JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: Chicago Tribune article


May 03, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC

The Chicago Tribune speaks to Roger Rapoport of RDR Books, the publishing company that is involved in a legal battle against JK Rowling and Warner Brothers over the rights to publish a book version of the HP Lexicon website.

Not a Potter fan, Mr. Rapoport was unfamiliar with the Lexicon website until he saw a newspaper profile on Vander Ark in July 2007.

“I couldn’t understand why this book hadn’t been published yet,” he said.

Rapoport is reportedly unworried about the outcome of the trial, having been told by his attorneys that “no court has ever ruled that the writer of a fictional work is the only person who can write about that book.”

According to the article, Rapoport’s has received free legal help from Stanford University Law School’s Fair Use Project. Donations to his Right to Write Foundation (formed, according to its mission statement, as “an educational repository and clearinghouse for the 21st century freedom of expression and “fair use” issues writers and publishers encounter when moving between the worlds of print, internet, film, the fine arts and new media”) have further offset costs.

Rapoport was asked about JKR‘s statement from the stand of “I never ever once wanted to stop Mr. Vander Ark from doing his own guide, never ever. Do your book, but, please, change it so it does not take as much of my work.”

””That opportunity was never presented to us,” he said, his eyes flashing with anger. “The only thing they said [in the lawyer letters and pretrial discussions] was: ‘Will you stop the book?’”

Tribune article author Patrick Reardon also speaks to Steve Vander Ark, creator of the Lexicon site and main author of the Lexicon book.

“During a telephone interview from London, where he moved earlier this year to write other Potter-related books, Vander Ark said he was “devastated” when Rowling’s lawsuit was filed against RDR books, even though he wasn’t named as a defendant. “We certainly had no intention of doing something which would hurt her feelings,” Vander Ark said.”

The article reports that Vander Ark has received “nasty emails” since the lawsuit became public.

“It was disheartening how quickly people were more than happy to turn on me,” Vander Ark said.

90 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: Chicago Tribune article

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First!!!!! Vander Ark’s quote of : “It was disheartening how quickly people were more than happy to turn on me,”, is ridiculous. If you go against a much loved and respected author like this, of course her community will turn on you!!!!!!!

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Sorry, it wouldn’t come up!

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Mr. Rapoport’s claim about court rulings is rubbish, I think he fails to see how little commentary is contained in the Lexicon. I hope Judge Patterson is given copies of the Potter books, tabbed with specific places where the Lexicon lifts Jo’s words, because it’s sick when you actually go through and look at it.

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I’m just constantly surprised by the sense of entitlement that RDR (and even Vander Ark) exhibit in their public statements. And the biggest thing that bothers me, personally, is that Vander Ark KNEW that publishing this book was wrong; he included a clause in his contract that RDR would cover any legal action against him. That’s premeditated and completely dispicable.

And yes, guides have been written about many copyrighted works (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.) but many of those books have been required to secure licensing rights from the copyright holders. I just don’t understand why RDR thinks they can get away with this… and hope the judge doesn’t set precedent by allowing them to.

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Seriously though I can’t feel sorry for him. Like everyone’s been saying I think he knew it was wrong, but he wanted to go ahead and do it anyway. I have to say though I never really liked him anyway.

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Of course we are happy to turn on you, Mr Vander Ark! I have written several stories about Harry Potter – including a 40 chapters book, and a very detailed chronology – but I’ve never wanted to make money with it! It’s disgusting. When you published it on the internet everybody loved it, but you had to ruin it. Harr Potter is not yours, he belongs to JKR, forever! And if you were a true fan, you wouldn’t have written that book.

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Is he insane?

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One thing is for sure – somebody is lying.

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I have no doubt that the judge will find in RDR’s favor, which is unfortunate. But fair use is, I think, beside the point, at this point. What’s most sad about this whole affair is that Vander Ark allowed himself to be led astray, if you will, by a publishing company that has no emotional investment in the Potter books, but was simply seeing dollar signs. (Their chances of cashing in at this point are negligable, as the whole Potter world seems to be against them.) But as soon as Vander Ark discovered that Rowling herself was going to be publishing an encyclopaedia - with proceeds going to CHARITY - he should have respectfully backed off. Perhaps Rowling and her lawyers (who are also representing Warner Brothers, I believe - a Goliath you don’t want to go up against) have made mistakes in how they’ve handled things, but the bottom line is that an author has a right to object to someone else making money off a book that would not even exist if not for her efforts. As far as I can see, there’s not a single original idea in the Lexicon; it’s a cut and paste job of information gleaned from the books. The timeline is valuable, and yes, Vander Ark put his own time and effort into it - but didn’t he do that for love of a world that someone else created? No one forced him to do that; why should he expect to be paid for it now?

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This article is positively glowing compared to the stuff that’s come out lately. However, it’s still slanted. Their characterization of the case is that it’s part of a larger effort of copyright holders to crack down and that if the suit is successful it will limit others’ rights to comment and analyze, etc.

Alright, I give up on the media. Would it kill ANYONE to include some specifics about this particular case, including the unprecedented lack of commentary and analysis and unprecedented amount of uncited taking? Geez, at least make an effort.

Based on the actual facts of the case, they could have written that a win for the defense would limit the ability that copyright holders previously had to protect their work, but do you see that? NO, it’s always the big corporations trying to snuff out the little guy and kill “creativity”. No specifics are in the article about this particular case, it’s all broad generalizations.

It’s like they got all their background research material from Roger Rapaport as well as the quotes.

And they say that a settlement in this case would probably clear SVA’s reputation. Who gave them that information? That seems like a pretty big assumption given that it is unsubstantiated with any verification from HP fans.

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this is rita skeeter all over again.

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I am totally on JKR’s side, but I too am starting the think the judge will probably rule for RDR. At least, I am preparing myself for when it happens, basically by realizing that me being a fan of JKR has nothing to do with the outcome of this case.

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I certainly hope that a copy of the book was given to the Judge with everything lifted from JKRs books highlighted, with a summary at the end of the actual percentage of copied vs new.

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If the book gets publisked, I will be sure to look at the publishers name on each and every book I buy and make sure it isn’t published by RDR. If it is, I won’t buy it. I hope that someone comes up with a website that you can sign up and state “I will not buy this book or anything ever published from RDR.”

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“Not a Potter fan, Mr. Rapoport was unfamiliar with the Lexicon website until he saw a newspaper profile on Vander Ark in July 2007.

“I couldn’t understand why this book hadn’t been published yet,” he said.”

Translation: “Guy was sitting on a gold mine, the chump! And I’m just the guy with the pickaxe to dig it up!”

Rapoport is a complete weasel.

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if this gets published, no one buy it

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Who doesn’t know anything about HP or Jo needs to be quiet.

and about Vander Ark-if he doesnt want to hurt Jos feelings then don’t publish the bloody lexicon!

if RDR wins-I dont care-I wont use it or buy it.

Dear Jo, we are waiting for new world brand. you rock my dear!

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I honestly think Steve’s lost touch with reality.

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This is REDONKULOUS (not a real word) BUT STILL!!

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SVA is a fool, whenhe did not get jo’s blessing for the print versionof the lexicon he should have stopped righht then and there as he should have known they would have never given him permission to do so, and he had to know going forward with this case was gonna make Jo’s fans agry at him. I willnot by the lexicon if published illwait for Jo’s “Scottish book” after all that is the ultimate way we can show our displeasure if it does get published

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is anyone else tired of this? I just don’t care anymore and it’s just making them both look bad.

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“It was disheartening how quickly people were more than happy to turn on me,” Vander Ark said.

Wow he’s emo.

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Sure sounds like no settlement discussions are happening. And, that RDR thinks he’s going to lose.

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Vander Ark is being outrageous. I remember reading the articles when all this started and the whole point was that JKR’s publishers were requesting a copy of the book Steve wanted to publish, so they could see if it was similar to what JKR wanted to write—and Steve’s group refused repeatedly to let them see it. When he says “We were never given the opportunity” that is outright bull-poo! There were weeks and weeks of articles on Mugglenet/Leaky about the request that the book simply be changed but they kept refusing!!

Honestly I won’t feel in the least bit sorry if Steve gets shut down completely. His comments are selfish, outright lies, and completely full of himself. It’s like he’s taking the stance of some poor innocent by-stander who’s being unlawfully beaten back with a stick whilst he’s really claiming the genius of JKR for his own monetary gains! She donates to good causes and writes for medical research or children’s schools. Steve writes so he can buy stupid ties and claim himself as some sort equal to JKR. I’m really beyond angry with this man. Beyond angry—no words can describe it.

JKR: we’re behind you 100% and if somehow the book comes out rest assured I’ll never even set my hands upon it.

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I would never buy this book if it was published. I don’t want to support what he is doing.

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I have been curious how the lexicon website has been doing lately given the outrage from us fans. Does it get nearly as many hits as it used to?

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does SVA really buy stupid ties???

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Shame on you, Mr. Vander Ark. You’ll get none of my money.

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Rachezee: Well, I really have no idea but when I first saw him on some HP tv special thing, my first impression was that he was haughty and had a stupid tie/ow tie thing. So he’ll forever in my mind be the man with the stupid tie, although I didn’t have anything against him then—I do now, and I feel no shame in saying STUPID TIE. huffs

But my point in that juvenile name calling was just that we never hear of him doing any spectacular good for the world with the money he earns from ripping JKR off-so his whooole argument against her is purely because he wants more money and fame for himself. If he really cared about the fandom he would want JKR to do the encyclopedia and not himself. I mean, what can he give us that JKR can’t? Honestly-he’s got a head as big Uncle Vernon! The results of what he’s trying to do will be to publish a bunch of stuff we already know, hinder the fandom from getting what they really want which is JKR’s encyclopedia, and earn himself a bunch of money for writing down the exact same things that JKR already wrote.

JKR’s goals are to give us all the tidbits of her life’s work that we crave, bring some sort of finality to HER creation, and she donates tons and tons of money gladly to wonderful charities around the world.

I can’t even see how Steve can possibly think the fandom would back him on this….he’s blinded by his own greed and pride.

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I can’t believe Steve was so disheartened when people turned on him. It would be one thing, if he had signed a contract with RDR, and then, when he found out JKR was against it, tried to get out of the deal in respect of JKR’s wishes. He did not do that. He has made comments in support of RDR’s decision, so of course fans are going to side with the JKR, and not someone trying to make money by going against her wishes and using her work, a lot of which is direct quotations, for this book, especially knowing now that JKR is planning on writing “The Scottish Book” which would be very similar. After JKR has been so supportive of fan sites and other companion books in the past, I cant believe that Steve would honestly think that JKR winning the case would stop all that. She has said she is not against any of that. This leads me to believe that for Steve, it is more about making a buck (good luck with that, now that nobody will want to buy a book that was published against the wishes of JKR), which is sad. He has made his choices, so he should not be shocked by the fan’s response.

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Why would anyone even buy this book even if it does get published. Isn’t it just The Lexicon on paper?

This book may get published but it will not make him the money he is hoping for. I have a really good idea for Steve. Why doesn’t he donate all profits to Harry Potter Alliance.

The only true encyclopedia (The Scottish Book) has not been written yet.

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“It was disheartening how quickly people were more than happy to turn on me,” Hmm…Well truly speaking he is right. Many people did actually jumped upon rudely criticizing him without even knowing the full details or anything about copyright or other fair use etc. Anyway I am unable to guess at all who will win this case. I’m with the Judge here , and think it better if both the parties reach to a settlement even when I know this is not going to happen.now.

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I guess Steve has only been important for the American fans. Until this Lexicon-trial he was just the guy who made the internet-lexicon (I didn´t even know his name) for me. He was not important for me, I could happily be a fan without Steve.

But I don´t like neither sides in this case. Jo is too arrogant and Steve is a whiner.

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It just KILLS me that I’m supporting Warner Brothers in this. I’ve got too many friends, former bandmates and acquaintances who’ve been screwed over by WB & other big record/media labels. I’d HATE to see this crummy case go on to give WB more power generally, but, here I’m on the side of Jo/WB because they’re right.

I wonder what would’ve happened had Jo brought the suit on her own?

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I wouldn’t say that people who did not know the full details of they case immediatly presumed to Hate SVA. If anything I would say it is the exact opposite. The problem as I see it is that the only people I see that are on JKR’s side are the people who actually are following the details of the case.

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I was TOTALLY ready to believe that SVA was the innocent victim of a bad deal with RDR until he made public statements saying he was defending creativity and JKR wants to shut down the fans, which is a flat out lie. Now since the start of the trial, he’s been playing the innocent victim again. Which one is it? Make up your mind dude. He’s trying to have it both ways, to play both sides, and thinks we are too stupid to see what he is doing. It’s nauseating.

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I totally agree with matea. Yeah how can he say that he don’t want to hurt jo’s feelings when he really want to publish that lexicon which obviously hurt her feelings. And I already said in the other posts even if taht is published I would never buy it and I think no one that is on Jo’s side should buy that book to express our feelings. I fully support Jo!!!GO JO!!!

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“no court has ever ruled that the writer of a fictional work is the only person who can write about that book.”

This makes no sense. JKR wrote the book, and the content of SVA’s books are merely her words reprinted in encyclopedia format. SVA should not get money out of this if he adds no content to the book other than what JKR wrote.

Ridiclous. An article I wrote in defense of JKR: http://lily-phoenix731.livejournal.com/14563.html

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At this point RDR and the Stanford Fair Use Project really do not care if SVA sells one copy of this book. They are hoping to win this case and set a precedent for the future for other books that may be published. Personally I would be willing to picket any book store that attempted to sell the Lexicon book to advise people not to buy something that is so worthless.

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I think that SVA was naieve to expect backlash against him when he is suing an author that is revered by millions. I am very worried because it appears to me that several sources an saying that RDR will win. I really hope JKR will win because it is her own material but the odds are not looking good. SVA deserves to be banished from the Harry Potter fandom.

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I apologize, it appeared that it was not working so I clicked on it twice

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When I first learned about the Lexicon book, I was on SVA’s side. I had never heard of SVA before, but I felt that he had a right to publish his critical text. HOWEVER, as I studied the details of the lawsuit, learned about RDR’s unscrupulous actions, and read the disingenuous statements that SVA made in interviews, I changed my point of view and began to support Jo’s side of the argument.

And I supported Jo even more once I learned that SVA’s book is NOT a critical text but a plagiaristic rearrangement of the material that Jo has put her heart and soul into for nearly 20 years.

It doesn’t matter how big a Harry Potter fan SVA is; it doesn’t matter how much hard work he put into the book; it doesn’t matter how much he truly believes that he is doing all this for the fans. What it basically comes down to is that SVA has stolen Jo’s work and is trying to pass it off as his own.

Because of all that, I am truly disgusted by SVA’s actions, and I completely support Jo Rowling in her justified efforts to protect her material.

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Parselmouth Lion thank you for what you have said you said what I have been saying for so long in this blog if steve didn’t want to hurt Jo he should have stop the book and not go on.

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Regardless of whether RDR wins or not…the only people who would go out of their way to buy a HP encyclopedia would be the hardcore fans…and seeing as nearly all the hardcore fans are against RDR/SVA….expect the book to have dismal sales. I for one have no intention of buying that book and my Potter loving friends certainly won’t.

So rest easy friends…things have a way of working out in the end. Do not be tempted to buy it…and tell all your friends and family not to buy it. Thats the best we can do as fans.

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I suddenly have a Tori Amos song running through my head:

“Lies, lies, lies, everywhere Said the father to the son Your peppermint breath’s gonna choke him to death, daddy Watch your little black sheep run He got the knives, knives, knives in his back every Time he opens up He says “You gotta be strong if you wanna be a man,” mister I don’t know how you can have Sweet dreams Sweet dreams”

More appropriate than I thought it would be. Heh.

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You know, I wouldn’t have so much problem with the lexicon being published if it had quotemarks where it lifts text wholly from the books, and had proper citations for the source of each definition such as book, and page number for each first appearance of said word, character etc. That was my problem with the site the first time I saw it.

Yes, I use it – mostly for proper spellings of words as it is quicker to go there in some cases than the books, but for in depth definition and research – nope.

Sorry, Steve – I like you – I think you’re funny, but I have to stand with Jo on this – without the proper citations and quotes, my teachers would have pronounced this as plagiarism instead of Fair Use.

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Even though I would like some kind of book like this its just ironic Mr. Vander Ark feels so easy about publishing his book but use to have a statement about don’t you dare copy any part of my website or I’ll be all over you – copy right -copy right – copy right – but its not stopping him from copping JK Rowlings work. go figure.

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Actual legality aside, I do sort of wish that there was some law in place that granted authors to have the first shot at writing an encyclopedia of their own work.

Analysis, commentary, and speculation should be allowed so long as if falls under fair use. But it seems to me that writing an encyclopedia is not exactly “writing about” a book.

What was JK Rowling doing all the time SVA was working on his Lexicon? She was writing the HP series. She hasn’t even had a chance to write an encyclopedia of her own. I don’t care if it’s legal or not as the law stands, it just seems really awful that someone else could “scoop” an author when it comes to writing an encyclopedia of that author’s work.

Yes, others have written encyclopedias of other popular works – Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, etc. but as someone else on here pointed out, either those were licensed or they added original analysis, commentary, etc. as opposed to copying text straight from the original source to use (almost solely) as definitions for the entries.

I think JKR is right when she said that you can’t understand what it’s like if you’re not a creator (paraphrased from something she said on the stand.) I also think that when she said if RDR/SVA wins, she might not have the heart (again paraphrased) to finish her encyclopedia, it was not a threat as some people on here have speculated. Again, it’s hard to understand if you’re not involved in the creative arts. Even this trial itself is disheartening to someone who has worked to create something that is art – and have people speculate and argue about how much of what you created you own – and how much someone else can claim of your work to use for themselves to earn money.

It’s also upsetting how the media has been treating JKR in relation to this case. The amount of facts they leave out in order to conveniently shape a story that will garner attention.

You can imagine how disheartening it is to have so many people who will criticize you and assume you’re in the wrong, just because you are attempting to protect your work. And if RDR ends up winning, which will just say to the world that she was in the wrong (since the media fails to mention how much of the Lexicon book is taken straight from her text – and they fail to mention why this became a suit in the first place), it would feel like a crushing blow.

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sigh What’s disheartening, Mr. Vander Ark, is your inherent lack of understanding in what you’re about to do to every Fanfiction Author, Fan Artist, Fanzine Owner, Fansite Creator.

I’ve been trying to follow the trial as best I can, and, all I can say is, the more I read about it, the more I remain steadfast in the “Go Jo!” camp. I’ve used the Lexicon site (or, rather, I did), for a quick-fix in the midst of Fic writing, and, I hardly think that a bracketed TT# (Title, Number), following a piece of work – often a paragraph or more – constitutes as citing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I EVER did that in an essay, my university professors would have my guts-for-garters. The amount of material that I’ve seen “on-site” at Lexicon, appears to be lifted verbatim, from the novels. Especially when it comes to the “Who’s-Who” section of the site.

As for Mr Rapoport’s comments… I find it rather lax, for someone to be so invested in this case, to not have any first hand knowledge in just what he is fighting against. The fact that he claims to have no prior knowledge of the Lexicon, to me, screams what a greedy little turd he truly is. It also makes me wonder just how much of this is done “truly for the best interest of the fans”.

I don’t see this resulting in publishing companies coming out of the wood-work, to ask me to publish my Harry Potter fanfiction, or anyone else for that matter. After all, isn’t what I do in my spare time, pretty much everything that falls under the “Fair Use” excuses that RDR and SVA seem to be claiming? If not moreso, because whilst I use the characters JKR has pesented to me, none of their situations are even remotely concurrent with hers? Nope, didn’t think so.

By the by, if RDR and SVA win, I will picket the several bookstores in my area, and let anyone who even looks at buying it, that, why spend $29.95, when you can glean the information off the net, for free?

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One thing still bugs me: how can someone claim copyright infringement and claim a book is 90% copied of one original work, when never having seen a copy before the lawsuit was filed. Rapoport did not hand down a copy of the Lexicon manuscript before oktober 31…. (trancripts) and by that date and in the advance of it already was concluded that language and text was copied and pasted…. somebody must have been psychic here, make you wonder this case was even received by the court, it probably would not have been when not a very famous name had been involved. But win or loose I am glad mr.Rapoport, not infected by any pro-or anti JKR virus deceided to stand his ground, now JKR has to come up with something solid on the Encyclopedia-field, just to proove with hard copy, as she believes, she alone is capable of systematicing the HP data, in stead of have her fans dangling for an other ten or twenty years. during this whole period, counting from July 21, there has been a lot of news about JKR, but never a decisive announchement: “I start writing the Encyclodia, then and then.” a lot of sometimes and anytimes, but nothing the fans could count on.

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@ Kamion

I believe they claimed copyright infringement when told ‘to print the Lexicon if they wanted to know what was in the book’

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Oh boo-hoo, poor Steve. Maybe he should have thought first before he decided to plagarize JKR for his own profit.

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that’s not what I can conclude from JKR’s own statement, neither from Cendali’s communication to Rapaport, “Stop this book!” was her only message —without even prior consulting with JKR herself that may have worked at Mugglenet-—how nice for being a no. UNO JKR-fansite, to be barked on by a message service——but not with a editor who has no emotial report with HP and all its’parnephenalia what so ever..

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he book contains critical analysis from “Steven Vander Ark and his staff.” When asked what he meant by critical analysis Mr. Harris said, “You can go to the site and read the articles. I’m not going to itemise them for you.” Questioned further he said “the book was typeset directly from the site,” and that it was word-for-word taken from the web site. (The RDR Web site now says “The entire book is drawn verbatim from the material that presently appears on Steve Vander Ark’s website.”)

RDR claims the book is not an infringement because “it’s a critical and educational review,” and, “we are not simply rearranging information.” Mr. Harris said a large portion of the book was “probably” typeset from the lexicon directly, though had “no idea” what proportion of the book is essays as compared to a catalogue of info. (However, there have been statements by Lexicon staff quoting Steve, that state there will be no essays in the book. Some essay authors are stating publicly that they have not been approached for permission.)

RDR claims not to have given JKR’s people a copy of the book because “we don’t have a copy to give them…because the book hasn’t been published yet.” Asked why they didn’t hand over a manuscript, Mr. Harris said, “how would it benefit us in any way? This is the result of a barrage of letters from their lawyers in the last two months. Late in the game they came forward and wanted to see the manuscript, after they’ve been threatening to sue us and everything. How is it going to help us in any way to show them the manuscript except to provide them with more information. At this stage are they going to say, ‘Oh, we’re sorry?’ and go away? I don’t think so.”

When you get told that the book and the website are the same you may get the idea that it’s copyright theft

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In the past I have purchased several Harry Potter analysis books and have enjoyed the fanfiction on the web. This was mainly to “tide me over” until the next novel was published.

HOWEVER, SVA (Even though he is not named as a defendant in the suit but the whole Bloody thing is his fault) RDR and their lawyers are just a bunch of bottom feeders…just like SVA.. And his allegation that he wants to write more Harry Potter related books, you can bet that I am going to be very conscious of the by-line when I buy books from now on! ... the man is a leech and has no original imagination of his own!

Does anybody happen to see the “coincidences”? He seems to be trying to approximate JKR … He has moved to London … Has he started frequently traveling on the Manchester train (waiting for Divine inspiration)? ... Is he hanging out in neighborhood cafes?

The man just makes me ill.

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Okay, to reiterate/elaborate from the post I made at the end of the Neil Gaiman thread…

A lexicon is a dictionary. A listing of words in alphabetical order with definitions. Generally, a lexicon does not have a whole lot of interpretation…otherwise it wouldn’t be a lexicon, it would be an interpretive work. This, however, does not make it less of a reference work … it’s just a specific type of reference work that tends to be light on analysis. Consider it an abridged dictionary as opposed to the OED.

So yes, the book probably does have “91%” of JKR content…because the words and concepts are from her book. How can you have a lexicon describing a fictional world without using the words from the books it is referencing?

Now, if he hasn’t attributed enough back to JKR? BIG no-no, and as a librarian, he should know better. He needs to sit down, turn around and properly attribute everything. If, say, Tudor scholars writing about the Anne Boleyn saga can do it, so can he. But the kicker is if he defined a term/described a character and didn’t use really exact, canon-based terminology, wouldn’t the Potter fandom jump down his throat for being inaccurate? It’s a Catch-22 situation.

I’m on the side of intellectual property here. Because creating a lexicon from varied sources … even with staff … is not easy. If you don’t believe me, sit down with any one of the books and write a lexicon on your own. You can either create fresh, intellectual-property-conflict-free definitions, which takes lots of creativity and time (especially since JKR seems to feel she owns the copyright of every word she ever wrote or every idea she ever had, which is actually a bit troubling, as you can find many references to earlier fantasy works in her work). Or you can properly reference the books, which takes lots of exacting patience, anal retentive tendencies, and time. ;)

That JKR hasn’t written hers yet and doesn’t intend on publishing it for quite some time should tell you how much work is involved in something like this. She created the universe and presumably has her own notes … shouldn’t it be relatively quick for her to assemble? It’s her world!

And besides, proper lexicons do provide value to any fictional universe, HP included. (If it didn’t, would MuggleNet have tried to come out with one of their own?) Fans of the books like me … who own the 7 main books and have re-read them several times, and have seen and own the movies, but haven’t so much have breathed on any of the Canon supplement materials … would actually find use from a good print lexicon. (Because I always found the HPL site a bit unwieldy, due to the massive amount of content … the human eye simply can’t process that much content on a computer screen well. And you can’t dog-ear or highlight the site like you can a reference book ;) )

I’m not an idiot, but I’m not a child, with their incredible, sponge-like brains and attention span. There are times when I read the books and thought to myself, “Wait, now who is that/what was that again?”

Because the howls over “kids can follow Harry Potter but Judge Patterson can’t” were blown out of proportion. I volunteer with kids to teach dinosaurs, and it is astounding how much they know. More than most intelligent adults know, and in reality, the complexity of popular dinosaur knowledge isn’t too far removed from the complexity of the HP Universe. Kids like to and can actually quite easily wrap their heads around complex concepts if you give them a chance, and have nice fresh, young, absorbent brain cells. Some of us adults … who are experts in other fields and have deeper passions that consume our spare brain cells … need a boost to help us get through our recreational reading.

Now, again … I would most definitely like to see any unattributed text in the book properly referenced. Because that’s how it’s done. And I don’t care if 91% of the book is referenced material, as long as the author and editor are up front about it. Because not only has JKR not written a lexicon yet, she also neglected to build any supporting materials built into the main books. This book would be a step towards rectifying that situation.

JKR provides no glossary, no footnotes, no appendices, no family trees (other than the brief piece on the Black Family, but that’s just described, not shown, if I remember correctly) in the main books. Nothing there for those of us who might need some more concrete explanations or reference pieces removed from the narrative flow. That doesn’t make me (or any of us) stupid … it just means we can’t devote quite as many brain cells to the HP Universe as some.

If you buy a copy of Lord of the Rings, for example, there are appendices. Huge, whonkin’ appendices (some of the material in the movies actually came from those appendices) ... in my one-volume addition, they run slightly over 100 pages (of very small text on very large pages). And there’s even an index (though interestingly, that was not complied by Tolkien…but he had promised to write one ;) )!

All of the appendices are from JRR Tolkien and were part of the book … it is actually referenced in sections of the narrative. So if you wanted to read up more on a concept, see the “Shire” calendar, or check out a family tree, well, Tolkien provided it all for you in one tidy (if massive) package.

JKR did no such thing. (Though it is fair to say that she is writing in a different time … publishing pressure being what it is, she didn’t have the luxury of time that Tolkien had. He also wrote the book in its entirety … it was published in three sections for economy, not because he was writing installments.)

This whole thing is murky, and no one is completely in the right. Even though JKR does have the right to defend her own work, she is being somewhat dramatic and hypocritical. (As one of the linked-to articles here mentioned with some excess vitriol – she’s totally okay to let WB make a Harry Potter theme park? That’s protecting the integrity of her works? And I’m sorry – I thought her tears were a bit of the crocodilian nature for her first day on the stand, considering the harder stance she took on the last day.)

But you know what? You can say the same about SVA. The Lexicon represents a lot of work (even if he’s just the editor and not the full author), and he has the right to defend that. But SVA is sounding more and more smug and martyr-ish (his tears, too, were of the crocodile nature, I think, considering how he’s bounced back for interviews), and I’m not buying into that. If he had RDR write in a clause about legal protection, he knew he was dipping his toe into muddy waters.

And RDR is obviously, more than ever, just out to make a buck, so I’ve got no sympathy for them. But I’ve got no sympathy for WB either … if they had just let this book get published, it probably would have gotten much less attention. There’s no such thing as 100% bad press … there are now thousands of people who know about the HPL site and this book who didn’t before. People who will visit the site (and possibly contribute to the ad revenue), or people who may buy the book if RDR wins. Sometimes, the best revenge is just dismissing something and watching it wither on the vine, not fighting it and watching it thrive on the action.

It’s all gray. And I feel sorry for Judge Patterson – there’s too much good and bad in each case to make a concrete decision that will stand as legal precedent down the line.

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So i stumbled upon this website about boycotting RDR books. Here’s the link if you want to check it out. http: //www.freewebs.com/boycottRDR/

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Just a quick question. Bookstores obviously choose what they order so who is to say that even a majority of bookstores will jump on this book even if it does get past the lawsuit. Didn’t a bunch of bookstores pull out when there was a lawsuit in the first place? I don’t think it’s guaranteed that they will all just jump back in and place orders just because it gets past a lawsuit. They may not want to purchase a book whose very publication is so rife with controversy. Not to mention, bookstores had made a nice dime off of Jo…would the big guns (B&N, Borders,etc.) really just throw any loyalty aside and purchase copies (especially when I doubt it’s going to make that much money anyway)?

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I respect the way you stated your opinion. I agree that the whole thing is really murky. I think where I get my hackles up is when I read pro-RDR stuff that is so blatantly slanted as to not even address the real issues in the case (and since most of the media coverage could be argued to be pro-RDR, there is a lot of such stuff to get my hackles up about).

Like for example, Rapoport says “no court has ever ruled that the author of a fictional work is the only person who can write about that book,” which is completely irrelevant, as no such case has ever existed so no court even COULD make such a ruling. But it sounds good, which is I’m sure why Rapoport was repeating it.

I mean, it’s like saying “No court has ever ruled that the sky is red.” Well, of course not because such a case has never been tried. But I haven’t seen anyone trying to defend Rapoport yet, so I guess I am preaching to the choir.

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Ohh Steve sigh He himself is Jo’s biggest fan, that’s why he started the Lexicon in the first place, and it’s evident from his appearances on PotterCast. He seems like a very genuine guy too, so it fails me why he didn’t just refuse the offer from Rapoport (it sounds like that’s how it went down) and KEEP it as a website, it’s such a great tool as is—Jo has even said this herself! It’s sad that it’s now come to this. I don’t “hate” him, but honestly it’s hard to understand the situation when it sounds like he is not respecting Jo’s wishes.

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ugh this sickens me, and i cannot understand how they can support this theft

I dont know who would buy the lexicon, i mean if it is’nt written by Jo, who would want to buy and read a rip off ? I just hope that sva finally grows up and learns some sense, because this was clearly a stupid choice made by him. Maybe he already knows it and is trying not too look to ignorant of what he could and could not do in terms of copyrigths. Sva, this will definately come and bite you in the backside – oh wait, it ALREADY did ! I just expected better from a man who clearly has a big love for books and writing.

I’d just like to know what Sva would have done if someone decided to publish a lexicon, and copying everything without his consent. I dont think he would have sat on his backside saying ’’Oh well, too bad i cannot object, since they allowed people to do this…’‘

If the lexicon does come out, anyone want to make a lexicon of the lexicon? Or how about just copy page by page and get it copyrighted? ;)

This is just too stupid its getting too sad.

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I can’t stand Rapoport. At this point I don’t have much love for SVA, but after reading Rapoport’s testimony, his is extremely refreshing. And by the way, does RDR stand for his name?

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@ Loki

Yes, I recall reading that Borders and Barnes & Noble have decided not to sell the Lexicon, because of the lawsuit. I think that’s going to extremely hurt the sale of the book.

Another big bookseller is Amazon.com, but I haven’t heard whether Amazon intends to sell the Lexicon. But if Amazon pulls out as well, then the Lexicon will have a very hard time making a profit.

RDR just keeps digging itself a bigger and bigger sinkhole. All of this could’ve been avoided if RDR had just ceased and desisted with the book when WB/Jo asked repeatedly for RDR to do so.

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From the article: “Throughout the trial, the judge urged the two sides to settle the case rather than force him to rule in what he described as a ‘murky’ area of the law.”

I think BOTH sides are two parts stubborn and one part crazy (obsessive.)

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Leaky is the only voice of truth! All other media is full of lying, evil journalists who are jealous!!!! We are the only ones who know the truth! Everyone else is lying! If the judge rules against Jo, it just proves that he’s jealous too! He probably wishes he was as wonderful and rich as Jo. Because veryone wishes they were like Jo. There is simply no other motivation for the behavior of anyone who doesn’t do exactly what Jo wants. Anyone who does anything Jo doesn’t like is bad and wrong and jealous.

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You know, I don’t like the idea of this book going to print. But at the same time, I think it’s disgusting that people sent Steve nasty, hate-filled e-mails. It’s alright to disagree with him, and send an e-mail asking why he wants to do what he’s doing, but sending one that’s nasty is WRONG.

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I am amazed at the namecalling from the RDR side and the characterization that anyone arguing JKR’s side is brainwashed (e.g., see post by “aloyalsheep” above). I’m still waiting (on more than just this site) for anyone on the RDR side to counter legal arguments, but all I get is namecalling.

Note to “aloyalsheep”: Whether or not someone admires JKR has nothing to do with the validity of their arguments. I’ll just take your lack of any legal argument as evidence that you don’t have one.

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I hope so strongly that JKR loses this suit. She and her lawyers are running a campaign of intimidation and bullying. The transcripts make that clear. Gods bless Vander Ark for having the courage to stand up to her.

I used to admire JKR deeply but have lost a great deal of respect for her in recent months. About the time the series ended, something ugly happened to her personality. Perhaps Orson Scott Card is right; perhaps now that her series is up she’s at loose ends and it puts her in a bad mood. I don’t know. But her behaviour is atrocious. She was thoroughly obnoxious with interviewers in Toronto and is being thoroughly obnoxious with Vander Ark’s lawyer (Hammer, who is unfailingly polite in the face of her sarcasm and bitchiness.)

Note to the sycophants: added analysis is not required for fair use. Stop mindlessly regurgitating everything JKR says. She likes to talk about how much work she put into her books; well, Vander Ark and co. put in a huge amount of work themselves. They gave us a coherent timeline, something JKR never did, as evidenced by the times she contradicted herself. JKR claims that all they did was take dates out of her books, but that’s nonsense. The dates were not there. They calculated and logically worked out the dates themselves, and yes, it is a vast and impressive and USEFULL piece of work. Of which the public should not be deprived.

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Note to “aloyalsheep”: Whether or not someone admires JKR has nothing to do with the validity of their arguments. I’ll just take your lack of any legal argument as evidence that you don’t have one.

Why do I need a legal argument? I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not party to this case. I don’t need to give you legal arguments; RDR’s lawyers provided their legal arguments to the judge, who is the only person with an opinion that truly matters in this case.

My point has nothing to do with which side has the best legal case. I won’t pretend to understand legal concepts about which I truly have no clue.

My point is that ANYONE who dares to say ANYTHING that is not unequivocally in support of Rowling is deemed “jealous”, “uninformed,” “ignorant” and just plain mean.

The notion that all these people – Ken Jennings, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, countless journalists from newspapers in the UK and American – that every single one of them is simply motivated by jealousy and engaged in some sort of personal campaign against Rowling—that’s just ludicrous.

You are absolutely correct that the opinions of the worshippers are no more or less valid than the opinions of the blasphemers. That is not, however, the way said blasphemers have been treated on this site. One only has to look at the comments in reference to any of the articles about the case that were remotely negative.

As for being brainwashed – I’ve read plenty of comments here and in the lounge from people insisting that oh no – their adoration of Jo has nothing to do with the fact that they support her 110% and think Steve Vander Ark is the antiChrist. They have arrived at their conclusion through a thorough researching of the case (amazing how many overnight copyright experts we have around here). Meanwhile, the most commonly leveled blow against Vanderark is that he is not a “true fan.” As in “a true fan would have stopped publication the nanosecond Jo asked him to.”

And yes, thinking that true fans obey the word of their goddess instantly and without question does indeed make you a sheep.

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@ desertwind: I’m with you here. I’m on Jo’s side as a creative artist, but it irks me that that makes me on WB’s side. (THEY’VE gone after fansites themselves before, actually).

I think this is actually a horrible case! I don’t see why SVA/RDR didn’t just do the decent thing and pull out or change the Lexicon when asked to do so by the original author. But I do also not think that the Lexicon, as it is, would really damage JKR in any way, let alone her Encyclopaedia-to-come. Some people find an alphabetical ordering of content useful. Personally I never needed it, or found it particularly useful when I browsed, but other people did and do, and though I am on JKR’s side, I don’t see why this case had to come up in the first place. It could have been a matter of quotation marks, for heaven’s sake. Why didn’t they change it? Why did it all get so damn HUGE?

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Everytime I see the word “sycophant” it is so obvious where the rant is going. A great many posters here are well read, educated, intelligent people that have researched the court documents provided, analyzed them, discussed them and come to their own conclusions. You may not agree with them but it doesn’t mean their opinions have no value.

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“My point is that ANYONE who dares to say ANYTHING that is not unequivocally in support of Rowling is deemed “jealous”, “uninformed,” “ignorant” and just plain mean.”

Posted by aloyalsheep on May 04, 2008 @ 07:40 PM

Really? And my point is that ANYONE who dares to say ANYTHING that is in the least in support of JKR/WB’s position is deemed “cultist,” “brainwashed,” “sycophantic,” and just plain stupid.

Boo-hoo!!! I feel so bad for those people who are calling me names. I stick to the legal arguments to avoid this pointless tit-for-tat. But you go ahead, I’m sorry I interrupted you.

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Pathetic. JKR must win this trial if any decency is left in USA. And if she loses, I hope she sues the author of the book for plagiarism after it’s published.

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Tyler, let’s get real. Your legal arguments are as pointless as my namecalling. A few leakyloungers spend the afternoon Googling “Fair use” and suddenly everyone’s a copyright expert.

Does anyone really think that the judge in this case is feverishly consulting this site in order to get a grasp on the finer issues of the case?

I don’t care who wins the lawsuit. I have no intentions of buying SVA’s book (if it is published) or Rowling’s book.

Let the lawyers and the judges hash out the illegalities. The HP fandom is making a massive, collective fool of itself.

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Gross mischaracterizations only seem to trouble you, “aloyalsheep”, when you’re not the one making them, which doesn’t seem to be often.

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I don’t think any of us here, whether on Jo’s side or RDR’s side thinks that any of our discussion is going to affect the case in any way. But, if it helps us understand it and we enjoy the discussion, what harm is in it? It’s certainly more fruitful than your ad hominem and endless claims that we only are on Jo’s side because we love her and her books. Frankly, I think you are the one wasting your time and not us.

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You know, one of the most amazingly hypocritical thing about all of this is that so much of Jo’s work is borrowed from other stories. From mythology, to Roald Dahl, to the very names she took from phone directories. Come on people, it’s a Lexicon, not a new book. Is anyone going to read this in place of the real books? If you don’t like it, just don’t buy it. Your mean spiritedness is very Slytherin-like. Move on.

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Just look at the comments on the very first page “of course we turned on him, he went against Jo.” Does that sound like someone who has carefully analyzed the legal aspects of the case? “He went against Jo.” That is the great crime that SVA committed.

If Rowling called a press conference today and announced that she had concluded that SVA had every legal right to publish the Lexicon, she would just like him not to do so – would your opinion change one whit? Honestly?

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What does the jerk think? we are just gonna go along with him and not disagree? SVA has no clue as to the HP fandom if he thought we would be ok with this.

THIS Rapport guy is a jerk too. Jo is just upset that SVA is using actual parts of her books. if he changed it it would be better. so dont talk about what you dont know/understand.

can you tell im angry?

Live, Love, Harry Potter and Jo!

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I wasn’t sure what to think about this case until I read that the lexicon book contains almost all of the entries from the Fantastic Beasts book and the Quidditch book, just rearranged and integrated into the A-Z format of the lexicon. Pathetic.

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“Just look at the comments on the very first page “of course we turned on him, he went against Jo.” Does that sound like someone who has carefully analyzed the legal aspects of the case?”

Posted by aloyalsheep on May 05, 2008 @ 10:01 AM

Well your main argument is to call everyone “sheep” so what are you complaining about?

“If Rowling called a press conference today and announced that she had concluded that SVA had every legal right to publish the Lexicon, she would just like him not to do so – would your opinion change one whit? Honestly?”

Posted by aloyalsheep on May 05, 2008 @ 10:01 AM

If RDR called a press conference today to say they were pulling the Lexicon, would it change the opinion of anyone on their side? Better yet, if pigs had wings, how would we catch them to make bacon?

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Bekkah By the by, if RDR and SVA win, I will picket the several bookstores in my area, and let anyone who even looks at buying it, that, why spend $29.95, when you can glean the information off the net, for free?[/b]

And I will take great pleasure in finding any picketed book store, marching to by 10 copies, then return outside and hand them out to passersby while explaining my motivation to them. It will be a real pleasure!

Let the lawyers and the judges hash out the illegalities. The HP fandom is making a massive, collective fool of itself.[/b]

Very well said. Bravo!

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@Bekkah By the by, if RDR and SVA win, I will picket the several bookstores in my area, and let anyone who even looks at buying it, that, why spend $29.95, when you can glean the information off the net, for free?


@aloyalsheep Let the lawyers and the judges hash out the illegalities. The HP fandom is making a massive, collective fool of itself.[/b]


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Just like some people on Jo’s side are doing it just because she’s Jo, there are those on RDR’s side who are only on that side because they believe the misinformation that the media is giving them or they’re frighteningly loyal to SVA. Then there are those on both sides who have read the facts and came to their own decisions. To say we’re all like the former is a fallacy and a cheap argument that makes those like aloyalsheep look like fools for not realizing that.

Jean, I’m sorry you’ll be out over 200 bucks for something you can get for free.

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@ Vivian: ’’Gods bless Vander Ark for having the courage to stand up to her.’‘

Oh no you didnt. One thing you must know is that sva did nothing to stand up to her. Ripping off someone elses work, is not standing up to anything. Besides, what is this teenage rebellion?

’’Vander Ark and co. put in a huge amount of work themselves. They gave us a coherent timeline, something JKR never did,’‘ Maybe Jo wanted us to do that. And that doesnt mean that she wanted us to think and then sell it to make money. Would you have disliked the books more if you didnt have a ‘coherent timeline’’? You could have probably have made a coherent timeline yourself, and there are many fans out there who did.

I find it that sometimes its alot more fun and your creative side comes out when you do things yourself. Do NOT think for a minute that sva is the only one with enough knowledge to do an online lexicon.

If people buy the lexicon, they are pretty much throwing away their money. Do something more useful and donate your money to charity instead.

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PROPOSE THAT: It is useful to go the letter “A” to find new useful, expanded, and different information about “Abbott” as it relates to Harry Potter, but not useful to go to the letter “A” to find information that already exists within the pages of Harry Potter, because, for instance, it would be more useful to index the page numbers of all the instances of “Abbott” within Harry Potter.

EXAMPLE #1: The Linear Progression of the Letter “A”

1. The letter “A,” stands individually and singular; 2. Points to “Abbott,” because it begins with the letter “A,” 3. “Abbott” may, generally, indicate a name or label for a variety of person, places, or things with the name or label “Abbott”; 4. “Abbott” ultimately indicates the last name for characters created by J. K. Rowling, in her series of books about Harry Potter; 5. [“Input words here” to describe the usage or importance of the last name “Abbott” as it relates to Harry Potter] OR REVERSED

6. [“Input words here”] to describe the usage or importance of the last name “Abbott” as it relates to Harry Potter; 5. “Abbott” ultimately indicates the last name for characters created by J. K. Rowling in her series of books about Harry Potter; 4. “Abbott” may generally indicate a name or label for a variety of person, places, or things with the name or label “Abbott”; 3. “Abbott begins with the letter “A”; 2. The letter “A” points to “Abbott”; 1. The letter “A” as it stands individually and singular.

EXAMPLE #2: The Letter “A” as a Category

A.) The letter “A” could stand for a category of things that fall under the letter “A,” which is not necessarily useful in itself.

B. ) If the letter “A” is underneath another category, for instance, “Characters Within the Harry Potter Books,” which contains a subcategory “Characters Within Deathly Hollows,” which contains another subcategory “Characters Within Chapter 16”, then another subcategory “Characters Within Chapter 16 That Start With The Letter “A,” that may not be helpful either, because it would be much simpler to categorize into “Characters That Start With The Letter “A,” (especially those that appear in other books, and other chapters, more than once) in a broader manner;

C.) PROPOSED MANNER OF CATEGORIZATION: Maybe “Characters Within the Harry Potter Books” then subcategorize into “Characters That start With The Letter “A”” The information about “Abbott” would fall under “Characters That Start With The Letter “A.” So, “Abbott” would become a further subcategory labeled “the Character Abbott.” Then further subcategories would be “The Harry Potter Books that contain “Abbott,” then “The Chapters of the Book that Contain “Abbott”, and further “Page numbers that contain “Abbott.”

EXAMPLE #3: Influence of the Letter “A” as a Category Itself

Just for kicks, subtract the category “Characters That Start With the Letter “A” so that you are left with “Characters Within the Harry Potter Books” “the Character Abbott” “The Harry Potter Books that contain “Abbott” and “The Chapters of the Book that Contain “Abbott,” then “Page numbers that contain “Abbott.”





Using a “PAGE NUMBERS” category as a start category, one could sort to list all of the characters on a “PAGE”. Using a “CHAPTER” as a start category, one could sort to list all of the characters in a “CHAPTER.” Using a “SPECIFIC HARRY POTTER BOOK” start category, one could sort to list all of the characters in a “SPECIFIC BOOK.” Albeit, all “CHARACTERS” are already listed in the “SPECIFIC HARRY POTTER BOOK” as a whole; further listed in a “CHAPTER”; further listed on a “PAGE” to create the story. It appears that the category “CHARACTERS THAT START WITH THE LETTER “A” does little to differentiate what “categories” are naturally created as the author is creating the book itself.

EXAMPLE #4: Indexing as an Alternative to Categorizing the Letter “A”

A useful tool might be, plain and simple, the indication, (“Abbott” character: See Deathly Hollows, pgs. 4, 6, 7, 9, 12). Put the indication on an index card of sorts, and now you are “indexing.” One could take the “index” as a whole, entry upon entry, and place it in some logical order, let’s say, according to the first or second letter of the entry, and it becomes easier to find, when listed, through a way of ordering things called “Alphabetical Order”. In the case of indexing, “Categorizing the Letter “A”” becomes a secondary thing of importance. As illustrated in many books about “Where does the Alphabet come from?” and the like, (for example see: Feldman, David, “Imponderables: The Solution to the Mysteries of Everyday Life,” William Morrow Company, 1st Edition, 1986; a book that, among other things, describes the origins of the alphabet and the things that drive “alphabetical order”) it seems that the act of alphabetizing is more language based, and naturally occurring, because society as a whole uses that way of ordering as public domain. So, in the case of going to the letter “A” to find information that already exists within the pages of Harry Potter, it would be more useful to FIRST index the page numbers of all the instances of “things that need to be known” within Harry Potter, such as “Abbott,” then SECOND, place those “things that need to be known” into “alphabetical order,” if that is what one finds one needs to do.

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“Everytime I see the word “sycophant” it is so obvious where the rant is going. A great many posters here are well read, educated, intelligent people that have researched the court documents provided, analyzed them, discussed them and come to their own conclusions. You may not agree with them but it doesn’t mean their opinions have no value.”—Cathy

Hey, I never said there are no well read, educated, intelligent sycophants.

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The key phrase in the excerpt you quoted was “come to their own conclusions.” A sycophant doesn’t do that. As hard as it obviously is for you to accept, some people disagree with you on the issues alone, with no higher guidance.

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Okay, enough’s enough. Everyone out of the pool.

We get it – Vivian thinks anyone pro-JKR is a sycophant. Got it, crossed it off my list and put a checkmark by it.

And most everyone else disagrees with him. Similar list and checkbox notations.

Can we just agree that JKR does seem to have generated a cult of personality/hero (okay, heroine) worship vibe that’s generated a portion of dogma and leave it at that? And that not everyone finds it admirable?

Because honestly, this whole back and forth thing is just boring.

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