JKR/WB Respond in Lexicon Suit


Feb 28, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli

JKR and WB have filed a response to the latest filing by RDR Books in the ongoing lawsuit against the publishers of the intended book version of the Harry Potter Lexicon. There are decarations from: J.K. Rowling, author of HP; Cheryl Klein, senior editor at Scholastic Books; Prof. Landes from the University of Chicago; Suzanne Murphy from Scholastic; Emily Blumsack from O’Melveney & Meyers, and Jerri Johnson, Oxford professor, in addition to a main statement summarizing the response.

This is the last filing before a hearing on March 13 to determine if a preliminary injunction will be granted. After that there still may or may not be a trial to determine if infringement has taken place.

(While we wait for the documents to go up on Justia, we are hosting them on Leaky; you can right click any declaration-submitter’s name to download their declaration, and the main statement is linked below.)

The main statement says that JKR/WB has proved likelihood of success (if the judge thinks so too it will affect the case’s forward motion, if any) and that the proposed book copies an enormous amount of Harry Potter work verbatim. It also says the proposed book falls under a definition of derivative that RDR ignored in its assessment: that it is a “work based on one or more pre-existing works.” It says the book is “nothing more than a recast of Ms. Rowling’s original text,” which differentiates it from the Ty Beanie Baby book cited by RDR because that book contained “critical and evaluative” elements.

It also says the book has been called “supplementary” based solely on a “1966 academic lecture” discussing extending a 99-year-old act’s provisions for forewords, prefaces, prologues, epilogues and bibliographies.

The main complaint says that RDR cannot prove that it is likely to succeed on a fair use charge because it does not create “new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings.” It also says that attempts to cast it as a “serious book” filled with “scholarly commentary and analysis is merely an attempt to excuse blatant infringement.” It says “alphabetizing” does not render a work transformative and that reorganizing work does not alone render a work in concert with fair use. (It cites Video Pipeline, Inc., vs. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., on this claim.) It also argues against the notion that the book is similar in its fair use characteristics to Google’s thumbnail image search engine (as maintained by RDR in the last filing) and says there is no original commentary or analysis or “anything else rising to the level of scholarship.” It says RDR‘s expert also agrees, citing the filing that says that the book’s chief point is not literary analysis.

It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions.”

On the charge that RDR made that JKR/WB have selectively chosen material to support their claims, this complaint cites a court decision which says “no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.” It also says that despite Steve Vander Ark claiming he used reference works, none are cited in the book or mentioned in the bibliography, and some appear to be taken from sources “such as Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary without attribution.” It also says entries on Harry and Voldemort basically tell the entire plot of the Harry Potter series.

“While there are many non-infringing books about the Series, books such as the Book are few in number and have been pulled from distribution as a result of Plaintiffs’ efforts.” It says the book would be a “significant” threat to JKR‘s market for her book, citing a court decision that said, “once purchased, the consumer is unlikely to purchase a second can opener.” It says the RDR marketing materials show that it is positioning the book as more comprehensive than others, and that publication would “signal that others may also free ride off Ms. Rowling’s works, flooding the market with copycat works.”

The following are summations of the included declarations:

J.K. Rowling’s declaration says that she:

1. …is “deeply troubled” by the portrayal of her efforts to protect and preserve her copyrights, “and feel[s] betrayed by Steven Vander Ark, as a person who calls himself a fan.”

2. …is “particularly concerned” about RDR‘s insistence that her acceptance of free fan websites justifies efforts to publish the potential book. “Such a position penalizes copyright owners like me for encouraging and supporting the activities of their respective fan communities. If RDR‘s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet. Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

3. …thinks that “99%” of fans are acting in good faith, and “as I have excellent relations with many members of the fan community, I find it devastating to contemplate the possibility of such a severe alteration of author-fan relations. I continue to believe that the online fandom has been a wonderful experience for thousands of people, myself included; that it has become, not only an enormous global book club, but engendered an explosion of creativity and communication rooted in a world we would all like to inhabit.”

4. …reiterates her statement that she has said she plans to publish a definitive Potter guide, and her intentions to donate the proceeds to charity. She says the Bloomsbury version of the Potter guide has already been given to her, and that she has begun “assembling and organizing” materials. “Naturally this means that my encyclopedia will contain all information in the published books. To suggest that I would omit from my encyclopedia the information already made available in the novels, can only spring from a willful misinterpretation of a selective quotation. I fully intend to write this encyclopedia, however..I am not prepared to commit to another deadline [and] do not believe I should be forced to make such a commitment or run the risk of losing the right to create my own encyclopedia on an exclusive basis. I thought that this was part of what my rights were as an author and copyright holder. I also feel strongly that RDR is attempting to interfere with my creative process by repeatedly arguing that a timeline for publication of my Harry Potter encyclopedia is necessary in order to prove that I mean to publish one at all. I am not a person to make statements lightly, particularly when it comes to statements that ultimately will set expectations for my fans.”

5. …is disheartened by Steve Vander Ark’s actions despite long-time knowledge of her intention to write this encyclopedia, and responds to RDR‘s request for her to prove her intention by citing her seven published novels and two published charity books, and says that she does not think any “reasonable person would question my good faith in this regard.”

6. … feels the premise that fans will buy both encyclopedias is “presumptuous and insensitive,” owing the first to an assumption that everyone would want to have two encyclopedias and the second to assuming they could afford both. ”..it is obvious to me that many people do not have money to buy every book that appeals to them.”

7. …says RDR has misquoted her or taken statements out of context. She refers to the joking comment on PotterCast about taking “ten years” to do the Harry Potter encyclopedia as misrepresentive and “inappropriately cut off at a selective moment…the very next thing i said in that interview is that I wanted to give people everything in the companion guide and do ‘the absolute definitive guide.’”

8. … says that when she awarded the Lexicon the Fan Site Award she never thought it would be used by Steve Vander Ark to “attempt to legitimize an attempt to profit financially form my work. At that time I believed him to be…a true enthusiast who simply wished to share his enjoyment of Harry Potter with others.” She says the oft-quoted citation in which she used an Internet cafe to check a fact rather than purchasing a copy of her own books is representative of “its only value to me” being “that it was occasionally more convenient to access, in a situation where I was likely to be recognized in public, than it would have been to walk into a bookstore and purchase” Harry Potter. She also says she has never indicated that any FSA winner is a “favorite” and never intended for the award to be taken by “anyone as an authorization for them to create and sell [an] infringing Harry Potter book for profit.”

9. …feels “intensely protective” of the world she created and of the fans who have bought “my books in such huge numbers. I feel that I have a duty to these readers to ensure, as far as possible, that Harry Potter does not become associated with substandard versions, whether in the world of film or in any other medium. I believe that RDR‘s book constitutes a Harry Potter ‘rip off’ of the type I have spent years trying to prevent and that both I, as the creator of this world, and fans of Harry Potter, would b e exploited by its publication.”

10. …feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

Cheryl Klein‘s declaration:
The declaration from Cheryl Klein addresses the RDR submission of a note she had written to Steve Vander Ark in 2005, complimenting his work, after the publication of Half-Blood Prince. It points out that Steve Vander Ark once said to Ms. Klein that one of the purposes of the Lexicon was to dissuade people from publishing unofficial encyclopedias, in deference to rights J.K. Rowling has reserved.

The declaration says, “It is my practice to foster good relations with the Harry Potter fan community…it was in this vein that I wrote the note…as a friendly gesture of good will…At no time did I ever say anything to Mr. Vander Ark to suggest that it would be acceptable for him to publish a Harry Potter encyclopedia.”

Her declaration goes on to say that “to the contrary,” Steve Vander Ark made clear to Ms. Klein that his understanding was that J.K. Rowling had reserved the rights to produce her own encyclopedia. The documents cite an e-mail from August 3, 2006, in which he apologized for a comment he had made at a fan event (the conference Lumos 2006, which Cheryl Klein attended in an unofficial capacity) and said that “one of the purposes of the Lexicon was to dissuade other people from writing a Harry Potter encyclopedia in light of Ms. Rowlnig’s intentions.”

The documents quote the email’s postscript, which says, “PS It might interest you to know that George Beahm [a third party author] commented that he had originally intended to write an encyclopedia of Harry Potter (which Jo has specifically reserved for herself, I understand) but seeing the Lexicon convinced him not to bother. I want you to know that one of the express purposes of the Lexicon is to dissuade people from that sort of thing, so I was particularly happy to hear him say that.”

Emily Blumsack’s declaration (and her exhibits)

Emily Blumsack, a lawyer for JKR/WB, assesses each of the books that RDR claims is similar enough to the proposed Lexicon book to indicate that permission to publish such books has already been granted. She also monitored fan activity and noted several statements made by Steve Vander Ark and others. She notes that:

RDR recognized in a previous email that there was no clear competitor or book like the proposed Lexicon in print, and that every other book on the subject was out of date, which speaks against the RDR claim that there are other books like the Lexicon’s on the market.

RDR recognizes the advantage of being first to publish and advised Steve Vander Ark not to publish book seven contents on his Web site to avoid that content being co-opted by MuggleNet, who was considering publishing an encyclopedia at the time (they stopped when they received a cease-and-desist from the Christopher Little Agency). The email from RDR to Steve Vander Ark said, “Remember, Mugglenet would love to see your book 7 material on the web. I would appreciate it if you would not put the book seven updates on your website until after your book has been out for awhile. Sound like a good idea?”

The declaration says that, “upon learning that the competing book was no longer slated for publication…Mr. Vander Ark has since started updating the Lexicon website with this material.”

She cites two public statements Steve Vander Ark made on this issue on a public discussion list, one saying that he would go forward with an encyclopedia if JKR decided not to, and that without JKR‘s permission “I won’t publish…in any form except online. [Ms. Rowling is] entitled to that market, not me and not [another author.]

She also mentions that RDR recognizes that Steve Vander Ark’s persona presents potential harm to JKR‘s encyclopedia, by quoting an email from RDR that calls Steve Vander Ark a “rock star” and “Elvis like figure” at fan events. She says also that “Mr. Vander Ark continues to work at remaining well known in the Harry Potter fan community, despite this lawsuit. He has even planned to take a prominent role in these kinds of events through the upcoming year, for example, by featuring as a Harry Potter expert on a tour of Potter-related locations throughout England scheduled for this summer. (This cites that tour as “The Ultimate Tour with Steve Vander Ark,” an HP Fan Trips tour – that title was very recently changed to omit Steve Vander Ark’s name.)

“In fact, the very same day that Plaintiffs filed…Mr. Vander Ark was speaking in Manhattan at an event sponsored by the New York Public Library entitled, ‘Meet Steve Vander Ark, Author of the Harry Potter Lexicon.’”

Ms. Blumsack also notes that 40 percent of the material in the book was written by other members of the staff or guest contributors and volunteers, then quotes two LeakyLounge members (dresdenfiles.fan and cbm) who publicly stated that while they contributed to the Lexicon they had no knowledge that they were contributing to a for-profit book.

She then cites an example of Steve Vander Ark having “sicced” his lawyer on someone who had “written a book which he wants to sell” based on his Web site, Accio Quote and Jo’s web site. The statement said, “I’m sorry but that’s where I draw the line. I will not stand for someone stealing my material and using it to scam fans out of money…I don’t like doing things like this. But this leech is not a true fan.” Ms. Blumsack says this is exactly what Steve Vander Ark is trying to do.

Ms. Blumsack also says that she found no proof to Steve Vander Ark’s claims that he attempted to set up a meeting about his book between himself and the Christopher Little Literary Agency, noting that the emails between Steve Vander Ark and Emma Schlesinger did not mention his intent to publish.

Her last exhibit is an email exchange between Roger Rapoport and spokesperson Richard Harris (who told TLC in November that he was new to the publisher) dated late September 2007 (two weeks after the first cease-and-desist letter was sent), discussing the wording of the dislcaimer on the book to make it more clear that the book is not authorized or approved by J.K. Rowling. Mr. Harris said to Roger Rapoport, “Just because you say it’s a ‘critical reference work’ or covered by the fair use doctrine doesn’t mean it is. I think ‘reference work’ and ‘reader’s guide’ protect it as fully as possible.” It also mentions that the book, at that point, had not been fully submitted or typeset.

Suzanne Murphy‘s declaration

Suzanne Murphy is a Vice President in publishing and marketing at Scholastic and speaks to RDR‘s claim that a fan would buy both encyclopedias. She says that RDR “misunderstands the market” and says that while the core of fans “if they had the money” would purchase “everything Ms. Rowling writes,” the “general consumers may not feel the need to have two Harry Potter encyclopedias. For a significant segment of the general book consuming market, if they buy the Infringing Book, when presented with a later opportunity to purchase Ms. Rowling’s encyclopedia, they will decline as their perspective will be that they ‘already bought one.’ As a result, if the Infringing Book is allowed to be published it will usurp a key segment” of the market for JKR‘s and the diminished sales “could not easily be quantified.”

She also notes that RDR “appears to have had some awareness” that the book would hurt the market for JKR‘s book because exhibits have indicated that Steve Vander Ark “refrained from including the full list of entries from Ms. Rowling’s companion guide ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them’ on his Lexicon website because ‘it would take away sales of the book.’” She further claims that RDR has tacitly agreed that there would be harm rendered to JKR‘s market for her book because they say that the “harm” of not being first to publish an encyclopedia has already been done. She says they have taken the “very opposite position” concerning the Lexicon book as they have in the past: “Far from being just one of many, RDR claims in its marketing materials and emails that the Infringing Book is the first and only comprehensive guide to the Harry Potter world containing information from all seven Harry Potter books. In an email to a Canadian publisher…RDR stated ‘…there is no other Harry Potter reference book hitting the market that is in any way similar to what we are doing. Other books look like the Idiot[s] Guide to Harry Potter are junk. Our book is written by 20 academic scholars and reference experts. This is the only complete reference work based on the number one Harry Potter website in the world…It is also the first complete reference book on the series.’”

Ms. Murphy says it is clear the books would be in competition and that “the ability to be first to publish the complete, definitive guide to Harry Potter” is “extremely valuable.”

She also addresses the books like the Lexicon book that RDR cited in its claim, noting that “many of these books are out of print; or either have been or will be removed from the market or significantly revised because of the enforcement efforts of Plaintiffs. Of the four remaining books, ‘The End of Harry Potter?,’ ‘Facts, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World,’ ‘The Magical World of Harry Potter,’ and ‘An Unofficial Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World,’…none of these books cover all seven Harry Potter books and all of them are distinct from the Infringing Book because of their content, which includes essays, analysis, commentary and discussion. As a result, the existence of these books is irrelevant to the analysis as to whether or not there is a competitive advantage to being the first.”

She says the publication of the Lexicon book would “diminish the distinctiveness of Ms. Rowling’s work” because there is “a cachet of distinctiveness that comes from simply being first.”

She also says that the book has been claimed as one of scholarship but from her understanding, has been marketed to children’s bookstores and children’s book buyers at major retail chains. “A work of scholarship or reference more often than not would not be marketed to children’s book buyers nor would it appear in the children’s section of any bookstore.”

William Landes‘ declaration:

William Landes is the Clifon R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School. His declaration addresses the potential market harm of the Lexicon book. It first reviews his previous declaration, which reviewed fair use and its potential for promoting or detracting from economic efficiency. It says the Lexicon book meets none of the conditions in which fair use promotes that efficiency, and points out that RDR has not “directly challenged the economic analysis of any of these issues presented in my prior declaration.” He also says there has been no challenge to the claim that protecting copyright encourages creation, or that allowing derivative works to be copyrighted would increase costs of creating or licensing work. It reminds that RDR claims the assertions of market harm are “unsupported.” The rest of the lengthy declaration says that the statements by RDR are “based on erroneous economic reasoning and are not supported by available data.”

Mr. Landes says it would harm J.K. Rowling’s book because:

-It has been emphasized in its marketing as being first

-It would reduce sales of her own book and therefore the donation to charities that would ensure, and would raise transaction costs for authors of derivative works

He mentions that for some, the Lexicon book would be their only purchase of a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and says the idea the official book would not be damaged because the same information is available on the Lexicon website because a website is impossible to give as a gift to a Harry Potter fan. “If the Lexicon were a perfect substitute for the [book] Lexicon, there would be no reason to incur the extra costs of publishing the book. Even if it is an imperfect substitute for the volume that Ms. Rowling expects to produce, the Lexicon would adversely affect demand for Ms. Rowling’s book.

He further cites potential harm by mentioning:
1. …that Steve Vander Ark “has a prominent role in the Harry Potter community.” The declaration mentions an article that reports on people taking pictures of and asking autographs of Mr. Vander Ark, and cites a (2004 or early 2005) UrbanWire interview calling him an expert. He also mentions that Steve Vander Ark has spoken at conferences Nimbus 2003, Convention Alley 2004, Accio 2005, Lumos 2006, Patronus 2006, Sectus 2007 and Prophecy 2007.

2. …that the mainstream media also consider him an authority, citing Mr. Vander Ark’s interview on an A&E television special called “Harry Potter: The Hidden Secrets,” which was later on the OOTP DVD version, relabeled as “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” It also mentions the New York Times, USA Today and the Today Show as having interviewed Mr. Vander Ark.

3. …that the Lexicon web site “is one of the most popular Harry Potter fan sites.” Internet traffic, the declaration says, indicates the site gets over 92,000 unique visitors per month, “second only to MuggleNet.com among Harry Potter fan sites,” according to QuantCast.com. It notes that the JKR and WB sites get about 260,000 unique visitors per month.

4. …that the Lexicon’s status as a member of the Floo Network, “linkage that provides Vander Ark a wide platform to market his book to its audience of Harry Potter fans.”

5. …that the MuggleNet book is mentioned as an ancillary Harry Potter book that has achieved great commercial success; an article claimed the book sold 335,000 copies and was on the Children’s Paperback Bestsellers List for 20 weeks. He also mentions that the book was published by Ulysses Press, also an independent publisher like RDR, suggesting RDR‘s previous lack of big titles would not preclude it from large commercial success with this book and therefore would pose potential harm.

6. …that the other books are not “first movers” because the other books differ from the Lexicon’s. “Only one of these six volumes, ‘Field Guide to Harry Potter,’ was published after the seventh and last volume of the Harry Potter series was completed. However, according to Nielsen BookScan, the ‘Field Guide’ has sold only 201 units and thus cannot be considered to have usurped any first-mover advantage.” Of the other books, he says, one, David Langford’s “The End of Harry Potter?” is not marketed as an encyclopedia, and none of the remaining books were published after the series was completed. Also, none have been successful. “I understand that the defendant now acknowledges that the last three of these books have been withdrawn from the market, apparently at the request of the plaintiffs, due to concerns about copyright violation.” (Those “last three” are: “The JK Rowling Encyclopedia,” “A Muggle’s Guide to Exploring the Wizarding World,” and “Harry Potter A to Z: The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia.”)

Jerri Johnson‘s Declaration

Jerri Johnson, from Exeter College at Oxford University, has submitted a second declaration refuting the claim that the book is scholarly or a research book, saying it does not meet the standards as set by the “Modern Language Association in the U.S. or the Research Assessment Exercise for Higher Education in the U.K.”

She points out that the opposing critic pointed to reference books on public domain works, like those of Shakespeare, and Tolkien or C.S. Lewis companion books that were written either by the author or with the author’s consent.

She says that much of the book’s content is lifted directly from the series and that evidence of etymological research are “sprinkled sporadically and rarely throughout the Lexicon and…reflect scant evidence of scholarship as, among other things, they are often wrong.” She says those instances bear the signs of someone having “scavenged about, sometimes through a dictionary of a language he seems not to understand, for the likeliest synonym.” She cites the entry for “colloportus,” which is referenced as derived from the Latin “collego, to bind together,” and “portus, door,” when the term “portus” is usually tnce.” She also says that it is “oddly etymologically silent at times.”

She also says it fails to follow “the first rule of scholarly research: full and proper citation of one’s sources,” citing instances of a lack of source such as one definition that comes “verbatim, from Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary,” and another, for the entry for Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim, which is quoted “virtually verbatim” from Encyclopedia Brittanica online.

She says the single error the book might offer research is for the errors found in the book, though the book says, “remarkably few genuine [errors] exist.”

Also, two article updates:

Methuen, the British publisher of the book, says it is “fairly confident” that the judge will rule in RDR‘s favor and plans to proceed with publication in April in that case.

Harvard Law blogger and copyright/IP professor Derek Bambauer says that a recent NYT article on the case “Foul[ed] Up Fair Use” and contains an “embarassingly simple mistake of copyright law.”

284 Responses to JKR/WB Respond in Lexicon Suit

Avatar Image says:

interesting response. i’m somewhat undecided.

well done, melissa. you were born to be a journalist.

peace and good luck to all parties. i hope this can all be worked out,


Avatar Image says:

Sigh, JKR doesn’t deserve this kind of stress. Now it’s definite that this Potter Guide won’t be nearly as good as it would’ve been had this case never happened.

Avatar Image says:

I find this all hugely sad. I think Steve needs to back down before he embarrasses himself further. He lost all credibility when he pursued litigation with the author whose work he claims to admire. I feel sorry for Ms. Rowling.

Avatar Image says:

LOL, this case only proves I was born to be a stenographer or transcirber, though I appreciate the comment. :)

Just a quiet and pre-emptive thanks to everyone for keeping it cool in here...thanks.
Avatar Image says:

Is it me or does that pic of Melissa look a bit like Bonnie Wright?

Avatar Image says:

Wonderful post Melissa. Hopefully Jo’s statement will enlighten some people who are under the impression that going after SVA/RDR is an attack on HP fandom. Oh and is there anywhere we might be able to read Jo’s complete statement?

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, you ROCK!!! Agree with Susie, you were born to be a journalist! Thanks a ton for all the effort you’re putting in to get this case to us in such a clear way.

The response seems balanced enough. Poor poor Jo, I can’t even imagine what she must be going through right now. :( It’s terrible to think that after 17 years of slogging with the HP books, now she can’t even get some peace to write the encyclopedia. I hope SVA backs off now, or is it too late to do that?

Avatar Image says:

“(JKR) feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”


We love and support you, Jo. I am so sorry you are even having to deal with this travesty.

Avatar Image says:

It’s old and out of focus, don’t be fooled, I look absolutely nothing like her!

I think these documents will soon be on Justia and therefore I should be able to give you links to read them yourself soon.

Avatar Image says:

I’m glad that Jo hasn’t backed down from this! She is protecting HER work and the work of all other authors. Copyright means only the orginal person can release work didn’t Lexicon know that?? I mean I learned that in Middle school!!!!!!! I will buy the book. but only if done by Jo!

Avatar Image says:

These posts always make me feel sad, although I definitely do appreciate Melissa for slogging through all of this for us. (Thanks!)

Avatar Image says:

Forgive me for sounding like a mum, but… Melissa, do you ever find time to sleep, eat… or breathe?

::is in awe of you::

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Melissa and the rest of the TLC staff, for keeping us up to date on the news. Can’t wait to see the documents on Justia…

Avatar Image says:

Ashely, thanks for your concern; I guarantee that this is nothing less prosaic than summarization – certainly not awe-worthy behavior. But I appreciate it nonetheless. :) Don’t worry, I’m going to bed. In five minutes.

Avatar Image says:

What can I say, other than – wow. WB has got RDR in a corner and has totally exposed them and the scam that they’re trying to run. Really compelling evidence.

Avatar Image says:

thanks – i’ve been waiting for all this. quite sobering.

Avatar Image says:

OMG this is still going on. Why has this not been chucked out of court. They are not going to win it’s Jo’s world full stop.

SVA needs to get a life. Sorry but he does.

Avatar Image says:

Also would like to think Mel for taking the time to post and summerize all of this.

This really didnt bring anything new to the party, alot of what was said in these responces we have heard from the people before, and in the case of the lawyers comments at the end, we had discussed and picked at for months now and came many times as a group to similer or the same conclusions.

this is a mucky swamp, but putting loyalty to jk rowling as the sole creator of harry potter aside, how anyone could support RDR seems ludicris. There is something to be said for how JKR/WB/Scholastic/Bloomsbury/Cristopher Little Agency has handled this with clear and diginified responce, where as RDR Books has handled it like snarling cavemen, showing a lack of comprehenstion for the legal rights of authors something a publisher no matter if they are a large publishing house printing hundreds of new titles a year to a small one who might only publish 10 a year should understand strictly for the purpose of knowing how to protect their authors and their publication rights and the rules of fair use and copyright laws meant to keep everything in line.

RDR Books has been highly unprofessonal throughout this higher affair, acting not as adults, or as a legittamate buisness, but often acting childish and immature. they take swips without legittamately defending their statements, which often, they go back on and do a completel 180 degree turn, meaning one of their statements by law can be considered a lie filed to the courts. the Courts job now is to look at how both sides have acted and what they had said in their filings and responces, and decide upon the legality of said statements and actions and make a decision.

RDR Books did nearly exactly what Nancy Stouffer did. Nancy Stouffer forged documents that she would not have a legal right to have to try to prove that jk rowling was a american citizen, and therefore, would have had access to in her words a hugely popular book written by her, nancy stouffer. in effect, she lied to the court and forged documents to try to build her case against jo. now, RDR Books has already lied to the court through their conflicting and contradicting statements in this case, the most prominent being first stating that the lexicon book is not commentary, and that if WB and JKR wants to know what the book is, they should print out the website, then turning around and stating to the courts that the book is commentary and critical anaylasis. something anyone who read through the court documents which included the filings of vast tracks of the lexicon book knows is not the case.

Avatar Image says:

You rock, Melissa :)

Avatar Image says:

...and WB answers with the death nell for RDR Books and their case.

Go Jo!

Avatar Image says:

Thanks again, Melissa. That’s a pile of work. Great job…and I look forward to the updates.

Avatar Image says:

Is it just me, or did jo take quite a few swipes at steve vander ark and how its hard to see how he can call himself a true fan if he is trying to undermine her and the fans of the series?

Avatar Image says:

She said exactly what she thought and how she felt over this debacle that RDR/SVA have instigated.

I wouldn’t call it ‘swipes’ per se, but its almost like she ‘blog-slapped’ him.

Avatar Image says:

No great sitution indeed. http://community.livejournal.com/deadlyhollow

Avatar Image says:

I don’t know, it seemed a bit like a good strong scolding to me rather than swipes. Just shy of furious rant. My grandmother was a master of them.

Avatar Image says:

“If RDR’s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet. Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

And there it is folks, straight from the authors mouth (or pen, or computer…) Regardless of our own personal opinions in this case Jo understands better than we do the larger outcome if she loses and she has now put it on record what will end up happening. If she loses this case there goes fanfiction for a start.

It is unfortunate, and when all is said and done if this is the road she has to take, people will hate her but her actions will be completely justified. If she loses, that will be the precedent for many more attempts to milk off her creation. She has to protect what is hers.

Avatar Image says:

oi it lookslike Mr.Vander ark is going to wish he had the Deathly Hallows or maybe a horcrux as it seems he is indeed interms of this case

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

My jaw hit the floor when reading this. What a damm shame it came to this.

(Great news post, thank you Leaky)

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And so it is…we finally have the final nail in the HP Lexicon book’s coffin. This is completely devastating for RDR’s case. There’s no way they will survive this.

Another thing that won’t survive? The Lexicon website. I won’t be surprised to see Steve take it down the day after a judgement is handed down.

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

As pointed out by MaraudingDon, this part of the article just wowed me. It’s how I’ve felt about this case and Jo obviously feels the same. I just can’t believe that Steve/RDR haven’t backed down when they are so obviously in the wrong. My opinion of this man is plummeting.

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“If RDR’s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet.”

I continue to be disturbed by this line of reasoning, and by claims that our opinions should be disregarded, or that “Jo knows better than we do.” Jo did not create the fansites, she merely supports them, just as we did not create the books, we support them. The conclusion that authors (and Jo speaks only for herself here) must do anything in particular regarding fansites if RDR wins is not forgone. Jo and her team want us on their side, and this is more about that than about any action they would need to take or not take.

I continue to maintain that there are dangers for fansites in a JKR/WB victory as well.

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There’s far more danger in a RDR/SVA victory than in one for JKR/WB. I’ll take the one that screws fandom over less, which is the side that Jo and WB are on.

If RDR win, it’s pretty much a death knell for fan fiction, fan art, or any other fannish endeavor. If Jo wins, the worst that happens is we lose the Lexicon site, which isn’t as big of a loss. There’s already at least one HP wiki that’s more user friendly, and they’re not trying to get a book deal.

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I know that’s the common perception. A great deal depends on how the court writes its opinion. I don’t believe any decision that supports the notion that our fansites today only exist on the sufferance of the authors is going to help fansites in any way.

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As always, adding my voice to the chrous thanking Melissa and TLC for keeping us informed.

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I don’t think Jo is remotely implying that fansites only exist because of her approval or sufferance. What she is saying is that she will have to be careful about what aspects of her copyrighted, protected work she will allow them to use, not that the site will not be allowed to exist at all.

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I think that’s basically correct, CB—but she and others don’t have the time to (and would make no money from) going around policing internet sites one-by-one and story-by-story.

So what is she saying? How would the “significant negative impact” to “genuine fans” actually occur? There is frankly nothing an author or publisher could do except a) stop talking to us and b) sue us. The idea that an RDR victory will have a negative impact on fansites is a threat to sue somebody, however much we love Jo.

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I found this when I went to Google News and googled “lexicon lawsuit” ... Leaky came up along with the Wall Street Journal as a “news source”. Go Leaky!!! Melissa Rocks!!!

Are you going to ever sell shares in your media empire? If so, please send me the prospectus as soon as it is available. I want in!


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no favorite FSA?

Oh, Jo… you have an awful memory… http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/static_downloads/jkr-ootp-rah.mp3

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It would be very helpful if you simply provided links instead of summaries. I’ve worked as a legal secretary and know all too well how easy it is to distort the actual content of a filing.

Also, your bias toward Rowling is blatant. Cut it out and stop acting like a fanpoodle for once in your life, Melissa. Or isn’t it enough that you stole this website from its founder?

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Strong work. You go, Jo. Thanks Melissa/Leaky for the info!

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Ellid – that’s a bit harsh. I think Melissa has been extremely fair. Stole the website? What’s that about?

Steve Vander Ark – I love the Lexicon, but I just don’t think you should publish it for profit.

Best wishes to all.

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

This paragraph also made an earthquake rumble impact on me too. (sorry for the earthquake analogy, we just had one in UK! trust Jo to prove how great a writer she is – summarising her feeling with such ease. I have to laugh though as reading Jo’s declaration was more like reading her blog!

We have heard both sides of the story and we heard enough. I always felt like giving Steve Van Der Ark (I still think thats a fantastic name!) the benefit of the doubt but as the the case went on, there were not muc doubts for him to benefit from. Now I feel there isnt any at all. He is coming across as a self delusional, egoistic, and ultimately greedy fella. I say “coming across” but it will take a helluva big twist to this sorry tale to change my mind.

I will read anything that Jo writes because she writes from the heart and soul.

Kudos again to Melissa for her high quality and in depth journalism. I simply cant wait to read her book about the fandom.

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@ Ellid:

I too, am a legal secretary. I’ve followed this story from the get go. As always, TLC has been utterly professional and unbiased. Once the filings have been made available to Justia via the web, Melissa has ALWAYS provided the links. Until then, she provides great summarization of the facts so that we know the news.

Taking personal swats at Melissa or TLC, rather than commenting on what has been reported upon, shows you for what you truly are. An RDR/SVA sockpuppet who needs to get over themselves.

Keep up the good, work, Melissa and the TLC.

@ Loren:

Hey, if it comes down to whether or not simply allowing her copyrighted material to so generously appear on fansites without contesting as considered abanoning her copyrights for every Tom, Dick, and Steve to steal for themselves, I’m not surprised that Rowling {or any other author for that matter} would impose severe restrictions upon sites to prevent a further loss of copyrighted materials. That’s not only good business but good common sense.

Some fans made this leap of logical conclusion, some fans have argued this from day one, but either no one believed it or thought it a real possibility. Now we know which side of the fandom was correct. If she’s forced to clamp down on fandom because of Steve’s hubris, blame the person responsible, the “former big name fan, Steve”, and not the author who’s only protecting her rights.

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Unless this judge is a complete idiot, RDR stands no chance. Hopefully this entire ordeal will soon be over.

(Of course, that’s not going to stop the media from portraying JKR as a “copyright hog” and a money-scrounging villain.)

Who else just wishes this had never happened?

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Thanks Melissa. Jo’s declaration was both dignified and damning. Ellid typo Elide. “Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy … ” (GoF, 628; uk)

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I think the one thing we ALL seem to be able to agree on is that we wish this had never happened.

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Cara, I don’t think there are really ‘sides’ in the fandom. You and I just disagree on where all the risks to the fandom lie. I believe everything. I think everything is possible.

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Ellid…I am sorry, but I have to take acception to your “I’ve worked as a legal secretary and know all to well how easy it is to distort the actual content of a filing.” followed by “Your bias toward Rowling is blatant. Cut it out and stop acting like a fanpoodle for ones in your life, Melissa”....

A. Being a “legal secretary” does not make you an “expert” on leaglease (sp) [with apologies, here, for any disrespect to Legal Secretaries.] B. Melissa’s information is not HER OWN OPINION, it is the transcript (as far as I can tell not being a “legal secretary”) having looked at the documents, on line, myself) Nor is it biased toward JKR. And C. I applaud Melissa and Leaky for giving us the information, here, in such a way. Yes, we can go and look, for ourselves. It is not a matter of “distort the actual content of a filing”. It IS the filing!

Thank you “fanpoodle” for giving us this information.

Sorry this is so long…thank you, again Melissa. Your hard work is a testament to the integrity of TLC’s care for Ms Rowling and Harry Potter Fandom.

Gail Callicott

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Please forgive me. The quote, from Ellid, was mispoken: it should read ”...once….” Sorry for the mis quote, Ellid.


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I happen to agree that J.K.Rowlings has the Creative Rights and privilege to take as long as she needs in order to make the Ultimate Scottish Book! Who else really knows about the secret conversations that Jo has been having with her characters, filling her in on details and deep dark secrets, that have not appeared in print.- yet!

At least give her time to let the characters sit down, and enjoy some tea and biscuits while she does some proper relaxing research! It’s Jo, remember the woman who gave the world many delightful surprises? It will be worth the wait, and the Midnight line!

Has Elvis left the building of his Ark? This is just too fan creep show for me – Signatures? Guest appearances? Does he come with a cape and fly in? EEK! There are fans like Melissa (YEAH!), and there are very confused mind boggled blighter’s.

I look forward to the day where there are no more articles about this Legal entanglement in Aragog’s web! Not all fans have 8 legs and spin webs!

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this is the part that got me:

-It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions.” -

um…WOW. to me, that seems like blatant copyright infringement.

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And here Jo was, finally finished with it all, finally ready to get some rest after years and years of deadlines…

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First of all, thank you Melissa for summarizing the arguments.

These 3 things really stood out to me: 1) Vander Ark repeatedly said within the last two years that he would never write an encyclopedia because Jo had intended to do so. He even wanted his website to discourage people from doing it. 2) That the books RDR provided in their response are not similar to the Lexicon and the Scottish Book for various reasons. First, most of them were printed before the final book was published. Second, many of them are no longer in print (due to copyright issues. 3) Some of the information in the Lexicon is wrong, poorly researched, and poorly cited. He even copyrights from other sources. Come on Steve, take an MLA course please.

I was also surprised that Jo really went after Steve. I feel sorry for him, because we all know he loves the fandom. Now he’s ticked off the creator of the franchise, and probably has lost a lot of credibility within the fandom itself. Why did you do it Steve? Is it really worth it?

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I read the whole thing once again, after the update. Like most people here, I’m pretty sure if RDR wins the case, we know JKR/WB’s stance, and I don’t disagree with them one bit. It’ll be the end of fandom, not only in HP, but for a lot of other books too.

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emmy, that’s exactly what I was feeling worst about. Jo thought she finally could get a little time off for herself, a little peace of mind to “slip off into her own world” again, and this comes along…

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I have been on the fence about this, because being in academia, I tend to want reference books, and I didn’t realize exactly how Jo’s book would be. I also didn’t think the sale of this book would interfere with the Scottish one. I didn’t like RDR’s tactics, but I was undecided.

This post includes a lot of very good points though. Do you market a reference work to children? Is the work that shoddy? Also, the point about SVA’s book being the “first” of its kind and the possibility of its being bought by adults as a present to children… How many adults are likely to buy two encyclopedias for their children…

Finally, hearing from Jo herself. That pretty much sealed it. It makes you stop and think.

RDR will be bankrupt after this.

Anyway, thanks Melissa for the great summaries. I don’t have a great deal of time, and I appreciate it.

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For the record I’m in Jo’s corner. Don’t know why the lexicon would have to forward anyways since Jo’s Encyclopedia would be a very similar ?

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These statements are most worrying to me:

“It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter…” “It also says that despite Steve Vander Ark claiming he used reference works, none are cited in the book or mentioned in the bibliography…”

While I am leaning toward one side for the first time, I couldn’t help but find this a bit ridiculous on Emily Blumsack’s part:

“She also monitored fan activity and noted several statements made by Steve Vander Ark and others. She notes that:.. Steve Vander Ark’s persona presents potential harm to JKR’s encyclopedia, by quoting an email from RDR that calls Steve Vander Ark a “rock star” and “Elvis like figure” at fan events…”

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I need to respond to Ellid, because I too have worked as a legal secretary - and as a journalist - and know what an intellectual exercise it is to read through a brief and draw out the pertinent points—without bias.

Because this latest summary concerns Jo’s brief against RDR and Vander Ark, we are only going read the plaintiffs’ (Jo’s team’s) legal points and arguments against the defendant (RDR/Vander Ark). Naturally, that means that they will paint a negative picture of Vander Ark, and will dismiss his counsel’s legal arguments. Once the defendants respond, you will then hear their counterarguments, and I’m sure that Melissa will enumerate those in as much evenhanded detail as she has done with the plaintiffs’ brief.

However, Ellid, if you are claiming that you have read through the entire brief yourself and its numerous attachments, and can find and prove that Melissa has been prejudicially selective in her summary, I will stand by your assessment that she has distorted the facts in this case.

But I doubt that you - or anyone else - has the time, patience or expertise to read through the entire brief, or did so before you accused her of bias.

Melissa has done us all a service by trying to give us the facts about the case in a fair and journalistically ethical manner. Unlike many fansite writers, Melissa is a professional journalist in her “real life”, and therefore holds herself to a high set of ethics in her reporting, an integrity which she has demonstrated in earlier articles. She has a reputation to protect as a responsible journalist, even on a fansite; she bylines all her articles, and is read by thousands daily, including fellow journalists. Despite her affection for Jo, Melissa would not hurt her career and livelihood by distorted reporting.

Considering that Steve Vander Ark was a friend and frequent guest on TLC, this entire case must be immensely personally distressing to Melissa, Sue and John. She and her staff must walk an incredibly careful line until this case is resolved—reporting on the issue that is of such great concern to all HP fans and yet not personally commenting on the proceedings. To their very great credit, I think they are succeeding in doing so.

Melissa is letting the briefs speak for themselves and is not gatekeeping or slanting this information to benefit the plaintiff. All you need to do is read her previous reportage on the defendants’ (Vander Ark’s) briefs to see how truly equitable she is trying to be. After reading those summaries, one can even be convinced that Steve’s team is right and Jo’s is wrong. What could be fairer reporting than that?

Melissa, kudos again on your responsible, unbiased reporting on this issue, and please know we deeply appreciate your efforts during this difficult time.

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Just want to add that those phrases “and as a journalist” and “or anyone else” in my previous comment should not have been struck through. I keep using dashes to separate thoughts in the comments section, and they end up posting as struck through. I’ll start using comma from now on!

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Ellid, your comments are unfounded and downright lies. Melissa has enforced no opinion on us and has merely reported the facts and I thank her for doing so.

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Thank you Melissa for such alot of posting. I am always behind Jo, I trust her all the way because she is the person that gave us this beloved world be cherish, so if she doesnt write it or like it neither do I. Leave her alone she deserves time to herself and family. I only buy work that is from her, YOU GO JO!

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Perfect World for fans:

1. We can read all the books and encyclopedias on Harry Potter

2. We can have our fan-sites

3. We can all stay united and enjoy Harry Potter together.

Remember Harry Potter was not always right. He had to learn things along the way. But at the end, he got his ‘perfect world’. Let’s hope for this!

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I figure ‘Ellid’ is probably the legal secretary for RDR’s team. No bias there.

I’ll be purchasing only one Harry Potter encyclopedia. JKR’s.

Good work Melissa

Thanks, OMT

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Thank you, Melissa, for giving us this information so quickly and in an unbaised manner (in my opinion).

It is sad that this whole situation had to resort to this…but there is no question that Jo and WB will win now.

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Hello, Ellid! I haven´t read your comment, so I cannot say I agree with you. But it is striking that people here always react in the same stereotypical way.

RDR´s book is not published yet and the citing can still be added.But it was not clever of Steve to forget that. It shows that he is indeed careless with the efforts of other people. I can understand RDR´s wish to publish a ´money-maker`. And sure a giant like scholastic is playing at the edge of law as well ( I assume).

Regarding choices: Jo has chosen in the beginning to sign a contract with the giants. I´m not sure if this is a morally correct choice. But she is a christian! It would lead to far to argue this point here.

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Citing could still be added…yeah, with a publish date of less than a month to go, sure, it could have been added. Of course, it should have been there in the first place.

Perhaps if he’d not lifted text directly from HP text for a grand total of ” 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries” and thrown in a token amount of adverbs for good measure he’d have had the time to properly cite sources.

Of course, quite a bit of those sources were copied almost verbatim. I wonder if they were deliberately left uncited so as to make it appear that SVA actually wrote them? Regarding this book, it’s like all he did was alphabetize other people’s work and add some adverbs.

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Interesting this, from Cheryl:

“The documents quote the email’s postscript, which says, “PS It might interest you to know that George Beahm [a third party author] commented that he had originally intended to write an encyclopedia of Harry Potter (which Jo has specifically reserved for herself, I understand) but seeing the Lexicon convinced him not to bother. I want you to know that one of the express purposes of the Lexicon is to dissuade people from that sort of thing, so I was particularly happy to hear him say that.”

I mentioned in the last posting of proceedings that George Beahm’s made quite a career of writing “encyclopedias” of contemporary writers and worlds—I have two of his works that he did on Stephen King. However, George had done what SVA did NOT do: provide additional research, generate original content, and find critical commentary. And Beahm DID do a collaboration on HP, called “Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World: An Unofficial Guide.” Sometimes I think I should have George’s job….

Thanks for helping us keep up with the case, Melissa. I like all the posting you’ve done from the original sources, all with clear citations and attributions, too! You’re a trooper!

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Once again your journalisticness is right on. Keep it up.


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i love the HP Lex, i think it is an important and amazing source for Harry Potter information Online, and that is where it should stay Online.

as a pretty new harry potter fan and fic writer to this fandom i found the lex to be a great source of information and i am happy it is online, since i don’t think Rowling will put her guide online, i think it should stay online, as a fan guide and nothing more, trying to make money out of it is wrong, not just for the greed in it but for the fact that the Steve’s guide will never be complete simply because he didn’t create and wrote the harry potter world, he will not be able to enlighten us on nothing new, while Jo’s guide might even give us new enlightenment on something’s that might not be clear to people.

i do hope she’ll win this because if not as she said it will have dire circumstances for authors world wide. Not to mention I doubt she will then do her own guide. What ever happens my money will be spend on Rowling’s guide.

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Regarding choices: Jo has chosen in the beginning to sign a contract with the giants. I´m not sure if this is a morally correct choice. But she is a christian! It would lead to far to argue this point here.

Posted by secunda

I don’t get what are you trying to say? and maybe you should read other ppl’s posts before commenting on them.

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Just remember folks, Warner Brothers has trademarked almost everything in the Harry Potter series. If this case is successful it will build precedent for global trademark protection on the internet. The internet will be considered “publishing” and will face “cease and desist” letters over unauthorized use of the trademarks. The trademarks include the words in Harry Potter – not just the images from the film or artwork, but the words, the word, the words. Please see this case for what it is – it’s not the only one going on right now, but it is certainly one of the most prominent.


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ZoeRose, JKR and WB already have significan authority to take down or scale back a lot of the fansites online. (Witness Anne Rice, or Disney).

They don’t need this case to do that. But they are saying they may well have to start to if RDR wins and they lose.

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We see the case for what it really is already, ZoeRose.

There are already laws and rules in place to protect internet copyrights/trademarks as evidenced by the fact that JKR/WB have sued people that infringed and intended to financially benefit off the HP copyright/trademark by registering HP domain names for squatter sites. Those copyrights/trademarks were upheld, the domain names were surrendered via court orders. Nothing horrible came of it.

Saying a win for WB/ JKRthis will have consequences is incorrect. What will have consequences, for the worse, is a win for RDR/SVA. A win for them could have serious deleterious effects on the internet.

Try reading up on the internet copyright/trademark laws, please, instead of spreading the equivalent of the much hyped, but little realized Y2K scare.

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I do hope that this comment “6. ... feels the premise that fans will buy both encyclopedias is “presumptuous and insensitive,” owing the first to an assumption that everyone would want to have two encyclopedias and the second to assuming they could afford both. ”..it is obvious to me that many people do not have money to buy every book that appeals to them.”

is also true about a movie that is split into…..not every one has money to throw away on two movie tickets per-person and on two DVD’S!

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Nefertiti, I would hope and think that even if book 7 is made into 2 movies that it will be sold in 1 DVD set. I would be more than willing to go sit at the theatre and watch a 5 hr movie, but considering that most places think fans wouldn’t be willing do that, they won’t do that, but there are many people that would be willing to give up stuff to be able to afford certain things they really want, I probably wouldn’t buy steves book, i would borrow from the library first to see if it was worth buying, but i will def buy jkr’s scottish book

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Sighs … I had hoped that we could let the courts do their thing and await the results, but if not, this is the place to get the facts as summarized, be able to get the links to verify for oneself, and comment on the issues as appropriate.

So, just a few comments (ha!! Since when have I ever had “just a few”!!)

In my opinion, as stated all along, a win for RDR means bad news for fansites and so on, for excatly the reason mentioned earlier in these comments .. it may not have anything to do with actually threatening to shut down a site, but substantially more to do with providing NO material for a site to work with, NO encouragement for a site to flourish and spread the word, and NO opportunity to benefit from what most sites do, which is to allow intelligent and thoughtful discussion and opinions.

Yes, Loren, a lot will depend on how the judge words the ruling in favour of JKR/WB, if that is the outcome, but in general, there should be no effect on a site and on fandom if they win. That is because most sites are already recognized as adhering to the concept of Fair Use by adding commentary, reporting on events related to the works and author, and providing analysis. Even the Lexicon site does that, the issue being that they do not wish to publish any of that original material, only their compilation of JKR work. I understand your concern, and support your right to BE concerned, and hope you are wrong about the possible outcome … I know, Loren, that you understand what I mean when I say that.

Related, of course, is the issue of internet copyright, and yes, these sites are already copyrighted and so on. The fact is, also as I have stated often before, that the whole issue of Intellectual Property rights, whether in print or on line, is vastly complex. Even the Judiciary is hampered by that fact, since there is precious little case law that allows generalizations, which is where new law comes from. Witness the fact that a) it took so long for the concept of Fair Use to reach the level of complexity it now has, and b) the fact that even the US Copyright Office notes that Fair Uses is so hard to be clear on that permission should ALWAYS be sought before using another’s copyrighted material.

Finally, also as I’ve mentioned before, there is no way to tell which way this case will ultimately go, because ther is no way to know what any given judge will think on any given day. That is the essence of Judgeship. They are people, making decisions based on their own understanding of the issues and tempered by their own sense of what is right. All evidence does is provide fodder for consideration, and the job of the lawyer is to format the evidence in such a way as to speak to what the lawyer believes is the judge’s sense of legal interpretation and sense of “what is right”. So we just have to wait and see.

I want to close by once again thanking Melissa for her efforts, and to join so many others in saying that a reading of the actual briefs makes it clear just how unbiased Melissa is. As someone correctly pointed out, she is reporting what the submission says, and, of course, since this is the Plaintiff’s position, any fair report will reflect the bias of the position, not the reporter. Melissa has been equally fair in reporting the position of the Defendants. The fact that many people are swayed against the Defendants reflects their OWN opinions and positions based on their OWN reading of the information. Melissa has not tried to influence anyone, only to inform in an unbiased way. Those who have changed their minds have admitted doing so based on the evidence, not on how it was reported.

PS.. thanks for pointingt out that Melissa’s picture is reminiscent of Bonnie Wright/Ginny Weasly. I have always thought so but was too reserved to mention it!


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Purchasing the book would be a blow against JKR and Harry. Let’s not let that happen. Let’s be the next Dumbledore’s Army and ban the book ! NEVER EVER purchase, read, borrow, or endorse the work.

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Having published several fan stories in another universe, I understand how passionate one can be about the story they love. I simply cannot believe the length that this guy seems to be willing to go to publish something he simply cannot have all the answers to.

Steve, what are you thinking? You’re pushing being a fan of something far past acceptable parameters and making the rest of us look bad! Sit down and shut up! Let Jo write her own encyclopedia—she’s the expert here.

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“Try reading up on the internet copyright/trademark laws, please, instead of spreading the equivalent of the much hyped, but little realized Y2K scare.”

We’re not deluded, Cara, merely babes in the woods who should be treated gently.

Morton, good to hear you again, & yes, I’d say the odds of the judge putting a new arrow in Creators’ quiver is low . . . but . . . in any case, your confidence boosts mine.

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Perhaps Ellid would be so gracious enough to summarize it for us next time then? I am not seeing any bias in it. If there was I am sure it would be somewhere in the intro.

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J.K. Rowling created this fantastic place we all vacation in…the Wizarding World. It seems only right to me that SVA, “a fan” respect what she imagined and penned. She holds all rights, we owe Harry Potter and his world to her. Respect people, it all comes down to that. Steve- are you a fan or just another guy looking for a buck? Yes, Steve has given us a ton of information accessible through Lexicon and thank you…however when it comes to print don’t you believe that J.K.R. the force behind this entire amazing series should be the one to reap…afterall she is the one who sowed the seed.

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Melissa, we love you!

Jo, those guys don’t stand a chance. Don’t worry. :)

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JKR has joined the Ministry of Magic in their attempts to suppress free thinking & expresison!

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Just one other comment. JKR’s asserted that she never indicated that any FSA winner was a favorite, which is not exactly correct, based on her statement while being a guest on Leaky. So what. First of all it clearly makes it out that Lexicon is NOT her favorite, and so, second, there was no evidence to suggest that she would have supported any revenue-generating endeavour by that Website or its founder, rather quite the contrary … and again, so what.

JKR, like SVA, is human and makes mistakes. This would not be the first she’s made, but it appears to be the ONLY one in this mountain of material and information.

While it might be used to try and indicate she has not been entirely truthful, I suspect that it will be recognized for what it is in the same way that some of SVA’s erroneous assertions will be .. that is was a mistake.

Also, if you want to be really nitpicky about it, the statement was made in the context of refuting an assertion that by being chosen to receive a FSA, the site is automatically a favorite. JKR has a personal favourite (she indicated Leaky, though she may have others). But that is not an automatic outflow of receiving a FSA. It is THAT connection, asserted or at least implied by SVA/RDR that JKR is refuting. There is ample wording to support that.

See what I mean people? It is JUST such a game as demonstrated in the above paragraph that is played in the halls of justice. And whether you are rich and famous, or a wannabe, or just some poor schnook caught up in a vortex of someone else’s doing, the game has its own rules and they change constantly based on how well one player or another can influence the referees!


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The case has nothing at all to do with free thinking or expression. Try again. Additionally, you do realize the Minisry of Magic isn’t real right?

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I have to say one reason, among many, that I’m upset with Steve is he’s re-inforcing that negative stereotype of being an arrogant American. I know we’re the largest market, but we’re not entitled to everything. And yes, I AM an American.

He should just back off. He has not been given the right to profit from Jo’s work.

One of the casualties I miss is “Canon conudrums” on Leaky. I always enjoyed Steve’s take on the questions (and frankly enjoyed the sound of his voice).

How sad this all is…

Jo… I’m in your corner

And Melissa… Thanks for all the work!!!

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FYI, the “my favorite fan site” quote is from the 2003 Royal Albert Hall event, about a year before JKR started awarding FSAs. We obviously love and are proud of the quote and would never take it away from the site, but it is, to say the least, outdated. JKR has not made any public statements saying the same since.

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Hmmm…excuse me Zaptoit…What color is the sky on your planet?????

Jo is not trying to suppress free thinking & expression! Far from it … she is constantly encouraging people to create and explore just by her marvelous example! Many sparks of creativity have been ignited by her work.

SVA on the other hand, has not created a “free” thought or self-generated expression of his own. He is an “intellectual VAMPIRE” ... feeding off JKR! Does the term “plagarize” mean anything to you? He is attempting to profit from Jo’s creation by STEALING her intellectual property. I am all for original thought … SVA is apparently incapable it.

Now tell me in what world is stealing not wrong? FYI … In this world it is.

Thank You Jo for generously sharing your world with us true fans that are in awe of your talent! We love you!

I am so sorry that you have been burdened with this dreck. You will prevail!

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Melissa & all TLC Staff, huge thanks! Really appreciate this!! :)

I reckon the outcome will be good, but it’s gonna take a while..sighs Gosh, SVA really is uhm (trying to find a nice way to put it..Hmm, I can’t) ..... You can fill a word in on the dots yourself..

Anyway, Jo, we support and love you!!

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Urrgh. This is so depressing. What will happen after it’s all over? If JKR wins, will the Lexicon site be removed from the Floo Network? If SVA wins, will the fans boycott the book? If only I knew….It seems amazing, though, that anyone could do this. Thanks a lot Melissa!

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I really dont belive jo would say this;

1. ...is “deeply troubled” by the portrayal of her efforts to protect and preserve her copyrights, “and feel[s] betrayed by Steven Vander Ark, as a person who calls himself a fan.”

So, I’m not on Jo’s side if she really said this, and I’m not on Steve’s side, because what he’s doing is wrong, so i will just SIT OUT!

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WHOAH! DOES THIS MEAN SHE IS MAD AT POTTERCAST?!: 7. ...says RDR has misquoted her or taken statements out of context. She refers to the joking comment on PotterCast about taking “ten years” to do the Harry Potter encyclopedia as misrepresentive and “inappropriately cut off at a selective moment…the very next thing i said in that interview is that I wanted to give people everything in the companion guide and do ‘the absolute definitive guide.’”

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Jo does say it because she understandably feels betrayed by all this nonsense. Here’s a site that presented itself as a fan resource for info about the books, and now, from Jo’s point of view, the webmaster of said site is just trying to cash in by ripping her off.

Should she be happy that someone is trying to, in her words, co-opt the work she’s already done for financial gain? I’d be pretty upset too if someone did that to me.

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And I doubt she’s mad at Pottercast. She’s mad at RDR’s side taking something she said on Pottercast out of context.

It was obvious she had fun on the show, and hopefully, Jo will be back on someday. I don’t see how Steve’s mistakes would reflect badly on Pottercast at all. This is all on Steve and RDR. No one else.

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Morton Kaiserman, i just wanted to thank you for your posts on this subject. Your comments are always so well constructed and calm, as well as interesting and insightful!

Thanks Melissa for all your hard work on this, it’s very much appreciated.

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Ian, of course she’s not mad at Pottercast! She’s angry with RDR who are taking her words from the podcast and using them out of context.

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Ian, I didn’t get the impression that she was mad at Pottercast. She merely seems to be indicating that RDR has taken her words out of context to indicate that she set a completion timeline on the encyclopedia when she did no such thing.

Kudos TLC for your partial and unbiased updates on this case. I’m still sort of gobsmacked by it all. I don’t have time or energy to read every single legal briefing, so I very much appreciate your summary.

I hope, though, when all is said and done, that TLC will state their position on the case. I admit I’m curious and I’m sure other readers are as well.

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Who cares, really? Except for a phalanx of lawyers, who really has anything to gain here?

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Well, just… PANTS!

I can’t help but think about the HP fandom one year ago today. Remember the excitement? The elation? The anticipation? I do, and it is a far cry from what SVA and RDR are subjecting to fans now. I’m sorry, but I am really disappointed in Steve. As an adult fan of HP, I can say that he should know better.

The HP fandom will never be the same if SVA/RDR win this; what a horrible tragedy that would be.

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No, it means she’s upset with RDR for misquoting her. Everyone who’s listened to that podcast and who’ve read all of the court updates from Melissa, we know what Rowling said and noted that it had been deliberately taken out of context by the defense.

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I suspect the only negative effect on PotterCast is that they won’t have Steve doing Canon Conundrums in the foreseeable future, which is a shame because it was a good segment which was partly due to Steve’s contribution.

More generally though, I think Jo might be more careful in what she says while this case continues, which may mean the fans get fewer snippets of information in the near future. She hasn’t updated her website recently, and of course although it might be she has other reasons such as saving everything for Feb 29th, her silence might be because extra facts or statements might affect the case.

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Cara: I agree about the misquoting. That was one of the things I picked up instantly when reading the RDR statement, when for example I think it was perfectly obvious to those listening that it was a jokey remark (albeit one meant to suggest that the Scottish Book wouldn’t be imminent).

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Thanks Melissa for that great post! I feel like I actually understand the points of view here. You wrote a very clear summary, much appreciated.

I have to admit, SVA seems like he’s really gone astray from the spirit of Harry Potter, like Jo said above. I bet all the conventions he’s been apart of are going to politely ask him to stay far far away! No fandom traitors allowed!

I feel so bad Jo always has to deal with these lunatics.

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Wow. I feel really bad for Steve, having to read that Jo herself said those things about him. I’ve gotten the impression that he has little say in how things are going now, that the publisher is calling the shots. I wonder if he wishes he could go back in time and stop this from starting in the first place.

I still say, I think Jo and Steve think very differently. I had hoped that an encyclopedia written by Jo would contain a lot of new information, scenes that had to be re-written (so the encyclopedia would contain the version that didn’t make it into the book) and stuff about the Weasley cousin that never made it to print, as well as back-stories on Dean and Luna and Neville’s Uncle Albie, etc. If Jo’s encyclopedia is just the HP content, alphabeticized, I’ll be highly disappointed. Having said that, I think the Lexicon as Steve, with his organized librarian’s mind, has created, is a highly useful resource. But if Jo put out a book that was just the same as the lexicon, I’d be dissapointed.

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good for Jo. I really hope the judge just throws it out so that she can get on with her life (and hopefully write an encyclopedia… when she wants).

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Mrs. Lovegood, I don’t feel bad for Steve for having those things written about him by Jo. He knows what he’s doing. He has done a complete 180 from his earlier comments, and he made a conscious decision to do so. He stopped caring what Jo thought of him when he started trying to stick it to her (asking that she turn over her creative notebooks, etc.). She is such a good person and her comments were positively nice compared to what I would have said. I just hope this betrayal doesn’t cause her to see Steve Vander Arks everywhere now, but she seems to be re-assuring us that she doesn’t lump all the fans in with him.

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Melissa: One slight slip up in your report. The last paragraph of the Suzanne Murphy bit is actually about the Emily Blumsack declaration.

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@remlefay, I agree that it is disappointing that she has to deal with lunatics at least this situation doesnt deal with politics. ( religion- scary fundamentalists)

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I’m not qualified to make a judgment on the underlying legal issues, but it’s painfully obvious that WB has better lawyers than RDR. This was a thoroughly merciless spanking.

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Be sure to read the email chain in Cheryl Klein’s declaration, Exhibit A.

Quite revealing on the personalities in play, here.

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I think it is a combination of both better facts from a legal standpoint, and better lawyers.

And seeing my screen name in there was surreal!!! I borrowed that word from dresdenfiles because it so perfectly matched how I thought about it.

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RDR doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Statements like these: “It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions” clearly shows that all RDR/SVA have done is cut and pasted the material from the Lexicon and put it on paper to make money. Without scholarly criticism or analysis, it’s blatant plagiarism.

Even if by some strange twist this book does get published, I hope that every HP fan will boycott it.

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So… here is my other thought on this matter in regards to SVA/RDR… what happened to common courtesy, or common sense? When does one stop doing was is most beneficial to him (or her, hypothetically) and start doing what is most beneficial to the masses? When does one start acting like a grown up and take responsibility?

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If that email from Mrs. Klein is legit (and Im sure it is), it sounds as if Steve already understood hes not allowed to make the book, and persuaded others not to. I wonder why he changed his mind…

I think RDR has been a big influence on him. Perhaps they came to him with the idea, convinced him it was ok, and are now telling him to fight tooth and nail for the book. I’d like to think Steve’s heart is not really in it though.

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I also join everyone thanking Melissa’s effort to make legalise bareable and pointing out the essentials. Really those who complained on the quality of what is excellent work should just go directly to Justia and keep childish accusations to themselves.

As for this sad business, am done passing judgment on SVA, he’s pretty much pulverised his credibility and reputation (whether or not he’s been indemnified). JK has clearly expressed her view and as someone cleverly pointed out, that was the equivalent of a “blogslap”. If this was directed at me, I’d want to be invisible, leave the country and hide in cave.

When thinking about what will happen I don’t think RDR will survive this. This case will ruin many lifes and disrupt harmless fans and fandoms because of this preposterous situation. And this will probably be true for the lexicon online. I have mix feeling about that, it will bare the consequence of this suite.

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I think that HP fans do buy second can openers (I own GoF in 6 various forms, and it isn’t even my favorite). Anyone obsessed enough to buy it has read all the books and still will buy the Scottish Book. However, Jo really is correct. This makes me nervous because of what could happen to the fandom…

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Even though this case is a bad thing I’m GLAD it’s happened because it should make it clear to those wishing to make money by ripping off HP that they need to cease and desist! And this is 100% about making money, NOT about giving something back to fandom, publishing something fans would enjoy.

As Jo pointed out, if SVA was a true fan he would have scrapped plans for the Lexicon book LONG ago. I’m glad Jo made a statement about him. It just shows how far this has had to go that she had to make these statements in the first place. I would be ASHAMED of myself if I had disrupted Jo’s professional life in this way after all the enjoyment she has given me through her writing.

Personally I’m quite against how the HP phenomenon has been hijacked by a lot of people to make money, whether it’s through books, music, whatever. What makes it worse IMO is the number of kids that are being taken advantage of because they want everything Potter, and as Jo said above, these inferior products are not what the books are about.

Incidentally, I don’t think of Melissa’s book in this way. It’s about the HP phenomenon (cool, I used that word twice in one post!) so that’s perfectly legitimate. If it was yet another book on ‘analysing’ the series I might have been disappointed. I particularly didn’t agree with Mugglenet’s book ‘What Will Happen In Harry Potter 7’ – put out for a quick buck before Book 7 came out. Also, the title was very cocky, it could easily have been mistaken for a book that explained what really happened in Book 7, thereby making it able to sell post-Deathly Hallows (luckily it’s very cheap everywhere now, so more fool you if you bought it at full price!!!)

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justia.com have the documents now, with a couple of revised versions.

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“Elvis like figure’ at fan events”

So that was why I couldn’t get a hamburger at Accio – SVA had eaten them all!

BTW, you can get the Mugglenet book from Amazon for $2 now.

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Oops, I forgot the KEY thing about these ‘analysis’ books – YOU CAN GET IT ALL ONLINE FOR FREE!! Seriously, how much HP analysis has been done on Pottercast alone, and it’s been provided for free with pure entertainment and HP love in mind. Any book of this nature you may buy is just a repeat of all the millions of words that have been written about the HP books online. Just think of the forums! Thousands upon thousands of posts, day in-day out, all for free and in good fun!

I browse Leaky every day, listen to Pottercast every week, for free. Words can’t express how thankful I am that site exists (all staffers should be praised!) and that I’m safe in the knowledge that it’s run by fellow true HP fans not simply out to make a buck or five from it’s readers. ‘The Most Trusted Name In Potter’ is about right!

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frankly i used to regard steve vander ark with the utmost respect but this situation has ruined him for me. i’m completely shocked by the fact that he thinks this kind of blatant plagiarism is at all acceptable. He is essentially writing a book with the exact things from another book which is the definition of such a deplorable action. I am appalled and think he should feel ashamed of himself for being so ignorant.

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before i start…a few things scream out at me….

“He mentions that for some, the Lexicon book would be their only purchase of a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and says the idea the official book would not be damaged because the same information is available on the Lexicon website because a website is impossible to give as a gift to a Harry Potter fan. “If the Lexicon were a perfect substitute for the [book] Lexicon, there would be no reason to incur the extra costs of publishing the book. Even if it is an imperfect substitute for the volume that Ms. Rowling expects to produce, the Lexicon would adversely affect demand for Ms. Rowling’s book.

so even if they are different…that doesn’t matter. hmmmmm.

“It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions” clearly shows that all RDR/SVA have done is cut and pasted the material from the Lexicon and put it on paper to make money. Without scholarly criticism or analysis, it’s blatant plagiarism.”

no…actually, since by all accounts it hasn’t even been set in type yet, it isn’t.

and see what i just did? where i directly lifted the text and then put lil flippy things in front and after it? THATS CALLED QUOTING. im allowed to do that. and, in fact, if it is NOT direct text, i could be misrepresenting you. MIS-quoting you.

so,say, if he called Ron’s hair, o…say….chestnut with an auburn hue, rather then a direct quote, he would in deed be guilty of the very thing he is being charged with….copyright infringement….taking an already static character and introducing a new element.

now…. i can already hear it….”but its her book!!!”

yes dear. its her book. her characters. her world (excepting the fact that england is…well…england.)

but let me ask all you rabid little potterites this….are the thoughts in YOUR head on HER books hers? of course not. unless you wanted to make a spot of cash from those thoughts. then she gets a say….right?


“she made up the characters, she made up the world, she blah blah blah whine whine whine…”

i have read quite literally MILLIONS of books. i dont count, but i average at least one a day, going all the way up to three if im having a nervous breakdown and cant sleep. ive been reading like that since i was in 2nd grade. and while JKR is decent, she is hardly the first to come up with any of it. NONE. its all derivative. everything is, actually, which is why we have GENRES. individual groupings of stratas based on their tone and what they derive from. kind of like food groups.

JKR is a nice solid PB&J…. and i’ll be the first to admit that sometimes a good PB&J is EXACTLY what one wants and needs. not to heavy, yet filling…sweet, but healthy enough to lack any major guilt. wizard schools, guilds, spells, teachers,methods….give me any random bit and ill give you a corresponding random bit from another book that precedes it. now….nothing wrong with that in the slightest.

plenty of food to go round, you know?

BUT….just because she wrote a decent PB&J does not give her rights over all other combinations of peanut butter, bread, and jelly, descriptions of such (including her own) lists of such, opinions of such, etc.

even if she IS planning on writing her own encyclopedia….its just that….hers. NOT HIS. that would be the difference. and the rub. just because she might/probably will/could write one….means he can not? NO! if RDR stole her notes on such, and tried to publish….if they had access to non published material JKR has in her head or otherwise, that would be a different story. RDR’s/SVA’s book is just that….THEIRS. based on and inclusive of already existing material organized into an easily referenced chunk of paper. theres no plot….you cant read the thing for story value… its a series of QUOTES, for gods sake, and a bit of “english for americans” thrown in to ease the ride. the fact that its all about JKR’S books is legal. if he was to write a NEW book with her characters, THAT would NOT.

the song about the song, as the say, is not the song itself.

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Melissa, I know you’ve heard this a lot already, but I admire you so much for all you do. Thank you for tanslating the Legalese. This entire affair is so sordid. I truly feel sorry for Jo for having to go through with this, especially with a person she thought had supported her. To Jo Rowling, I’ve loved your books and continue to love them, and I offer you my fullest support. To Leaky, thanks guys for all that you do, and keep going strong!

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I feel honor bound to respond to mme’s post. While I respect your opinion, the fact that JKR wrote it and then put copyright on it prevents anyone else from making a profit by directly quoting or paraphrasing her work in a non-reference book related manner (Which it seems the Lexicon is, despite it’s many strengths, a non-reference text). There is a name for that sort of action. It is called plaigarism and will get you expelled from most colleges and in serious legal trouble to boot. And to the comment that JKR is only literary PB & J, I’ve read Dumas, Hugo, Leroux, Shakespeare (Whom I practically worship), Marlowe, Lewis, Tolkien, and many others, and Rowling still, to this day, remains one of the authors with the finest ability to craft humor and a story that I have ever read. Heck, she showed me that reading could be the awesome journey it is. So, to quote Tom Hanks “That’s all I have to say about that”.

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she must think she wrote don quixote or something (plagiarism is of course is in that story as well..but i digress). this is getting tiring. she has already made a billion dollars. and this is just another UNAUTHORIZED book like so many others. dear Jo, stop being greedy please. thank you.

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I would just like to point out the fact that the SVA Encyclopedia is cited as basically summarizing the entire series. For those who are just looking to see what the whole phenomenon is all about, this would be a cheap option, therefore Jo’s books loose credibility and sales. I don’t even think its about Jo herself loosing money, but rather all the other people that get money from them. So yea. I’m with Jo.

And also, Melissa, I know its been said thousands of times here, but I truly would like to thank you so very much. You’ve provided a very unbiased and informative article that is easy to read and follow whats going on. I’m a 14 year old with the attention span of a sugar high squirrel, so even just reading the real documents is a struggle, let alone understanding them. The sugar high squirrel again says thank you. You’re like my hero. =D

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“whale song of love and tenderess” and mme are likely the same person.

guys, jk rowling has the right legally to fight someone who is profiting by copying her work and reorganizing it for personal financial gain. that is illegal.

Guess what whale song, jk rowling is donating the royalties from her encylopedia to charity and have said as such for 5-6+ years, ever since she started talking about the encylopedia…. SHE WOULDNT GET A SINGLE CENT FROM IT. oh how greedy of jk rowling to give money to charity!

who wants to bet mme and whale song are from RDR Books.

just be greatful jk rowling gave you the harry potter books to read, but no one has the right to hijack her works for their personal gain without her permission.

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First, I am not certain that Derek Bambauer is a Harvard professor. In his post he notes that he is in Michigan. Last I checked Harvard was in Massachusetts. He links to an article he expected to publish which suggests he is a faculty member of Wayne State University Law School.

Second, I am inclined to agree with mme in the post above. As much as I respect and admire Ms. Rowling, I don’t think she should be the only one to publish such a work. She has rights to license derivative works such as a musical or the movies. Prof. Bambauer seems to disagree with this principle for economic reasons, though you need to read the publication linked in his article for that analysis. I am not sure I agree with anyone having the right to produce a HP movie. Companion books are a different matter. It sets a dangerous precedent. Should an author have the ultimate say in how their work is analyzed and interpreted? I think not.

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Greedy! Please. How can one be greedy when the intent is to give all profit to charity…?

Just because she’s had a phenomenal hit series of books, has made tons of money, doesn’t mean suddenly she loses her copyrights!

It is NOT just another “unauthorized” book. According to copyright laws JK Rowling has the write to license derivative works. An “unauthorized” derivative book can be published IF it meets the criteria of fair use OR is considered substantially transformative as to be ‘scholarly’.

SVAs book meets ZERO of those criteria, therefore it is ILLEGAL to publish.

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mme, I don’t want to argue with you about your overall postion on this case although I thoroughly disagree with it. However, when you say:

i have read quite literally MILLIONS of books. i dont count, but i average at least one a day, going all the way up to three if im having a nervous breakdown and cant sleep. ive been reading like that since i was in 2nd grade. and while JKR is decent, she is hardly the first to come up with any of it.

I have to LOL. I know you say you don’t count but maybe you should. Assuming you are 57 years old, you still couldn’t have even reached 25K books at the rate you say you read. Maybe you should find some legal books and read up on things like “fair use” , “copyright”, and “plagiarism”, and then come back and discuss the JKR v SVA/RDR situation. Even if you don’t change your opinion at least you’ll be a bit closer to the “literally MILLIONS” of books you mention reading above.

Just sayin’...

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@msm: “She has rights to license derivative works such as a musical or the movies.”

As copyright holder she is entitled to license ALL derivative works that do not fall within the realms of fair use OR scholarship. Critique, review, analysis—-all are fair use. You’ll find none of these in SVAs book. Please not that RDR themselves identify over 200 unauthorized derivative works. The difference being is that they were ‘fair use’.

A quick look at Derek Bambauer’s credentials shows that he does teach at Wayne State, but he is a Harvard graduate with a B.A. and J.D. [and is licensed to practice in Massachusetts].

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just like her blippity bop book? auction a book for charity when if she really REALLY cared about the charity she could easily plop down a 100 million dollars to save a bunch of people? hardly.

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Songs of Whales:

Entitlement much? As far as i can tell, Jo Rowling has all the money she feels like she needs for life and does a great deal of admirable work for charities not only by direct donation, but also by events and donations that draw attention (and other donations to charitable causes) and she gets called greedy.

On the flip side, a single fan of hers has decided by his actions to endanger not only the freedom that JKR and Warners have allowed Harry Potter fans on the internet, but the freedom of ALL internet fandoms who operate by the grace of their copywrite holders… simply because he apparently believes his hard work should have a financial pay off.

Whatever mixed feelings HP fandom has over SVA (and I think his behavior as documented in the Klein and Blumsack is pretty inexcusable no matter what the social context), there are dozens if not hundreds of other fandoms watching this case and hoping that it doesn’t destroy decades of our own hard work.

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Gee, it’s so nice when others are so free with another’s bank account. She’s been an amazingly charitable person. She earned her money honestly, she’s entitled to do with it what she will.

Just because she is now quite affluent does not mean she loses her rights to her works or is entitled to allow people to turn a quick buck off of her, nor that people have the right to steal from her. That’s what this Lexicon book does.

@ NotTheHBP: I suspect you’re right, it seems the ‘socks’ are out in force, tonite.

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@ Zaptoit: Jo is someone who STANDS UP for freedom of speech. She’s even said so many times that she doesn’t believe in censorship as such. And if she was against free speech, she wouldn’t have let fansites exist in the first place. She’s only trying to protect what is rightfully hers, and what will someday help to support a lot of charities and help a lot of people who need it. Since when has that become an attempt to suppress free speech?

@ Ian: I don’t think she’s mad at Pottercast. As Minnie said,she’s just upset that RDR took up something that she said in light humour and brought it up in this legal tangle. Which I do agree. The whole “ten years” thing was just said as a joke. Jo herself commented after she said it, “Nobody laughed.”

And I know we’ve all said it before, but I’m saying it again. A win for RDR means a lot of trouble for fansites, and it won’t be Jo’s fault either because she just has to take precautions after everything that happens.

About Derek Bambauer’s article, well, the NYT article seemed pretty biased anyway, so a comment from an expert just makes me wonder if NYT just needs an excuse to target Jo? And ethuen, don’t be too sure. I bet they haven’t read JKR/WB’s response yet, or else they wouldn’t have been “fairly certain” of the outcome.

Hang in there Jo! You’re going to win this!! :-)

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@ Whale song of love and songs of whales:

Jo is already involved with a lot of charities. She was living in poverty herself before HP was published. She’s been through it all, and she KNOWS what it’s like to struggle. So please, don’t say her auction of Beedle the Bard was just some “publicity stunt”. She wrote that whole thing BY HAND after she finished DH and senenten years of slogging ALL FOR CHARITY! She wrote Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts for the same reason. She has a someone look after the charity she does, the actualy functioning of the charity, which means she’s involved in charity in a VERY BIG WAY!! And the encyclopedia she will write will also be for charity. What does this show? That she doesn’t care and is just acting like a “copyright hog”. Sorry, not to me, and neither to any person with some balanced views and common sense.

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I love how the SVA/RDR Sockpuppet Army of Support is out in force tonight. It’s very amusing.

That said, this case is over. RDR/SVA don’t have a leg to stand on legally, and this rebuttal rips their entire argument to shreds. They’d better hope the judge is in a charitable mood and only stops the book from being published. If he starts imposing fines and making them pay JKR/WB’s legal fees, they’re both easily looking at bankruptcy.

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after learning more about steve vander ark from these statements, I really hope melissa, john and sue have thought better of having him back on pottercast for canon conundrums. I don’t care how much he contributed to canon canondrums, I really don’t think I could stand listening to him. I think it would be an insult to JK Rowling and all potter fans. Also, I don’t think it’ll do good for Pottercast ratings with steve on the show because I think I can safely say most Pottercast listeners aren’t too happy with steve by now.

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If RDR/SVA are found to have willfully infringed, they’re looking at paying the Plaintiffs a statutory award for damages of $150,000 per infringed work.

So, that would be all 7 books, 2 companion books, JK Rowling’s website, the 4 ‘Daily Prophet Newsletters’ put out by Bloomsbury, The Chocolate Frog Cards, The HP TCG, quotes from all the HP dvd interviews [used as canon], all of the EA games [used as canon], the trademarked dvd games, and the Black Family Tapestry…the list is quite long. Those are solely for Rowling’s works, not the unacknowledged works of their other ‘source’ materials.

So, just out of what’s listed above, if willful infringement is the ruling, the cost is approximately 4 1/2 million dollars in statutory damages PLUS court costs, attorneys fees, and fees for their expert witnesses.

I hope they can pay up.

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This whole thing has been really upsetting…

I hope it’s over soon.

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Fail (n.):

1. stupidity; abject ignorance (made of ~ , total ~ , epic ~ ).

2. RDR Books.

Thanks for compiling this; I’ll be adding it to my ever-growing list of Lexicongate-related bookmarks.

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You know, I knew when this all started I knew I had a bias against SVA. I’m someone who always follows their instincts and my response to him after listening to several episodes of Cannon Conundrums gave me the conclusion he was (to quote Starfire from Teen Titans) “Just plain Freaky” or at least just plain creepy. I tried to ignore it but something just never sat right with me. And considering that opinion coming from a 28 year old, football obsessive, Dungeons and Dragons playing, self proclaimed Anime Freak is saying something.

Because of my bias, I've tried to avoid statements against SVA. (though I admit I was weak a time or two and might have said things that could be a little not nice)  I've tried to not give my opinion and just read what you all have written.  I've given my 2 cents a time or two but tried to avoid personal attacks.
That being said, everything I've seen since this all stated really, really, really makes me not like this man.   I'm starting to seriously hope that his Karma comes back to haunt him on March 13th.

I’m actually a bit disappointed in myself for feeling that way but I can’t stop it.

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It is a shame that greed takes over for fandom. If by some miscarraige of justice JK and WB lose,we as fans need to make a stand and refuse to buy this book of greed. We as fans should wait for the definative book from JK herself.

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Wow, it’s amazing that people can still be in support of SVA and RDR even after all the information. After reading everything on Justia, I can’t for the life of me figure out what made SVA/RDR think that they had any legal leg to stand on in publishing their own. I can forsee it ending very bad for them unless they make a deal when they finally realise they have no chance at winning.

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...working for ‘the court’, dealing with trials, truth and all that goes on in any legal matter…I’m all too aware that what sounds like a rock solid argument will be dissected and bandied about when it all comes down…

I sincerely hope this one goes to JKR~for many reasons.

I’m also so very pleased (all the time) that the staff here put in their time to share so much HP news in one place.


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I completely support Jo, but I’m kind of curious. I was at the library when I found “The Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter,” and it seemed to be basically just an encyclopedia. Why was that allowed to be published?

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Pathetic! That’s my impression from Jo’s statements. It adds nothing new in the legal sense and only sharpens the image of a whining complainer.

I really can not understand why she never took the same action against ripp off work like that of Highfield or Colbert, but trashed the work of the most sincere HP-fan I know.

I neither can believe this is about money only. The money made from the RDR Lexicon will always be laughable small compaired to the income made by the HP ouvre by her hand. Even when she would throw the un-edited raw photocopied and barely readable notes and scribbles of her scrapbboks to print, fans would be fighting to buy the first copies.

The only explanation for this pathetic behaviour could be she fears she will never write anything on the great scale of Harry Potter, that could be her Boggart.

Sorry Jo, the defense againts a Boggart is “Riddikulus” not “Sectumsepra”

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I don’t get what are you trying to say? and maybe you should read other ppl’s posts before commenting on them.

I didn´t comment the post of Ellid, I commented the answers to it that I read and they sounded remarkably like answers to other comments that state an oposite opinion to what is the general view here.

Well, Jo herself involuntarily explained it in one interview what christianity or the faith in god has to do with business-decisions: In this interview she explained her succes as God´s reward for everything she has done. Of course then she signs a contract with the most successful publisher or the one of the biggest film-companies, because she can assume that their succes directly comes from God and that they are morally good. And this attitude even spares her the trouble to check why they really are successful. And now a little sinner dares to lift his head against the gods of business and isn´t even friendly! Oh, oh,oh! Hell and demons! I might even go as far as to compare Steve to Moses who had to die, because he dared to say that it was him who gave food and water to his people.

Steve has done the work of a secretary and should get paid for it! As Jo obviously had no intention to do so he was looking for another way.

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If SVA/RDR were to win, you know what would happen? All those HP Fansites on the internet featuring guides, artwork and fan fiction will get shut down as JKR/WB won’t want to run the risk of a lexicon repeat.

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@secunda: Ummm…what “work of a secretary”? Jo never asked him to make the Lexicon, just as she never asked any of her fans to come here and discuss the books. We’re all here for the sheer love of HP which is what I think Steve made the Lexicon, because he loves the books, and he loves this world Jo created. Why should he be paid for it? Did he make the Lexicon also out of a desire to earn money? I’m sorry, but that really really doesn’t qualify him to “get paid” for it. Does anyone at Leaky expect to be paid? And yeah, about Jo signing on movie contracts with the biggest film company or book deals with the biggest publisher, she never wanted to do it! She never approached WB, they approached her TWICE and only after she was reassured that the movies would remain true to the books, did she give the go-ahead. As for the publisher, when the first HP came out, Bloomsbury was a littl-know publisher in Britain, and when Scholastic won the auction later on, they did it THEMSELVES! And now, all she’s doing is wanting to these publishers to publish the encyclopedia. After all this, why on EARTH would she turn to a new publisher? Sorry, but I’m just not able to GET what you’re trying to say!!

@kamion: How many fans do you know who’ll actually be allowed to buy both books? I’m talking about the kids out there who don’t know anything about the case and would buy the Lexicon book because it is, as it says, “the most definitive guide”. If it’s similar to Jo’s book, then how many parents would be willing to spend on both? Fans aren’t limited only to the fansites, or even to the US and the UK where the case is mostly being covered. There are many across the world who don’t know anything about it. Jo isn’t trying to “milk the phenomenon”, she’s giving the money to charity, and if the sales of her book get affected, it affects a lot of charities too.

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@Quibbler: EXACTLY! The irony is, if SVA/RDR win, then it’ll be the end of the fansites all because of someone who’s created one of the most popular ones himself.

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mme, your math is as deficient as your understanding of Fair Use. You haven’t read millions of books. Even if you had read 3 books a day every single day since you were born and were now 100 years old you would have only read 100,000 books. Considering that you are probably around 40, you would have had to read close to 100 books a day every day to have read over a million.

I don’t mind hyperbole, and I don’t mind people saying ‘literally’, when they don’t actually mean it, but I can’t stand when people combine the two.

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Well, I know that if this book does get the go-ahead to be released JKR will have no worries about me buying that one and not hers.

I would much rather wait, however long it takes Jo to write her encyclopedia and buy that one rather than buy the one from SVA.

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steve and lexicon are after nothing more than a quick buck and off of some one else’s work. it’s sad and pathetic that they’ve continued with this law suit. when all of this is said and done…will steve charge people to join lexicon to pay for his legal fees?

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LoL Secunda, you’re trying to argue Jo is a Christian fundamentalist now? She’s said a million times that she doesn’t know if God exists.

As for RDR and Jo, I’ve already made my point known. However, if the Lexicon improved its MLA style, compensated volunteers who worked on the site, made it clear it was not authorized by Jo, then I think it could be published safely. I think it would also have to remove too much information that gives away the plot of the story. I’m not sure if an encyclopedia can do that or not, but I’m sure it’s possible.

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If SVA/RDR were to win, you know what would happen? All those HP Fansites on the internet featuring guides, artwork and fan fiction will get shut down as JKR/WB won’t want to run the risk of a lexicon repeat. Posted by Quibbler on February 29, 2008 @ 07:22 AM

now that is a stupid way to waste money. JKR would better dump all her pounds and dollars in charity funds that paying laywers to go after fansites worldwide. By letting blow this affair ways out of proportion she probably already needlessy lost money.

@kamion: How many fans do you know who’ll actually be allowed to buy both books? I’m talking about the kids out there who don’t know anything about the case and would buy the Lexicon book because it is, as it says, “the most definitive guide”. Posted by Prenz on February 29, 2008 @ 07:31 AM

Would you not think these fans are clever enough to notice a difference between JKR’s writing and Steve’s when what ever the title of the book would be, a simple


was demanded to be printed on the cover. Even when the two books are put back to back on the same shelf in the bookshop, they will know what to choose when they don’t have enough money to buy both.

Oh and I seriously hope only a very small portion of the fans know about this affair, It means it’s only a minor part of fandom that is loosing its head in a almost religious war over a very stupid affair that is only damaging reputations.

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Steve Vander Ark has actually made the BBC News!


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Melissa – I bow to you. Your ability to report the facts and remain objective and impartial is brilliant. Your work is exceptional – well done!

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Well, I am hardly undecided. This is Jo Rowling’s world, she built it, she dreamed it, she sweated it, she lived it and then she allowed us to read it and live it with her. Steve is trying to co-opt that world for personal gain. Plain and simple. The Malfoys of the world can argue till they’re blue and breathless for all I care. All they’re trying to do is justify theft.

If copyright laws cannot prevent someone from stealing material in this guise, then why would any author ever spend their lives attempting to build such a complete world?

“True Fan”??? HAH! True Malfoy. I haven’t set foot through the Lexicon door since he hung out his Green and Silver flags for the world to see. Wouldn’t buy his book if it was the last book printed in the universe and now that I know he’s being used in the fan tours, I won’t be giving them my hard earned cash on my trip as I’d planned. I’ll look places up on my own thankyouverymuch. I’ll also attend no conventions where he will be a speaker.

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Alas, the longer this goes on, the worse it gets. I would just like to make ONE (yes, it IS me, and I DO mean ONE) comment! It STILL won’t be short, but it will be restricted to one issue!!

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and nobody here or anywhere else should disallow that (and nobody is, thankfully). However, it behooves all of us, regardless of which side of this issue we are on, to ensure that whatever we say, whether opinion or fact-based, is said with the respect due any human being. To paraphrase JKR, it is disappointing to see supposed fans of hers and HP missing one very important lesson that meanders throughout the 7 books, sometimes obviously and somtimes not so …. people are people and despite their foibles they deserve respect, despite how they treat others, they deserve consideration.


By the way, in case somone is concerned about my sort of quoting JKR without her permission, parahrasing is considered Fair Use, if it does not constitute too large a percentage of the original work relative to the total commentary, and if the original work is used as the basis of commentary, analysis, or to make a new point, or if the material used is in the public domain. Since the latter is the case, I am safely in the realm of Fair Use!


So whether you agree that SVA/RDR are infringing on copyright, are plagiarizing, or not, please try and keep personal attacks and invective out of the posts? THAT would be sufficient reason to stop allowing them altogether, and THAT would be unfortunate, because this sort of commentary and repartie is sometimes the BEST part of sites such as this.

I know I don’t NEED to make this statement, because Melissa needs no defence, but what she DOES need is to know that we do not want to lose this forum for commentary and discussion, and that we DO respect others, all of which is in keeping with the philosophy espoused by JKR.

You know, It has been said that the amount of respect and consideration one shows for others is a reflection of the amount of respect and consideration one has for oneself. If this is true, not only am I sorry to see supporters of BOTH sides of this issue saying some of the things they have said, but I feel sorry that they may have so little respect for themselves. That can’t be good.


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Delusional. That’s what I think SVA is. No offence meant, really. I believe it all comes down to Psycology. I believe he was well-meaning at first, with the way he intended the Lexicon. Yet somewhere along the way, the site became famous and praise came not only from fellow fans, but from JKR herself. SVA became then deluded. He craved for this admiration and he believed said praise granted him special rights. This feeling was probably honed by several, if not many, people around him asking or telling him to publish the Lexicon. Flesh is weak, and through peer pressure, megalomania, and a very unescrupulous agent namely RDR, he came to think it was perfectly fine to publish the book. I am not saying that he’s a victim. he’s not. If he were, he’d have backed on the publishing (maybe even suing RDR for telling him that he was on the safe side of the copyright law) and would have not used material from other Lexicon collaborators without giving then neither credit nor a piece of the eventual pie. Delusional.

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@kamion: I’m not trying to start a war here, but the fact is, HP has a LOT of fans, so even a small proportion is going to be a LOT. And the affair may seem pretty stupid, but the fact is, it’s not just about damaging reputations. It’s hurt a lot of fans and Jo herself to have to do this. She wouldn’t give the fan site award to Lexicon one time and then sue him the next unless she had a very valid reason to do so. And if it has come to this, it means it’s really gone too far for her to keep silent and let it happen. It’s not like she doesn’t want some peace of mind, on the contrary, that’s what she deserves to have now.

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Is there any sort of petition or something that people can sign to show there support of j.k rowling so maybe this steve guy will back down!?

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I am 35 years old so I have lived with and without the internet. I did my research papers in school the old fashion way with reference books and encyclopedia. I was taught about footnotes and bibliographies and such when using others works for my papers. I was in collage when the internet really caught on and I remember the problems that teachers had with knowing the correct way to reference internet works that are written by others.

My point is that it seems that some people (maybe they never experienced life without the internet) make comments as if the internet is this free use thing that you can use and take others work and not have to adhere to copyright laws. Sites like Youtube and Myspace are sites that walk all over copyrights all day long and they receive C&D letters all day long also. Many companies such as Disney do hire lawyers just to protect there copyright on the internet and I bet that WB also has such lawyers on staff but have been lenient with it for now. I think I recall Melissa saying in the beginning WB contact them about information on this website (if I am wrong, please forgive me Melissa). WB realized that it was good for Harry Potter in general to work with these sites and have created a good relationship with the workers on this website. Before the internet big studios would never have invited fan to movie sets that was usually just for print or TV journalist.

I do not think that what is said about the future of fan sites is that far off if they lose this fight both Jo and WB may have to really crack down on some sites which will be a sad for all of us fans and I think for Jo too..

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@ kamion

Why am I not surprised to see a friend of hp_lexicon infringing someone else’s entire copyrighted work and using it for their own purposes? Does Tim Wu know what you’ve done? BTW, are you really 107?

Let’s discuss the legal aspects of the case, please. I’m more than willing to do that.

[1] The Plaintiffs offered proofs that the book cover was deceptive. Offered proof it would mislead consumers. Offered proof of false endorsement. Offered proof of false advertisement.

RDR rebutted with: creating an entire new cover, white faced, removal of Rowling’s fansite comment, altered the entire name of the book, and oh yes, slapped a larged disclaimer and ‘unauthorized’ notification on it.

[2] Plaintiffs showed the work contained in the book was not scholarly.

RDRs own expert admitted that scholarship was not the intent of the publication.

[3] Plaintiffs showed the bulk of the book contained vast quantities of Rowling’s work. Out of 2,437 entries in the proposed book, only 403 do not lift text directly from Rowling’s copyrighted works. That’s well beyond a 10% allowance for summary, context, commentary, or review.

RDR showed nothing to counter the Plaintiffs assertion, except to say it’s “scholarly”. Only, as before, it’s been shown that it isn’t.

[4] Weighted against the 4 tests of fair use in a non-licensed derivative work, Plaintiffs have shown RDRs book to blatantly infringe and fail to meet the burden of proof.

RDR has shown no reason why it should proceed and apparently failed to point how they’d be financially harmed if it didn’t. {I <3 f_w}.

In essense, there is no reason to allow this book to proceed. If RDR is shown to have blatantly infringed it will be penalized for statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work. Noting the sheer number of Rowling works listed, and then noting some that are part of the book {as seen in court documents} but are unacknowledged, the price amounts to a fairly staggering number. A number which does not include court costs, attorneys fees, fees of expert witnesses. Nor does it cover ‘compensatory’, but as that’s not likely to be awarded here, it’s fairly moot.

It’s nice you want to stick up for a friend. I don’t begrudge you that. Don’t begrudge those of us who stick up for either Rowling or the law.

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on profit- “And the encyclopedia she will write will also be for charity. What does this show? That she doesn’t care and is just acting like a “copyright hog”. Sorry, not to me, and neither to any person with some balanced views and common sense.”

actually, this is a very clever red herring thrown by JKR. she could give the proceeds to charity, wallpaper her bathroom in dollar bills, or use them for starting fires on cold winter nights, and it still wouldnt matter. if the profit is hers, its none of the publics buisness what she uses it for. BUT… her arguement that she would use said profit in question for charity, and that publishing the lexicon would damage that profit, demonized RDR quite effectively. shaaaaaame on those evil people for taking money away from charity.

very clever. but still immaterial. if the product- a lexicon: # A dictionary.
  1. A stock of terms used in a particular profession, subject, or style; a vocabulary: the lexicon of surrealist art. is the result of someone else’s labors…i.e. someone who took the time to categorize, alphabetize, etc….then THAT product is not hers to profit by. (regardless, btw, if its stupid, he sucks at it, he mis-defined Assyria, HE put the work into it. JKR is quite capable of doing her own, most likely better work….but that does not preclude him from doing his. merely competes with it.)

on fair use- “directly quoting or paraphrasing her work in a non-reference book related manner (Which it seems the Lexicon is, despite it’s many strengths, a non-reference text).”

actually, the only legal way to include her work IS by direct quote, with possible description/opinion on the context thereof. anything else would in fact be an adaptation….directly prohibited by copyright law. reference- 4. a direction in a book or writing to some other book, passage, etc. 5. a book, passage, etc., to which one is directed. 13. to arrange (notes, data, etc.) for easy reference: Statistical data is referenced in the glossary.
  1. A note in a publication referring the reader to another passage or source.
  2. The passage or source so referred to.
  3. A work frequently used as a source.
  4. A mark or footnote used to direct a reader elsewhere for additional information.

now, as it does not in fact add new stories, DOES in fact alphabetize already existing information, and repeatedly REFERS to JKR’s already existing work as its source, it is in FACT a reference work. whether its good or not has nothing to do with it.

“As copyright holder she is entitled to license ALL derivative works that do not fall within the realms of fair use OR scholarship. Critique, review, analysis—-all are fair use. You’ll find none of these in SVAs book.” fair use also covers reference material…see above.


adjective formed or developed from something else; not original; “the belief that classes and organizations are secondary and derived”- John Dewey [ant: underived]

again….he would have to be making something OF the material. that is, changing, adding, adapting, or in all other ways DERIVING from JKR. simply quoting information she has already supplied both in her books, websites, and interviews is again….referencing her creation, not deriving from it.

as a minor aside, when the word “average” is used, one does not give exact numbers…that would be the purpose of an AVERAGE. “a quantity, rating, or the like that represents or approximates an arithmetic mean” “literally”, in turn, has two oddly opposite meanings, one classical, and one common.

1. actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy: The city was literally destroyed. 2. in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually. [Origin: 1525–35; literal + -ly]

—Usage note Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs. The same might often be said of the use of literally in its earlier sense “actually”: The garrison was literally wiped out: no one survived.

so when i say “i average, quite literally” and then give an approximation, an intelligent well read individual would most naturally take it as meant…i.e. that i am widely read. ::shrugs:: not boasting, simply laying ground for what was given. an opinion based on a multi level comparison with many many many other books, both of the fantasy genre, and childrens lit., among all others. after all, if i had only read, say, Milne, Potter (beatrix), and Beano mags, i would not exactly be qualified to say what an american audience would or would not understand as far as slang. same if i had stuck to Joyce, Shaw, and Steinbeck and then tried to dissect the aspect of lighthearted humor. (oh, and my name…”mme” is simply an extension of my e-mail…i dont take the time nor have the desire to make anything else up. just fyi.)

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“The definitive edition.”

Please. JKR’s amateurism in the literary world reveals itself with each new statement. An author cannot write the “definitive edition” of a reference work about his/her OWN work. It must be written by someone who is unbiased about the material and who has the critical and organizational skills, plus the perspective, to put together a useful book for others to use for a variety of purposes. Rowling’s encyclopedia will NOT be a reference book—it will be another book by the original author. These cannot, and will not, be the same thing.

JKR shows her ignorance of educational, critical, and reference materials by her constant whining in this case and others similar to it. This creepy possessiveness on her part will affect her legacy long-term. She has endeared herself to fans “of the moment,” but people who might have read the books 25-30+ years from now (NOT the kids of today’s fans who will likely read them because their parents will make them do so out of their own sense of nostalgia, but people of later generations)—people years from now would be influenced to read the Harry Potter books by the very people Ms. Rowling is choosing to ostracize right now. Teachers, professors, literary critics, writers, librarians—these professionals are people who currently think JKR’s behavior about her books post-publication is showing signs of a nutcase whose work has not yet proven itself to be worthy of placement among the greats of world literature. Popularity does not make classics—longevity, relevance, and holding up under scrutiny does. Through her actions to retain control over “her world,” Ms. Rowling is interfering with the natural evaluative process of her books.

If Ms. Rowling were more gracious about the natural flow of debate, criticism, and discussion of her work—and not cry “wolf” every time someone wanted to write about Harry Potter in print articles and books—the professional literary community would have a chance to work through its ultimate opinions, and the books might have a shot at longevity. Right now, she has the appearance of shutting down the very people and literary mechanisms that create the most lasting legacy for books in world literature. Her celebrity, combined with enough money to hire all the lawyers she likes, will protect the Potter franchise just the way she wants, sure, but unfortunately, it will be at the expense of the longevity of the novels. Unfortunately, in the current climate, she comes across as wanting to control what people think of her books. Well, Ms. Rowling, here’s a newsflash for you—that battle you will not, and cannot, win.

Some say her behavior right now warrants that the series be forgotten. Indeed, there are many serious child readers right now who pass them by on the shelf. Thirty years from now, a child may never pick them up if a young librarian (who read about the series from a children’s literature textbook, for example) does not suggest the series to him/her. Because Rowling is discouraging the secondary writing process (books and articles about her books), the process of critics now writing about the series that would eventually work its way through other articles and books into a section of that children’s literature textbook of the future, will not happen. The young librarian of the future will have no impression, or a poor impression, of these books, if she/he pays them any attention at all. Because of their history in popular culture at the turn of the millennium, the books will probably be stocked in the library, but because of the treatment by the author toward those who wanted to write about them, there is a very strong possibility that few people decades from now will be reading them.

Sadly, all of this shows that the fame and hype of the Potter phenomenon, far from the conventional wisdom of leaving a popular “well-grounded” author unscathed, have indeed warped the thinking and behavior of J. K. Rowling—they have, at the very least, exposed a pre-existing ignorance of the way literature works in the world.

At the end of the day, writing is-as Ms. Rowling certainly must know herself-NEVER about money. She forgets that all too often in her dealings with other writers. She clearly has no understanding of writers of secondary material or their function in world literature. Ironically, Rowling herself is undermining any potential legacy the Harry Potter books might have had in years to come.

“The boy who lived” will, unfortunately, be all too true—in the future, Harry Potter will be the “the boy who lived,” then died before future generations got to know him.

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I just wish they’d leave the fans out of it. What concerns me are Jo’s statements here:

”..it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet. Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”


“I find it devastating to contemplate the possibility of such a severe alteration of author-fan relations.”

I don’t care if SVA puts out an encyclopedia, let them sort it out in court. But don’t come knocking on all the fan’s doors wanting fan-generated content to come down.

Leave us out of it.

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Laughing Man,

SVA’s actions and legal arguement leave JKR no choice but to bring fan generated content into it. Part of RDR’s arguement is that the book is publishable because JKR allowed the website to exist without sending it a C&D. If successful, that would force any copywrite holder who wishes to protect their work to send C&Ds to every fan run site that uses their content. It really has devastating implications and fans of many many many other genres and universes have a dog in this fight for that reason.

If you want to be left alone, tell RDR and SVA to drop it.

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@ mme:

You’re lumping lexicons, dictionaries, and encyclopedias together, which is deceptive. There are those lexicons, dictionaries that, for scholarship purposes, use small portions of copyrighted text for commentary and summary or they list terms and items that belong to no one which is known as “being in the public domain”.

Then there are lexicons, guides, reference books which are derivative works with a fan purpose, rather than a scholarly purpuses, that have not been licensed or approved by the author.

These are two entirely different things that should never be confused. In this instance it’s an attempt to confuse the issue in regards to copyright law.

Reference guides for a fictional work are entirely derivative. Guides to fictional universes like those to StarWars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and many other fictional works MUST either be properly licensed and authorized by the author/copyright holder or they MUST meet Fair Use criteria. Specifically speaking, compilations such as Vander Ark’s are neither considered scholarly nor are they covered under Fair Use for an unauthorized derivative work.

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laughing- i believe that as long as you are not making money.. either by publishing, charging membership fees, etc, your fan fic is safe.

im not positive on that, mind you, but besides that….think of the sheer impossibility of what your suggesting. even world giants like disney, mgm, and wb, with all their wrangling and legalese, have barely put a dent in the peer to peer sharing…and THAT is blatent and non apologetic copyright infringement.

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“If Ms. Rowling were more gracious about the natural flow of debate, criticism, and discussion of her work—and not cry “wolf” every time someone wanted to write about Harry Potter in print articles and books—the professional literary community would have a chance to work through its ultimate opinions, and the books might have a shot at longevity.”

We’ve said it time and time again, the HP lexicon offers no further debate, criticism or discussion. It’s simply an organized book of names and plot points. Not to mention the book has serious MLA standard problems, and may very well give poor information.

“The boy who lived” will, unfortunately, be all too true—in the future, Harry Potter will be the “the boy who lived,” then died before future generations got to know him.

Are you arguing that Harry Potter will not be popular 20 years from now because the Lexicon won’t be printed? That is absolutely ridiculous. JKR and WB are not trying to ban all companion books. They certainly are not stopping other forms of discussion regarding Harry Potter either. If they did, they would ban fan fiction, fan art, wizard rock, and any other HP companion books that include critical analysis, essays, and discussion. THEY ARE NO DOING THAT.

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Thank you. It will have no effect on those who are choosing either to obfuscate rather than provide clear and accurate reference or attempting to slant thinking based on personal attack as opposed to facts, in the hope that by smearing the individual, they can render the individual’s position tainted as well. It would be simpler if they would state this approach openly, but that, of course, would defeat the purpose. I have always tried to ensure that I preface my opinions with a statement that “this is my opinion only and may not be based on referencable fact”.

I might point out that this is EXACTLY what the whole fight will end up )ALREADY has begun) looking like, since both sides are under obligation to their clients to try and skew the facts (or what they assert to be facts) to their benefit. It is in the finest legal tradition, and bears no relationship to justice (small “j”), meaning what is right vs. Justice (capital “J”) meaning what can I convince someone to support, right or wrong).

In my opinion, of course!


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Thank you. It will have no effect on those who are choosing either to obfuscate rather than provide clear and accurate reference or attempting to slant thinking based on personal attack as opposed to facts, in the hope that by smearing the individual, they can render the individual’s position tainted as well. It would be simpler if they would state this approach openly, but that, of course, would defeat the purpose. I have always tried to ensure that I preface my opinions with a statement that “this is my opinion only and may not be based on referencable fact”.

I might point out that this is EXACTLY what the whole fight will end up, in fact ALREADY has begun) looking like, since both sides are under obligation to their clients to try and skew the facts (or what they assert to be facts) to their benefit. It is in the finest legal tradition, and bears no relationship to justice (small “j”), meaning what is right vs. Justice (capital “J”) meaning what can I convince someone to support, right or wrong).

In my opinion, of course!


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@jensenly: “Be sure to read the email chain in Cheryl Klein’s declaration, Exhibit A.

Quite revealing on the personalities in play, here.”

Thanks for the tip. I wonder what the boorish joke was. Maybe he said something like “so you do steal a lot from me?” Sorry, I’m just imagining and wondering.

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Sorry, not sure how this got posted twice. Apologies to all.

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SVA’s actions and legal argument leave JKR no choice but to bring fan generated content into it. Part of RDR’s argument is that the book is publishable because JKR allowed the website to exist without sending it a C&D. If successful, that would force any copyright holder who wishes to protect their work to send C&Ds to every fan run site that uses their content. It really has devastating implications and fans of many many many other genres and universes have a dog in this fight for that reason.

If you want to be left alone, tell RDR and SVA to drop it.

actually….RDR’s statement has been that as JKR herself used the lexicon site as a reference…and that THAT implies it is in fact a valid reference work. the RDR PDF file says such, and the RESPONSE by JKR/WB rewords it….normal legalese footwork, but being this is so public, well, misunderstandings do happen. oddly enough, tho, JKR has expanded on that with a direct threat at her fanbase….i.e…..you guys….one she could not all practicality follow thru on, AND one that simply perpetuates what was til then legal maneuvering.

RDR’s actual complaint simply states that as the author herself used the site as a reference tool, that makes it one. a bit thin, IMO, but not by any means “she never shut us down, so that makes us a literary tool” or “she gave us an award so that makes us..bla blah” the award was cited for the same reason….because the language used under its presentation referred to it AS a reference tool…bolstering its claims as such.

now…cara- here is a site on fair use. http://www.cmich.edu/copyright/assistance/basics02.htm

now…lets start from the bottom and work up, shall we?

criteria 4 is that the reference work may not take profit from the original…original being the work(s) it is referencing. if in fact JKR had already published her version, this would hold as true…the lexicon in question would indeed be said to have possible impact. BUT… that worthy has NOT been published, nor even outlined. the works being referenced are those already published. now…the AVERAGE length of the HP books is something like 3-400 pages. there are 7 books. 7 times 4 is NOT 4….therefore a 400 page book cannot be a copy of 7 books. therefore it must, by sheer temporal physics, contain only snippets, quotes, descriptions, etc of things IN those 7 books….therefore NOT being capable of financial threat to said 7 books.

down goes number 4.

the most pressing of the remaining seems to hinge on the lexicon not being…”scholarly” enough. the actual wording at the fair use site is that it must be a work to be used for “education.” and if you go about thinking of education equating with school, and the next leap to “scholarly” well…nope. you would be very right. all the Reference guides for a fictional work above would in fact be illegal.

except….you’re wrong. education is simply the term for “imparting knowledge”...and one can impart knowledge ON just about anything or any ONE. making them, in effect, “scholarly”.

you refer to Lucas’ “star wars” encyclopedia as an example….BUT, when that particular case came up, mr. Lucas had in fact already written his own, and was in fact awaiting a publishing date, putting the unauthorized one in direct violation of rule 4…..hence RDR’s questions on JKR’s time line, outlines, etc.

since hers has NOT been outlined, and in fact is NOT sitting around waiting to be published….she hasn’t even STARTED it yet….rulke 4 does not apply.

as for all fictional reference work being derivative….shaw did not write non-fiction. several reference works were published WELL before his death ON works that were in fact still in publication covered BY copyright protection…and he a vehement copyright protector! would you like more examples of such? by all means ask, and i will find them for you.

“Then there are lexicons, guides, reference books which are derivative works with a fan purpose, rather than a scholarly purposes, that have not been licensed or approved by the author.”

yes…there are. and they are in print and available at your local bookstore. how is that?? because “scholarly”, as you use it, means to educate….to impart knowledge….which one can do on any topic from spongebob the sea sponges of the great barrier reef….and while one it is true has WAY more chance of being in your high school science class, and of achieving “scholarly acclaim”....they BOTH educate.

its is odd, isnt it….that an author of a book which was held up as an example of bridging the gap of mental snobbery….one which could be enjoyed by an intellectual AND a beanie-baby collector equally…should resort to intellectual snobbery as a defense.

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Hi, mollywobble:

No; I’m not arguing for the HPL, in particular. I haven’t seen the manuscript (and have no connections through which to see it or, frankly, any desire to see it), so I can’t speak for its quality, or lack of quality. I’m just talking about the whole aura surrounding any writing about these books right now. The professionals I know who would normally be thinking about and writing about the Harry Potter books to move the process forward (evaluating their quality, longevity, relevance, etc.—in short, putting them through the “rigor” of secondary analysis) are passing them by and moving on to other subjects. Much of this is because they don’t think the books pass muster as of a quality worthy of their time, but many writers who may have been interested in considering the series in this kind of serious way are also now avoiding them because of the tension in the climate surrounding these books and their (to these writers’ way of thinking) weirdly paranoid author.

I’ve heard (admittedly, through the grapevine, but from several professional literary critics over the years) that permissions to quote, for example, are virtually non-existent for these books. This is the standard practice where professionals (who know they need to get permission from a publisher to quote from primary materials at length), formally ask for permission and, if required, pay a fee for doing so. Acknowledgment of the permission is given somewhere in the piece. (This is the fine print “used by permission” you see at the backs of books, for example). The grapevine among critics says that HP publishers don’t grant permissions. Why not? Do they think a 9-year-old is going to read a “spoiler” about Book 5 in a book of criticism and then not bother to buy Books 6 and 7? What is the thinking behind this decision? That kind of behavior stifles the analytical process I’m talking about. Not everyone who would like to write about the series is out “to make a buck off Harry Potter.” Writers don’t write scholarly books and articles to make money.

In my view, all the legal wrangling is hurting Ms. Rowling’s relationship with her fans, but it is also, perhaps more importantly for the longterm, hurting the relationship of her books with the very people Harry needs to survive.

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The last post by mme offers some interesting, if erroneous posits and draws some interesting, if erroneous conclusions, in my humble opinion.

I haven’t the time to do a response justice at the moment, and, in fact, I don’t think I’ll come back to it later, because it begins to resemble arguments that are referred to as “pilpul”, explained by a Wikpedia entry thusly:

“Pilpul (Hebrew: פלפול, loosely meaning “sharp analysis”) refers to a method of studying the Talmud through intense textual analysis in attempts to either explain conceptual differences between various halakhic rulings or to reconcile any apparent contradictions presented from various readings of different texts.

Many leading rabbinic authorities harshly criticized this method as being unreliable and a waste of time, and it is regarded by some as having been discredited by the time of the Vilna Gaon. A frequently heard accusation is that those who used this method were often motivated by the prospect of impressing others with the sophistication of their analysis, rather than by a disinterested love of truth. These students typically did not apply appropriate standards of proof in obtaining their conclusions (if any), and frequently presupposed conclusions that necessitated unlikely readings of “proof-texts”. As such, pilpul has sometimes been derogatorily called bilbul, Hebrew for “confusion”. However, many authorities argued that there is a legitimate place for genuine pilpul as being reliable and even central to Talmud study, provided that traditional standards of proof were applied rigorously.”

The full article may referenced here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilpul

When I studied at a Rabbinical Academy, pilpul was said to have as much value as arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I’m not sure there is any value in addressing these arguments anymore, simply because it becomes an exercise in debate as opposed to trying to establish a factual position, and because I find myself becoming interested in the intellectual exercise itself as opposed to exploring these issues because of a “disinterested love of truth”. That is not me!

It is time to stop arguing these points at all, to stop providing further cause for unproductive argument, and let the case run its course. Again, in my humble opinion, and that is exactly what I intend to do.


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Melissa, you put a load of work into reporting this, and thanks for that.

Just one point – How come you only reported on the NYT article once there was an article refuting it?

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RJ: I didn’t. I reported the NYT article awhile back, with no refute. You can find that in our archives.

And we knew about the Harvard blog’s refutation for awhile, too, but rather than make another post and have this issue dominate the news cycle and stir up the same type of volatile emotions that seem to accompany every post on this case, we waited until there was another full update to add it to the slew of info. Which wasn’t true of the NYT article; that got posted with an article from Ansible.

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So why no more Steve Vander Arc on Cannon Conundrums/Conclusions ????

In fact. why no more Cannon Conundrums/Conclusions at all???

Never a word as to why or anything…..it all just sorta floated away….

Does Leaky still hang with Steve or what??

I’m just saying…...

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McGonagall Gal, I have no doubt that what you say has some basis of truth to it. You don’t seem like the type of person who would make something like that up. But if it’s true that scholarly writers and literary critics are being turned down by Bloomsbury and Scholastic, then this should be investigated. I find that very disturbing. However, I feel there must be more to the story than just J.K. Rowling being “paranoid.”

As for this case, I think WB/JKR have a strong case. However, I do think they are making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I think it’s because the Lexicon started out as a free fan website, and it’s now being republished in print form for profit. In that regards, it’s not just another referance book.

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And I just misspelled “reference.” Oh well.

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@Daniela -

It seems that the American edition of HBP contains three additional sentences in the Dumbledore death scene that were not published in the UK edition. In Cheryl’s email to Steve, she writes that she did not appreciate him pointing out this error in front of a group of people while at Lumos 2006. He made a poor joke of her editorial “screw up” and she was not amused. He wrote back apologizing.

On a separate note, I found it fascinating that leaving in more sentences, rather than erroneously omitting, is also considered an editorial error. Subsequent print runs have been corrected, but if you have the American hardback first edition of HBP – you got three extra sentences in the all-too-critical Astronomy Tower scene….

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From where I stand, SVA and RDR are the ones who created the mountain. They’re the ones who ignored FOUR cease & desist letters. They’re the ones who used a death in the family as a way to stall JKR/WB and to continue hawking their book. They’re the ones who ignored and marginalized the attempts by the true and correct copyright and trademark holders of Harry Potter from doing their jobs of making sure that their rights, and their property were being respected.

Anyone who is still trying to stick up for SVA/RDR in all this mess clearly hasn’t taken the time to read the entire case from start to finish. Or they have a vested interest in getting back at Jo for some reason, like their favorite fandom ship being sunk, or Deathly Hallows not being to their liking. I refuse to believe that people are that deliberately dense about copyright law. I chalk up all the nonsense about Steve as a secretary or as Moses or Jo as a greedy hag out to spoil everyone’s fun to an agenda that has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with bashing JKR for reasons unrelated to this lawsuit.

Go through all the legal documents with Justia open in one window, and either Google or Findlaw open in another. Look up all of the cases that are cited as you read, particularly by JKR/WB, and see just how much of an uphill battle SVA/RDR have in trying to keep this book alive. Also, read Jeri Johnson’s latest declaration to show why the Lexicon book isn’t scholarship. It’s an absolutely scathing critique which obliterates the one remaining argument that SVA/RDR could have tried. Bottom line? They should have withdrawn the book when they had the chance, or otherwise tried to work with JKR/WB. They’re going to get destroyed in court. Precedent is clearly against them, as is the law.

The resolution to this lawsuit won’t be pretty, but it’s also entirely self-inflicted. Had SVA/RDR just acknowledged the C&D letters from the start, and had tried to work with JKR/WB back then instead of trying to rush out a book, all of this nonsense could have been avoided.

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Seems to me that if it were cut and dry RDR would have backed down a long time ago or WB let it go quietly into the night. Both sides have their strengths and weaknesses to their legal filings. Remember a legal filing is one side saying, you can possibly believe the other guys because of exhibits A,B,and C. Declarations 1, 2, and 3 and case precedents blah blah blah.

Then the other folks respond with their exhibits, declarations and case precedents on why the other side is full of you know poo.

Then, the people speculate on what will happen if the other side wins. The RDR aligned people point to the trampling of fair use and the WB people say that it’ll discourage creativity and that WB will have no choice but to launch an assault on all fan sites. Basically, it’s the doom and gloom scenarios as each side uses words like “Dangerous Precedents” and so forth.

Either way, the world will go on.

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It’s sad. Jo Rowling can’t be happy about any of this – I wouldn’t be. I’d probably feel betrayed, in a way. I really liked Steve Vander Ark when he would appear on PotterCast, and I’m not going to say I harbored any misgivings towards him. But right now, I DO feel a bit betrayed. I don’t think his book will sell well, even if it does get released (which I highly doubt anyway) and it seems to me he was in it for the personal money gain. Now, I don’t know Mr. Vander Ark, so it’s not up to me to draw those conclusions. That’s just my vauge opinion.

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Sorry for the double post – patients isn’t a strong point with me

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It’s too bad that JKR has to fight to prove her right to publish her own book- RDR should be ashamed. I am going to look up who they publish. I think a boycott may be in order! And as for me- I have looked at the other fan sites and prefer TLC! Keep up the good work, Melissa and crew!

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I don’t see the harm if he did a :Guide to Harry potter: without lifting exact passages for more entries. I love ” The Complete Guide to Middle Earth” by Robert Forester. JKR will take years to write her’s which will be better and sell millions. She doesn’t need the money and fans would enjoy a hard copy of the Lexicon. It just seems petty to me since fans will know that his edition isn’t the definitive one that JKR will eventually write. Cassandra

Fans literally died before she finished the series. There is only one JK and she doesn't need to fear competition. Let the market decide.
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I don’t see the harm if he did a ‘Guide to Harry Potter’ without lifting exact passages for most entries. I love ” The Complete Guide to Middle Earth” by Robert Forester. JKR will take years to write her’s which will be better and sell millions. She doesn’t need the money and fans would enjoy a hard copy of the Lexicon. It just seems petty to me since fans will know that his edition isn’t the definitive one that JKR will eventually write. Cassandra

Fans literally died before she finished the series. There is only one JK and she doesn’t need to fear competition. Let the market decide. Cassandra

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Thanks Melissa for writing that information. I hope this lawsuit get settle soon. I know Jo will win. It was so shocking to read this article this morning. I am praying for Jo that everything is going to be OK! Thanks again T.L.C

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As a lawyer and a Harry Potter reader I have been reading the articles, blogs and comments about this legal action with curiosity. What I find distressing is not the fact that RDR or SVA wish to publish the Lexicon for profit or that JKR and Warner Bros. filed a legal action to prevent that publication, but the personalization of this legal dispute by so many commentators. The actions taken by the litigants should not be the basis to vilify them. Nor should the litigant’s allegations or positions detract from their opponents’ accomplishments.

The fact that JKR and Warner Bros. is suing does not detract from the quality and enjoyment of the Harry Potter books. The fact that SVA and RDR are defending their right to publish the Lexicon for profit does not detract from the wonderful and useful tool that is the HP Lexicon.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading, rereading and discussing the Harry Potter books, and I am certainly not a child. I do not know if the HP books will survive the test of time or be deemed great children’s literature, but I don’t care. When I have read the books, I have entered that magical world created by JKR. The legal action will not change this for me.

I have used the HP Lexicon many times both while reading the HP books and when I have been discussing them with other readers. What a remarkable website and reference SVA and the other members of the staff of the Lexicon have created. I marvel at the time and effort they have all put in to do this. The HP Lexicon does not detract from the HP books or works. It compliments them; it enhances our understanding of the HP world by organizing it. The legal action does not diminish this accomplishment.

The legal action addresses some issues of merit, issues that appear to need some clarification in the law. The parties appear to be well-represented. I look forward to reading the result, and I do so with curiosity about the legal issues and not wrath at either side to the litigation.

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I find it really sad that someone like Steve Vander Ark can do this to Jo, she’s such a nice person, I feel so bad for her. I really don’t like RDR at the current moment. GO JO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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This is a much more organized, more user friendly site than the HPL:


The Lexicon site served its purpose. It gave a decent resource of information for its time. But now, with the advent of wikis, it’s no longer needed. Maybe Steve knew that and that’s why he’s so desperate to publish a book that no one really needs. Why bother with a Lexicon book when there’s a wiki that is easier to search, is free, and has the exact same information?

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@Vixen … Thank you for saying it too!!

Although I am NOT a lawyer, and have never claimed to be one (notwithstanding that the study of Talmud is, in fact the study of Msaic Law, including the debates, precedents, points of order, case law and a myriad of other things that are the same in any study of law), you have voiced the very same sentiments I have through three threads here (one thread for each report/update on the case as the statements/responses proceed).

There is no call for the personal villification that is emerging. It should rather be watched and discussed because there are interesting points to be resolved, and, given the nature of copyright law and the complexity of the whole field of Intellectual Property rights, this case could easily go either way, and may very well provide for new interpretations and application of the laws involved.

Additionally, the nature of the arguments and the sequential approach that claims, counter-claims and responsa have, makes this an interesting study in the workings of the legal approach to trying to sway a position or influence the direction of a decision using whatever evidence is necessary and putting the positions in a very specific and pre-determined way. The lawyers involved are, as I have mentioned before, acting in the finest legal tradition and doing exactly what they are obligated to do as part of representing their clients. Some of us may not like it, or even understand that this is the way the law has to work, but the bottom line is these folks are doing their jobs the best way they can, and if any one of us were in a position that required legal counsel, we would want to be represented the fullest extent available and allowed, as would be our right.

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“Some say her behavior right now warrants that the series be forgotten.”

Some? Who are these “some”? Er, don’t you mean “both”? Surely there aren’t others (aside from RDR/SVA perhaps) that claim the “series be forgotten”. That is just plain lunacy. And don’t call me Shirley.

"Indeed, there are many serious child readers right now who pass them by on the shelf."

Sure, sure. Most of the precocious second graders I know are well aware of the current legal dispute between Jo/WB and RDR/SVA. They talk about it all the time in the playground… (insert eye roll here). You can bet your sweet bippy that kids all over the world are reading Harry Potter right this moment for the simple fact that it is a good story: lawsuit notwithstanding.

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MME…. whoa, slow down. You are beginning to sound like ALL CAPS HARRY or even worse, ME when I have had too much coffee (which is every day, but that’s not the point…)

I love Harry Potter. My kids love Harry Potter. Do all kids love Harry Potter? No, and that is o.k. There are tons of other books to explore and enjoy: I do, and my kids do, too. But you see, this is a Harry Potter website. Naturally, we have a sort of bias by coming here in the first place. Don’t yell at people for defending something that is important to them, and perhaps holds a special place in their hearts and lives. That is o.k., too.

And perhaps you are right. Maybe kids won’t read them as much as the initial excitement wears off. Or, maybe, as in the case at my kids’ school, the books will be read in class and then the excitement may build again. Hard telling, but please don’t get so excited and emotional about all of this. Let’s have a little perspective and a group hug. Feel the love? :o)

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@ mme:

Steve volunteered. It was his hobby, as it has been the hobby of many others, to operate his fansite. The judge won’t even take into consideration how long it took him, his staff, & fellow HP fans to make the Lexicon site what it is, legally that is not relevant.

The fansite comprises 100% material solely derived from Rowling’s or others copyrighted works. The design and structure of the site is copyrighted to Steve.

The book is a compilation of Rowling’s factual canon set in an A-Z glossary . Out of 2437 {84%} entries in the proposed book only 403 {16%} of them do not lift text directly from the books.

Generally, for a derivative work [such as a reference guide like the proposed Lexicon] contains approximately 10% of copyrighted text and 90% of original commentary and analysis. This is not always the case, however. One non-HP derivative book was deemed infringing for using only 1% of copyrighted text. Another book, structured around a 300 word letter, was also deemed infringing. The reason for this is that the very small amount of copyrighted text used for the derivative books comprised the “heart” of the copyrighted works. Steve’s unauthorized book quotes 84% of Rowling’s copyrighted texts, the “heart and soul” of her fictional world.

There is NO justification for such blatant infringement. None.

Jeri Johnson, an Academic Dean of English at Exeter College, University of Oxford {her US equivalent would be that of a tenured Prof. of English}, reviewed the proposed Lexicon and here is an excerpt of what she had to say:

“On other occasions, Mr. Vander Ark merely adds an adverb toa description wholly derived from the Harry Potter Books, including ‘unfortunately’, ‘sadly’, ‘probably’, ‘possibly’, and ‘not surprisingly’. These vie for space with proliferating synonyms for the author’s ignorance: ‘[it’s] anyone’s guess’ (Mr. and Mrs. Granger entry); ‘it’s hard to know’ (Stinging Hex entry); ‘[it’s] unknown’ (Sorcerer’s Saucepot’ and ‘Snape’ entries). Or we get weak hypothesis: ‘they were not exactly’ (Snape’s Office’ entry) or ‘this may have been’ (Gregorovitch’ entry). Such comments occur throughout the Lexicon. This is not ‘scholarship’. It is not ‘creative’ or ‘original’ or ‘research’ or ‘commentary’. It is the work of one who collates everything he finds in the rich Potterian universe, and who must include it all in his list of names, even if he has no idea what it means.”

“The compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary, of Bantam’s Latin-English Dictionary, of the Columbia Encyclopedia, of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, of the Encyclopedia Brittanica were scholars who engaged in original research: the author of the Lexicon parasitically uses these sources, usually unacknowledged, to glean his information. Like a magpie ~ ‘A person who collects or hoards objects, information, etc., esp. indiscriminately; and acquisitive or eclectic person’ (OED) ~ he plucks and gathers from others’ scholarly works to produce the appearance of “scholarship”. On closer inspection, the illusion evaporates.”

She goes on in this scathing review, denouncing RDRs claim of ‘scholarship’ in the manner of an English professor grading a thesis paper.

Authorized and licensed derivatives exist. Unauthorized derivatives exist. Currently, according to RDR themselves, there are more than 200 HP derivatives that have been published.

In order for an unauthorized derivative work to be published it is of necessity substantially transformative that it qualifies as fair use. If the unauthorized derivative does not qualify as ‘fair use’ then it is not legally permissable to publish. The Lexicon, as it appears in the justia documents which may be viewed online, is not substantially transformative, is not scholarly {even RDRs expert states the intent of the book is not scholarly}, and therefore it does not qualify as Fair Use.

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This lawsuit reminds me of dogs fighting over the trash spilled from a turned over trash can. The series is over. There is no more mystery and nothing left to discuss. There is no need for a reference book or a reference site. I don’t care who publishes the book or even if one is published. I won’t be buying either.

The case does, however, concern some interesting legal issues. If JKR wins then an author’s copyright will protect more then it has ever before protected. A person has always been able to cite another’s work so long as the author of the cited material was given credit. No more published research papers.

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PAINTBALL…the former CoS PAINTBALL? Aren’t you an attorney? Do you specialize in IP law? Do you really have socks that are older than some forum moderator as you claimed? Sorry, but that claim still makes me giggle madly.

If Rowling wins, it simply upholds her copyright/trademarks. It doesn’t extend anything.

The type of work Steve is trying to sell is a compilation, which is neither transformative nor scholarly. Therefore it has to meet the terms of fair use or it must be licensed by the holder of the copyrights. Jo obviously isn’t licensing this book and seeing that it contains, as quoted above, 84 percent of JKRs copyrighted works without offering an enormous amount of subsequent original material, there’s no way it will EVER pass as fair use.

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Thank you so much for giving us a full report. I think it calms my mind that you wrote this in a professional way. I looked at other articles on the internet and the commentors actually bashed J.K. Rowling! I feel better now after reading this website’s comments. ;)

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So it goes without saying that we’re all boycotting the RDR book if it does end up getting published, right?

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OK in all honesty i would buy Steve’s book. But Jk has got it wrong, if we were to buy the encyclopedia by Steve Vander Ark it’s not because it’s the ‘first’ or because we hold some sort of respect to him it’s because it’s titled “Harry Potter” Harry potter being the book she created, as when we purchase her books it’s because of HER.

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please, to all the people claiming that if jk rowling wins, no one will ever be able to write a book of commentary, paroody, and critiq, just… shut…. up.

the lexicon book does not qualify as commentary, paroody, or critiq in any since of the worlds. nor those it legally qualify for fair use. for it to qualify for fair use would require that fair use is completely retailored from the ground up to allow for 85% copyrighted texted lifted from copyrighted material, and 15 percent original work.

thankfully, that will never happen, as it is immoral and a attack on the rights of people who actually do work. steve vanderark had like 40 people who helped him make the lexicon, but it has been revealed that he was the only one to get any profit from the sales of the book outside his publisher. the other people who put all their time and effort into the lexicon get nothing. that is another legal quagmire.

this does not destory reference works because the lexicon those not count as a legitmate reference under the law.

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I have no intention of ever buying Steve’s book. At all.

I’d rather wait for the real encyclopedia about HP, not a fake book written by someone trying to make a quick buck off the work of someone else.

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I would never ever buy a book by someone like SVA , who is happy to destroy fandom for no other reason than his ego is bigger than Australia.

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You are making a little mistake here. Although I am mainly on Steve´s side here I have to disagree with you.

I have a friend who wrote a story for children. And when she read it to a class in elementary school one of the grown ups told her it was like “Toy-story”. I know my friend has never watched Toy-story before, she didn´t even know it existed! It is coresponding but not influental for her story. Nevertheless should somebody now simply describe her characters (and use their names!) it would be plagiarism.

If Steve had changed the wording and the name of the characters it would not be plagiarism unless he told the same plot without alternations.

And the plot is Jo´s and those special characters with exactly those names attached to them contributing to exactly that story-line are hers.

If he would cite properly his copying would be too obvious. Anyway he had not only copied Jo´s work but also cited an online-lexicon without telling the source.

Anyway we just learned in scientific writing that, if I don´t have the original source I have to cite the secondary source and marking it!!! So no matter if Jo is secondary source herself Steve is using her work .

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The major flaws with people like mme and kiamon, and whale song, is that all three of them do not understand that without jk rowlings creation, the lexicon can not exist. steve those not own copyright on the information in the lexicon that was taken from her copyrighted works. it is not legal for steve or RDR books to claim copyright ownership of passages of jk rowlings books written by jk rowling and owned by jk rowling.

it should be noted that it has been shown that 84% of the lexicon book infringes upon her copyright and intellectual property acording to the law as it is in its state, which is protective of author rights.

it has also been noted that fair use laws only allot to writers of commentary, paroody, a critisesem about 10% of copyrighted material for use in commentary, paroody, and critisesem in relation to original material created by the writer of said commentary, paroody, and critisesem. anything beyond that, and you are suposed to ask permission from the owner of the copyrighted material jk rowling! not SVA or RDR! to use more then what fair use allows.

mme, let me educate on the word fair, and the word use, and the combination or the two. Fair means something is allowible without being abusive or disallawabal. Use means how something is presented.

put the two words together, and Fair Use protects both the author of the privately owned copyrighted works I.E. jk rowling. and commentators seeking to use portions of said work to jumpstart new exploration of the text and provide opertunity for new insights.

mme, guess what, RDR Books and the harry potter lexicon print work does not come even close to qualifing in accordence with THE LAW on fair use.

to the jk rowling abusers, it should be noted jk rowling has not sued people for writing books that provide new insights and explorations into the text. clearly you have not read the lexicon book, which in its near entierty is avalible at justia, because it provides very very very minute extremely little to what any fan who has picked up a harry potter book and read does not already know. infact, not only those it rip passages from jk rowlings copyrighted works, but it also rips copyrighted work from other publications word for word without noting where that information comes from, which also is illegal, not just ripping off from jk rowling.

by the law, even if you quote passage of the books, you can not do it unlimited, and if the quoting of the copyrighted text makes up for more then 10-15% of the overall finished reference work, it becomes unallowable without permission in fair use laws.

RDR Books is a small town publisher who publishs books that are predominatly all written by the ceo of the publishing house which acts as its own editor. it should be noted that alot of his books are of such low quality that it was clear he couldnt get published elsewhere. they are so small that they do not even have someone on their staff, or even in their rolodex who understands copyright law, something that is by their own admission. the issue is that they refused to acknowledge that jk rowling created harry potter and owns the copyrights to them.

Steve was wise to have them indemify them so that they are responcible for legal reprecussions of the book. this is something legitamte proper publishers, both big and small do not do. steve knew it was illegal, as we have seen in court documents, and so he did what he could to protect him. RDR books should have backed down. now roger rappaport is going to be bankrupt, and the true vitcims of that will be the authors who he published who now dont have a publisher all because of their publishers greed. gicen that most all of the 60 books published by rdr are by roger rappaport, it wont be as devestating as it could have been. my only hope is that those authors persue better publishers, who understand the law, and can protect them.

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And yeah, about Jo signing on movie contracts with the biggest film company or book deals with the biggest publisher, she never wanted to do it! She never approached WB, they approached her TWICE and only after she was reassured that the movies would remain true to the books, did she give the go-ahead.


As far as I know Jo was asked by other film companies as well. And still she could have refused a film version entirely.

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Arggg! This is making it on the front page of Yahoo!

It is true I don’t care for SVA/RDR defenders and their cicular arguments on fair use (it IS Copyright violation). But, now that it’s front page, your average fan might not know the whole thing and will get a rather bad impression for lack of information (and for the trolls that’ll be saying how greedy JK is or whatever nasties they come up with).

I’ve posted a comment to that effect and mentioned TLC for further information (hope it’s ok). I feel troubled by the fact that people might have a distorted vision of JK. At least WE know better, but uniformed criticism annoys me to no end.

At least Yahoo! doesn’t seem to be biased as the NYT, that’s a small confort. But I’d ask to keep an eye on it.

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Vixen—it is hard to take sometimes, the emotionally-charged attacks on Steve or the charges and counter-charges of “bias” the posters here throw at each other. It doesn’t seem to be very humble or compassionate, which you might have expected from Harry Potter fans. But the truth is, many of the posters here are pretty young.

As queasy as some of the rhetoric makes me feel, Cara and mme have actually taught me a few things about copyright law in their mega-slapdown-match.

If we want reasoned analysis of the merits of each side’s case, we’re going to have to go elsewhere—but I feel a kinship with these posters, however midguided, maladjusted, or just plain malicious.

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I was reading the AP article


It really does put JKR in a negative light, or at least it is balanced and tries to give both sides.

But Melissa’s post above makes it a lot clearer to me, especially the link about fair use. I can’t see how RDR has a leg to stand on. It doesn’t matter how successful JKR is, the copyright laws still apply.

If she takes some heat for the suit, good for her.

- Bobby

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Thanks jensenly! I never mind getting more sentences of Harry Potter.

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Duh! I just went back and found the bottom letter. I don’t know how I missed it the first time.

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I find it disturbing that JKR makes the statement “I believe that RDR’s book constitutes a Harry Potter ‘rip off’ of the type I have spent years trying to prevent and that both I, as the creator of this world, and fans of Harry Potter, would b e exploited by its publication.”

This world was created by JKR but remember it was brought to life by us fans and as fans and consumers of her product, we deserve choices. For JKR to monopolize HP is unfair, she should have kept her world under lock and key and we do not live in an age where that is possible. If so, all HP websites should be shutdown. People have tried to shut down websites feeling that they infringe on copyright, but have been unsucessful.

Advise for JKR, you have 1 billion dollars, who cares if RDR is publishing the book, chances are that they won’t sell many books and dent the wealth that HP has created for its author and publisher.

HP is being exploited by both sides of the coin and it is a disgrace.

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Third post in a row… Cheryl’s personality seems more genuine in her email. SVA seems a bit… pompous… even while apologizing.

I have been thinking about criticisms of the Lexicon. The Lexicon is a reference source. As such, its purpose is not so much to bring commentary, as to organize and clarify. It does seem to be rather unprofessional (although I remember learning in graduate school that you don’t have to quote dictionaries and encyclopedias, although I tend to do so; still, I wouldn’t use verbatim what they say). And the Lexicon is marketed to children… But I have just thought that whatever the Lexicon’s faults, if it wasn’t a pretty good reference ressource, it wouldn’t have had so many visitors, including the author!!

On the other hand… Would it compete with JKR’s encyclopedia? For true fans with pocketbooks, no. But you can’t expect parents who buy these for their children, or other adults who buy them as gifts, necessarily to think like fans. They might say to themselves, the kid already has an encyclopedia, and doesn’t need another. And since the Lexicon is marketed apparently primarily to children, how the adults with the money are likely to think is an important thing to consider.

There is also the issue of the “first” that bothers me and seems ironical. Was SVR the first to think of making an encyclopedia, even before JKR? Of course, JKR was the first to think of Harry Potter. But did she “get” the idea of an encyclopedia from SVR’s Lexicon and its success? It’s ironic, because the Lexicon would not exist without Jo’s work. But, did the editing houses that worked with JKR use the Lexicon to build their own encyclopedias? I do think that unlike what some have said the fact that Jo is using this for charity does matter. Otherwise, if Steve’s work was the least bit helpful, I might have a note somewhere in the book saying so, and perhaps remunerate him just a little bit for his hard work? But then, if Steve wants remuneration from money that would go to a charity… It is quite possible though that what SVA did was not a first. That the editing houses were doing it already, but they simply didn’t have their work on a website. I’m curious of the outcome.

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@secunda: WB came back twice, which I’m guessing other movie houses didn’t. Also, they promised to protect her rights, no lifting her stuff and using it in anything else, quoting her from the Jonathan Ross show, no “Harry goes to Las vegas” kind of thing. As for why she gave movie rights, it’s her calling. The books are terrific and translating them on screen is sheer magic. And it’s something fans love to see, provided the movie is well made. Which I’m sure we can agree with all HP movies. Perhaps slight problems here and there, but there has been no movie which makes a fan go, “Ouch, how could they do this?”

And look at it this way, there have been SO MANY HP related books over the years. If Jo was so much a “copyright hog” she’d never have allowed these books either. There must be something in the Lexicon which goes against everything that she feels for personally. Why else would she do this? She did send them FOUR C&D, and this lawsuit was unavoidable after they were repeatedly ignored.

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Yes, I’ve been waiting for this information; that Steve Vander Ark is being completely idiotic. If Jo Rowling wants to make an encyclopedia of HER OWN BOOK SERIES, he should move over and make way; perhaps advertising his site would be a better approach than trying to outdo the actual author.

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Lourdes says: “Advise for JKR, you have 1 billion dollars, who cares if RDR is publishing the book, chances are that they won’t sell many books and dent the wealth that HP has created for its author and publisher.”

It’s not about the money.

It’s about precedent. The defense has made claims clearly stating that by allowing the website to exist and not “sending it C&D Letters” that this constitutes full permission to use the contents any way they wish, including publication for profit. I’ve seen this stated several times in the court documents.

Jo knows this- she said as much in this response. If the defense wins, in light of these above comments, then legal precedent exists that anyone whose fansite has not been shut down with C&D letters has full rights to publish the contents for profit.

Of course, that’s no guarantee that such a precedent will be upheld in whatever court it lands in, but how many writers and other creators will take that chance, of being forced to sue their own fans to protect their material? Safer to only allow official sites. How many Anne Rices do we need?

Also, WB is a co-defendant. Even if Jo didn’t become draconian, I don’t doubt that WB very well could.

I’m not saying all of fandom would come crashing down. However, a lot of nice people could lose their fansites because a lot fo nice creators are afraid of their work being stolen.

One may argue that this is good- free creativity, more books, etc. But what incentive is there for an author to even write if others make more money off their work than they do? Example- an up and coming author has a fansite. Jamie Fan takes the material from the site, gives it a brief polish, and sells it as a screenplay. Why not? Steve sold his book, so where’s the difference?

I think Steve needs to ask himself something; is it worth this kind of fallout for a book that’s a cut rate copy of a website that you can see for nothing, that the consensus seems to think will sell very little, just to ‘win’? Or is it nobler to choose to withdraw with some dignity?

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The fact that everyone is trying to make out Mr. VanderArk as some sort of parasite out to make a quick buck is a little odd to me. Last I checked, he was a teacher who made worked on the lexicon when he could. Furthermore, if consider the amount of space dedicated to advertising on the lexicon as opposed to the space devoted thereto on sites like Mugglenet, I think the lexicon comes looking a lot less money grubbing than other sites. Note that Emerson of Mugglenet is currently attending Notre Dame quite comfortably on the PROFITS from his website.

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Kevin, notice how Emerson isn’t charging for access to Mugglenet. Notice how Mugglenet and Leaky stopped selling the T-Shirts.

THat’s the point. These are freely available resources. The proposed Lexicon book isn’t.

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I kind of feel bad for JKR. The media want to bring her down because they see this case as ‘david vs goliath’. Lots of her ‘fans’ want to bring her down because they think they ‘own’ the HP books just because they read them and lots more are still bitter that they didn’t get their way in the books and want to see her fall just for that. Even though she’s completely in the right for wanting to protect her copyright, she still loses in public perception due to everybody’s agendas against her. It’s really not right.

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Kevin, If you didn’t know- it actually cost A LOT of money to create and then KEEP websites up, and that is only for small sites- BIG CRAZY FAMOUS WORLDWIDE sites like MuggleNet and Leaky probably cost a hell of a lot to keep running… and honestly, consider all the work that went into having the sites up, updated, running, etc. Cut the MuggleNet master a break. He created a great website for fans and has the advertisement so he can keep it running, fine, he is in Notre Dame; but what do you expect? He created one of the most celebrated websites. Notre Dame isn’t stupid. Once they realized that Emerson Spartz created MuggleNet.com they were probably as excited as Emerson accepting him! Maybe enough to give him some financial aid- which, fine, he probably doesn’t need due to MN. But he deserves it, and the money if probably just extra slice off the pie.

on this whole thing… SVA should be ashamed of himself. I am so POd that anybody would even try messing with the person who made them famous in the first place. He should have stopped when they first told him off- but NO, he didn’t. now i hope he gets what he deserves. TOTAL humiliation ans shame have to strike him.


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@ Loren who said: If we want reasoned analysis of the merits of each side’s case, we’re going to have to go elsewhere—but I feel a kinship with these posters, however midguided, maladjusted, or just plain malicious.

LOL. Now who’s being judgmental? There have been plenty of reasoned analysis on both sides of this issue on this board, even from gasp myself. I’m sorry if there’s not been enough ‘fence-sitting’ for you.

I gave my honest opinion which is based upon a working understanding of the underlining legalities in this matter; my knowledge of the facts as they were presented in this case by both sides. My opinions are neither misguided, maladjusted, or malicious in nature or intent..

I’ve never personally attacked Steve or the defense attorneys. I’ve been very critical of RDR books, but not overly critical.

I made one post that was darkly mocking in response to someone attacking the author rather than argue the facts, one which the TLC promptly removed.

Finally, yes, when I know someone is a personal ‘friend’ to the defense, who’ve come over not in defense of RDR/SVA but in order to bash the plaintiff, yeah, I do call them on it .

If it makes you queesy I’m sorry; I would advise you not join the legal profession [to the extent you have to litigate] and avoid college courses that require bull sessions.

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Hi, Mrs. Porpington:

You wrote: “Some? Who are these “some”? Er, don’t you mean “both”? Surely there aren’t others (aside from RDR/SVA perhaps) that claim the “series be forgotten”. That is just plain lunacy. And don’t call me Shirley.”

No, I don’t mean “both.” There are more than 2 people, or 2 parties of people, who think the series is forgettable just on its own—lawsuit or no lawsuit. The response to the series is not limited to those who are aware of the lawsuits, but many who look negatively on the legal wrangling think it provides one more reason why the books are irrelevant and deserve to be forgotten.

You also wrote: “Sure, sure. Most of the precocious second graders I know are well aware of the current legal dispute between Jo/WB and RDR/SVA. They talk about it all the time in the playground… (insert eye roll here). You can bet your sweet bippy that kids all over the world are reading Harry Potter right this moment for the simple fact that it is a good story: lawsuit notwithstanding.”

That’s not what I mean. Children likely do not know anything, or very little, about this lawsuit or others, or care about them if they do. Still, many children are passing by the Harry Potter books now and are not reading the series, preferring to read something else. Harry Potter is already old news—especially when you are young!

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... hmm…

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A while ago in an interview on the theme park Jo used the term “underlying creator”

can anybody explain that to me? I haven´t figured it out if she meant herself or WB. To me it would make of course more sense if she meant herself.

And what does it mean that WB has copyrighted the HP-names? Is Jo herself free to use them like she wants or does she now have to ask WB? Does WB get money whenever anyone is buying a HP-book?

Prenz: While I really adore the first two movies I think the rest was rubbish so far.

And I have to confess now that I never thought that law studies can be that exciting!

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While I agree that many children in the age-group HP is written for don´t care about Harry Potter. But as you said ´old news`...But I think that could be a natural circle.

Those who read it when they were kids will have kids, too. And then we see what happens. So many parents today think that HP is the same level than teletubbies or Pocketmons.

But obviously Mrs. Porpington seems to know second graders who still care about HP.

But I don´t understand this part of your comment: but many who look negatively on the legal wrangling think it provides one more reason why the books are irrelevant and deserve to be forgotten.

why is legal wrangling a reason why the books are irrelevant? I would say it is annoying and might be really a reason to be forgotten, but what has that to do with irrelevant?

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A few authors have weighed in with their thoughts…from this site:


Nora Roberts:

“Fan fiction doesn’t copy the author’s story and call it their own, but uses it or the characters, as a springboard for another story. And not for profit. Much different, to my mind, than what Edwards did over many years and with many sources.

But this suit seems to involve someone who IS taking the author’s words, without her permission, and trying to sell it for profit. I’d sue, too.

I don’t mind fan fiction (understand those authors who do), but when I find my work on the internet-for profit or not-copied and claimed by someone else, I shut it down.”

Ashley Ladd:

“I’ll be interested to see what happens with this. I really hope we authors won’t have to go to such an extent as to deny fan fic.”

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Hi to you too, McGonagall Gal!

I’m sorry, but I will never, never, never agree with the statement that the Harry Potter books “are irrelevant and deserve to be forgotten”. That is the opinion of only a misguided few. I would argue that there are many more people (some who are reading your posts right now) who would become offended by that.

I also think that these “people” you describe might be confusing the HP mania (surrounding book and movie releases) and the actual books. Sure, it was all good fun, and no, the hoopla won’t last, but the books will stand the test of time on their own merit because they are clever and a true pleasure to read. And remember, the books deserve unlimited credit for bringing back the enjoyment of reading to many- young and old alike. For that alone, the books and the author deserve our utmost respect.

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Oh and Secunda? Yes I know second graders VERY well! There always seems to be a baker’s dozen hanging out in my house making messes and eating food sigh. :o) The fact is, my daughter’s class is reading Sorcerer’s Stone right now. They have “reading groups” and discuss the issues in each of the books. It’s darned cute, and they keep the excitement for Harry fresh.

And sadly, I also know about Pokemon. Double sigh. And this parent sees NO COMPARISON between the two. I may just be too old for Pokemon, but honestly, every time the cartoon is on, or my kids play it on Nintendo, I think I can actually see IQ points drifting out of their ears and out the window…

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I’ll boycott the lexicon version as will many others probably. JK has been great I don’t think the fans will let her down. Well besides you know who

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Mrs.de Mimsy-Porpington:

Do the kids like the books or is their teacher´s fancy? Sorry to ask…

When I watched OotP in the movies their was a young girl really disliking it and two teenage-boys who confirmed that it was rubbish. I do not know if they have read the books.

I have to say the dialogues in the film were horrible. My sister keeps insisting that they were taken from the book, but than again she watched it in English and was okey with it. Maybe it was just the german translation Anyway I can´t remeber so many “Harry-what-you-have-been-throughs” in the book.

The main objection of the girl, however was, that evil was represented in a cliché way. And she was about ten years old. I don´t know what she has watched or read before that she can already talk about clichés.

Here in germany it is clearly devided into boys and girls: boys thinking Harry Potter is something you shouldn´t be interested in (actually I´m talking about young men and teenagers) girls reading it as entertainment but everytime somebody talks seriously about the series they are rolling their eyes.

There is a lot I dislike in the use of symbolism in the series especially the use of the snake (not in every culture a symbol for evil) and the flayed baby in the end. Jo could have chosen any ugly shape to show how mutilated Voldy´s soul was. Why using the shape of a helpless human infant? Any assosiation influences our perception of the world.

That´s my the value of her own encyclopedia, to explain choices like that, something Steve couldn´t do with his book. If Jo´s will really be the ultimate refference work I also exspect a good entry on Cho Chang!!

But I fear the tantrum she is throwing right now just indicates that her book won´t be so much different from Steve´s.

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My proposition is that Mugglenet and certain…other sites…have always been heavier on ad-ery. A great majority of the info on the lexicon can be accessed on a page which has exactly zero ads. On the aforementioned site, no page can be accessed without ads taking up a good deal of bandwidth.

I think that the most ridiculous thing that is being brought up here is the prospect that JKR may in some way lose financial gain from such a book. JKR, Scholastic, and WB…all parties involved are in no danger of significant financial detriment from anything than any of us could do. If JKR is going to complain, it should be that such a book would detract from the her own proposed encyclopedia, which would be detrimental to her as an author and an artist. I can understand if she would prefer that such money went to a charity instead, but if this is the case, I can’t see why WB is so concerned. WB only cares about HP because it makes them money.

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That’s right, Kevin. It does make them money. Anyone who is allowed to illegally infringe on the copyrights/trademarks of Hary Potter are taking money from the rightful owners.

Ms. Rowling and Warner Brothers ‘must’ show the court why the fair use rules ‘do not’ apply to the Lexicon book in order to prove infringement.

RDR Books ‘must’ show the court why the fair use rules ‘do’ apply to this book in order to prove they have not infringed.

You may not like the legal process or the statements and evidence from either side, but in order for this to be fairly judged, everything that has been sworn and the proofs which have been entered into evidence are all ‘pertinent’ to both the Plaintiffs and the Defendant(s) chance of success.

If RDR fails to show this book transformative or fair use, they will lose.

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I can’t see why WB is so concerned. WB only cares about HP because it makes them money.

They also care because they own the Harry Potter trademarks, as well as some of the copyrights. It’s their property just as much as it is Jo’s. That’s why they care.

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Amazing that when Melissa posts about RDR’s documents, she discredits every point immediately following the quote. Yet when she posts about WB’s, not a peep!

The Lexicon has got a lot of things wrong, and I disagree with Steve wholeheartedly for publishing this book. But it’s clear from the differing stories that WB’s tale has some problems, too. Not that you’d ever know it from Melissa’s posts.

“Born to be a journalist,” indeed.

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Melissa does not ‘discredit’ ever point. Melissa simply provides facts that the average person, who may not have followed the case and thus be unaware of.

She has done this for both the plaintiffs and the defendants equally. It’s not her fault that the defendants, more than the plaintiffs, tend to overstate, misspeak, or otherwise give conflicting accounts of what has occurred.

That’s what a good journalist does. Report the issues, discover and explore inconsistencies. A good journalist doesn’t have to slant facts, they present the facts, all of them, and allow them to speak for themselves.

Care to stick around and discuss the issues regarding the case?

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You say, “They also care because they own the Harry Potter trademarks, as well as some of the copyrights. It’s their property just as much as it is Jo’s. That’s why they care.” They bought those rights to make money. If we lived in a society where a book about eating live kittens was popular, they’d have done the same thing. The possible person I could respect for objecting to this would be JKR, and then only on her grounds as an artist. I cannot reasonably imagine that the funds detracted from her or Warner Bros. by such an enterprise is any more than a flash in the pan. All of this “Go Jo!” stuff really comes off as quite silly…this is an economical issue, not even an artistic one, which is apparent from WB involvement in trying to make sure this supposedly not-for-profit encyclopedia doesn’t have any unauthorized competition. I’m sure there are perfectly legal grounds for their action, but that is a matter of copyright law, not of who is in the right and who is in the wrong from a moral standpoint.

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Oh, believe me, I welcome you to find publicly available proof that the plaintiffs have lied, taken a quote so badly out of context they misrepresented its meaning, or taken credit for things they shouldn’t have. In that case, the productive thing to do is leave that information here, or e-mail me. I obviously can’t find everything that has ever publicly been said about Harry Potter. But in the case of this filing – and I even checked the QuantCast stats, which clash with our internal reporting but as they are attributed to the public QuantCast, the citation is valid – there are no further public documents to add, at least that I can find; the relevant bits (emails, etc.) are in the court filing. But I anxiously await your additions.

The only thing I was (just now) able to find is that in the Johnson declaration, she spells “Mosag” “Masog,” and misinterprets a finding because of it. That’ll be added.

Thanks to all who have been civil.

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secunda: Ya, again it’s pretty much a personal view, I was just talking about a majority, which actually happens to think the later movies were better since the first two seem “kiddish” which doesn’t really make sense because they were pretty much the same as the books which again were less dark than the mater ones. Personally, I love the first two as much as the third and the fifth, but I didn’t like GoF that much. Anyhow, back to the point in question, the thing is, the movies basically didn’t cause us to say that they ruined the books, which is an author’s biggest fear when they make movies out of books. In that respect, WB has been true to their word.

And ya, nor did I think law studies could be so much fun before this. I actually used to find it intensely boring!

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On the issue of the books being forgotten, sadly, today everything is taken as “pop culture” which seems to say, “out of sight out of mind”. But books are very different. There are great children’s books that have survived years and still continue to enthrall kids, even if they were written about 50 years ago or more. What differentiates a good book from an average book is that it has the ability to connect with the reader 50 years down the line, and that’s exactly what HP is. It’s survived and grown 10 years since the first book was published. Wouldn’t people have lost patience waiting for so long if the book hadn’t been great? But all this euphoria moves beyond the hype and proves HP has the ability to be there on top amongst the greatest children’s books ever written. I know a lot of second-graders who’re reading HP right now, and love it. At the end of the day,it isn’t about hype, at least not with books. It’s the ability to charm the reader anytime.

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Actually, Melissa, I don’t think that’s an inconsistency. Misspelled yes.

There’s the old English legend of the two giants, Gog and Magog—-male and female. There is a reasonable connection of these two giants and the giant spiders ‘Aragog and Mosag’. Mosag, gaelic word meaning ‘dirty woman’.

These two giants are carried in procession each year at the Lord Mayor’s Show. The story goes that a Roman Emporor had 33 wicked daughters and he married them off to 33 husbands, in the hopes they’d be tamed. They gathered together and killed all of their husbands. Punishment for their crimes was to be set adrift on the ocean. They landed on an isle, bred with demons, and the race of giants was born…giants from whom Gog and Magog were descended from.

Rowling would certainly have been familiar with these two giants and the legend surrounding them.

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It seems to me that there are two questions that surround the publication of SVA’s book: one is “should he publish?” and the other is “can he publish?”. It seems that hp fandom has determined that he should not publish. Nonetheless, I think that he probably can publish.

JKR has been seemingly cut by her own two-edged sword. She probably wanted the free and extremely valuable publicity from fan fiction, fan cites and reference cites like the one that SVA provides. However, she now wants to prevent a publication, in a particular format (book form), that contains the same types of information that she previously did not stop SVA from publishing.

In allowing those such as SVR to freely publish their work on the internet and possibly reaping indirect benefits from the publications, she has probably given up her right to now stop those works from being further published in book form. The legal doctrine would be called estoppel, waiver, laches, and/or acquiecence. Along with fair use arguments, I would be surprised if these doctrines are not also argued by SVA’s attorneys.

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We have added it up. All of the facts as have appeared in court on this particular matter.

It is incredibly difficult to lose you rights or to be shown that you have abandoned them.

By continually policing sites and sending c & d’s when they’ve crossed the line, this is a show of exercising her copyrights. The fact that fansites comply with those c & d’s from representatives of Rowling/WB is indicative that the fansites acknowledge her copyrights/trademarks.

Which is a blow to Steve, as according to his court testimony, he has complied with at least 2 c & d’s. This is his acknowledgement that Rowling’s copyrights/trademarks have not been abandoned and therefore are not fair game.

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“If it makes you queesy I’m sorry; I would advise you not join the legal profession [to the extent you have to litigate] and avoid college courses that require bull sessions.”


Cara, if you go back and re-read, you’ll see I was actually trying to pay you a complement in that last post. As a 52-year-old veteran with a college education I’ve seen plenty of conflict, thank you. You are just proving my point here. Though not a lawyer, I work in support of lawyers daily, and provide evidence in both civil and criminal cases. Somehow, it all comes off without all the lust and venom exhibited here – which is frequently distasteful to me. I’m just sayin’. Why must you always make it personal?

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maybe because you get out of touch with the reality when you discuss things on an internetforum, where people have no faces no voive no smell no identity. Maybe we all feel a bit more free to express our thoughts and forget diplomacy. Honesty maybe. It´s why I still come here.

Any way, I repeat my question: can anbody, please explain to me what “underlying creator” means and what consequences it has that WB owns the Harry Potter names and characters?

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In response to why WB is concerned: WB cares because they brought the books to life on screen, and that’s their contribution. They own those rights, just as Jo owns rights to the books she wrote, WB owns rights to characters they brought to life on screen.

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additup- The question I see is whether Jo’s acquiescence, or tacit permission- of the website has anything to do with the book being publishable. The book is a different entity altogether, and is not a copy of the site, per the defense. I would think that Jo’s tacit permission of the site would only mean that an attempt to shut the site down may result in a claim of acquiescence toward the site. However, since there was never prior tacit approval of a published book by Steve based on Jo’s work, I see no acquiescence involved.

The defense would indeed like to imply the site and proposed book are legally the same entity and should be dealt with as one entity for acquiescence purposes. They are not, however, as far as I see. The book is a unique work that only uses the site as a source of reference material.

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It would be a serious miscarragie of justice if RDR Books wins this case. that would require the judge to overthrow the entire basis of fair use and copyright laws which are meant to protect not only the author of the original work, but the commentators of that work who write their own works disecting and exploring the work to bring new insights and ideas about the inspiration for such work.

the lexicon for anyone who has sat down to read it clearly does not count, because there is very little commentary, and most was lazily ripped directly from copyrighted works.

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Actually, Secunda, the reading groups helped some of the non-HP fans become fans. My daughter loves to tell everyone that she was a fan at 4 (true, but she is precocious, and I did love the books, so I read them to her at an early age) . Now, she is considered a Harry Potter expert, and all of her friends ask her questions. It’s really quite lovely.

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Sorry, but I beg to differ on your reference to Gog and Magog being from an old English legend. Below is a quote from wikpedia and the link to the page.

“The tradition of Gog and Magog (Hebrew גוג ומגוג) begins in the Hebrew Bible with the reference to Magog, son of Japheth, in the Book of Genesis and continues in cryptic prophecies in the Book of Ezekiel (see War of Ezekiel 38-39), which are echoed in the Book of Revelation and in the Qur’an. The tradition is very ambiguous with even the very nature of the entities differing between sources. They are variously presented as men, supernatural beings (giants or demons), national groups, or lands. Gog and Magog occur widely in mythology and folklore.”

Full citation at this location:


Now as to whether JKR was familiar with the Hebrew legend or not is neither here nor there. And it doesn’t really matter. Origins ar interesting from a certain perspective, but as long as the origin was a source from which to create new applications, or new ideas or new thought, THAT is what matters (and isn’t that the crux of the case and hand, AND the Fair Use doctrine?)

And btw, don’t forget that there is also a Gog and Magog in Britain,but they were Hills or Mountains and thought to have originally been Giants, not spiders. See thr wikedia quote below:

“The Gog Magog Hills are about three miles south of Cambridge, said to be the metamorphosis of the giant after being rejected by the nymph Granta (i.e. the River Cam). The dowser T.C. Lethbridge claimed to have discovered a group of three hidden chalk carvings in the Gogmagog Hills. This alleged discovery is described at length in his book Gogmagog: The Buried Gods [5], in which Lethbridge uses his discoveries to extrapolate a primal deity named ‘Gog’ and his consort, ‘Ma-Gog’, which he believed represented the Sun and Moon. Although his discovery of the chalk figures in the Gogmagog Hills has been dogged by controversy, there are similarities between the name and nature of the purported ‘Gog’ and the Irish deity Ogma, or the Gaulish Ogmios.

The Cambridge molly side, Gog Magog, take their name from these hills.”

Full citation here:



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@cara, and everyone else

My point in the above post about Gog and Magog is that at the end of the day there may be a lot of people who feel they know (myself included), because they have a source, but the sources are not necesarily definitive. One can only go with what there is. I am reasonably certain that the origin of Gog and Magog is Hebrew. But I also pointed out that there are British legends too, just that they weren’t first. I noted that Gog and Magog, in ANY of the legends were at least by many considered to be Giants, and not spiders. But the British legend about females murdering their mates is reminiscent of what spiders (but many other species) do, so I see where a leap to spiders is possible.

All I’m saying is that even something like the origin of Aragog and Mosag and all of that is fraught with complexity, and only the author can possibly tell us what the correct source/origin is. And you know what? I don’t rally care. The stories work for me without knowing. And if I were the authorI don’t think I would reveal everything either. Some things should be a mystery to provoke and continue discussions like these, which can be intellectually stimulating and very informative. And THIS kind of discussion is so much more satisfying ultimately than the whole Law Case one is. At least in my humble opinion.


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Just curious… how does Rowling’s reps know what was in emails written between Richard Harris and RDR and other such types of communications that they quote? Were those emails submitted earlier by the defense or something?

Also, doesn’t JKR’s side sort of help the defendants out by making such a point of how previous unauthorized Potter companion books haven’t sold well? I realize that they distinguish that the mugglent.com book was successful, but doesn’t that just make it sound like SVA’s book really WOULDN’T do much damage to JKR’s revenue?

I dunno, just some stuff that made me sort stop and quirk my head in confusion while I was reading the statements.

That said, nothing has waivered my my support of JKR and WB in this case. It’s ridiculous that this is even still happening and that SVA and RDR haven’t just tried to apologize.

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They got the E-mail in the limited discovery. They should have all of RDR’s correspondence relating to the book,

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@ RainSW6

As was pointed out, they would have gotten the e-mails during the discovery process. For those that don’t know, discovery is a process whereby both sides are obliged to provide each other with their documentation (e-mails, correspondence and a lot of other informaton) so that essentially both sides see the whole case laid out before them (also they are looking for contradictory information or information that would put their opponent’s case in doubt).

Sometimes, one side or the other might ask for something the other side is not interested in providing or doesn’t feel is properly part of the discovery process, and in such cases, the judge may be asked to rule on the request (remember RDR asking for a number of things such as “the product of the creative mind”, which was ruled not to be provided). These rulings may, presumably be appealed, or are sometimes use to request dismissal of a case upon appeal of the judgement, asserting that, because the ruling was wrong, the judgement was wrong.

As to whether WB/JKR helped RDR’s case regarding the potential sales of any book or not is an open question. We will just have to wait and see.

Hope this helps.


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I love how some people on JKR’s side think that everyone on the other side must be part of some conspiracy. (The men in the white coats are there to help you. . . ;) )

It’s pretty arrogant to think that it isn’t possible for anyone to disagree with your opinion.

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In the interests of fairness, the same can be said for BOTH sides of this issue. At the end of the day I am dismayed that BOTH sides have in some cases chosen the paths they have and that this didn’t remain an intellectual discussion of the merits of the case in general (I know – wishful thinking, sigh!)

However, having said that, the discussion here is a reflection of the discussions and submissions for the case itself. BOTH sides make statements that may be considered arrogant, inflammatory or otherwise reprehensible – BOTH sides, depending on your reading.

And that is EXACTLY how these cases are fought, each side making such statements designed to incite the other side, and more importantly, to ellicit fan and observer support for one side or the other, in the hopes that such support might sway the judge in the end.

All in the finest tradition of the legal system and perfectly acceptable – for them. I had just hoped we all could have been at least a LITTLE above that.


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Rain, Morton…my guess regarding the WB/JKR attorneys stating that the previous companion books have not sold well is that they want a pre-emptive argument “just in case” RDR wins, since it would be one basis for limiting any damages

well, hopefully the ruling will come quickly, and then we’ll all be pulling it apart to understand how it might apply to our individual interests


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What I don’t understand is how anyone can look at this entire case and not see that JKR and WB are in the right on this.

I’ve read all of the court documents on both sides including all of the attachments, and not only have RDR/SVA utterly failed to make their case, but they still haven’t given any valid reason why this book should be published at all. Their arguments are paper thin and really don’t hold up under scrutiny.

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Thank you, cbrn, and thank you for the explanation, Morton, much appreciated! After reading your post I can vaguely remember studying that in one of my courses, but, alas, most of it is gone from my memory. :-)

Budb, could you please explain further? Am I correct in assuming you meant it would come in handy for JKR/WB (assuming they lost) during the appeals process and, if so, how?

They made a good point of showing how SVA’s book is very distinct in how ‘famous’ SVA is in the HP fandom and with all the quotes from RDR’s emails to publishers, advertising the book as unique. It just seemed that, first off, it is irrelevent how much those other books sold if they were breaking copyright laws as SVA’s book is (would JKR be okay with SVA publishing the lexicon if the sales would be poor? It doesn’t seem like it), and secondly (like I said before), to just make a point of showing how no fan’s book is going to offer any real threat to JKR’s own book sales.

Anyway, this case is really interesting. As much as I regret that it’s had to take place for both parties, I’m having fun following it’s progress.

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If I might take a stab at your question, and Budb will correct me if I’m wrong.

I believe the logic goes this way:

RDR wins the case. If they do, the expectation is that the court will order damage payments from WB/JKR to RDR, as well as requiring them to pay court costs. If it is established BEFORE any decision that even if the book somehow got published, it would not sell very well, the expectation is that the judge will award damages in proportion. In other words, while he might order damages, they would be relatively small since the damage is small, because the book wouldn’t sell much anyway.

A practical example might help.

Say the book is expected to sell a million dollars worth, based on sales of other books related to HP. Say further that because of the delays and negative publicity, the book is NOW expected to sell only half a million dollars. RDR might petition the court to assign damages in the amount of half a million dollars to compensate RDR for lost potential revenue/sales.

However, if WB/JKR can establish that the book would never sell more than a hundred thousand dollars, and the current expectaton would be for only fifty thousand because of delays and negative publicity, the best RDR could ask for would be fifty thousand in compensation.


Budb, is that essentially what you intended?


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Gotcha! Makes a lot of sense, thank you for the explanation (again)!

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RDR winning wont happen. when it was relevealed 84% of the book was uncited plagerised copyrighted material, it is clear that it can not claim fair use, which only allows 10% to be copyrighted work, the other 90% having to be original work by the writer. any more then 10% and you are required by law to have permission from the holders of the copyright to use more material.

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mrs. dM-P


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But in his defense, isn’t she trying to have a monopoly on Harry Potter. She copyrighted her books and so now no one else can write anything to do with Harry? It seems unfair that she is doing this, they can both publish their own encyclopedias but i don’t think she has a right to be suing Steve.

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The issue is not whether anyone can write anything to do with Harry potter. The point in this case is that JKR/WB allege that RDR is violating the copyright (and trademarks, etc.) in an attempt to make money, without asking permission to use JKR’s words essentially as she wrote them.

There are many books, commentaries, analyses and even fan fiction that use the concepts and to a limited degree the actual words that JKR wrote. But in those cases, even when the point of those authors was to make money, they are adding their own thoughts or whatever – what is referred to as original material, BASED on HP. And, in some, at least of THOSE cases, permission was sought and aknowledgements made, or disclaimers appropriately included. This is allowed (and even then it depends on how MUCH of the original material is used and how much addition, analysis, original thought etc. is added).

The plaintiffs in THIS case (WB/JKR) alledge that there is NO original thought (or at least not very much) in the RDR book. Therefore, they needed to ask permission first, especially if they intended to make money from it, and since they did not they are breaking copyright law. Again, this is the PLAINTIFF’S position (essentially).

The defendants are counterclaiming that because there is already fan fiction and scholarly works and discussions and so on, and JKR has not objected, has even, they say used those sources, they should have the right to do their own thing, including publishing this book that provides a service to fans and may be the basis of additional research that could lead to more analysis. Again, this is the DEFENDANT’S position (essentially).

Who is right? Only the judge in this case will decide. And even then, that probably will only be the first decision on the case. It is likely that whichever side “wins”, there will be an appeal and perhaps another appeal, and it may be years before we know who the judicial system decides is right.

And after ALL that, there will always people who have their own opinions and will carry this discussion on because they truly believe they are right.

And as for me? Well, I have my own personal opinion, which is irrelevant here, as to who will probably “win”, but I really believe that everybody has already “lost”

At least in my humble opinion.


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JKR is certainly NOT claiming a monopoly on Harry Potter.

She is not shutting down fan sites. (She already has the authority to greatly restrict them. Look at Anne Rice or what Disney does). But she is actually among the more liberal of authors on this subject.

She is not preventing non-infringing books from being published. There are plenty of books about Harry Potter out there. And some of the are critical of HP, or even say horrible things of JKR herself. (like promoting Satan worship and such).

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@Rose: NO. obvoiusly she’s not trying to have a monopoly. All of the fan books, fan fiction, wizard rock, movies, theme park, merchandise, etc. is PROOF of that!. She’s trying to keep some idiot from publishing an encyclopedia that could possibly affect the encyclopedia that she’s going to write for charity. She’s also trying to stop idiots like Steve Vandarark from making Harry Potter into some joke that anyone can do anything with. If Steve and RDR books wins this case then that will just open the door for everybody. Next thing you know fanfiction will be getting published and there will be Harry Potter porn and stupid cartoon shows and a whole bunch of other stuff that will take the value out of the HP series and make it a JOKE!

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“Has Elvis left the building of his Ark? This is just too fan creep show for me – Signatures? Guest appearances? Does he come with a cape and fly in? EEK! There are fans like Melissa (YEAH!), and there are very confused mind boggled blighter’s.” Posted by Helyx Helyx

For some reason I now have this image of SVA as Gilderoy Lockhart in my head…

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i have not met steve in person, however, even before this started, i had a friend who went to a couple of fan conventions, and met both emerson and steve, and said both were kind of creepy and full of themselves. i could understand emerson, i was apart of the very very early planning stages for lumos2006, and heard from friends that emerson was caught groping players during water quidditch, but i couldnt see steve being like my friend described him. then this came out, and i saw a video from the same convention my friend had met steve at, and it became clear he was as arrogant as he has been painted in here in signatures. telling a group of people jk rowling dose not own harry potter anymore, thats just wrong. jk rowling will own harry potter until the day she dies, and she will likely ensure the rights are protected even after she is gone.

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What started out as a recapitulation by Melissa of the key points in this important legal case has apparently turned into a free for all in which fans are slinging mud against Steve Vander Ark and Emerson Spartz.

Is this the side of Harry Potter fandom we want to show the world?

I’ve seen Steve at one convention and Emerson at another, and neither of them exhibited the kind of boorish behavior “NotTheHBP” describes. In fact, I’d go as far to say that both of these guys have largely been goodwill ambassadors to the media at large, as they are the “go to” guys when mainstream media wants a quote or a story. Both have served Harry Potter fandom well, and for many years.

As for Rowling: She clearly has made it known that if anyone is about to publish, or publishes, an encyclopedia based on her novels that she will move aggressively to stop it. The injunction, which will be hear (finally) next week, will either allow SVA’s book to go forward, or it will not. Either way, there will be LEGAL clarity, and writers (at the least) will know where the line is drawn.

It’s time to collectively put the bitterness, the anger, and the name-calling behind, and exhibit the spirit of Rowling’s novels-the virtues we celebrate-like tolerance and forgiveness and reconciliation. After all, even Harry and Draco finally made their peace with each other—an uneasy peace, of course, but peace nonetheless.

Let’s give peace a chance. For a change.

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a country gentlemen, it should be noted that jk rowling has allowed other enclopedias to be published, however these encylopedias are considered legal under the law becaust the vast majority of what is in the enclopedia is new insights and content created by the writer of the encylopedia to provide commentary of harry potter. often, the books are sent to her people so they can make sure it is legally allowable, and also to suggest changes when the writer had a fact wrong.

the lexicon book contains 84% material that is copyrighted by jk rowling, and entrys that are factually incorrect. fair use only allows about 10% copyrighted material before you have to have permission.

as for steve’s boorish behavior, that is documented and you can find a fair few of the videos up on youtube.

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Wow, only found out about this lawsuit now. Shame that it has come to this. This Vander Ark guy sounds like a tosser. Even if the book deal goes through, somehow I doubt that he would give any money to the others who contributed to his site.

In any case, I do find his website handy, so I guess I’ll have to find a website ripper to download everything before it becomes history. I suggest that others do the same :-).

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well, according to RDR, the trial has been set for 25th-27th of march.

they are also doing their ignorant attacks on jo claiming she is trying to stop all works on her books when she has strated repeatedly she is not against reference works and commentary of her books that bring new insights to her world.

also, RDR keeps claiming no judge has ever ruled in favor of a author like jk rowling who is doing what jo is doing, saying it has never happened. oddly enough, many judges have judged in authors favors, but no judge has ever judged in favor of other publishers doing what RDR Books is trying to do. infact, many publishers trying to publish books not allowed in fair use laws have been shot down.

RDR, thats what you get for hireing students instead of lawyers. seeing as the students arent even through their first year of law school by your own admission, you clearly are desperate for attention. enjoy being bankrupt.

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With all due respect to A Country Gentleman, it is not just a one-sided mud slinging contest, more’s the pity. Some supporters from BOTH sides of this issue have hands dripping with mud. I have expressed my sadness that it has deteriorated to where it has, but that is the way of things, and being sorry that it has happened doesn’t alter the fact that it happened.

I have, I hope, always tried to be objective regarding the legal aspects as I understand them , and tried to explain (maybe to teach and clarify), rather than suggest an outcome. People can, and need to, make their own minds up about what they think will happen – a hypothesis, that is ultimately tested against the reality of the events – and see how well they fared when the decisions come in.

Now, as to the potential outcome, I have always said that it is an open question, because it depends on many things, not the least of which are the judge’s consideration about how to interpret the law, and the facts as presented by both sides. Please note that I say “facts” because that is the way the judge has to perceive them as they are presented. He is required not to prejudge, and I do not presume to do that either. He will determine whether all presentations are factual or contrived to make the parties to the suit APPEAR to be right. Time will tell.

I have my own opinion of course, which shall remain mine, as to the outcome of the case, but I WILL say, people on both sides of this issue that say the outcome is “obvious” and “inevitable” are merely guessing. As has been said many times before (in many different contexts) “it ain’t over ‘til its over”.

My deepest regret (though I am not a party to it, but observing it is painful too), is that the mud was not restricted to the parties in the case. Unfortunately, it began to be slung here and in other similar forums, and was more often than not directed at individuals who were trying to clarify, or trying to present objectively (like Melissa). When discussons like these become venues for personal slurs, in EITHER direction, something is wrong. And it makes no difference “who started it”.

At least in my humble opinion.

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To try and answer your question re. “underlying creator” – That is the term used for the actual, initial creator of a work of art or a piece of writing or whatever is subject to copyright. So the HK books have, as their underlying creator, JKR. The author of any work that uses and refrences the original copyrighted work, say for analysis, commentary or as the basis of vcritical discussion, and copyrights that work, is the underlying creator of all original material, but JKR is STILL the underlying creator of the source material. And so on.

A key issue that has been under discussion for many years now is how to ensure copyright protection for the underlying creator, given that there may be a whole chain of material, each based on a previous work which is itself based on a previous work, and so on, until you get back to that first, initial work – the work of the underlying creator. This is going to be part of the result that is dealt with in this case, in my humble opinion.

Does this help?


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Sorry, in my post above I meant “the HP books” – as I’ve stated elsewhere, typing is NOT my best activity!


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To me it is common sense, posting something on the internet for free with nods of tolerance from the author doesn’t mean, “Oh, well that was okay, now I’ll go put it in a book and make money off of it.” Thanks for the thorough information on what is going on.

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I think that those who support JKR in this matter should refrain from going to the Lexicon until either this whole matter is dropped because Steve decides to not go ahead and publish the book or this whole ordeal is fully settled. That way we can discourage and protest such behavior in a peaceful manner. There are other places we could look facts about Harry Potter they might not be as convent but they aren’t trying to bend the rules. Very well done on the article, thank you for taking the time and effort to post it.

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