JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: SVA Interview with BBC


Apr 21, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC

BBC Radio 4 has a short interview with Steve Vander Ark – click the image of the HP Lexicon’s front page to play.

124 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: SVA Interview with BBC

Avatar Image says:

I think Steve is not being entirely truthful. He implyed that Jo told him there were no edits he could make to the book, but I think it was RDR Books that told that to him

Avatar Image says:

I just can’t get over has easily this guy can talk about what he’s going and still think what he is doing is right. And I agree with Katie, I do believe they did tell him there were things he could do to fix it, but he said no.

Avatar Image says:

i am absolutely disgusted that he is falsely believing this bowl crap!!

Avatar Image says:

if he wins nobody nobody NOBODY buy the dang blasted book

Avatar Image says:

What I find so entertaining about this whole thing is Steve’s argument that other people have made money from HP other than Jo. Wrock, the wand-making people, etc, etc, etc. While that is entirely true, that other people have “capitalized” (as he would probably say) on HP, what he fails to understand is that Wizard Rock does NOT involve blatant plagarism and theft of Jo’s text. Maybe if we started hearing some songs that basically put the books, verbatim, to music, that might substantiate what Steve is talking about, but until then, he’s wrong. He is wrong. Plain and simple. He KNEW that Jo has always planned on writing the Scottish Book, which will probably be the most significant thing to happen to the fandom since, well, Deathly Hallows, but, well, you get the picture. And now she might not write it. If this lawsuit, if Steve’s fair-use “righteousness” causes us to lose the Scottish Book and also the ability to have a fandom for other series, can he call himself a fan? I vote no.

If he wins (God forbid).... Boycott?

Avatar Image says:

How can he sit there and say that there was no other way around a lawsuit, when all he had to do was edit the book to add in commentary and not plagiarize? And to make it sound as though he offered to make changes before seems rather inconsistent with everything else we’ve heard from both side.

If this book gets published, I’m certainly not buying it. I’m behind JKR and the rights of authors to protect their intellectual property.

Avatar Image says:

I really don’t understand how he can say stuff like that. I had to stop listening to the interview about halfway through and its only 5 minutes long. I was just getting to angry. How can he really think what he is doing is right?!

Avatar Image says:

I wanted to come here to express my unqualified support for the Lexicon and their publication. The book SVA is trying to publish is no different from works published in dozens of other fandoms over the past 30 years. He is not committing plagiarism or any kind of theft. In fact, he has spent years between JKR books working as an unpaid press agent for the Potter series.

No, the only reason JKR has for doing this is greed. She has already penned the ignominious end of her own series and desperately needs to explain her poor choices in her own words. And she obviously wants to reap every dollar possible in the process. And just because those dollars will be directed to charity does not make here any less greedy. I pray every day she loses this fight. Aside from deserving to lose, a win for her would make it difficult for legitimate future fandom activities to continue as they have for the past 30 years. For me, JKR should be restricted to destroying her own legacy. Overturning her efforts here will force her leave other fandoms alone and suffer her own stupidity alone.

Avatar Image says:

If SVA and his staff do not care about making money on this project, why don’t they edit the book with references to the HP books that he is quoting, and let the book get published with all proceeds going to charity. I think that would be a fair compromise for both parties.

Avatar Image says:

I’m confused by Steve’s statement in this interview: “Well, I offered that months and months ago… and said, ‘Is there other edits we can make?’ ‘Can we make changes?’ ... and they… no, there was nothing offered at all.”

From what I can recall from when I first heard of this case back in November, a similar statement was made by JKR regarding RDR’s resistance to contact her and her publishers in order to proofread the HP Lexicon Book and insure that it was up to an acceptable standard (did not infringe copyright). I’ve read enough articles now to make me dizzy wondering if this case really could have been avoided from the beginning. I think we all would feel better about this if there hadn’t appeared to be so much dodging and subversive action by RDR Books – either by avoiding/delaying sending a copy of the manuscript that was to be published, establishing contacts with other publishers and marketing the future book, etc. – rather than being cooperative up front (“Sure JKR/Scholastic/Bloomsbury, we’ll [RDR] send you a copy of the manuscript so we can make sure the level of direct quotation is acceptable.” or even “We’ve [RDR] been approached to publish a book form of the online HP Lexicon that would focus on the A to Z index of the world of Harry Potter. Would you have any objections to this or would you recommend any edits before we take it to print?”) For some reason, though, I doubt that this conversation ever occurred.

Whether SVA actually said these things to RDR, I’m not sure. Though I’d really like to know. I’m afraid that asking these things now might be too late.

Avatar Image says:


How can you possible say that it is not plagiarism when he uses the exact words that Jo used in her books without citing??? That’s kind of what plagiarism is!!! And it doesn’t even make sense to say that she’s greedy when the procedes will go to charity!!! That means that the money will not be going to her! Duh! Will the money that SVA gets be going to charity? No! So who’s really the greedy one? And if you really think these things:

“She has already penned the ignominious end of her own series and desperately needs to explain her poor choices in her own words. ” “For me, JKR should be restricted to destroying her own legacy. Overturning her efforts here will force her leave other fandoms alone and suffer her own stupidity alone.”

Then you’re not a fan of HP or Jo and I don’t know why you’re even on a HP fan site!!!

Jo, I support you all the way! I pray that you win this for the HP fans and especially for yourself! You do not deserve this!

Oh, and I will be boycotting the Lexicon “book” if it gets published.

Avatar Image says:

“The book SVA is trying to publish is no different from works published in dozens of other fandoms over the past 30 years. “

Posted by Jeanne on April 20, 2008 @ 11:17 PM

No Jeanne, it IS different. RDR could not cite one similar book as precedent in their argument. Nothing in the past has copied as much. RDR had the chance to show us all these other books we keep hearing about, but funny, nothing even close was entered into evidence.

My questions are these:

1. SVA says that he asked JKR/WB if they wanted him to make any edits to make the Lexicon suitable for publication. JKR/WB claim they were never given access to the manuscript, instead being told to “just print the website,” which is one of the reasons they filed the suit. So the only way that SVA can be telling the truth is if JKR/WB were lying about never having a copy of the manuscript. Not making any judgments, just putting that out there.

2. If SVA cares nothing for money, then why even publish the Lexicon? Why not take his “copyrights” off the Lexicon pages and post a message on the site encouraging people to “just print it out”?

Avatar Image says:

I didn’t read Nick’s full comment, but I do know of one song that directly lifts a passage from the book. I’m making this comment pretty quick but it’s from a metal wizard rock band called Voldemort. The passage about Voldemort’s rebirth in GOF. I don’t think this justifies Steve at all, I just thought it was interesting that this song did pretty much copy the text. But for now I have to get off so I can’t listen to the interview yet.

Avatar Image says:

I’m also curious who the other 3 authors of the HP Lexicon book are, since I’ve never seen their names listed on the proposed cover of the book, nor in any of the court documents. Were these other authors also under contract with RDR books?

Avatar Image says:

I wanted to come here to express my unqualified support for JKR and her efforts to support authors rights to their own work. The book SVA is trying to publish is VERY different from works published by the 100’s of other HP works. For a start, he didn’t write it, JKR did. 91% of it in fact, and he took her work without her permission, something his publishing contract stipulated he must obtain if the work he used was under copyright. The bits he did write he got mostly wrong. He said in this interview there were 4 authors, but in the evidence he submitted, and in the contract that he signed with RDR, it clearly states himself as the only author.

No, the only reason SVA and RDR are doing this is greed. They want to take anothers work and reap every dollar possible in the process. They aren’t even directing them at charity, which might make them less greedy, but still acting unlawfully without permission. I pray every day RDR loses this fight. Aside from deserving to lose, a win for them would make it very difficult for legitimate future fandom activities to continue as they have since fandom was born. For me, SVA is a tragedy. Someone whose self respect and reputation will be the price for a cheap shot at infamy. Overturning his efforts will force him to take a long hard look at his actions and maybe he might then devote his considerable talent to a more legitimate pursuit.

Avatar Image says:


according to the testimony given SVA’s book is approximately 91% of Jo’s text ripped straight from the book! You need to go back and read more!

Avatar Image says:

It makes me sick to think that in this day and age people don’t actually know what the word “plagiarism” means.

from the dictionary:

to take and use ideas, passages, etc., from (another’s work) by plagiarism.

In other words, if I was to take the following sentence written by Sprocket: “No, the only reason SVA and RDR are doing this is greed” and not put the quotes around it and not say that I had taken it from Sprocket but rather say that I said it and pass it off as my own in an academic setting and then make money off of it?

That’s called plagiarism. If I was to go and write a book and use any part of any book that is currently under copyright and claim that it was my idea, my work or just plain not cite it and give that author credit it – it’s illegal.

That is what happened. There is too much of the original Harry Potter text in the Lexicon for the book to be passed as Steve Vander Ark and the other three author’s work.

I don’t want to vilify SVA. We’re all doing that enough. The bottom line is – Jo isn’t doing this for money. If she was then the book she wants to write – the Scottish Book – wouldn’t be for CHARITY.

Let me say that one more time -

Her. Encyclopedia. Is. For. Charity.

Jo is probably the least greedy rich person I’ve ever heard of. Day after day I hear about all the charity work she does. And darn it I’m glad. I’m glad that she made all her money, knew where she came from, and is giving back. I love Jo Rowling. She gave me a series that I have loved since I was 12. She gave me a series that I love to discuss with my mom. I love the way she writes and quite frankly I’m glad she’s rich because if she weren’t? She wouldn’t have the money to stand up for the rights of all writers.

Thats what this is about. The rights of all writers out there to have their work protected. If you would like that a term paper you wrote for school, worked on for weeks and got an A minus on – if you would that that term paper to then be stolen and 90% of it turned in with 10% new material and given a A plus for a different student then by all means stand by SVA and RDR.

Personally? I want my written work protected. I’d like to know that if I ever publish something someday no one is going to turn around and take that from me because they feel like it.

Jo- stand up for all of us who can’t afford to stand up for ourselves. Keep fighting for those of us who want our work protected. YOU are the real Harry Potter. The one who stands up for the ones who can’t fight for themselves.

Avatar Image says:

To follow up on Nick’s and Andrew’s comments re: Wizard Rock: There are several songs I’ve come across that pull quotes/short passages from the HP books, and so forth. However, a strong majority of songs are based on characters and looking at the world (and HP world) from that character’s perspective. And since I’ve yet to come across a Wizard Rock song longer than 8 min, I feel pretty confident that the ratio of direct quotation to original material favors slightly to each band – although it could also be closely related to musical versions of fan fiction.

If you really want to bring WRock into this though, consider how many EP’s, albums and songs have been written/compiled to raise awareness and/or funds to some charity – even all of Leaky’s Jingle Spells proceeds went to charity.

Avatar Image says:


I just wanted to say I love you. Thank you for the perfect PERFECT example of exactly what happened in this book.

I hope everyone who is questioning exactly why this is such a big deal – read Jeanne’s post and then read Sprocket’s.

Think of it as this. Jeanne is JKR and Sprocket is SVA. How pissed would you be if you were Jeanne and Sprocket was stealing all your hard thought out words?

Avatar Image says:

@ Jeanne

Beckett already said this in her comment, but just in case you missed it, allow me to reiterate:



One more time, in case you still haven’t got it:


So let’s jump off the self-righteous “Mean ol’ JKR is just doing this out of GREED!!!” soapbox, shall we?

They’re called facts. Look into them.

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@ Anthony

If I recall correctly that was NOT admissible in court. Since that figure could not be debated there is no knowing if it is accurate.

And because I’m lazy I’m copying this from another comment I made :

Now, I haven’t read the entire Lexicon manuscript (I began briefly skimming it today), and am not going to sit at the computer for hours on end seeing if the words are exactly from JKR’s books, what I notice is this: while the book is NOT a scholarly piece, and the way the references are done (e.g. GoF5, for Goblet of Fire, chapter 5) are not scholarly, he does acknowledge the source material. That type of citation where the original source is cited, and the sentence is a paraphrasing of the original work, is accepted in the academic world. Again, the Lexicon is NOT pretending to be an academic book, however it DOES cite its sources. Does it take more than is reasonable (which, IIRC, is part of the 4 factors of Fair Use)? I think it might be close, because where is the line between reasonable and too much?

If you guys want to talk about why JKR should win, fine. But do so using the 4 factors of Fair Use. Don’t use personal attacks, because it does not help your case any.

Avatar Image says:

Also, the charity argument is not relevant to the law. And given the way that everyone is reacting, I’m willing to put money on that, if SVA was writing the Lexicon for charity, he would still be maligned. So not only is the argument irrelevant in the eyes of copyright law, it’s irrelevant because he would not be granted any forgiveness if The Lexicon was done for charity.

Avatar Image says:

I think is a complex and contentious issue, and I cannot agree with anyone who expresses “unqualified support” for EITHER VanDerArk OR Rowling. I think that both their cases have merit and faults. I am tired of Leaky fans flaming anyone with a dissenting view out of loyalty to Rowling. I am tired of Leaky fans flaming Steve VanderArk.

We have to allow people to hold different views, people, otherwise we become Umbridges and Voldemorts and Fudges. You don’t have to agree, but you ought not to attack when you disagree. This is clearly not an “obvious” or easy or clear decision – the judge has said as much! Or in Jo’s words, (If I may, without a lawyer descending!): “The world is not divided into good people and death-eaters”.

Leaky, once again, thank you for bringing us reportage of both sides of this issue. I truly appreciate it.

To my mind, Harry Potter has been born, and can now live apart from its author – as do other literary works. My loyalty is to Harry Potter, rather than to Rowling. (There IS a difference).

(For the record, before the paranoia starts, I have never met SVA and have no connection to his site. I am not planning a fan book of my own.)

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@ anonymouse

The reason people are stressing the fact that JKR is doing the encyclopedia is because of Jeanne’s comment that JKR is only trying to stop SVA from publishing his Lexibook is because she is greedy, and wants to milk the HP world for every last penny it’s worth.

No one is saying that Jo doing it for charity has anything to do with the legal arguments. But if someone comes here and makes such a spectacularly unfair comment like that, then we have every right to refute it. And like it or not, we are going to refute it, because Jeanne’s accusation was based on a clear ignorance of fact. Deal with it.

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Thank you pottershrink, I agree wholeheartedly with that.

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@Ashley McC

I’m not disagreeing with that. However I’ve seen the argument raised before in which the underlining premise was that RDR shouldn’t have pushed forward because JKR’s book was for charity, and that really has nothing to do with the suit. So my apologies – I have no issues with correcting someone (so long as it’s polite!) however, I do take issue with people saying that RDR shouldn’t publish the book just because JKR is doing hers for charity. RDR can do whatever he wants, so long as its found to be legal.

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The problem is, The Lexicon doesn’t always have proper citations. JKR has always been for fandom. Heck its what keeps HP going. People wouldn’t want HP movies and to keep the books going if it weren’t for a fan base. All creators want a fan base. No because of money but because it means that what they are doing is being liked by someone other than them. The Lexicon is using her information in a way that is not appropriate in any circumstance.

This is a hard case for all of us on this site because we love HP and most of us love Jo. While I’ve never been to the lexicon site, I’m sure lots of you all have and loved it. But the bottom line is that the way her material is used in the Lexicon is inappropriate. She stated in testimony that she has no problem with other companion books using her material – but its the way they use it.

I honestly have no problem with the Lexicon book. If it were done the way JKR approved of. Because without a doubt, she’s the person who has final say about anything. Do you think Warner Brothers makes any huge decisions without her? No. If you do you need to think again. She knows everything HP. It’s her world. She created it.

Thats the thing. She created Harry Potter. Jo Rowling created Harry Potter. No one else. She worked for 17 years to create that world. For someone else to come along and try to profit off of it without giving her credit, is no only disrespectful but illegal.

Thats what this case is about. Not that he wrote a companion book but the way he did it. Had he written the book and credited her, given more of his own personal insight into the different entries and done research on the different things he was writing about (IE the history behind the spell “Priori Priori Incantatem”) then we wouldn’t be sitting her arguing about a law suit because there wouldn’t be one.

It’s all about the context of the book not the fact that there is one in existence.

And yes. We are all stressing the charity thing because I have a feeling that others feel the way I do. Stop claiming that Jo Rowling is a greedy little witch holed up in her giant castle in Britain scouring the Internet looking for ways to make more money. That’s just not her. You have no right to make judgements on her. You don’t know her. You don’t know her in any way shape or form and unless you hang out with her everyday and have tea and talk about the world – back off. Because it’s just plain mean. She’s doing this to protect herself, the world she created and all other authors out there. So please, be respectful.

Avatar Image says:

“She has already penned the ignominious end of her own series and desperately needs to explain her poor choices in her own words”


Avatar Image says:


according to the testimony given SVA’s book is approximately 91% of Jo’s text ripped straight from the book! You need to go back and read more! Posted by Anthony on April 20, 2008 @ 11:57 PM

The problem with this assertion is that it appears Ms Rowling is attempting to copyright the entire english language. Some descriptions have to use certain adjectives and language or otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

“She has already penned the ignominious end of her own series and desperately needs to explain her poor choices in her own words”

::cough::bittersnapefan::cough:: Posted by beth on April 21, 2008 @ 01:38 AM

Those who see fault in this case are not all pissed off Snape fans. Its insulting to even suggest it. If the Judge rules in favour of RDR, are you going to suggest he was a Harmonian?

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“Then you’re not a fan of HP or Jo and I don’t know why you’re even on a HP fan site!!!”

Really? Seeing both sides of the argument makes someone not a real fan of HP or Jo? I think that is ridiculous.

I know it is a sticky situation and ultimately the courts are going to have to battle it out, but I feel so bad for Steve. It seems that so much of the fandom has disassociated themselves from him. I don’t really have any opinion on the court case except that I feel that Steve is being treated horribly. How much of this is more RDR’s fault and how much of it is supposedly Steve’s fault? After he signed the contract is there anything he could do to back out?

As an english major, I have used reference books, which is what the Lexicon is supposed to be, so I don’t really see the problem. And before I get attacked, I do know what plagiarism is. It sounds like there may be mistakes about things not being quoted properly, but I think that could be fixed. He is not claiming that he wrote the HP books, but he did organize the information which I am sure took a great deal of time. I also don’t see it harming the sale of her encyclopedia. To even argue that is insane in my mind.

I also wonder if Jo wins the case, what will that mean for wizard rockers who sell their CDs? Their music is based on her novels, many about specific characters. What will that do? I think Steve has a point about that. In the interview he merely mentioned that other people make money off of JKR’s original work; that is a true statement. Some wizard rockers do make money off of JKR’s original ideas, they use their creative liberty to continue what JKR started, but that does not take away from the point that SVA made: people other than JKR have made money off of HP.

Avatar Image says:

Why is radio 4 giving him the time of day?

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I think a lot of people are getting strictly legal stuff and personal feelings that have nothing to do with the case mixed up. It’s understandable because we all know Jo and we all know Steve. I don’t know who should win this case legally. I really don’t. The law is murky, but based on principle I’d say Jo should win. Most of us are fans of her and understand and respect what she is attempting so say with this case, even if it ends up that she doesn’t win because of legal matters. I’d say a lot of people lose in court when they shouldn’t because of loopholes in the law. She’s not trying to dictate everything that goes out or everything online would already be gone. She’s not trying to make money from this or her book wouldn’t be going to charity, etc.

Legally, I don’t know if Steve is in the right. Emotionally, I can’t feel bad for him or feel bad that he is being bashed in the fandom. I have heard some harsh things, but he really did pull it onto himself. And his points about wizard rock and other fans making money on HP really aren’t cool. Wizard rockers were not personally asked by Jo to stop. Other people were not asked by their ‘idol’, the one who gave us HP not go forward for very legitimate reasons. She didn’t pick on Steve. He did something that wasn’t right. Why would she pick on someone who has been such a big fan for no reason other than to make money or control everything about HP? I’m sure she didn’t want this to blow up, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

And a lot of the reason I think people are siding with Jo on this, legal stuff aside, is because they feel betrayed by Steve. In a big way, it seems as though he’s shown his true colors. He’s always said he’s such a big fan, but he did something directly against Jo’s legit concerns. He’s says it’s not about the money, but he pushed for it anyway. Why? He’s been caught in contradicting lies. By mentioning wizard rock and other fans in his interveiw, it seems as though he’s trying to bring them down too. A childish “that can do it, why can’t I?” Fandom shakes it head at you, Steve, even if you somehow win. Being barely legal is not the same as being morally right.

Avatar Image says:

I think SVA will say anything at this point to get out of this, albeit in a cagier manner than I originally would have given him credit for:

“Other people make money off of Harry Potter.” Oh, so that makes it ok for you to publish a book that is 84% quotes from her work. Everybody can start looting!!!

“Causing trouble was never the intention.” What happened to the SVA who was the bold defender of creativity determined to stop JKR from making a “power grab”? Because that guy sure didn’t sound like he minded a little trouble.

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I wish jeremy paxman did the interview. The guy did one with Jo a few years ago, and in any case, he is generally regarded as being direct, tough and he wont let you fob him off with an answer (famous case: he asked the then home secretary (1997) a question 12 times, because the politician kept tryin g to dodge)

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@ Michelle S -

I’m sorry but no. As an english major you should know that any source you use in any sort of paper has to be properly quoted. If it’s not you’d get severely penalized for it (which I’m sure you do). That’s what this case is all about.

I’m a student of law and it’s hard to fight through all the messy legal crap. It’s not always fun. But there is a reason that these rules and regulations exist. They protect people and their rights. I’d love to sit here and simply attack Steve and say that I hate him and I think he’s a horrible person and all that. But I don’t. I’m sure Steve is a nice guy. A nice guy who made a bad choice and is paying the consequences for it.

This case is a matter of what is and isn’t legally acceptable when it comes to using Harry Potter in a reference guide. Yes. Steve can take the information in Harry Potter and put it in an A-Z form. But he has to do it in a certain way. That’s just the way the system works. He can’t simply take JKR’s writing and alphabetize it. He can’t add little to no thought of his own and he can’t lack the proper citation.

I honestly urge you all to go back and look at the testimony that Melissa was kind enough to put up for us to look at. Jo herself said that there were companion guides that she was fine with, some that she even liked. It was the way they were done that she didn’t have a problem with.

She doesn’t want to go shutting down Wizard Rock, fan fiction or anything else. That is not her intention. Quite honestly I think the fact that fans love Harry Potter so much to create all of that is an honor to her. But if a fan was to take an entire chapter of HP and put it in song form – yeah she’d have to say something. Because it’s just not legal.

Using her material is fine. Just do it in the correct way.

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Sorry, I just realized that my first paragraph made it sound like I think you get penalized all the time Michelle S… I meant I’m sure you knew that you had to quote things and I’m sure you do know how to do it correctly, not that you get in trouble.

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Let Steve say what he wants and where he wants. The judge will decide for himself when the time comes. Steve is only further alienating himself from the HP fandom the more he goes against Jo’s wishes. SVA could genuinely believe what he is doing is right. but the more I listen to him speak, the more angry I feel at his betrayal (how I perceive it) to his Floo partners and to Jo.

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the matter with you people? Are you on dope?[/Mr. Hand]

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Well, that didn’t work, now, did it?

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Yea Drew I would love Paxman to do an interview with Steve, he would make Steve’s argument look completely rubbish, and reveal his ineptitude.

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It is so very foolish for SVA (star defense witness) and Roger Rapoport (RDR Publishing - the actual guy who is being sued) to go blabbing all over the place while this case is ongoing. They should shut up for the next few weeks while the judge is making his decision.

Do they want the public to think they’re even less professional than we already think they are?

Surely these publicity hounds know they could say something that either (a) hurts their chance of reaching an out of court settlement they can live with or (b) could be heard by the judge who won’t like it© could contradict their sworn testimony and make them liable for perjury charges (d) could be used in evidence against them if the result is appealed?

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so ashley mcC, why are you yelling around – run out of arguments? people started calling jkr a ‘copyright hog’ (NYT) and a ‘benefit cheat’ (readers’ posting in the british guardian). those are facts too.

imvho steve van der ark had had too much respect for his genius goddess. so he did not circumscribe as much as he could have done – but, according to wb / jkr he should have put every one of rowling’s neologisms, every word he was indexing in quotation marks! – well pretty soon wb and jo will have to sue main dictionaries all over the world when they will be ‘muggles’ popping up in the oxford dictionary and in the german duden.

now the genius goddess wants to write an ‘encyclopedia’ by herself. well i never found out exactly about the first time when she was speaking of this. what really makes me angry is that she confounds the perspective of a reader with that of an author. whatever you write about your own work, spicing it up by hitherto unpublished material, could never be an encyclopedia. you’d have to invent a new name for that kind of thing.

well writing the encyclopedia-like thing could be a way to part with the 17 years of creating the potterverse. will jkr be able to do this? or will she go on with the series, granddad harry vs another upcoming valdemar? young scorpio’s children maybe…

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@ et altera pars

Now i would really, really like you to provide proof that Jo is a ‘benefit cheat’

Just because a radical left wing paper posts a readers comment doesn’t make it true you know.

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I really think SVA needs a psychiatrist, stat. He’s delusional. As for the case, I support whoever said we should boycott the book if RDR wins. A real one: - Not buying the book - Changing it if we get it as a gift - Writing a support letter to JKR, printed, signed and sent to her by post - Ditto with a manifest to RDR/SVA explaining the reasons of the boycott - Making flyers with the manifest to hang in bookstores and/or notice boards. (said letter and manifest could be a model available online, available in several languages, for downloading and printing).

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i say this again, SVA just wants attention. Hes really enjoying whats happening and that everyone knows who he is etc.

’’i never wanted this to happen’’ that to me is a load of troll dung. How does he have the impudence to say that, when he knows that from the beginning JK didnt want him publishing it – he could have ended this before it started!

I live in sweden, im hoping the book, if it gets printed, wont get here. If it does i will rally a team to spread flyers and things !

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@ Elise, speak for yourself.

Please do not speak on behalf of the fandom (“Fandom shakes it head at you, Steve, even if you somehow win”).

Fandom of HP includes a significant number of people who do not necessarily think as you do.

If I am doing any head-shaking, it is at the whole sorry affair of this court-case, and how divisive it has been on the fandom.

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Nick , there are plenty of bands that do :) Mary and the Grandpres for one… I’m pretty sure they take lines from the books, put them to music and sometimes slightly paraphrase. But otherwise I think that’s a good point.

To those who are showing SVA such hatred… let’s get things into perspective, he’s not exactly Robert Mugabe or King Abdullah.

People keep talking about “stealing”, I really can’t think of it as such in terms of JKR’s case. Nothing’s being /taken/ from her. I do, however, like the argument that what she’s doing will enable writers, who don’t have the power or the money, to protect their work. SVA’s book won’t affect her in any way, but she’s standing for people who could get hurt by such actions…

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This really is a tricky case.

On the one hand, it actually would be nice to have an encyclopedia of harry potter information, i.e. alphabetised information about what canon we have so far, so if we ever want to check something, a fact etc, quick descriptions of one of the multititude of different objects and creatures in the books, we could find it with a quick riffle through the pages of this lexicon rather than searching through all the books. And also, I think this book would probably harm the selling of the Encyclopedia a bit, but not really that much.. since they cover two different things. JK’s encyclopedia is going to be of NEW information, whereas the Lexicon is going to be of OLD information.

However, there then stands this void of blatant plagiarism. I think using the information that Rowling has provided in the books is okay, and shouldn’t be deemed copyright theft. Every bit that has word-for-word copying should be quoted, with chapter references etc. If the book had that, and was written well, and offered all the factual information (and no conjecture even would be okay).. then I think it should be allowed.

It’s a tricky one.. because JK owns the rights to the books, so anything published should go by her. But then there’s the problem of future authors censoring books that they don’t like if they give unflattering opinions etc. We don’t want to live in a censored world, but we also don’t want to take the rights away from authors.

The Lexicon will be earning money for something that JK wrote; i.e. little work, stealing the ideas of others to get a profit. But there IS a market for such a book, and if JK isn’t going to publish it, then how do we get it?

I think the argument hear rests on whether the book is going to take profit from The Scottish Book. I think it will dent it by maybe 3 or 4 % max. Past that, it won’t have any impact.. so should be allowed to go ahead. There’s two different issues here though. In terms of author’s rights, it’s hard to think that repackaging someone else’s work for profit is right.. but how to fill that market gap.

I say that a portion of any critical commentary / encyclopedic information book’s profits, no matter how much info taken, and as long as there’s no plagiarism (i.e. everything is quoted etc as JK wished), should go to the author of the book. Say 25% of the profits. And every book about the book in question would have to go by them to make the decision.

This way, the author knows of all such books, can check over them.. and if they think it’s harmless, waive the rights to the profits. If they think it could be harmful to their profits, they can take the said percentage of the profits. If they think plagiarism is involved (only in the form of things that aren’t quoted and referenced) only THEN can they refuse to let it be published.

I’ve been going up and down, moving from one side to the next every other day, and I’m still not sure who’s right. Both sides have valid points; and the only way around it I can see is a compromise, of the form just described.

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I read the declaration Mr VanderArk put down at the court filed on february 8 2008 . It consisy of a document and a number of attachments. In de document it is said the Lexibook has an alphabetic structure. In one of the attachments is mentioned that the sources used are all the books written by Rowling, interviews , etc. In another attachment there are copies of pages of the book (A to D) , I do not see any photo’s taken from the films or any quotes (cut and paste) from the books. This book is just a dictionnary and yes, most of the words explained are words from the HP univers. I have the impression most of the comments made are based on emotions. I do like to read the HPbooks, I read them several times, but that does not mean I have to like JK Rowling, as I do not know her as a person. I have used the Lexicon website to look up info, I found it useful, but again, that does not mean I have to like Mr Vander Ark. The decision must be made according American copyright laws, not according the emotions of HPfans.

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I’m amused that Steve claims he is releasing his book “because the fans wanted the Lexicon in book form”. Why exactly is that so? Is it because they would rather pay money to read something that was otherwise free?

I hate to say this, but part of me gets the feeling that SVA saw the success of the Mugglenet book and that green monster of jealously started eating away at him. I dearly hope this is not the case, but if the point of the book was altruistic then it should given away for free (or better yet- proceeds donated to charity).

Jealousy is an ugly thing.

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The point is that it doesn’t’ matter how much money she already has, the books are hers. If SVA is making a book that basically lifts from her than he is in the wrong, and with his back ground he ought to know better, he should have understood as most high school kids and college students do, if you take something from somewhere there is proper way to go about it.

My husband said that there are books made all the time about other fandoms, and he used the bible as an example of a book that people make money off of all the time, the bible is in public domain and is not a legitimate argument in this case, JKR’s books are under copyright. He said he thinks copyright laws in the USA are too strict, and that JKR doesn’t need the money anyway. That is fine if that is what you want to think. But again it doesn’t matter how much money she already has. It doesn’t matter whether it was fair or not, it isn’t legal to essentially take her books and sell it was your own with little commentary, it isn’t legal. SVA went about it in a way that was very shady. He ought to have known better and if this is something SVA wanted to do, he should have attempted to do it properly and legally.

There will be repercussions from all of this, and this case doesn’t just effect JKR and Harry Potter. Its not just about this book, because if RDR and SVA win, any fandom will have fair game on copyrighted material LotR, StarWars and group, and their will be a major backlash of more strict laws and things like the leaky and conventions will not be able to go on. I know that which ever side wins it will probably go to the next court and eventually to the supreme court, but no where in all this should it matter that JKR is a successful woman, that she was money should not be an arguement because this on “the author’s” side is all about the work and the law and not the money.

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I realize there are a couple of typos in my post, i apologize, I think you can get the general idea of what Iwas trying to say, “StarWars and [any] group” ... “JKR is a successful woman, that she has money should not be an argument…”

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I’m actually on the fence in all this. I can see the wrong and the right on both sides.

OTOH, the only reason SVA could possibly have wanted to publish his book is for $$$ (though that’s hardly fresh news.) As a working adult trying to make ends meet in this world, I can understand him. School librarians aren’t generally wealthy. But I wasn’t planning to buy his book anyway, not because I have anything against SVA, but because a book is static. The website can be updated with fresh info infinitely. Once the book is published, that’s it. Nothing new can be added. Though the series is finished, I don’t believe that JKR is through revealing more new info about the stories and characters. And, of course, if/when she comes out with her own reference book, that will render his book and all the others like it obsolete (if they aren’t already.)

If I understand correctly, he is under contract to actively support his publisher’s position. But I would like to think that he is bitterly regretting not having consulted JKR in the first place and would withdraw in a second and drop the whole thing if he could.

I’m still a fan of the website, though. I hope they don’t take it down after this is over.

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I can’t imagine that the Lexicon book would have much affect on the sale of the Scottish Book.

I think the length of time it takes for JKR to publish said Scottish Book will have a HUGE affect on the sales of that item, not whether there is something out already. If she published it within the next few years, while the movies are still releasing and the hype is still there – then YES…charity will make a killing! However, eventually the hype will die down and perhaps the need for such a book. I can’t say that in 10 years, reading that encyclopedia will be something I long for.

The general reader of Harry Potter may not even care about either.

I’m no lawyer, but I’m in school and frankly I know what the schools can do to plagiarizers! They can fail you at the drop of a hat.

The fact that RDR would even publish something that isn’t cited properly makes me wonder at their ability to edit at all! I don’t know SVA, I’ve never had any dealings with him, but for this all to happen in my opinion is the fault of the publishing company.

Do I agree with SVA’s statements – NO…does it make him look badly in the eyes of fandom, somewhat. Just from reading comments on this board about SVA’s statements its rather obvious he isn’t doing himself any favours.

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I bet most of the fandom will boycott the lexicon book. Only a true fan of Harry Potter would buy a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and a true fan of Harry Potter i s also a true fan of J.K. Rowling.

I am 110% supporting you Ms. Rowling!

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Let’s take an example of a wildly popular thing that has made loads of money. Let’s say someone organized all of the Beatles songs alphabetically, wrote a little summation for each song, and printed it. Along with the book there was a CD that contained a 30-second snippet each of the songs. Do you think anyone in the world would doubt that is copyright infringement??? People would be appalled if someone asserted their right to publish this (and make money) off of the Beatles work and would be dumbfounded that someone could say, “I worked really hard on this. I had it online and it was fine so what’s the difference?”

To me it’s the same thing. Words that are recognizable to millions upon millions should be protected the way a melody is.

“Fair use.” pff.

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this story is going to make one great ‘law and order’ someday… what will be super ironic is that i bet sva will try to stop the episode airing, claiming the writers stole HIS story!

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jeanne has caused aLOT of ruckus with one comment, i think thats funny

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I’m absolutley with you Beckett, I can never understand someone who could call Jo, of all people, greedy! It’s ridiculous

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All I can say is, “who did the interview? if SVA can be such a smoothe on Radio, why is he such a prat when on the witness stand?” I still think he’s a great Pink Paper Pusher – te he he!

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There’s always 2 sides to a coin, and its good that the media is fairly giving SVA a voice to be heard because all we’ve been hearing about lately are JKR’s statements. Then everybody can hear and decide for themselves who they think is in the right.

That said, I’m with Jeanne. Specially now that I’ve heard that SVA had indeed made efforts to work a solution, meaning he never kept the plans to print the Lexicon in secrecy. Suddenly, you ask who is lying?

SVA has been working on his site for free for 7 years, as he said, and made only enough money to keep the site going, covering only operating expenses. I know, having gone to his site a lot before, that fans have been requesting him to print the Lexicon since 2005 at least which is the time I started visiting his site.

Ms. Rowling has declared that she will no longer write any HP book again, she said she would like to take a break for a while. But now she’s hard at work on one more HP-related book. If she had still had the same amount of humility that she once had when she was just starting and before the franchise changed her into something else, she could chosen to work with something that she only needed to edit and she no longer had to work so hard for 2 or 3 more years and she can release the book earlier which would have made fans happier. She can still ask for royalties and she can still demand a certain percentage of each book go to charity. She can actually limit the number of prints and she can still go on to write her own Scottish book without much pressure.

Why she didn’t choose any of these more peaceful options imply nothing but negative selfish reasons on her part and the monstrous conglomerate she supports.

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honestly, i just think steve wishes he created harry potter, and this lexicon book is his way of pretending that he did… i do not believe any 50 year old man should behave in the fashion he is.

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I honestly cannot believe this man. How can he justify taking another person’s work. As a published author myself, I stand for JKR 100%. She is not being greedy, she is protecting her work. Something she toiled away at for years and years. Now some dirt bag wants to feed off of that. Unfortunately not many authors can afford to defend their works like this. It will be a dark day in literature if this sad excuse for a human being wins the case. A dark day.

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@ josh: cheers, man. well said.

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@sarqswati: Don’t take Steve’s word for the truth when he says that he tried to work with JKR in the interview. The evidence shows otherwise as was brought out in the trial. There was no evidence of him working to find a compromise before publishing. On the other hand, several attempts by JKR’s agents to communicate with RDR (Steve’s publisher) were shunned aside in hopes of getting to publication in an “under the RADAR” fashion.

I was actually blown away by SVA’s arrogance at making those statements after a trial in which the evidence clearly showed they were false. I actually think Steve may be delusional. He has contradicted himself, and been contradicted by the evidence so many times now that his credibility is below zero. I don’t believe anything he or RDR says anymore.

RDR and SVA’s credibility do not have a bearing on this case, the fair use laws do. These laws are highly subject to interpretation, and the judge may well find that SVA is within his legal right to publish his book. That will not affect my judgement, however, of his character and that of RDR. it is not the character of a person I would wish to deal with in either a business or personal relationship. I think that his character has taken a beating that will be difficult for him to recover from no matter which way the case goes.

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“I bet most of the fandom will boycott the lexicon book. Only a true fan of Harry Potter would buy a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and a true fan of Harry Potter i s also a true fan of J.K. Rowling.

I am 110% supporting you Ms. Rowling!

Posted by Sophie on April 21, 2008 @ 10:01 AM “

This is just one of the many comments that are scaring the bejesus out of me on this thread! Seriously! Have none of you learned anything from reading the HP series? “Only a true fan of Harry Potter is also a true fan of J.K. Rowling”? Um…call me crazy, but this little statement sure does bring back feelings of all the pureblood talk in the books. Among other feelings in regards to real life historical events…

At this time, I don’t know how I feel about this case one way or another. I see the point for both sides and think both are right about some things and yet think both are wrong at the same time. That’s what makes this such a tricky case. I do not envy the judge who has to make the decision on this at all.

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That statement does not relate to pureblood talk in the books at all. So, I will call you crazy. If you feel like arguing that point, tell my why it is similar to the concepts of specie extermination and supremacy contained mostly in a small inbred community.

In my opinion, this issue should have never been brought to court. Whether or not Jo wins does not matter, the outcome will undoubtedly distort the truth of this issue. Steve is disrespecting Jo. Steve, supposedly is a fan of the work, but apparently not a supporter of the author. What he is doing may be legal, but that does not affect my judgment of him. Disrespecting the creator of such a beautiful part of your life is inherently wrong. Steve is essentially calling his mother a bitch.

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I’m not really into arguing the point, per se…I’m just writing how I’m feeling based on some of the very closed minded comments made previously. Also, I’m not sure where “small inbred community” comes into play, but the reason it makes me feel like it’s similar to the pureblood talk in the books is because it is such a close-minded remark. Is the writer of the comment I call into question saying that I’m (or any other fan) not a true fan of HP if I’m not also 100% behind Jo in this case? How can I be 100% behind either party when I don’t really know or understand all of the history behind the case? I truly don’t feel that we have all of the story when it comes to it. But that doesn’t make me less of a HP or JK Rowling fan. Just like it doesn’t make a wizard any less of a wizard if they have less than 100% pure blood (my comparison, for you, to the pureblood stuff).

Also, using words such as “only” and “true” are very strong words when used together in the context of how that particular commenter used them. As strong, I feel, as some of the pureblood talks and arguments inside the books themselves.

Anyway, I’m not saying I’m right about my comparison, but it is how I feel.

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Saraswati, while I appreciate your thoughtful input, I worry that Steve may not be the most trustworthy person out there. If you recall, Jo’s attorney and WB attempted several times to get a copy of the Lexicon book. How could they work out a solution if they weren’t allowed to see the book?

Also, I think SVA’s credibility is evident when it was stated in court that he lost his job because he lied about his credentials and education. That is just sad, and I really feel for him because now he has to live in the hole he dug for himself.

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I agree with Amanda. Sophie saying things like that just makes me uncomfortable and a little embarressed at some HP fans…

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@ jake, i really like how you stated your case. i think you make an excellent point in that is irrelevant, ultimately, the legality of steve’s actions… it’s a thoroughly disrespectful action he’s taken, and, you’re right: he basically is calling his mom a bitch. well said.

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I’m still baffled by those of you making remarks along the lines of “Well, Jo wasn’t interested in writing another Potter book until STEVE decided to do one.” That’s completely untrue. She has mentioned many times over the years, well before Book 7 was out, that she might well end up doing an encyclopedia of sorts once the main story was told. To cover all of the small details and information that have been left out over time. This ISN’T news.

I do think that most of us aren’t blindly picking a side here, or at least I hope so. I support Jo here, and not because I’m a Potter fan and/or because I’m expected to. I read and enjoy books from plenty of authors that I think are jerks in real life. I just honestly feel that she’s in the right here, legally and morally. It’ll be interesting to see what the judge decides.

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@ should be working:

You make 2 very good observations. I think all the fans wish they could come up with something even half as imaginative and successful as these stories.

I’m a few years younger than he is and I would be worried about myself if I had the level of… commitment, I’ll say, to these books that he appears to have. However, at this point I suspect he will lose all the enjoyment he ever had in Harry Potter, whether he winds or loses.

You know, initially she was really asking for so little. A few extra punctuation marks and maybe a few footnotes? Cut out a few of her words and add a few more of his own? How long would that have taken, a couple more weeks? Such a shame.

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@ Mrs. de Mimsy-Porpington

It was stated in court that Steve was fired from his job because he lied about his credentials? Where did you get that? The last I heard, Melissa asked posters to stop jumping to that conclusion in the comments.

I think there’s a lot of “assuming” going on (for both sides) and this is disheartening. Everyone thinks they know all the details about what both JKR and Steve think and feel and have done, but the only people who do are the parties directly involved.

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Cathie, I have always heard Steve refer to himself as a librarian. In the trial it was confirmed he does not have a degree in library sciences. It also said he worked in a school library so there must be a way to do that without that degree.

I believe that is what people are referring to.

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Yes Anne, I’m sure that is what is being referred to. What I want to know is, how do we go from Steve working in a school library without a degree in library sciences (and eventually leaving his position) to Steve being fired because he didn’t have the right credentials? As far as I know, this was never ever stated or confirmed – either in court or anywhere else. This is pure conjecture. People seem to just be jumping to this conclusion and Melissa asked that they stop doing it.

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I appreciate all the comments I’ve read here, and have used TLC for my main news source on the case. I would like to make a suggestion to all the people posting on TLC that it might be advantageous for some people to also post in the comments accompanying the radio broadcast. There are a mere handful of comments there, and some input from the well-informed TLC people could bring insight to the people listening to the interview on BBC’s sight. That is, if anyone doesn’t mind a quick anonymous, or not so anonymous, sign-in to comment.

That said, I didn’t know whether to laugh or get angry at the “spin” SVA was trying to dish out during that interview. I’m glad to read he didn’t fool most of the people here.

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I can’t believe this. He such an idiot. I HATE HIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!! Why the hell he didn’t confess that he is doing this for money??? Uh I hate him. Ashley McC sorry for this but I think that JKR is right to want her money because HP is her book and no one could change that. She wrote it for a long long time and now some idiot like this one just make money in her hard work????? Oh I don’t thinks so. I say that no one should buy that book if it came out!!!!!

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Whoops…that should read, ”...listening to the interview on BBC’s site” No edit button. sigh

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Other encyclopedias & guides for HP have been published after literary/legal review by the copyright/trademark holders (Jo & WB). It’s not a process unique to Jo and HP, but is publishing business standard. It takes time and involves a lot of back-and-forth.

What RDR Publishing wanted to do is way outside normal publishing practices and that’s why we’ve got this lawsuit. In an attempt to rush the book into stores by November, RDR tried to condense a 6-8 month process into two months. He wanted to skip the normal copyright vetting practice.

Just by chance, in October Jo’s lawyer saw RDR’s sale listing of the book and asked to see a copy for vetting. RDR actively refused to comply. With the book listed for November sale, Jo & WB had no choice but to sue to hold up publishing.

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missing end of sentence

Jo & WB had no choice but to sue to hold up publishing….

while they tried to get a copy of the book to review.

There are some real quirks to this case (because of Jo’s success; the website, etc.) but I think most of what has happened here is something that happens every day in business.

Someone tries to cut corners and is caught.

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I’m on Jo’s side. I’m an English instructor, and if a student turned in an essay that was 91% of someone else’s work (and especially if that work were not properly cited), I would certainly give that student an ‘F’.

I do feel badly for SVA, though I’m sure that nobody forced him to sign the contract with RDR. SVA has completely burned his bridges with Jo and WB. And if the Lexicon wins the lawsuit, and Jo decides not to publish the Scottish Book, SVA will have a very large portion of the HP community turn against him.

Also, I wonder why RDR even still wants to publish the Lexicon? Borders and Barnes & Noble have decided not to sell the Lexicon, and I’m guessing that other places won’t sell it, either, since the bookstores won’t want to appear as though they’re siding with RDR and against Jo/WB. I’m sure that the Lexicon will make some money, but it’s completely become more trouble than it’s worth!

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I can’t believe SVA’s statement about the money making. JKR didn’t write her books just for money—that wasn’t her idea at all. This series is her life. That it made her lots of money isn’t the issue. The issue is that he stole from her work…And about those other people making money off of Harry Potter? Sure, because they asked permission and got a license from WB to do it…they didn’t steal it!

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OMG!! What an idiot! I cannot believe how self-serving he is. He sounds just too stupid to be real. As if Jo didn’t ask him to make changes and he didn’t. And as if he is the champion of Harry Potter (fighting to keep it on the bookshelves) And the crap about everyone is going to make a buck off Harry Potter Give me a break!

Jo I SOOOOO hope you win this!!!

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Cathie- If information was corrected since I read that (in the court comments, I think??), then I apologize profusely. I can’ t read all of the comments here because of those wacky time wasters that hang around my house (kids, for example!). I’m sorry if things have changed regarding that info. I recall it was stated that he was “let go” because of confusion regarding his degree (he didn’t have one, for example- heh… sounds funnier in my head!)

Sorry for the confusion

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this interview kind of confirms the feeling I had about the whole thing in the very beginning. A lot of people that are well known in the Fandom, for example Mugglenet, Wrockers and Melissa, are writing books/songs about HP and make money of it. Which is alright the way they do it: add more original ideas and thoughts than they take from the books. Hearing Steve complain about that I think he really was annoyed that everybody else was making a bit of money from their input in the fandom and he wasnt… just a feeling.

All the rest about him wanting to change the book so that it’d be fine with Jo…who does he think he’s kidding? They didnt even want to show the manuscript to WB and Jo’s lawyers. How on earth could there have been any way that there were suggestions from Steve to change it? This is ridiculous…but then again, we should be used to Steve changing his opinion and statements about this trial every other day by now.

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I am Dave, hear me ROAR!!! I am from England, and so I am GOD!! Enough blasphemy, let’s get down to the real business. JK Rowling = great and wonderful.. SVA = can right a whole encyclopedia with the power of his mind! Must be a witch.. let’s burn him at the stake. And for the moderators, I’m only joking… a stake is so primitive. Let’s use a barbeque instead. =) Well, SVK has some valid points.. let’s see how it goes and celebrate/comisserate together when we get the results!!

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I don’t believe a single word SVA says. You just have to look at his testimony last week, when he placed all blame on RDR. That was such a contradiction to what he had been spouting for months before the court case.

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Just a quick note to those who were discussing the job issue. I realize Melissa has asked us not to speculate, but I just wanted to point out the line from a previous Leaky article that is the cause for confusion. Or at least it confused me. In the article about SVA’s testimony, Kristin wrote: “During questioning, it was established that SVA does not have a degree in Library Science, and that he was asked for his resignation from his job as a librarian in October.” I personally read this sentence (and I’m guessing others have as well) as meaning the two facts are directly related, and if I hadn’t read these comments under this article, I would have remained under that impression. It’s a pretty understandable misinterpretation of the text.

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i’m behind Jo 1000%. this guy is being so selfish. can you all imagine how we would feel if he won and Jo said “i will no longer publish an encyclopedia.” ? we would be devestated because we would have no direct concrete source about EVERYTHING that has happened in the series and the events that take place afterwords. (for example, the jobs everyone persues, who everyone marries, and the futures of the new generation). we would NEVER know what she means to have happen. if this guy can’t see that then he really cannot consider himself a fan. he is a selfish idiot and i wish this case would be resolved in Jo’s favor as soon as possible. if this results in Jo not publishing an encyclopedia, i personally will do anything in my power to make sure he knows how he devestated the entire harry potter fandom.

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I have a couple of questions I am really struggling with. If we take RDR and SVA at their word, they both insist that the book was never going to be a huge money maker through sales, how then did they expect to generate a respectable income from it? RDR is a business after all, and the issue of making money seems to be SVA’s main peeve in this interview.

From all I have read on the court testimony and the documents filed, I can’t help but feel RDR were being difficult to negotiate with before this whole thing was forced to trial, and I am wondering what they hoped to gain by it. Now the judge has suggested they settle, but what would RDR agree to? If the book, as they testified, was never meant to make a lot of money, why do they persist? They don’t see a gain if they win, and they lose everything if they don’t win…there has to be something they’re hoping for here, otherwise none of this makes any sense. Am I missing something?

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I support Jo and Warner Brothers completely in this law suit. I believe it is never Ok for someone to plagiarise another’s work, particularly something that has been worked on for over a decade. By giving no further analysis on the books, and just repeatings facts in another book, Steve has plagiarised a work that means a lot to may fans across the world.

However, I do believe that as a fandom we need to start respecting one another’s opinions. While we all may feel differently about this law suit, it is okay to support EITHER case if you want to. As a fandom we are usually quite tolerant, but I’ve seen a lot of hatred expressed towards those who are supporting Steve and RDR, and I do not support that hatred.

So feel free to have your opinion, but remember that the Harry Potter books are about expressing tolerance. Don’t lose sight of this message throughout this law suit.

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@Amanda, i agree with you completely, some of these comments makes me really scared about the reality of mob mentality. i mean, wow. maybe it’s that i’m 24, or that i’ve been the victim of single minded prejudace, but i for one, never jump to conclusions and try my best to veiw things from all sides. what i can make out about this case is that

a) JKR didn’t want any one else to write an encyclopedia to HP, whether they legally could under fair use or no. the cease and disists went out to the lexicon and mugglenet before demanding seeing a copy of the book. it was a scare tactic, it worked for mugglenet, it didn’t work for RDR

b) RDR being told that they legally couldn’t write this book by WB, when by all accounts they could as long as they followed Fair Use copy write laws, put their backs up. they are after all the “little guys” here.

c) RDR’s rush to get the book out and all around dumbassery screwed them over big time, by being very snide, confrontational, and provoking to WB and not taking the time to make sure the Lexicon book Was well put together, properly cited, and did not copy an abundant amount of direct text from HP.

to me it still seems the bulk of the blame fall on RDR. what i want to know is at what point JKR was willing to allow a rewrite and at what point SVA was willing to do one. this is where a compromise could have settled this whole thing. JKR saying “during her testimony that Vander Ark could still do his book, as long as he changed it to take less of her material”, makes me raise an eyebrow… after all they did tell him Not to write an encyclopidia before asking to see a version of it. SVA saying he’s have been willing to rewrite makes me wonder how much controll RDR had over what was going on between lawyers and how much influence SVA had.

something that’s really bothering me is peoples insistance that wanting to print the lexicon is greedy but wizard wrock is in some way different… after all why buy a cd when you can listen to it for free on myspace? Honestly, i would’ve wanted a book form of the lexicon, i know many devoted HP fans who would’ve wanted it, i know many casual readers that would have wanted it. there is no question that there is a demand Now, not in 6 years or however long it takes her to write the scotish book, but Now for an easy use reference guide to HP, and oh look, the Lexicon just happens to have one on hand, why not publish it? Leaky fans, HP fans, PC fans, would all be out there buying one, if only to own part of the fandom, something we created ourselves for ourselves… except that JKR said NO. now all of a sudden SVA is the devil. and i tell you, i’ve learned more about this mans private life then i ever wanted to, trust me, wether or not a 50 year old man drops his life to move to England has never been of personal interest to me, and i really wish people would stop bringing it up as if his character had something to do with how much control JKR has over copywrite.

i don’t believe that either side is being evil greedy capitalist here. i believe JKR when she says she has enough money but that that should not be a factor when it comes to protecting her work, i believe that the initial desire to print the Lexicon was based more upon the pride of having your hard work and devotion set in print and in some way legitimised. i’ll be honest and come right out and say it, though i believe that JKR should win this case, based on the poor quality and blatent copywrite of the book, but i think that SVA has the right principles in mind and that if the book had’ve been properly put together, he would then be in the right. based on the fact that WB demanded the book be shut down before asking for a manuscript leads me to believe that they were working under the delusion that they can control anything HP related. this case aside, look at the big picture here, an author should have some control, yes, but not full control over everything that is ever writen about their series. this is where Fair Use becomes fuzzy. i am very glad that Malissa touched upon this in the latest Pottercast, when she said that if JKR told her she didn’t like some of the things in her book and tried to shut it down, she would fight it… but i still have to ask, had the lexicon done it’s citations properly and done a better job of paraphrasing, where exactly everyones loyalties would lie?

this has gotten much longer then i intended, i’ve just been following this case from the beginning and an awful lot of ignorant, poorly thoughtout statments have been made by so many posters that it’s really gotten to me. i just want to ask people to please please please set aside your blatent devotions to JKR and look at this from an outsiders prospective. i love JKR too, i go to cons, HP has changed my life, i write wizardrock and i am in other online fandoms that have stricter authors then her, trust me, i know the seriousness of this case. honestly, i’m terrified of a set presidence being set either way. on one hand you have authors becomming more stict in online activity, on the other you have authors gaining control over what could be critical commentary of their work (i realise this is not what the lexicon is, but the law is vegue for a reason).

personally, i took JKR stating she may become too disheartend to write her book, as a threat. i don’t take kindly to threats. i’m willing to give her the benifit of the doubt and say that being in court was very stressful and it may have simply been an emotional response. but if it’s not… well, i see that as simply being vindictive, and though i’ll ever remain a fan of HP i won’t be able to say the same of someone who chose to punish her fans for the actions of one company.

ok i think i’ve writen a long enough essay now.

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I agree! There are many scary parallels between the HP stories and what is happening now, both inside and outside the court. For me the scariest is this attitude of fans that one has to 100% agree with Jo, and that one has to say truly ugly things about SVA and never concede that he may have any merit…

“The world is not divided into good people and death-eaters”, it’s all a little more grey than that.

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I have to disagree. I would rather wait another 6 years to get the complete book from JKR than to have a book form of a website that JKR deeps “sloppy, lazy” and in many cases inaccurate. That’s my hard earned money that I’m spending on this book and I’d rather wait for a book that is complete and written by someone who knows HP inside and out. The only person who truly knows everything, and I do mean everything, about HP is JKR.

I do agree that “the world is not divided into good people and death-eaters”. As that line is being sprouted about on this post I feel the need to address it. I do agree. I don’t think SVA is a bad person. I would never categorize him in the death-eaters category. He did make a mistake though.

I also think his profession and age do matter in this case. As a college student and someone three decades younger than SVA, I know the consequences for not citing correctly. I know that my academic career is on the line and subsequently my professional career. His profession is of precedence only because a man who was a middle school librarian would know the rules of plagiarism and would more likely than not, have taught several classes to students on how to site properly. I was often brought into the library in 5th-8th grade to be taught how to search reference books and then how to cite them in my papers – all by the librarians. Because of this, his profession is important.

I know there are some here that want to vilify SVA. That makes it easier. If you can stick a big red sticker on him that says “EVIL” then it makes it easier than to think that someone, just like us, who spends their time on HP websites, conversing with others, could put JKR in a position where she feels so hurt and betrayed. For many of us, JKR is someone we’ve never met, but someone we still consider a friend. She gave us 7 fantastic novels and an entire cast of characters that we all feel we know by heart. How could we feel anything else?

Also, JKR stating that she might, in the end, not have the spirit to write the Scottish Book was not a threat. Rather, a statement of fact. A proof that this is taking its toll on her and if she has to go through all of this and in the end she is told that anyone can take her work and profit off of it? Work that she slaved over, kept notes upon notes about? Heck, I’d lose the heart to write myself. I’d lose the heart to ever write again.

There are always two sides to every story. Many of us don’t want to hear SVA’s simply because we love JKR all so much. And we have the right to love her, she gave us a reason for being on this site, a reason for this site to exist. SVA bringing JKR into court feels like a betrayal to many in the fandom because he was a member of the fandom, and it’s as though he is dragging the “fandom” name through the mud in the process, making it look like every member of any fandom is out to get the authors.

I have no doubt that Steve Vander Ark is a good guy caught in a bad situation. He signed a contract and probably didn’t realize how badly he was digging his own grave. RDR has no personal interest in this case. They don’t love HP the way SVA and JKR do, so they have no cares for whether or not the Lexicon is accurate. RDR is in it for the money it will make their company. SVA wanted to give something to his other fan mates, unfortunately he chose to do so in the wrong way.

I hope that this can be settled in the right way. I hope that in the end its settled in a way that makes Jo Rowling happy. Because above all, if the creator of a universe feels like that universe is being ripped to shreds, they aren’t going to want to help keep it alive. And I love the Harry Potter Universe and want Jo Rowling to be a part of it and help keep it alive with The Scottish book. I want her there helping write the scripts for Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2. I want her to finish Harry Potter fully the way she has always wanted to do it, without feeling like someone else is going to follow behind her and tear it apart.

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I still dont get how people are complaining that it’s fine to buy Wrock CDs but not fine for Steve to publish this book. It’s the same reason why it’s fine for Mugglenet to publish a “What will Happen in Book 7” book and not fine for Steve to do the Lexicon. Jo being the creator obviously thinks that the books and companion stuff that are published and sold add enough original material to her work and not just take it and resell it.

I see why some people get confused when (like siyrean wrote) “the cease and disists went out to the lexicon and mugglenet before demanding seeing a copy of the book.” But personally I can understand Jo asking people not to write a book about her world she wants write herself. And then why not stop them if they infringe her copyright. Maybe that is not the law, but I still think it’s her right after all the years of work and creation she put into it.

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If Steve wants the book to come out without Jo raising objections, it’d have to be trimmed, a LOT. If it takes 91% of her work and just reprints it, trimming it is not going to be easy. And, I don’t get his comparison with wizard rock bands and stuff. There’s a difference here. Wrock is within copyright, your book is not. That’s the issue. And as for the fandom, well, Steve, sorry, but I think you’re going to be having a tough time within the fandom now.

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This is so very sad…a person who used to be held in high regard by not only JK …but all the Potter Fans…has fallen so far…and is now shunned by nearly everyone who used to support him….all because of money. (that can be his ONLY motivation…its certainly wasn’t for us fans or charity) I might have liked a Lexicon book…but if JK says no (which is her RIGHT)...I am completely happy with just using the web lexicon. I sure as hell am not buying his book after all of his untruths…He seems to think he speaks for us fans.

He keeps getting chance after chance to redeem himself…but continues down the path to the dark side. Surely he has some close friends who are Potter maniacs who are telling he is alienating himself from all his friends? cue dramatic scene on a volcano planet SVA’s friend: “SVA you’re breaking my heart…You’re going down a path I can’t follow”...

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@all extremely outraged Rowlingphiles

You know, there is a word to describe people who loudly proclaim one point of view and viciously attack those to dare to disagree: mob.

I believe the legacy of the HP series is aptly displayed here. Anyone with a dissenting POV should be cast aside in favor of those to who pay proper homage and respect to The Chosen One. In the fervor to honor the chosen ones, no tactics are out-of-bounds: lying, cheating, bullying are all perfectly fine. And when you’re in a pinch please add a bit of torture or mind-control! As long as the greater good is preserved, All Is Well!

Anyway, I just stopped in to catch up on the outrage over the very idea of someone finding fault with JKR and her lawsuit. And I stand by my claims of greed as her motive here. I’ll further cite the authorization of HP land and DH becoming 2 films (good luck with that one, Yates!) as greed evidence. And for those actually thinking while reading, there is more to greed than the accumulation of wealth. (Or was young Snape’s greedy look at Lily about his plans to steal her money?)

I’ll happily buy a of copy of the Lexicon if it’s ever published.

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@ Aurora, pottershrink

Thank you both!! I couldn’t agree more with what you both have written. It’s heartbreaking all that’s been going on here lately. I hope some of you remember that there’s a difference between attacking a person and attacking a person’s actions. SVA is on trial because of what he DID not because of who he IS.


Thank you as well, I enjoyed reading your post. And I would like to comment on your last paragraph because this has been bothering me as well >”personally, i took JKR stating she may become too disheartend to write her book, as a threat. ” Yes, I took it as a threat too; and I too think that if she decides not to publish her book she will be punishing not only her fans, but also the charity of her choice. An that indeed would be a terrible thing to DO.

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Posted by Marissa: “I’m still baffled by those of you making remarks along the lines of “Well, Jo wasn’t interested in writing another Potter book until STEVE decided to do one.” That’s completely untrue. She has mentioned many times over the years, well before Book 7 was out, that she might well end up doing an encyclopedia of sorts once the main story was told.”

Yes. Although something did happen when this controversy began: the possible JKR encyclopedia started to be referred to as “The Scottish Book” :-)

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I have a feeling Jeanne is someone closely associated with SVA/Lexicon or someone who doesn’t like JK. Because the leaps in logic she is taking seems prominent in only those who are devoutly devoted to one point of view…and will find any minor scrap of information to justify or support their points of view.

Just my humble opinion…

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Ugh! I don’t believe it! I just lost a lengthy and thoughtful post! (makes mental note to copy text before pressing “post”). I’ll attempt to recreate it. :-(

”@all extremely outraged Rowlingphiles

You know, there is a word to describe people who loudly proclaim one point of view and viciously attack those to dare to disagree: mob.

I believe the legacy of the HP series is aptly displayed here. Anyone with a dissenting POV should be cast aside in favor of those to who pay proper homage and respect to The Chosen One. In the fervor to honor the chosen ones, no tactics are out-of-bounds: lying, cheating, bullying are all perfectly fine. And when you’re in a pinch please add a bit of torture or mind-control! As long as the greater good is preserved, All Is Well!

Anyway, I just stopped in to catch up on the outrage over the very idea of someone finding fault with JKR and her lawsuit. And I stand by my claims of greed as her motive here. I’ll further cite the authorization of HP land and DH becoming 2 films (good luck with that one, Yates!) as greed evidence. And for those actually thinking while reading, there is more to greed than the accumulation of wealth. (Or was young Snape’s greedy look at Lily about his plans to steal her money?)

I’ll happily buy a of copy of the Lexicon if it’s ever published.”

Posted by Jeanne on April 22, 2008 @ 01:56 AM

Well, I guess I’d fall into the category of what you call a “Rowlingphile.” I prefer “author supporter” or “on the side of the law,” though. There’s no reason for thinly veiled insults, you know. They’re just as bad as hostile ones.

Speaking of hostile insults, I don’t agree with any of the people, on either side, who have been very hostile to the opposing side. We all have every right to express our opinion without being called “not true HP fans” or “blind lemmings following the trail of Jo” or whatever people have been called.

Well, that assessment of this whole situation being similar to the message of the books only holds water if one holds that view of the books, so I would say a very small portion of people reading this would agree with you there. Frankly, I think the theme of choices applies more to the case, or at least events leading up to the lawsuit, more than anything else. RDR made the choice to evade WB and Jo’s agency. SVA made the choice to not specifically ask the agency how to go about publishing part of his website. “Oh what a tangled web we weave” also applies here very well.

As neither you nor I are privy to Jo’s thoughts about the theme park and have no statements about it to infer her thoughts, neither one of us can make a judgement. I’m sure you’re not surprised that my instinct is the very opposite of yours. My instinct is that she’s allowing it for her fans to enjoy. We have no idea how much money she will get from it, so to say she did it in greed is a bit of leap on your part.

As for the films, I have no idea how much say she has in that type of thing. If she did have to give her approval of making DH into two parts, then I would think she would do it to ensure as much of her book makes it in.

I have to say, though, Joanne that you sound rather hateful towards not only Jo, but the books themselves. So, what pleasure do you get out of them?

/response to Joanne

SVA continues to disappoint with every word he utters. It makes me immensely sad to see this whole thing divide the fandom. I don’t think the schism between Steve and part of the fandom came about because of the lawsuit. I, for one, was of the mind that Steve was truly trapped in his contract and didn’t agree with RDR. That is until he opened his mouth in a couple of interviews. And then once I got deeper into the facts of the case, I realized that not only do I think that WB/JKR are legally right, but that RDR/SVA were ethically wrong.

@dorito: your name makes me hungry :-P

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Argh! Sorry. Jeanne not Joanne.

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@ DracoDaDeathEater I was thinking the same thing, becase her logic is just…strange. Especially the part about “no tactics are out-of-bounds: lying, cheating, bullying are all perfectly fine” made me laugh out loud…because it’s so completely true, just not concerning Jo/WB but Steve/RDR…especially the lying and cheating part. They keep lying whenever they open their mouths…“Well, I offered that months and months ago… and said, ‘Is there other edits we can make?’ ‘Can we make changes?’ … and they… no, there was nothing offered at all.” yeah, sure…I remember it being reportet that RDR told Jo’s lawyers just to push the print button if they want a manuscript. Clearly it’s APPALLING how Jo could not accept all the offers about editing that were made….how very greedy of her…rollseyes

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Here’s a link to a post from MaraudingDon with links to the court transcripts.

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You know I’m getting sick and tired of people coming on here to simply attack the fans who support Jo. And to generalise us all as some sort of “mob” you’ve got it wrong!! Majority of us have never been personal about SVA. We have shown our disagreement, and give arguement to back it up. I won’t deny there has been some who have been insulting towards SVA, but that is only a small group of people, and I don’t nor ever will condone it.

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@Gabs, thank you. Nice to know that there are others who think along the same lines.

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Wow, he is so contridicting himself in this interview…Playing oh poor me I did nothing wrong and want to fix this? IF that was the case he WOULD have just dropped the idea months and months ago. But no he pushed forward and here they are now. Jo has every right to want to stop this from happening. This is her work not Steve’s. During his testimony he played “dumb” like he didn’t know about anything…now he is very confident isnt he? Stating that he knew how this was going to go down…really? then why didnt you say everything you just said to the BBC to the Lawyers? Sad sad day in the potter world.

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@ carly, or anyone who has heard about this bit:

carly writes, “Borders and Barnes & Noble have decided not to sell the Lexicon”

i was geeked to see that! but i can’t find any conclusive articles that state this fact. does anyone else know about this? i really, really hope it’s true. i think it marks a very ethical standpoint for major corporations to exhibit… something that doesn’t happen very often, at that! if anyone has read about this decision on their part, please, do tell more.

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I’m on Jo side because I think she’s right. Not because I like her books, although I do. I too think it sounds a bit fanatic and worrisome if you say Jo is right, simply because she’s the author. One has to think for oneself and don’t accept things blindly. But agreeing isn’t necessarily worshipping. We can think for ourselves.

At the same time I find it a bit weird one can like the books while disregarding the author. After all, it’s a part of Jo in her book, in a way they’re inseparable. Without Jo no HP and certainly no HP in the kind of way she has written it. You may not have to like her, but you can at least respect her and respect what she has accomplished and leave her creations be.

But anyway, the vilifying against SVA, the comments about his job, about his contradictive statements, is to point out that he’s not the David RDR claims him to be. They’re playing us for a fool and we’re genuinely upset. We’re only refuting their statements. If I don’t mention any faults of JKR it’s because I don’t see any. So far she hasn’t said any contradictive statements. I haven’t caught her on a lie yet. She hasn’t said she’s greedy. You’re assuming she’s greedy. Fact is SVA does change his story, he once said that using Jo’s work would be copyright infringement. All of a sudden it’s not, or at least questionable? However, is all this of any relevance to the case. No. But if you’re going to say things we’re allowed to respond.

JKR’s accusing RDR of copyright infringements, as an intellectual property owner, is well within her right. I don’t know if she’s greedy. But if I was a writer I would sue SVA and RDR too, purely because they’ve taken my work. That’s got nothing to do with greed. Or is considering belongings to be your own greedy? If I would be calling anyone greedy it would be the defendants for using my work for their own benefits. Whether JKR is driven by greed or not is irrelevant. What matters, if taking a substantial amount of non-original work could be considered fair use. I.e. is the infringement allowable? If JKR likes to build a theme park and make money, let her. It’s her choice. If you think that’s greedy, that’s your opinion. But that still doesn’t change the fact that the key point is if taking a big amount of JKR work could be considered fair use or not.

I can’t find an argument for SVA’s case. Pointing at others for doing the same is not defence. It only reveals how many more are wrong, and even that’s dubious. I think wizard rock and websites have got a higher chance of being fair use, because of their transformative nature and input of their own. You can’t compare a book which take literal things from somebody else’s work, with a website who produces HP news. If a website takes one out of 100, then the book takes 80. There is a difference in the way other people are making money of JKR money. Are they both exploiting HP, yes. But some crimes are more evident and hit you hard. Other crimes are neglectable, still wrong but no point in pursuing. However I do get what SVA is saying. You can’t say SVA is the only one who is wrong. But that doesn’t make it right either. It only means others are wrong as well. SVA just hit JKR a bit harder than others and she noticed. That’s where she draw the line. And I think it’s quite an acceptable line. Don’t resell other people literal words, characters, events and plots (and I mean all of it) or at least have the decency to put in some own content.

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I wouldn’t concern myself with the possibility of JKR not writing The Scottish Book. Don’t worry, she’ll write it. Who knows how long it will be before it is actually on store shelves, but I have no doubt she’ll write it – no matter who wins this case. You can take that to the bank.

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@Matt Barnes & Noble and Borders pulled there orders as stated in testimony. Go to the following link. It’s stated as one of the final statements in the post.


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@ Gab and Pottershrink.

Tolerant people Unite! Hehe

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i hope there will be some kind of settlement, so that both parties will not lose face.

sorry to come back upon PJB so late, and sorry to come back at all. the thing with jkr having been a ‘benefit cheat’ came up as an pseudonymous reader’s comment to marina hyde’s article in the guardian (i guess ‘PJB’ is not your true or full name). there is no left-wing conspiracy about calling jkr a benefit cheat because neither you nor i can know if the person who posted that would be left- or right-wing politically or something else in between.

jkr received social benefits while writing the first potter-books and caring for her baby daughter – that is part and parcel of her public biography since her first book was published. from social benefits to the beststeller lists, all of her own!

now in court she did not only call sva lazy and sloppy, she underscored how wrong the lexicon-book is by saying he took from her work, her hard work, her work for seventeen years, the work from the very hard times when she was on social benefits and had to make a choice between a carbon band for the type-writer and something to eat.

i do not know what type of social benefit jkr was receiving when living in edinburgh with her baby daughter, if it was some kind of maternity benefit or if it was more of an unemployment benefit i.e. are not able to find work or a benefit you receive when you literally have no resources e.g. are not able to work. neither do i know the british legislation. though in many european countries you are entitled to unemployment and similar benefits only if you do not work besides or just earn very small amounts of money. if you are working and not telling you are liable to e.g. pay the benefits back.

many unemployed or poor people all over europe are pestered by the social benefits bureaucracy if they earn only a cent more than they are allowed. writing a private diary while receiving social benefits would not be a problem – writing articles you get paid for would under some legislations, for sure. writing books you sell later on might be legally controversial under some social legislations, writing books you have a contract on and will be get paid for very much later might be legally fishy, writing books you sell very much later for millions might be legally ok but could make you want to explain.

so probably the poster mentioned had a point, and jo brought his / her comment upon herself by her very own doing when, in court, emphasizing and recalling her times when having little money which was according to her pr the time she would have received social benefits.

you see i do not quite understand why there are such emotions between jkr and sva about this, tears shed in court etc – neither do i want to know all about the background, i do not like tragedies and i do not like people taking sides in the way Jeanne gave the right name. i spent many hours reading the hp-books and re-reading them and checking about them on the lexicon-site and from time to time on the leaky-site as well.

and after all, what’s wrong with being a little bit left-wing and starting liberation fronts for domestic workers – should be better than being like dolores umbridge and claiming authorisation for everything?

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The Irony of the whole thing is that anyone with a printer can just go to the Lexicon and basically print themselves what is basically a copy of the book. As long as we do it for personal use, Warner Bros can’t touch us. Not that I agree that we should …

This thing isn’t really about Vander Ark at all. It is about NAFTA Chapter 11 and Warner Bros asserting their control over their “intellectual property” rights. It is a test case. The internet is largely unregulated, which means that laws that cover print and other media don’t apply to the internet yet. What is at issue is what happens when one transfers information from an unregulated medium (ie the internet) to a more regulated medium (ie books). What is at stake is both what laws media giants, such as Warner Bros should be lobbying in new laws, and whether their “intellectual property” rights extend to stuff that was originally available to all for free.

JKR still profits from her books – whether the profits go to getting Jessica a new bike or for one of the charities close to JKR’s heart. However, Warner Bros can sue JKR over the contents of her encyclopedia if anything she puts in there endangers sale of the movie or merchandise (theme parks and reference books count as merchandise).

Under NAFTA Chapter 11, if JKR says, writes or does anything related to the HP series that cuts into Warner Bros profits, she can be sued. We all have our favourite HP book, though few of us would pick DH – yet Warner Bros is so happy with DH that they want to make two movies out of it (when, out of all the books, its plot is the easiest to fit into one movie).

Thus, JKR has to stick up for Warner Bros when it comes to HP – she is under their contract. In a way, this is a test case for JKR too – if Vander Ark wins, it means that JKR has more freedom to say, write and act than Warner Bros (and, possibly her own lawyers) have indicated.

From David B. Caruso, WPG Free Press, April 16, 2008, p. D2:

”... Warner Bros., the maker of the Harry Potter films and owner of all the intellectual property related to the Potter books and movies.”

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Aurora, JKR could not work because she could not find affordable child care. Someone has to look after Jessica while she worked – same for all single parents who work or go to school.

Molly Wobbles

Vander Ark had his hesitations about putting the Lexicon in book form and RDR talked him into it. As far as I can figure out, once he signed the contract with RDR, he is under legal obligation to produce the book. However, if the production of the book interferes with Warner Bros “intellectual property” rights, then he can’t publish it. In a way, both Warner Bros and RDR are fighting over who gets their way with Vander Ark.

This is a test case – which means that Warner Bros and RDR are using it to create legal precedent. Both are willing to take this to the Supreme court – so anyone who thinks this will be settled in a month is dead wrong.

Since the case is being tried in the US under US law, NAFTA Chapter 11 may apply.

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Thank you to those posters who have been and continue to be polite to those of us with dissenting opinions. It is refreshing to not be subjected to “mob attack” on every front for a change; most threads here that I have read have not been so tolerant but rather have been so “Go Jo!” that they have precluded any other viewpoints.

@ siyrean, you make excellent points in your post. Thank you. I agree with most of them (except, I finish up on Steve’s side of the fence because I feel that the Lexicon entries that I am familiar with are by no means word-for-word copies or plagiarisms of JKR’s works. People keep quoting this 91% figure and I cannot see it. I believe that it was presented in court that way, by JKR’s side, but as someone said earlier, can she copyright the entire English language? How else can you write an index without using the source words? It is not written in the form of a fictional novel.)

@ Jeanne, you also make excellent observations. I agree with most of them as well. Greed is not always about the dollar figure (and mollywobbles23, surely you are kidding when you say we don’t know how much money JKR will make from the theme park and the second DH movie, implying that she has no monetary incentive there? No, you’re right, we don’t know an exact figure, but I think we can give a general educated approximate estimate of “one level boatload.” She has an incentive.)

I listened to this interview, and my out-loud observation was “Wow. What a gentleman.” He sounds polite, reasonable, thoughtful, and genuinely hopeful for a peaceable solution that makes everyone happy. I have not gotten the same impression from the other side; what I have heard there is what someone else described as a “threat” and which I would almost go further to call “emotional blackmail.” ‘So distressed about this that I may not write my Scottish Book after all?’ Please. I do not know either of the parties personally, as I suspect is the case with most posters here. But I do know the impression I get from the actions of each of them, and it is increasingly less positive of JKR, and more positive of SVA. (Not that that has any bearing on the legality of the situation or the outcome of the case, it’s just an observation on the radio interview.)

Thanks, vaudree, for the legal perspective. I think you are right. Certainly this is at finish a legal issue, not an emotional one, so whether “Jo rocks!” or “Steve rocks!” is irrelevant.

Oh, and I’ll be right next to Jeanne in line to buy a hard copy of the Lexicon book, if it gets published. No book boycotting for me, thanks.

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@doritos: “Just a quick note to those who were discussing the job issue. I realize Melissa has asked us not to speculate…”

SVA wasn’t fired because he didn’t have a degree in Library Science; he was fired because the Christian school he worked for includes a morals clause in its employment contracts, and Steve violated it.

This isn’t speculation; it’s fact. Steve’s soon-to-be-ex-wife posted on another thread a few days ago, clarifying a number of issues: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2008/4/17/jkr-wb-vs-rdr-books-trial-day-three-a-partial-settlement-reached-wsj-law-blogger-dan-slater-speaks-to-ip-expert/comments/8

Her posts are under the name ‘lrgh,’ in case you’re interested in her point of view.

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@Altarielle: “I still dont get how people are complaining that it’s fine to buy Wrock CDs but not fine for Steve to publish this book. It’s the same reason why it’s fine for Mugglenet to publish a “What will Happen in Book 7” book and not fine for Steve to do the Lexicon.”

This has been discussed over and over again. I don’t imagine explaining it again will help, but what the hell—hope springs eternal…

Wrock is sufficiently original and transformative-and these are the important criteria-to be considered Fair Use. It’s inspired by JKR’s work, and makes reference to her characters and storylines, but Wrockers don’t copy directly from her and claim her work as their own. Also, because it’s music, not a book or film, it doesn’t directly compete with either JKR’s or WB’s commercial interests-they aren’t making Wrock, and Wrockers aren’t taking part of their market share. In the unlikely event JKR/WB ever decided to crack down on Wrockers, they could also make legitimate claims that their work is parody-which is protected under Fair Use.

Companion books such as Mugglenet’s also fall under Fair Use. A book of speculation on what would happen in Book 7, or one discussing the HP fan phenomenon, or a collection of critical essays are all sufficiently original. The writers were inspired by HP, but they developed their own thoughts about it and wrote about it from their own perspective. They aren’t just regurgitating plots, or summarizing the books, or paraphrasing JKR; they contain the authors’ original ideas, in their own words.

All of the unofficial HP encyclopedias and readers’ guides that have been published, even the lousy ones, also fall under Fair Use-and you can bet that their publishers cooperated when JKR’s people asked to see manuscripts and demanded changes. Most of the HP guides also include substantial original work and commentary-discussions of places, creatures, spells, and people that come from other sources, not just the HP books.

JKR has allowed a lot of HP encyclopedias and companion guides over the years—she’s clearly not averse to other people writing about her creation and making a bit of money from it. But those books do have to be substantially original, and their publishers have to make it clear that they are unauthorized/unofficial.

Where the Lexicon book fails under Fair Use is that it adds almost nothing original to JKR’s work; roughly 90% of the text is lifted straight from JKR’s work. There is little or no analysis. There is almost no new information added that expands on what is in the books (and according to JKR, what little is added is often wrong, such as the origins of ‘Alohomora’). Everything in it is cribbed straight from the books, and very often uses JKR’s own words, or such sloppy paraphrasing that they might as well be JKR’s own words.

It contains almost the entire contents of both Magical Beasts… and Quidditch Through the Ages, which means that anyone who buys the Lexicon book would have no need to buy either of JKR’s books—it damages the market for those two books.

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@gabs: “I hope some of you remember that there’s a difference between attacking a person and attacking a person’s actions. SVA is on trial because of what he DID not because of who he IS.”

I disagree. People’s actions reflect who they are.

Don’t get me wrong; we all do or say stupid things at one time or another that we come to regret. Nobody’s perfect, and we all have our moments where we speak harshly, or lie, or do something dishonest out of anger or fear.

But when someone shows a persistent pattern of lying, evasiveness, or disregard for other people, or decides to do something dodgy in a planned, premeditated fashion, that’s not a nice person who did something stupid – that’s a seriously messed-up individual. And when that person shows no real remorse for what they did, but instead keeps making excuses and telling stories to deflect blame and avoid the consequences of their actions, those actions say a lot about who they are as a human being.

I’m not saying a person who keeps doing rotten things and lying about it is inherently evil, but they are definitely sick and damaged, and placing one’s trust and faith in their character is not a good idea. I’m also not saying that person is undeserving of sympathy and help, but at the same time I don’t think they should be spared the consequences of their actions. Those consequences might just be the thing that person needs to admit they’ve gone badly off-track and need help.

To bring this back on topic, do I feel sorry for Steve Vander Ark because the Lexicon book has turned into a nightmare, and made him the target of mockery in the fandom? No. He brought that on himself. He’s a grown man who should have known better – who did know better, but did the wrong thing anyway. Do I feel sorry for him because he’s a deeply sad and screwed-up individual and is suffering under the weight of that? Yes. It’s a “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of thing. I don’t despise SVA; I just think he’s a sick individual who needs help. At the same time, I don’t trust a single thing he says anymore because part of his sickness involves telling whatever story he thinks will best save his butt at any given moment, no matter what he’s said before.

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@I Am the LOLrus

I guess it was a poor choice of words from my part. English is not my first language (as you may have noticed by now.) What I meant was something along the lines of what you previously wrote:

It’s a “love the sinner, hate the sin” .

The thing that really makes me feel bad is that there´s a lot of name calling in here “greedy, sorry excuse for a human being, pathetic,” etc. There’ s no need for that IMO. I understand the anger that many are feeling because of this, but it would be nice if people were a little more respectful (even if some feel that SVA doesn’t deserve any respect.)

I also don’t like the way that many like to point fingers at each other (and I mean both sides), if you (general you) write about being in favor of Steve then you are either Steve or someone from RDR, and if you (general you) defend JKR then you are an obsessed fan.

I agree with you in some of your comments, thank you for the time you took to reply. Like you, I also feel sorry for Steve, I think it’s a lose-lose situation for him, and regardless of his actions I wish him well.

I just wish this whole thing is over and all the parties involved can leave this behind.

Avatar Image says:

thank you, Gabs.

Avatar Image says:

@ I Am ”@Altarielle: “I still dont get how people are complaining that it’s fine to buy Wrock CDs but not fine for Steve to publish this book. It’s the same reason why it’s fine for Mugglenet to publish a “What will Happen in Book 7” book and not fine for Steve to do the Lexicon.”

This has been discussed over and over again. I don’t imagine explaining it again will help, but what the hell—hope springs eternal…

Wrock is sufficiently original and transformative-and these are the important criteria-to be considered Fair Use. It’s inspired by JKR’s work, and makes reference to her characters and storylines, but Wrockers don’t copy directly from her and claim her work as their own. Also, because it’s music, not a book or film, it doesn’t directly compete with either JKR’s or WB’s commercial interests-they aren’t making Wrock, and Wrockers aren’t taking part of their market share. In the unlikely event JKR/WB ever decided to crack down on Wrockers, they could also make legitimate claims that their work is parody-which is protected under Fair Use.”

I know, maybe you should read my post properly, eh ;)

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