JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: MSNBC Editorial

112

Apr 18, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC
Uncategorized

In this MSNBC opinion piece, author Helen A.S. Popkin, who appears to think that J.K. Rowling is in the wrong, advises the author to settle the case (as also suggested by the judge), explains how the Internet and the Creative Commons license have changed creative practice, and likens Steve Vander Ark to Harry Potter:

“Then there’s that kid himself, Mr. Vander Ark. (Yeah, I know he’s 50, but he’s still a kid.) Dude gave up “Star Trek” for you! And now you’re playing a game of weepy mental chase with a kid who made a Voldemort reference on the stand ¦ which of course, makes him Harry Potter. You’re suing Harry Potter!”

The editorial links to another opinion piece on Newsvine:

“Dear J.K. Rowling,
Suing one of your biggest fans ever is starting to make you look like a crazy person. This is something you might want to think twice about, since this here lawsuit is fixin’ to have ramifications on copyrights and the InterWeb for years and years to come.”

Newsvine invites readers to comment.





234 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: MSNBC Editorial

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Wow.

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I’m waiting whole day to read something about the trial here on Leaky! Hm…lady is weirdo! I agree what she says about Mr.Vander(funny:D),but I disagree about what she said about Jo! Don’t you dare to call Jo a crazy person!

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Ark may still be 5 years old on a maturity scale, but he still has no right to copy Jo’s hard work, I am supporting her 100 %...

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I’m flabbergasted (or how you may spell it) that some autors thinks it’s right to copy some work of another

I stand by JKRowling.. Not because I think she’s just great (what is actually true) but just because it’s pure plagiarisme of SVA.. nothing more, nothing less..

Of course, I’m not the judge, neither a Trelawney, so I can’t predict what the outcome will be.. I can just hope..

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Folks, I said this before, I am saying it now: We do not want JKR /WB to win this one. It will hurt creativity & stifle intellectual freedom. If JKR want to write an encylopedia, do so. If it is better, it will out sell the other one. If not … better luck next time.

Do not take it it personally either. This is mainly about $$, keeping it for WB. Copywrites use to expire in 7 years, then they extended it to the life of the auther. Now it is 99 years. JKR has made her $$ writing a wonderful set of books. WB wants to keep HP as their cash cow.

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She keeps calling SVA Jo’s biggest fan in that Newsvine post…. I’m pretty sure her “biggest fan” should have backed out when a long time ago. Although I really don’t hold any malice or ill-will to SVA, I thought what she said was pretty stupid.

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‘dude’, get your facts straight.

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Ms. Popkin has missed the point on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin…

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Also at Ed, maybe I’m being a little naive here, but I don’t know if it would effect the HP fandom either way. If Jo is right that more people will try to write their own HP books that would infringe on copyrights it could get a little bad. But I really don’t think she wants to hurt the online fandom, but you can take this with a grain of salt anyway because I’m definitely not sure on this case or the outcome either way.

Also, this is something that I would take as not being totally for money for WB. First off, Jo is definitely a part of it, and she knows she has plenty of money and just wants to give to charity now. Also I don’t think the Lexicons book would hurt the Scottish book that bad, since most fans that would buy the Lexicons’ would also want the new info from the Scottish book.

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I’ve always had respect for the Lexicon-such a great place to veiw time lines and spells-it was creative-but don’t you think that the Harry Potter universe has a right to expand-Ever since i read the first book and caught the Salem Institute in the fourth one, i’ve been writing a novel about a wizard in the states who goes undercover overseas to protect an assination attempt on Hermonie Granger, which leads to a greater plan involving Harry and Ginny’s children, by a cult of evil wizards known as “The order of the Snake”, will that be wrong? will Jo sue or encourage me?I think Jo has every reason to be angry, but didn’t Jo recognized the site once? I just don’t get it- I hope a resolvement can be reached. Long Live Potter, Long Live Rowling and Long Live The Lexicon!

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I meant tht the Wizard prevents and unfolds a plot on Granger’s life.

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I really don’t know why some people seem to be finding it so hard to distinguish between fan-fic, books with commentry and analysis and what SVA seems to have done, which is take all of JKR’s work, including phrases and sentances used in her published, copyrighted work, mix it up and try to make a profit out of it. really.

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Zulufirebolt,

I think your book would get the attention of Jo/WB’s lawyers very quickly. Anything published for profit that uses Jo’s characters, without a license/permission, would violate copyright, IMO.

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Zulufirebolt

The chances are that publishers will reject your novel on the basis that it is copyright infringing. Wait, try RDR, not only would they probably publish it, they’d indemnify you against lawsuits.

Or what you should do is finish your novel, then change the names so that they are no longer JKR characters. Then you would probably be ok, since it sounds like your plot has little resemblance to HP.

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Um, could someone post a link to the MSNBC article, please? It doesn’t appear in the news post, and Google is letting me down.

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Link to MSNBC article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24189855

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Ed, personally I disagree with you. JKR is simply doing what every copyright holder has a right to due: fight to protect her copyright. If it turns out that she wins, nothing will change. There will not be any significant changes in terms of copyright or intellectual freedom. If RDR wins due to Fair Use, you’ll simply see a bunch of HP encyclopedia rip offs, and other encyclopedias designed for other fandoms and communities. Once again, that precedent won’t be all that bad for either copyright holders or writers of companion books. However, if RDR wins due to implied license, then this fandom and future fandoms will be in serious trouble. Did JKR give Steve Vander Ark license to print his book by allowing the on-line version? If the court says yes, expect other copyright owners to stifle any fan endeavor that might become profitable.

I wish I could say I came up with this on my own, but this point was brought up by praetorianguard, a lawyer, so I think it’s a very valid argument.

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I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea of the encyclopedia and and Steve is not a bad fan for wanting to publish it and I think that it is protected under the fair use doctrine. This the matter at hand here is something that I care too much about to just automatically rule in favor of the defendant which is what I would do if it were any other fair use trial. I think both parties here are wrong though. The Lexicon is not going to impact Jo’s sales on the encyclopedia or affect it in any way, that claim is ridiculous there would have been nothing wrong with just letting him publish it. That being said though, Jo is very protective of her work and has the right to not want certain things to be published and in the fandom what Jo says goes. If she tell you that she doesn’t want you to publish a book YOU DON’T PUBLISH THE BOOK! If one were to go ahead after that you can no longer consider yourself part of the fandom because you broke cardinal rule and the only reason to continue is for profit. I want Jo to win in this so that it can be just done and over with. But with the rights at stake here if this ever made it to the supreme court by my own principles I could not be in favor of Jo.

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In a case-related question, does anyone know approximately when the judge is expected to make a decision?

In an opinion/fact related comment, I do not think it right for Mr. Vander Ark to take so much of Ms. Rowling’s work without the proper references. If someone paraphrased my undergraduate thesis, even though I made no money off of it, that’s still plagarism. In university, one can fail a class, go before a board, and even be removed from university entirely for plagarism. It’s a serious issue.

On a personal note, I hate to see the anger, sadness, and bitterness that’s come between some at Leaky and Mr. Vander Ark. I know it’s a difficult and disappointing situation, but I hope that all involved can eventually find some peace among each other. Life is too short to be so angry.

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Okay, Zulufirebolt, first off, what you have done is what is called fanfiction, and those types of things have their own copyright issues, mainly that you are using names of characters and character traits used by another author. Publishing fanfiction goes 50%-50%. If enough of your story is of your own creation compared to the ratio of the HP characters involved, you could be approved for publishing.

But the truth is many publishing houses refuse to take on publishing fanfiction because (in any fan universe, Buffy, Angel, StarTrek, any fanfiction) you are not authorised to write a story based on someone else’s characters.

However in the case of fandoms such as Charmed and Gilmore Girls, writers who participated in writing episodes of the TV shows or are members on an authorised group of writers can write fanfiction using the characters and there are a lot of novels based on those shows.

However the issue with you is TV versus Literary fandoms. TV is a lot easier, because scripts are not literary, do not necessarily need to be footnoted etc. People keep on saying “this will be bas for all fandoms including Buffy” and other TV shows, NO folks, tv copyright is very different. Joss Whedon supports fanfic and produces it along with them, because for TV shows if something good comes along that could lead to a re-surgance in interest for the shows (DVD sales) and possible movie oppurtunities.

If you try to publish a fanfic (almost nearly impossible BTW, that’s why most of it is online only, because there are no copyright issues there) without JKR or even Bloomsbury/Scholastic’s permission, you could be in trouble. If you want to publish your book where a wizard tries to assasinate Germione Hranger a powerful witch in a Boston, Mass. wizard government agency, you’d be allowed.

I must add that some people on here such as Ed and the people that thi spost is about, have not read the facts of this case very carefully. JKR has made it perfectly clear that 90% of SVA’s book is PLAGERIZED. Plagerism is against the law. You don’t quote someone, you copy or paraphrase their words and do not footnote them, you are committing a crime. It is a crime in University and it is a crime in the publishing world. It is not a crime in the sense that you do not usually go to jail for it, but you do get kicked out of school, will not get into another school, and in the literary world you lose your contract, your job if you are a writer, and you become unhirable as an author.

SVA is not an author, and thus all JKR can do to stop him from stealing her words is this lawsuit. The WB is only involved because they are the only company she has sol HP to, since they OWN a share in anything that goes on in the HP world, they have to be involved.

SVA isn’t proposing a movie or movie merchandise, so lets not get our “coporate greed” antenae crosswired, coporations are greedy and evil, but in this case the WB does not make JK evil by association, we wouldn’t have the movies or a real purpose for any of these websites if the WB did not have a share.

All JK wants is to stop plagerism. She has said if Steve tried to analyse the books as part and parcel to this book he has proposed, then she woul dhave no problem. But copying her words and re-aranging them without stating that they are her words, that is why he should not win. Money is just a form of punishing the accused, because there is no other way to do so, they cannot send him to jail for it after all (although in my opinion they should).

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I’m suprised this has come from an author. Me thinks that these so called editorials and opinions, have based their judgement from information they have gathered from the press (and we all know that they’ve been selective in the facts of the case)

Oh Kristin!! WSJ.com has another post about the case. Just letting you know ;)

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Paraphrased without citing properly and noting the original work in the reference page, that is.

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I’ve actually read a couple editorials by Helen A.S. Popkin that I agreed with, but that is more coincidental as her style seems to be “Form my opinion, then find the facts to support me” instead of, ya know, doing the research with an open mind. This is no exception.

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Snapes_Angel_23,

I believe the judge said that he would deliver the verdict in three weeks, giving the parties time to file post-trial briefs.

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Okay guys, what SVA has done it rip out bits and pieces of JKR’s copyright protected work, posted it on a site and called it his own. I dont know why people are having such a hard time seeing that he is plagerizing (or however you spell it). Peirod. That’s all there is to it. And that’s wrong. It’s ILLEGAL! And now SVA is trying to publish his plagerism. And plagerism is definatly NOT fair use. I think all he is trying to do is make a quick buck. I’m for JKR! If she loses, then whats going to happen to all of our wonderful fan sites? They are all going to have to be shut down because authors aren’t going to want to risk whats happened to JK happening to them. And that, lets just face it, would suck!

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I support JKR! I wonder how they would feel if it was their work that was being ripped off. Besides why would anyone want to buy an encyclopedia by another person when JK is going (hopefully) write one herself, I mean which better to buy than hers right?

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Thanks for that Saille, i never want to copy anything-just bring the States into it. A Wizard who goes undercover and saves Granger, only to find out that she was bait. The real plot will be against Potter. I appreciate this though-i’ll never publish it-i’ll just keep it as a “what if she mentioned wizards from Salem’s more kind of thing. But seriuosly thanks. And thanks to all those who posted in response-we are all family here-LONG LIVE POTTER!!!!

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I’ve been reading the comments on leaky (being a huge fan of leaky myself) with regard to this law suit between RDR and JKR/WB and thought i should write something :) Although JK has mentioned that she thinks Ark’s enclyclodepia will affect the selling of her Scottish book, we know, as huge fans of hers that that will not be the case. But i think and even bigger problem that she has with the whole situation is this: As far as i know there has not been any encycoledpedia published on Harry Potter since the Deathly Hallows was released. When i heard that Ark was planning to publish one, knowing full well that JK was planning to write one in due course, i was interested… i didn’t think after JK rowling so explcitly said that she was going to write her Scottish book that someone else thought to write one first. Of course, allow me to say that JK Rowling’s book would BY FAR out weigh the profits that Ark would get, especially after all of this media coverage. JK is adding new stuff that Ark has no idea about and that is worth so much more to fans than a summary of what we k now in the books. Secondly, it sounds like the Encyclopedia Ark is writing about is simply a description of what is in the books (which is what an encyclopedia is) but i haven’t seen any other book write such an encyclopedia without academic critque, some form of speculation or extra information that does not come from history, myth or JK Rowling’s hand. Also i think JK has a problem with the fact that they will be charging the public for Ark’s encyclopedia, which JK thinks is just robbing people of their money because everyone could simply look in her novels to find what Ark has written. But you know what? i think that if Ark had come up to JK Rowling and asked her if it would be okay to publish a book version of the lexicon, making clear that it wasn’t official, telling her that it would just be a reference book (and if she disagrees with that then perhaps he could make up some of his own critques to put in there) and that he would give the proceeds to charity, i am sure JK would not have minded. The fact is the Ark didn’t ask permission, made the book appear like an official HP encyclopedia and when JK asked him to stop publishing it, he continued nonetheless! I agree with many of those who have commented here that if Ark were a true Harry Potter fan, he would have stopped the moment JK asked and even if his publishers were pushing him along, he should be strong enough, and loyal enough to say ‘no, i don’t want to go through with this any more’. It is really sad that this has gone on for so long. I agree with someone earlier on who had the advice from a lawyer (though i am definitely no lawyer myself), that if the court rules that giving permission for the Lexicon website also entails a book, then we are in huge trouble. BUt JK has no problem with online websites mainly because they don’t get a profit! True she has been lenient with us, she loves her fans and we know that and i am sure she will not rule against fanfiction, and fan sites like leaky. I don’t know if JK has a case here (as some of you seem to think RDR should win), but for the sake of principle and morality i want JK to win becausing copying and publishing an encyclopedia based on someone else’s work after that author asked you not to is stupid, inconsiderate and immoral. Regardless of the law, i am with Jo on this. Of course Ark put a lot of work into his book and perhaps he doesn’t deserve this either, perhaps the book should be allowed, and even if it was, i know that any Harry POtter fan reading about this case will not buy it (i know i won’t be). As a compromise: how about the book (that Ark put so much work into) is put on hold until JK has written her Scottish book (Ark has stated he wasn’t doing it for the money). I know this means RDR will be waiting a while before they can distribute the book, but if this were allowed, perhaps they can come toan agreement and settle? Of course i may be completely naive here, but it would work wouldn’t it? Anyway, i’m with Jo all the way! It’s really interesting reading everyone else’s comments, keep it up guys and let’s support Jo!

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My god, sorry i just realised how long my last post was! blushes

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New proof that there are Rita Skeeter’s in our world.

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All that is in the lexicon book is information and almost exact text! (besides latin translations that are sometimes wrong) that you can get from the hp series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, or Quidditch Through the Ages. Why should he be allowed to sell something with NOTHING of his own innvention? This does not have to do with people writing about the hp series, which JKR doesnt mind. Its plagerism. and if someone could buy a book with all the info in hp AND the companion books, why would anyone buy the companion books, which all the $ goes to charity for.

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I agree with an earlier poster that, as a fan, I would buy the work being proposed by Steve Vander Ark and still buy the “Scottish” book. I don’t think the prior would affect sales of the latter. However, as a fan or not, I do believe the choice is up to Jo as to what part and how much of her work gets printed or reprinted by other people. I don’t believe there should be any question about that.

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I just read Helen A.S. Popkin editorial and she sounded like this whiny, bitter woman. She clearly hasn’t done her homework. Kept calling SVA a “number 1 fan” I’m sorry, but huge fan of Jo’s wouldn’t have done what he has done. He’s showed so much disrespect. I really detested her comparing her to Heather Mills. If anything, Jo, is the far opposite of Heather Mills.

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Pixie

Off the subject here, but I thought the most “Skeeter”esque story lately was the one with Rupert badmouthing Hollywood and certain starlets. Considering it sounds to have been completely made up, the only missing Skeeter touch was “Rupert’s eyes glistened with the ghosts of past pain…” or something like that. It’s just funny how real world things can remind you of JKR’s characters sometimes. Like for example, there was this column I was reading the other day that was just trashing JKR (I won’t source it because I don’t want to spread it), and I could have sworn that it was written by Vernon Dursley. It was kind of funny.

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Jo isn’t suing Harry Potter, that’s just trying to get some sensation in. She’s comparing him with Harry Potter, just because he wears glasses??!

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I wonder if Jo realised the hate that would come her way from this case, certainly as far as the mainstream press and public goes? It’s very sad.

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@Pixie – You have just spoken the truth there!! I think she could give Rita a run for her money.

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about what I just said I want to ask anyone who works here at TLC if you could do a news post on boycotting the book if SVA wins. Just asking. Show Jo your support!!!

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P.S. I agree with you shana

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Forgive me if someone’s asked this and it’s been answered already, but what if by allowing SVA to publish his encyclopedia, RDR then turns around and sues Jo for copyright infringement when SHE wants to publish her encyclopedia, stating that SVA has already published a Harry Potter encyclopdedia.

This to me would be the meat of the lawsuit against him. As a writer myself, I would not want some punk claiming to be a big big fan take away my own rights to publish about my own world.

And sorry Steve… I can’t call you a fan if you don’t have the class to respect an author’s wishes.

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I really don’t see how she can side with Steve. I mean after all he just takes facts within the Harry Potter series and puts them in his book. Somehow that just doesn’t seem, at least to me, that he is using anything that he wrote. I just want this thing to be over and for Jo to come out on top. I never really liked that Steve anyway.

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What to say about that? I have the feeling it’s going to be tough for Jo and WB to win this..I’m rooting for them though.

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And I don’t know about other people but I’m not buying his book when it comes out and as soon as this happened I removed his website from my bookmarks.

I’d support a boycott. Or turning him into a ferret. Either. ::shrugs:: maybe both.

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good idea talespinner now all we need to do is find impostor Moody! But seriously join my boycott if SVA wins.

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I suppose I probably wouldn’t have bought the Lexicon’s encyclopedia anyway. It’s free online… so why would I pay money for the same information? And although I don’t visit the Lexicon much anyway, and SVA has made some stupid decisions, I wouldn’t hold that against him. Unless he ruins the Scottish book since Jo keeps saying she’s losing her creative mind(or a phrase better than that) to write the Scottish book, but even then I wouldn’t be too mad.

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I can’t get over the euphemisms the defense has come up with the rationalize the infingement. Using the terms “creative synthesis” or “transformative” to describe alphabetization is laughable doublespeak at its best. Further, when it is argued that being comprehensive makes the Lexicon useful or different, I would argue that the fact that he stole everything that could be stolen (i.e., comprehensive) is not a point in his favor.

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I’m wondering about this: http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/news-gossip/irish-author-has-already-published-potter-lexicon-1350805.html

And how it may stack up against the Lexicon. It is shorter (288 pages), but if it is remarkably similar, and has already been published…

(link to book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Z-Harry-Potter-Everything-Creator/dp/1905548974)

And on a note maybe more related to this I’m curious to what people NOT in the HP fandom would think if JKR wins – will it look like Another Famous Person winning against the little guy? If not in fandom, I wouldn’t know who SVA is, but if I go shopping for kids books, I’d know there are a lot of companion books out there for the HP series, and would likely wonder why this one.

I’m still in the middle on this lawsuit, and I truly think it could go either way, based on what I’ve read. I think that both sides have their strengths and weaknesses, which makes it difficult for the judge in this case, and I wish him luck. I think even when people are trying to be unbiased in the reporting, a certain bias comes through, and makes it difficult to discern what is not being said, since I wasn’t there (and those I know that were able to go admit their bias, which does help since I know that their commentary may be coloured). Regardless of the emotions in the case on JKR’s side, they don’t matter – what matters is the law. When it comes down to it, whether or not she can ever write again, is immaterial to whether or not the book infringes on her copyright.

I wish, though, that fandom could stay mature and steer clear of the name calling and mud slinging toward SVA and the Judge (I was in my late teens when I read the HP books, and I got characters confused – it’s not an uncommon thing. Further, if he was reading for his grandkids, he likely was doing voices as well, which may have made things more complicated. But I digress). Because, it doesn’t make JKR’s supporters look good with all the name calling etc. So when invited to comment on articles, I think that keeping to the facts, may be the best course of action, since people that may not be as active in fandom (or not at all, maybe parents of kids) may see some of the comments and the last thing HP fandom needs is yet another “crazy HP fans” label.

Finally, I am hoping for a settlement in this trial. I know some people here don’t want one (or so it appeared anyway), but I think that if JKR/WB and SVA/RPR agree to one, it must be something that JKR supports and is willing to live with.

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I must ask, as Steve has stated in court, the intended purpose of his book would be a reference guide, meant for people to quickly look up facts and themes.

Now I pose a question to you all, since the final publication of the series where we now know what happens and therefore have no more need to look things up to get our facts straight when posting our theories of what will happen next on these types of websites, what need do we have for a simple ‘reference guide’ anyway? Why would he think that people would want to purchase this once free compilation? What do want need quick reference to now? The end has been given to us, there is no more point to theories.

Why try to beat JK to the punch when it is really a book no one would need to waste the money on, and why would he think people would want it when JK’s will give us new material? “So people won’t have to go to the books to look things up”, I may be alone here, but rarely am I in need of running to my HP books to look something up. Now that the theories are pointless, I don’t need to find some far off fact to prove my point.

I’m sorry I just don’t get why Steve and his people are trying so hard for this thing and trying to make this trial into a publicity statement to try to sell more books (the only reason they have taken this to trial, they know they have no case and the RDR guy has behaved like a childish a**hole from the beginning), why would anyone want to buy it in the first place?

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Link added – sorry, all!

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RIDICULOUS!!!!!! Jo is not SUING HARRY POTTER!!! How could anybody make such a foolish remark!

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just asking again if someone who works here at TLC can reply about my question asking if they could do a newspost on boycotting SVAs book if he wins. Show Jo your support!

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I just want to again point out that once SVA signed the contract to write the book, he could not get out of it without being sued.

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SVA is terrible. I really don’t like him. He can’t be that much of a Harry Potter fan if he is doing this to Jo. It won’t matter if he looses the case. Jo won’t make any new restrictions for fans online; she supports the HP fandom community! She just doesn’t her works reproduced for profits.

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Rita Skeeter strikes again in this article!

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This is the saddest thing to have ever come about. It is right up there with that nasty lawsuit with Peter Jackson and NewLine over what else….bottom line..money.

I feel terrible for both JKR and SVA. I never thought SVA to be a ” bad ” person. And from what I have read he had second thoughts about a lot of this. I place at LOT – if not all – of the blame on RDR books who cajoled SVA into this.

I think this is taking a terrible toll on both JKR and SVA. I * think * , I cannot say for sure, but I honestly felt like they both really liked and respected one another before ” all this ”. I think JKR lost her composure when she called The Lexicon Ency. ” sloppy and lazy ” work. If it is truly a compliation of his website, then that is not sloppy or lazy at all ! But she is being pushed to her utter limits of patience by RDR. That is where the blame falls. They are a two-bit publishing co. that dangled crystallized carrots in front of SVA and I really feel made him lose all rational thought. He is 50 yo man – who is capable of making his own decision, to be sure, but money / fame has an awful awful way of twisting our perceptions and thought patterns. He did not start The Lexicon out of greed, but out of pure love for JKR and Harry Potter et.al. It became his life I expect.

Then enter…RDR whispering all sorts of evil greed…( methinks they are The Ring incarnate…) and SVA/Smeagol gets taken in.

What a shame. What a sorry sorry shame for all involved. This did not have to become this ugly. I truly wish SVA had listened to his gut instincts and folded this idea months ago… Reading a lot of these reports have made me tear up at the fact that Jo has now been reduced to a nervous wreck defending her world and her works, and Steve is deeply regretting his decision but cannot save face by dropping it after the greedy shark lawyers and corporate jerks got involved.

How did Tolkien protect his work? Surely Middle Earth and its history with The Sil is vastly more complicated than Jo’s Wizarding world ! How did the Tolkiens manage to zip it up so nicely that only Christopher Tolkien could ever expound upon his fathers works?

This is long….. I apologize. I just had to get it out how sad I find this whole thing. I feel terrible for Jo Rowling whom I love and admire and respect. (I am re-reading DH right now. ) I feel sorry for SVA actually, I don’t think he meant for it to become like this….. He honestly loved Jo and her world and she admired his devotion…now that is all shot to hell. So sad…so very very sad…

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Oh….and this Helen woman who wrote the article? Complete nutter !

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I also just want to add to those who have asked about the Lexicon and Steve trying to make profit from something that was free, well that is the point isn’t it? I predict (but am no psychic) that if the book version gets published, and makes more than the $6500 that Steve has made from the website, Steve will close the site to force people to buy his book. That is the next logical step if he wins. And thus you couldn’t print the website, because that would be copyright infringement on his book, and therefore his greed would likely overtake him.

In response to you CS, Steve signed the contract which is true, but he knew very well that he was going to get into trouble, hence the protection clause with his publisher. This has all been a not-so-clever marketing ploy by RDR, hoping to use the publicity to sell the book and gain publicity for the publishing house as well. I think these type of stunts are shameful. The point is CS that he didn’t want out of the contract, hence why he signed the protection clause.

VOLDEWART, I’m sorry, but Leaky has to remain impartial. They will not be posting a boycot news piece. Honestly, when have you ever seen them ask their users to be swayed in opinion? That is not there purpose here. I believe that most of us will not be buying this book.

In my opinion, as an academic, the book is pointless and a waste of money on an economic standpoint, and morally I refuse to support such greed. Those who do buy the book if it is published, well frankly they have bought into the publicity stunt as RDR hoped they would. As I stated before, I am myself confused as to why people would want it, what would you need to reference so quickly that you could not remember from reading the books or looking up on the internet? Referencing the original text is always 100% safer than referencing another person’s compliation of the facts. You cannot trust that they are accurate (as the court proceedings have proved some are not). You want to know what the history of a mythical beats referenced in the novels is? Google it, there are academic (and thus accurate) websites about all of these things which can give you an accurate understanding of mythology and latin should you desire to learn more.

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J.K Rowling had copyright that her own author. RDR cannot allow to get copyright for JK author.

Their some had copyright a many year ago for case court law.

I believe JK Rowling win! RDR lost!

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I think Jo has all the rights in the world encluding Harry Potter’s world to stop this guy from trying to make so much money on a book that Jo wants to do for Charity and from the books she has already written. Sorry but Steve is trying to get rich off of someone else’s work and that is just not fair. I

know there are other books out about Harry Potter but they are not all her writing just some of her words and then the authur's wording on if it would go this way or that way not just everyother word of her work.   This is just trying to steal the money for the charity's Jo wants to give the money to.  Now if Steve wants to give the money to Jo's charity of choice then by all means go a head but for him or the book company to make money off of her work then I think that is just wrong, wrong, wrong.....

STEVE GROW UP AND MAKE MONEY LIKE EVERY ONE ELSE BY LEAVING YOUR HOUSE AND GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY NOT STEALING FROM A GREAT AUTHUR!!!!! OOppss sorry I didn’t mean to raise my voice a little

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Phew. Just put a pretty lengthy comment on that second site!

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(I did forget a lot of stuff :( But the way that woman writes, don’t you just get angry??)

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voldewart: pls to be stop spamming now. Given that I do not understand copyright law all that well, nor have the complete court transcript to which I can see how well each side presented their case, I cannot and will not blindly support one side or the other. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience say I will support a boycott, without having all the facts about the case and about the law. I admittedly have my own bias, but that does not mean I should support that side, simply because I favour it.

I think it should be noted (perhaps again) that SVA entered a contract with RDR. Though I am not privy to what was written exactly in the contract, I doubt he could just back out without repercussions, even if he wanted to. I believe in JKR’s closing she said she tried to contact them prior to serving papers, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true, since it was in the closing, and there was no cross examine, nor no evidence, I can’t say for certain (call me a doubting Thomas, I guess). And, that would likely occur after the contract anyway, so he may not have been able to back out then.

So say, when the lawsuit (or even when JKR did contact him first if it did occur) first came about SVA said to RDR “I think we has a problem”, it’s possible that they would not release him from his contract and then he’s stuck. Maybe he should have sought a second opinion on the copyright thing, but hindsight is always 20/20.

I’m not saying that SVA is in the right here. I think that there are passages that are remarkably similar in the online Lexicon to JKR’s work, and that he likely should have followed his gut instinct (which was that this may infringe her copyright). But I’m an outsider in this, and don’t know his thought processes.

But I’m not completely convinced that JKR is in the right either, because I haven’t seen the Lexicon manuscript. Yes, I have seen the pie chart, but there’s more to it than just numbers. But I’ve seen hundreds of companion books to various books and TV shows, and I’m not currently convinced this is different than those, which fall under Fair Use. I’ve seen the website, but I’m guessing the book is a bit different. So I don’t know.

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@ Saille

Not to worry about the Lexicon shutting down to direct fans to purchase the book should it be published. The “book” has just been posted from Justia documents in the Leaky Lounge you can print your own.

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That’s alright voldewart, I understand why you want to help :)

Though, I am sort of curious to, if the Lexicon is available online (with arguably more material)...why would I need a hard copy of portions of it? It’s just. In my brain, I’m thinking I could buy the book…or read what I need to online. Or google it. shrugs

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The people who don’t agree with JK I think it’s because they don’t know enough about the case, what she says it’s right, SVA just rearranged her words and made a dictionary, he didn’t care to put any original thoughts into it (as other similar books, example: The Magical Morlds of Harry Potter) it is unfair that he makes money for that. As to the whole recognition she gave lexicon on her site, I think she actually mentioned that it was because she liked his effort and how thorough he was in the rearrangement of what she did…

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Jo just wants to keep what is hers to herself…as for tht Ark chap,hes using tears and his scale of below average maturity to get a license to jo’s works…which i think is a cowardly and deceitful way of operating..thr are like millions of hp fiction on the net…all of them,or mostly credit jo. so why cant hp lexicon do d same?just credit jo and her work!it’s soo silly really this injunction hearing.i feel jo is entitled to her own work like 101%. it’s hers alone.am v sure dan,emma,rupert agree to tht.despite they r playing jo’s characters!jo shld get damages/compensation.

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anonymouse you made me think. The only reason you would need that book is if you were to lazy to read the book! And if you needed to look something up you could just look in the books

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@ Emma

You mustn’t forget that all the coward-like behavior and stuff, it’s mostly as seen by the media. If a man cries in court, maybe it’s because he actually feels bad- doesn’t make him a coward! I don’t agree with Steve, but I also don’t think we should make a monster out of him: he’s still a Harry Potter fan who’s given us a kick ass handy website…

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I think, as some articles have noted, this has turned into a case of greedy lawyers vying for a landmark case and precedent. The feelings of JKR are not even being considered.

This is greed at its very worst. Everyone seems to want to capitalize on someone else’s success. As someone else suggested, if SVA had agreed to even turn a certain percentage of its profits ( should it sell ) to charity, and agreed to revise it with footnotes and quotage, I don’t think Jo would have had much more of a problem.

It was said in another article that Jo is now too dispirited and too weary to even want to continue with her own Scottish Book. I think this is just her emotions talking and the fact that she is drained. I don’t think SVA would want that on his conscience. And I don;t think Jo would ever let fans down…she ever has. She has the strength to overcome all this – she just needs time to breathe.

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I just hate how some journalists just trash her, when you can tell by their words that they didn’t really look into it, they just heard a rumour and started saying how she is ditching her best fan and stuff. Peeps, stop and think before you write! It’s Steve that’s disappointed Jo, not the other way around.

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As someone who has been a librarian for years, I thought Steve would have had more respect for books and those who write them.

In the response to the question about Tolkein, well it has only been in the past 30 or 40 years (and made far worse by the internet) that authors have lost respect and people have lost the need or desire to display their own original thought. In the days of Tolkein, people would have read his books and said wow, look what he created, I have some ideas of my own, maybe I’ll trying and create a world a lush and creative as his. They would not have said, wow, how can I rip this guy off? That is an entirely modern mindset.

We have allowed for a world that has become so used to consuming objects and technologies that make life ‘easier’ that we think we need gadgets to help us fold shirts. We have also decided that because we can share ideas and information freely on the internet that we own other people’s ideas. When Tolkein was publishing his books people certainly did not feel like they as fans had the right to his work, that is a more recent and modern feeling.

I actually liken this case to the far darker idea of a man who has stalked a woman (or celebrity) for so long that he believes she is aware of him and wants him, and so he takes her and violates her believing that she loves him too and therefore wanted him to. Now it is a little extreme I know, but it sounds very much like the mindset displayed in this case, and actually a very modern idea that many people have, that because they are passionate about something, be it a book, TV show, or celebrity, that they therefore have some ownership of it. This is just my opinion, I am a historian and thus I observe societies, and I see this in ours, and especially in this case.

VOLDEWART. Please stop. I am so sorry but what are you hoping to do? Even if everyone said that they agreed with you, it would not do anything. Please know that JKR is probably wary of all fan sites these days and is very likely not going to come on here.

You seem to desire attention and I am sorry but you are not helping anyone, what you are trying to do is very honorable but you are wasting your time trying to control or sway people on here. I have never planned on buying Steve’s book, you do not wish to buy it, and everyone else on here knows how they feel about it. You cannot force them not to buy it. You are not going to get anyone to do anything drastic or important by begging for attention. There is no petition to sign, because who would we send it to? RDR will not care, and no stores are stocking the book right now.

Please just let it be for now, maybe once the outcome of the trial comes out you can create a petition or write letters to the stores stocking it. But I’m sorry mate, you are wasting your time begging us to notice your posts and agree with you. We are doing so, by saying how we feel about the book and the trial.

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The issue in this case is not plagiarism, or “plagerism”, as some people have said in these comments. Despite what these people said, plagiarism is not a crime; it’s a matter of academic misconduct. The issue here is copyright violation: does the Lexicon constitute a “derivative work” of the Harry Potter books? If the verbatim quotes are as prevalent as Rowling argued, then I’m pretty sure that it would constitute a copyright violation. The question of whether the Lexicon guy has expended his own time and effort adding creative stuff to the Lexicon is beside the point: you can still hold copyright in a work that itself violates copyright.

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There is another factor here, one which I’ve noticed throughout science fiction fandom (check out mercedeslackey.com and see if you can find her essay “the last straw” and other postings):

There are now cases where authors have been sued by authors of fanfic related to their work, when future novels have used ideas similar to what appeared in the fanfic.

If the publisher wins this law suit, odds are EXCELLENT that they will then seek an injunction against Ms. Rowling which prohibits her from publishing her own encyclopedia of Harry Potter unless the content is obviously not derivative of what they stole and included in their own encyclopedia.

I fully support Ms. Rowling.

Miss Popkin is frankly full of herself with her piece of fluff basically arguing that Ms. Rowling should support Creative Commons because she’s now rich enough to afford it.

As to the judge requesting a settlement after the defendant effectively admitted wrongdoing on the stand (as I read the New York Post article): that is incredible and unsupportable, and the judge should be dismissed from the bench.

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I have one thing to tell Helen: “Theyre called thestrals.”

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@ Ammy

heeeee yeah :-D I know I already said it on here, but I had fun venting in a long comment on there :-D she just a silly -err, female dog (sorry if I shouldn’t be saying this here? But it’s just the truth)

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@ DumbledorePI

You’re right about the judge – by saying that, he took sides.

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@ emmy (the other, new one)

How long ago it was that people did this: pretend to be someone else and say stupid things in their name.

@ all the others

If someone called ‘emmy’ is saying things like ‘i hate saille’, please just ignore it and don’t think it’s me! :-)

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DumbledorePI: Judges are supposed to encourage settlement at all stages of court cases. Settlement does not have to be in favour of the defendant, you know. It could be along the lines of “we agree never to publish this book, and we agree that we will pay our own legal costs”.

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@ emmy (new one)

You like Tolkien more? I don’t – Rowling is way better. It’s very different from one another of course… And I really like Lotr and (especially) The Hobbit as well, but compared to Potter…!

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@Mark

Yes, but that wouldn’t be a settlement, that would be a win for Jo. If they’d settle that, they could’ve just as well not gone to court and said ‘ok, sorry, we won’t print it’

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Phew. Just put a pretty lengthy comment on that second site!

Posted by emmy

I read it ! great job emmy !! Well done !

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Emmy: Yeah, but it happens, especially when the defence’s case gets demolished in court, and the alternative (not being able to publish the book and having to pay Rowling’s costs) is marginally worse.

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DumbledorePI: Are you talking about SVA? Because he wasn’t the defendant. RDR was.

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Oh…the other side of the fence within SF: http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200011/0671319744___1.htm Melancholy Elephants, by Spider Robinson (note: one of Spider’s few fully family friendly stories, so please don’t look for the other story exercpts on the site) discussed the concept of extended copyright by asking the question, “Did you ever meet a happy elephant.”

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@ hinkypunkmum

Thanks, it was actually fun writing – lifts a weight of really, after reading all that frustrating stuff. The woman has no respect at all – nor a brain, for that matter, it seems…

@ Mark

It might happen, I hope it will, but in my eyes, when the judge suggests a settlement, dunno, in this case, to me, it seems like a settlement means they can print only with conditions

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Y? do people insist on calling JK Rowling crazy!! Vander Ark stepped over the line and if he was really a fan he would have said i respect you deeply jo so im going to stop this nonsense and wait for your encyclopedia!! and he is NOT Harry Potter thats almost like a compliment!! UG

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Mark, mocking people for spelling mistakes is insensitive, most people have become accustomed to spell check, it isn’t present here and thus people just spell it however they think it is spelled.

In Canada, there are new laws which make it a crime, although still called misconduct, you can still be taken to court for it and fined. Perhaps it is not considered a criminal crime, but in the academic world it is in fact called a crime.

I am simply responding to you Mark because you are trying to correct us, and rightfully so, thanks for the correct spelling of the word, my dictionary is in the next room and I was not willing to go get it to make sure I was spelling it right, but we are sharing the same sentiment on the case, so nitpicking and being perhaps slightly condescending is a little unnecessary. Please remember that a lot of people on here are teens, please just leave them with a little leway to get their wording wrong. As for me, I am a historian and only somewhat familiar with copyright law, but extremely familiar with plagiarism, since the new codes were passed last year and you have to be extra careful about it now.

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@Mark, Given that as I see it there is only one legally responsible result here - RDR is turned out of the encyclopedia business (and I understand the distinction about Van Der Ark’s not being a legal defendant, that was probably overly simplified) - I don’t see them reaching a settlement on that basis unless it’s a “pay us to walk away” thing which Warners and the publishers would dismiss in a heartbeat (besides, it was probably discussed well before the trial started). I just don’t see any settlement in Ms. Rowling’s interest other than RDR vacating the suit, which means the suggestion of a settlement, particulary in the terms in which the Judge was quoted in the Post piece, is not in Ms. Rowling’s or her corporate partner’s interest.

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Sorry, I posted that (or started writing it) long before the conversation changed. My comment is meant for the last comment on the 5th page.

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Wonder if Harry Potter belonged to Ms. Popkin she’d feel the same way? I think not!

Avatar Image says: When it comes down to it, whether or not she can ever write again, is immaterial to whether or not the book infringes on her copyright.

I wish, though, that fandom could stay mature and steer clear of the name calling and mud slinging toward SVA and the Judge

anonymouse, thank you for your lucid and mature commentary. I, for one, appreciate it. :)

Forgive me if someone’s asked this and it’s been answered already, but what if by allowing SVA to publish his encyclopedia, RDR then turns around and sues Jo for copyright infringement when SHE wants to publish her encyclopedia, stating that SVA has already published a Harry Potter encyclopdedia.

Talespinner, I wouldn’t worry about this. What’s at issue isn’t whether ownership of the information that would appear in the Lexicon would pass from JKR to RDR. What’s at issue is whether RDR can fairly use information that JKR owns. Regardless of how the judge rules, JKR still owns the information. It’s just a matter of whether RDR can use it or not.

Using the terms “creative synthesis” or “transformative” to describe alphabetization is laughable doublespeak at its best.

Mimblewimble, the “transformative,” at least, is a legal term of art well-established in case law. Whether material is transformative is part of the fair use analysis. RDR is arguing under an already-established legal precedent, using the terms that judges themselves have created. So if you want to blame someone for doublespeak, blame the judges. :)

DumbledorePI: Judges are supposed to encourage settlement at all stages of court cases.

Mark, thank you. Among the more disturbing trends I’ve seen in fan commentary on this case is the verbal lynching of Judge Patterson simply because he’s doing his job. And he hasn’t even delivered a verdict yet.

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@ Elizabeth

You have to admit that the settlement suggestion is more interesting to RDR than WB though. I don’t call the judge any name, and I still see Steve as a living person, but the judge also said something about ‘the big company against the little people’ (not exactly that, but something like it) – and it could always be that he means Jo as the little people and RDR as the big company, but after reading the latter, and then him suggesting the settlement, makes me think he’s at least a tad bit tending to one side- in his opinion anyways. But I know, judges are impartial until they make their decision in the end.

Avatar Image says: You have to admit that the settlement suggestion is more interesting to RDR than WB though.

emmy, given that I’ve really only seen journalist’s accounts of the trial, I can’t say who I think would be more interested – I don’t know what the evidence in the record is. Most journalists are not lawyers, and when they report on legal cases, they report on what seems to them to be significant, not necessarily on what actually is. The accounts, for example, have focused a lot on the sensational aspects of JKR and SVA’s testimony, not on the expert testimony or the arguments made by counsel in closing. It’s understandable – the media are writing for the public, not for lawyers – but it leaves me in no position to judge what the evidence in the record actually is.

That being said: when the judge has declared to both parties that he can see the case going either way, that he thinks the case is lawyer-driven, and that it would be in the best interest of both parties to settle, that tells me that in his mind, the just solution would be a compromise. It is very rare for a judge to comment on the merits of the case on the record while the case is ongoing, and just as rare for him to bluntly state that it would be better for the parties to settle. In thousands of cases, I’ve had a judge say that to me only once in open court, and let me tell you, we settled the case in a hurry. :)

So no, I don’t think a settlement would be more interesting to one party than the other, just based on what the judge has said. The judge has also made it clear that he doesn’t think the lawyers in this case are representing their clients well. But they seem to be driven by an agenda contrary to the interests of their clients.

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here here georgie!

that pretty much sums it up. when it comes right down to it, if SVA was a true fan, he would have backed down a long time ago as soon as JK asked him to not publish his book. he should have realized it’s about her work and despite whatever feelings SVA may have on the matter, if she does not want him to make a book about HER characters and HER world, a book which would have never been able to be written without JK herself, he should have respected that and as a supposed writer known where she was coming from. I’d like to see what he would do if he was in her position…

unless however you LIKE being ripped off and WANT to spend money and waste paper/kill trees on something you can see for FREE online. Then by all means,

let the judge rule in SVA’s favor!

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I don’t know which part made me guffaw more: calling Jo Heather Mills or acting like Steve was doing Jo a favor by giving up Star Trek for HP.

I wrote an email to MSNBC with a subject line referring to the Popkin editorial. Here it is:

Have whatever opinion you want: at least have it be based on the facts. I find it sad that a place called “fandom_wank” knows more about the case than so-called professional journalists (along with many fan-based sites where even the SVA supporters know what’s actually going on). Probably because we realize that a win for RDR means a change in the fair use law more than likely considering their lawyers are part of the Fair Use Project. Oh, you didn’t know that? Do research. You know, your job.

Oh, and when is Keith O. going to do a piece on this? He tends to cover Harry Potter stuff.

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I personally haven’t said anything about the judge nor do I have an opinion on him, but I do agree that the “little people” comment, no matter which side he was referring to, was a huge mistake. It made him seem to be taking sides or at least seem somewhat less-than impartial.

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Saille, unless I’ve missed a quote somewhere, Judge Patterson hasn’t said anything about little people. I recall that he said something about a big company on one side and the fair use people on the other side, and the fair use people he was referring to are hardly “little people” – they come from Stanford and are prominent lawyers in the copyright world.

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@ Elizabeth

Hm. Well, you’re sort of convincing me, but I still didn’t like how he seems to call Jo’s side the Goliath side. Because he did say something about big company against little people there, and this has a negative ring in everyone’s ears. But, of course, I know nothing of the law, and who cares what I think (not meaning in a bad or angry way – Really, who cares?? :p ) or what I (dis)like. And, also, what do I know of law? I still hope it gets settled soon.

Elizabeth, thanks for the seemingly untired attention you give us!

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I still hope it gets settled soon.

emmy, I completely agree with you there. :) Really, I wish that the parties would follow the judge’s suggestion and settle with the agreement that SVA take JKR up on her offer and substantially modify the book. That way the book gets published in a form that isn’t a violation of JKR’s rights and the case can go away instead of languishing in appeals courts for years and years. :)

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I don’t think Jo is crazy, I think Steve is! Acting like a young child should not garner special treatment.

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Ahh! that lady and her letter make me want to throw things!! HEAVY things. I think she needs to sort out her facts. I just want this whole thing to be sorted out REALLY really soon. Preferably without this book being published.

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If the writer of the MSNBC article wants to be taken seriously, she should probably change her name to something other than “Popkin”. Snort.

Of course, it would also be of tremendous help on the whole being-taken-seriously issue if she simply wrote something other than factually incorrect drivel.

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I’m not on any side on this argument – I see both points of views and how it could be a slippery slope argument in both directions.

All I’m trying to say is that once Steve was convinced by RDR that it wouldn’t be a copyright violation and so signed on the dotted line, then all of his say in this was gone – legally he has to write the book.

And this was before Jo objected to it. If he had second thoughts (which his email to Melissa suggests that he did) there was nothing he could really do about it.

On the other hand he has made comments that seem to show he supports RDR, seems hard to believe that they forced him to say anything.

On the other hand, he could have been convinced and remains convinced by the legal arguments that RDR made him. So even if he would have stopped the book when Jo asked out of respect if he was able (which he wasn’t), the comments don’t really contradict that.

Maybe I’m being naive, but I just don’t see the point in assuming Steve had terrible motives.

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Pfff, she is RIDICULOUS! I seriously am shocked at how wrong her opinion is. JKR CREATED Harry Potter, who the hell does Steve this he is? There shouldn’t be anyone, sane, at this point who would even consider siding with such a thieving gold digging plot like Steve’s.

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So many of you support your idol Jo Rowling and her right to make money from her creative/intellectual property.

Do you show the same respect for musical creative/intellectual property when you download songs that you haven’t paid for?

Its all in the perception, isn’t it?

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One aspect of this lexicon that I have only recently noticed, in lieu of JKR’s statements in her testimony, is how sloppy, poorly researched, lazy, and simply ‘middle-school English project’ level SVA’s lexicon really is. I never really perused his website before, but now that I’ve looked at it more thoroughly, I completely agree with JKR’s statements about it. All this time that I’ve known about the HP Lexicon site and looked at it occasionally, I always assumed that SVA was some teenage or college age fan, who just compiled a bunch of Harry Potter facts for fun and for love of the series. However, upon learning that he is actually 50 years old!!!!! I would expect a work of an exponentially higher quality! There is absolutely no commentary, original thoughts, or annotation about any of the deeper meanings of any of the many deep themes in the series, no character analysis, and even many of the historical and mythological allusions are either missing or incorrect, where these facts are easily researched and verified.

Furthermore, in reference to the second quote in this news piece – I quote: “this here lawsuit is fixin’ to” and “the InterWeb”

What the *#* is that! and how the %$* did it end up in a Newsvine article!!!?? Were they interviewing the Children of the Corn!!?? Language like this (if it can be called real language) immediately removes any shred of credibility from the source. Regardless of of the speaker’s/ writer’s intellectual capacity, when people read those words they will automatically conclude that the speaker/ writer is about as smart as Morfin Gaunt!

Lastly, in reference to the first quote by author Helen A.S. Popkin – she says that because SVA made references to Voldemort on the stand, he is equated with Harry Potter himself, and that JKR is “suing Harry Potter!”

- What an absolutely ABSURD statement!!! I would expected a little more intelligence and rational thought from someone who claims to be an author!! What a ridiculous, ludicrous idea! The fact that SVA is a fan and that he referenced Voldemort in his testimony does not make him in any way equal with or similar to Harry Potter. That statement is made up of too many logical fallacies to even list.

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^ ^ Ha! Oh, how very appropriate that you posted your comment, which is really quite a ridiculous attempt at smoke and mirrors, under the name Umbridge. I’m sure it’s not the effect you were going for, but it’s nonetheless very amusing, er, I mean, fitting.

Really, your comment shows that you have missed the whole point by such a great distance that the point is, in fact, invisible to you. Oh, and by the way, your argument only makes it wrong to download songs for free; it does not in any way make it right for SVA to profit from JKR’s work.

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Alison, I can’t make heads or tails out of your comment.

But perhaps you couldn’t out of mine either, so I will be direct instead of ironic. Stealing intellectual property is stealing intellectual property, whether it is from an author or a musical artist.

Now that so many have “seen the light” with respect to stealing intellectual propery from Jo, I wonder if they will think twice when they “steal’ a song without paying for it.

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Ms. Popkin, I really don’t think you’ve understood the case, have you? And please don’t call SVA the “biggest fan”. If he was a true fan, he’d have backed out a long time ago! Seriousely, Jo never said no to so many HP works! There must be a reason why she’s coming out so strongly against just this one! I can’t understand the feeling of some people when they say others should be allowed to copy and make profits off someone else’s creative work!

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@Umbridge

A more apt analogy in this case would be if we purchased a song legally then changed some words around and re-released it for profit (while at the same time giving interviews in which we talked smack about the original artist).

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umbridge, protecting sings is the right of the musicians. They have the right to stop people from illegally downloading songs. Jo too has the right to protect her property, which she’s doing. Where’s the argument here?

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Ed you moron don’t make me bust an Avada kedavra on you (J/K) Jo should win SVA is ripping her off, he was not given permission to do his encyclopedia or was he given Jo’s blessing, If he had written a comentary on the entire series he no problem. But he did not he “wrote” a poorly done print version of the website he runs which ill admit i found handy at times but which ill no longer use. Even if he does wins ( Im sure there willbe at least one appeal either way WB won’t let it go if they lose and im sure SVA/RDR will try for an appeal if they lose) I willnot buy his book illwait for the Scottish Book to come out. I prose if SVA does win no matter how long it takes for it to get through howeve many appeals that aere made we boycott his book. That more than anything will show him our displeasure at his greed!

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Thank you, Leaky, for posting a dissenting view. There is a lot of loyalty to Jo which may blind to some of the issues, but dissenters on the coments tend to get flamed and met with massive, sometimes ugly resistance. So I appreciate that you’re able to report differing views.

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Good point, Bowtruckle.

There is no arguement, Prenz. I am just struck by the irony of the Napster generation defending Jo Rowling’s intellectual property.

It just makes me wonder how many of the people defending Jo here are really willing to walk the walk and not just talk the talk regarding intellectual property, even if it means no more free songs.

In my old-fart curmudgeonness I wonder how much of this is sympathy for Jo, and how much is “seeing the light’ about intellectual property.

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You know that Frank Sinatra song, “That’s Life” (“You’re riding high in April. Shot down in May.”)?

This MSNBC article reflects a general tone in the media covering this story. As far as public relations go, it is not good for Jo. Media needs to churn out new stories to keep people tuned in. Last year’s story was “The Triumph of Jo”, which means that their story this year could well be “Now she’s too big for her Britches – Stay tuned for the latest Conflict”

According to Irish Times story linked to upthread, there was an encylopedia published last year after legal clearance ensured there was no infringement, cover stated that it’s unauthorised, etc. all the things Jo asked of SVA & RDR. Most media won’t mention this because it doesn’t fit into this year’s story.

As the judge said when he urged settlement: “There’s Fair Use on one side and A Big Company on the other side” and it’s in their interest for this to drag out forever.

That ass RDR wins either way, but Jo (and SVA, too) are left twisting in the wind.

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Not merely twisting in the wind, but also running up enormous legal bills….

The media love to put people up on pedestals for the sheer pleasure of knocking them down. Maybe this media writer should change her name to Gail Wynand.

Wow, am I cynical tonight. It was a tough week at work.

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My neice tells me the younger generation won’t know who Gail Wynand is – a character from The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) who runs a yellow rag and prints wilder and wilder stories for the perverse pleasure of jerking around the paper’s gullible readers

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I’m behind J.K. Rowling 100%...this case is ludicrous. All Jo wants is for Steve to stop plagiarizing what she’s worked on for over a decade! I don’t see him working on his stupid Lexicon that long….

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I meant to include WB in the camp that wins no matter if there is a settlement or they win outright (& RDR drops the book or changes it suitably) or if they lose and it drags through appeals. This suit is what large entertainment companies do all the time to discourage competition.

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I’ll make this really easy for EVERYONE! If Harry Potter was YOURS and somone was going to make a book and money off of YOUR property would you just let it go?

So now ANYONE can make books off of someone elses IP?? Do you realize what that means? So now Stephanie Meyer and Phillip Pullman can have books made of their content? Tolkein? R.Jordan? All because someone can’t read the damn books and know what Dust is? Who Bella Swan is? Who Rand is? Who Sauron is? All because someone loves a book and their characters and says “Hey I love it so much I should be able to do anything I want with it!”. I mean come on people this is RIDICULOUS now!

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This woman’s comments about Creative Commons make no sense in the context of this case anyway. She says,

"Heck, even Creative Commons copyrights feature a level that provides the right for others to access another’s creation as long as the person isn’t looking to cash in."

But “cashing in” is exactly what SVA is trying to do! Even if HP were under CC, the Lexicon book would still be infringing. And besides, this isn’t a question of “should the HP series be under CC copyright?” because the fact is it just isn’t. This case has to be judged under the laws and circumstances as they currently stand, not as they “should be”.

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The problem with this case is that not only will this affect the HP fandom, but also the comic fandoms, tv show fandoms, movie fandoms, other novelization fandoms, etc. Paramount Pictures, always a stickler for copyright, has been itching for a way to further stifle fans, especially online. They are more about the money than WB would ever dream of. In fact, WB is very LENIENT. DC Comics is under their jurisdiction and we comic fans practically get away with MURDER. DC knows that a lot of their writers and artists are the fans to begin with and they aren’t about to cut their noses off to spite their faces. They’ve learned, unlike Marvel, who never learns. There is a large difference between summarizing, discussing and creating opinions regarding a work; its another to copy, cite it without reference or reorganize it without prior authorization of the copyright holder. Tolkien, Conan Doyle and all of those that people continually harp about have estates that authorize or don’t. Great example is the word ‘hobbit’. When Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game came out in the 1970s, they used ‘hobbit’ to describe short people like, well, hobbits. However, ‘hobbit’ is a word Tolkien used (invented for that use?) and therefore not a general term. So it was changed to ‘halfling’ to avoid copyright issues. I run a fan site for a comic book character, I believe the only one for this character in fact, and let me tell you, one email or letter from DC/WB’s lawyer with the words ‘cease & desist’, I’m ceasing and desisting, because really, do you WANT the notoriety of being a possible copyright breaker/plagiarizer. Steve claims to have this degree (since debunked publicly), if he EVER wants to publish anything EVER again, I can guarantee you that any publishing company is going to be twitchy now because…did he cite his sources? Can he be trusted? Scholars, academics and writers take this VERY seriously. I know a professor who lost his job and his credibility for plagiarizing one sentence from a work of a former student. One sentence without referencing her or even a footnote. Her work wasn’t even in the bibliography as something he read. And he was her TEACHER. And he no longer has a job and has a reputation for being a thief of someone else’s work, research, and dedication. Haven’t you ever worked on a paper for school? Worked hard on it to get that grade, proud of the accomplishment? How would you feel if someone came along, took it several good points word for word from it, said they did it and then got a better grade or praise for it? It’s not about how useful the published Lexicon is going to be (which is different from the online source, keep that in mind!), but whether or not Steve cared enough about someone else’s work to bother giving them the proper due per the law and creative copyright. And if he gets away with it with Rowling, who will he go after next? Or support others who will now try to do this without George Lucas’ permission, Tolkien estate’s permission, Conan Doyle estates; etc. A ruling in Steve’s favor is going to make companies and copyright holders crack down on us fans out of sheer paranoia that it’s going to make Anne Rice’s crackdown on fans a few years ago look like a sneeze compared to a hurricane.

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Wow, that previous post was, er, long. That’s what I get for typing while game playing. Melissa or whoever, feel free to delete this if it’s too distracting. My abject apologies.

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Look at what I made!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq0bZ7cAHlg

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Sorry, but calling SVA „one of [your] biggest fans“ is like claiming that your stalker is the one who truly loves you … To me, it seems that everybody is expecting JKR to solve their problems. This „SVA is a kid like Harry Potter“ stuff makes Steve look rather stupid, or mentally deranged, as if he was led into an affair he could not control, but and after reading a number of his statements and interviews, I dare say he is neither, and he had control. Besides, he’s a grown up man, he’s ten years older than JKR! He obviously failed to build up an independent life for himself, and now wants the world JKR created to take responsibility for him. This sort of behaviour can certainly be described as childish, or naive, but he was clever enough to find a publisher for a book he must have known was not his own creation. However, I see no reason at all why JKR should begin to fund such a fan’s ineptness for real life. She told a great, moral story in her novels, invited us all to share her vision, but this is no reason to expect continuous psychological or financial support from her. She’s a novelist! And has every right to protect her work from abuse. I have read a number of the secondary books on the HP series which have been published so far, and couldn’t believe it how very generous Warner and JKR have been in the past … I could refer to quite a few books which merely summarized the plot of the novels, or rearranged facts. But, at least, these publications usually contained new writing, i.e. as much as the authors relied on Rowling’s work, they tried to find their own words to describe it. The fact that she didn’t sue any of them, but RDR books / SVA shows that they must have been copying and plagiarizing to such an extent that it has become unbearable.

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A lot of people seem to be playing the “JK is greedy!” card. Which I think is hilareous, seeing as she not only plans on donating all the proceeds of this book to charity, but she’s also stated that she encourages fandom and doesn’t have any desire to stifle it.

I’m just saying. I really don’t see where this image of JK is coming from. There’s little evidence to support it. Unless I’m missing something.

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It’s funny. (well, not really) But, as far as news coverage of the case, the business media (Bloomberg & Wall Street Journal) have had the most straightforward coverage (poking a little fun at “Harry Potter!” and fandom, of course, but in a gentle way). Business writers seem to see that it’s actually an important case in its generalities as well as its specifics, while other coverage is enamored of the spectacle.

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It’s not as if she’s doing it for the money. JK is standing up for authors rights to their own work. Their. Own. Work. I don’t understand why this is even an issue. It shouldn’t be.

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“Forgive me if someone’s asked this and it’s been answered already, but what if by allowing SVA to publish his encyclopedia, RDR then turns around and sues Jo for copyright infringement when SHE wants to publish her encyclopedia, stating that SVA has already published a Harry Potter encyclopdedia.”................

Talespinner, I wouldn’t worry about this. What’s at issue isn’t whether ownership of the information that would appear in the Lexicon would pass from JKR to RDR. What’s at issue is whether RDR can fairly use information that JKR owns. Regardless of how the judge rules, JKR still owns the information. It’s just a matter of whether RDR can use it or not.

Posted by Elizabeth

Thank you for this Elizabeth. This is one thing that I have been most worried about. I really hope that there is not any question about this.

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Such a rigmarole, what a dog and pony how this is. This is foofaraw, fuss, ridiculous business.

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The point the writer is making seems to be that the court case is not a clever thing to do, regardless of whether it is right in principle. It may be important to fight for what you believe is right, but it is certainly true that the publicity from the case is already backfiring on Jo. The British press has reported with glee that the judge thinks the books are gibberish, and generally the opinion is that she has no sense of proportion – the initial print run of her encyclopedia has been estimated at 3m, Steve’s would have been less than one percent of that. It would have no detectable effect. Ignoring it was always an option, and a very attractive one. Also surely there can be no legal relevance to the fact that the analysis in the Lexicon is wrong or unreliable. It’s hardly the first bad Harry Potter cash-in book. If she’d sued to make sure they didn’t use her praising quotes on the cover, that would have made sense, and she’s already won that. I think she should quit now before she creates any more publicity for the Lexicon book (just like Umbridge banning the Quibbler!)

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BY ORDER OF THE HIGH INQUISITOR OF HOGWARTS

Any student found in possession of the encyclopedia “The Lexicon” will be expelled

The above is in accordance with educational decree number Twenty-seven

Signed: Joanne Katherine Rowling (to rhyme with Bowling), High Inquisitor

“Oh, Steve, don’t you see?” Hermione breathed. “If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure every single person in this fandom will read your crappy book, it was banning it!”

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JanitorOfAzkaban the British Press hate anyone successful and will naturally knock anyone who is richer, more successful or smarter than they are.

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JKR isn’t censoring anything don’t get your facts confused JanitorOfAzkaban or is that a SVA plant.

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I really was hoping SVA would just cease his publication. I don’t see why he needs to do this anyway other than an attempt to make money. However, this lawsuit will just be setting a precedent for more authors to stop publishing books about their work. I may be wrong about this but isn’t SVA simply publishing whatever is on the Lexicon into a book form. If I could give Jo some advice, I’d say just let him do it. I would honestly believe that most people will not be in lines or pre-ordering SVA’s encyclopedia when they can just go to the Lexicon free. The Lexicon is after all just a repeat of the words JK has already written but just organized into categories. It’s good for a reference like Jo used it at one time. But, HP fans all over the world are anxiously and excitedly awaiting the TRUE encyclopedia from Ms. Rowling. This is the only book that will sell and people will care about in the end.

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@ JanitorOfAzkaban, don’t you find it strikingly similar how JKR’s court case—fighting for what she considers to be the greater good and the bad publicity that comes along with it—is to Harry’s experience in OoTP.

@ Ed no…no…this ruling won’t hurt fandom, what you are referring to is the restrictions of FCC.

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Helen, your an idiot. This is against the copyright, no matter how you look at it. And Steve is not Harry Potter.

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I really don’t understand this lawsuit. In the Lexicon VanderArk provided a really good fan resource, and I really can’t see why it shouldn’t be published; it’s a good quality guide to an author’s work, which will not contain all the edits and character notes, original drawings etc the JKR’s encyclopaedia will contain. What is the problem here?

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I try to understand where all the anger comes from. The way I understand it, there is something called fair use that this lexicon may fall under. Or it might not, and there are two parties that don’t agree about this. They have tried to reach an agreement, but they have failed. In these cases there is an excellent solution – go to trial!

I don’t agree with the current copyright laws, and I am a member of the Napster generation. But that doesn’t really matter, I can hardly call JK immoral for using the laws we have now to defend her work (in her pov, of course). Nor is Steve immoral for using what he clearly thinks is the fair use argument.

I happen to think that the copyright laws are ridiculus, but Steve and JKR have to work with these laws.

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solution I think is not that hard, if Steve wins and the book is published fans should not purchase it. It’s like tv or music if you don’t like it turn the channel or station or better yet turn it off. My question is how would he know what happened to everyone throughout the series, only JKR truly knows, and it’sher book I will wait for and purchase,

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OK, i’m a great supporter of Creative Commons, though this dear lady clearly doesn’t apply to works that are licensed under CC. And there are versions of CC that are great, and are more like the conditions that Rowling have had this far, like Attribution (proper credit), Noncommercial and similar.

DONT say that Creative Commons are easier on the hand, allowing people to do what they like with your work. I think that Rowling has allowed us fans to do what they like, as far as it’s NONCOMMERCIAL. And thats fair. So hush lady, and dont call her she-who-must-not-be-named.

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this ‘helen’ person is really pissing me off. Steve is obviously not one of Jo’s biggest fans or he would have backed down ages ago. If it was my encyclopedia and Jo told me not to publish it i definitely wouldn’t publish it. Jo’s word is the law. :P

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Helen – that would be a good solution, but not everyone is going to do that. I wouldn’t buy the book, but it will have gotten a lot of publicity from this. A lot of people would buy the book.

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Some people seem to be having a hard time distinguishing between creativity and plagiarism. If Jo wins, it won’t threaten the fandom in any way : a Potter fanfiction has ALREADY been published ( it’s called La Séptima M and was written by Francisca Solar, who was interviewed on Pottercast ) and there was no copyright issue whatsoever because it’s an original work, not a reorganized book. I absolutely love The Lexicon in its Internet form and I’ve no idea why all of a sudden Steve or RDR want to publish it.

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If he’s such a big fan why would he want to do this when he knows Jo has planed exactly the same thing,

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HOW DARE THEY CALL J.K.ROWLING CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mr.vander ark has no right to copy her work!

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all this stuff is starting to make me really cross and upset because they are making jo sound horrid and she’s one of the most lovely people i’ve ever met!

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I think the woman who called Jo crazy is just stating how she feels about herself. She is soooo wrong. J.K. is not crazy, and Mr. Vander-areyoukidding is not J.K.’s biggest fan. Her biggest fan would understand about the volume of her work and backed off the first time he was asked. I really hope J.K. wins this. She created these caracters they are hers.

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Whoever that little #$!$&*(#@ is, she needs to ….. yeah – you all know what I mean. How effing DARE she say that about JK Rowling! Absolutely insane! GOSH! I want to kick someone right now! RAWR!

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Way to go MSNBC. You continue to be a beacon of “new jornalism” linking to random, poorly articulated blogs to support factless stories. Huzzah.

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I read on the Guardian that JKR’s attack of SVA work made him cry: “Its creator, one Steve Vander Ark, wept in court after Rowling accused him of “constant pilfering” and “utter laziness”. Is that true? I’m guessing it has to be, as far as I know the Guardian is very trustworthy. Was his distress the reason why he was asked to leave? That’s very upsetting.

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Jo is anything but a crazy person. That lady has no idea what she is talking about!

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@ Saille

“However in the case of fandoms such as Charmed and Gilmore Girls, writers who participated in writing episodes of the TV shows or are members on an authorised group of writers can write fanfiction using the characters and there are a lot of novels based on those shows.”

Tiny correction here… Charmed, Gilmore Girls, Buffy and other that have continuing stories told in book or comic form by the creators of the series or the writers of the episodes ARE NOT FAN FICTION! They are legally licensed stories and are considered canon. Fan Fiction puts characters in situations not necessarily sanctioned by the creators of the original work.

Then it gets even murkier… the books based on ALIENS, ALIEN vs PREDATOR and so on are licensed but not written by anyone involved with the films. But they are also not fan-fiction (in most cases). These books usually involve all new characters dealing with the creatures from the films.

“I must add that some people on here such as Ed and the people that this post is about, have not read the facts of this case very carefully. JKR has made it perfectly clear that 90% of SVA’s book is PLAGERIZED.”

Strange, in reading the transcripts I don’t recall seeing that exact figure of 90%. Since we are talking about reading the facts of the case… JKR is NOT the party that brought suit, that is WB. WB is suing RDR. JKR is a witness and nothing more. SVA is a witness and nothing more.

Everybody says well JKR has to do this and JKR has to do that and so on. She hasn’t done anything. It was all done by lawyers. It has been done by both sides and JKR and SVA have had little input beyond their own testimony in the case. As soon as contracts were signed they both pretty much lost the opportunity to say, “Let’s not do this to this person and let’s find another way of working it out.”

Its time people stopped slinging the mud here and calling JKR this and SVA that. It’s about corporations now and not people. Its the ongoing venom in these comments that really makes me angry.

This case will not have a good ending for anyone regardless of how it comes out. If WB wins, online fandom will suffer for it and I’m not talking strictly HP fandom. It will effect Trek, X-Files and all the others as well. The same is true if RDR wins. What those effects will ultimately be is anyone’s guess, it really depends on how far this case has to go to get a resolution.

If people here really wanted to make an impact instead of complianing, you be writing letter to WB and RDR encourgaing to find a way to settle to protect your precious fandoms. Let the parties know how YOU AS FANS feel about this situation and make sure you have the rights and freedoms to share your fandom online. If this case makes it to the Surpreme Court, the face of online fandom will change and not for the better no matter who wins.

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“I just read Helen A.S. Popkin editorial and she sounded like this whiny, bitter woman. She clearly hasn’t done her homework. Kept calling SVA a “number 1 fan” I’m sorry, but huge fan of Jo’s wouldn’t have done what he has done. He’s showed so much disrespect. I really detested her comparing her to Heather Mills. If anything, Jo, is the far opposite of Heather Mills.”

An obsessive fan who is lost touch with reality might. Stalkers all call themselves #1 fans and do the most bizarre things in the quest to be part of the thing or person they love. Anything is possible. Never say a #1 fan would never do (fill in the blank). Until you’ve reached that level yourself (or sunk to it as the case may be) you really don’t know what a #1 fan would do.

@ Talespinner

RDR would have no legal ground to stand on in mounting a claim against JKR when her “Scotish book” reaches publication. Since the RDR Book would be a derivative work based on JKR’s original works, the case would be thrown out before the public ever hearing about it.

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Wow. I’ve been following this for a while, and at first I was firmly on Jo’s side. I’m still on Jo’s side, but I’m much better able to understand where Steve is coming from on this. As someone who has a degree in psychology and tends to psychoanalyze everything (yes, it’s annoying) I can look at Steve as someone who has mixed up his ownership of the Lexicon website with ownership of Harry Potter. I’m sure he feels a huge possessiveness over the Lexicon. It doesn’t mean Steve is right in this. But Steve is a real person and I can’t imagine what he must be feeling now as someone who admires (or did?) Jo so much to be put in this situation. A little bit of a scary note, I’m starting to feel that Steve might be more than just an “obsessed fan”. It’s harsh to compare him with Mark David Chapman, who was an obsessed Beatles fan and murdered John Lennon, but to a much smaller extent, I can see Steve that way. (I DON”T believe Steve will murder Jo…lol, that was not at all what I meant. I was just using comparisons of who obsessive fans can get and how it can be dangerous at times.)

On the flip side, Harry Potter is Jo’s. She has every right to say what should and shouldn’t be published in reference to her work. I’m actually surprised that Fair Use law is so lenient, it appears that the Fair Use law is just a fancy way of making copyright infringement legal. (I do not know much about law however, so don’t take my word on that.)

As for this Popkin lady…she’s just bonkers. She obviously doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Don’t listen to her. :p

As for comparing this to downloading songs for free…it’s really only similar in that they are both illegal. Yes, it’s illegal to download songs for free. It’s illegal to infringe on copyright laws. But the better argument, which was already made, would be to download a song for free and turn around and sell it for profit.

I commend Leaky for being so professional in this manner. I can only imagine the heartache that must have been felt for both parties (JKR and SVA) in this matter.

Let me end with a small fear that I have (okay, it’s a great fear…he he he). Is it possible that this law suit could make it impossible for Jo to publish her “Scottish Book”? Because that in and of itself should be a reason this lawsuit should never have happened and should have been settled before even getting to court.

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I was reading a comment about RDR Books being the big company and JKR being the little person in reference to a statement made by the judge concerning this being about a big corporation against a little guy.

RDR Books is the little guy in reference. RDR Books is a small publishing house located in Muskegon, Michigan that specializes in limited run publications. If the case ran long enough and runs up a big enough bill through legal fees or other costs… they could effectively be put out of business. WB is the big corporation in this case and has the deep pockets to keep this in the courts for the next decade if they so desire.

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Its funny how nobody thought he was copying her work when he made the website…

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@ Nobody,

I don’t believe “nobody” thought he was copying her work. He was copying her work on the website. The difference is he wasn’t making any money on the website. It’s still copying, and if you want to be technical, copyright infringement, but the difference is there is no money made.

If Jo wanted to be as strict as Ann Rice, she could easily shut down HP websites, including Leaky. But as there is no profit in free websites, it’s not as big an issue.

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It was the story of poor Steve and Jo. Stuck in the middle of corporate guns and corporate lungs and that other cunning c-word. Stuck there like squealing pigs; who really, really needed a pair of invisble wigs; in which to sigh their distaste and their woe, about such a coming to their foe.

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no news today =/

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Why should WB be penalised for being a ‘big company’ taking on a ‘little guy’? that has nothing to do with who is right and who is wrong…

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THIS IS NOT RELATED WITH THE POSTBUT… As a big HP fan I have youtube channel so I want to share some videos with you guys:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MateaCroatian

There are 3 vids I want you guys to check: 1. Harry Potter and his friend Dobby 2. Harry Potter- When you believe 3. Ron&Hermione thanks

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Even if WB loses, I hope to GOD that they file so many appeals and more lawsuits against RDR so that they become bankrupt!

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Finally someone who talks some sense in all this mess. Kudos to Popkin for speaking her mind in this. Regardless the question of copyright, she is right on all accounts when it comes to the future of copyright, the Internet, and, most of all, the effect JK’s sueing of one fan has on some others.

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The law is funny. For most it states what one can or can’t do. Very seldom do people wonder SHOULD you do it reguardless of what the law says. Sure, in legal terms in some twisted sort of way, he may be allowed to do this. But in reality, SHOULD he?

Let’s change the variables here. Let’s say JKR baked a bunch of cookies and is selling them. She’s got tons of cookies. Here comes Mr. Vander who loves the cookies. He loves them so much he sorts them all out so people can enjoy them too. Then, one day, he decides that he’ll package them up and sell them himseft too.

What just happened? Mr. Vander just stole JKR’s cookies. Plain and simple.

SHOULD you steal someone’s cookies? Anyone with a kindergarten education will tell you no.

JKR shouldn’t have to send evil lawyers out to stop Vander’s. He should have the decency to understand that what he’s trying to sell isn’t his to do so.

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You know, I see an awful lot of comments which are based on the idea that because SVA is a fan and JK is rich she should just let him have at it. It’s unbelievable the amount of reverse snobbery that I’ve seen in the media over this case. Yeah she’s rich, but she’s tried to to this out of court, it didn’t work out and now it has to be litigation. I also find it unbelievable that because the case will have far reaching effects people and even the judge are running scared of it – the very REASON it’s going to have far reaching effects is because the law fails to address this issue clearly and it needs to!!

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I totally disagree with this woman. If Vander Ark was a true fan, he would realize that he is perverting the act of taking Ms. Rowling’s work and rearranging with no regard to how she felt about it. It is basically like slapping her in the face. His motives are not noble. He is trying to make a buck and should be ashamed of himself. Whether Ms. Rowling or Warner Brothers made $1 or billions of dollars, does not give him a right to get a piece of the pie.

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I disagree….SVA is a bad fan and just in it for the money. Didn’t I read an article that JKR’s assistant said he had heard about the planned encyclopedia that JKR was going to do and asked if he could get a job in helping her put it together. Only after being told she would be using her notes and her editors notes so he would not be needed did he go on to try publish his website.

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before Jo wrote the hp series she was dirt poor living on the brish equivalent of Welfare ( no clue what the british call it ) she worked her bum off creating this marvelous series of books and now SVA is trying to use her work to make money ! WRONG WRONG WRONG!

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My problem with this whole case is that SVA was this public figure claiming to be this huge fan. He’s also not a young kid. He’s 50 years old. He’s in my parents’ age bracket. AND he’s a former librarian. A former SCHOOL librarian. Which means he knows all the rules of plagiarism. I cannot express how many times I have been told not to plagiarize. I’m in my last semester of college, I have two weeks left and three papers due, I’ve been told a good six times for just those three papers not to plagiarize. SVA more likely than not has a Masters Degree, he knows the rules.

This isn’t the first time that JKR has come across another author trying to make a book about HP that has too much that isn’t their own words or thoughts. Why haven’t we heard about it? Because she talked to them (Or her lawyers did) said hey you know what, there isn’t enough of you in it so we’d really appreciate if you didn’t publish this, and THEY DIDN’T. SVA and RDR was all well pffft on that. That is what sickens me the most. He knows the rules, he claims to idolize JKR (he shows up on a lot of the tv specials from earlier years about HP as an “expert”) but he has no respect for her. If he did, he would know better.

I’m sorry but I am just under 30 years his junior and I know these rules. If I try to pass in any of my papers this week without putting citations for any of the quotes or paraphrasing that I use, I will be failed and will more likely than not be kicked out of school, despite the fact that I graduate in 4 weeks. I’m 21 and I know these rules. Steve Vander Ark, who is 50, probably has a more advanced degree than me? I find it extremely hard that he wouldn’t know these rules.

JKR isn’t opposed to books about HP. She sat on the stand on day one and talked about the other books and how much she liked them and the research they had done. But that’s the point. They had done research, added their own thought. Been insightful, thought of things that weren’t in HP. They didn’t simply alphabetize her characters, spells and places and take direct quotes (without citation) and claim them as their own thoughts. Hell I can do that. Probably without looking at the books. Would I? No. Because 1) I know it’s wrong and 2). I respect JKR far too much. That woman went from having nothing to writing an amazing story that people of every age group can love. She’s an inspiration to all struggling women, mothers and those who have the drive for greater. And I would never want to take that away from her.

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May I ask something?

If in the Lexicon book there would be a note indicating that this book is just a “A to Z index”, meant to be a usefull guide for the HP world created by J.K.Rowling, is it than acceptable to be published or is this still not allowed conform the copyright laws?

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No, I disagree.

It doesn’t matter what she looks like, or what people think of her doings. She’s fighting for her rights and that’s that!

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I stand with Jo through and through. And where does that Helen lady come off calling Jo crazy.

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It’s hard to believe a journalist supports such plagiarism. I wonder if that’s really her opinion, or if it was assigned to her by her editor.

I should take Ms. Popkin’s collective works, rearrange them a bit, add “Compiled by Scott T,” and charge money for it. Apparenly she’d be okay with that.

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I strongly suggest sending Helen A. S. Popkin, an Oxford English dictionary with the reference for ‘Research’ highlighted

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To those concerned that Vander Ark cried in the courtroom, his lawyer most certainly advised him to do so before the trial. If he didn’t, then he’s not a very good lawyer.

To those wondering how fan sites can print her material so freely, it’s because Ms. Rowling allows them to. She’s as much a geek as we are. She freely admits it. It’s flattering, and just plain good fun.

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People, I stopped by to see some of the responses to my post. Some I disagree with, but are well thought out & had some good research behind them, but then the comments digressed into JKR vs SVA. The courts are like politics: it isn’t persoanal, it is business. If you have ever been on the wittness stand yu will understand that. Yes, I have, several time becasue I am a FF/Medic.

Please read between the lines: JKR & SVA already have reached an agreement that he wont use JKRs endorsement of his website on his book. That was day 2(?) of the trial. Then the Judge sai that w/o a guide the books would be gibberish to those who have not followed it closely. Lastly, he has said he expects the appeals to go all the way to Supremes.

Sadly, if the parties do not come to an agrement, it will go on & on. As to my brief research into copywrite laws, recent decisions seam to support SVA.

This does not diminish the joy JKR has given us in her books; nor does it mean SVA has created anything more than a reference source. That is what encylopedias are. JKR will get her groove back & continue to write great stuff.

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Here’s the thing. If we are to believe Helen A.S.s. Popkin the following precepts hold true:

1. J. K. Rowling is a one-legged ex-good time girl who is now suing Steve, the most successful and creative pop musical genius of the 20th century, who also looks like “Harry Potter” a fictional character from the aforementioned fictional series invented by said J. K. Rowling.

2. As a result J. K. Rowling looks like “a crazy person.” (for any psychology students out there worth noting possible bit of projection going on at this point)

3. Popkins knows what the “ramifications” of this lawsuit will be for “years and YEARS to come.” (apparently they will not be good)

4. Praising a website is an apparent carte blanche to its manager to break his word, dissemble to his colleagues, the court, and fans, steal copyright, plagiarise, pretend he is the victim, and then generally embody delusion with impunity.

5. A Free website is the same as a money-making venture.

6. Defending your rights if you are “richer than the Queen” means you are something that rhymes with witch, need psychological help via an appearance on Oprah, and have become congenitally incapable of differentiating “meaningless crap” from (Popkins was unable to say; but may I suggest her article might represent the “meaningless crap” bit).

7. J. K. Rowling has got it in for CC licensing, or must be against it on principle. Hence the desperate dearth of Potter fanfiction, wizardrock, 1000s of publications on the series, academic conferences, etc, etc, etc …

8. J. K. Rowling is suing Steve for appearing as a baby on YouTube whilst dancing to Wizardrock (Hummmm, might be something in that).

9. 50 year olds who behave and look like children should be treated like children and never be taken to court.

10. Any individual who labels himself a “fan” can do no wrong, and cannot therefore, on principle, be in breach of any legal or moral principle. No matter what the principle.

11. J. K. Rowling is currently suing a fictional character she imagined.

12. J. K. Rowling is rich, any rich person should understand that they no longer need to care about anything. Stealing is fine, don’t worry your rich little head about it. Betrayal and breaking one’s word is fine, rich people don’t mind. Anybody less rich than you deserves a break even if it means their ransacking your possessions to acquire it, because your rich and it’s fine.

Whatever Helen A Popkins is on I’d like some … Oh, and her fee please, after all I’ve just taken all the essential ideas from her article, rearranged them, and made something transformative and deserving of her largesse… or is that derivative?

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When I talk to people about this case, they seem to agree with this author- they don’t understand why it isn’t such a good idea to write the lexicon. We’re all protective of Jo- so calling her a “crazy person” is of course going to leave us fuming. And while Steve is stil a huge fan, others of us are also on his “level” of fandom, and I bet that alot of us would have backed off if we knew that Jo didn’t approve, so that doesn’t that show that its more about your own values and morals? So to insinuate that its crazy to sue one of your “biggest” fans-well, THATS whats crazy.

I still pray for this to be over-fast- and for Jo to win the case. Leaky, Melissa, and Kristin, I really REALLY appreciate you guys recording this is a professional way, given the circumstances. I know it’s got to be tough for you guys. We all love you!

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Jo, you have every right to kick a fans backside if they exploit your creations for profit. If this case settles in favor of SVA – then I consider him worse than Lord Voldemort & The Minister of Magic combined with a very Pink Paper Pusher.

He makes fans look bad, really creepy, and makes me scared to ever go to a Harry Potter Convention if he was there.

If he is so talented, he can write his own books, with his own characters; then see how he feels when his fans start to alter or distort the world he created – of which he is not capable of, due to his inability to ADD ANY NEW INSIGHT!

Then we would see a 50 year old fan cry,”NOT FAIR! It was fun when I took other people’s characters and made money off them, but I don’t like people messing with mine, taking capital funds from Me, Myself & I! I have 3 Egos to feed! WAAAAAA!!!!!!

He started out in a genre that was set up to have a high fan base, with no real clear boundaries. Last thing i want to see is Harry Potter and the Missing Link – Volume 58 of the ever expanding Harry Potter library hosted by the mega ego SVA, your ever obsessive money ego hungry super no. 1 fan.

Could he be any more annoying. What a beast of burden – no cake, or cake crumbs for him – he isn’t polite, puts his feet up on Dumbledore’s Desk, and thinks – THIS WORLD IS MINE NOW!

This is not Treky time SVA or I would teleport you out of the Magical World.

Suing one of your biggest fans – EEEWWWW – that sounds so gross, scary, and very slime icky..

Jo, there are fans that do have a variety of interests who just enjoy the world you created in your novels, with your consultations on the Films, and the Universal Park.

There was never any doubt of you making a proper Scottish Book.

I dislike this court mess taking away time from your family, invading your personal space, and just being downright inane.

We back you Jo! Don’t settle – FIGHT! Warner’s and Bloomsbury is behind you on this.

I feel bad you have to be dragged through this – possibly not getting good coffee – but you must be scribbling some wonderful drawings because it sounds like such a bore – doodle away, because this whole trial is just nonsense.

YOU ARE NOT A CRAZY PERSON – JO, nor sue happy. Don’t listen to this. It’s YOUR CHARACTERS, YOUR WORLD YOU CREATED and worked so many years to give it the depth and personality it has.

I hope you get better Coffee next week. Cheers, Helyx

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It’s refreshing to see that so many people here manage to keep a serious and fair discussion going while ignoring the irrational, emotional comments that pop up every so often. I am finding those, regardless of what side they are taking, quite disturbing indeed. In my opinion: - Both sides have some seriously good points. It’s most definitely not as simple as shouting out a few magical (hah) words like “morals”, “fairness”, etc. as indications and then counting which side has scored best in this game. - This isn’t about being a good fan or not. - No rational person (or any person who wants to be taken seriously, for that matter) should take sides based on the relatively few things we do know (compared to everyone else who is more directly involved in this case), then proceed to throw stones at evil, evil SVA, while declaring their undying love for JKR. - It would be so lovely to see the impulsive, emotional outbursts stop. Both SVA-bashing as well as JKR-sanctification are equally wrong. There’s a reason why Justitia’s eyes are bound and thankfully the judge appears to know why – so far. - All in all, I am truly sad it’s come this far. Let’s hope they do settle soon …

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That editorial by MSNBC is such a fricking joke.

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I cannot believe this has gone this far. sva should have stopped a long time ago.

Im thinking that this is more than being a fan, or wanting recognition. Maybe we just have to get our minds to that this is turning into an obsession. ...sva contacting the Christopher Little agency makes me think that hes turning into a stalker fan…

Sorry if i offend anyone, but the fact that this even had to go to court makes it ridiculous. How can he actually think, that what hes ’’defending’’ is right? Has he convinced himself that he has the right to copy someone elses work, is he in denial that he cannot see how stupid hes making himself look and those involved in wanting to launch the lexicon??

One thing that makes me so angry is people thinking they are better than others. Hes making himself out to be an expert, someone who knows HP better than the rest. Better than JK! Yes i say better than JK because he obviously believes he will win…

But the thing that drew the line for me, was when he wrote that (one of the) reason(s) for publishing the lexicon was so that the less fortunate and those who did not have access to the internet could finally read the lexicon.

WHAT ?? I would have believed him if the would publish it and donate the money to charity and donate books to those less fortunate!

Im disguisted to have him talk in my copy of the DVD, if i could i would have deleted his parts…

Jo i hope you feel the good vibrations your fans send you, we are all behind you and hopefully this absurdity will stop now!

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I think I can understand JKR’s desire to write her own “lexicon” without having been beaten to it by a fan. And I am sure hers will be of much higher quality than Vander Ark’s.

But I am very uneasy about a billionaire mega-star writer calling school librarian Vander Ark’s Lexicon “sloppy” and of poor quality. Really stooping pretty low there, Jo. Stop with the name calling and the insults. I’m having a hard time thinking you’re the very cool person I thought you were.

Maybe you really aren’t?

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@ jmas1357:

If that’s Jo’s genuine opinion of the Lexibook (and note that her comments on the witness stand were about the book, NOT the Lexicon website), I don’t see why she shouldn’t be allowed to say so just because SVA is/was a fan and a school librarian. If he was still only maintaining the website as a hobby, and doing it for free, then I might think Jo’s comments were a bit harsh and uncalled for.

But that’s not what SVA is doing, is it? He’s trying to publish and profit from the Lexibook. And frankly, if anyone, anyone at all, tries to publish and sell a book, it is my opinion that they should at least make sure it is professional and well-written; and if we’re talking about a book that is supposed to serve as a reference guide, as the Lexibook is supposed to do, then it darn well better be as accurate as possible, too. So in my opinion, the Lexibook is fair game for harsh criticism. Yes, even criticism from JKR. Especially from JKR.

Personally, I’m not having a hard time at all believing that SVA is the cool person I thought he was. Because now I know for a fact that he isn’t.

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Justina’s eyes are bound – which does not mean fairness nor clarity settles cases in court. That statue is probably the worst sort of Iconography. In this world it means that her sight has been robbed. How many court cases have you heard that were settled fairly, with a clear judgment?

In the real world people are entitled to their own opinions. If people want to take sides – after so many evolutions of mankind – nothing will stop it. It’s part of being human, with human fallibility.

The Court system was set up to try to balance, and mediate a discussion to find out from both sides, cross exam these points to see if their statements are consistent; finally have a settlement decision that can, or could affect not only the outcome of this case, but for future writers as well.

This is a landmark case that is testing the rights of what control of Creative Rights does an Author have over what they created, once it’s released into the World Market.

If SVA wins, this could mean the unraveling of rights of not only Book Publishers, but the Film/TV industry, as well as the Comic/Manga/Anime areas that are supported by fans.

If J.K.Rowlings wins – it would clarify that an Author does have Creative Right Control over their writing and creations, protecting Authors and their works from exploitation and mis-interpretation for monetary gain.

SVA did not add any new perspectives, nor new knowledge to his work. J.K.Rowlings has been open to studies and papers being written about Harry Potter, as long as these writers add fresh impute and insights..

SVA has not shown this by not providing proof of his ability to provide the courts with answers that clarify his decision. He has stated several times about money matters, which he might have thought funny to say, but makes the case slant in a way that people think of him in the way they do – due to his own answers and how he has handled himself in court.

J.K.Rowlings has had several recent lawsuits which many people never do any proper research to find out why the cases were filed. This makes people unclear in their ability to figure out what is at stake here with this legal case.

This is a difficult case – wasting time, money and energy that would be better spent creating – from both parties.

SVA should write his own characters, create his own world to understand what it is like when other’s take the best bits and make a profit off it – without his approval, consent, nor giving the originator author royalty rights for use of their writing, characters, or reputation gained from creating these works.

J.K.Rowlings is in a difficult spot because this case could drag on for years, costing money better used for her Charities. In a way SVA’s Court case is indeed robbing J.K.Rowlings future Scottish Book by this trial, and robbing Charities of the money that had been planned for them with the release of the Scottish Book.

People will find it harder and harder to step back from the case, if they see this continue to adversely affect J.K.Rowlings. Cases like this makes millions for people like SVA, because of the press attention making it seem that SVA is the underdog and J.K.Rowlings is the Literary Giant.

Instead it destroys both individuals, degrades them in the public, and is dehumanizing because neither side will actually be heard, nor supported with the legal system we have made blind.

Justice is blind because it knows of the media mess we make, and how law is distorted to the extent that no one actually wins. Outside of the courts life will go on, but this case will affect both of their lives in ways they are unaware of – yet.

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I am really pissed off in this moment. who the hell did she think she is to tell that JK is wrong??? Oh here is another idiot just like Steve. Oh I hate them both. I bet she is such a …(I can’t find word to describe her) To JK: I will never think that you are crazy, I think that you are right, who the hell are they to create a lexicon about HP books? I don’t say that I don’t want to know more about HP , but I will wait Jo’s encyclopidia till it is published no matter what, and I think that all of her fans should do that too. If that idiot successed to publish the lexion I think that no one should buy it because it is fake, there are errors in it and JKR is the original author of HP everyone else are just pigs, idiots, gits…..

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Personally, I am not a lawyer. I have never taken a course or class on the Law but even I know that it isn’t a good idea to publish a book based on someone else’s work without getting permission from the original Author first.

Heck, personally I would have ran the information by J.K.R. just to make sure the information was accurate to start with.

Whether SVA is her “Biggest fan” or her own f-ing son, he broke the law and as the victim JKR has every right to see justice done.

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Two Words:

Warner Brothers.

zr

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Also I think it common knowledge that JKR never intended to make the kind of money she made off the Harry Potter series. She had planned out most of the plot and had set on making seven books from the start. I have a feeling this is as much about preserving the integrity of her creation than it is about money.

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I wish we could go back to savaging Roger Rapoport and RDR Publishing and leave SVA out of it. Remember, SVA’s not the one being sued here. Of course SVA has to defend himself (as best he can) on the witness stand and in the court of opinion. And, of course, he certainly went along with RDR’s plans to rush it into stores for Christmas. He should’ve realized immediately what kind of company he was signing on to. He was greedy.

I’ll bet SVA wishes he could turn back the clock on this. Heck, all reasonable people would like to turn back the clock on this mess. Isn’t there a saying that says something like “bad cases make bad laws”. Who knows what this case will lead to.

RDR, on the other hand, is gonna run with this all the way to the bank.

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this is really pitiful and sad. Why did he have to push the limits this far that it came down to all this mess. People in New York and online journalists, and others who dont read the series are now bashing Jo because they think she is doing this out of greed. IF they truely read the books they would know that she put alot of effort into them. She even said – I know I have enough money, that isnt the point. He isnt doing anything is the point. Its really disgusting and cruel some things I’ve read about her because they just think at this point she is being greedy, which is really wrong. Fact is fact plagurism is illegal no matter who you are. I really think that grumpy judge was out of line to say something about this case, they are supposed to be no-sided on a court situation and it didnt sound that way with him. I know old people who understand the books. The have the books in places from elementary schools to nursing homes. – Im not kidding I worked in one and they had the GOF for the old folks to read if they liked. Come on Jo you can do it!!!

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I never looked at The Lexicon website, and I don’t know what if anything VanderArc has added to Jo Rowling’s work. But if what Jo says is true (and I have no reason to doubt it for even a millisecond!), that he hasn’t added anything but has just plagiarised her work, then he should pay the legal bills and just crawl away in shame.

Any author/news-hack who thinks differently just isn’t worth paying the slightest attention to.

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From the WSJ Law Blog:

” Well, according to Stanford’s Falzone, this is a major case for the future of the fair-use doctrine. “One of the interesting things that have happened in fair-use law over the past decade or so is that it’s begun to recognize the organizational value that informational guides provide,” Falzone told the Law Blog. “And it’s recognized that tools that help organize information, without changing it, have significant fair use value.”

Of course, Warner and Rowling don’t see it that way. “

XYZ for Dummies; Harry Potter for Dummies? Wish I thought of that anology. Take a look at the WSG Law blog. I posted yesterday that we didn’t want WB/JKR to win it was based on intelectual freedom. I stand by that. Lexicons are great guides for complex subjects. If JKR wants to write one, do so. Do it better & people will buy it – if they are going to buy one.

It is bussines, not personal. $$$$$$

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desertwind, I agree. Roger Rapoport sounds like a real slimeball. Didn’t he say he worked for the publishing company that printed the Mugglenet book? And that he saw how much it sold? If thats true, it sounds like he set off finding another site, to try and profit off.

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DONT CALL JO CRAZY!!!

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if i made a book i wouldnt want somebody to rip me off! rdr books are a pack of delusional tightwads assembled to rip people off. oh yeah, i know we have freedom of speech but COME FRIKIN ON!!! they just called jk rowling crazy. that is like a twisted view on one of the greatest people to walk the earth.

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look, its her book….she started it. why should any1 else do her job? she has the right to sue him. im not sayin she should….but if she wants to, she has a decent reason to. now callin her crazy…tats just mean. he wrote this stuff w/out askin her. its her stuff….tats just wrong…writin stuff bout a series tat u didnt start w/out the orginal writers premission.

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I have to say, I really don’t understand the whole “poor SVA, why are people criticizing him, he was misled and people should leave him out of this and criticize RDR instead” argument. Wha…?

Look, this whole suit would never have happened if SVA had not allowed RDR to talk him into publishing in the first place. If he was truly misled by RDR, as he claims, then that sucks for him. But you know what? The fact remains that he is still an adult, responsible for his own mistakes. He should, like all adults, be held accountable for his actions. The argument that he should be left alone and not criticized is, quite frankly, flabbergasting to me.

And it’s not as if SVA has showed one whit of remorse for this whole affair. Yes, he got choked up on the witness stand, but it was because he feels he’s been unfairly criticized by fandom, not because he’s at all sorry for trying to publish something that infringes on JKR/WB’s copyright. On the contrary, he has repeatedly insisted that he has done nothing wrong, that he’s (snort) trying to protect the rights of fandom by doing this, that JKR is trying to exercise unwarranted control over the HP story, blah blah blah. And yet some think that the people who disagree with SVA shouldn’t be allowed to criticize him for that behavior? That we should only blame Big Bad RDR? Seriously?

I do respect what SVA gave to the fandom up until this point. And please allow me to clarify that I am NOT defending bashing SVA as a person. But I AM certainly defending the right of people to express their disgust over his behavior in this whole mess. I and many others deplore what SVA has done, and there is nothing wrong with us singling out his behavior and saying so. He is by no means innocent or above criticism here.

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Ed

Falzone WANTS the courts to start recognizing that organizational guides have fair use value. If there was a case where the courts actually DID recognize fair use value of guides that organized information without changing it, believe me, we would have heard about it. RDR would have cited it ad naseum. Even the judge admits these are new issues. No, what Falzone is doing is a clever PR ploy to make theft the status quo in most people’s minds. But if what he was saying were true, then RDR would have been able to come with much better precedent to cite in their arguments. The precedent that RDR did actually cite dealt with books that had either stopped publication due to being asked, or were actually transformative and therefore qualified under fair use. Remember, just because Falzone wants something to be true, doesn’t mean it’s true. But I suppose his fudging of the fact is just business.

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Several editorials in British papers are really running with the “Big Bad Wolf threatens Little Red Riding Hood” story line. One mentions that RDR was “only” going to print 10,000 copies. That’s ridiculous! Of course they intended to print more if they could. RDR may have intended 10,000 for a first run (probably all he could finance) but that’s ignoring additional print-runs financed by the first run and not to mention foreign sales he was trying for.

Rubbish.

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Question, is this being tried in the US or UK?

are there differences between the two systems in terms of Copyright use?

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saille – well said. I wish I could send a copy of your response to the MSNBC writer but she isn’t brave or bold enough to except email replies. I love how someone will dish it out but not allow responses! lol note the high pitch sarcasm .

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The problem here is that Steven VanderArk isn’t doing anything with the Lexicon. The case would naturally be his if he were to comment on things or put his own spin on it. All he’s doing though is taking what J.K. Rowling has done, put it up on a web site in point-form order, and then try and get it published. That may be hardwork, but it isn’t something to do with issues of creative copyright. It’s like sampling music. That’s totally legal and fine, if you put enough of your own style into it, or if you change it enough, or if you rework it with some other songs. What Mr. VanderArk is doing is just regurgitation.

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This is being tried in the US; NYC Federal Court.

As to the case law, I am no lawyer, just citing (correctly I hope) those who follow these things. There is a difference of opinion. No big news there. I have been trying to get people to look at it dispationetly instead of as JKR vs SVA. They may take it personally, but their lawyers aren’t. Big $$$, or Euros are riding on the outcome of this case. JKR/WB already have made 1 big concesion. THAT is very interesting. If JKR’s lawyers thought she had an easy win why would they make concessions?

For now, don’t expect a clear answer when the court hands down its decision. The judge already said he expects however the case goes that it will be appealed.

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I think that JKR is in the right. If you made your fame and fortune off something you loved, you wouldn’t want anyone to go and mess with it.

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Thanks Connie.

And I must say that rotfang07, your comment was articulate, hilarious and very true.

To you Biodredd, I apologise, I have read the Charmed and Gilmore Girls novels (or some I should say, since there are so many) and the Buffy comics. I should have clarified that as far as I see them, as a reader of them, I see the novels and the comics that are not written by major writers and creators (such as Joss Whedon himself) as fanfiction to me, personally, as I cannot see them as cannon seeing that I cannot see them on the screen and thus miss the feeling that these are the actual characters as I know them. As in that when a script is written the head writers edit it, fix it, add themselves (and thus their true feeling of who the characters are and what they would do or say) into them, and the directors and actors change things etc.,

When I read the novels etc. I see them as a form of fanfiction, as in the fact that the writers write them the way that they invision the story, not in the collective way that TV shows are usually written. However, as I am more of a basic fan of literature and television and not hardcore into the worlds of fandom (I do not attend conventions or collect everything about a certain book or show), I understand that from your correction I misinterpreted these things as aside from canon. However as a writer, my advice to the young lady earlier on in this comment area is still legally correct, fan fiction is a sticky situation when it comes to regular people (not paid staff) publishing it. That goes for any fiction, be it fan or unauthorized author fiction, which makes reference to or uses as characters the craracters creater by another.

To you Umbridge, I must say that at 26, I have never downloaded music for free. However the point that stealing music is okay to people, although true from an abstract point of view, is in fact quite different in respect to this case. An artist (perhaps more so in the past than it is now) puts perhaps days into a song. Recording and mixing is a few hours, and songwriting is inspirational and usually takes only a few days. JK wrote for 17 years. Now not 17 years straight of course, but considerably longer than a musician does.

Now I do not mean to nitpick, nor did I ever think it was fair to download for free, which is why I never did it. However just like the case we are talking about, Napster too was made accountable for its actions, as was the person who created it.

So in reality, although pirating still occurs rampantly, as it was even for Jk’s books which people transcribed online and let people read for free (which again, I did not agree with nor participate in), people who share these things for free do not stand to make a profit from them, and that is what makes this issue so defendable by fans.

Although I do not know if you want to call money gained from website hits versus how much of it they use to keep the site up, the money gained after which may be considered personal profit, it is still not profit in the way this book purports to gain. And so this has been my very long round-a-bout way of saying that because downloading music for free is stealing, and plagiarism is stealing, does not make them ironically linked in the scope of this case.

In fact the fact that the Lexicon book is going to cease to be a free access to information such as downloaded music, but will become a profitable endeavor, makes it different.

If Napster say, was the kid who ran it buying the Cds, downloading them to his computer and charging his friends and the public to get it, even 1 cent, then it would be the same, but to me, in my opinion, the Lexicon in its website form is really more akin to napster, as people can download the pages, print them and keep them forever, just as they can when they illegally download music. And thus the kids today who are the ‘Napster Generation’, seem to at least be able to understand that selling things that aren’t yours is wrong, even if they don’t seem to care that taking something you find for free without paying for it is wrong as well.

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Ashley McC on April 19, 2008 @ 06:40 PM, I’m not absolving SVA.

Without SVA’s stupidity & greed (for power, fame, money, who knows?) he wouldn’t have been suckered into signing a contract with RDR and …

Naw, I’d like us to go back to rogering RDR because it’s more fun.

SVA is not fun. It’s pathetic.

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I hope the next opinion piece is about the outpouring of support from Rowling’s fans.

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You’re all missing the point here. You keep saying SVA just repackaged “Rowling’s original work” well excuse me! If JKR isnt the biggest ripoff of the century!

Is the hippogriff an original idea? Is a thestral an original idea? Are goblins and leprechauns originally her idea? Is Harry Potter even an original character? What SVA actually catalogued are a bunch of already existing fantasy creatures, beings, characters, things, places, events, etc. that were invented by ancient authors and SHE HERSELF REPACKED THEM in her own book! She just gave them different funny najmes (which is now the reason why a catalogue was needed and done by SVA).

All things in her book, you will find out if you do good research, are also just derived from greek/roman mythology, from Tolkien, CS Lewis and goodness knows how many more authors less known to this generation. If these authors are all still alive today, they should form an alliance and sue her for infringement too! They should be turning in their graves the moment Ms. Rowling (to rhyme with bowling, not howling) decided to take this to court.

Maybe she’s afraid that soon there will be another work coming out citing also all of the sources from where she got all her characters, plot, creatures, and just about everything in her book, and everybody finds out she’s just as much of a ripoff as Vander Ark was, only she’s billions richer. Maybe she herself is afraid of being dragged in court by some starving author somewhere in Timbuktu whom she has taken an idea from.

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I-in the skye

Yes Rowling uses existing creatures, but the point is that she created something entirely new, which is allowable and which SVA did not do.

And there HAVE been books written about sources where she got her creatures, ancient myths from which her plot may have been derived, etc. These books consist of original commentary and analysis, so they are not infringement and would never be challenged in court.

She created a COMPLETELY new story. Authors are allowed to use existing creatures. What is in question is copying and pasting huge portions of a copyrighted work so that your book is 84% quotes from copyrighted work. The only way you could compare JKR and SVA would be if another author suddenly appeared (from Timbuktu) and sued JKR because the HP books were 84% quotes from a previously existing book. You may argue that JKR’s plots are similar to plots in previous books, but can you honestly compare that to using 84% QUOTES from another book?

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Why can’t it jsut stay a website? Why does it have to be published? What is the purpose?

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I find myself confused, by the love/symetrey to the Potter lexicon shared wirh the auther of the book, and Rowling shudden rejectsions

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It seems like the people who’ve been writing for MSNBC and the Wallstreet Journal have not been following the case. They don’t understand the facts. It’s really disappointing, because it looks like they are automatically rooting for Vander Ark because he’s the underdog but they fail to identify what Jo is even asking. If the judge ruled in her favor, there would not be ramifications for fansites because Jo is not picking a fight with fansites! She is totally, 100% in the right. I don’t see how there could be any confusion here. They’re her words!!

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@Alex, I’d like to know the same thing. More specifically, I’m curious whose idea it was. Did RDR Books approach Vander Ark and offer a book deal? Did Vander Ark go searching for publishers? To put it bluntly…who started this mess? (Anyone know?)

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I-in the sky, I must say I find your accusation quite astonishing.

To say that a completely new and original idea is done in this day and age is kind of ridiculous. Every single person is using preexisting creatures, animals, mythical figures when it comes to creative works. It’s history. These things have been imbedded into our culture. Upon reading Harry Potter for the very first time I did not need to look up what a Griffin was to understand what the symbol for Griffindor is. I was taught what one was at a very young age. My home town as a very prestigious private school in it, their mascot is a Griffin. The idea of Naziism, communism, anything in Greek mythology, ancient Egypt, the dinosaurs etc…hundreds (if not thousands) of people have written on these topics. But each have done so in a different manner than the ones before them. They simply did not take another person’s work, rearrange the way it was originally written and present it as their own.

It would as though I took Star Wars: A New Hope, rearranged a few scenes on my computer (I feel that Alderaan should be blown up before the Millennium Falcon leaves Tatooine) and present it as my own. Do you think for a second that George Lucas wouldn’t come down on me like a ton of bricks? I’d be destroyed. This is essentially what SVA is doing.

This case is difficult for those of us in the fandom. We love HP and because we love HP we love Jo. She gave us HP. She gave us a beautiful story that we followed for years. I’m 21 and I’ve been reading HP since I was 12. Almost half my life has been spent reading and waiting for the next Harry Potter books to come out. I’ve loved having a book that I’ve been excited for it’s release. When Deathly Hallows came out, I was excited for the final battle, but sad for the end of HP. When Jo announced her plans for The Scottish Book, I was thrilled. I wanted to know all the things she didn’t get a chance to put in the books. Backgrounds on characters. Everything. The fact that SVA could turn her off from doing this saddens me to no end.

This case is not about money for Jo. I truly hope you all understand that. That woman doesn’t need any more money. She doesn’t care about the money. She’s doing The Scottish Book for charity. It’s about someone stealing from her. It is as though SVA broke into her house and took all of her most private and personal possessions. It is essentially what he did. Jo was not well off when she first wrote HP. We all know that. SVA is trying to take that from her by taking away her ownership of HP.

Harry Potter belongs to nobody but Jo Rowling. He came from her mind. She wrote his story over 17 years. Without Jo there would be no Harry Potter. None of us would be here day after day talking about how much we love these books, excited for the next piece of movie news. Without Jo there would be none of that. Steve Vander Ark is trying to take that from her. A win for SVA and RDR will open up the opportunity for every individual out there to do what they want with HP. And every other character you have ever loved. Pick one. They will be destroyed.

Jo’s criticism of the Lexicon Book should be the most important criticism. Those writing companion books should want nothing more than to please Jo. If I were to set out to write a companion book (which trust me, would be a heavily researched, lots of my own thought, extremely cited book) I would want nothing more than Jo’s approval and for her to think it’s a good book. Her opinion is the only one that matters. Who cares what the other fans think. If Jo Rowling, the mother of all things Harry Potter thinks its crap? Then its crap. She should know. She created the universe. If things are wrong, she would know. If things are poorly researched, she would know. And if they are her words, not cited, she would know.

I hope SVA realizes his mistake fast. I hold no sympathy for him. He’s an educated individual who knew what he was getting into. If he had any respect for Jo, if he was truly a fan, he would have wanted nothing more than her approval on his book. Instead he got four cease and desist letters and is being dragged through the American Courts. As a student of law, I don’t envy him. But I don’t pity him either.

Jo- I stand behind you 100%. May you keep your spirits and want to continue The Scottish Book. Know that your fans are behind you. We love you for everything you gave us and are waiting for the day you give us that all inclusive Harry Potter Encyclopedia.

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@ScottMan – I believe RDR approached SVA if I remember correctly. It’s why SVA isn’t technically getting sued. RDR is. SVA has been exonerated from any legal issues that would arise from his book per his contract with RDR. Which to me says that RDR knew something shifty was up and was trying to save his clients’ butt.

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‘Dudes’...that is one badly written article! Did she even bother researching the case? If this is the quality of journalism we’re to expect in regards to the lawsuit then no wonder so many people are confused.

I don’t care if it’s an opinion piece; no-one is going to be swayed by a poorly researched, innocuous analogy filled piece of garbage like that!

I’ve read better articles in the Sun.

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P.S- go beckett! I would like to second all that you said, and add a big hug to Jo, wherever she may be…we’re cheering for you honey!

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this is so crazy. I mean seriously, how can jo rowling be in the wrong here? She wrote harry potter. she created all the characters, and she put a lot of hard work in to the books. personally i don’t see why anyone would even want to read this steve guy’s work… why would i want to read book that is just copying the harry potter series and making an encyclpedia of like names and stuff, i wanted to find our what names mean i would type it in tp google. i would MUCH rather wait for j.k rowling to bring out a book, with like back story and interesting stuff that i didn’t know. and illustrations of her work.. kinda like her website. i think any harry potter fan should be supporting j.k rowling… because she wrote the books and withhout her imagination we wouldn’t even have a book. i hope Jo wins :)

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QUESTION : Is there anyone of you crying loud in favor of Rowling or Vander Ark who really knows what will be the complete contents of the Lexicon book??? Well I don’t know what the contents will be!!! I have heard some people say it will be a copy of the A to Z index of the Lexicon website , other people say it will contain parts of the books written by Rowling and just copy-paste by Vander Ark. So, what is going to be the EXACT contents of this book?

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I can’t believe this case is about copyright/plagiarism issues. If it was, then surely JKR would have demanded that the lexicon website be closed down ages ago – instead of giving it a fansite award and admitting that she used it as research while writing her last few books. Also when she claims that it’s not fair for someone else to make profits from an author’s work – that is EXACTLY what WB does by making films based on her stories. The difference is that they paid her in advance. I’m sorry to say that this case is about money – pure and simple .

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Good point, Bowlfreak! That’s exactly why I disagree with comments from people who seem to be practicing the sport of extreme-side-taking … Although I am inclined to say JKR/WB are probably in the right, I just don’t feel comfortable saying that I believe so 100%. It’s such a complicated case and I suspect both sides have made big mistakes that cannot be undone, the consequences of which are now adding further confusion.

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In response to Bowlfreak, I think there are very few who know what is in the Lexicon Book, myself included. Therefore I tend to take the same position as Crina….I’m pretty sure Jo is in the right here, but I can’t make that decision because I haven’t seen the LexiBook. I have seen the Lexicon Website. It appears from the website that there aren’t a whole lot of direct quotes from the book. BUT it is still Jo’s material rearranged. And I haven’t read FB or QA, so I can’t tell if those are direct descriptions or not. Also, on the website Steve does use refrence codes. If the book is the same as the website I think it may fall under Fair Use. HOWEVER, that said, my concerns about the contents of the website being put into a book are that there are essays written by people other than the Leixcon Staff. If these are in the books, the authors of the essays should be paid as well. I’ve heard from some of the people who wrote the essays that they will not be in the book, so it will just be Jo’s content rearranged.

Again, I have no idea what is in the book….so I can’t make any judgement, (nor should I as I am not a lawyer), but I tend to think that if it’s Jo’s creation, regardless of Fair Use, it is still hers and she should have the final say.

I think it’s very interesting that this case can still go either way. And either way it goes it will definitely be appealed. This is not going to be finished anytime soon. If it goes to the Supreme Court it could take years. Sigh

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Another response to Bowlfreak, if I am not mistaken, Jo’s lawyers had asked RDR books several times last year to provide them with a copy of the manuscript. They were trying to appeal to the lexicon people to sort this out peacefully, but RDR books got cheeky and told them to simply print the website … They refused to submit a manuscript of the planned lexicon. I bet they knew why … Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the lexicon would consist of the conctents of the website, which are 80% quotes (if not more) from the original books, only rearranged.

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finally someone has my opinion! leaky needs to stop being so opinionated btw. i know they can, but i thought news related things are supposed to be objective and i feel like everything on here i read about the case is through leaky’s screen of criticism, though i havent let it change my opinion which they seem to have succeeded in with alot of these people. i love the books soooooooo much, but sva is not acting like he made this stuff up (not that he could). he cites everything im sure. he is saying “jkrowling wrote amazing novels with tons of new magical words that are hard to remember, so i am going to arrange them in alphabeltical order for everyone. i did not make this stuff up.” like how is that illegal?? he is not pretending to have written it and is citing it. GROWL. right now in english we are writing papers and for a long time i have been taught that you can use a quote as long as you cite the author (which is basically for the reason that they know who wrote it and where to find it)! he cites!! also, for a good paper you should not just use quotes, but it is not really necessary here. he is not trying to tell you something new, just arrange complicated ideas which HE DOES CITE. and poor sva, he seems to be taking it really hard. jkrowling is a good arguer, i have to give that to her. and that she writes amazing books. ok now attack me because i know everyone will, which is good because i love that everyone has the right to their own opinion! dont let leaky’s affect yours porfavor! bye!

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jenny

you assume that he cites in fact all we know are assumptions. I heard that he quoted some online lexicons withouting citing them.

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Hi Jenny,

you can use quotations when you write a paper or an essay, but if you submit an essay which consists of nothing but quotes, you would certainly fail AND would have been guilty of plagiarism.

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@Jenny

Leaky has been nothing but objective on this case. They, unlike other places, are showing both sides of the story. It is the fans’ posts (and the poll) that show that a majority of people on Leaky are for Jo winning.

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You can read the Book at this link.

It’s on Justia.com in court documents submitted by SVA.

Filing 52. The Book is Attachments 2 thru 5 (exhibits 2,3,4,5)

http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-york/nysdce/1:2007cv09667/315790/52/

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@Pixie : Hp fans do like Rowling, so if the only choise you can make in the Leakypoll is between Rowling winning or loosing the trial, than it is logical the majority of fans will vote Rowling to win!! In my point of view it is not possible to be objective, if you do not know the copyright laws or the content of the book to be published. I like Rowling too, but that is not the subject of the poll

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@jenny-

The problem with the book is that SVA isn’t citing. If you go back through and read excepts (thank you desertwind for the link again) there are several times when he uses exact phrases or paraphrases without actually citing her work. That is where this has gotten messy. Jo has no problem with you using her material for a companion book. I own one (The What Do you Think Will Happen in Book 7 one by the mugglenet people) They use her books as a reference to what they are talking about all the time. But they cite.

And when they cite, they use PAGE NUMBERS. That is another problem. SVA is not using page numbers. He is simply stating book and chapter when he does cite. Since there are so many different versions of the books (UK edition, US edition, Portuguese edition etc) you need page numbers and to put in the bibliography which editions you are using. There isn’t any of that. You said in your english class right now you are doing citing. When it’s standard MLA to citing author and page number. If you are using only one author but several texts you would put the book and page number. Basically, the page number is key. It’s how people go to find the source. No one wants to filter through an entire chapter of HP for one thing. Some of those chapters are damn long. And what if he was using the UK editing? I’m in the US and have the US edition?

That’s the main point of this case. Not that he was using her work, other people have done so and she’s been fine with it. In fact she even went through a few books on the witness stand and said how much she liked them, but they way he is using her work, the fact that he isn’t quoting her, giving her credit for her extremely hard work and is hardly putting any of his own personal thoughts into each entry in the Lexicon. Had he cited her, and done research on the different entries and given his own personal new incite to each one of them, there would be no law suit.

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@bowlfreak

I think you misunderstood my point (I should have been more clear :D). I was trying to say that the articles have been objective, have shown both sides, and have had a lot more information than the other articles out there. The bias for Jo on this site comes from the fans (as shown in the comments and poll) and not from the people who run the site.

I will agree, though, it is impossible to be objective ALL the time; I just think Leaky has done a better job at it than most other sites.

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I personally think that JKR has to testify on Warner Bros’s behalf because of NAFTA Chapter 11 – that JKR can be sued by Warner Bros if she acts in a way that can lose Warner Bros money.

This is what appears concerning the case in the Winnipeg Free Press:

Vander Ark testified on the second day of a trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, pitting his publishing company, RDR Books, against Rowling and Warner Bros., the maker of the Harry Potter films and owner of all the intellectual property related to the Potter books and movies.

This is from your earlier articles:

Another part of the fair-use test involves the effect on the published work’s market, essentially just how clearly the copyright holder has shown that the work will have a damaging economic effect on her publications.

This is also from your earlier articles:

She added: “Are we, or are we not, the owners of our own work? It’s not just my work that is endangered.” According to the article, she also expressed “outrage” that her work is considered fair game because it is popular.”

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Seriously, JKR doesn’t completely own her own work any more because she signed over some “property rights” to Warner Bros. JKR is under breach of contract if she says, does or writes anything which adversely affects sales of the movies and merchandise. I think that Warner Bros is trying to claim that the Lexicon book is “merchandise.” Notice that JKR is delaying publication of her on Encyclopedia for sometime after the last movie has been put on DVD for a while – for a time that, no matter what is in the book, its publication would be more likely to renew interest in the movie and merchandise than to hurt sales.

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