First Day of JKR/WB vs RDR Books Trial

113

Apr 15, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

As many of you know, today was the first day of the trial in the JKR/WB vs. RDR Books case, in which JKR and WB are attempting to block publication of a print version of of the A-Z listing of the online Harry Potter Lexicon.

There have been several articles about it:
NYT: JK Rowling and the Courtroom of Muggles
Publisher’s Weekly
Mediabistro
BBC
Wall Street Journal
Update:Reuters video of JKR reading a statement after testifying in court.

And many more; please leave them in the comments if you feel we should list them.

Leaky was in attendance today, when JK Rowling and Roger Rapoport took the stand; the following can only be guaranteed to about 90 percent accuracy as words were sometimes muffled, writing hands cramped (no recorders allowed) and it was a long eight hours of testimony. No significant words or facts have been changed and whenever in doubt words were put in brackets or estimated.

Some of the more prevalent/basic facts and revelations:

JKR said that if RDR wins, and the market is flooded with books similar to the Lexicon (“an avalanche of dross, so that by the time my encyclopedia book comes limping to the marketplace, everyone will be sick to the back teeth of Harry Potter encyclopedias”), she might be without “the will or the heart” to finish her own version

A WB lawyer said that Steve Vander Ark is apparently “still pressing” his wish to be compensated for a timeline he believes has been reproduced on the Harry Potter DVDs; according to JKR he has asked for an “absolutely extortionate amount” of money, which amounted to “more money than I received for my first three novels.”

She said it was her understanding that this is what was discussed in meetings, and passed on to her through her lawyer, Neil Blair, and that Steve Vander Ark and Roger Rapoport were planning to split the proceeds of that settlement. Regarding the timeline, JKR said that “He has copied down some dates.” At this point the defendants objected due to relevance, and the plaintiffs pointed out that the matter didn’t speak to the merits of the claim but J.K. Rowling’s fear that Steve Vander Ark would accuse her of plagiarizing him in her own encyclopedia, and the judge noted it but did not stop the commentary. JKR said: “Absolutely any fool, forgive me, any fool could write a timeline based on a number of dates in a book. I literally do not understand what he thinks he’s done of value and why he thinks he deserves money for that.”

JKR said she only has used the Lexicon twice, and then only to say that she had used it so that she could award what she saw as an “A for effort.” She said the Fan Site Award did not represent an acknowledgment of high quality. She said she could easily Google her information and find it on other sites as well. “The fact is that [a Google search] will give you the information you need…because I knew of [the Lexicon], I wanted to say I used it and do the nice thing and give them the award. Do I now regret that? Yes, bitterly.”

A previous question centered around whether RDR had sold rights to the book in Britain and Australia, as mentioned in the original announcement of the book, at the time of the lawsuit; Roger Rapoport said that only oral agreements had been made at the time but the terms of the contract had not yet been fulfilled.

JKR was asked whether the Lexicon was “just a Xerox copy” of her work: she said it was “very slightly more than that.” David Hammer said that there was text for every character, and she said, “Yes, is that the best you can say for the Lexicon, ‘It has text’?” Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it, and she said, “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

Steve Vander Ark was present at the beginning of the proceedings but was asked to leave a short way into them (and as far as I can tell did not return after JKR‘s testimony, though it’s entirely possible I missed it).

A funny moment began the case: The lawyers were introducing themselves and David Hammer, lawyer for RDR Books, said, “and the man without whom none of us would be here, Roger Rapoport.” Dale Cendali, JKR‘s lawyer, quickly suggested that “none of us would be here without Ms. Rowling.”

JKR‘s Testimony

Contrary to what was stated in the press, J.K. Rowling was not called to the stand by the defendants but by the plaintiffs. A lawyer for the plaintiffs mentioned a conversation in which Judge Robert Patterson had said he was willing to accept her declaration as enough testimony but she wanted to testify. She said she wanted to come from Scotland for this specifically because, “This is very personal to me. This is why I did not feel comfortable with this happening at arm’s length. There is a massive principle at stake here, and I am determined to have my say if nothing else.”

She said, “I think that this book [is] wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work.

There is “little in the way of commentary,” and that the “quality of that commentary is derisory” and that it “debases that which I worked so hard to write.”

The plaintiffs went over JKR‘s history, including the time she spent on welfare and the 8000-pound grant she once received, which was “an absolute fortune” to her at the time. She said there were “weeks when the food ran out,” and asked whether she was surprised at Harry’s success, said, “There isn’t a word big enough. Flabberghasted, astonished. It was my life, apart from my children.” Asked what Harry meant to her, she started to choke up and said, “I really don’t want to cry, because I’m British. It meant pu tting aside my children, everything.”

“It’s very difficult to understand to someone who hasn’t created, what it means to be a creator. [It's like asking] ‘How do you feel about your child?’”

“These books, they saved me…there was a time they saved my sanity.”

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book and Quidditch Through the Ages were quoted as having sold more than 18 million pounds, or close to or more than $36 million at the current exchange rate.

Regarding the encyclopedia she wants to write:

“It’s been my long stated intention” to do so. She has begun work, and is at an early stage, but said she is fleshing out the plan; she once said it was going to take 2-3 years but recently, “four weeks ago, demands of the court case have been such that it has caused me to halt work…It’s really decimated my creative work over the past month.

“Should my fans be given a surfeit of substandard books – so called lexicons – I’m not at all convinced I would have the will or the heart to continue with my encyclopedia.”

She said the encyclopedia wasn’t the same as writing a novel, that it was not something she’s approach with “the same lightness of heart that you’d approach a novel,” but that the “drudgery” would be worth it because she believes her fans want it and that it would be an opportunity to raise a lot of money for charity.

She learned about the book during her Oct. 2007 book tour and was “genuinely shocked. I had assumed that Mr. Vander Ark was operating in good faith. I believed his pronouncement that this was something was did as a hobby. I did feel a degree of betrayal.”

She said she had read “every word” of the Lexicon.

“I believe [the book] is sloppy, lazy, and that it takes my work wholesale.”

This exchange between JKR and David Hammer took place (again I predict about 90 percent accuracy, but no significant words have been willingly altered):
JKR: “An alphabetical [list] is the laziest way to rearrange and sell my work.”
DH: [But is it useful?]
JKR: “In what way?”
DH: “Is it easy to get information.”
JKR: “I don’t understand.”
DH: “Have you ever used a dictionary?”
JKR: “Are you telling me Mr. Vander Ark is going to teach me how to spell?”

JKR: “Part of the reason we’re all here – when you access – if you [pay $25 to] access information that is already in the Potter books, aren’t you being suckered out of your money?”

“Should it be published, I firmly believe that carte blanche will be given to anyone who wants to make a quick bit of money, to divert some Harry Potter profits into their own pockets. … I’m not delighted to have work I consider to be this shoddy associated with Harry Potter.”

“It abridges my plots. And what does it have? Facetious comments, a tiny amount of etymology, often wrong. A child with a pocket Latin dictionary could decipher what words [Steve Vander Ark] has deciphered.”

She said there were places in the Lexicon manuscript where Vander Ark “quite plainly has not understood the books. In the loosest sense, I do not consider this a worthwhile guide. … I think it is a travesty.”

“I absolutely see no use for it. I do not see what the use is.”

“In every entry, you will see my plots, my words, often verbatim, rarely with quotation marks..it sometimes [is] actually misleading.” She said that of the four or five times she was able to find an instance where there is no copying, “on every account [Vander Ark] gets it wrong.”

She also said that he has misunderstood how Harry survived the final battle with Voldemort (the book, she says, says it is because Harry’s wand would not work against Voldemort, and she said it is because of the blood sacrifice made by Harry’s mother), “What I think is a serious error.”

She talked about a chart she had made with her daughter, Jessica, at her dining room table in her home, comparing the Lexicon book to her text; no one asked her to make the chart, she said, but “I felt extremely strongly.”

JKR referenced the entry on the Brain Room from the Ministry of Magic, which used imagery about the brains that spun from the green tank and attacked Ron, and how the trails that lagged behind them were like that of celluloid film. She said she had thought hard to come up with the analogy and showed that the Lexicon entry used the same imagery she had toiled over, verbatim. Since it has no quotations, “in Mr. Vander Ark’s so-called book, it is an assertion that he wrote it.”

In cross examination, Hammer asked JKR why she had not, in her own analysis, quoted the entire Lexicon entry; she said that she literally did not have time to do every entry fully, because it would have taken her a week to list all the places where her work had been lifted or copied. She said that actually “much more of it is lifted, may I show you where?” and identified three other places in that entry where the wording in the Lexicon matches that of her books, and said she had highlighted the movie reel imagery because she felt it was more of a unique image than some of the others, which were more common language but still used to define the same things in her book and the proposed book. “[It was a] particularly shameless example,” she said. Hammer asked why she hadn’t used the “according to” words that had been used in the Lexicon (ie, “According to Phineas Nigelllus…” etc) and JKR said, “He thinks putting ‘according to’ means that anything that follows does not need a quotation mark.”

She said that if quotation marks were put around everything that merited them, there would be quotation marks around “virtually the entire book.”

Another point mentioned the goblin-made armor and how it only imbibes those materials that strengthen it; she again pointed to the identical words used on each entry. Asked about the phrase, “imbibing only that which strengthens it” and whether she had worked hard on that phrase, she said, “I can’t pretend I bled over that one [but] this happens on virtually every entry.”

She said Vander Ark abridges at “every possible opportunity,” and that the approach is that, “wherever it lists a character it gives a character’s appearance, verbatim, in my words, without quotation marks, and then abridges the plot.”

Of the Voldemort entry:

“I think it represents both wholesale lifting of my plots and and it represents the most enormous missed oportunity. Other critics have found a lot to say about Voldemort, about what he represented, his psychology, the archetype of a villain…I think it is lazy, just very very lazy.”

Regarding Quidditch Through the Ages

“Quidditch Through the Ages has been plundered. There is absolutely no reason to purchase it [if one owns the Lexicon], why would anyone want to buy it? … Mr. Vander Ark has gutted that book. there is [no] interpretation there, there’s no commentary, he’s simply taken it and copied it.”

Cross-examination: Hammer tried to argue to JKR that the entry wasn’t a plot summary because plot summaries are chronological and this clearly wasn’t chronological because it begins with information from book six. “This doesn’t describe the character, it simply shows what the character does,” JKR said, “Please show me in that entry where he shows the character. … It so happens that in book six [there is] pre-story, therefore he starts with the pre-story then goes [through the rest of the books chronologically].”

Regarding the Chudley Canon entry:

“Again, the fictional facts, which evidently have intrinsic entertainment value, have simply been taken. There is nothing there that I haven’t written. There’s tiny paraphrasing.”

“What particularly galls is the lack of quotation marks,” she said, and repeated that most of the book would be put in quotation marks if everything copied was given that treatment.
Regarding Fantastic Beasts:

“As with Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts has simply been taken. Taken, and taken wholesale. I see no incentive whatsoever to give the money to Comic Relief if they had bought the Lexicon, because the wholesale book has been taken.”

In opening statements, lawyers said that the content of the Lexicon had recently been edited by Steve Vander Ark to reduce the amount of verbatim copying from the two companion books J.K. Rowling has written.

Regarding the entry in FB about the Chinese Fireball dragon:
“Far from exceptional…simply uses my words. He has taken my creation, because after all, it has no existence outside my words. If we were both describing a giraffe, undoubtedly [they would share words, but] the Chinese Fireball has no existence.

“There is a tiny amount of what purports to be commentary.”

She said many of the etymologies listed in the book are erroneous: “Most often he will simply translate the Latin word [from a spell]; a 7-year-old with a pocket Latin dictionary can do that.”

Regarding missed opportunities in the book:

“Where to begin?” she said and cited the entry on “Abraxan,” which has “no attempt at etymology.” The lawyers for the defense objected on the grounds that the case was about what was in the book and not what wasn’t in it; the judge said it was noted and allowed the testimony to continue.

She also discussed the entry on “ogre,” in which she said “goes to the heart of the largest objection” she has to the book. The entry only says that Ron and Hermione think they see an ogre in the context of the HP story. JKR said, “If a child read the word ogre…what is the Lexicon telling them? It’s telling them that Ron and Hermione thought they saw and ogre…. an ogre in folklore is a flesh-eating giant, which I think is of some interest if you have an interest in ogres.”

They also discussed the entry on “death,” which JKR said was “truly laughable,” and that the Lexicon “should have a lengthy entry on death as it is the theme of the seven book series,” and perhaps would comment on different characters’ approach to death and the psychology that implies, objects they use to try to overcome death, and more. She said this entry didn’t do that “presumably because doing any of that would require research or work.”

On cross-examination David Hammer referenced the Death entry and said that the entry wasn’t meant to be about death itself but the character of Death as it appears in the books. JKR said, “Mr. Hammer, with respect, I don’t think you’re showing familiarity with my work,” and pointed out that any entry in a Harry Potter book about death should go into some thematic detail about it.

She talked about the Occamy (her lawyer asked if she was pronouncing it correctly and she said, “You can pronounce it any way you like”), listed as a beast in her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book. She said it was a prime example of one of the “missed opportunities,” and that it should have been a “sitting duck” for Steve Vander Ark because “he claims that one of the books he used…was the dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” and that book contains a reference to the 14th-century logician and Franciscan Friar William of Ockham, most known for “Occam’s Razor” a statement that says, basically, that any explanation should be the simplest one possible. She said it was her little joke that an Occamy has a lot to it which is not necessary (it is a two-legged serpentine-bodied creature with wings).

She also mentioned the entry on Remus Lupin: “I would have thought this would be an easy one to add commentary. I would have thought his name would be an easy one – obviously a double allusion to the fact that he is a werewolf…[also] the lycanthropy is an HIV metaphor,” a metaphor for someone infected early, who is prejudiced against and fearful of passing his condition on. It was also an example of “why people might become embittered.” She said none of these things were addressed in the book.

The lawyers also brought up the Daily Prophet articles that she wrote for her publisher in 1998 and which had a limited run, referring to an entry on Daghert Pips; asked if Daghert Pips was a real person, JKR said, “If he is I’m sure we’ll find out after this court case.”

Regarding other A to Z guides on Harry Potter:

JKR said she objected to “profit-driven attempts to resell to the public that which it already knows,” but that she thought that many of the available companion books were good. She said, of David Colbert’s Magical Worlds of Harry Potter, “I really like this book; they can put that on the blurb if they want.”

They referenced an entry in The Idiot’s Guide to Harry Potter on Paracelsus, and said that unlike the Idiot’s Guide, “The Lexicon does not even explain that Paracelsus existed,” and that the Idiot’s Guide had a “succinct but very interesting paragraph about that real person.”

She said the Lexicon constituted a “shameless attempt to sell [fans] the same information” they have in their books.

Another book mentioned was Fact, Fiction and Folklore by George Beahm, and an entry on Florean Fortescue, which apparently discussed background and roots of the character that JKR wasn’t aware of [but I couldn't make out what it was, sorry].

Also: from Colbert’s book, she discussed the Fawkes entry, and how, the Lexicon’s entry was a “far from exhaustive list of all the times the pet phoenix appears in the book,” but that Colbert has a three-and-a-half page entry that mentions Egyptian connotations, mythological context and the explanation that Fakes’ name is derived from Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up parliament.

Regarding The Sorcerer’s Companion, “I consider this is a genuine guide or reference book,” and mentions that the flying carpets entry talks about the Koran and some fairy tales. “It’s an interesting entry.”

In cross-examination her familiarity with these other books was challenged, and she said that while she knew that there was “massive commentary” in those books she couldn’t say with confidence whether the books were comprehensive. She was asked whether one of them contained a comprehensive list of all her characters, and said she didn’t know because she didn’t comb through them, and asked if the lawyer wanted him to do that now. He said yes, so she paged through one of the books for several minutes to see if all her characters were listed, and said no. She was then instructed to do similar with the Idiot’s Guide to Harry Potter, which David Hammer said was “the one you like so much”; it was no longer with JKR on the witness stand, and she said so, and Mr. Hammer made what he later admitted was a “snide remark” about always carrying it with him (or perhaps that he thought Jo always carried it with her).

Mr. Hammer tried to make the point that the other books about Harry Potter were shorter, and had longer entries, and it was because the Lexicon was longer that it had shorter entries (and perhaps the book was better because of it): JKR said, “I don’t think that follows at all.” He also brought in two books which he said had been “forced” from the market by J.K. Rowling’s representatives, and JKR classified them as books that she thought were similar to the Lexicon book. There was also discussion over the letter from one of her lawyers to MuggleNet in which the lawyer requested on behalf of JKR that MuggleNet not go through with publishing its encyclopedia (they acquiesced). There was some back and forth about whether her lawyer, Dale Cendali, had the right to say, “Ms. Rowling requests” when they hadn’t had consulted with each other on that specific issue; JKR said her representatives frequently act on her wishes without telling her ahead of time, but that if she had talked to MuggleNet directly she would have said, “You know, I want to do my encyclopedia. Please don’t do this.” Hammer asked if she gave Ms. Cendali guidelines to follow; she said, “I haven’t given her guidelines, she follows the law; those are her guidelines.” She said the only lawyer with whom she regularly discusses these things is Neil Blair.

Hammer gave her a copy of a book by Fiona Boyle, and asked if she had ever seen it; she said no, and Mr. Hammer said he had no further questions about it.

Regarding the Fan Site Award:

“I believed that Mr. Vander Ark was showing a quite obsessive interest in the Harry Potter books, but in a positive way. I didn’t think that what he was created was of immense use and I thought it demonstrated a passion for my work.” She said the award was an “A for effort.” Her lawyer asked, “Because it has great quality?” and she said, ‘No. I never saw any harm in it. I didn’t [think] anyone was exploited by it, there was no charge for it.”

She said it wasn’t a website that competed with her books; asked why not, she said, “It’s not a book.”

JKR was also asked whether she believed publication would cause harm to her: she said a win for RDR would “only be to the advantage of plagiarizers and people who want to make a fast buck on the back of other people’s work.”

Regarding her encyclopedia: “I said I would do it and I have never yet failed to do what I said I would do in my work,” but that, “I would rather not do it at all than be forced” to rush it into bookstores before “the avalanche starts.” Asked what she meant by avalanche, she said a win for RDR would mean taht “anyone will be able to [reproduce] a popular author’s book and sell it as their own.”

Regarding the timeline that Vander Ark claims he is to be recompensed for:

She said it once made her “choke on my coffee” when someone pointed out to her that there were copyright disclaimers calling the Lexicon work Vander Ark’s own, all over the site. ”’This is my original work, don’t copy.’ Mr. Vander Ark has decided that no one must copy him but what’s on the Web site it my work. What will happen [when I publish my encyclopedia] – will Mr. Vander Ark sue me?”

She was asked if she thought that every fan who bought the Lexicon would also buy her encyclopedia: “No, I’m not that arrogant. The companion book market is smaller…[the Comic Relief books did well but] didn’t sell anything like the quantity of the novels.”

“We all know I’ve made enough money; I didn’t come here [because I worried] I might sell three fewer novels. It’s not why I’m here.”

Regarding the quality of the Lexicon: “I think it is dire. I think it is atrocious.”

She was asked why, and an objection was raised and noted that “we can be here for an hour” hearing why she thought it was so; she said, instead that the book is “sloppy, it has little research, I don’t consider it an original work.”

Regarding Etymology:

There was discussion on the root of the word Alohomora: JKR said it came from a West African word that meant “friendly to thieves,” and not the Hawaiian “Aloha,” as mentioned by the Lexicon. In cross-examination David Hammer asked her if she ever said publicly or told Steve Vander Ark the derivation of the word; she said, “There is a much easier way to find out, and that is to do some actual research.”

She was asked why she didn’t just correct Steve Vander Ark: “I am not in the business of correcting Mr. Vander Ark; I am writing my own novels.” David Hammer asked if there were some subconscious meanings (to things in her books? It was muffled); she said, “If they’re subconscious I don’t really know how I would know that. [But] It’s not such a stretch to find out what the underlying meanings are. It’s not as though I’m throwing Scrabble letters in the air [and using the resultant words].”

Regarding her relationship with fan Websites:

“Perhaps naively, I was very keen to maintain an almost hands—off [relationship] to online fandom. I simply let it happen. I saw massive positivity in it…I have never read online fanfiction, it is uncomfortable to see your work recreated that way, but I never censored it or wanted to censor it. [Should RDR books win], other authors will look sideways and say I needed to exercise control. ‘She was an idiot. She let it all go.’

Outside the courtroom JKR gave a statement which said: “It gives me no pleasure to take legal action, but I am here today because I feel very strongly about an important issue that affects everyone and not just me. If books that plagiarize other works are permitted, authors, fans and readers stand to lose. There are lots of books in many languages that comment on or criticize Harry Potter and that’s fine. But the book in this case is different. It provides no analysis and virtually no commentary. It takes far too much and it offers precious little in return. I would just like to add that I am extremely grateful for the incredible support of Harry Potter fans everywhere.”

Roger Rapoport’s Testimony

This testimony had a lot fewer statements that constituted information not already in public documents, and consisted mostly of reviewing e-mails that indicated that RDR Books acted in bad faith and/or infringed copyright willingly.

It went over the events that led to Mr. Rapoport contacting Steve Vander Ark and asking him to consider publishing the Lexicon as a book; the plaintiffs tried to show that as a man familiar with the news, Mr. Rapoport was aware of JKR‘s July NBC quote in which she said she was definitely planning on the encyclopedia. Rapoport maintained that he did not know that she was planning an encyclopedia at the time.

Asked whether he expected to compete with the HP books, Rapoport said, “Of course not.” Plaintiffs showed an e-mail from August 29, 2007, in which Rapoport said that bookstores were “telling me it should be a paperback” because all the other Harry Potter books were in paperback and the Lexicon would have a hard time competing that way.

Regarding how quickly the book was put together: “We publish our books very quickly and this was not an atypical situation for us.” Rapoport also said repeatedly that he didn’t believe the Lexicon was assembled between the time of the signing of the contract and the contract’s deadline, but over the seven years in which the site had been online. He said his company has put together books, from scratch, in less than two weeks, which he said were reviewed well.

“This is a book that had been worked on for seven years. You’re making it sound like there hadn’t been a lot of work done,” said Rapoport.

It was revealed that RDR had made a deal (which, because of the lawsuit, was never completed) to get an advance from Methuen; Rapoport said they agreed to 5,000 pounds. One e-mail indicated that he thought that was a low figure compared to what was being offered from other countries in Europe; he said that only one other country had offered a higher figure.

Another email to Methuen showed Rapoport saying that JKR said “again and again that [the Lexicon site editors] were her absolute favorite when it comes to a Harry Potter reference book.” The plaintiffs’ lawyers said, “You weren’t being honest, were you?” and Rapoport said no. He asked several different ways (“You were making things up, weren’t you?”, and “You put words in Ms. Rowling’s mouth”), and Rapoport said “No.” The lawyer asked if he had one indication that JKR had said any of those things. Rapoport said, “You just showed a quote…There was a very longstanding relationship, awards had been given.”
“You were exaggerating to Peter Tummons.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Where did Ms. Rowling say again and again that the people behind the Lexicon were her favorites?”
“She didn’t use those exact words.”

Rapoport was asked whether the clause in which he indemnified Steve Vander Ark was standard, and he said that every publishing contract was different and that there was no standard contract; the plaintiffs’ lawyer then showed an e-mail to Steve Vander Ark in which he said, “Anything you say in public can and will be used against you…you were not sued and it is also noteworthy that if you are sued, we have agreed to defend you…in standard publishing contracts, the reverse is true.” Rapoport answered that the indemnification was something he felt comfortable doing.

The plaintiffs said that Rapoport was doing everything it could to keep the book a secret until it was published; Rapoport said, “We genuinely don’t discuss our porjects until the books are in-house.”
WB: “You took special efforts in this case.”
RR: “Actually that’s not true.”
The next exhibit showed an e-mail between Rapoport and Richard Harris, today referred to as the managing editor of RDR Books, which said, “The HP project looks like a go…we’re not telling anyone about this book and I would really appreciate you keeping our cover. I’ll explain the details in a phone call this weekend.” Another e-mail said, “We do not want to sell this to any of the [companies] currently publishing Harry Potter books.”

The lawyer went over the timeline of the cease and desist letters that were sent in the beginning of the case, and addressed the letter in which Roger Rapoport said that a personal situation had interrupted “all” his work, while showing e-mails that indicated sales and other marketing around the HPL were still ongoing at the time (sometime the same day). Rapoport said that the Publisher’s Marketplace listing (through which Neil Blair was first made aware of the book) “certainly seemed to catch the attention of Neil Blair. Would you call that secrecy?”

There was also another e-mail to a foreign publisher in which Rapoport said there was only an “unlikely event” the book would be challenged, but the letter was sent after two cease and desist letters had been sent.
WB: “You weren’t very honest with [the recipient].”
RR: No, I disagree with you.”
Later, WB asked, “Did you tell any publishers that [JKR] had raised objections?” and Rapoport said no.

The lawyers also focused on RDR‘s unwillingness to send WB a manuscript (they told them to hit “print” on the Lexicon web site instead) when it was sending the book via e-mail to foreign publishers (which Rapoport admitted) at the same time.

Regarding the DVD timeline:

RR: “He created an original timeline that ended up on the DVDs.”
WB: “You know that Ms. Rowling created the seven original books and then was copied [in the HPL]”
RR: “No.”
WB: “Is it your testimony that he did not copy from the books.”
RR: “No.”
WB: “Are you saying that he did?”
RR: “No.”
WB: “I think that cleared it up, Your Honor.”
Judge: “It normally does.”

WB then asked Rapoport if he thought that Vander Ark copied JKR‘s work with the Lexicon and he said no. The judge asked him to clarify; “He asked a general quesiton and I gave a general answer.” The judge explained that back to the lawyer, who said the concept was lost on him – the judge said, “That’s why I thought I would bring it to your attention.”
WB: “You are aware that Mr. Vander Ark copied specific language from J.K. Rowling’s books?”
RR: “You nee to ask me specifics.”
WB: “In all 400 pages -“
RR: “The answer is that the book, the Harry Potter Lexicon, is fair use.”

Rapoport said that during the courtesy call Dale Cendali gave him on Oct. 31 to say that they were going to court, “as I recall, I was asked repeatedly to declare I would stop publication of the book..I remember Ms. Cendali screaming at me at the top of her lungs for 20 minutes, ‘Will you stop this book.’” He then said they sent the book in to WB, and the plaintiffs’ lawyer clarified, “for discovery.”

The WB lawyer asked if the other three authors of the book would be compensated; Rapoport said he did not have a contract with them but that Steve Vander Ark intended to compensate them. WB asked if any of the many people who have contributed to the Lexicon over the years were in line for compensation. After a few back-and-forths without answers, he said, “If the book is successful, there is a lot of possibility,” Rapoport said. He said the book was “a lot like Wikipedia,” in the way in which the fans have contributed over the years.

The plaintiffs asked if Rapoport had considered that publicity around the case would increase the likelihood of success of the book if they won, and Rapoport said he had never thought about it. Later he said he hadn’t “really” thought about it. “No, I was thinking about whether Ms. Cendali was going to call me up again and scream at me,” he said.

He said he never expected the book to be a bestseller and that the clause in Steve Vander Ark’s contract which says that if it reaches the New York Times bestseller list he gets a bonus is one that he’s had in other contracts but which has never kicked in; he’s never published a NYT bestseller, he said. The most any of his books have sold are 10,000 copies.

The intended first print run of the book, Rapoport said, was 10,000. The judge asked if that meant they would print more; “maybe 20,000 if we were lucky,” he said.

WB: “You know that if you win you stand to make a lot of money.”
RR: “No, I don’t.”

RDR‘s lawyer asked if he ever expected to compete with JKR‘s books, and he said, “Not in my wildest dreams.”

He also said that Barnes & Noble was considering buying 2-3,000 copies; wholesaler Baker & Taylor was going to buy 500 copies for library distribution, and Borders was considering buying 1500 copies. The lattermost figure, he said, was just a consideration but then Borders got back to him and said that they were buying zero copies; the judge said, “because of the lawsuit.” Rapoport said yes. B&N also pulled out because of the lawsuit.

*

Tomorrow, Steve Vander Ark, and potentially RDR‘s expert witness, are expected to take the stand.





243 Responses to First Day of JKR/WB vs RDR Books Trial

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This is a truly awesome summary Melissa. Thanks for doing it.

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OMG! This is so long! XD -goes to read—Thanks Mel! :)

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the REAL story:

http://jkrtrialblog.livejournal.com/

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Melissa—you are freaking AMAZING for doing this. An article I suggest is the Daily Mail one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=559659&in_page_id=1811

Great work though. This was a highly interesting and helpful read.

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Thank you, Melissa, for you hard work. Thank you for keeping us informed. Get some rest now.

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I think if any fan of the books were working on this, and Jo asked them to stop, I would follow jo.

It is a shame that this person is destroying her creativity for their own profit.

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So far, I’ve read half of Melissa’s wonderful summary of the trial. Jo is sure to win.

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Thank you for typing this up. I’m glad Leaky “came out” during that Pottercast to talk about why they dissolved ties with the Lexicon. Even though much of what is written here is neutral-oh, I can just feel the anger palpating behind it. Or maybe that’s me imputing my own emotions onto this. Reading this just makes me want to spit nails. Everytime I hear something more about this lawsuit-I become that much more firmly entrenched on JKR’s side.

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I have no idea why those lines showed up on my previous entry.

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Wow, that’s a long read but totally worth it! THANK YOU!

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Melissa- THANK YOU so much for your (as usual) insightful, trustworthy information. It’s so nice to have a source I trust more than the normal CNN news reports. I am in so much admiration of you and Leaky for going through all this effort for the fans :) And I’m sure Jo is happy to have you all watching her back as well. To Jo, if you’re reading this…my mom’s an author, and thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would want to profit from you this way. Good luck, and know that thousands of us are behind you.

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Thanks for that update, Melissa. I’m grateful that you’re giving the fans a chance to follow the case. I stand behind JKR all the way, and I love it that she still has her clever sense of humor even in the courtroom!

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Wow Melissa – thank you for the very comprehensive report.

And go JKR, we all love you.

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Yes, thank you Melissa.

I am glad to hear Jo speak about it in so many words, even if it is such a bad situation.

Sometimes I’m still dumbfounded that it came to this.

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Melissa, just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work in getting us this trial summary. Look forward to more updates on tomorrow’s testimony.

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Melissa, thank you so much for the very thorough report on what took place in court today. I kept checking Leaky to see if there was any word because I didn’t feel like the mainstream press had as good a feel for what was going on as those of us who have been following this case from the beginning. Maybe I should stop reading what the general public writes on on-line message boards because they clearly have no idea why JKR is fighting the stop the publication of the Lexicon. I really appreciate Leaky giving us the information of what took place today in an unbiased fashion so we can make up our own minds on what we believe. I am clearly on JKR’s side, but thank you Melissa for being professional enough to let us each come to our conclusions on our own by presenting the information in an unbiased manner.

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Awesome work, Melissa! I’m really looking forward to your personal thoughts, as well, on how the respective parties handled themselves. Thanks for this!

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Rapport is like a caricature of himself, it seems. What an arrogant censored.

Thank you so much, Melissa!

I have to absorb all this before I can really comment. And then tomorrow we have more testimonies. I expect SVA to dig the hole deeper.

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Ah, the trials have finally arrived. Thank you so, so much for the transcript, Melissa. Go Jo! I really hope she wins.

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Not sure what’s going on with this website but I came by to add my two cents as a JKR and HP fan as well as a teacher and writer. I fully support Ms. Rowling’s claim and hope that she prevails. Any publishing house that would pursue Rowling’s property without her consent will not have me as a customer.

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Seriously…..thanks leaky i dont really trust any other sources.

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Excuse my comment above regarding this website. I see that I am posting at Leaky Cauldron! All the best to you!

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Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Melissa. No other online article has been this fulfilling or complete, and I am simply amazed by your ability to put together such a long, cohesive article in such short time.

I can’t see how RDR can win this. They couldn’t even defend themselves properly by the sound of it.

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Did any of you guys go to the link someone posted above?

“death stare” made me kind of giggle in the darkest possible way. lol

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Thanks to Melissa for writing that long summary. It was extremely informative. I can’t believe Steve would do that. It’s a complete and total betrayal of Jo. I wish there was some public way that all HP fans could show their support for Jo. P.S. I completely agree with Kelly (above). I LOVED that Jo kept her wonderful wit and humor with her even under the stress of being in court.

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Inspite of the seriousness of this, this was a really good zinger by Jo:

“Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

Good form, Jo!

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thank you melissa for your hard work bringing us this information. personally i think steve vander ark is a thief. i will not go to his website, and i think anyone who does is supporting him and his attemps to cheat jkr. if this ‘book’ of his ever gets published i would hope all of jkr’s real fans boycott it. long live harry potter!

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Thank you so much Melissa!

This is a truly depressing summary. Steve Vander Ark is completely mad for what he’s fighting against. It’s such a pity that Jo has to spend her time comparing the Lexicon to her own work, which is destroying her own creativity. I will most definitely stick by her side throughout the trial.

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Melissa, even with the many articles on this subject today, yours is the most informative and the one I trust the most! Thanks for all your hard work! Much much love!!!

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“It says it is because Harry’s wand would not work against Voldemort, and she said it is because of the blood sacrifice made by Harry’s mother” – HOLY FREAKING CRAP. How wrong can you get?! LOL!! It’s not even his wand!! It’s Draco’s!! LOL! EPIC FAIL, SVA. XDDDD

And JKR. Dude. Srsly. BURRRRRN. LOL. She made me laugh so much in this thing. Ahhh. She’s brilliant. And yay for finally pointing out that the lycanthrope was an HIV metaphor! Excellent :D

Thank you so much for the report! It’s brilliant.

Peace, Rotae

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I’m having a hard time comprehending how someone who claimed to be such a supportive fan would do such a thing. It’s just a shame that greed seems to be behind this. I’m glad that I’ve never used the Lexicon – it would feel like the ultimate betrayal to JKR at this point.

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Wow.. Melissa. This is incredible! Thank you so much. This is almost up lifting because it seems that everyone now realizes that Jo is in the right and HPL contenders are in it for the money!

Thank you again so much for this! I am very appreciative of this!

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Wow thanks Melissa, this must have been a lot of work! It is very much appreciated. :)

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Thank you so much for this, Melissa. You are amazing! :D

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Melissa, you’re excellent – thanks so much for working so hard to let us know what’s going down on the news front. That was a Serious typing (and note-taking) job! And I’m SO glad to hear that Leaky decided to sever ties w/HPL. Leaky rocks!!!

I'm sickened by Vander Ark's lack of shame, greed and pathetic attempt to stand on the shoulders of a true giant.  I'm rooting for (and praying for) Jo to win big.  And what a slime Vander Ark's lawyer is, too - if I were Steve, I'd be to mortified and ashamed of myself to continue at this point.  And "his" timeline - what a crock!  Writing down the basic skeleton of another person's work does Not an original work make.   GO JO!!!!
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Thank you Melissa for writing this painstaking report, which is very helpful and informative.

In my opinion, RDR does not have a leg to stand on.  Already in the first day of court proceedings it is clear that they have been lying and engaging in (obvious) cover-ups.  For example, when they said they had no intentions to try to compete with the Potter books, but there are records of their talks with book stores about making paper backs to compete with the other Potter paper backs, and they also claim that they were not aware that all this publicity would help sales if they win - that's just a bold faced lie! tons of people who would never have been aware of the companion book are hearing about it now.
I honestly don't think that RDR has a chance of winning, but Heaven forbid that they do win (knock on wood) - in that unfortunate (and unlikely) scenario, I think that all of us in the HP fan community should unite in boycotting this plagiaristic and pathetic excuse for a book.
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omg…am speechless and deeply sad for JO…

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Thanks for this Leaky.

And good on Jo for using her brilliantly caustic British wit to show just how ludicrous it is for RDR and SVA to think they have any legal leg to stand on!

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People dont give Jo enough credit for being a natural comedian. Her kind of comedy shows a quick mind, and sharp wit.

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I really hope JKR wins! I would much rather have “The Scottish Book” with her insight then the Lexicon one. The more I read about this the more I feel that JKR should win. Thank you for summing it up Melissa, it was really helpful.

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I fully agree with and support Leaky’s decision to disassociate with the Lexicon, and to remove the site from The Floo Network. I see that they have removed the link from the site – but are you aware that on the Lexicon site, there is a link called “News” that takes you to Leaky, and on the Lexicon site they still have links to TLC under the Floo Network.

just thought you guys should know.

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Poor Jo, I can’t imagine the amount of frustration and exhaustion this case is putting on her. Kudos to her for fighting for authors and fans everywhere. Steve’s going to have a lot of p’d off fans if his side wins and Jo decides it’s not worth it to write her encyclopedia. I want to have the original with the most accurate information, not some cheap rip-off.

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Melissa, you’re a jewel in the firmament. (I’ve printed your piece to read at table. Curious for your impressions of Rapaport/RDR). I HATE that Jo is being subjected to this.

Here are a couple of reporters I thought had interesting(ish) take:

—David Glovin at Bloomberg.com —Dan Slater at Law Blog – Wall Street Journal – wsj.com

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Melissa, you’re a star in the firmament. (I’ve printed your piece to read at table. Curious for your impressions of Rapaport/RDR). I HATE that Jo is being subjected to this.

Here are a couple of reporters I thought had interesting(ish) take:

—David Glovin at Bloomberg.com —Dan Slater at Law Blog – Wall Street Journal – wsj.com

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And we were all worried there wouldn’t be anything more to look forward to after Book 7….....bring on more testimony!

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haha, JKR is hilarious. I love her little quips at the lawyers cross-examining her. “Have you ever used a dictionary?” “Are you telling me Mr. Vander Ark is going to teach me how to spell?”

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Wow…Melissa, seriously…you rock!

That was really interesting to read…and now i feel i know more about the case i’m even MORE on Jos side than ever before…its incredible.

Jo’s freaking hillarious at times:

Have you ever used a dictionary?” “Are you telling me Mr. Vander Ark is going to teach me how to spell?”

classic.

thank you SOOOOO much again leaky. The work you put in here is just astounding! Good Job!

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Thank you so much for your typing all this up for us!

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Melissa you are amazing, thank you for all your hard work on keeping us all updated. I am so sad for Jo, but she handled herself brilliantly (of course). SVA should be on his knees begging her forgiveness. And this “publisher” (and I use that term loosely) should be quivering with shame. Their nerve is appalling.

to make matters even worse, this court case has taken her away from working on the Scottish Book! SVA and his cohorts are costing Jo, WB and HP fans everywhere. Its very sad.
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JKR is appearing as very articulate and having thoroughly done her research while the opposition’s defense appears weak. Her explanation clears up a lot of things for me. I have a lot of respect for this woman. Go Jo.

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Thanks so much for this write-up! It really shows the devastation that could come from a win for RDR.

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Melissa thanks for the reporting work, that was really quite the transcript. It’s a shame to see someone try to cash in one on someone else’s work.

I hope that JKR wins, after all, it’s her world, her characters and her books, she should be the one who decides who can make money off it.

Marty

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Even if people don’t care whether Steve Vander Ark is ripping off JKR, shouldn’t they care that he’s ripping off fellow fans?

I quote from your coverage:

The WB lawyer asked if the other three authors of the book would be compensated; Rapoport said he did not have a contract with them but that Steve Vander Ark intended to compensate them. WB asked if any of the many people who have contributed to the Lexicon over the years were in line for compensation. After a few back-and-forths without answers, he said, “If the book is successful, there is a lot of possibility,” Rapoport said. He said the book was “a lot like Wikipedia,” in the way in which the fans have contributed over the years.

See, that’s not actually how things work. People contributed to the Lexicon because they were part of a fan-service site, not because they wanted Steve Vander Ark to make $$$ from their hard work.

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is it just me, or was this new post more interesting to read then the entire portion of the lexicon book entered in as evidence?

honestly, thanks melissa, i really got a kick out of Roger’s testimony. having recently served on a jury, I had to listen to a fare few “rogers” testifing. and to be honest, you would think three sisters defending each other would telll the same story as each other, expecially when all three “rogers” were in the room the entire time to hear their testimonys. also, they were quite “rogerish” becuase they kept contradicitng their testimonys from the police report from a year earlier. they got caught lieing on the stands too.

makes me fear for humanity, but kudos to jo, that had to have been hard and i think she handled it with the class and dignity that she always handles her interviews with. I love how roger implicated himself without the lawyers having to use any tactics but asking striaght forward anwsers.

also, so people know, industry standerd for a unpublished author is a year from manuscript to publication. for established authors, sometimes it left, all depending on the manuscript itself. most publishers who only take 1-2 months to turn around a book dont edit and are incapble of editing and getting the book to print, hence why RDR books tend to have far more mistakes then my posts here are leaky.

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Melissa, never has your reporter training been so helpful. I cannot imagine having taken such detailed notes for 8 hours in one day, and then typing it up for all of us . . . All so sad, but thank you . . .

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great read, good work! I’ll stay tuned…Thanks!

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Wow… great summary. I appreciate all the quotes. Great job as always, Melissa!

I was a little surprised at just how poorly JKR spoke of the Lexicon, but of course it makes sense, as this suit deals with a matter dear to her heart. Anyone else proud and impressed by JKR’s handling of her cross-examinations? I hope for a JKR win and for this all to be over!

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WOW.

THANK YOU, Melissa for taking the time to write this all up, this is amazing work.

I cannot even contemplate how RDR books thinks they can win this, SVA blatantly STOLE Jo’s words, and I’m sorry, but there’s no freakin’ way they’re getting around that.

I am so proud of Jo for getting those zingers in there, though. XD You tell em, Jo!!

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tis a sad thing is even came to trial , I support JKR 110% in fact i have stopped using the lexicon as it is exactly what jo says

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“Have you ever used a dictionary?” “Are you telling me Mr. Vander Ark is going to teach me how to spell?”

WIN. That is all.

Kick their butts Jo, there’s no covering up the blatant robbery of your words.

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Melissa, I hope that your wrist gets a rest tonight, we don’t want you to suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome! Thank you for your excellent note taking!

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Melissa, thank you for your hard work. I knew Leaky would be the place to get the news on this. I cannot believe what buffoons the SVA camp look like. From ripping off contributors to the lexicon, to lying about how much praise JKR had given to lexicon, to lying to the overseas publishers..and on..and on! Shameless!! The clauses in SVA’s contract! Lying about those! I could keep listing, but it makes me to angry. I actually work for one of the major bookstore chains mentioned, and I am proud of them for pulling out of selling this shameful book. JK has worked hard to bring us fantastic stories and deserves the respect of not being ripped off!

And best line so far…“Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

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I wonder why SVA had to leave the room during the testimony? Very curious indeed! It will be very interesting to hear what he has to say tomorrow – thanks for reporting, Melissa!

And yes, Jo’s zingers were definitely a highlight!! Thanks for including those!!

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Melissa, Leaky:

Wonderful job, as always. Thank you for your hard work and professionalism.

“Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

::enthusiastic applause:: Well done, Jo. Brilliant.

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@PlaidSpaceship:

I think Jo requested that SVA not be present when she was giving her testimony and that is why he left. I wonder if he’s read this article. Or if he got what Jo said from mainstream media and RDR and their lawyers?

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This entry was both really wonderful (I wouldn’t trust any news source like I trust Leaky) and really depressing (the good relations between JKR and the fans was really important to me). I feel like JKR has gotten so angry about this that she’s taken her points too far. Saying that there’s no value in their work makes me less sympathetic to her – if she was willing to acknowledge the other side or compromise, I would see her as more reasonable. I think she could easily make the points she needs to make without being insulting or discrediting the Lexicon. As far as her being ripped off… In the digital age we have bountiful bootleg ACTUAL reprinting of the books. Summarizing the information IS different from a reprint for me – if there wasn’t something of value in it, then no one would buy it and she’d have nothing to worry about. I feel just as sick as everyone else, but in contrast it makes me not want to buy JKR’s for this bizarre monopoly. I would like to think if I had the kind of money she has, an issue like this would neither keep me from enjoying my work (threatening not to finish as if that should sway the court of law) nor refuse to do it because someone else benefitted from it.

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Thanks, Melissa, for everything! Long read, but very interesting.

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Well, I guess I’m in the minority on this. I was the biggest fan of the books and thought JKR was a great writer in her descriptions, etc. (Not technically the best, but could be forgiven because of her talent in painting the scenes and characters—but I digress). I am NOT on her side in this or anything else anymore. I felt she rushed the last two books and she no longer cared about her characters or her readers. She expressed many times how sick she was of HP and how she was through with it all. Then she proceeded to treat her books, her readers, and her fans with contempt. She made such a big to-do over the Lexicon and NOW she wants to sue??? Puuhleeze. I can’t believe people can’t see through her petty, childish nature. Yeah, yeah, Harry was her baby and she can do what she wants, blah blah, but as a writer (yes, published, but I don’t go around advertising titles) I can tell you that yes, a writer writes for himself, but if that writer doesn’t also write for his audience, his disrespect for his readers is not only obvious but appalling. After all, if one wants to be published, one has already put himself out there, so to speak. A writer writes to be read. We don’t write to line dresser shelves. So for JKR to say repeatedly that HP is hers and hers alone and her readers can either like it or shut up is exceedingly arrogant. Furthermore, her treatment of someone she once praised is hypocritical in the very least. It’s a little dog in the manger as well, as she has said she’s finished, anyway. Why shouldn’t people have something like the Lexicon and if she won’t do it….. well, I say good for Lexicon.

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Wow – thanks Melissa for this information – your wrist and arm must be exhausted. Very nice coverage. This lawsuit has made me respect JKR much more, and the Lexicon less. Their defense doesn’t seem too together. This seems like a win for JKR, and I hope it is, for anybody who might ever be wanting to publish something. I disagree with Veta above – people need to be able to protect what they made – summarizing something IS a problem – I don’t let my students do it on their papers – they will get a 0 and have to redo the paper – they need to say WHY the quotes and / or paraphrasings are important or say HOW they are relevant. I’m glad I have “turnitin.com” for this. Students today just think they can cut and paste anything without really thinking about the hard work that went into it. Go JKR – for artists (and scientists for that matter) everywhere!

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Wow. :( The thought of JKR saying those things about someone who seemed to be such a fan of the books just breaks my heart.

I know that if she said something like that to ME, about something (I thought was) my own work I would probably never recover. The thought itself is enough to make my eyes water. I’m really glad SVA doesn’t seem to be an actual fan anymore, or else that side of things would just kill me.

And JKR, who has to be put in the terrible position of saying those things to someone who she thought genuinely loved her series at one point.

This is a messy, complicated and just totally backwards situation. SVA should have backed down from the beginning, and respected JKR’s wishes. She has given us so much, so many years. It’s not much to ask.

I hope that this is resolved in JKR’s favor, and that she doesn’t completely regret having ever acknowleged online fans. :(

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“She expressed many times how sick she was of HP and how she was through with it all.”

source, please?

She said no such thing.

I hate when fans are just annoyed their favorite thing didn’t happen.

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Ellechim, I think we’re seeing the same things.

Renee, I don’t think I said what I meant well, because your comments didn’t really make sense with what I was trying to say. I don’t think the Lexicon book is nothing more than a summary, and I think that because there’s so much back and forth about it that’s clearly a problem in the translation.

Still, as far as what your students would turn in – I think there’s a difference between what a person has a right to sell (“turn in”) and what is something someone will buy/ “be worthy of a grade”. I would not turn in “just a summary” as a paper because you’re right, that’s nothing of value – but there’s so much more information in the Lexicon than just “this happened then.” But if it was… I mean how many of your student papers have any resemblance to dictionaries or encyclopedias? I’m not sure I’m saying this correctly… it’s not the same goal of the writing? It’s a resource for quick reference, and if this hadn’t happened it would have been just like any other guide out there, perhaps a bit better for all the extra stuff (I have never felt the other guides worthy of buying). I mean those other books said so little, for being praised so much – nothing beyond what could come up in casual conversation. While the Lexicon might not be philosophical enough (and we’ll likely never know what content exactly could have been in it), it would have given something those other guides didn’t have that I would have appreciated. It certainly wouldn’t stop me from buying new information from the source. It really frustrates me that everyone here is in such a hurry to attack each other, because it felt good to be part of the fandom and having to take sides makes it feel like all those ties were transitory. Don’t we all want to get along once this is over?

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As a future IP lawyer, I find this to be a very interesting case. It seems to me that the lexicon is merely a compilation of her characters. Besides the arrangement, there doesn’t really seem to be much originality introduced by the James guy, and thus he is attempting to reproduce major portions of her work into this creation.

Her own passionate reaction also really cuts to the heart of author’s rights, in that a creative work is really just that a “creation.” I find weight in her feelings that his work could almost “dilute” (to use a trademark term her) the value of her work.

The fact is that I think here JKR’s work has gone BEYOND the realm of just creation in copyright, into the world of universal recognition/branding that is related to the business concept of trademarking. I am not trying to give the stories a negative connotation by calling a business, but rather I feel that it is valuable to view the the Potter elements as more than just a creative work, but also a nationally recognized brand. And to have others appropriate this brand to support their own interpretations can dilute their character.

Thus, I think this is a very interesting case where the creativity protected by copyrights has merged into the distinctiveness/branding protected by trademarks, and it almost stands that we do not want to dilute her creativity by allowing widespread advertisement/selling of a product under the potter brand that was unauthorized by JKR.

very very interesting.

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This whole situation is just really depressing, but good to know. Thanks Melissa for keeping the fan informed!

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Btw. I think the main problem with the lexicon is that it copies exact elements of JKR’s work, and it’s main contribution in creativity is that it reorganizes these elements.

However, under our copyright laws an author is entiled protection for their works, and essential elements of the works are extended such protection.

The more creativity that goes into a work deriving off of elements of JKR’s work, the more likely that htis new work will be viewed as a new creation in itself.

It appears that there is a vast consensus that this lexicon just does not afford such a level of creativity, it rather proposes to be a new compilation of her existing work…hm, I must return to studying copyright law for my final but I will definetly be back to these comments to see these principles playing out in real life…

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Excellent reporting Melissa! Your the Woodward and Bernstein of the Harry Potter fandome!

“Mr. Hammer, with respect, I don’t think you’re showing familiarity with my work,” – Exactly! Go Jo! He doesn’t even have the basics of the plot down – the entire team, lawyers, RDR, etc. are slipshod in their efforts, just out to make a quick buck.

I am so disappointed in SVA – trying to turn HP into his own personal cash cow with no respect for the series’ author – or even his own “work.” If he had a legitimate interest in HP then he would have done some research, written original commentary, and tried to contribute something new to the series. And if he had done all that he would have been able to get a contract with a real publishing house – not a fly-by-night press that tries to get away with willful plagiarism.

Jo you are amazing!! I have even more respect for you than I already did! You handled yourself beautifully and provided rock-solid testimony filled with irrefutable facts. And managed to get in so many clever jibes too! There’s no way RDR can win this. If a student had written what SVA did and submitted it as original work for a term paper the student would be expelled from his/her university.

“asked if Daghert Pips was a real person, JKR said, “If he is I’m sure we’ll find out after this court case.” LOL!!

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Also, I hope all you fans realize the difficult position JKR is in, given she both has to defend the rights to her creative work and how it’s interpreted in the world, and the rights to an international brand.

I am sure as an artist she has a strong emotional connection to her writing, but she is not just trying to keep possesion over her literary works, she is also trying to institute barriers to misappropriation of the image and name of harry potter and it’s derivatitve characters.

For better or worse, harry potter + friends have become as well recognized over the world as starbuck and mcdonalds, and I think JKR’s concerns are in tune with the fact that many people over the world invest into products carrying these potter symbols on them. If she does not protect her mark, it could lead to it being used in misleading situations that could down the line harm children (harry potter cigarettes anyone?)

so, I feel that she has many valid points. Unfortunately for her, I doubt this will be the last battle she’ll have to fight in this area, and I hope she doesn’t burn herself out with this silly encyclopedia case, because there might be more serious ones coming at her down the line.

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julia, most all of the people who have read the lexicon book, which is in part found on justia, have already rendered a verdict on it.

my question is what your verdict would be. if your interest in it, it is justia.com under the featured case which can easily be found by searching for RDR Books. it is filing 52, attatchment 2nd if i remeber correctly. its handy however to have your harry potter books to find the places that frequent it where jk rowling’s words were often copied verbatiem.

of course, i dont want to spoil your studying, thats more important right now.

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I find it horrible that JKR has to go through this, she doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment from someone who calls himself a fan! I really hope she feels the support she’s getting from a majority of HP-fans around the world.

My greatest fear is that she’ll stop communicating and giving credit to fans, like coming on Pottercast and such, from fear of being let down again…

Anyway, great job Melissa, I was waiting for TLC to have a report out, and it was the best one around! I can’t even begin to imagine how much your hand/wrist/arm must be hurting from hours of taking notes. Amazing job!! I hope you’ll keep on covering the story so that we’ll get as extensive and detailed reports from the other ttrial days!

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Ellechim, I don’t think Jo has ever said anything about “being sick” of Harry. I don’t know where in the world you heard that.

It wouldn’t have come to a lawsuit had RDR just cooperated or, better yet, not agreed to publish such an afront to fair use.

Please don’t project your disappointments with the last two books onto something in which only the law should be considered.

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Ugh. If any lawyers are reading this, is it just me or is the lawyer trying to make a case for a Feist type of protection?

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This lawsuit is bigger news than I thought it was… it was just the lead story on the news on our local radio station, all the way in the outback of Australia!!!

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Wow! That was a lot. Thank you Melissa for doing that!

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I haven’t read the lexicon, and I don’t have time to read it and compare it. It appears to be pretty clearly involve direct copying or creating a derivative work of JKR’s work. The question then is it transformative to an extent that it offers something else to the public such as to constitute fair use?

I don’t think so given that it is merely a reorganization of the work. Plus, whether she will or not, JKR stated an intent to provide this exact type of service to the fans, (an encyclopedia). So the world doesn’t really need lexicon’s work.

More importantly than the constrictions of the literary aspects of the work, I think there’s a bigger play of politics right now of how much this authored work is protected given that harry potter is ubiqutous with books and imagination right now. How much protection is given to this will dictate how much protection other literary creators get in the future. Of course, given the ease of communication today, especially on the internet, I can see where the strong favor for open access to create derivative works stems from.

As I said before, all pretty interesting. I’m not sure how constricted the ruling should be at all. Of course he’s infringing on her copyrighted work. Of course he should not be able to reproduce exact portions of it. But his encyclopedia also ties in to the deeper issue of whether to allow publishing of fanfiction, and that is an area that has been garnering support in the field.

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I love the way Jo throws back answers the cross examiner’s questions as if they were absolutely stupid questions. I’m thinking if Jo had an alternative career, she could make a descent lawyer herself! Though, that would be a waste of her talent. The judge seems quite bemused with all of this, sounds quite laid back as if he is sighing “here we go again”.

Thanks Melissa for this riveting account of the case. I never read any court case in such detail before. This is so very educational.

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Thank you so much Melissa for your dedication to the fans by transcribing the case for us. We truly appreciate it.

And to JKR….We are behind you 300%. I hope everything comes out for the best.

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I know it’s been said already but thank you so much for doing this. It really helps form an opinion when you have this type of information..

Thank you!

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...Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it, and she said, “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

That bit nearly made me shoot coffee from both nostrils. Quite possibly the best response ever.

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I wholeheartedly support JKR in this. That Vander Ark person has to be seriously deluded and misguided, firstly because it is ridiculously clear that you can’t just copy someone’s work almost verbatim and sell it for your own profit, and secondly because I find it appalling that he and his companions would even try claiming the rights from JK Rowling, without whom the HP universe would never have existed. The Harry Potter phenomenon has been such a wonderful thing for everyone – it is a pity that a once devoted fan would have his name degraded in a way like this. Shame on you SVA.

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I agree with mollywobbles23. Ellechim I don’t know where you get your info from. Maybe you have been “hanging out ” with Steve Vander Ark for too long.

The last two books were not rushed they were fantastic and if you don’t like them well then that’s your bad luck.

I can’t wait to see what dribble comes out of Steve tomorrow.

I will say this though if Steve and RDR win and that makes Jo not want write “the Scottish book” then you better watch out Steve cause your * is mine.

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I’ve tried to keep my nose out of this case, but I gave in today – with no prior knowledge of HPL and the issue. I read this article, and a few comments, but wanted to form my own opinion.

I’ve just skimmed a great portion of the Lexicon and it is a complete joke. JKR is right 100%, there is no new information in it, no analysis, no commentary – no real work done. I already know all of this stuff; it’s all in the books. It is a simple reorganisation with way too much verbatim and RDR and SVA do not deserve to make money for this. Anyone with enough time could make a book like that – the difference is that most real fans have integrity.

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Read through the entire article before considering a posted comment. I have to say, that one moment when Rapoport was contradicting himself left and right made me pity whoever cooks his meals for him Cook: Did you want eggs this morning? R: Sure. C: You want them fried? R: No. C: Er, boiled? R: No. C: Poached? R: No. C: In an omelet? R: No. C: Baked in a quiche? R: No. C: Do you even want eggs? R: Yes, I do. C: (goes asplody)

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Melissa – thank you so much for typing this all up. I’m sure it must have been very tedious for you but I really appreciate it as I’m sure everyone else does. I really hope Jo sorts out SVA because he is really out of order. Yay for her wit in this trial though! And yay for your “death stare” as it says on the livejournal site posted in one of the early comments =) Good luck to you in the trial again tomorrow, I can’t wait to hear what SVA is saying for himself. I’m sure that it will be very, interesting at the least, to hear. <3

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WOW!! It must be soooo hard to prevent yourself from adding your own opinions on a subject that is so dear to you! Kudos to you Melissa!! IMO there are two main issues that are the downfall of the HPL case. Call me old-fashioned but …

Firstly, an encyclopedia/lexicon gives you more information than simply describing, almost word for word, someone elses work. It should give you etymology, background, interpretation, analysis. This is achieved through research. Not just paraphrasing or plaigarism. And for the RDR lawyers; a dictionary gives the meaning & etymology of words by actually researching their source. I know research sounds like hard work, and it is, but it is necessary.

Secondly, the HPL lacks, in spades, “your own work”. Fan fiction and analysis relating to HP (in particular but not exclusively) has inspired many people of all ages to explore and create their own works inspired by JKRs world. The biggest benefit of JKRs HP is that her work has inspired people to read, to think, to question the world around them using the themes from the HP books as a guide. Although this may not have been the original intention of JKR, her books have none-the-less become a measure by which the readers can compare their own experience to and question what is right and what is wrong – for themselves. JKR has succeeded in stirring the creative juices in so many people that the HP fan fiction is to put it mildly HUGE!! Children have written essays based in the HP world using JKRs characters but have added their own “work” to make a “new” creation. A pity SVA couldn’t have done something “new”.

If the best indication of SVAs (et al) “original work” is that they have consistently gotten it wrong and completely missed the mark in the HPL (eg. the reason Harry survived the encounter with Voldemort) it is understandable that JKR describes it using such strong language.

“Fair Use”?! That’s a load of Dragon Dung even Hagrid would turn his nose up at!!

It just goes to prove that SVA et al have just not understood the HP books or the law. I’d like to quote Dumbledore’s famous “choices” line here but I don’t have a book handy. I’m sure you all know it. SVA et al have shown us who they truely are.

JKR has allowed this fandom to grow and the world is a better place for it. She has set a template that others can follow, by engaging the fans and allowing them to adopt their work as inspiration. A win for SVA et al would efffectively end this as other authors will have to take steps to protect their work much more rigorously.

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Thanks for the long and detailed report (Leaky is sooo the best fansite!). I love how Jo can think of such clever and witty replies. I think the saddest thing about this is that it’s taking away JKRs time in which she could be writing a real encyclopedia for the proper fans.

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Does Vander-Ark not realise how is damaging the fandom? JKR has gone out of her way to imput into it, when when other people in her position wouldn’t. It really is such a massive betrayal. JKR is no problem with other books, with fansites, fanfiction etc, so you know it has nothing to do with the money, it has everything to do with protecting her creation and the fans best interests. Do we really need a lexicons, still full of theories? Has it not what we have all been doing over the years? I for one want an encyclopedia which I know will stop the theories and answer all my questions, PLUS the money is for charity and think of the amount it can raise for good causes.

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Veta:

Admire your bravery to post on a site which is incredibly partial to JKR and the HP books, but I think you missed the message about SVA. The whole point of the suit, which Melissa generously and labriously captioned for us, is that SVA took something that was free, used all fan’s inputs along with JKR’s novels, and now wants to turn around other people’s efforts for his own personal profit. JKR and WB are not requesting he take down his website, but not to publish a “book,” because as JKR stated it’s not a book, as the Lexicon doesn’t offer anything new. Even if there was a discrepancy with how JKR & company see it versus the wannabe writer JKR has the final say on what can be used and labeled as associated to Harry Potter, her world. Haven’t you ever done research on University on-line catalogues and it specifically states that if you use the information for publication you must get the approval of whomever wrote the article. You can’t just paraphrase, cite your source, and publish for some profit, you need their approval.

I mean, how comfortable would you feel, Veta, if you wrote in specific entries or insights about HP to Lexicon and now SVA is trying to turn a profit and isn’t even ensuring you get your rightful piece? Now whose the hypocrit?

Do you understand that side of the suit?

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Thanks to Melissa and Leaky for covering this in such an expert and unbiased way. This case has been fascinating to follow, and like any other true fan, I stand behind JKR 100%.

Also, I found this hilarious. That Rapoport guy really doesn’t come off too well.

RR: “He created an original timeline that ended up on the DVDs.” WB: “You know that Ms. Rowling created the seven original books and then was copied [in the HPL]” RR: “No.” WB: “Is it your testimony that he did not copy from the books.” RR: “No.” WB: “Are you saying that he did?” RR: “No.” WB: “I think that cleared it up, Your Honor.” Judge: “It normally does.”

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Sorry forgot to add…... JO’s ARMY: No spoilers and no plagiarizers!!

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Woop woop… JO’s ARMY!

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Adding another thank-you to the bunch! Melissa, your tireless work summarizing this case is greatly appreciated! My friends and I have all been completely bewildered by this whole series of events, and so any and all news about it is taken in- and to have such a complete transcript (of sorts) is really amazing. You really are a fan for the fans!

As far as this goes, so far, there seems to be virtually no hope of RDR winning. They have such a thin standing. I’m surprised they got this far- challenging an author on her own copyrighted material. It’s ridiculous.

In the (remarkably unlikely) event that the Lexicon does get published (and from the sound of it, who on earth will sell it?!) You can bet that we’ll be boycotting it left and right. I’ll spread as much awareness as I can! The fact that JK said she’d consider not publishing ‘The Scottish Book’ because of this is really worrying, as I’m really, really, really, REALLY looking forward to it (preaching to the choir here, though, obviously! Ha ha!). Jo’s Army indeed! Right on! I’ll be staying tuned for the remainder of the trial. Keep up the amazing work!

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i just love how witty jo is. she has solid points, thus giving her a solid fanbase.

i mean really, she gave life to ALBUS DUMBLEDORE. dumbledore’s brain is a part of her own. who the heck can win against the greatest wizard of all time?! (lol, bit random)

thanks melissa! :3

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Melissa, you wrock! Leaky is and stays the best source for Potternews well ever have.

I love Jo. If it wasnt that sad and serious… “Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it, and she said, ‘Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.’ ” Best response ever. And it does show how upset she really is with the whole case. I do hope we’ll be done with all this soon.

Thanks again Melissa and Leaky for the great work!

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Melissa, you have done a great job on reporting for Leaky. Thank you.

Jo is great. I love those humourous comments.

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Okay, Melissa—where do we send donations to buy you a pair of bionic hands when all of this is over? My wrists were feeling sympathetic twinges by the time I finished reading your account.

Thank you so much for attending, taking notes, transcribing them, and posting this. That’s a huge amount of work, and I can tell I’m not the only one who is grateful for all your effort.

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Jo´s Army???????? You guys are poor nutters

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Thanks Melissa.

I loved it when Jo said “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.” That made me laugh!! :P

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Melissa – all the waiting and lurking and lurking and waiting was worth it. Your information is excellent and shows how JKR held her own beautifully. Let the games begin as the fans here analyse every word. Thank you for this, we know how busy you are. I bow to you.

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Gooo Jo. Mel i love pottercast, great job with the transcript. Your poor hand. i say no true fan of jo’s creation should buy that book if jo looses (which she won’t)

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Several very brief observations, but first, Melissa, thank you for your hard work!

It is striking that David Hammer really ahsn’t read the books closely, if at all. JKR called him on that in her comment during cross examination. Very odd, you would havee thought that as part of his preparation he would have made absolutely certain he knew where every comma and typo could be found…or at least had a staff member that knew!

In previous discussions the issue of JKR and her legal representatives has been an issue for contention…I simply want to draw your attention to the summary above, and the case where her legal representatives went the Mugglenet letter…without her prior knowledge

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Class that is what she has, JKR is nothing but Class! JKR we all love and support you!

“Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it” (in reference to RDR, SVR book), and she said, “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

God how can you not love that woman after this.

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Just a gentle reminder that comments are welcome, but please refrain from name calling and personal attacks.

Standard rules still apply, regardless of what your opinion is on this case.

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Thanks Melissa!! You are an amazing fan and friend to JKR and to all of us.

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@ Freedom of Speech, yeah, read Freedom to Steal.

Thanks Melissa, sterling job as always.

The judge’s interventions during RDR’s testimony do not bode well for him. It looks likely that in his summation the judge may well point out the quality, or lack of it, of RDR’s testimony.

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Very interesting read.

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I fear HP Lexicon winning, seriously! Plus I hope she doesn’t loose fans.

Hopefully people realise that this is just a poor copy of JK Rowlings text, and the only one who can truely write a brilliant ensyclopedia is Miss Rowling herself, as she is the only one with the knowledge of one of the greatest fictional novels of all time… right next to the bible! lol

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Ellechim wrote: I am NOT on her side in this or anything else anymore. I felt she rushed the last two books and she no longer cared about her characters or her readers. She expressed many times how sick she was of HP and how she was through with it all. Then she proceeded to treat her books, her readers, and her fans with contempt. She made such a big to-do over the Lexicon and NOW she wants to sue??? Puuhleeze. I can’t believe people can’t see through her petty, childish nature. Yeah, yeah, Harry was her baby and she can do what she wants, blah blah,

I have to take issue with these comments, as a writer and as a mother! I disagree with the opinion that the last two books were rushed and the implication that they were inferior. Personally, the last two are my favorites, and the care she took in writing them is obvious. Also, I don’t believe this case is about an attempt to “sue”, but rather an injunction to stop the HP Lexicon from being published. I’m not a lawyer, but I think there is a difference. And, calling it childish to want to protect your “children”, whether they be of your body or of your mind, is just dead wrong. It happens to be one of the major themes of JKR’s work. It’s one of the best parts of human nature, in my opinion. Think Lilly and Molly Weasely.

A BIG THANKS to Melissa for her hard work on our behalf!!!

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Of course, Ms. Rowling “really likes” the David Colbert book. She “approved” the manuscript before it was ever published. He “fell in line.” Is that really what we want in a democracy? Authors to feel like they have to go to JKR, or any other author, to approve all secondary books about her work? The RDR Books attorneys should ask JKR how many of the books they present as exhibits for their side that they gave their “approval” to before publication. Make them say yes or no for each and every one of those books.

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The woman really does have more pwn in a single fingernail than all of Team RDR put together.

SO MUCH admiration for Melissa for doing this!

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I don’t have much to say, you guys said it all already!!! There is so much I would like to say to Jo at this moment…. How much I admire you, and what an amazing woman you are. An inspiration for me. I’m with you Jo!!!

And Thank you Melissa….

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http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/24122901/

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good job Melissa!! so much reading material for the next million years! GO JK ROWLING we should go and cheer for her like it’s a football game

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Melissa, thanks again for this. Very nice work.

It’s very interesting to me how horrendous the Lexicon actually turned out in terms of MLA style. In College, if I had written a research paper with that many direct quotes without citing the work, I would have been kicked out of school for plaigarism. My mother, a Psychology teacher at the local university in my home town, would have flunked Steve Vander Ark.

Regardless of whether you think Steve should be allowed to print his own encyclopedia, you cannot suggest that he is entitled to do so if his writing style constitutes plaigarism. If he had correctly followed MLA or even APA style, he may not be in such a mess. Still, as JKR says, even if you do put everything in direct quotes, in the end you still need to add your own commentary.

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Wow, thank you so much Melissa for this report!! Jo really is an amazing woman! She’s got a lot of class, I love her for it! This trial has really upset her. I really hope she wins, she deserves it.

We’re all behind you Jo!

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@ Watching Closely You were obviously not watching closely enough. Colbert’s book clearly complied with Fair Use and so JKR had no objection to it, it did not, after all, simply plagiarise (i.e. steal) her work. As JKR pointed out she likes Colbert’s book precisely because he had put so much effort into it, unlike SVA, who simply slavishly copied and pasted JKR’s 9 books, not to mention the reference books he couldn’t be bothered to attribute properly.

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I sure hope Jo wins. She has to. But good job Melissa on the article it was terrific!

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Well like everyone else Thank You Melissa for such a wonderful job of recording all of this! Your hand must be killing you!!! lol… I have mix feelings about all of this. Dont get me wrong Im behind Jo 100% but mix feelings about how this is going to effect us as a fandom. Im happy that Jo is standing up to this fool SVA, and shes defending what is clearly and obviously right BUT I hope this does not tarnish her view on the fandom in whole. She might be regretting her close relationship with all her fans in general. And to be honest that was one of my most favorite things about the HP community. We could ask her anything and everything about this wonderful world SHE created and she had no problem with telling us. (Especially after DH came out.) But now Im recalling on what my mother used to tell me. “Give them a finger and they take the whole hand.” Thats exactly what Steve did. RDR sent him an opportunity to turn his life around and he sold his soul and betrayed his friend for a few bucks. Its just plain sad and this whole ordeal has seem to make Jo bitter towards fans in a way. She said that other authors would call her stupid for all that shes done for us. Think about how horrible that really is when an author has to be careful of her readers!! Absolutely horrible and disgusting. On a lighter note I dont think RDR has a chance to win and they are very sloppy in everything they do. Between their defence, testimony, and even the Lexicon itself is just plain sloppy. A nine year old could copy books word for word like they did and make it all alphabetical. I havent been on RDRs side from the beginning but what made me sick to my stomach about them is what I read on their website a while back. They said they were publishing for the needy children. Yea ok!!! ROFL! Needy children that could use $25 to buy food or clothes on their backs, or medicines well needed are going to use that money to buy your sloppy, lazy, and mostly inaccurate book?! Get a life already! Theres a reason why you havent sold enough books to make it to the NY Times Best Sellers list, so regroup and just move on already.

Sorry for the rant!! lol… This case get my blood boiling!! Please forgive my typos and horrible grammar, Im in the middle of working so I had to hurry when I wrote this!!

Thanks again Leaky for your hard work!!!!! :)

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Melissa: What a great report! Joanna: Hang on! I’m sure You are going to win, because you are right. And maybe I’m not the only fan here in Hungary who would only read Your Lexicon. Don’t forget to do it, because You are the “mother ” of Harry, only You know what you wanted to show with your fantastic books.

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Rosa P- i don’t think it’ll ‘tarnish her view on the fandom in a whole’. so long as we have good intentions in showing our love and respect by not crossing lines for her work, to quote HP, “All [will be] well.”

i think this is just one big event that just disrupted a nice flow of author-reader relationship regarding Harry Potter. this should make the bond stronger and serve as a future guide to all aspirants of ‘crossing lines’ in literature. (yes that was cheesy, and i kinda drowned in it.)

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I think this makes JK look bad more than anything else. If she wants her fans to be mindless zombies that she pours information into then she should have written for TV. Harry Potter is imaganitive and fans want to think for themselves and let their imaginations go. Her attempt to control anything connected with her works is petty. Very petty. She should have worked with these guys instead of against them. If this was really a matter of her being offended why was she so pleased with the website before they decided to make it print based. It seems to be she is more interested in the money and control and in the end she will lose her fans.

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@rotfang

It complied anyway-she did not need to “preapprove” it, but the author was a gentleman and sent it to her anyway for her to lodge any objections she had to it beforehand out of professional courtesy (perhaps out of fear of litigation as well; who knows). That was his choice. Notice how NOW she gives it an endorsement-now that it helps her. No such blurb with her comments was on the book before. It’s disingenuous of her to endorse that book now in court without the judge knowing that she saw it, and “approved” it, before it was published.

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Melissa,

Great article! I assume you were in the courtroom? Great job, I am anxious to hear what happens next.

I read 2 things recently that maybe you can confirm or deny in your next installment. I read that the lawsuit doesn’t name Steve, just RDR, that Steve got a deal with RDR that they would deal with any lawsuits if they occurred. I also read (and this really broke my heart) that Jo herself had specifically asked that Steve not be in the courtroom while she was there. Is that true? Can she even ask such a thing? I have long felt if the two of them could just come face to face they could clear this all up, but if Steve has no control over what RDR does, it puts him in kind of a powerless position, I would think. It’s all very sad.

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I just want to clarify about why SVA had to leave the court room. I have testified as an expert witness many, many times over the past 17 years. In all cases either side can ask to exclude witnesses. So, I have never witnessed any one else testify in a case where I testified. The one exception to this exclusion rule: if you are named in the as either defendant or plaintiff, you have the legal right to remain. Since SVA is not named as a principal, he was probably excluded, which means he will not be able to hear any of the testimony. Also, no one will be able to discuss previous testimony with him. He will also be prohibited from reading the news accounts. The joys of being a witness in court!

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WOW!!! Thanks Melissa! A really incredible job providing us with, if not a transcript, the best narrative ever. I thought I had a descent memory, but yours is super.

Thanks in advance for the next installment.

OMT

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Sorry, I forgot. Melissa: GOOD JOB! As someone who has trained and reviewed other expert witnesses, I have sat in court before (just not for my cases). For the most part court is long, boring, and tedious. And, if New York is anything like my state, the benches are wooden, hard, and uncomfortable. You did have Jo testifying, which was good. However, I am sure most of the proceedings were still not very exciting. Good job staying awake, and nice reporting job.

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Wow! As if we weren’t already convinced of Ms Rowling’s cleverness and wit, we have here a firsthand example of her razor-sharp mind and lightning-quick tongue!! I am more a fan now than I ever was, just reading her delightfully intelligent responses to those banal questions from the lawyers. What a treat to have been there!! You can palpably feel the emotion coming out of every word! How in the world did you refrain from standing up and cheering when she volleyed back some of those one-liners: “Yes it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.” HA! What a warrior that woman is!! :) It would be a tragedy to all of Literature if she was to become creatively crippled by this hideous infringement of her literary property. Please, Ms Rowling, if you are reading these comments, know that hundreds of thousands of people support and love you, and we can’t wait for you to finish the REAL lexicon!!

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You may gasp but I have never been to this HP lexicon website and I am certainly not going to go after this Steve guy thinks he can make almost 30 dollars a book for nothing. I believe that JO thought up this universe so she should have the right to make her own reference book. He took info from the novels and put it in a book that sounds like plagurism to me. I think he must be getting a little envious at how popular the series is doing and the movies. Actually the movies have a yo yo of their own who says he is going to make a big budget film. Where do these people come from? WB and JO will win for the right reasons not because they need money. GO JO you can do it!!!!

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Let me begin by saying that I fully support JKR. I think she is 100% in the right. But her testimony was kind of upsetting to me. First she takes the stance that no other book should be pulished (which I agree with), and threatens not to publish hers should that happen (which I don’t agree with), before jumping to the fact that the commentary is weak and should include more originial content. Wait—-so if it’s commentary it’s OK? What happened to not having “the will or the heart” to finish if a bunch of books can be published?

Then there were all the bits about how she had to sacrfice time with her children to write these books. While this is true, is it relevant? Does that have anything to do with someone else publishing a book? Or is it just trying to pull at heartstrings?

And then directly attacking Steve Vander Ark? Not attacking the publication. Again, relevancy? Yes, his publication stands to make a profit on her work, which is wrong. So attack the publication. Attacking the person just makes me sad. It’s almost as if she doesn’t feel she has enough of a case to win without attacking him, which is untrue!

Finally, I do like and appreciate her wit but the fact that she refused to answer a question… about whether or not the Lexicon was useful. “I don’t understand the question”? Somehow I doubt that, Jo is a very intellegent lady. And it seems like that answer was allowed.

Let me reiterate. I hope JKR wins. And I know why she is acting this way, she is trying to win. But I must say I was disapointed after reading this. I wanted her to take the high road and it seems she hasn’t. (OK, bring on the firey mob)

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Thanks a lot for this! All the newsreports are sooo thin with the information, and makes Jo look like a evil rich lady that wants to keep people from analyzing her works.

Just the thought of doing some fanwork that the original author disagrees is not all right! Rowling have allowed people to do almost everything with her works (fanfiction, books, essays, WROCK) so for her to put down her foot is just natural. Seriosly.

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shades of Lockhart…....

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You have your own deadline finsihing your book and you give us THE most extensive report on the case available on the web. All hail super Melissa Anelli and her amazing contribution to this fandom. Anyway you really get a sense of how different the Lexicon is to other encyclopaedias, for example i kept thinking of Laurie Frost’s ‘His Dark Materials’ guide during this case, even though it is endorsed by Pullman. But that reference guide is jam packed with analysis and everything is quoted with needs be and she comes to her own conclusions in a number of characters and issues. If Jo is to be believed (and I greatly trust that woman) the HP Lexicon is way below par of other guides. For example I own Colbert’s which Jo mentions and it is a facsinating read and clearly a great deal of personal research was involved. Plus it is so hard not to love Jo here, she completely holds her own, as always, in the stand, integrity intact, and comes out with some absolute zingers: “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.” Brilliant! Does RDR actually have a case, what was the point in the Fiona Byle question? And Rappoport (apoplogies) simply sounds like an idiot. To be honest I think WB would have a hard time losing this one. Oh and that Mediabistro article has to be among the most pointless I’ve ever read! Rant Over

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Thanks to Mel and the whole Leaky crew for doing this, we all know this is a difficult subject for the site, and we appreciate the information.

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Sometimes it is better NOT to know the author behind spendid books you love from the first to the last page. especially when that author with the air and public pictore of a shy and modest woman turns out to be a bigotted vile neurote, completley capable to make an arsehole of herself in court.

I pity the judge who had to sit through all that non relevant mudslinging, false tears and sobstories. Ny must she hate the pressure on bringing her own Encyclopedia, knowing that after 17 years of literary pregnacy she is complete empty and coping with a mother of a writersblock. That she is not so organised in her notes that she feels not capable of bringing the facts of her books in order, would be forgivable, were it not that she denies others to do the work, and do the work better then she ever will. .

It’s far below every decency to lay the blame for her own incapacity at others as if those are causing her writers block.

People, don’t wait for the “scotish book”, there will never be one, she doesn’t want to write it; she want to go on being the great writer with new work, but reality she drained herself cpmplete in one major project and won’t admit it.

this woman should retire from writing for ten years, do something completely different and get new inspiration form new experience… but for the most

DON’T TELL LIES.

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Thanks Melissa for doing all this! I know your hand/wrist/arm must be sore, but we appreciate all the hard work! This case further cements Jo’s place in my heart. The woman rocks. Period. Go Jo!

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Well done, Melissa! I cant imagine how many times you wanted to interject your own opinion into this commentary or stand up and scream in frustration while listening to the trial (i know i would have a hard time restraining myself). Every time i read something abou this trial it makes me so nervous. i would really hate to think that Jo would quit writing all together bacause of this. anyway, thanks for the great information.

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Isn’t the real issue plagiarism, pure and simple? If somebody (anybody) publishes a series of novels, somebody else isn’t allowed to rearrange the information about places, characters, etc, in alphabetical order and call it theirs.

Lindsay

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I love jkr’s composure under all this stress. I believe she has the right to say what should or should not be published about her characters. they are after all hers she give them life not anyone else. It’s like someone comeing along after a mother has givin birth and taken the child away and clamed it as there own. Well that’s how i would feel if it was me.

just had to put my 2cents in. thanks melissa for your hard work.

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VJ, unlike some other people who disagree with what Jo said, you made your point in a respectful manor and provided evidence to support your views. I don’t think anyone will attack you .

I agree with you that some of what she said was contradictory. For instance, there are certain enclycopedias that are well done and she enjoys, however she still asks others not to publish encyclopedias (ie. Mugglenet). Was Mugglenet’s encyclopedia as poorly done as Steve’s? We won’t know, and it’s possible it could have been just as well researched as some of the other books she mentioned.

Also, yes it’s clear that her history was used to tug heart strings, but you hear it all the time in cases like these. It’s expected.

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Go Jo! We’re all with you!

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I don’t understand how you can say that JKR wants to control everything about her work. Just look at this fandom and the tons of fanfic and commentary everywhere that JKR has supported and enjoyed!

It seems a few people are missing the point that SVA & RDR have done nothing imaginative with JKR’s work – they’ve simply copied out what it took her 17 years to do, and now are trying to profit from it.

Anyone who spent 17 years on one effort would be appalled at someone trying to make money off of it. Put yourself in Jo’s shoes! Let’s see SVA take 17 years to do something creative – I’ll buy that one!

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Sorry to post again so quickly, but kamion, how do you know Jo’s got writer’s block? I’ve seen no evidence of that, or heard anything to that effect. Saying JKR has writer’s block is a bit like saying Stephen King or Dean Koontz has writer’s block.

And I’ve only written one book, but sorting through all my notes to organize them into an encyclopedia would almost be more work than writing the book in the first place!

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Thanks Melissa for the summary. I knew that you guys would go. I also want to say yea! to Barnes and Nobles and borders for pulling out. Shows that there is still some integrity in big business.

Go get them Jo! We stand beside you on this.

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DH: [But is it useful?] JKR: “In what way?” DH: “Is it easy to get information.” JKR: “I don’t understand.” DH: “Have you ever used a dictionary?” JKR: “Are you telling me Mr. Vander Ark is going to teach me how to spell?” & She said the award was an “A for effort.” Her lawyer asked, “Because it has great quality?” and she said, ‘No.

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

Regardless from who is right in this case (I don’t know, I am not a lawyer, and I am not an obssesive supporter of either side in this case), some JKR’s statements disappointed me, like the one about usefulness nad those about the quality of the lexicon – the award on her website, in my opinion, nver seemed to be just “A for effort”. It’s like she wants to disparage the lexicon because she is offended (This is not to say I don’t see why she could feel offended, but I still don’t like it.)

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THANKS so much, Melissa, for doing this. It’s sad to see how vitriolic some posters can get; are those people really HP fans?

I like the judge - and the WB lawyer-nice wry senses of humor. And seeing once again how much research Jo did for these books just makes me appreciate them (and her) even more, if that’s possible! I actually think there could be room for both Steve’s book and the Scottish book because they would be so very different from each other, but Steve should have waited to publish his until after Jo did hers. After her, a “depthless” A to Z guide to characters, etc., could be handy—if he did some extra research first.

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don’t know why that line-through occurred above….

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The story made the front page of the daily express in the UK today. go JKR you can do it!

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Ok I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and never once did I ever here anything about JKR wanting to do her own encyclopedia. So what if this site publish’s their work. Not trying to go off subject but it makes sense with this, Anne Rice had a “encyclopedia” of sorts published about her chronicals and it has really helped me understand some of the stuff in the other books. Same as this site has helped me with a few confusions i had about some characters. I can’t believe she’s throwing a fit over this personally i think it’s immature. So this site got the idea first. She’s probably throwing a fit because this site had an idea that she didnt think of first and now Mr. Vander Ark and company will get in on a franchise which she is so selfishly defending. She’s made who knows how much money off the books and i think thats gone to her head.

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I stand firmly behind Jo. I can’t believe how silly the other side sounds. Jo is so funny and she knows she is 100% right! Melissa, thank you so much for putting this out there so quickly. I always know I can count on Leaky! Thanks!!

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I don’t understand how it got this far. Honestly, we all know fanfiction and Harry Potter databases are just for fun. I would’nt dream of trying to publish my fanfiction, and you can bet it would be far more original work (less the characters) than this encyclopedia. The moment she asked for him not to publish, he should have apologized and bowed out. Now its going to cost him a ton of money in lawyer fees, not to mention his once envied reputation.

If he wanted to make money from writing books… dude, write your OWN! Make an encyclopedia of your own original characters. When he claimed ownership of that silly timeline and wanted compensation, I am floored it didn’t occur to him once how Rowling felt about his deeds. Did he not strip her books, place them into one singe book and try to sell it as something original? Dude, let it go. You look stupid and desperate. The best thing you can do is make an apology in the court room, say you realize now it was wrong, and perhaps then you might manage to save a little face in the end.

Rowling will win and he, “Will lose everything’.

Sorry, poor attempt at trying to quote Voldemort from the movie Order of the Phoenix. : )

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I want to say this and hope I don’t get crucified. I am the 1st to admit that I am not computer savvy so here goes – If I click on the Lexicon website does that generate money to them without me buying anything? Anyway, I do enjoy using the HP Lexicon because sometimes I am just too lazy to look tidbits up in the books. However, I will not buy it in book form for the main reason that JKR asked SVA not to print it and he (cleverly) found a hint of a loophole to try to get it published without personally being liable. I am waiting patiently for JKR’s own encyclopedia which I will purchase from my local independant bookseller. By the way, good reporting Leaky.

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Kamion,

I think it is quite rude that you consider JKR to be nothing more than a pregnant pig that has dropped her babies and should be slaughtered because she may bear ONE still born. I have a suspicion you would have slaughtered her anyhow. Don’t use this case as an excuse for your bitterness, please. JKR has never once said she is a demure little thing. I think we all know (deep down, if you will) that she is a good person-a good person that when the time calls for it, will stand up for herself, her work, her family, and her fans-and especially people who are less fortunate than her. Please find it in your heart to forgive her because she has decided to not spare her ‘charitable’ monies on a case like SVA. She thought other people were more befitting of it. Sorry.

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If RDR is successful (and I pray that they are NOT), I hope that everyone who has ever contributed to the Lexicon website in the past sues the pants off of RDR and SVA. Aren’t the website contributors entitled to compensation, too? Their “work” is being used for profit without their permission! Just like RDR and SVA are doing to JK Rowling.

Now that would be poetic justice.

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Is it me, or is the press actually painting this case a bit wrongly? I remember seeing one article actually say Jo has an “uphill struggle” to win this case. I don’t think so, if anyone has an uphill struggle to win, it would be RDR.

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Beth, JKR has stated for years that she planned on doing an encyclopedia. If you had been following the case from the beginning, you would have seen evidence that should Steve Vander Ark knew JKR planned on writing her own encyclopedia. There are several emails and letters he wrote stating, ” I would never publish the lexicon in print form because I know Jo plans on releasing her our encyclopedia, and it would be a copyright violation.” He knew exactly what he was still.

Still, an encyclopedia or complementary book should still fall under fair use, if it doesn’t violate copyright laws. Sadly, in terms of the Lexicon, Vander Arks numerous citing errors and lack of commentary constitutes plagarism. It’s no different than writing a bad research paper in University. If you don’t cite a paper correctly, you get kicked out of school for violating the honor code.

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Thank you for the amazing summary, Melissa! :)

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thanks, MELISSA!

GO JO!

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No, Neil. It`s TLC, Mugglenet and so called “real HP fans” who are painting this case a bit wrongly. HP Lexicon is a companion book. Steve has every right to write it and RDR have every right to publish it. They don`t need author`s permission. And no, it`s not stealing.

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I’m sorry Shob, but I disagree. RDR have no rights to publish it. There is a vast amount of stealing. When you copy without quotations, and hardly any commentary, its plagerism. Pure and simple.

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The way I see it is very simple. The lexicon book got every info from the series without adding anything. It’s just plain old shameless copy. That’s it.

I don’t need to think why JK don’t want it to be printed or what the lexicon people have to say to defend themselves. The book is a xerox. It’s a copy… and that is wrong. It is that simple.

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Exceptional reporting there, Melissa. Us fans are so lucky to have a superfan like you to keep us in the loop. It’s nice to not have to read small, severely slanted articles in random periodicals. This breakdown of day one is fantastic. Thanks!!!

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As someone who has enjoyed the Harry Potter series immensely, it is difficult for me to fathom why JKR would not want SVA’s book out. Personally I have thought the Lexicon was a wonderful website and was looking forward to having it in book form. As many of you appreciate, there’s something about thumbing through a book that is quite satisfying. I had imagined that the two “Encyclopedias” would be companion pieces, with JKR’s giving us more information about the wizarding world but perhaps a bit more diffuse, but SVA’s much more practical. It’s great to be able to review the timelines, etc. from the Lexicon, and it has never seemed to me that JKR was the “maths detail” kind of person. It was disconcerting to hear her criticize something that she had spoken of previously in glowing terms, and seems a bit hypocritical. Also, if the stress of this entire episode is causing writer’s block, perhaps she should come back to the real world, where one must work regardless of one’s situation. It did seem a bit melodramatic. As a fan of both the Harry Potter books and the Lexicon, I would like to emphasize that from my perspective, the Lexicon is not a Xerox or copy. Definite thought and interpretation went into a large part of the website.

The law will ultimately decide the case, but for one, I’d be happy to have both, for different reasons.

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Oh yeah! By the way… I have to say I simply loved this part:

JKR was asked whether the Lexicon was “just a Xerox copy” of her work: she said it was “very slightly more than that.” David Hammer said that there was text for every character, and she said, “Yes, is that the best you can say for the Lexicon, ‘It has text’?” Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it, and she said, “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

God! That was priceless!! lol

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Hey guys, what’s that about JKR writing ‘The Daily Prophet’ articles for her publisher?

-The lawyers also brought up the Daily Prophet articles that she wrote for her publisher in 1998 and which had a limited run, referring to an entry on Daghert Pips; asked if Daghert Pips was a real person, JKR said, “If he is I’m sure we’ll find out after this court case.”-

Anybody has more info on what this was? I’d like to get my hands on it!

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Shob- When I was in school, if I had paraphrased and copied my papers as the Lexicon does with Harry Potter, I would have been given a failing grade and most likely kicked out of school. Why should this be any different?

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VJ, Rowling refusing to understand the question “do you find the book useful?” is simply a way to avoid giving RDR any ounce of ammunition. Jo is not going to say, “yes, I thought it was useful” because then she might as well say “you have my blessing then, go ahead and publish the lexicon, and sorry about all this, its just been that time of the month for me”. She wont say “No, I don’t find the book useful” either because that would lead the Defendant lawyer to ask her “why?”, “Dont you think readers will find this a good reference” etc., So she answers the way she did, to avoid the lawyer going down an irrelevant path but a path that potentially arms them. This is a very important case, so everyone throws in the works including the kitchen sink so she has to act this way, ruthlessly.

The way she used wit and sharp wordplay turning the table round in some instances was absolutely stunning. We are witnessing here a JK Rowling in supreme form exuding Hermione’s ruthless determination and cleverness, Harry’s witty retorts, Ron’s cockiness. and Dumbledore’s assuredness. For me, JK sets an example here of how not to let ANYONE bully you. She wrote it beautifully in the Harry Potter books, where both Harry and Ron stand up to their bullies. It is so important in life, whether you are at work, school, even with friends, not to let anyone even THINK they can walk over you. Both Harry and Ron would be a total wreck if they gave in to their bullies.

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I followed the link to the lj post. Steve Vander Ark has a pop tart? Somehow, that explains a lot.

JKR’s quick wit is really a wonderful thing to read about. I’d give anything to be there to hear Vander Ark in person, blubbering on the stand.

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Wow! Fabulous reporting Melissa! That was brilliant! Thank thank THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put in for this, seriousely!

As for the case, it’s so sad it had to come to this level. Jo sounds so sad and frustarted and this case has been costing her and the fans some precious writing time! Just because one person wanted to make profit off HP! Disgusting SVA, is all I can say.

This one line particularly caught my attention;

“Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.”

Rock on Jo! We’re all behind you on this!

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Sorry to have spelled independent incorrectly in my previous post! Still standing by the content of said post.

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Melissa, thank you for that summary! I wasn’t surprised to hear Jo’s wit despite all this.

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Just went on the HPlexicon to see if they were sufficiently assured to try and put their side of this tenuous argument.

And: 500 – Internal Server Error

hahaha – serves them right rofl

Thanks to Melissa and John for taking the time to brings us the case!

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I just realised that JK is in two completely different front page news on the www.bbc.co.uk/news website. Obviously, this one, where there is also a video of her statement at a different angle (her best side, maybe ;), and an article of her joining other children’s authors in voicing their protest towards the Darfur issue.

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Oh, Melissa, you can’t even know how much this is appreciated. You are a class-act, truly, for presenting this in such a timely, straight forward, and professional manner. I very much respect yourself and Leaky for giving everyone the information as such so that fans can make an educated decision about where to stand on the matter. Thank you.

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Sorry if someone has said this, but after that MOST EXCELLENT article of Melissa’s, I don’t have time to read all the comments, and I just had to say – that exchange between JKR and Hammer reminded me so much of McGonagall/Umbridge or Dumbledore/Fudge. My applause to you, JK; know that there are so many of us out here who support you wholeheartedly, and who can’t wait for your REAL encyclopedia

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We love you Melissa! I can’t believe you were able to do all of this- you really are a true journalist :) Catch up on some rest!

We’re rooting for you Jo! Love you!

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The point brought up by the defense made me think. According to them, it would be quite acceptable for Mr. Vander Ark to take websters dictionary, rearrange it from Z-A, then sell it as his own work. This whole thing is SOOO unethical. But unfortunetely unethical does not allows equal illegal. If Jo puts up a good enough fight, and I sure she will she will win. I thought I saw a legal win when she pointed out specific instances where he had copied her work verbatim. I am hopeful that the court will see it that way.

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“KR was asked whether the Lexicon was “just a Xerox copy” of her work: she said it was “very slightly more than that.” David Hammer said that there was text for every character, and she said, “Yes, is that the best you can say for the Lexicon, ‘It has text’?” Mr. Hammer responded that a lot of work had gone into it, and she said, “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it.””

ROCK ON JO! I support you all the way! I have no words strong enough to describe my admiration for you!

Melissa and Leaky staff: You are amazing! Thank you so much for actually attend the hearing and report to us in such detailed manner! Thank you for all your hard work. You are amazing.

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My goodness Melissa what a lot of typing! But very glad you are doing it.

I will admit my heart breaks for Jo because she seems so distraught over this. I can only imagine how she feels. And because of what Steve has done it’s damaged her ability to trust her fans. I just hope we all aren’t tarred with the same brush in her eyes.

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Wow, this was really informative! Thank you. =)

I’m very much on Jo’s side for all of this. This whole case shouldn’t even exist. To think a fan is doing this is ridiculous. More like a profit hungry and jealous stalker >.>

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I am soooooo late in the comments here, but I wanted to say a couple of things…

Melissa you guys are incredible! Thank you!

Jo you have been in my thoughts – I have been sending you as much positive energy as possible! I wish you the very best, because you absolutely deserve it.

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Supreme Mugwump, no doubt the appearance of this case on many front pages has incurred a surge of hits on the Lexicon site that it couldnt cope. Having said that, why are you increasing their hits, hmmm? ;-) just kidding! Having said that, I know many of us are boycotting the site out of protest. Personally, I dont think thats neccessary. The website is there as free fan service and there are some splendid essays by genuine fans. It is just a pity that it is run by someone who appears to be very dishonest. or at least, very much out of synch with the fandom’s code of honor!

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“Just the thought of doing some fanwork that the original author disagrees is not all right! Rowling have allowed people to do almost everything with her works (fanfiction, books, essays, WROCK) so for her to put down her foot is just natural. Seriosly.” Posted by Netse

The point that so many JKR/WB detractors seem to be missing is that the Lexicon BOOK has virtually no original content. Ms. Rowling is not about to shut down Wizrock, FanArt, FanFic, or even HP “companion books” as long as there is some sort of original thought and analysis going on.

They are not even going after the on-line Lexicon (which DOES have some original content) precisely because it is NOT FOR PROFIT. If I had labored nearly 20 years producing something artistic, and then seen someone (especially someone who claimed to be a fan of my work) attempt to turn a profit and claim original scholarship for a mere alphabetizing of the characters and such with over 80% of my own content unattributed I would be as likely to send a C&D and sue as JKR/WB have been.

And, yes, Jo’s Army—strong and proud!

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Thanks TLC for the reports. great review and I hope Jo wins! This has been a LONG drawn out case and I hope in a few day’s time it will end and the winner is JO.

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Ditto everyone else’s comments. There – I just pulled a Vander Ark – I’m so proud of my achievements and creativity! Seriously, I love you Melissa, I love you Jo – thanks to you both for standing and making the heart of Harrry Potter’s stories hold true – faith in hard work and the people who care about you. Good luck everyone.

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J.K. Rowling is kicking booty! She is such in inspiration! I do hope she wins the case, and if she doesn’t, I won’t be buying the Lexicon!

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As I’ve said before, as a Fan write and publisher of several fan-oriented books, I am appalled at how far this guy seems willing to go to outright steal JKR’s work. Shame on you! What kind of fan are you that you would do this!!?? You need to sit down and stop all of this crap now. I have absolutely NO respect for you and wouldn’t read your book if it was the last book out there. That may be a childish statement, but for heavens sake!!!

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I dont care if people dont like it but I just have two words to say…JO’S ARMY!!!!

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It’s funny. Yesterday, when I knew the cross-examination was taking place at that very moment, I felt so sorry for JKR, having to go under fire from an attorney, and I was sending positive thoughts her way. Now that I’ve read how it went, I actually feel sorry for the attorney who was cross-examining her. Should’ve known!

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Thank you Melissa. I was worried a little that JK was going to pull an Anne Rice (not allowing any fanfiction at all) but I see her point now. I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t read what happened in court. JK is right. Thank you again.

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Speaking of comprehensive and insightful commentary, thank you Melissa for that excellent coverage. I am truly thankful for The Leaky Cauldron as a superior fan resource.

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GO JO! ALL YOUR FANS ARE BEHIND YOU! WE ALL LOVE YOU! YOUR SURE TO WIN AND IF FOR SOME STUPID REASON YOU DON’T WE WONT BUY HIS STUPID BOOK ANYWAY! I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE ENCYCLOPEDIA! freya xx

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Melissa, you’re a wonder! What a fantastic read.

I actually think a well-written & well-edited & well-presented dictionary/encyclopedia with obsessive detail and minutiae (sp?) could be a real complement to the Scottish Book. Done well, that kind of companion book would allow Jo a lot of creative freedom.

Unfortunately, the Lexicon Book—for many reasons—is not “it” and this case will probably put a stop to any other companion-encyclopedias in the future. What a shame Steve and RDR have handled this in such a shoddy, amateur and insensitive manner.

As far as the copyright case goes: Does it matter (in the legal sense) that Jo doesn’t think the Lexicon Book is very good?

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THANK YOU MELISSA! You seriously wrock.

I was over at mugglenet yesterday (I was only there for the Caption Contest, I swear!) before this article came out, and all they had were a few quotes from Jo taken out of context. I’m sure they didn’t mean to, but the way they posted completely misconstrued what she said. New proof that TLC is “the most trusted name in Potter.” See? Quotes, not so hard.

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I am so disappointed in Jo. She’s being very myopic. In my understanding, the Lexicon book is a reference guide, putting all the information and facts into a researchable volume… I think she’s being very petty, I think her testimony was very petty, and I think that she’s being very spiteful in saying if the Lexicon book goes through she might not publish her own encyclopedia. I hadn’t taken a side in all of this thus far, but she really turned me off with her testimony.

But many thanks, of course, to Leaky for the information. You guys are wonders!

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I would just like to thank Melissa for providing such excellent, thorough, and detailed reporting on the trial! Truly, you beat the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press on this story. You covered it far more clearly than they did and also got more of J.K. Rowling’s brilliant wit in.

And, yes, I love J.K. Rowling more than ever. These remarks of her seem to show that she is nothing short of God. I knew she was witty, but never this much so!

The legal defense that RDR Books has presented and their lawyers do not seem nearly competent enough in presenting their case adequately.

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Wow, Melissa, thaks for the wonderful commentary!! Reading this I’m of two mids about the case, though: I fully support Jo’s claims of course and I hope she prevails, but at the same time some of the more harsh comments she threw at Steve made me uneasy… Through the years I found the Lexicon website extremely useful for quick reference and facts and I’m aware it took a lot of effort for Steve and other editors to put together; having information from the books rationally organised and accessorised with a web search tool is undoubtly useful!! Still, I never saw nor see now any need to put all that info on printed paper and sell it for profit: as Jo says its basically a lesser copy of her books. I don’t deny its usefulness on the web, but as a book and without a search box it would be meaningless indeed…

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Just wanted to add my thanks to Melissa for her wonerful reporting throughout the case so far. Please keep up the good work. Reading the testimony today made the issues so much clearer for me.

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Melissa, you are amazing. You really are. And TEAM JO FTW!

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Thanks for your hard work Melissa! Most of the news sites made it seem as tho’ Jo was on the stand for about 15 minutes, said some version of I hate it and want it to go away and left. The poor woman -what person with 3 functioning brain cells wants to go through this kind of thing? And for what? Because some person who’s dying for recognition or $$ without having the talent or doing the work wants to cash in? Disgusting-pathetic, of course, but disgusting. Lots of snarky comments going around on blogs too. I think the word I can’t overlook would be schadenfreude-I’ll toss that out for my fellow writers to chew a bit as well. It’s a life lesson, watching this -what is it you trade for money &/or power? And would you do it if you understood the cost? Some would of course, but I don’t see much in Jo’s manner to convince me she’s one of them. We laugh with her when she zings one in at the lawyers, but don’t overlook the fact there’s defensiveness in there too-she’s not having fun at all. Even if you win, there are things you lose and she’ll not have missed that. I hope she can remember she has many good wishes coming her way, it might help. I’m looking forward to “The Scottish Book” very much -I know it will be beautifully done and will have many little added insights that come to her while she’s compiling it, and I know it will be treasured along with Harry’s story. Google RDR Books and take a look at what they “publish” -cheap rubbish and low quality paperback pablum. Their list will tell you all you need to know. $24.95! Give me a break!

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I have already posted a couple of times on this story, but I have one more thing to add. My mom and grandma always used to say “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?” Why would anyone in their right mind buy this book when there is an online version that is free!!!! Unless it is from JKR it’s a stupid waste of money. I say take the $25 and give it to a homeless shelter for food (or any charity of your choice). They can use every penny they can get. That way instead of Mr. Vander Ark getting the money it would go to charity like Jo’s intention for the Scottish Book.

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Eeep!!!

Wow, I’m getting a lot of bitterness from JKR from the transcript. I am totally on her side, but I really hope her vehemence doesn’t blow up in her face. Unfortunately, with women in particular, strident, emotional communication and strong language, particularly if there’s a hint of either self-pity or aggressiveness, can lead unenlightened listeners (and that’s a lot of people) to hear “hysterical female, must be on the rag”.

Especially in court, where discretion is almost always the better part of valour. I personally pray on my knees that JKR wins, but I really wish she’d left the ad hominem attacks and emotionalism at home. She’s Goliath, whether she likes it or not, whether she feels like it or not; she shouldn’t be giving David’s camp ammo by making him look like the one to pity.

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Great reporting! Very comprehensive, thanks for all your work.

I’m in full support of Jo. She created this world that has meant so much to all of us. The least anyone can do is not interfere with her rights and wishes for the material she created!

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Medea Callous has a point. I hate to admit it because I really admire JKR, but a lot of her testimony, while undeniably true, was totally immaterial to the case. However, if she wasn’t an emotional person, she wouldn’t be the same person we all love and whose work we admire so much. It’s just that what is a positive when writing a novel can be a negative in the cold hard court of law. But hey, we should also remember that she was only answering what she was asked, so it’s not like she just extemperaneously decided to start speaking about these things. I mean, from what I’ve read of SVA’s testimony today, a lot of what he is saying is immaterial as well, but he’s just answering what he is being asked.

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JKR’s testimony was brilliant! It’s truly a delight to an angry genious in action. She kicks better than a horse, strikes harder than a heavyweight champion and bites quicker than a cobra! :)

Interresting things and details too, that weren’t known before this. Good trial report.

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Melissa, thanks for your work writing this up. I am a huge Potter fan and love JKR, but I have to say I think she’s completely wrong in this case. The Lexicon is not that different from Cliff’s notes or any multitude of books that have already been published about Harry Potter (and other literature) not written by the author. Like it or not, she made the information public, and now people are allowed to critique it, and publish said critiques. Even if they do a bad job. Let them be judged on their merits. I don’t see how this book would stop people from buying her own encyclopedia at all (is she kidding??? A- of COURSE people are going to buy her next book, and B- when the lexicon was just online she had no objection) and for her to threaten not to write it is just kind of childish. I can’t say how I would feel in her situation, but her feelings are not the same as law. Since she has no objection to Harry Potter conferences, college courses, people selling “magic wands,” etc., all of which make money for certain people, I can’t help but think it’s a personal grudge against Vander Ark. If she won this case, it would do a lot of damage to the field of literary criticism and study. She needs to not take herself so seriously. If she wanted Harry Potter all to herself, she should never have published her books in the first place.

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Dear Melissa,

thank you so much for your report, I feel like I was sitting in that court room myself :-) (or as if I fell into your pensieve and watched the trial sitting next to you! Wonderful!)

It’s nice to have you as our journalist, a journalist, that really knows her subject :-) Keep up the good work.

Best regards from a Swiss lawyer, Catimini

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Beth, you haven’t followed this case at all. The point that Jo is making is that the Lexicon Book doesn’t have any criticism, analysis or discussion…

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Dear Melissa,

thank you so much for your report, I feel like I was sitting in that court room myself :-) (or as if I fell into your pensieve and watched the trial sitting next to you! Wonderful!)

It’s nice to have you as our journalist, a journalist, that really knows her subject :-) Keep up the good work.

Best regards from a Swiss lawyer, Catimini

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I am in awe of Jo Rowling.

She knows her stuff, and is amazingly good at defending herself – I wish I were that good!

You just can’t help but feel huge respect for the woman.

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I don’t understand how the quality of the writing or the research used in preparing lexicon has any bearing on copyright infringement.

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JO. This is why I love you just as much as your books. YOU KICKED ASS.

“I would just like to add that I am extremely grateful for the incredible support of Harry Potter fans everywhere.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to say that the fans, and Ms. Rowling, are on their way to victory.

any half-baked scheme of a book that might somehow get through the cracks cannot and will not be bought by fans

GO JO!

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Thanks so much, Melissa (and the rest of the Leaky crew!) for keeping us informed with such a detailed (and undoubtedly more accurate than national media) report. I am appalled by the mindset of these RDR people (I have a tiny bit of legal experience, and it’s quite apparent that they know they’re trying to skirt the copyright laws and that they’ve been expecting this trial since they first came up with the idea for this book, though one would expect them to be less blatantly evasive given the time they’ve had to prepare!). I was saddened for all parties involved when news first broke of this fiasco last fall, but the more we learn about what has transpired between RDR and the Lexicon and the lawyers, the more respect I lose for Vander Ark. I really hope Leaky gets to spend at least a little time with Jo this week—not to interview her or to report your conversation back to us (although we’re all hoping she’ll make a return appearance on PotterCast sometime very soon!), but just to let her know the majority of us are on her side and that the awesome staff of Leaky is there to support her, as I know you guys are. Thanks for everything you guys do for the fandom, and best wishes for a quick (and just) resolution to this mess to Jo and to those of you from Leaky who are there with her enduring the trial!

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I don’t understand how the quality of the writing or the research used in preparing lexicon has any bearing on copyright infringement.

while more intelligent and better-versed fans can and probably will explain:

It’s not about the quality, it’s the fact that it’s pretty much just copying Jo’s text in a different book…

someone help me out here, I’m tired and have a 9th grade research paper to edit and proofread

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Melissa, YOU ARE AMIZING!! seriously. how could Jo not win? she has this in the bag. GO JO!!

Live, Love, Harry Potter!! and Jo (who rox)

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Thanks for the work Melissa!Some of these comments of J.K’s such as…

“There is a much easier way to find out, and that is to do some actual research.”

“Do I now regret that? Yes, bitterly.”

Shows me I would not want to get in a “yo-mama” fight with J.K!!

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I was surprised by JKR’s harsh comments towrards the HPL. That said, it sounds like she is going to win this one rather easily.

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If he was such a big fan he would not be going against Jo’s wishes. What he is doing to her just makes me want to cry, after she has been kind enough to show us all Harry’s world. Besides that, I want her encyclopedia! Not shelves full of want-to-bes.

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Medea Callous: “She’s Goliath, whether she likes it or not, whether she feels like it or not; she shouldn’t be giving David’s camp ammo by making him look like the one to pity.”

But then again, this display of rightous anger, however unbecoming it looks, makes her real. She clearly hasn’t been coached in how to look good in an American court.

Still, I can see the makings of another book-potential story here, titled “The Martyrdom of a Fan” or something. Oh well, at least it will be original…

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For me, something doesn’t add up. From the comments I have read here, IF RDR Books was to win and the Lexicon was published – and IF a stream of other badly written, poorly researched ‘dross’ were to follow – then I can’t see many fans buying those books.

Which just strengthens the case for, and value of, any ‘Official’ encyclopedia written by Rowling, no matter when it’s published (clearly the demand is there).

‘Brand loyalty’, I think it’s called. Which in the case of Harry Potter, appears to be quite strong.

And I would be slightly more sympathetic to Rowling, were it not for the fact that Warner is a co-plaintiff, but, let’s face it, it’s about business and protecting the brand. The traditional and conservative way is to use lawyers to quash the little guys trying to ‘cash in’, but the other way – and bear with me now – would be to engage those who could actually help you and turn it into a ‘win-win’ situation.

Admittedly, RDR and Vander Ark have not gone about this in the right way, but whether Rowling writes it or she were to use Vander Ark’s site (or any other fansite for that matter) as a basis and oversee it, collaboration could be an answer, albeit a radical one (it would obviously some burying of a hatchet or two).

Collaboration could see to it that the work is outsourced, she retains control (and assures the quality), it gets the ‘official’ stamp and it sells – Rowling’s charitable causes will benefit.

Honour is satisfied all round.

NOW you can flame me. ;)

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I thought JKR was unneccessarily harsh towards the HPL. I have found it mostly accurate and extremely useful when researching. It’s very helpful to have entries of canon info, without added comment, listed in alphabetical order. And I do think that her fansite award was more than mere encouragement of lots of effort. But that’s just a comment on the degree of vitriol, not necessarily the merit of the case.

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inspiralpenguin, what makes you think that SVA will give away the profits from the book to charity? Moreover, he had wanted to collaborate with her and she had excused herself saying that she was capable of doing it by herself…that’s why he decided to sell his book to RDR [and got an assurance of legal counsel in case of a law suit]...

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Govind, I’ve no doubt that NO money from the sale of an unauthorised book by Vander Ark would go to charity, hence my suggestion. I admit I did not know of his approach to Rowling, in which case, I do think he’s gone about this the wrong way since that point. And things certainly seem to have gone sour in this case.

Please also understand (and perhaps forgive me), but I cannot be described as a fan of Harry Potter, but the story caught my attention, made me think and I wanted to put forward a viewpoint.

I was also interested to note that a few (or should that be just ‘few’?) posters here admit to using the online Lexicon, and yet it apparently gets 1.5 million page views per month.

Vander Ark is obviously a fan – misguided now, perhaps – but he and others have followed Rowling and her work and the Lexicon site has come out of that devotion, rightly or wrongly. There is an interest and a demand for it.

I still think it might be in Rowling’s best interests if she were to try and turn the situation to her advantage, think outside the box and not have to drag it through the courts. Even if she is vindicated (and I think she will be), there is a danger that her image may be damaged in the eyes of the wider public. And she is obviously putting other things on hold, her encyclopedia being one of them, ultimately, to stave off this book.

There will undoubtedly be other attempts to publish such books on way or another and how often can she afford to do that?

Maybe she should keep her friends close, but her enemies closer.

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Hi Melissa – thanks for the transcript. Great work :)

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“Beth, you haven’t followed this case at all. The point that Jo is making is that the Lexicon Book doesn’t have any criticism, analysis or discussion…”

Yes, I have been following it. And, obviously, this book is not just a copy of Harry Potter, as she’s been saying. Vander Ark gives full credit to J.K. Rowling for all of the ideas. Plagiarism would be trying to pass off another’s work as your own. I see no evidence that he’s tried to do that at all. He’s not claiming to be the “official” companion guide. He’s taken her work and put a whole lot of his own work into arranging and cataloguing it, something that has proven to be useful for many fans.

But my point was it shouldn’t HAVE to be useful, well-written, or good. Once we start letting the original author have the say over what people can write about his or her published work, we’re getting into scary territory. As I said before, I have great respect for Jo Rowling, but I think she’s overstepping here.

I do think they shouldn’t settle this though—I’d like to see the courts resolve it since there are obviously some gray areas.

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Thanks, Melissa, for being our eyes and ears in the courtroom, and for writing it all up for us!

Based on my use of the Lexicon website, I’ve come to the conclusion that it IS mostly just a re-ordering of information from JKR’s 7+2 books, with relatively little additional research or analysis. For what it’s worth, I’m therefore uncomfortable with the thought of Steve selling a print version of the Lexicon for money. But if the print book really is almost exactly like the website, then I think Jo might be mistaken in her impression that the Lexicon is not “a worthwhile guide,” and her conclusion that “I absolutely see no use for it..” In my experience, the Lexicon website is an enormously useful reference book for fans: especially before book 7 came out, I used the Lexicon website frequently when developing theories with other fans, because it helped me find and recall details from the books so much faster than if I had to search through the books themselves. I think of the Lexicon website mainly as an index to the books: an enormously helpful but terribly dry and uncreative tool.

Then again, maybe the print version is significantly less helpful than the website. The website’s entry for Remus Lupin, for example, DOES talk about the double reference to wolves in his name, but Jo says that the print-version entry does not. What would they take that stuff out? Were they in such a rush to publish that they didn’t even bother copying all the etymologies on the website?

Finally, I’m terribly confused about this part: “She also said that he has misunderstood how Harry survived the final battle with Voldemort (the book, she says, says it is because Harry’s wand would not work against Voldemort, and she said it is because of the blood sacrifice made by Harry’s mother), “What I think is a serious error.’”

Is this talking about the showdown in the forest? Or is it about the truly final battle, after Harry has come back from Kings-Cross Limbo? If it’s the latter, then shouldn’t it say that “the Elder wand would not work against Harry (its owner)” instead of “Harry’s wand would not work against Voldemort”? Even if the print Lexicon got it wrong, it seems hard to believe that they got it THAT wrong!

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Wow thanks all at leaky! That took me ages to read but it was worth it. I loved reading Jo’s testimony because she was as usual very witty and clear about all her points. Especially “Yes, it was a lot of work. I remember doing it” That cracked me up.

By the way could anybody explain what the ‘ogre’ thing was about and ron and hermione seeing it. I, much like a small child, thought an ogre was like shrek. I hope Jo wins the case.

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Wow. After some coffee, I finally read this whole thing and still have to catch up on the rest of the trial. I’ve been watching bits and pieces of what’s going on in the trial on the news but I rather get the real deal here. Thanks Melissa for your hard work to get this information to us. Should the HPL get published in the end, I will not purchase it and will wait however long, for the Scottish Book!

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I’m completely on JKR’s side. I am saddened that someone who claims to be a fan would do something like this to her. She is a kind person who does everything for her fans as does not deserve repayment like this. I wish her all the luck in the world and want her to know she is loved by all her true fans.

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@ Beth

Please read into Anne Rice you will notice she wrote her own companion book and she squashed any attempts to develop a fandom on-line or other author’s completing companion books on her novels, specifically for this reason.

@Selia

Your quote of JKR’s awarding Lexicon with the award doesn’t contradict JKR’s statement in court. JKR awards fans and Lexicon was started and run by fans, who as JKR stated spent a lot of time working on it. That doesn’t mean she thought they could publish the material as is.

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Well done, Melissa! This is so much hard work on your behalf to keep us all informed about this trial…

I have to see I’m reading everything about this trial, feeling anxious. I simply feel like something is… wrong with mister Vander Ark. He used to be someone I looked up to as a fan. He seemed like a number 1 fan. But sueing Rowling? Trying to publish a WEBSITE on which many people worked together? Seriously?!

I’ve got a Dutch HP fansite, but the idea of publishing my website in a book is ridiculous, because the work was done on the backs of other fans too! Not just my own back! How can he even dare to try and publish that?

No, seriously… I am so confused with VanderArks behaviour around this trial. Can’t he just drop it?

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I’m surprised to see how many people have made up their minds to be on JKR’s side before all the testimony has been heard. No one here has read the SVA book outside of the people involved in the case. Maybe JKR is right, and it borders on plagerism. But maybe, just maybe, she’s being overly protective of her “child”. Until all the testimony is heard, I think it’s unfair for people to wave flags for one camp or the other. I also don’t think there’s any cause to worry that fans of HP won’t flock to her next book. Anything JKR writes will easily outsell a reference from another author. What I found most surprising in her testimony was the frequent (and often demeaning) references to the poor quality of SVA’s book (that his interpretations were often wrong or poorly researched). It may be true, but I don’t see how this is relevant. I can understand JKR being upset that her text is copied. I can understand that if it is done in excess or not properly credited, it is an infringement on her rights. But why is it relevant that the book is “bad”. I actually felt sorry for SVA, that he was being publically humiliated for being too stupid to properly understand the books he has professed to dearly love. As for JKR’s complaint that there was no originality to his lexicon, my thought was that SVA was probably towing the HP4GU mantra to stick to canon. The testimony of Rapoport came across as sly to me, like a caricature of a salesman. But I thought some of JKR’s statements were equally sly, particularly that she didn’t “understand” that an alphbetical guide to her books might be useful. The rest of the testimony will certainly make interesting reading. Thank you very much Melissa, for providing access to the testimony.

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None of the articles I’ve read have managed to portray RDR as anything but a shaddy publisher who knew full well that the proposed book could be seen as copyright infringment, but at the same time, I have to say I’m bothered by the way JKR was discussing the manuscript. It all seemed very mean spirited.

I realize this is an emotional issue for her (and her fans, obviously), but I hate to see such a writer participating in such low blows.

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Thanks for taking the extraordinary effort to write out a synopsis of the trial! I am convinced more than ever that the Lexicon should NOT be published. This case will set a standard by which all paid for and published works vs. internet “wikis” can be judged. JKR’s claim is valid and I for one applaud her efforts to protect her life’s work! If she loses this case, I guarantee you that I will not shop at any retailer who pursues the sale of the Lexicon or any other “stolen property”. Barnes and Noble, Borders, and the like…..take notice! If you sell this book – you will be boycotted.

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this is so biast! jkr is being such a bitch. you have no idea what you’re talking about, any of you. get your information right. i love harry potter but if you do your research jkr is totally out of line and is behaving very immaturely.

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