JKR/WB vs RDR Books Trial Day Two: Steve Vander Ark’s Testimony

115

Apr 15, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC
Uncategorized

USA Today reports that Steve Vander Ark testified earlier today in the case brought by J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers, who are attempting to block publication of a print version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website.

According to the article, during testimony, Steve Vander Ark was visibly upset when discussing the impact of the case. “It’s been difficult because there has been a lot of criticism, obviously, and that was never the intention. … This has been an important part of my life for the last nine years or so.”

USA Today also reports that Mr. Vander Ark noted that he had concerns regarding whether the publication of the book would constitute copyright infringement, and that he was talked into publication by the publishing company.

UPDATE:
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
reports on the testimony as well, noting that the Ms. Rowling and counsel were positioned directly in front of the witness stand.

The WSJ reports that in opening remarks, RDR attorney Anthony Falzone noted that Vander Ark’s interest has never been about money, but “passion”. In testimony today, Vander Ark reported that he has made about $6500 from the website between 2000 and 2008, through advertising.

For further information on the opening day of the trial, please see yesterday’s post here at The Leaky Cauldron .





160 Responses to JKR/WB vs RDR Books Trial Day Two: Steve Vander Ark’s Testimony

Avatar Image says:

I honestly don’t believe him. If he had any doubts at all, maybe he should of NOT gone forward and seeked legal advise on his own? every action has a reaction and in his professtion, I just don’t buy it. Sadly this all came down to lack of respect, common sense and greed. I hope he and rdr loose this case.

Avatar Image says:

I can’t wait to read more of what he said. I wish this would be over with… If Jo doesn’t want it published then it shouldn’t be published. It isn’t the fist time something is being asked not to publish and Steve is taking this too far.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this.

Avatar Image says:

“he was talked into it and he, too, had substantial concerns ”? didn’t he just recently say, that they should win? all of a sudden he is concerned? what about his interview, where he said something completely opposite?

Avatar Image says:

I will wait to read Leaky’s version of todays testimony before I believe other sites, I think. Although I’m glad that he is feeling the reprecussions.

Avatar Image says:

Steve had a choice – Should he do what is right or what is easy? RIP Cedric and Albus.

Avatar Image says:

I had a feeling that Steve would use the “was talked into publication by the publishing company” card.

Was Jo there?

Avatar Image says:

way to own up and take responsibility for your own actions, steve. oh wait…

Avatar Image says:

Yes, we need more information regarding exactly what was said. He did say he was pressured into doing this, than this is completely different than what he said in an interview two weeks ago. Plus, he always had a choice. He could have backed out.

I’m eagerly awaiting to hear his exact words.

Avatar Image says:

Wow…. so now he stabbs the company that was going to publish him… if he had had those actual thoughts, he wouldn’t have been fighting so vigorously to publish his book. He would’ve stopped period. Tsk, tsk.

Avatar Image says:

WOW! HEY STEVE, Sounds so much like the excuses that the Death Eaters used when they thought that Lord Voldemort was defeated when he murdered Harry’s Parents but failed to kill the Boy Who Lived.. History should repeat itself and SVA’s powers should be destroyed and JKR like the Boy will continue to grow and enjoy life as it should be.

Avatar Image says:

I’m not really sure what to think, because Jo has the stuff about the Lexicon being her natural home, and now she says it is incorrect and sloppy etc, but then Jo is the one who created the world of Harry

Avatar Image says:

I think we all agree in one thing-we support Jo ofcourse! If she doesn’t want it-then NO! And who are they comparing to her?! She has all the rights on HP. It’s her story,it changed her life,my life and milions of others! and I’ll wait 10 more years or more for JOs LEXICON and other books! GO JO! thank you and God bless you!

Avatar Image says:

SVA may actually be feeling some regret now about believing RDR’s take on copyright infringement. He’s still a JKR/HP fan.

Thanks for the updates, Leaky.

Avatar Image says:

Come on you guys. He has been doing the Lexicon all along. Everyone looked at this from time to time. If Jo did not want him doing the Lexicon she should have said something years ago. Why was it OK to provide this timeline etc. when it was for free? It is not like he is going to be writing anything other than what he has already put into his web site. There are books already out there written by other authors. Why is his the only one being sued??

Avatar Image says:

“Talked into it? Give me a break.. He can speak for himself, can’t he? He could easily have backed out if he had doubts.

Avatar Image says:

A little remorse here, Steve?

So now his publisher “talked him into it”. And this is not what he said in the interview. Let’s see now, the publisher is furious with him for laying the blame on them, the fandom is furious with him for trying to rip off Jo Rowling … I hope he has a dog.

Sort of Karkarov-like. He’s going to end up in a shack up north with the Dark Mark over it.

Avatar Image says:

Also it has never been sloppy or inacurate. I have used it all along for reference when reading and having forgotten some detail.

Avatar Image says:

It sounds like a huge sympathy ploy and it won’t work with this reader. I am anxious to read more specifically what he said.

I also wonder whether he brought his pop tart with him today, and whether she was able to stay in the courtroom yesterday.

Avatar Image says:

Is Leaky still associated with the Lexicon?

Avatar Image says:

Gwynnie, I think the other books are more like commentaries and speculations. SVA’s book is more like a factual source (which of course came from JKR’s work) although he tried to make it less of a ‘lifting’ ie plagiarism, by including some personal comments here and there.

Avatar Image says:

Gwynnie, the reason the online version remained online was because it was free. Like Jo said, “it wasn’t hurting anyone.” However, publishing the Lexicon in book form for profit does violate copyright laws if it does not have significant commentary in it, or is poorly cited (which it is). A badly done encyclopedia does hurt fans, and ultimately JKR (though not to an extreme).

If you had read the early post you wold have seen that Jo mentioned several other Harry Potter companion books that she enjoyed because those books had commentary and were written in proper MLA style. Steve’s book does not do that. There are significant flaws with the Lexicon, and Steve, due to his poor research, wrote a plagarized encyclopedia. It’s extremely poorly done, and sadly it’s no different than a college student writing a bad paper and not following MLA style.

Avatar Image says:

Even if his encyclopedia was published I wouldn’t buy it, it would only have the information we already know. JKR’s on the other hand will have tons of new info and background on all the characters and my money would be going off to charity not into Steven’s pocket.

Avatar Image says:

i’m sorry but this “he was talked into it” thing is just ridiculous.if he wa talked into it than why didn’t he say:ok,don’t puplish the book ,the first time when JKR/WB said? I really hope Jo wins!!

Avatar Image says:

Harriet,

No Leaky severed their association with the Lexicon after Steve’s interview (which definitely seems to be a 180 from what he’s saying now) came out.

Avatar Image says:

UN – BE – LIE – VA – BLE. Here’s hoping this back-peddling is a deathtoll for the case. By the by, kudos to Barnes and Noble and Borders for pulling their original orders for this would be book. I hope they don’t offer it for sale if it is published. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of America, but not plagerism.

Avatar Image says:

No. Leaky is no longer associated with Mr. Van Ark or the Lexicon. Leaky posted that weeks ago. I had no idea that a.) Mr. Van Ark was 50 – not that there’s anything wrong with that since I’m in my 50’s myself (how did THAT happen?) or b.) that he had moved to London to become a WRITER! London? A writter? A HP Encyclopedia? A little Rowling envy maybe? I wished everyone – except JK – would drop this so that she can get back to what she does so well. I WILL NOT buy Mr. Van Ark’s “encyclopedia” under any circumstances. All true HP and Rowling fans should do the same if this unfortunate case does not go in JK’s favor. Let’s pray it does. I’ll wait the two, three, or more years for HER version of ANYTHING! I wish that we all had a petition to present to the presiding judge!

Avatar Image says:

Thanks Dawn for mentioning that Barnes and Noble had pulled their original orders for this “book”. Way to go B & N!! If this truly is a “small” publisher, then the best way to make our feelings known is through their profits from this travesty. Long live JK!

Avatar Image says:

The wall street journal law blog also has it at http://tinyurl.com/6jnwmq According to that JKr was there at the Plaintiff’s table directly in front of the witness stand.

Avatar Image says:

Just because we don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean we need to villify the man. He’s been raked through the coals for months, and you all think it’s a sympathy ploy? If he loved Harry Potter enough to make a fan resource like that, being on the receiving end of this backlash has to have taken a toll. I think Ms. Rowling has merit on her side, and I certainly don’t blame her for taking legal action. But as unfortunate as Mr. Vander Ark’s decision to publish was, I think it needs to be kept in mind that he’s just another fan who made a very serious mistake by overreaching.

Avatar Image says:

Rachel, you asked “Was Jo there?”

According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, “the plaintiffs counsel positioned [Jo] directly in front of the witness stand.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/04/15/harry-potter-lexicon-author-breaks-down-on-the-stand/?mod=WSJBlog

Avatar Image says:

C’mon guys I’m not agreeing with the actions of Steve and I do believe he was in the wrong and should have acted but you have to admit this is clearly bound to be hard on the guy. I just wish the whole thing was over with personally

Avatar Image says:

“USA Today also reports that Mr. Vander Ark noted that he had concerns regarding whether the publication of the book would constitute copyright infringement, and that he was talked into publication by the publishing company.” Oh my my, is that the best defense he has? When I read that, I instantly thought of a 5 year old pointing the finger and blaming someone else for coercing him into doing something naughty. Anyways, I passed by the courthouse that the JKR/RDR case is held today, and there were a lot of JKR supporters outside, I was glad to see.

Avatar Image says:

I hope that John Buechler sues the pants off of JKR – looks like she ripped off a movie done in the 80’s – Harry Potter’s name and all! It would quite the irony and I can’t wait to see it happen. She has sued so many, and while she’s won many of those suits, I doubt she’d be able to win this one. What goes around comes around.

Avatar Image says:

Whether hard on him or not he had plenty the oppertunity to cease his plans before it went as far as court

Avatar Image says:

There was NOTHING wrong with what Steve did..Jo has sour grapes and wants more money..plain and simple. Also plain and simple..if you do not agree then you are WRONG!

It was BY A FAN FOR FANS about the HP universe..why is is hard for the Jo worshippers to get? He is GLORIFYING the HP world..not stealing from She is wrong and being selfish. Further more she is SCREWING THE FANS OVER!!!

Avatar Image says:

Adam, I agree with you. However, if he indeed did say he was forced into this, it is completely different than what he said just two weeks ago. You don’t find that odd?

Avatar Image says:

“There was NOTHING wrong with what Steve did..” What Steve did was little more than take Jo’s baby, slice it up into its individual body parts, arrange them alphabetically, freeze them, and attempt to sell them to the public.

“If you do not agree then you are WRONG!” Ah, the essence of true ignorance in this case. Clearly, you’ve not read even the half of what is available.

”..not stealing from” No, he’s very clearly stealing from it. Even he thinks so. What part of that do you not understand?

“she is SCREWING THE FANS OVER!!!” She’s trying to protect her fans, actually. If this case is a win for RDR, you can kiss the fandom goodbye.

Avatar Image says:

This isn’t cool. This case has made the headlines of many news sources and it’s made JKR look very very bad. Many of those who haven’t been following news from TLC don’t fully understand the case, but they all judge her so harshly. Today, while I was in class, this narrow-minded jerk was saying awful, awful things about her and saying what he’d like to throw at JKR and awful situations he hope would happen to her. It was infuriating, but I can’t change his mind. It’s just, now so many people think she’s this attention-wanting, money-hogging, control freak, and many more worse things. SHE DOESN’T DESERVE THIS, SHE REALLY DOESN’T.

Avatar Image says:

Why is it that people roll their eyes in disgust that Rowling tried not to cry and yet feel sympathetic for the berk who’s on the stand crying his eyes out today? Does that make sense to anyone?

Oh, did RDR make Steve sign that contract? No. He knew it was wrong that’s why he had them indemnify him against infringement lawsuits specifically brought by JK Rowling.

Let’s not forget, too, that he’s still trying to extort money from WB and JK over the timeline.

In the words of Harry: “Be a man…try…try for some remorse.”

Cause honestly, I’m not seeing remorse, I’m seeing “They made me”...”Why me”...”You don’t understand”. All I’m seeing is someone who’s passing the buck.

Shame, shame, shame!

Avatar Image says:

I think some of you are being a bit harsh. Why all the bile? If he seems sorry shouldn’t he be given the benefit of the doubt? You know, it’s sort of bullying if you gang up on a person like that and are not happy until they’re completely broken. If I were him I’d feel pretty awful after what JKR said too so I don’t think his remorse is by any means a stretch of the imagination. I don’t agree with his actions and I think JKR is justified in her suit but she seems a little irascible and I think SHE was being harsh too.

Also, I can totally imagine him having been talked into pushing ahead with publishing despite JKR’s objections. It’s very, very likely.

Avatar Image says:

If people will believe that the publisher talked him into publishing the lexicon, they’ll believe anything. I wonder whether the publisher talked SVA into leaving his wife and kids? Or to take up with some twinkie who is half his age?

I think SVA has remorse, now. I think he didn’t realize the backlash from fans that would happen. He was taking himself way too seriously and now he’s paying the price.

Avatar Image says:

“Jo has sour grapes and wants more money..plain and simple”

If you were even remotely informed about the case, you would know that she only cares about the money going to CHARITY. Jo is one of the best examples of unselfishness and honesty; I feel sorry that you don’t see that.

Avatar Image says:

Leaky is not still associated with the Lexicon;

Putting on my professional hat, I was fascinated to see that Jo actually went to the hearing because both sets of lawyers agreed that her attendance was not necessary as it is really a a case that will be decided on a legal construction point. But -if she was my client, I would respect her wishes to attend, just as her own lawyers rightly did and as, an intelligent person, appears to have acquiited herself well.

One cannot help but recall, her husband’s comment in that recent “Year In the Life ” documentary about Jo always wanting to do things herself…...

Anyway, good luck to her.

Avatar Image says:

Yet another example by Steve Vander Ark of how you should keep your mouth shut and let the lawyers do the talking.

Avatar Image says:

I find it hard to feel sorry for SVA when he says that “this has been an important part of my life for the last nine years or so,” only because it has been an infinitely more important part of JKR’s life for the last eighteen years or so. I know the guy has had some hard times, and for that I sympathize; still . . . I think he took it too far.

I soooo wish this could be over.

Avatar Image says:

You know, at the beginning of this case I was inclined to believe that SVA was talked into it by RDR. Since then, however, he has come out with at least two interviews where he has very clearly stated that he is 100% involved with RDR’s position. So naturally, I stopped thinking that RDR had somehow hoodwinked him. Now he’s saying they hoodwinked him. What am I supposed to believe? If he felt taken advantage of, why on earth did he make those comments chastising JKR and affiriming his support for RDR? Trying to publish the Lexicon was a mistake, but a far bigger mistake in my opinion was him giving those interviews. Those were the most damaging things of all. You notice TLC didn’t sever ties with him until he gave those interviews. Nobody is going to believe he was duped after him saying what he said.

Avatar Image says:

I do not think it is fair for you guys to be critisizing Lexion, without looking at it from both sides, especially for those of you who spend a lot of time on this website. This site has a lot of great information about the Harry Potter books that fans have had no problem being apart of in the past. I also saw a very nice thank you letter from Mr. Vander Ark addressed to Mrs Rowling about this website that she has frequently praised. The publishing company convinced him that there would be no problems with publishing his book, which he already had concerns about. Apparently they were not being truthful about the copyright problems that could occur from writing the book. If I were writing a book about my favorite author I would make sure that the author supported my book. If Rowling will not support Stevie’s book then he should not write his book.

Avatar Image says:

I don’t think Steve is necessarily a bad guy. Not a great one mind you but not inherently bad. I am however very dissappointed with the “they made me do it” defense. I f he had concerns in the begining that is nice but he needs to step up and be an adult about this, not try to shift blame. The comments that his defense is indicative of remorse are absurd. He is not showing remorse just a huge lack of maturity and responsiblity for his actions. Steve a little advise: admit you were wrong. Then ask for forgiveness for you poor judgment and greed from the court, from the fans and most of all from Jo herself.

Avatar Image says:

She said NO, she meant it. How hard is that to understand. She has to defend her copywrite or lose it. He lost not only the book deal, but his fanbase will not remain. No publisher will touch him after this, no matter the outcome. When you lie and cheat, it comes back to haunt you. He should have learned that lesson as a child.

Avatar Image says:

I was disappointed in Steve Vandar Ark’s testimony, as it endeavors to do little more than to earn sympathy (an attempt at which, judging by the comments so far here, he didn’t succeed). However, I will wait until The Leaky Cauldron provides its own report, as the mainstream media’s coverage of this trial has been, needless to say, deplorable and lacking. Hopefully he delivered statements that are more pertinent to this case.

That said, I must register my astonishment. I would have hoped that Steve Vandar Ark would have consulted with a multitude of copyright lawyers if he had such concerns, and not so naively trusted the representatives at RDR Books. That said, he now unfortunately reminds me of Peter Pettigrew.

Avatar Image says:

Just let this end ¬_¬ I may support Jo but I won’t say anything bad about SVA and shame on those who start scandalizing and putting the man down.

Yes, what he did was bad but consider how this man must be feeling right now. One of his role models is having to do something that even she wishes she didn’t have to do and it’s destroying the poor guy. AND It’s when everyone starts taking shots at people which makes me sick.

I mean “Sort of Karkarov-like. He’s going to end up in a shack up north with the Dark Mark over it.” is APPALLING. I’m sickened that someone would even use that as a way of putting someone down.

I think it’s time for Harry Potter fans to show unconditional love towards this guy, even if you may not agree with what SVA has done. AND let’s not forget that RDR Books has a part in this, where are all the derogative, bullying comments at them huh? Not that I would endorse that… but people seem to have forgotten about them in their rush to put it all on Mr Vander-Ark

I don’t support Steve, but what I do support is fair treatment of others, which people seem to be forgetting.

Chris ¦3

Avatar Image says:

What does John Buechler ’s Troll have to do with Harry Potter other than the main characters names? That movie’s plot has nothing to do with the Harry Potter plot. I’m not sure why he could sue JKR over that (not to mention that there are lots of ‘Harry Potters’ in the world).

Also, I find it disturbing that JKR referred to SVA as a bit obsessed with the Harry Potter world. If you think about it, she deals with obsessed fans everyday of her life. As a fan, I would be heartbroken if she referred to me that way, and I would work to modify my beahvior as a result. I got the stalkerish vibe from him after reading the emails where he requested employment from her publishers.

I wonder if she’ll ask for a restraining order after this?

Regardless if he had concerns over the publishing of the Lexicon or not, he was well informed that she had objections to it. He should have stopped at the first cease letter.

It will be interesting to hear what he said during the proceedings.

Avatar Image says:

Jo, I support you all the way. It’s your right to fight this and I hope you will win.

Avatar Image says:

to Harriett: you confuse 2 different things_website and book. You should read it carefully.

Avatar Image says:

Did anyone see the AP video? Its kinda harsh all the way around. I think people who haven’t been following the story are going to jump to conclusions

http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-CA&brand=sympatico&vid=3c063ed3-7f13-436e-b96c-f8ea6435a511

Avatar Image says:

I don’t think Steve understands how limiting this is to any of his future endeavours. He could have done so much with his life if he just strayed from the horrible decisions he made in this situation. He could have easily backed out of it, and he chose not to.

Avatar Image says:

I saw Jo speaking outside the courthouse in a snipet on the news last night, and she seemed visually shaken from this ordeal. Fight the good fight, Jo!

Avatar Image says:

First, thanks again to Leaky for keeping us informed

Second, let me join Adam, Kiwi, Mizzy and others in asking that people step back from the theatre of the courtroom and from vilifying either SVA or JKR. let’s focus on the main issues, which (as the regular readers/contributers know) we have discussed in detail. To Professor Potter and others who share their legal knowledge and experiences with us, many thanks for patiently steering the conversation back in polite but focused channels!

Avatar Image says:

SVA is a totally unprincipled parasite! There is NO excuse for what he is trying to do! The fact that he is trying to squirm his way out of his responsibility for his own actions is deplorable! RDR Books “talked him into it” indeed! How stupid is he if he thinks that anyone is going to believe that?

I can just hear SVA in a “Geraldine” voice “The DEVIL made me do it!” Most of you are too young to know this tag line but SVA is definitely old enough!

He is 50 YEARS OLD and a LIBRARIAN!!!.... what part of basic copyright infringment and plagarism can he possibly be ignorant of? He stole JKR’s work and wants to profit from it. HE DID IT! HE IS GUILTY! and should not profit from his crime! (Isn’t that the law???)

Also, his allegation that the “encyclopedia” is a recent development (on JKR’s part)... WRONG!!!!! Several years ago, I remember JKR saying in an interview that there was SOOOO much information, so much backstory and so much detail about the Wizarding World that would never make it into the remaining Harry Potter books, that she was seriously thinking about putting it all together in a compendium.

Oh and Chris you said: “what I do support is fair treatment of others..” Please tell me what part of what SVA is doing is FAIR? In order to expect or receive fair treatment from others … one has to exibit fairness one’s own actions toward others.

Avatar Image says:

It seems a lot of people here and in the comments sections of those sites have misunderstood what Vander Ark means by being tricked into it. It’s not that he’s trying to say that he wasn’t after money, he clearly WAS interested in profiting from the publication of his Lexicon, but what he means is that the Publisher tricked him into believing that he was publishing it and profitting from it would not infringe upon Rowling’s copyright as in the case of many other HP Reference manuals that have been published without threats for lawsuits. It is a Publisher’s responsibility to identify and assess whether a work or work in progress is in violation of plagiarism or copyright infringement. Vander Ark is just trying to say that he was led to believe that his writing and rewording was considered adequate enough to be considered legal-free.

Avatar Image says:

I totally support Ms Rowling, and also ChrisCHJ’s comments above.

Avatar Image says:

It seems a lot of people here and in the comments sections of those sites have misunderstood what Vander Ark means by being tricked into it. It’s not that he’s trying to say that he wasn’t after money, he clearly WAS interested in profiting from the publication of his Lexicon, but what he means is that the Publisher tricked him into believing that publishing it and profitting from it would not infringe upon Rowling’s copyright as in the case of many other HP Reference manuals that have been published without threats for lawsuits. It is a Publisher’s responsibility to identify and assess whether a work or work in progress is in violation of plagiarism or copyright infringement. Vander Ark is just trying to say that he was led to believe that his writing and rewording was considered adequate enough to be considered legal-free.

Avatar Image says:

@underscore

I see where you’re coming from, but for a lot of fans it is very frustrating to hear him say this now when in (somewhat recent) earlier interviews he kept saying he was in the right and a win for RDR is a win for the fandom.

Avatar Image says:

No. Leaky announced like last week that they were no longer associated with Lexicon. Good for them. Jo is the only person in my opinion who can write a harry potter encyclopedia, i wouldn’t read any others which are just based on information from the books which jo created. I thinks it’s so lazy that lexicon should try and get money by writing a book on which they created none of it. And by the sound of it, what they’ve writen isn’t even good.

Avatar Image says:

sorry, didn’t mean to send that so many times.

Avatar Image says:

Is there going to be a full transcript up like there was yesterday. I feel I need balanced information to form an opinion. However from the begining of all of this I felt that Steve and RDR books were completely out of order at the end of the day his own “book” wouldn’t exist without JK Rowling. Maybe we won’t get a transcript as it would mean someone from Leaky would have to have been at court today, and that means taking time off work etc… I thought yesterdays transcript was great and obvoiusly a good deal of work had been put into it.

Avatar Image says:

I’m just curious whether Leaky is going to post the same amount of information about the second day as they did about the first? We have been waiting and waiting to hear what Steve’s defence was and these two news posts aren’t really balanced in terms of what was said. I know Leaky has made a stand about their association with the Lexicon (which I completely agree with) but it is still a news site. Cheers.

Avatar Image says:

Mmkay, chappies, let’s not overreact.

He’s not a death eater, he’s just a very naughty boy.

Awaiting Leaky’s report eagerly…

Avatar Image says:

From the WSJ blog - Cendali showed an e-mail from Vander Ark to the host of another Potter fan site. Vander Ark, apparently disillusioned with the deal he struck with RDR in August, wrote: “I am more than willing to dissociate myself with RDR. They have lied to me, misled me, taken advantage of me and in the end ruined my good standing with fans and with Rowling.”

This is very interesting. Who was the other Potter site and what did they say back to Steve. I would love to know that.

This comment was posted on the WSJ blog by someone named Janet and I agree with her 100% -

“I think that sitting on the stand with Jo looking right at him he finally realized just what a mess of things has been made. I’ve been following this case since it’s inception on October 31st. Until the moment of trial he couldn’t keep his trap shut about how a win for RDR would be a win for fans. He dug himself into a hole and discovered that the people he said he was speaking for didn’t agree with him. He’s gone from being one of the unofficial ‘experts’ to a black mark upon fandome. And now, that he is finally upon the stand; he cowers and blames someone besides himself? Did the devil make him do it? Is the devil RDR Books? Dear God, Steve is 50 years old, apparently he is a weak willed individual if he allowed himself risk something he cared about for 8 years. Steve made his bed months ago, and now he has to sleep in it.”

Janet has hit the nail on the head.

Avatar Image says:

Maybe he was tricked, maybe he wasn’t. But look at the last several weeks of his comments on the case, shows that he might be lying to get sympathy from the judge. All I have to say to people defending Steve, why did he ask for RDR to protect him from cases like this?! Just something you should think about.

Avatar Image says:

I do think Leaky dropped the ball on this one… if we’re going to stay fair, then I think that Steve’s words need the same attention that Jo’s got. Personal opinion, but it’s one based in teaching journalism….

Avatar Image says:

Budb

Thank you.

I am actually a criminal lawyer and so restricted my comments to obvious professional client care points and have no desire to trash either set of litigants Jo does seem very emotional about the case and clearly, the whole withdrawal from writing the books is a very hard slog for a self-confessed obssessive/compulsive. No one but her will ever know the emotional highs and lows she has gone through writing the Potter books and she obviously sees the Lexicon as an attack on “one of her children”.

As I said above, good luck to her and for her own peace of mind, the sooner she is home, the better.

Avatar Image says:

I’m disappointed.

I’m disappointed in the fans who write with all their vitriol turned on a middle aged librarian who, I’ve been told, has been fired from his job and received Howlers from many fans, who’s so often been judged for being sloppy by fans who haven’t bothered to read up on the facts, who’s been abandoned by people whom I thought were friends of his – and for what?

For having the temerity to try to publish a book which he believed was legal. It is the publisher’s reponsibility to check that a book is legal, and this publisher assured him it was, with full knowledge of what the book would contain.

For having the apparently unspeakable chutzpah to say that he believed this lawsuit, if he lost it, would set a bad precedent. This was what triggered Leaky’s disassociation with the Lexicon.

I’ve followed this case, and while it may be that RDR is in the wrong. It certainly seems so. But what impressed me most about this case was the eagerness people have to kick someone while he’s down, to spew hatred when the rest of the pack is doing so.

And yes, while I have great respect for Leaky’s measured reporting, and appreciate their allowing me and others a forum for speaking our opinions, I am also disappointed in their decision to make life even worse for someone who’s seen his entire life collapse around him.

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“I do think Leaky dropped the ball on this one… if we’re going to stay fair, then I think that Steve’s words need the same attention that Jo’s got. Personal opinion, but it’s one based in teaching journalism….

Posted by Melissa on April 15, 2008 @ 06:09 PM “

it’s still “office hours” in NY at the moment, I think, sooo… court probably isn’t over yet today.. be patient!!

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underscore, I might be more likely to believe that excuse but for two things: 1) SVA is a fifty-year-old librarian, meaning he is in a unique position to understand issues of copyright, fair use, and plagiarism; and 2) he got his publisher to promise in his contract to assume all legal costs in the event of an infringement lawsuit.

I have never heard of a publisher agreeing to that; it is an extremely unusual concession by a publisher and the fact that he thought to include it, let alone pushed hard enough to get it actually included, in his contract shows that he was not “duped” into this but knew full well what he was getting into.

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also, underscore’s stattement: “It is a Publisher’s responsibility to identify and assess whether a work or work in progress is in violation of plagiarism or copyright infringement” is false. Publishing contracts almost always contain a section that looks something like this: “The Author represents that he is the sole proprietor of the Work and that the Work to the best of his knowledge does not contain any libelous matter and does not violate the civil rights of any person or persons, does not infringe any existing copyright and has not heretofore been published in book form. The Author shall hold harmless and indemnify the publisher from any recovery finally sustained by reason of any violations of copyright or other property of personal right.”

It is absolutely the author’s responsibility to submit an original work that does not infringe on anyone’s copyright, which is why the publisher’s agreement to pay SVA’s legal fees is so unusual.

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Tasha-

Of course he was afraid of copyright violation/ Fair Use problems – after all, it’s a companion book. But the law is not so simple, as I’m sure you can see from following the case. And I don’t know about you, but if a publisher told me they, a small company, would risk being sued by a multibillion dollar team like JKR and WB for my book, I’d be pretty sure that they weren’t expecting the book to be considered copyright violation.

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@LunyLovegood Maybe it’s you who haven’t bothered to read up on facts? All of what I wrote below is in the evidences and testimonials for the trial.

Steve KNEW that the book was illegal. He said as much, right on his website, when someone has asked him if he planned to release the Lexicon as a book. Yet later he agreed to write it and publish it via RDR, and went as far as saying that he’s completely in the right. His contract with RDR has a clause that states that RDR takes full responsibility on the legal front – ever wondered why?

As for kicking someone when he’s down, normally I hate that, too. However, while I believe Steve’s desperation, find it very appalling that, among other things, he pretty much groveled in court, blaming everything on RDR, saying they talked him into publishing the book – after months of behaving as if he was completely right and JKR and WB were deadly wrong.

And I don’t think Leaky reports and comments here have any significant effect on Steve’s collapsing life… but then, he’s dug this hole for himself, and while I believe him when he says he’s sad, he apparently has plans for other books to write and publish. Hopefully he’s learned his lesson.

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Sorry for the screwy grammar, I’m sleepy and I accidentally posted the comment without proofreading it first.

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Maybe SVA has been under the imperius curse? ... Seriously, though, the only books that really matter for the true fans are the seven books that were written by JKR. I have no interest in reading the Lexicon. When I want to go back and revisit the world of Harry Potter, I prefer to just pick up the books again and read them. ... Maybe what SVA could do is sincerely apologize to JKR from the witness stand for causing her pain, and forget about getting the Lexicon published.

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barak, Quoting from Steve’s testimony, which you appear to be referencing:

“For a considerable time I declined these suggestions…There were two reasons for this. First, until the summer of 2007, Ms. Rowling had not completed the series of Potter books, so that any encyclopedia published before that point would be incomplete. Second, until August 2007, I believed that an encyclopedia, in book form, would represent a copyright violation. This was an assumption on my part, however, as a layperson.”

This does not say that he”KNEW that the book was illegal”, does it?

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sorry about the double post

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Actually he did know it was illegal. He has said before the series had even finished that it would be a copyright violation, if he were to try and sell it.

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Luny,

Iif a small company told me they weren’t worried about copyright violation and agreed to pay my legal fees, and did not have dozens of companion books published and an established history with that type of publication, I’d contact an intellectual property attorney and find out what he had to say. A small publisher may or may not have any idea about the legality of something like this, especially one that does not publish books like this on a regular basis. Contrary to what people here seem to be saying, the responsibility for all of this is the author’s, not the publisher’s.

I think it’s pretty clear that RDR Books is in over their heads. I suspect a larger publisher would have demanded significant changes to the lexicon before they agreed to publish it.

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@ lunylovegood: I’m disappointed in the fans who write with all their vitriol turned on a middle aged librarian who, I’ve been told, has been fired from his job and received Howlers from many fans, who’s so often been judged for being sloppy by fans who haven’t bothered to read up on the facts, who’s been abandoned by people whom I thought were friends of his – and for what?

Steve voluntarily quit his job, left his family (that is as far as I’ll discuss his private life), and moved to England to become a writer. He received “howlers” from fans because they were shocked he do something like this, afraid he’d steal their work off his site, and because he’d so vehemently told others in the past not to do what he’s done. Please, do not try to insinuate that we have not carefully followed everything from the moment we knew that a lawsuit had been filed. You are sadly mistaken to believe so.

For having the temerity to try to publish a book which he believed was legal. It is the publisher’s reponsibility to check that a book is legal, and this publisher assured him it was, with full knowledge of what the book would contain.

Wrong again. Steve dissuaded others from trying to publish a book exactly like his. His emails to others on this matter, and posts he freely made on the web, clearly say that to write a book like that would be illegal. Those emails and posts are part of the exhibits listed at justia.com. Then too, he claims he was misled, funny though that it didn’t stop him from covering his backside from potential infringement lawsuits brought only by JK Rowling or her assignees. The contract with that odd clause is also available to be read at justia.com. That speaks volumes.

For having the apparently unspeakable chutzpah to say that he believed this lawsuit, if he lost it, would set a bad precedent. This was what triggered Leaky’s disassociation with the Lexicon.

Sorry, TLC dissassociated from Steve mainly because of his two-faced persona. Saying one thing to the public, another to the readers on his site, another to those who were his friends and business associates. The email in question, that caught him in an outright lie, had to do with an email between he and Melissa. This is why Melissa will not be reporting any further on this case, rather other Leaky staff will be doing all of the reporting of todays testimony. Their report should happen about he same time as it did yesterday, so we’ll be seeing it soon.

i>I’ve followed this case, and while it may be that RDR is in the wrong. It certainly seems so. But what impressed me most about this case was the eagerness people have to kick someone while he’s down, to spew hatred when the rest of the pack is doing so.

And yes, while I have great respect for Leaky’s measured reporting, and appreciate their allowing me and others a forum for speaking our opinions, I am also disappointed in their decision to make life even worse for someone who’s seen his entire life collapse around him.

He has absolutely no one to blame but himself…and yet, he’s blaming RDR. He’s blaming Jo, in a recent interview he actually said that she’d been “ill informed”. On his site, in the comments section, he also posted this little gem of BNF entitlement on March 25, 2008:

“No, I never thought that the fansite award gave permission to print a book. Anyone who is saying that I thought it did never got that from me. I have never said that nor would I.

What I did think was that the award indicated that Rowling was aware of the Lexicon site and of its content and didn’t have copyright issues with it.

Other facts reinforced my belief that the content was known to and okay by Rowling and her lawyers:

- David Heyman, producer of the films, told me that they use the Lexicon “almost every day”

- the Electronic Arts Studio in Guildford, England, has printouts from the Lexicon all over their walls

- Rowling’s own lawyer, Neil Blair, has interacted with me on several occasions about content and I’ve removed or not published anything that asked for

I had every reason to believe that they would have no problem with a book which uses content that they’d clearly approved of. “

Gee, I thought RDR was the big bad publisher who’d MADE him sign that contract, who’d unduly influenced him with lies and false promises. Guess he wasn’t being entirely truthful, huh?

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I hope Melissa was in the courtroom and will be sending us another really long post like the one from last night? I am looking forward to reading it.

This whole case makes me sad. I wish it would just go away, but I also can’t help but want to know all the details.

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That’s what baffles me—he knew it was illegal and continued to do it. And even after the fandom shouted foul, he continued to pursue it.

I’m so sad for him that he has dug himself into this pit. however, he is an adult and being a librarian, should have known the ramifications of his actions.

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Melissa has posted this over on the Leaky Lounge, WB/JKR vs. RDR/SVA Part IX, page 46

“all – I’m on the way home now. I will no longer be posting news updates; I have recused myself from this case from the moment the e-mail in question was mentioned, as it was mine. I have made no news posts since discovering it would potentially be used and took no notes from the moment it was. Kristin will be handling news posts from here on out.

The email is question is from January, and was read out loud after Mr. Vander Ark said he did not feel RDR had lied to or misled him.

I’m sorry that I have to discontinue, but I always said I would recuse myself if this happens. We will still gather as much information for you as we can and post it.

Thanks for understanding, all. We will still be absolutely certain to correct falsehoods that spread as a result of testing, as John was there too and can do so just as easily as I.

<3, Melissa”

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sigh oh pleeease, let it be over soon…

it really sucks, that Leaky kinda get’s in the middle of this…or Melissa. Anybody really. Darn timezones…I’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to make up my mind.

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Oh, big news!

Did you just see? The judge stopped everyone and basically begged the parties to settle the case outside of court, because he said the issues were complicated, the trial could come out either way, and the fair use doctrine is not clear.

This would not be good news for JKR/WB, I would think. Basically since fair use doctrine is not clear in this case, it looks like it will mean that authors will have to much more rigorously defend their rights in the future. Sad day.

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‘Cendali showed an e-mail from Vander Ark to the host of another Potter fan site. Vander Ark, apparently disillusioned with the deal he struck with RDR in August, wrote: “I am more than willing to dissociate myself with RDR. They have lied to me, misled me, taken advantage of me and in the end ruined my good standing with fans and with Rowling.” ‘

When did he write this? What website was it written to? Is he not allowed, by the terms of his agreement with RDR, to come out and say this kind of thing publicly?

If he made $6500 on the website, is that not including any web hosting costs? My family could live on that for almost 3 months. If I had a website with that much traffic, I’d come up with a way to monetize it without infringing on someone’s copyright and be a happy camper.

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Is Steve trying to make the court believe he was an unwilling partner in this fiasco??? For goodness sakes, did RDR force him to go ahead with the book against his will???

He admits to having reservations about the copyright issues, but still he pressed on. Some of the comments defending him seem very naive to me. I am also very sorry that this has happened. I loved the Lexicon. It was an amazing resource. But in fact, it may have been his own naivety that landed him in court. Whatever the reason, Steve is a bright guy and ultimately this unhappy affair is his responsibility.

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@ Mrs Lovegood, who said: When did he write this? What website was it written to? Is he not allowed, by the terms of his agreement with RDR, to come out and say this kind of thing publicly?

From Melissa Anellis, TLC:

“The email is question is from January {2008), and was read out loud after Mr. Vander Ark said he did not feel RDR had lied to or misled him.”

The email was used to catch SVA in an outright lie in his sworn testimony.

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When you read how Steve cried a bit and things like that, I’m starting to wonder if he hasn’t already regretted this, but now it’s just all too late to back out…

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Is Melissa, ok? I sense a vibe of distress from the poor girl according to smlt76’s post above. Whatever the hell this email is, forget about it. Go home and rest. Even a BBC/NBC/CCN reporters dont work as hard you! Focus on your book but more important, get some rest :(

The last few posts here is giving me some shivers of doom and gloom, is there some twist to the plot going on here? I’m confused. I’ll wait for Leaky’s update or check the news.

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Dudley, Melissa, be patient. Melissa posted news late last night, so there may be a summary up later this evening.

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Nevermind, I just saw what Melissa said on the Leaky Lounge. I guess it makes sense that she stopped taking notes since her name was brought up in the case. Still, I think it would be important to post as much info as we can, and I hope another site or news outlet does do that.

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wow. its… SCARY to believe that the court could ever posssibly believe all of that. jo’s testimony was more real and more heartfelt! also- jo didn’t give steve different dates for the timeline, steve didn’t find dates for the timeline—theyre in the book! the two timelines are going to be the same!!!!

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No worries, mollywobble’s…Kristin and the rest of the TLC team have taken over the reporting from Melissa. We will have a detailed report update sometime this evening.

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Oh no, I’m sorry that Melissa got dragged into it! I hope it’s for the best, though… only time will tell. :/

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Don’t worry Melissa, we all apperciate your hard work ; ) I hope that comment from the judge, saying the about the issue of fair use, isn’t true. Makes me think he could be influenced to give the wrong judgement.

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Awesome Cara. I just wasn’t sure if others from TLC were in attendance or not.

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Oh, Steve! I still love you? What has he done that’s so wrong? He hasn’t hurt anyone! Even if this is for the money for him, he’s not a bad guy. I think he should have given up a long time ago, when Jo first expressed her concerns, but he is still devoted to this fandom. Reading that report of the case… poor Steve.

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I think I see now, Melissa is stopping reporting because her name has been brought into the proceedings. That’s very understandable as she would effectively be reporting about herself! Melissa has been extraordinary with her journalism, thus far. More than deserves a rest now. So come on John Noe, your turn to do some work, got your quill? ;)

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Melissa has been awesome during all of this. I hope she gives her notes to John so he can do the update. She said on Lounge that he was in the courtroom with her. Perhaps John can take the notes, if he’s up to it, now that Melissa can’t. Or is Kristin in NY?

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I just want this over. I know Jo’s right and I support her fully but that doesn’t mean I have to bash Steve. I hate how we’re all going crazy over this, Steve and Leixcon were a big part of the community and the site a least deserves our respect.

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Sorry about double post

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Thank you for understanding, guys. I cannot say you are wrong, PP, about the distress vibe, as today was an extraordinarily hard day in court if you had a personal history in this case.

We wll collect Steve’s and the others’ statements from other sources and post them on the page later. It will have to depend on Kristin’s schedule, though, so it might not be at the same time as last night. This has prevented me from giving same-treatment to Steve’s words, as my notes are not going to be used now.

However, if we see a falsehood in the press, we will correct it.

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The whole situation just sickens me. Reading that whole article from the first day of trial I actually started to cry a bit. I just don’t understand why it had to come to this. I can’t imagine how difficult this situation must be for both sides although I do fully support Jo.

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Melissa, Thank you so much for your hard work. This is the right thing to do. I’m not sure if you can comment on this, but according to the WSJ, the judge stopped the proceedings and told both sides that they should consider settling. If you were there, could you comment on the mood of the court at that point? Do you think a settlement is possible? If you don’t feel comfortable commenting on that, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a pest. I’m just trying to understand the judge’s words in context.

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Oh please, Steve! You’re a grown man, so take care of yourself. He doesn’t sound nearly as cocky as he did just a few weeks ago.

And Jo’s right about him not comprehending some of the Potter plot. I hated listening to him on PotterCast, he’s the main reason I stopped listening.

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I know you guys are gonna write about this—Dan Slater on WSJ LawBlog has a second post up (6:12pm).

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/04/15/judge-in-potter-trial-calls-on-parties-to-settle/?mod=WSJBlog#comment-186479

“Judge in Potter Trial Calls on Parties to Settle”

My gut-reaction (and that is ALL it is) is that judge was touched by testimony of both Jo and SVA but he’s leaning toward a legal win for RDR.

But a “win” for RDR is not necessarily a win. RDR Publishing will go bankrupt from the expense of appeals before the Book is ever published and SVA’s reputation is tattered beyond repair.

I hope they will stop and settle. Something that leaves all parties (esp Jo and SVA and even that ass RDR) with a bit of dignity.

But, what in the world can the settlement be but “Don’t publish the Lexicon Book”. There has to be something that RDR receives in exchange. I would hope there would also be some kind of public rapprochement between Jo and SVA.

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Come on you guys. He has been doing the Lexicon all along. Everyone looked at this from time to time. If Jo did not want him doing the Lexicon she should have said something years ago. Why was it OK to provide this timeline etc. when it was for free? It is not like he is going to be writing anything other than what he has already put into his web site. There are books already out there written by other authors. Why is his the only one being sued??

Bottom line—the lexicon’s free, a book wouldnt be.

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But, Kevin—The Lexicon site was an ever-evolving fan-generated site. It is very good for what it is. It wasn’t an Authority, which is what the printed book would be.

What I mean is that, as a fan site, its faults could be overlooked. They were charming!

As a printed book (have you read what RDR wanted to rush into print in time for Christmas?) it’s kind of a big mess.

What a shame SVA didn’t have a good book agent to advise him (and I don’t mean going to Jo’s agent) because before this mess he had a very good reputation & a respected place in fandom. A good agent would’ve advised him NOT to pursue the Lexicon, but use it as a calling card for getting book deals on other HP related topics.

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PS – Interesting comment on WSJ LawBlog (I edited it):

” ...it is the very very rare trial in Federal District Court that the Judge does not put pressure on the parties to settle — every day. ... Most Judges apply a lot more pressure than appears to have been done here — Judge Patterson appears pretty gentle in his suggestion. Judges will often take the parties into chambers and emphasize to each party the abject weakness of their case. So don’t read too much into the Judge’s suggestion.

”... Some Judges will rule more often in favor of the side the Judge will ultimately rule against in order to provide the strongest possible ruling against being overturned on appeal. If one side got everything they wanted and still lost, there are presumably less grounds on which an appeal may be based. This, of course, only may work in bench, that is non-jury, trials.” Comment by KT – April 15, 2008 at 8:53 pm

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Melissa,

Your thorough journalism will be missed, but your level of professionalism can never be questioned.

As to Steve, I just shake my head. Didir said it best on page 1 of the comments: I also expect to see the Dark Mark over some shack somewhere. Now he tosses RDR under the bus, too? Sounds to me like someone got a taste of the ‘get rich kool-aid’ and has given up everything dear to him for it. What a shame.

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I’m beginning to think this is a lot more complicated than just Jo’s right, Steve’s wrong. Of course, Jo has a point – this book could be copyright infringement.

But her choices are strange. She didn’t just give the lexicon an A for effort – she said it was her natural home and claimed to have used it herself. Now she calls it sloppy. Hmm.

The divide between internet and the published book is not that great. Far more people have seen the lexicon online than will ever see it in published form. Its an old school form of thought that says that one thing is copyright infringement and the other isn’t (possibly the only difference is that the internet is hard to legislate for?)

Sorry guys – I feel for Jo on this one, but I can’t help but think that its got more to do with the fact that she wants to release her own encyclopedia than anything else. Why hasn’t she gone after any other publishers before this? Why the lexicon? Is it any more or less sloppy than other books that have ridden off the back of her hard work?

And does anyone really think that a book version of the lexicon will sell that well when those of us who are interested have seen it online for free already? Simply saying ‘I don’t endorse this’ probably would have been enough to kill it dead. This I fear, will make it even more attractive to casual fans.

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Classic (I almost wrote, “textbook”) example of throwing someone under the bus here. I feel for Vander Ark, but this sounds bad.

It sounds like Steve knows he is going to lose his case. From what I heard from the AP, he was at least smart enough to word his contract with RDR so that they take all the liability.

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No, Leaky is not associated with Lexicon anymore, there was a post about it at the beginning all of this came about.

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Oops, sorry lol read only the first page and thought it was the latest comment. I dont think Steve has a change in it, I think that he is just trying becuase of the publishing company. Steve knew what he was doing, I think he just didnt know if he could legally get away with it or not.

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I actually feel kind of bad for Steve. I think he’s wrong, and I think he has been wrong all along, but I’m wondering if maybe he’s just gotten in over his head with this whole court case. I mean, lawyers are supposed to convince people that they have a case with ANYTHING—otherwise how would they make a living? Sounds like Steve COULD have been talked into it by them, you know? Anyway, I’m just very sad over this whole thing because it reminds me of Dumbledore’s one line about “how often this happens, even between the best of friends!” I don’t think Steve had bad intentions. I think he just got led down a path too easily without stopping to think what he was doing. If he wants to get off that road, he still has time. I feel like Jo would forgive him if he apologized. And I think the fan community would, too. I just hope we can resolve this whole thing without having to resort to bitter divisions that end up lasting for years, like some kind of Gryffindor-Slytherin thing.

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No Harriett sadly the Leaky Cauldron has severed ties with the Lexicon.

I just hope both parties settle amicably. It’s sad to see that such good relations have soured. Rowling undoubtedly is the genius and the reason why we’re all here, but I also appreciated Vander Ark’s website – it got me to be a really big Harry Potter fan. I don’t think it is sloppy work – the website is well researched and the average fan wouldn’t be able to figure all that out by themselves. She did praise it herself. Perhaps the book version is different from the website.

I hope he can suitably change the content of the book to include the essays from the website and more commentary and still be able to publish it. I’m sure there are people who would appreciate Ark’s book if it was amended to suit Rowling’s wishes. I’m sure Rowling herself would appreciate the book if it included more commentary and criticism. It should also follow basic citation guidelines and credit her work.

She is contributing the proceeds of her companion book to the Children’s Voice and other charities. I can’t wait to read it. If this court business settles quickly, she’ll get her book out faster. If given a choice, I would be more interested to read her version because it is the official companion book. But the lexicon would be a good book for fans researching the series. It is very user friendly. I have used it countless times.

Good luck to both sides. Hope they settle this without bitterness. I’m sure neither of them really want to be there. Godspeed

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Just a comment in response to the WSJ blog comment about judges putting pressure on litigants to settle:

This is a bit misleading. I’m a trial lawyer and have handled thousands upon thousands of cases. In every single case, the judge pressures the litigants to settle, regardless of the merits, because the American court system is beyond overburdened. (Right now, about 3% of American cases go to trial. If even 10% did, the system would collapse.)

There are two things that are unique here. One, the judge pressured the parties to settle on the record. This is exceptionally rare. Usually the judge will call the lawyers back into chambers to do the pressuring, for a variety of reasons—judges don’t want to seem like they’re doing something improper (they’re not, but it’s easy for people, especially the media, to take something from a court record out of context), judges feel more comfortable addressing lawyers without clients around to listen, and everyone can discuss things more freely and frankly back in chambers than they can formally, on the record.

In this case, the judge made his comments on the record - which says to me that the judge wanted the parties, not just the lawyers, to hear what he had to say. The judge probably believes that the clients are more willing to settle than the lawyers are - that’s what he means when he says that he thinks this is a lawyer-driven case. This points at a tremendous lack of faith, on the judge’s part, in the lawyers—a colossal slap on the face for the lawyers representing all the parties. In my experience, when the judge flatly states, on the record, that a case is lawyer-driven, he’s basically saying that he doesn’t believe the lawyers are representing their clients well or honorably.

The second thing that is unique is that the judge said all these things on the record during trial. As I mentioned, judges will pressure litigants to settle often simply to get a case off the docket. In this case, that bridge had already been crossed—the case was in trial. There was really no time to save at this point, because the judge’s calendar would’ve been cleared for as long as the trial was supposed to last. This means that the judge was urging a settlement based on the merits of the case alone. And I can see his point. Intellectual property is an extremely fuzzy area of the law, because the law wants to protect both creators and innovators, and the rights of the two often clash.

It is extremely rare for a judge to comment on the merits of a case on the record. Off the record, back in chambers, judges will often point out strengths and weaknesses in the parties’ cases, but almost never on the record. Judges have the obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

I don’t think what the judge did here was improper. From what I’ve read, it sounds like he has a lot more faith in the parties than in the lawyers. Since judges usually are a lot more comfortable with the lawyers, I find that extremely interesting.

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Ugh. Screwed up on the coding; I did not mean for those words to be crossed out.

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Why is the press so blatantly sympathetic to Steve? I just read an article in the New York Times that was so unbiased and sympathetic ttoward Steve that it angered me. That kind of bias isn’t journalism, that’s FOX News.

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WTF

Melissa, don’t worry about that, youll be fine

(just know YOUR book will be sure to gain A LOT of money from A LOT of fans who are totally willing to buy your book! Your book is NOT just taking jo’s work and rearranging it)

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I too deplore the constant wacking on SVA but I can certainly understand the anger behind it: a lot of fans feel very betrayed. And from the sounds of it, more than a few web-sites’ staff are feeling equally equally dismayed and let down by people they had counted as friends.

My most heart-felt thanks and hugs are extended to the entire Leaky Staff, and most especially Melissa, for their very professional handling of an incredibly painful situation. At the end of the day, there really will be no winners: the fandom’s trust has been shaken by the actions of one of its more well-known voices, and a beloved author had to spend time explaining why 17 years of her life’s work should be protected from theft instead of being able to devote time to her family and her writing.

(I take that back: the lawyers billing hourly for this mess are definitely winning.)

In close, I sincerely hope this will be settled soon (AND in Jo’s favor) so we can focus on the books, and not the drama of the last few months.

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I read on another blog that Melissa can’t report on this anymore because correspondence to her was mentioned as evidence today. Don’t know if any of that is true, but in any case we have the trusty John Dawlish in the courtroom too.

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I didn’t know having passion for a book series meant pocketing $24.95 in royalties from the author’s created content and planned project of which they had intended to do for charity. This whole ordeal just shows what lengths people will take their “passion” in order to get money and fame, even if it means treading on other people and their creations in utmost disregard of their ownership rights. Lockhart comes to mind. I hope this case ends soon, and with a fair conclusion. Hang in there, Jo!

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Does anyone else agree that the Lexicon was/is sloppy and unorganized? From an un-biased standpoint, I’ve always found it to be about as much help as Wikipedia.

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Thank You to Melissa, John, Sue and the rest of the Leaky crew for their hard work, personal effort, and angst over this proceeding. Chin up and here’s hoping that it all turns out for the best.

_

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I hate people like Gwynnie who don’t understand subtleties. The Lexicon is the only one being sued at the moment because other companion books actually add commentary and original analysis to their books, and the Lexicon didn’t. The Lexicon does not have scholarly value, since anything you read in the Lexicon can be found in the HP books themselves or in a Latin dictionary. An index of the HP books is fine and good, but it was sheer nerve (or stupidity?) of SVA to try to sell it for $24.95 a pop. I’m sure he feels bad now and his tears were genuine, but he should have known better. In fact, he DID know better, but was arrogant enough to think that he could get away with it and that fandom would support him.

I wish I could send Jo a fruit basket or something to show my support.

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I for one am supporting Steve. The Lexicon has never shown anything but the upmost respect for Jo and is well done. To call it sloppy is an insult. I think Jo has become a little sue happy. Love ya Jo, but I am highly dissapointed in you at the moment.

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Playerking315 – I’ve never been impressed by the Lexicon and I’m not just saying that because I’m on Jo side. I wouldn’t say it’s sloppy but I think its way over-rated. The layout is terrible.

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Shii: Please, stop trying to confuse the SITE with the BOOK – they are two entirely diffferent things.

Jo’s comments were about the book and only the book.

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I’ve never been all that impressed with this case on SVA behalf anyway!bUT i HOPE THIS CASE IS RESOLVED-bad karma is not a good thing!!!!!! I am however,in favor of the belly-They can’t put all of us down. Jim

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I’m a big fan of JKR and the series. I’ve also been a frequent user of the lexicon. If it were me, I wouldn’t have pressed on with publishing had I heard from WB/JKR…but that’s just me.

What I can’t get over is the underlying reason most of you guys/gals are mad at SVA…that he would dare use JKR’s work to make money. My opinion of it is that he isn’t the first, or the last to make a buck off her work (right or wrong). Everyone has different talents that they have/will apply in said pursuit of money from Harry. Melissa will eventually make a lot of money from her book about franchise/fandom (talent in writing). Emerson has basically said he’s made a fortune off the franchise (talent in overall vision and creativity with his site). SVA would/could have made a fortune off the franchise (talent in organizing what was spread out over seven books). I could go on about the people who have/will make money off the franchise, but it isn’t necessary….SVA wouldn’t be the first or last to do so.

As for what SVA has said in interviews, court, emails, etc…none of us will ever know what is behind his statements. It is certainly possible that they’ve coached him…and maybe even forced him to to say/not-say certain things. I think this is very plausible considering what RDR now has on the line. The point is that none of us will ever know.

I know it’s been brought up in a couple posts before, but I am very disappointed in JKR because she’s started to personally attack SVA and the lexicon. She/WB have used his site’s material, she was quoted about how much she liked the site, and even gave the thing an award. Now all of a sudden the lexicon is sloppy and misses the point….come -on. I think it was a month or so she questioned his “fan-hood” or whatever you’d want to call it…could there be anything more ridiculous than this? This guy spent 8-9 years maintaining a site because he wanted to, because he loved the work so much….doesn’t seem like a bad fan to me. Finally, since the beginning of all of this I feel like JKR has insulted our intelligence. Does she really want me to believe that if SVA publishes an encyclopedia, it would take away from the sale of her encyclopedia? This is the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard. If there were a lexicon encyclopedia, would I buy it? Maybe. If I did buy it, would said purchase stop me from buying an encyclopedia by JKR herself? Absolutely not. I’m confident that 99.9% of you would have said the same thing.

All that being said, I can definitively say that I’ll read whatever JKR writes in the future. I think she’s a great writer, and I’ll always be a fan. I just wish a) this would be over, and b) people would stop acting like SVA was the worst man in the history of the world…he, like Melissa, like wizard-rock bands, like Emerson is just a fan trying to make a buck off of his passion.

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Oh my god! I hate when jo gets mad! Is it true she called the lexicon “sloppy?” Even if he win or if this whole suit never happend, i still wouldn’t buy the book? Who would pay money for something we have right here? This whole thisng is stupid and i hope it ends soon…

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I hope SVA is comming to his senses and will drop this whole mess

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Well said php. I basically agree with your statement. I just can’t get over how incredibly one-eyed Harry Potter fans are when it comes to their author.

This issue is far from a straight-forward case as the judge himself has said, so people burning SVA at the proverbial stake is far from productive.

And Jo has, I fear, painted herself into a corner by going after one person and not the many others that have also benefitted from her work.

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And by the way, while I understand Melissa’s reasons for not continuing to report on the case, I hope we’ll soon see a detailed report on what SVA said in court. I think that would only be fair.

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phd:

I believe that there is a difference between ‘making a buck off of his passion’ and pure plagiarism. Melissa’s book is about the fans/fandom of HP, not simply the entire world of HP that JKR created. She will be using references from the book and will include a list of her sources, therefore credit will go where credit is due. I don’t believe that Vander Ark is giving credit where it is due. An encyclopedia of JKR’s world is just that. There may be no critiques, no essays, no original thoughts on the series for all we know, and that is why WB felt the need to sue, and why JKR supported that decision.

Other books will have complied will copyright laws – kept open communications with WB and JKR, which is why they were allowed to be published. RDR books has refused to do any such thing. Why? Because, in my opinion, they are just money-grabbing, attention-seeking slugs. Teir case holds no substance, and yet I will be very sad if the judge rules in favour of RDR.

i fully support JKR and her decision to stand against such blatant plagiarism.

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I still can’t believe hebrought it this far…it’s terrible…

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Anita:

I was thinking the same thing, because even his statement about the Lexicon being the better parts of nine years of his life, was verbatim what JKR had stated when interviewed about Harry Potter’s world after DH was released.

Additonally, do you all think if JKR is going to write a more detailed version of Madam Pince in the “Scottish Book” after this incident, because I would?!

Also, I studied court testimonies, and what we have learned is that Van Der Ark is highly coached here. Nothing he said was improv’d or straight from the heart, he has to prove his case, and the best way to do that is appeal to the Judge that he didn’t want to waste tax payers dollars for the publication of this book. It’s all an act that’s also why he has avoided the media, SVA isn’t making his own decisions right now.

And to I’m right you’re….full of _. Perhaps, you should start with facts to instill an argument versus your personal opinions. I know how cool it must feel to go against the grain on this one, but SVA is ripping off the fans….all those that helped him set up the Lexicon’s information, printing false information, and asking us to pay him versus leaving the Lexicon as is on-line for all to use. [He’s the one who thinks the Potter fans are stupid and won’t realize the difference]. This is my opinion based on the facts above, an argument.

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Though I don’t condone the personal attacks on SVA, but I understand Jo’s anger and frustration with him. She showed support for his site, and gave him appreciation for it. Now with him trying to publish it as a book, he is pretty much trying to stab her in the back. He choose greed first, and being a fan second.

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My first response to his ‘upset’ is ‘aw diddums’. Sorry but I have no sympathy for him.

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SVA should have consulted his OWN attorney before agreeing to writing a book with this publisher. I have no doubt that this Rapaport is a predator, SVA sounds like he was duped, but he should have known better.

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if he is a true fan, he should drop the RDR book! It upsets our JKR! Gosh!

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I think there are is an important point that is getting lost here.

It’s really very difficult to “get out” of a publishing contract. All of the commentators who are saying that SVA should have just dropped the idea after JKR objected to it don’t seem to realize that.

I know this because a blog writer I read frequently tried for a year to get out of having to write a book that she signed a contract to write and in the end was still forced into writing it.

Also, the legal issues really aren’t obvious. Given that there is a court case going on where even the judge is saying its murky, I think it is not unreasonable to say that when SVA signed the contract, he had been convinced that it was legal – he says that when he wrote on the website it would be illegal, it was an assumption based on a layman’s understanding of the law. A lawyer talking to him may well have easily convinced that he didn’t understand the nuances of the law.

And, let us be a little real about the amount of profit that SVA could have ever expected as a first time writer with a 10,000 book run – and then split between the main website writers. Saying that SVA was only in it for the money is kind of stretching it in my mind – there just isn’t enough money involved.

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GO JO! If you say NO means NO! Thanks for creating HP. May you win this one.

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@Vicki K.

“Well said php. I basically agree with your statement. I just can’t get over how incredibly one-eyed Harry Potter fans are when it comes to their author.

This issue is far from a straight-forward case as the judge himself has said, so people burning SVA at the proverbial stake is far from productive.

And Jo has, I fear, painted herself into a corner by going after one person and not the many others that have also benefitted from her work.”

People are people and regardless of how reasonable one may be in many situations, when there is what has been described as a “personal stake”, people often become UNreasonable. And I am talking about a LOT of people here… the fans, SVA, JKR… and so, things are said in the heat of emotional turmoil.

I sometimes think that onemight speculate as to which party’s emotional turmoil may be viewed as valid, and then I quickly stop and try and expunge such thinking, because who am I to judge. I look, rather, for some logic, some reason for things being said or progeressing in certain directions (and when it is not there, then I can only leave t alone, because, again, I am far from qualified to judge… most of us.. the vast majority, in fact, are equally unqualified in that regard).

So I deplore the tone taken by some supporters of BOTH sides of this issue, and fervently have hoped the issues were the focus. In that regard, I have a theory as to why SVA is now saying things that appear to contradict his earlier statements.

Remember that the indemnification clause in the RDR/SVA contract, which everybody has noted is an unusual inclusion in such a contract, was specifically regarding this issue and this author only. It has been speculated here and elsewhere that one result of an RDR loss (and probably even of a settlement should the case be settled by the parties directly) is going to be a suit (and possibly a counter-suit) between RDR and SVA. Could this now be an effort to set the stage for various offensive/defensive positions in such a case? Perhaps SVA is trying to establish that he relied on RDR and was, therefore, misled by them, as a primary defence against an RDR lawsuit, or possibly as a primary offense in a suit against RDR by SVA.

It is certainly a plausible possibility, at least in my opinion. But that is to come later. First this case must reach whatever ultimate concluson it is heading for.

BTW, the statement by WB outside the courtroom regarding their position is an attempt to set the stage for negotiations between the parties in the event of a settlement. I am trying very hard to envision what kind of settlement could possibly be arrived at between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants. And remember, there is no settlement to be had, at this point, between the Plaintiffs and SVA… he is not a named defendant.

One last point regarding JKR’s presence in the courtroom during SVA’s testimony. As you all remember, SVA was not present during JKR’s testimony, and many have or might say how come JKR was there for SVA’s. Again, remember that as SVA is NOT a defendant in this case, he can be asked to leave or to not attend (a not unsusual occurence). JKR, however, cannot be barred, because she is one of the named Plaintiffs.

Everybody, take it easy, tone down the rhetoric, have some respect, even if you don’t feel it is earned or deserved. Please remember that one never knows when that little bit of respect that is shown will come back to help you someday.

At least in my humble opinion!

M.

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Can we get 90% accurate quotes like we did on day one with Jo? Or is this a don’t quote Steve’s side of the lawsuit area?

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Snape:

Melissa said earlier in the comments that since an email to her was brought up during testimony yesterday, she can’t report on this anymore – journalistic ethics :)

Kirsten is now doing it, and she may not have the sort of notes Melissa took during day 1.

It is unfortunate, but its not the Leaky’s fault.

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To Elizabeth:

Thank you so much for your amazingly informative post – it really helped clear things up for me. I was confused by the judge’s comments on settlement and that the case was lawyer-driven!

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Elyzie,

You’re welcome. :)

But what the judge said is apparently having little effect on the lawyers. They settled minor parts of the case but informed the court they intended to proceed on the fair use issue. I know clients can be stubborn sometimes, but when the judge actually makes a point of commenting on the merits of the case during trial, urging settlement, and darkly implying that the lawyers aren’t doing their jobs, you’d think that would make everyone in the room realize that the judge believes they’re all making a colossal mistake.

It’s fairly easy to see that the lawyers just want their chance at the Supremes. I’m a little befuddled that the clients are going along with it.

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Quick! Someone remind me why I ever liked JK Rowling!

Does any serious HP fan believe that her encyclopedia would suffer even if there were 10,000 Lexicons that preceeded it? She alone has the ability to create new Canon!

If she wins this case, I will dismantle my site. Can’t face the legal risk!

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@ caius marcius:

And around and around we go….please pay attention to what’s previously been posted, stated as fact within the trial, or presented in the media about the trial.

This lawsuit is not about the website, in fact JKR’s allowance for fan sites is the main reason they are at trial right now. The lawsuit is about the book, you need to cite sources, there is only so much of your published material that can be derived of secondary sources before it’s illegal, and you need to get the original author’s/researcher’s okay ahead of time. If you were writing a newspaper column, journal article blog, or web site than no it doesn’t follow with the same guidelines.

JKR doesn’t believe her “Scottish Book” will suffer, but believes it to be a scam on the Harry Potter fandom to allow a book to published with Harry Potter’s name that has false, misleading information, and ask payment when at first it was offered as free. WB’s case is to prove that RDR’s publishing of HPL will violate Fair Use, the copyright infringement is another bag of issues. A concept under Fair Use is that a desired to be published book will conflict within the general market with an original author’s book, so JKR had to prove that her “Scottish Book” would have the same and greater components than HPL, and that the publication of HPL produces false documents that will be presented in her “Scottish Book.”

Now like it or not the FCC (America) is going to start restricting internet, much like it does with our news and television programming, that has nothing to do with this lawsuit.

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Whilst J. Rowling may have some argument about copyright infringement, i cannot see how this is any worse than what is on the website. okay so he may be making some money out of it, but so what? Its not like she needs anymore, i personally feel she is just being greedy. it make me laugh when se says she is protecting her work whilst she has allready sold the movie rights, and let some very shody films be made, and now is making a theme park. how much money does this women want?

She is not some superwomen like you all make out, she is human and is not the only person in the world who went through a tough patch in life. Fair enough maybe this book does go to far, but how can any of us really comment on any of this at a personal level, we have not seen the book, and we do not know either S. Vander Ark or J. Rowling personaly.

from, a fan of the books!

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Nik- If you read the trancripts of the court documents you will see that she does not want more money. She is donating 100% of the profits to charity for her Encyclopedia and she has already donated 100% of the profits for her two supplementary books. She has repeated that this is not about money, it is about her right as an author to manage her own creations of which she owns the legal rights.

SVA is taking what she has spent the last 17 years working on and simply reaaranging it into an alphabetical list. Since it does not provide sufficient commentary or analysis, it is plagiarism. The transcripts also say that SVA scanned all of her books so that he could cut and paste from them. How is this not blatent plagiarism?

Also, for those of you who believe that he was suckered in to this by RDR, he was not. He was a librarian for years and STUDIED copyright laws. He even talked at seminars about how the internet violates all sorts of copyright laws. He knew full well that he was breaking the law.

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