JKR/WB Respond in Lexicon Suit

115

Feb 28, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

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,

sue.

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.”

Exactly.

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!

D.

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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.

Gail

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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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TEAM ROWLING.

=)

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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.

d

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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.

zr

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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!

Morton

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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!

M.

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Zaptoit:

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?

WRONG.

“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.

Cheers!

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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

NOT APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY J.K.ROWLING OR WARNER BROS.

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!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7270477.stm

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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.

(WARNING! NOW ENTERING “TONGUE-IN- CHEEKAREA!!!!)

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!

(NOTICE!! NOW OUT OF TONGUE-IN-CHEEK AREA!!)

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.

M.

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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.

derived

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.”

and:

“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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cara:

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!

M.

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cara:

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!

M.

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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 c