. I feel out of depth discussing the law because I am not a lawyer and J.K. is based in Scotland, if I am not wrong. Lexicon is in US. Warner Brothers is based in US as well. I am not sure what law of what country is applicable where and how those things work.

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madlodger_007 – yor poll may give you some nice results if you want to know how this comes across in the very narrow section of the internet part of the fandom, but if you want an answer to how this would effect economical and other aspest of the real books in the bookshops, their sales etc, it’s severrely flawed. If you’ve read the first part of the report on TLC, you’d see reports od a real research done by WB’s people. Of course it can be biased since it comes from the WB side, but the fact is, if they want to present it in front of the judge they had to follow some research standards. And that shows many buyers didn’t know this wasn’t an official JKR work. Most of the buyers of HP franchize books don’t hang around fandom and, since this is a book that’s marketed primarily to kids, lots of them probably don’t use internet at all. So many don’t know about this whole mess with two lexicons (JRK’s future ‘Scottish Book’ for charity and SVA’s internet-to-book disputed lexicon). I’m pretty sure at least RDR, if not SVA, heavily counted on that and the sales that would bring.

So, to make things short – some heavy-duty fans might buy both, a lot would buy JRK’s only and some would buy SVA only; but this fans are a tiny minority of all the people that buy this books. Most would have no idea SVA’s book was not the official stuff (grannies and parents buying for their kids, most kids themselves etc.) and since it was first on the market this book could get a huge market share simply because people wouldn’t have any idea this isn’t JRK’s charity book that was promised by JRK (as was reported all over the press). Some might buy ‘the real thing’ later when it was published, but I doubt many would even notice that that was something new (I’m not talking about die-hard fans who would know what was in JRK’s book even before it was published here) and the rest? Well it depends on many things. Do they have enough money to be able to afford second book easily? Do they want two books (that’s mostly for non-fans buying the books for fans, and there’s a lot of those)?

I’m firmly convinced it would effect the sale of JRK’s future book, at least if RDR and SVA know anything about marketing (and reading about this, they definitely do; they used just about every trick in the book – it’s a shame they are less knowledgable about law).

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Hi evalita, You are making excellent points there. Book publishing is a serious business and they follow proven rules to turn profit. Nothing is wrong with that and JK is entitled to be a first priority for her publisher(s).

What if HP Lexicon was released AFTER JK’s Encyclopedia, like a year later with clear labeling as “unofficial” and a cover design much different from official HP style? Would that be acceptable?

I sort of thought that JK’s Encyclopedia will be informative about things she DIDN’T include in official books. All her numerous notes and background character info which we know nothing about. That would be quite different from HP Lexicon.

(I am interested in internet fandom opinion specifically because that’s what I enjoy :D )

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“Harry, A History: The true story of a boy wizard, his fans, and life inside the Harry Potter phenomenon.”

!!! I love it already and absolutely can’t wait to read it! : )

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For Steve to flip from one extreme to the other in such a short amount of time tells me that this is clearly about money and fame, not about providing a service to the HP fandom. Maybe my feelings would be different if he were donating all proceeds to charity like Jo plans to… But even in that case, I’d still suspect that he’d be using this as an opportunity to launch a career as an author. Steve, just stop dude. You’re making an ass out of yourself.

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The fact that he acknowledges the legal ramifications of publishing the lexicon prior to this mess up shows me that SVA knew what he was doing was wrong and quite frankly didn’t care about it. I honestly have no… pity, I guess. No pity whatsoever. How cheeky of him.

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Yea. I own an ‘unofficial’ encyclopedia of the creatures of Harry Potter. I got it for a Christmas a few years ago.

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Wait a second … if Steve would put a disclaimer on the cover and ignore the fact that Jo’s honored his website on the back cover (thus, not misleading the fans), wouldn’t the problem be over? I mean, that book I posted about earlier (the from A to Z from Aubrey Malone) did just that AND it was published after the seven books had hit the shelves.

I mean, I would totaly buy both books (Jo and Steve’s) for completely different reasons. Wouldn’t you?

I think he missed the point of “trademark and rights”. That is the problem with some fansites: we are all just FANS when comes down to it. Nothing more. Let’s respect and honor that, people! :)

luv!

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“He needs to find a way out of this horrible situation, but we should not throw him to the wolves like this”

I do agree. I mean, poor Steve … he (or his publishers) looked for it, now … deal. But this really sucks! He did so much for the fan community and now … dude, behave!

And Melissa, yay for your book! Really looking forward to reading it!

And people, the TRANSLATION for that A to Z encyclopedia was published in Brazil, but not written here. :)

Cheers!

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There’s another one that is being sold on Amazon. It only goes to the sixth book. Does that make a difference since it doesn’t have anything from the last one in ti? Maybe they should look into stopping that one and the one from Brazil as well. I’m sure there’s more out there, sadly.

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Even though money IS the root of this, on Jo’s part it’s the money the Scottish book will raise for charity that’s partly her concern, I’m sure, not personal profit like some people are implying. WB aren’t being a greedy evil corporation in this instance either, they’re just defending what they own.

Imagine if someone wrote an 8th book, e.g. ‘Harry Potter and the Zycheronic Bolt of Destruction’ (don’t know where that came from, lol…) they CAN write it, it’s essentially fan fiction. However to publish it would be totally out of line, as everyone would agree. Publishing the proposed Lexicon book would be just as bad as that.

I myself am writing my own novel (this isn’t a plug, it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever get it published anyway…the eternal optimist…lol) and I have my own characters, places etc. If I DID get it published and then someone else basically took my material and made money out of it by publishing a variation of it themselves I’d be pretty peeved.

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What I fear about this whole thing is that it’s going to make everyone - authors and fans alike - much more reserved and defensive and protective in what they say in the future, for fear that it could be used against them later in some legal case. Here, the Lexicon people are using JKR’s earlier praise of the fan site against her for the purpose of defending publishing it as a book (so that, as JKR says, authors in the future might feel compelled not to praise fan sites, and even to get their lawyers to threaten them, to ensure they maintain their rights against future attempts at commercial exploitation); and JKR/Warner’s people are using various private e-mails including one where VanDerArk says he believes a book like he later attempted to publish would be illegal, against that side. No matter who ends up winning, it’s going to make everybody involved in any way with future fan-favorite characters feel compelled to clear all statements, public or private, with a lawyer, conforming to the grossest stereotype of the way life is in overlawyered America these days.

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i want a magic stick

Avatar Image says: I LOVE the website

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