JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: “Fan Feud”, from The New Yorker

115

May 06, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC
Uncategorized

Tim Wu in an article for The New Yorker looks at the events leading up to the trial, speaks to Steve Vander Ark, and compares J.K. Rowling to the mythical Athena:

“Once upon a time, a talented weaver named Arachne declared herself superior in skill to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who also invented weaving. Whether Arachne was actually better we’ll never know, for Athena, in a jealous rage, destroyed her rival’s tapestry and turned her into a spider. Last summer, at a “Harry Potter” convention in Toronto, a fan named Steve Vander Ark made a similar mistake when he dared to compare himself to Joanne (J. K.) Rowling.”

Wu describes what led Vander Ark to create the Lexicon website, and notes that Vander Ark has suffered “cruel fates” as a result of the lawsuit:

“In the late nineties, while working as a children’s librarian in Byron Center, Michigan (pop. 3,777), he discovered the “Potter” series. He began to take notes and, by his own estimate, has read each of the books forty or fifty times. “Something about these detailed imaginative worlds just captivated me’ he said during a court recess.

In 2000, Vander Ark, who considers himself a Ravenclaw, turned his obsessive notes into a Web site, The Harry Potter Lexicon. Soon, he was a celebrity in the “Potter” community. But when he decided to turn his Web site into a book Rowling sued his publisher, effectively exiling him from the wizard community.”

Wu also notes Leaky webmistress Melissa Anelli’s presence in the court room:

Anelli is writing her own “Potter” book, with Rowling’s blessing, and during a break in the trial Rowling sought her out and gave her a warm embrace, a moment that might have been as difficult for Vander Ark as any part of the legal proceedings.

“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling’ Vander Ark said during a recess. “I can’t blame her for liking her status.” After all, he said, Rowling “is God and Melissa is her prophet.” He went on, “I am an outcast now. But I still consider myself a ˜Harry Potter’ fan.”

*

Editor’s Note: In the above-mentioned article, Mr. Wu attributed several statements made during a recent PotterCast (number 148) to Melissa Anelli (“He is vilified now”, “He has ruined his good standing.”). These remarks were instead made by Leaky Editor Sue Upton, who was commenting on the impact the decision to publish the book has made upon Vander Ark’s reputation.





323 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: “Fan Feud”, from The New Yorker

Avatar Image says:

Yet again, a journalist not getting his facts straight

Avatar Image says:

Stupid stupid stupid. Is he saying Steve might have more skill than Jo? I think not.

Avatar Image says:

I appreciate Leaky’s balance reporting on this controversy.

Avatar Image says:

of course he has turn the vast majority of hp fandom against him and i think SVA is bitter because melssia’s book has gotten the okay while his has not and i think 1st post?

Avatar Image says:

Melissa has done way more than Steve did. Anyone could have copied the content of the book.

Avatar Image says:

I hate it how he started on Melissa…she didn’t deserve it…her status??! This is insane!

Avatar Image says:

Okay… so Steve has talent at cutting and pasting other people’s work, then has a right to profit from it whilst stating he is the author? Hmm if I ever submitted something at uni that I cut and pasted from somewhere else, I’m definitely sure I’d get pulled up for plagiarism.

I really wonder how most of these journalists can even attempt to pass judgement on who they think has the rights, considering few (if any) have read either of the books.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa didn’t write an unauthorized lexicon. She is writing a book that she actually had to work on; she didn’t copy the contents of Rowling’s book.

How dare he start with Melissa just because he’s upset that he screwed himself over. Melissa did nothing wrong! This is a low blow on Steve’s part and I truly think he deserves to be the outcast in the Harry Potter community that he has become because of his actions. His actions have deeply hurt the community. The worst part is, his actions are all selfish. He isn’t writing this book for the HP fans; he’s writing for money, pure and simple. Otherwise he would have either been satisfied with the online lexicon as a representation of his work and dedication or he would have sold his books and donated the profits to charity as JKR has done.

Avatar Image says:

Oh, my goodness. SVA is really trying to paint himself as a tragic hero. SVA needs to take responsibility for his actions; in fact, he should’ve taken responsibility for his actions MONTHS AGO.

And wow, reading all these articles makes me realize how much misinformation is swirling around about this lawsuit. Don’t any of these magazine or newspaper reporters bother to do any fact-checking before writing their articles?

Avatar Image says:

Okay… so Steve has talent at cutting and pasting other people’s work, then has a right to profit from it whilst stating he is the author? Hmm if I ever submitted something at uni that I cut and pasted from somewhere else, I’m definitely sure I’d get pulled up for plagiarism.

I really wonder how most of these journalists can even attempt to pass judgement on who they think has the rights, considering few (if any) have read either of the books.

Avatar Image says:

SVA’s comments about Melissa remind me of the scene in OOTP, when Draco loses the Quidditch match to Harry, and resorts to bitterly mocking Harry and the Weasleys to cover up his humiliation. “Talk about sour grapes”, indeed, Angelina.

Avatar Image says:

‘“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling,” Vander Ark said during a recess. “I can’t blame her for liking her status.” After all, he said, Rowling “is God and Melissa is her prophet.” He went on, “I am an outcast now. But I still consider myself a ‘Harry Potter’ fan.”’ .... How dare he.

Honestly, how dare he.

I don’t even know what to say anymore.

Avatar Image says:

You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Avatar Image says:

Um. Oops? Sorry for the triple post. No idea how that happened O_O

Avatar Image says:

Oh, no, Mommy loves Melissa better than me! Come off it, she can comfort Jo if she wants to. I’m looking forward to Melissa’s book. I will never read Steve’s.

Avatar Image says:

I think his random attack on Melissa was just his last resort. I was hoping that after this somehow someway he cud feel welcomed back into the fandom again, but this shows that it’ll never happen.

Avatar Image says:

We are all with you Melissa how dare he do this to you are the best and I’m glad that Jo as given you her blessing keep on with your book we support you in anything you do we all love you and steve is not a real friend or fan when is says such horrible things….. WE ARE ALL WITH YOU…...

Avatar Image says:

I just knew this was coming… he had to go on and verbally attack Melissa. That was just low. I don’t know why he felt the need to say such things as I’ve never heard Melissa say anything bad about the case. She’s made it very clear that she’s just presenting the facts as they are. And an outcast he says? He can’t blame anyone but himself for that.

Avatar Image says:

Interesting piece. He doesn’t seem to be taking any sides of this matter. He’s just reporting on the people involved, and the effect it’s had on us all. Very sad.

Avatar Image says:

I didn’t think Steve deserved to be ostracized by the community until he started talking about Jo so horribly. This is just the final straw for me. He had at least some sympathy from me until he started talking smack about Melissa. Melissa was trying hard not to badmouth him, and he just turns around and says those terrible things about someone who was once a close friend! That’s not just an isolated man trying to defend himself; that’s someone trying to bring others down unfairly. Melissa and Jo have contributed so much to the HP community, SVA has done less than either of them. Jut because he read the books so many times and he made the Lexicon. The Lexicon is good for quick reference, but compared to Jo’s and Melissa’s contributions, its nothing.

The diference between an atlas maker and SVA is that an atlas maker doesn’t pretend the contents of his book were made by him. Word-for-word descriptions were taken from the books and put into the Lexicon. That’s disgusting. And he deserves to be kicked while he’s down if that;s the atitude he’s going to have. Everyone else is trying to be civil about this whole thing despite the fact that he is one hundred percent wrong, and he just keeps insulting people. Disgusting.

Avatar Image says:

It really annoys me when reporters don’t bother to check facts. I think they should formally apologize to Melissa and Pottercast.

Avatar Image says:

TLC has gone out of its way to be even-handed in reporting everything about this lawsuit. If Mr. VDA doesn’t understand why so many of the fans have turned against him, he should read that last quote. Melissa has bent over backward trying to be fair to him. He just keeps shooting himself in the foot. It seems to me he’s really started to ‘court’ the press. I think he’s realized that they don’t bother to check anything and are buying his sob story. Since he couldn’t get a job with J.K.R. he’s probably angling for a reporting job when the court proceedings are finally complete. As for Melissa’s book, her’s is ENTIRELY written by her. It’s about the history of Harry Potter fandom and the various controversies that have occurred along the way. It is nothing BUT commentary whereas his ‘Lexicon’ book is a hack job of J.K.’s work with very little of his own work added. And I would guess the main reason that J.K. has endorsed it is because Melissa bothered to check with her first, unlike a certain former school librarian (who lost his job for ‘fudging’ his academic credentials.).

Avatar Image says:

ouch! i hope he doesn’t think making comments like that are going to put him into any better standing. is he trying to alianate himself from the rest of the fandom now that he’s done with the Jo purists?

Avatar Image says:

“Melissa is prophet” Who the HECK does this guy think he is? Just because the PC quartet support Jo doesn’t mean they’re sucking up.

Avatar Image says:

We love you Melissa!

Steve can attack J.K.R. as much as he wants, but saying what he did about you takes this way to far.

Avatar Image says:

let’s hope the judge doesn’t do a fudge.

Avatar Image says:

Um, excuse me, but Melissa actually wrote her own book! She didn’t just copy Rowling’s words. This is ridiculous! SVA shame on you! This makes me so angry. Regardless of the merits of his book, there is no need for him to go attacking Melissa. And if he really has read all 7 books “40 or 50 times a piece” he needs to get a life, he needs to find some new books. It’s true the HP books are so good I will read them over and over again for the rest of my life, but I think that statistic sounds a little unrealistic. 40*7 = 280. that means 28 potter reads a year for the past 10 years. Doable, but difficult.

Avatar Image says:

@ Diaperchangindaddy…

You wrote: “You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it.”

Unfortunately I can’t agree with you here. When RDR approached VDA, he turned them down, saying he believed that publishing his site would constitute copyright infringement. When RDR pressured him, he agreed, but wrote into his contract that if he was sued, that RDR would assume all legal responsibility. He can say many things, but he cannot say this lawsuit came as a surprise.

Yes, the Lexicon is a great site. No, Steve does not have the right to publish it. And yes, Steve totally deserves the treatment he is receiving from Jo, Warner, and the HP community. He tried to take advantage of Jo and her kindness (and her HP Fan award) and not take any responsibility for something he knew was wrong. And now he’s attacking and lasthing out at others who’ve gone about writing a book the proper way: legally, and with respect to the author of the material.

He has no one to blame for this mess other than himself and his publishers at RDR.

Avatar Image says:

Kristin, Tim Wu compared Steve to Arachne, not Jo. Rowling is Athena in this metaphor.

Avatar Image says:

Updated because I SWEAR I corrected to Athena before I hit “post”...

Avatar Image says:

For anyone who feels like publicly stating they are boycotting his book if it gets published, please join the Facebook Group “Harry Potter fans boycotting Steve Vander Ark and RDR books”. I did not create this group, nor am I an officer, I just ran across it and thought it was an excellent idea.

Avatar Image says:

I just saw your post – thanks, Bandersnatch!

Avatar Image says:

I can’t believe he actually said “Many readers dislike the epilogue in the final book; Vander Ark urged them to disregard it entirely, and even invented his own spell to do so (“expelliepilogus”). “Jo’s quit, she’s done,” he told the audience. “We’re taking over now.”

I’m sitting here with my mouth open in disbelief. That is so rude. If I had of been there I would have started booing him.

Melissa your site is the best and you are well rid of Steve. He has shot himself in the foot yet again and maybe now this will open up the eyes of the people who still felt sympathy for him.

Avatar Image says:

Isn’t Melissa’s book about the fandom (correct me if I am wrong)? How can Mr. Wu compare Steve’s book with Melissa. She writes about how the HP fandom works together and analyzes the impact the book series has had on society. All Steve does is organize Jo’s work into a spoiler book.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, sounds to me like SVA has lost touch with reality completely. Melissa is a prophet? JKR is God? He has been vilified? (well he has but by his own hand) Just when I thought this whole thing couldn’t get crazier. Seriously, the guy needs some mental health professionals. I really, REALLY think he has somehow put himself in the HP world and that has become his reality.

And as for the, ummm, author of this scholarly piece (choke, gasp) what the heck is with this ancient Greece garbage? Seriously bad, bad writing here and facts completely disregarded or misconstrued.

I cannot wait till the judge renders a verdict so we don’t have to hear about SVA anymore.

Avatar Image says:

I think we should all call Mr. Wu telling him to appologize to Melissa and all of the HP community. If nothing else, send him an e-mail with the words “GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!”

Avatar Image says:

A big thank you to everyone at Leaky for the way they’ve handled their coverage of the trial from the beginning!! Leaky and PotterCast are the only sources I’ve found for consistent and accurate coverage about this situation. If Mr. Vander Ark wants people to have any sympathy for feeling like an outcast, he should probably stop making cruel and ridiculous comments about everyone and everything that the Potter community holds dear. Neither he nor Mr. Wu have any right to go after Melissa, Sue, or any of the Leaky crew!!

Avatar Image says:

Are you kidding me? What ever did Steve expect to happen when he decided to plagiarize Jo’s writing? I am sorry to say this, but I think the mere fact that Steve appears to be unaware of the wrongs that were taken here verges on delusional thinking. Anyone who writes anything for a living, or even attended school in this country, knows that to take people’s words is plagiarism, period. Secondly, if you take people’s words there is this system used for that, which happens to be called “citing”. Furthermore, there are books that teach individuals how to cite properly; basic MLA formats. The only thing I can surmise from this is that Steve lacks self awareness. He also appears to be at a deficit to understand that the impact of his choices and actions. In addition those choices, he is clearly not taking responsibility for what he has done and therefore protests by placing blame on others rather than to looking closer to home. This is typical disassociation from self and interpersonal behaviors. It’s shameful that he is trying to pull others into his misery.

Avatar Image says:

Wow. That is all I have to say. Wu needs to get his facts straight before making such heinous comments. I can believe that a reporter did this, I mean especially after the pottercast where they gave many specific examples of other reporters doing this, as well as in my own expierence seeing articles such as these, but every time i see something like this, well I get a little angry, and for good reason. Melissa, that reporter has NO right to insult you and offend you in any way. I am just appalled!!!

Avatar Image says:

that is a TERRIBLE analogy

Jo acts like athena, in a way…but, the problem is Jo didn’t invent WRITING, she invented Harry Potter. . . If, in the myth, Athena made and developed a very specialized method of weaving, the analogy would make sense and the woman declared she was the best at it, MAYBE, MAYBE that coudl hold osme water…

but, as Wu is comparing something so general as weaving, to something as specific as 7 books out of the BILLIONS of pieces of work (including term papers, thesis papers, book reports etc.) done by various authors it doesn’t make sense…

HOLY *^$@#&&% what the HELL is GOING through Steve’s head! Literally! If any of you listen to Mugglecast, there was a question posed as to whether they would ignore Steve if he went, for example, to a conference. They said they would accept him back and not let the friendship go out with the bathwater…I sure as HELL hope that they chang thir minds after this TRASH that he said about Melissa, an /OPITIME/ of the perfect Harry Potter fan.

I’m buying your book Melissa done and done. Steve, if you’re reading this, I would say some extremely mean things right now. But I won’t.

He makes me SICK.

Avatar Image says:

I think that what this “journalist” wrote is absolutely disgusting. Yet sadly, he is just another in a long line of “journalists” who instead of reporting the truth are only interested in selling a story. I really wish that someone would tell the story how it really is and not take a side, but mention the fact that an incredibly large percent of the fandom is with Jo. The worst part of the article is what Steve said about Melissa. He should have the maturity that she has and not make this personal. Not once has Melissa said anything rude about Steve only that she disagrees with him, which so many of us fans do and we all have the right to do! Its sad that Steve is getting all this press and is trying to make people believe that he is the victim when its his own fault to begin with. I understand if RDR made him go through with the lawsuit, but they didn’t force him to be a jerk. I just hope that Melissa doesn’t take his stupidity to heart. Like many others posted, I’m with you Melissa.

Avatar Image says:

The point my friends is that Potter is JO’S WORLD – Melissa has Jo’s blessing as the creator, Steve did not. Simple.

Avatar Image says:

“I can’t believe he actually said “Many readers dislike the epilogue in the final book; Vander Ark urged them to disregard it entirely, and even invented his own spell to do so (“expelliepilogus”). “Jo’s quit, she’s done,” he told the audience. “We’re taking over now.”

I’m sitting here with my mouth open in disbelief. That is so rude. If I had of been there I would have started booing him. Posted by Rachel * on May 05, 2008 @ 10:07 PM “

Rachel, this is a case of the context being schewed. i can assure you, the few hundred people in attendance most certainly did not boo. do you honestly not remember the fan reaction to the epiloge at all? Jo is done, fanficers are not bound by what’s in the epiloge, we can ignore it. we can draw pairings that are not epiloge compliant. fandom creations no longer hinge on what Jo says. the books are done, they are the canon, but we are fanon and that, we own.

you know, when i start to see people cut and pasting various quotes together, i start to question what i’m reading. this is the guy who quoted Melissa saying what Sue actually said.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, Don’t listen to this trash! We’re all in this with you! Vander Ark better get his facts straight, since the more he turns on you and the other members of the HP community, the greater his exile becomes. We Support YOU! Don’t listen to this guy!

Avatar Image says:

I can’t wait ‘till Friday when this whole thing would (hopefully) be over. We could gladly say goodbye to Steve and RDR.

Avatar Image says:

“You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down” -This is true, I have been to the Lexicon site. But that was then. And those that are “kicking” the man, are not doing so because he is down, my thinking is they are “kicking” him because he did something sufficiently stupid. Well, more than a few things now.

“He put a lot of work into what he did.” -This is also true, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V is very difficult indeed. -Again, true. But I don’t think that God (that is to say God Himself, and not JKR) didn’t put a copyright stamp on the Earth. Unless He’s going to come back at the endtimes and Zap the map-makers by proving there is a small copyright stamp at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean or something.

"An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it."

“but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.” - The fact that it is Jo he’s up against doesn’t help, but I am against him for the fact that he is breaking law(s) here.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa is writing (has written) a book about the fans of Harry Potter, not a guide to the Harry Potter books. To compare the two without pointing out the distinction is just plain wrong.

But what I find more revolting is the willingness to stir the pot of anger and hurt feelings just to make the story spicier. It saddens me that we have become addicted as a society to this kind of yellow journalism. Honestly . . does knowing that Steve’s feelings are hurt (and by whom) offer any new insite into the situation? Methinks nay.

Avatar Image says:

If we all riot, should I bring the torches or pitchforks? Just asking! SVA, you had no right to go against JKR or Melissa! Long live HP!

Avatar Image says:

Wow… the arrogance is just staggering!!! Just because Melissa didnt spit in the face of the author, and actually got the OK that her work was NOT copyright infringement, and suddenly she’s on the receiving end of his drivel?

He’s all upset that he’s on the outs. Poor boy. Steve, you cant steel from Santa and expect the elves not to get pissed! And you know you stole from her!! You know it! You proved it when you made sure that your contract exempted you from the lawsuit if she sued (which you knew she would). if you were really worried about the fandom and your position in it, that clause in your contract would have stipulated that the book be stopped if she sued, not just your butt would be protected. What an a$$.

Thanks, Melissa, for not going about things the way Steve did: for doing things the right way.

Avatar Image says:

Hmm, In my above post, one of the quotes somehow is now out of place. The “Atlas Maker” quote goes between “indeed” and “-Again..” in the 2nd paragraph.

Avatar Image says:

Personally, I think that SVA is a little pathetic. And that is exactly why the press is, as a whole, taking his side. It’s easier to write the story and take the side of the former Trekkie, 50 year old, non-economically secure guy, and never mind that “the little guy” has attempted to break copyright law by printing a catalogue of Rowling quotes, which, though thorough, could have been accomplished with a simple cut and paste, and show no research. SVA knows his status and is using it for publicity by boo-hoo-ing that his Idol didn’t smile at him in the court where she was suing him. His blow at Melissa was not even well thought out, of course J.K. Rowling is going to be friendlier to the person who is testifying for her and is writing their book with her permission. I don’t really find any of this that surprising. What is surprising is that the New Yorker did not block this article from being published in their Magazine. Overly-dramatized comparisons to completely irrelevant Greek myths (Rowling is suing him for the Encyclopedia, not the his claim in Toronto), shoddily researched facts, and a partisanship that completely disregards reason, One of the most excellent periodicals around appears to have lowered its standards.

Avatar Image says:

Sorry about the extra posts, my computer is acting up strangely.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, I cannot even believe Steve has sunk this low! I’ve just been staring at the screen, trying to figure out how to best express my outrage, but I’m nearly speechless. Melissa, I’m sending lots of love and support your way – I know this whole situation has been extremely difficult for you, but I hope that knowing you’ve got the Leaky community behind you makes it just a little bit easier. ♥

Avatar Image says:

I just thought that I might post up a few quotes from a wise old man to help point out the difference between how Steve handled things and how Melissa did, words that I know Steve knows…

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy…”

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Avatar Image says:

Well, I definitely would expect more than a fluff piece from The New Yorker. But, I’ve come to a conclusion: to most of the world it’s all fluff and entertainment. It’s like a celebrity mugshot or angry phone call. To treat it seriously ruins the fun and magazine sales and website clicks.

So, let’s ignore them. Let’s not give them the satisfaction of doing what they aimed to do: increase reads. Forget them. We know the facts and soon (hopefully) there will be a verdict.

As for SVA’s statements. Is anyone actually surprised?

Avatar Image says:

Hmmm. I seem to remember the Leaky Cauldron turning on Steve first, so he has plenty of reason to be bitter. I also think the media has a clearer view on this issue than rabid JK/Leaky Cauldron fanboys and girls.

Avatar Image says:

that was harsh

Avatar Image says:

Turning On Steve first? newbis what are you talking about. TLC has tried to be nothing but neutral during this entire mess. Where do you see them “turning” on him? Just because they tried to stay Neutral and tell the truth isn’t turning on someone. It was Steve’s actions that have caused his rift with the Fandom, not TLC and most definitely not Melissa. This ‘old man’ is acting like a coward and baby and frankly has been acting like one since September.

Avatar Image says:

Krisitn, and the entire Leaky Staff, thank you for keeping us so well informed. It is a shame this matter has gotten so personalized, and you have my sympathies!

Why doesn’t anyone at RDR or SVA himself seem to get the basic difference between paraphrasing and plagiarizing? Sorry, the materials we have seen go far beyond the Fair Use doctrines, it is flat out plagiarism…so why not just call it that and get this over? I flunk students that verbatim copy others, and send them to a dean to get chewed out a second time! They do it twice, then they are supposed to end up on academic probation… why is this even an issue?

Melissa, I await word that your work will be available soon!

Avatar Image says:

Hey, newbis. When did Leaky turn on Steve? I don’t recall any betrayal of bias. Some Lexicon groupies were furious with Melissa because she didn’t buy Steve’s version hook, line and sinker without corroboration. Mmmmm. Isn’t that Journalism 101. It was Steve who kept his little book contract secret, who lied about the Lexicon’s expenses under oath and told Melissa he’d been lied to and misled by RDR at the same time that he was telling Dave Langford that he believed in the lawsuit and thought Jo was out of line. I think poor Steve has been kidnapped by Mean Girls.

Avatar Image says:

re: “As for SVA’s statements. Is anyone actually surprised?”

Posted by mollywobbles23 on May 05, 2008 @ 11:12 PM

molly, yeah, i am…and very disappointed in SVA. Let’s hope this is over soon.

Avatar Image says:

What you are about to read might sound negative and maybe hostile, but it’s my honest opinion… Articles like this are deceiving and they frustrate me so much! Mr. Wu wouldn’t mention that Melissa’s book is not a bunch of plagiarized ripped-off quotes from JK Rowling! He doesn’t mention her book actually is a product of her creative mind for which reason she has Jo’s blessing! And of course Jo would hug her supporters, Melissa and any other supporter! She would hug Steve VA as well if he wasn’t acting like such a greedy git and having a law suit against her! This article is a bunch of crap yellow journalism! It’s deceiving and disgusting. Also, if SVA made that remark, I guess it’s his own opinion… An opinion based on God knows what, because I would bet ANYTHING that Melissa has done nothing to hurt him. And, if he is hurt by the dissolution of the Floo Network or people having negative feelings towards his stand, then he should know he brought that upon himself; it’s all consequences of his actions and he’s a coward for pinpointing anything on Melissa. He could have done the right thing, re-write the book abiding to the copyright laws and Jo’s rights, but no, he decided be stubborn and fight for what? I thought he had an analytical mind and he would be more intelligent than this. It disgusts me… I think this book is motivated by greed and I think that RDR Books and SVA are using the trial in (unlikely) hopes of winning and using it as marketing for his unlawful and corrupted piece of literature. That’s SAD!!! Why can’t he rely on his own creative work like the great example of Jo who CREATED Harry Potter herself, or Melissa who CREATED the narrative of her experience of the Harry Potter fandom and make rightful profit off that? What SVA wants to do is parasitical; he took Jo’s creation, chopped it up, put it in alphabetical order, repackaged it and expects to sell it. He did not give the due credit to Jo and he did not produce much creative literature of his own, so to sell it would be immoral and unfair to Jo. We’ll see if it is considered illegal in a court of law, but it’s definitely dishonest. Melissa: HUGE props to you for doing your book the right way because YES, the right way is almost always the harder way, but it’s the one that in the end tastes the sweetest. You better do a tour! and I want a big hug and your autograph on my copy of your book. Leaky staff: THANKS for the professionalism and the hard work! I have huge respect for this site and the staff. You all have my full loyalty. Just thought you ought to know =D Good Night now!

Avatar Image says:

then again… these reporters are @#$^x%x*()! this is so unfair for Melissa…

Avatar Image says:

@diaperchangingdaddy:”The atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalog everything in it.” That’s all well and fine. However, this suit is not about “describing and cataloging” it is about SVA taking JKR’s work [WORD FOR WORD] and adding NOTHING to it….that is not “describing” it…that is plagerism!!!! Plain and simple. JMO

Avatar Image says:

This is the media. Lie, lie, lie. It’s a rare and special thing when a journalist actually reports without bias. So far I haven’t seen one. Mr. Wu is supporting my theory that respected journalists are going extinct.

Avatar Image says:

Lol @ comparing SVA to an atlas maker. The world is real, the HP-verse is fictional. It’s not the same.

Avatar Image says:

This whole ordeal is getting very childish and immature, at least on the side of RDR and Mr. Vander Ark. I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate my gratitude toward The Leaky Cauldron for offering fair and balanced reporting. As a dedicated fan who has taken to reading every article about the case (unfortunately, instead of finishing my finals) it is refreshing to find a news source who is reporting the full story, not twisted interpretations of the story crafted for grabbing the headline. Sure, the mass media loves to root for the underdog but in this case the underdog is diseased and is biting at anyone close. I cannot feel sympathy for someone who attacks the only person in sight dedicated to accurate reporting. As for Leaky turning on Steve, I cannot think of a single instance where TLC has denounced Mr. Vander Ark. My hope is that we can put this hugely divisive case behind us and enjoy each other’s company again.

Avatar Image says:

Arachne was weaving disrespectful scenes of the gods as well as being quite verbally abusive of them; when Athena ordered Arachne to stop, the weaver boasted that she was a better weaver than Athena, thus the weaving contest.

Usually when the truth is distorted, it becomes mythology. So now that Wu has mythology wrong, do we call it fact?

Avatar Image says:

The only reason he’s saying this (other than because he’s an idiot who has his facts completely wrong!) is because news negative about JK Rowling gets more publicity, and thus, more profits. It may suck, but that’s journalism for you.

Avatar Image says:

My sister almost walked out of his presentation when he started talking smack about the epilouge and I was seething. Steve’s always sort of rubbed me the wrong way and now I know why. It seems that he’s always been an arrogant, coniving little pretender and now the rest of the fandom sees him for who and what he is. I just wish the press could see that side too, It does feel as though he’s “courting” journalists; feeding them this David and goliath line. Pulling Mellisa into this was increadibly low.

I just can not believe that so many people have bought into it. And if he wins...this could have massive repricussions for the fandom as a whole. So, when fansites are shut down, fanfiction is disbanded and companion books are no longer aloud to be published because JK Rowling can't afford to take anymore chances, we'll know who to thank!
Avatar Image says:

wow….cut deep

Avatar Image says:

Oooh Steve, You have done it this time.

You may have your own opinion, You may defy the wishes of our Jo, but you MAY NOT insult our Mellisa!

How dare he!

Avatar Image says:

Oh boo-freak’n-hoo for Steve Vander Ark. Where’s the story about the minor mythical being, who saw himself as the chose one, and tried to get himself a job as JK’s assistant in (co?)writing her encyclopedia?

This isn’t some brash teenager with aspirations, it’s a 50 year old librarian what can’t attribute quotations correctly. It’s not about creative freedom, it’s about cashing in.

With great gusto the man has shot himself in both feet on less and then laments the pain of being shunned by author and community.

Shame on Steve Vander Ark for belittling Melissa. Shame him for lashing out at those that doesn’t see the windmill he’s tilting at. These are the petty acts of a lesser man.

Avatar Image says:

Well, this IS the Talk of the Town section of the New Yorker. For those not familiar, these are little pieces of “atmosphere” in a early section of the mag before the longer feature stories kick in. Everybody who reads the New Yorker at least reads this section. I usually enjoy these vignettes very much. This one … not so much.

I wonder how Tim Wu … copyright (I think) law professor at Columbia who was at the trial with his students…. came to write this piece? Not to be too meta about this, but did NYor approach him specifically for Talk of the Town?

He wrote pre-trial articles disagreeing with Jo/WB’s stand in this case. So, what did HE think of the trial and how each side presented their case? Are we going to see a longer article from him?

Let’s face it, the media thinks this is a big joke: Either a chance to bash Jo or a chance to make fun of fans. Ol’ mushroom-cropped fifty year old man Steve is like manna from heaven for this! Only the legal/business writers at Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg seemed to take this seriously.

Melissa, Sue, John … courage!

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, the next time your name appears in The New Yorker (after their correction, I mean) will be when they publish an exherpt from your book on the eve of its publication.

THAT would be sweet revenge.

Avatar Image says:

SVA needs to be slapped in the face with a 2×4 piece of wood and told to get real!!!! He’s making an @&^() out of himself by saying what he did. He claims he’s now a writer, but if I was a publisher I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. In no way has Melissa or anyone else hurt him. He’s done this to himself. As Dumbledore said, “It’s our choices….” He had a choice to pull away from this and he didn’t. Normally I’m a very soft spoken person who hates to say anything bad about anyone, but this just took the cake when he made this personal with Melissa who has been more than fair toward him.

Melissa, you did nothing wrong and you’ve got thousands of supporters on Leaky and I’m sure elsewhere. You’re a jewel of a reporter and I wish that Wu guy would take a lesson in reporting from you. I can’t wait to read your book!

Avatar Image says:

The only reason why is “an outcast” is because he has declared himself one both in words and actions. I think a lot of people were supportive him at first but each time he opens his mouth he digs him self in deeper and deeper…. RDR was so keen on hiring lawyers but maybe they should have invested in some better PR training.

Avatar Image says:

Wow Steve – You are official more immature than the little girl I babysat who was 3 years old.

You feeling ostracized? Like you aren’t apart of the community anymore? Well I’m sure the best way to get back in our good graces is to insult another webmaster who is supposed to have been your friend. What, pissed that they disconnected you from the network? That you aren’t going to be back on PotterCast. Get over it. You’re 50 years old, show some respect for others and stop whining. It’s childish, immature and frankly below you.

Melissa – I love Leaky and I love you. I’ve never been to the HP Lexicon site and never will strictly on principle. Leaky is the only HP site I go to everyday to check for news and quite frankly, I love PotterCast and wait in anticipation for the next one. I hope that you ignore these awful words from a childish man who’s just angry and bitter. I hope you know how much those of us here at Leaky love you and if I was in NY I’d give you a hug.

Avatar Image says:

“SVA needs to be slapped in the face with a 2×4 piece of wood and told to get real!!!!...” Posted by LisaRosa on May 06, 2008 @ 12:42 AM ROFL! That was hilarious…

Avatar Image says:

I think the words of note there are ‘is writing a book with Rowling’s blessing’. SVA could also have done this instead he is hammering to try and publish one without it. The whole thing is just getting so nasty and people are flinging mud where it don’t belong.

Avatar Image says:

im sorry i just have to say this is all rediculously insane.

this all could have been handled way better.. he SHOULD have gone to jo and asked if it was ok first. and if she said no, (which i hope was a CONVERSATION before it was a FIGHT on her part), he shouldnt have fought it. its her story. but haveing said all that, this is a fan of the same thing we’re all so crazy about.. a fan who simply made a mistake. how do you think he feels haveing ths source of this thing he’s held so high in his life, suddenly lashing out this hard at him simply for (in HIS view) expressing his fandom. when you love something so much, sometimes it becomes equal to RELIGOUS fervor, and you forget that theres an actual person behind this and that it actually belongs to someone. ..dont say you never had that problem..

as for the melissa thing, im not a very frequent regular here, i dont know melissa, if its not in the HP books infact, i dont know it. what i DO know, is fan-hierarchies are stupid. i hail from another fan world very much like this one, where i WAS one of the “famous fans”. ..and i never understood it. yes i owned official sites and was all kinds of admin and mod of other sites and street teams and all that crap, but i never loved them more than some of the other fans did (though i loved them very much), i just had better oppertunities. dispite what some butt-kissers told me, i was NOT special. and i found it really odd when a personal matter came up between me and whoever, and a whole bunch of strangers treated it like it was a televised fued that they all had to jump in on and loudly root for their princess as if they knew the whole story. and they too had a very “how DARE he/she insult stitch!!” attitude.. like nobody’s allowed to have a negative view of me?? its impossible for me to rub someone the wrong way?? ..it made me very uncomfortable.. so uncomfortable infact, i deliberately took myself off the radar and kept very private. i refused to be the “famous fan” anymore and it shouldnt be long before they all forget or stop careing about MY “status”.

point is, im sure theres two sides, but let the man have his oppinion. he has a VERY different point of view of this whole thing that he cant help. being a fan of something is one thing, but thats just idol-worship.. and when idol-worship bleeds into people who are NOT the creator of the thing in question, its even worse.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa this is for you. Please try not to concern yourself with this recent article and how it may or may not affect your book. I personally feel that the mention of your name was a last ditch attempt on Steve’s part to try and hurt you or take something away from you. His behavior is like that of a small child who lost his toy and is trying to take anothers. I know that when I heard you where writing your book about the fandom, I was so happy for you. In addition, I eagerly await its release date. I believe that the vast majority of people who know you and love you feel the same. There is nothing that Steve can do to take that away. His choices to go the “easy way” rather than the “right way” (roughly quoting Dumbledore) are very clear. He chose to blatantly plagiarize Jo, which may have seemed easy at the time he did it, however, now he is paying dearly in societal consequences. I do not know any true harry potter fan who would touch his book with RDR or any other future book for that matter. Please rest easy Melissa and know that this will blow over as all news does. Tomorrow is another day and all this will be just a memory. A million hugs and kisses.

Avatar Image says:

Not sure if this was brought up in previous pages but…. If I remember correctly it was Melissa and Emerson (Mugglenet) who were invited to Scotland to meet with JKR during one of the previous book releases – never SVA. JKR may have given him a nod for all his work on the website but SVA was never in Melissa’s league.

Plus her book is a very worthwhile effort especially from a sociology standpoint. I remember years ago (when I was a kid) and a certain Scottish band was all the rage – all our newsletter were done by snail mail. All our contacts through penpals. We’ve come a long way with the internet age and it makes sense that someone writes about how fandom has changed in the interent age.

Avatar Image says:

See ignorant reporting rant in last week’s PotterCast:

hugs Melissa Thank you for your, and all of Leaky’s, integrity throughout this whole thing. It does not go unnoticed. I really appreciate it.

Sidenote: Congratulations on finishing your book!!

Avatar Image says:

I agree with Melanie. I will proudly buy your book Melissa. You have my vote and my support baby!!!!

I cannot stomach Steve and I have to admit I never could. I know this sounds mean, but every time on Pottercast he bothered me with his tangential thoughts and “Trekkie” ideas that he wouldn’t let go of! He drove me crazy with his comparison of the last UK edition cover and insisting that the clouds were the Star Trek ship?Do you all remember that? Is the man a little nutty? Back then Melissa and the gang put up with his nonsense because he was one of them, but here, in this case he clearly put himself outside the circle by once again being defiant and pushy about what he wanted even though it was wrong.

Nobody likes a whiny martyr who spews “Oh woes me, poor me, I’m an outcast…..blah,blah, blah, blah,blah.”

Steve if I could say one thing to you I would say, “Grow up, take responsibility for your actions and apologize to Jo and Melissa.” What’s next Steve? Are you going to try and take down the Pottercast crew, Sue, John and Frak too? LOSER.

Avatar Image says:

Okay, everyone, please comment on my theory, because im really interested to know what others think on this:

Could is possibly be that JK-WB/RDR-SVA have some inside understanding on the judges deliberation at this point that shows how Honerable Judge Robert Patterson is leaning in his decision, and SVA is now trying to get more coverage and more attacks in because its turning towards JK-WB? could it be he is bitter that it looks like his side is going to lose, and he wants to get in a few more low blows like he has been giving out against fans and against jk rowling before the verdict comes out against his and RDR’s wishes, and people start ignoring him in the press?

Avatar Image says:

Jo is God and Melissa is her prophet? snort

Steve is the jealous one, not Jo. This whole thing started from Steve being cut up about not getting enough recognition or reparation for his work on the Lexicon. He has a staggeringly overblown sense of entitlement.

Avatar Image says:

I really hope Steve is being wildly misquoted by all these journalists who seem unable to get any other facts correct in these articles. But if these are his actual quotes, he certainly seems to exhibit a maladroit anti-genius every time he opens his mouth. Someone needs to take him aside and tell him to zip it, because he just digs himself in deeper every time he grants an interview.

He’s like that one relative no one can stand who shows up for all the family gatherings and ends up making some relatives want to kill him, driving other relatives to tears, causing overall dyspepsia and casting a pall of discontent and simmering rage over the entire weekend.

Avatar Image says:

Strange isn’t it, how we all loved the HP Lexicon, frequented it and appreciated the efforts of it’s creator, yet now when Ms Rowling files a lawsuit against him we all side with her and start shunning Mr Vander Ark?

Avatar Image says:

Max, Vande Ark has shunned himself by not only insulting Rowling (without whom there would be no Lexicon; he’s just copying her work), but all the other fansites as well! Have you read the trials, and what he and his lawyers said about Mugglenet? Or this article attacking Melissa for no reason except being on a friendly basis with Rowling? I don’t know about you, but I think that’s reason enough to “shun” Vander Ark.

Avatar Image says:

Strange, isn’t it, how we all thought SVA was a fan and now when he can’t make money off plagiarism he starts turning on people he called friends?

Avatar Image says:

Naria- That annoyed me too how Wu didn’t understand the mythological story. In all my greek mythology studies Arachne was struck down for her hubris and inhumility towards the gods. So, in a way one could compare the Steve Vander Ark story to Arachne , the moral being don’t mess with the gods!! To bad Wu misinterpreted it : (

Avatar Image says:

No, he isn’t a Harry Potter fan but he is a BAD Harry Potter fan!!! How can a true fan does this to our lovely Jo!

Avatar Image says:

Stupid SVA. Stupid reporter. i am so angry. SVA deserves to be an outcast after what he has done.

Avatar Image says:

stitch – your points are well taken. Since you are not a Leaky regular you probably aren’t aware that when this all started it was Melissa and company who asked everyone to not over-react and take a wait and see stance. It wasn’t until SVA started making negative comments in the press that Leaky discontinued its relationship with Lexicon. I think this may be why some of the fans are reacting so strongly. Many of us were willing to give SVA the benefit of the doubt until he made comments that were out of line. Just my two cents.

Avatar Image says:

Max - I never loved or raved about the HP Lexicon. If you want to know the truth. I agree with Jo’s comment, A for effort. To express further, his site sucks. SVA site is so poorly designed. One can tell just by looking at the site that it is not a clean site, not to mention lacking in personal creativity. I have never been a SVA fan. He made my skin crawl from day one, but I never commented on this because it is impolite. But now I am a little pissed that you are lumping all fans together. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. WE DON’T ALL HAVE TO AGREE. YET, WE SHARE A COMMON DISCONTENT WITH STEVE AND HIS FOUL ACTIONS. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE AND ALLOW US TO HAVE AN OPINION.

Avatar Image says:

Katie – I agree. I have to admit that while I had a bookmark on my computer for Lexion I very rarely went there. I much preferred to reread original books.

Avatar Image says:

.... Is this for real? That’s in horrible taste.

Melissa, let me just add my two cents and say that you are a wonderful reporter, mod, and fan, and I support you 100%. I hope you won’t take what this ill informed and rather Skeeter-ish man says seriously, because we’re all very lucky to have you on the scene. Leaky is the only source I’ve trusted for Potter information since I discovered the fandom. I’ll be buying your book the day it’s published. You keep rocking the magic, girl!

Avatar Image says:

“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling,” Vander Ark said during a recess. “I can’t blame her for liking her status.” After all, he said, Rowling “is God and Melissa is her prophet.”

I still cannot believe he said that. I, and I know many others, feel deeply insulted and hurt and angry for Melissa- she used to call him a friend, and for him to take such an extreme and hurtful dig at her is absolutely dispicable.

And, gosh, Steve, I wonder why you feel like and outcast? Hmm, breaking the law, turning your back on the fandom and people who used to love and support you, all in favor making yourself some cash… hmm, whodathunk… I am disgusted.

Avatar Image says:

I’m so shocking about these kind of journalist who yesterday celebrate JK Rowling talents and now she finished Harry Potter do all they can to demystifiate her They’re so PATHETICS they’re true weather vanes.

Avatar Image says:

If we’re looking for honest statements here, I actually always found the HP Lex rather bewildering to navigate. I’d blame it on age if it weren’t that SVA was about a decade older than me. But then again, I’m positive that the “Jo is God and Melissa is her prophet” statement, though hard to conceive, is probably edited for maximum offense value. Highly offensive though the original context surely is, I hesitate to believe SVA has descended into such a state of mental instability that he would make such a statement as it lays ‘flat on the page’. ( I really loved that statement by Jo about reading quotes from Gambon! )

Avatar Image says:

I think the comparison with Athena is wrong. Contrary to Arachne, SVA didn’t produce anything new, better, or inventive, just a compendium of facts taken by JKR’s books.

It is very easy from the journalists’ point of view depict Jo as the devouring billionaire, squashing everything and everyone in her path; it is very easy to attack successful people because they inspire envy. It’s the “David against Goliath” syndrome. Pity that JKR doesn’t deserve it at all, considering all her success doesn’t come from a Goddess’ supernatural capabilities, but from her hard, long work. And I think she has all the right to dispose of her work and her world as she wants. Journalists in these cases never mention that she allowed the creation of huge fan and fanfiction sites, even giving awards to them. SVA’s mistake was thinking that being a devoted fan would allow him to gain from it without JKR’s consent.

Considering what he said about JK and Melissa in this post, I think he just lost the sense of proportions. I can be sorry for him but I have no real pity for his self-induced misfortunes.

Avatar Image says:

Wow its amazing how the people that are paid to inform us with hard facts cant even get hsi facts straight. I think that was kind of a low blow from Steve to Melissa, I mean they were friends before the lawsuit,

Avatar Image says:

Let Steve say what he likes to reporters. Let him say what he likes in public. Let him have his majority of supporters. As long as we (who now may be in the minority thanks to these brilliant so called journalists and news media) know the truth (thanks to Leaky’s detailed unbiased reports) then that is all that matters. Through the likes of Leaky team, I am sure Jo knows she has her supporters and I hope that would be enough for her. And it doesn’t matter if even the judge rules against her either. It was enough for Sirius Black that only very few knew of his innocence.

Avatar Image says:

I was already disgusted by SVA, but this catty behavior is unbelievably immature. He’s been rejected by the fandom because they recognize him for what he is, unlike the media and the peanut gallery celebs who comment on the situation without knowing the facts.

Avatar Image says:

I just want to thank leaky once again for their fair reporting, it must be difficult when you guys are dragged into it.

Also, Melissa is a prophet!!!!! Yay!!!!

Avatar Image says:

“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling,” Vander Ark said during a recess” That was falling off my chair reading for me.

Melissa I am sure no blame can be given to you for anyones hurt feeling, and we all know it was you who tried to stop the comments getting nastily personal, so don’t let SVA’s remarks hurt you. Leaky fans are right with you.

I hope your book will be available in the UK.

Avatar Image says:

I’d like to see a psychological evaluation of what is going on here. I’m sure there are theories to explain it. Anyone care to post a link?

In a sense, this debacle is a good thing, though. Posters are revealing their worst, pettiest sides, wich is postive because it’s a eye-opener to what kind of people become obsessive fans. It’s a little bit like when the Harry/Hermione ship sunk, but without being as much fun, because real people are involved here. Of course, there are voices of reasons, from both sides. I’m not going to mention any names, I’m sure you know who you are.

(I’m equally sure the rest of you meanies think you are reasonable too. Here’s a few hints to when you are not reasonable at all: Using the word disgusting; the phrase “how dare s/he”; claiming the lexicon is useless because you know the books by heart; dismissing others opinions just because they get one or two facts wrong, when changing those facts would not have any impact on the opinion at hand.)

Avatar Image says:

Oooh, I forgot: The Leaky Cauldron is doing an amazing job here. Well done. I’m sure it’s very difficult being at least reasonably objective, concidering some of you guys seem to be good friends with JK Rowling, but I think you are doing a great job.

Avatar Image says:

I haven’t read a Harry Potter book since last year and this is the only fandom related site I visit. There goes your obsessive fan theory.

Avatar Image says:

Mara: Obsessive is more a state of mind, I should think. Passionate might be a better word.

And Mara, your above comment about Steve is very, very mean. He is not fictional, you know. Bully.

Avatar Image says:

“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling,”

WTF?? I am constantly amazed by the professional approach of Melissa – she has taken the high road and yet SVA is claiming that she is still hurting him. Melissa I really admire the way you are handling the trial and frankly SVA’s comments are laughable.

Wu should get a good kick someplace for yet again blaming Melissa for things she hasn’t said. Why does it seem that all the news articles are on SVA’s side? Please report more pro-Jo articles if you come across them because this is really unfair and depressing!

Avatar Image says:

I’ve had my own problems with a bad publishing house and though I could sympathize with the situation Steve has landed himself in, his behavior has been far more Duddly-ish lately. As a Ravenclay myself I am ashamed and embarrassed that Steve would place himself in my house.

I am throughly repulsed by his childish behavior.

Avatar Image says:

Yes, I know I misspelled my own House. Lay on the fail-macros.

Avatar Image says:

Ugh, I hate when they bring others into this conflict. All I know is that Steve Vander Art wished he owned the idea of the Wizarding World, but it’s stupid, Jo Rowling created this herself, and no one should try and meet the same level as her, because she has done extraordinary works in this and he just wishes he created it.

This is reality, Steve, Jo created the Potter universe and you either accept it and be a respectful fan. Ugh, I just wish this can stop. It’s getting out of hand.

Avatar Image says:

My first reaction to reading this [before I even got past the first paragraph] was: “Oh, give me a break!” – as other people here have commented, anyone can copy someone else’s work – it doesn’t take genius.

Essentially that is what Steve did…and this “journalist” who wrote is obviously biased – did he seek out the other point of view? He just wrote Steve’s point of view!

If Steve [and RDR Books as well] expects this to be tried in the court of the “people” [read: press] and get Jo to back off the lawsuit, then he better think again.

All the HP fans need to do is mount a writing campaign and start letting these publications know exactly how we feel, and that we know the truth.

Melissa – we are behind you! I can’t wait for your book to come out – I’ll be buying a copy.

Avatar Image says:

Ah, poor Stevie… Just because Melissa can write and you can’t, you’re hurt? Give it a rest boyo – In school, anything written in an essay that is not properly cited and quoted is considered plagiarism when it is caught out – even if it is one line. You got caught with what, 90%? You knew you’d get sued the moment you signed the clause letting RDR pay for legal fees. Take your chops like a man, instead of whining like a 5 year old.

Avatar Image says:

I can’t believe mugglecast said that about SVA! Is there relationship with SVA that strong? Does anyone know what episode that was on?

Avatar Image says:

The thing that’s being lost in all this is that what SVA did in compiling the Lexicon isn’t entirely without value. Deep down, outside a courtroom, I think even JKR would agree with that. It’s just that he and RDR are trying to sell the book as something it isn’t. It’s not a scholarly tome, it’s something that was put together by an enthusiastic amateur. SVA (as JKR said in the trial, some of his assumptions and etymologies are simply wrong). Fans don’t deserve to pay for that, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to take market share away from the Scottish Book.

SVA certainly should have nothing to complain about in Melissa’s coverage – she has been incredibly fair and balanced given how close to home it all is.

My guess is that he’s a pretty resentful guy at the moment. While I wouldn’t pretend to be fond of him, and never have been particularly, he doesn’t deserve all the vilification that’s been thrown at him – some by people who have no deeper knowledge of the case than the journalist who wrote that article.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it all just blew over …

Avatar Image says:

Rioting with pitchforks and torches; hitting SVA with a “2×4 piece of wood” in the face… JK Rowling can be proud of her “true fans” and civilized “defenders”...

Avatar Image says:

And this is why I take any press…be it newspapers, tv news or magazines with a grain of salt. How much is the ‘truth’, how much was taken ‘out-of-context’ from the interview to put a ‘front-page’ spin on a not so newsworthy item.

I’m waiting until the final results are in from the Judgement.

Avatar Image says:

I wonder when any of the writers of articles that vilify JK will remember that it is not Jo that is suing Steve, but WB suing RDR books. I am sure that if Jo & Steve could have sat down in a room, just the two of them, at the beginning of this mess there would not be a trial now. Journalists and people submitting editorial stating incorrect information about the case just makes me so angry. Keep your chin up Melissa. Great reporting on the story too by Leaky.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, I’m really sorry about what he said. That is pretty disturbing. What respect I had left for Steve has all but dissipated. I hope you’re doing okay. We support you.

Avatar Image says:

Once again the journalists are not checking their facts, and are just trying to stir things up. Well done to Leaky for reporting the trial so balanced, despite it hitting so close to home.

We are with you Melissa!

Avatar Image says:

Sorry about the comment about the 2×4. What I was trying to get across was that SVA needs to get a grip on reality. I wasn’t really awake when I made that comment. Been in fandom in general too long and seen things like this happen before but never on this scale where it reached the public eye. It’s sad.

Melissa, I hope you’re doing okay. {{{hugs}}}

Avatar Image says:

Steve is a knob. His arrogance, narcissism and notions of self-grandeur were uncomfortably apparent during his presentation at Prophecy in Toronto, as was his lack of gratitude for Rowling and HER intellectual property. At that point, with the series only just officially ended, he came off as eager to kick JKR off the stage in order for the other actors in the fandom to play- where, of course, he would re-cast himself as a lead. He was completely irreverent. Melissa, sadly, has now become the new target of his enlarged and whiny ego. Sour grapes indeed…it is too bad he couldn’t be satisfied with the fantastic website he did create and leave it at that.

Avatar Image says:

I hate how none of these people know what they’re talking about. How dare they bring Melissa into it…Melissa, you’re the best.

Avatar Image says:

Steve is a knob. His arrogance, narcissism and notions of self-grandeur were uncomfortably apparent during his presentation at Prophecy in Toronto, as was his lack of gratitude for Rowling and HER intellectual property. At that point, with the series only just officially ended, he came off as eager to kick JKR off the stage in order for the other actors in the fandom to play- where, of course, he would re-cast himself as a lead. He was completely irreverent. Melissa, sadly, has now become the new target of his enlarged and whiny ego. Sour grapes indeed…it is too bad he couldn’t be satisfied with the fantastic website he did create and leave it at that.

Avatar Image says:

Since I was here, last night, there have been two more pages of comments added. I have spend my morning, reading every single one, something I don’t normally do. In the vastness of support for Melissa, and JKR, I found one or two [out of 135 to this point ] that made reference to the comments, of Mr Wu, regarding Ms Anneli’s book {Melissa, I hope I spelled that right] The idea that JKR is favoring Ms A, over SVA, is ludicrous, at best. Let us look at the facts: Ms A is writing [has written] a book, of her OWN thoughts, regarding HP. [Fandom, as I understand it, is her main topic] What ever her topic, it is her thoughts and opinions. Not so with this gentleman [I’ll use the term loosely, here] He has taken someone else’s work [word for word] and placed it as his own. As was already stated, many times: no commentary, no personal views, no scholarly opinion. It is NOT [as some would have fans believe], a “scholarly tome”. SVA, being a Librarian and self-proclaimed scholar, has proven, [once again] that he is neither a scholar nor an honourable person. Ms A.,I applaud you and the entire Leaky Staff. As so many have pointed out, for your unbiased reporting of the facts, here. Even to posting the bad as well as the good. “His view vs Her view” if you will. It is not an easy task, given the scope and magnitude of this situation. Thank you, once again, for your hard work. You are to be commended. This may be redundant, but despite what others think, SVA is WRONG. Sadly, but truthfully, as I see it. Shame on you, SVA. Just my 50 cents….

Avatar Image says:

Ick HP Politics. He didn’t need to bring Melissa into this.

& I’m fed up of people saying that we see Jo as God. That is ridiculous & offensive to religious people, though you’d think he’d be trying to get people on his side.

Avatar Image says:

Asside, to Ms A: When all this is calmer [if there ever is such a time] can we know when your book will be released? Again, echoing the sentiments of many, many here: Thank you for all your hard work….stay “on track” and don’t let petty jealousy detract from YOUR HARD WORK!

Avatar Image says:

To ‘Linny’...someone [like SVA] who claims someone else, [in this case Ms JKR], has a set him/herself up as a God, is ludicrous too. Unfortunately, SVA has proven [beyond a shadow of a doubt] that HE is the one with the “God complex”. How sad…don’t feel as you have done an disservice to anyone, Ms A. You have proven yourself to be an honourable person. I commend you.

Avatar Image says:

Confederate Lady, I enjoyed your 50 Cents. I believe Melissa said on Pottercast last week that her book will be out this fall.

Avatar Image says:

Thinking more about it, SVA is in a really difficult place right now. From what I understand, he doesn’t have a real job, and regardless of the trial outcome the book is going to tank because the fandom is not behind him. I can see where financial stress like this would cause one to lash out in such a manner.

The really sad thing, though, is that he has not only alienated himself from this fandom, but an entire community of helpful, literature lovers. Leaky membership includes many a librarian, writer, etc. If Steve had only come to this community and said he was down on his luck instead of lashing out and trying to make a quick buck off our Jo, I’m sure the fandom would have given him all the support it could muster. It makes me feel sorry for him that, at the ripe old age of 50, he still hasn’t learned the basic lesson that in hard times one should rely on ones friends.

For someone who has read the Harry Potter books so many times, it seems he never caught onto the fact that through everything Harry faced, his main sources of strength were Ron and Hermione. After the battle in DH, Harry dons the invisibility cloak and does not seek out his lover (Ginny), but his two best friends.

He also didn’t seem to catch on to the theme in DH that the “god-like” figures in our lives have flaws too. Harry learned to love Dumbledore for the man he is, flaws and all, rather than the man he thought he was at the beginning of DH. Steve’s idol-like worship of Jo, plus his recent comment, makes me wonder if he realizes that Jo is indeed just another human being. He’s really not treating her like one. Of course Jo was shaking her head at him, he did something very wrong. She doesn’t have to be like God and forgive everyone immediately for sinning, especially when that person never said sorry and continues to do the wrong thing.

What I’d like to see, is for Steve to show some true Gryffindor bravery and apologize and stop trying to print his Lexicon. If I know this fandom at all, we are all softies and would take him back; Not that he wouldn’t have to do a little repenting for his sins first, but in the end I know that even the ones he has hurt the most, like our Melissa, would forgive him.

Avatar Image says:

Hey, here’s ONE journalist who at least attempted to do some research….Wu even listened to PotterCast! (And the transcripts probably weren’t up by that point, and if he hadn’t listened to PotterCast before, he might not have been able to tell the difference between Sue and Melis – long shot, I know, but I think this reporter deserves a pat on the back for an article well-written and researched!)

Avatar Image says:

Oh please. We are not all with you Melissa. I personally find you an insufferable kiss-up who’s always flaunting her advantages, and your commentary annoying. And, as for Sue Upton making the aforementioned comments, she still did so with Melissa’s blessing, so give us all a break here kids. Furthermore, anyone who says that Melissa “worked” on her book and SVA did not is simply a moron. You’re all playing a cliquish playground game and you should be ashamed.

Avatar Image says:

OMG – turn off the computer at 9:00 pm last night and look at the activity, unbelievable. David English made a reference at the LL forum that SVA has been considered to be the “Elvis” of fandom. It’s unfortunate that this has been thrown away by his not making the Lexicon book his own creation, making underhanded agreements with publishers almost immediately after the release of DH, smugly standing back portraying the injured party whilst throwing out insults and innuendo during interviews. I think he has damaged his reputation beyond repair.

Avatar Image says:

If it is true that someone is casted by WB to play Young Lucius Malfoy in the same scene as Slughorn and Tom Riddle jr, than WB (and maybe JK Rowling) should start reading the “sloppy” Lexibook even without Copyrigth , in stead of suing it, so they could prevent making such terrible mistakes!

Avatar Image says:

I have two comments:

1. “JKR is a god and Melissa is her prophet.” One of the reasons I like JKR is because she really doesn’t want her fame and strives to show that she is just a normal person like the rest of us (albeit with jaw-dropping writing talent). One of the reasons I like the PC trio is because they are just average-joe fans, just like me. If JKR EVER started acting like a God, or the PC trio (Melissa) EVER started acting like prophets, I would be gone. I just don’t see the analogy from my personal experience. I like it when JKR talks to the PC trio because it almost feels like she is talking to me (with the PC trio being so representative of average fans).

2. It’s amazing, but if SVA had never opened his mouth since this lawsuit started, he would be fine. Think about it, all of his problems have come because of his public statements since the lawsuit was filed. If I could go back in time to the start of this, I would beg him to please not say A WORD except for his testimony in court. If he had done this, he would still be in the Floo Network and we would all be totally convinced that he was suckered by RDR. Oh well, it’s too late now. Just take this as an example people, when you get in a tight spot and you think you can say something clever to make it better, just say nothing. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from watching SVA.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa and others are making far more money than Steve ever will from HP fandom. The Lexicon took a tremendous amount of work and I think in its web form is far more interesting to read than Melissa’s book will be.

If what Steve has been doing for the last several years is so terrible than why did TLC ever associate with him? People seem to be saying that selling The Lexicon in book form somehow pushed it beyond the boundaries of fair use which doesn’t make sense at all from a legal perspective considering the four statutory factors.

I hate how TLC has lead a movement to vilify Steve and make him an outcast dragging his personal life and other irrelevant things into reporting. It is interesting that this reporter recognized and reported on the conflict in the fandom.

Avatar Image says:

noway, if you listened to PC you would know that Sue has been very torn about this case, because she considered Steve a mentor and close friend. Her comments were in no way negative towards Steve. She simply stated that Steve is now vilified by the fandom, which is true: there is animosity towards Steve, that is obvious. Kristin, who wrote the post, not Melissa, wanted it to be clear that Melissa did not say those words. Wu simply didn’t recognize whose voice belonged to whom.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, I still think you’re an amazing person! It was a very low thing for Steve to attack you like that! I’m really rather speechless at the moment—it’s all so frustrating! I took a journalism class last year and am going to be on my school newspaper next year and I will make sure I check all of my facts unlike the reporters writing on this case.

Avatar Image says:

Akemi, when has TLC dragged his personal life into this?

Avatar Image says:

It was inevitable that someone somewhere would latch on to the opportunity to tear down Jo. No-one can be that talented and successful (and, let’s face it, rich) without having potshots taken at them. Newspapers have to sell copies, and I expect that this David vs. Goliath story is irresistible to many in the media. Of course Vander Ark is going to see and present himself as the victim, but if anyone’s victimized him, it’s RDR books. Unfortunately, it look as if no-one is going to come out of this debacle unscathed.

Avatar Image says:

The two stories just are not parrallel at all. Sounds like this Tim Wu has missed the whole point of this law suit.

Is SVA really surprised at being an outcast? If he really is an HP fan, he should understand why people feel the way they do about him and his attempts to profit from his plagiarism. Even if his book is published, are many people going to buy it?

Avatar Image says:

@akemia42

Who is making the most money is completely irrelevant. The Lexicon website has been interesting, informative and a fun site to cruise through and was offered up by a hobbyist that was the “super fan”, He did it for the love of the project and offered it for free for other fans. Steve knows that he can produce any number of works that would be given the kiss of approval by JKR/WB and other fans and we would have rushed to buy it. But unfortunately that is not what has been presented for publication and the author of the works is challenging the matter in the courts – her absolute right to defend her creation. Also unfortunate is the constant supply of untruths, half truths and complete fiction being provided by the media – I don’t believe any one of them have gotten it right yet. They just continue to fuel the David & Goliath theme to have readers react to their nonsense so that they can write subsequent articles about the “crazy Harry Potter fans”.

Avatar Image says:

If one thing good has come out of all this mess it is that many of you have learned that you cannot trust what you read in the press as the absolute fact. You need to research things for yourself. My husband was in television for almost 20 years and still works on the fringes of the media. He is appalled by the lack of fact checking that goes on today. It use to be you had to have two sources before you could even run a story, not so today. It has really become pathetic. So if we all get nothing else out of this situation, I hope we have learned that everything you read is not true, no matter where you are reading it.

Avatar Image says:

Not that anyone is probably reading a comment this far down in the pages, but I want to say that I think I’m finally tipped against Steve Vander Ark. I still think, on a matter of legal precedence and from what I know of the legalities of the case (and as a literary scholar myself), that he should win the case. Even if the case is on the borderline, wins for the author in these types of cases can be an open door to extending authorial control beyond its already over-inflated status. I say that because the concept of authorial rights is a relatively new phenomenon, one that I am not for personally. There are issues when you allow for stuff like this, but they are less than those that would come from a complete loss of the field of bibliography (which is, in part, the scholarly art of cataloging and recompiling works for review). That is the issue here, and the reason why I think that Steve Vander Ark’s publisher should win this case.

THAT BEING SAID, I think that just because Steve has the legal right to publish this book doesn’t mean he should have gone against Rowling’s wishes. His sense of entitlement to the work he has done to catalog and compile the mass of information on his site is understandable. His work is impressive and was very time-consuming, no matter whether or not you want to admit that it was. However, his entitlement to respect from fandom and from Jo is deplorable. His expressed feelings toward Melissa are completely out of line, and reflect a grossly off-center view of the situation. Steve is not the poor mistreated outcast he makes himself out to be. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on going ahead with the book after the first signs of discontent (he did have legal rights to publish the thing, after all), but after it became clear that WB was willing to sue on Rowling’s behalf, he should have backed down and found a way to go ahead with something that Rowling would have approved. Her approval of Melissa’s book demonstrates that she was certainly willing to work out a compromise with Steve Vander Ark if he had simply tried to work one out. Steve and his publishers clearly mistreated the situation and stubbornly pressed on to publish the book as is, rather than incorporate more clear-cut scholarship (that is essays, as opposed to cataloging, which is scholarship but not as clearly so) or otherwise attempt to make the book closer to what Jo might have approved.

There are places where I think Jo, her publishers, and Warner have stepped over the line in pressing their “legal rights” to “their” work. It has happened in the past, and I’ve stated my opinions on the subject when they’ve come up, but on this issue, I think that a compromise could have been reached, and that the fault for this case being where it is lies clearly on the shoulders of Steve Vander Ark.

Avatar Image says:

I must admit that although Wu is obviously wrong as regards various details of the case, the overall message of the article does appeal to me. The attitude of the Leaky Staff has always seemed to me to be rather slavish towards JKR. There never has been any fair criticism neither of her nor of her work, although both her conduct in the case as well as the last three novels in the series are not as praiseworthy as it may appear from what we hear in Pottercast. Plus, I do get the feeling that “hardcore” fans of Leaky are siding with JKR so univocally under the PC-trio’s direct influence. Of course, I can see nothing wrong in presenting one’s opinions in one’s own podcast and I do appreciate the work that has been put into making the coverage of the trial as objective as it could be under the difficult circumstances, but nevertheless, being not such a headstrong HP/JKR-fan, I do feel a terrible bias and I’m afraid it is true that Leaky/Leaky’s fans are dead-set against all attempts of criticising the Goddess Rowling whatever she writes or does. You have the right to take such a stand, of course, but I’m glad that one can still hear the other side’s story…

Avatar Image says:

One of his former cohorts, Melissa Anelli, sat at the back of the courtroom for much of the testimony. A twenty-eight-year-old Gryffindor from Brooklyn, she is the Webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, a leading “Potter” Web site. Although she and Vander Ark had collaborated on podcasts (she’d referred to him as a “guru”) and had even linked their Web sites together in the “Floo network,” she was not at the trial to cheer him on but, as she said, “to support Jo.” “It’s her world,” Annelli said. “She lets us play….”

“Now go buy a Leaky Mug, & kneel before me, you lemmings!”

Avatar Image says:

this is just getting ridiculous. if steve is allowed to publish this book, i am publically declaring that i will be writing:

the harry potter lexicon lexicon.

and i will copy everything steve wrote, forget about quoting or citing the entries, white-out steve’s name from the cover and insert my own. let’s see how he likes it then… what a dork.

Avatar Image says:

I feel sorry for Steve – going up against a billionaire (ie.person who can buy the best lawyers on the planet), getting worldwide media attention…and the guy was just a freakin’ librarian from Michigan! Come on you guys, put yourselves in his position, I mean, REALLY imagine YOURSELF up there on the witness stand going through this – I would sh** in my pants. And all he was doing was basically cataloging what most of us were doing at home to keep all of those minute details straight in our heads while we were reading.

Now before all of you shoot back with “But the material belongs to JKR and he was going to make a profit from it!”, Yes, I understand that and I also understand copyrights, etc. But if they made sure, at the beginning of the book, that all of this material came from the HP books and they are the invention of JKR and used quotes where appropriate, I really don’t see what the issue is. Plenty of people have profited from her work, including…egad, may I say it? This website and many others! It may be in a different form than publishing profits but lots of people are STILL profitting in some way from giving the fans what they want!

How many of you used “Cliffs Notes” to write that last minute paper in college or high school because you couldn’t keep yourself awake all night until the morning the paper was due?.....I recently used one while I was reading Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” and I never “forgot” that it was Charles Dickens words on the page and not “Mr Cliffs Note”. They are simply a regurgitaiton of the information that is in the novel.

I don’t know if I would have (or will) buy the Lexicon book but even if I do I can guarantee you that I will ALSO buy JKR’s encyclopdia – because I am a Harry Potter fan! I believe the two books are of a completely different genre and do not compete with each other at all. I don’t see how anyone can believe that people who have not ALREADY bought all of the HP books and who will ALSO buy “The Scottish Book” will run out and buy the Lexicon book. That’s illogical reasoning to me.

The Lexicon made be, as some have described simply a “regurgitation” of her work, but I HAVE used the site and it is by far the most useful and complete informational website around if what you are seeking is FACTS and DETAILS.

I consider the Harry Potter Lexicon the “Cliffs Notes” to a modern day novel and nothing else.

Avatar Image says:

I don’t understand why people cannot see that when SVA made the website it was fine but when you want to publish a book for pure profit then it becomes an issue! Don’t tell me it’s for the fans….the fans already have the website! The website is actually much better because of the search features IMHO so I don’t know where people get off rationalizing this.

Avatar Image says:

Oh SVA…you’ve become the Percy Weasley of the fandom. Hopefully this will end the same for you as it did with Percy in book 7.

Avatar Image says:

this is just getting ridiculous. if steve is allowed to publish this book, i am publically declaring that i will be writing:

the harry potter lexicon lexicon.

and i will copy everything steve wrote, forget about quoting or citing the entries, white-out steve’s name from the cover and insert my own. let’s see how he likes it then… what a dork.

Avatar Image says:

So, according to Mr. Wu, J.K. Rowling is a goddess?

(I’ve always used the name ‘Athena’ online, but this is cracking me up)

If the goddess Athena existed, I wonder what she’d think of this one…?

Avatar Image says:

this is just getting ridiculous. if steve is allowed to publish this book, i am publically declaring that i will be writing:

the harry potter lexicon lexicon.

and i will copy everything steve wrote, forget about quoting or citing the entries, white-out steve’s name from the cover and insert my own. let’s see how he likes it then… what a dork.

Avatar Image says:

@Brett Morgan

Just to point out that Tim Wu is a highly regarded writer and rather than write about the legal facts of the situation which he is well versed in, he decided to become one of the “Potterazzi”. Would have expected better from him. Just because he wrote the article the way he did….doesn’t make it fact.

Avatar Image says:

this is just getting ridiculous. if steve is allowed to publish this book, i am publically declaring that i will be writing:

the harry potter lexicon lexicon.

and i will copy everything steve wrote, forget about quoting or citing the entries, white-out steve’s name from the cover and insert my own. let’s see how he likes it then… what a dork.

Avatar Image says:

@Brett Morgan

Just to point out that Tim Wu is a highly regarded writer and rather than write about the legal facts of the situation which he is well versed in, he decided to become one of the “Potterazzi”. Would have expected better from him. Just because he wrote the article the way he did….doesn’t make it fact.

Avatar Image says:

this is just getting ridiculous. if steve is allowed to publish this book, i am publically declaring that i will be writing:

the harry potter lexicon lexicon.

and i will copy everything steve wrote, forget about quoting or citing the entries, white-out steve’s name from the cover and insert my own. let’s see how he likes it then… what a dork.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Mollywobble…Looking forward to it! I’m glad you enjoyed my “half Dollar”....I stand by everything I said.

Avatar Image says:

I must admit that although Wu is obviously wrong as regards various details of the case, the overall message of the article does appeal to me. The attitude of the Leaky Staff has always seemed to me to be rather slavish towards JKR. There never has been any fair criticism neither of her nor of her work, although both her conduct in the case as well as the last three novels in the series are not as praiseworthy as it may appear from what we hear in Pottercast. Plus, I do get the feeling that “hardcore” fans of Leaky are siding with JKR so univocally under the PC-trio’s direct influence. Of course, I can see nothing wrong in presenting one’s opinions in one’s own podcast and I do appreciate the work that has been put into making the coverage of the trial as objective as it could be under the difficult circumstances, but nevertheless, being not such a headstrong HP/JKR-fan, I do feel a terrible bias and I’m afraid it is true that Leaky/Leaky’s fans are dead-set against all attempts of criticising the Goddess Rowling whatever she writes or does. You have the right to take such a stand, of course, but I’m glad that one can still hear the other side’s story…

Avatar Image says:

@mollywobble

Steve’s personal life was dragged into TLC reporting when a number of posts from his wife or ex wife were allowed to remain on the news page. I found this tasteless and a strange way to interpret the rule that the personal lives of others are not discussed.

@Cathy

I agree that who makes the most money is irrelevant, but let’s face it being a “professional fan” is weird. I hate it when people make judgments about Steve for making money from HP when others are doing the same thing. No one judged Steve for making The Lexicon a free web site. Now that this suit has come into view, he is a villain and that is unfortunate.

Avatar Image says:

Should RDR Books win the case, Steve will have won the battle but lost the war: the majority of HP fans and, most significantly, Rowling herself will never accept him back in the HP community. Steve has, by his choices and actions, made himself a pariah in a community that once looked up to him as one of its leaders. Though Steve may enjoy book sales and royalties on his Rowling-related titles, the ironic thing is that if he had, in the beginning, cut himself lose from RDR Books and apologized to Rowling, he would have likely remained in her good graces and, in time, been able to work on an approved book project with her consent and, possibly, cooperation.

That, of course, is now impossible: the rift is permanent and I’m willing to bet that if Steve had a Time-Turner, he’d go back to the time when he was offered the book contract and declined, citing Rowling’s well-stated objections to such a book.

Legalities and suppositions aside, the fact remains that if Jo Rowling made it clear that she doesn’t want ANYONE to write an encyclopedia drawn from her fiction, it’s a matter of professional courtesy to abide by it, and do so with a measure of grace. So far as I can tell, only quiz books and encyclopedias are off limits, and everything else in terms of writing books is by her own admission fair game. Rowling has given so much to HP fandom, allowed so much (to her obvious distress), and has asked so little in return. She wanted to reserve the right to do her encyclopedia without competition, and certainly never imagined she’d find herself competing against Vander Ark, one of her most ardent fans, much less face him off in court to protect her rights.

Steve has alienated himself from the very people to whom he’s felt closest. To use an analogy: Though there were clearly wizards who were unjustly imprisoned in Azkaban, Steve Vander Ark is a Muggle who imprisoned himself to Alcatraz and will forever torture himself over what he did and, more importantly, what he didn’t do: let the matter drop before it got to the point of no return.

Avatar Image says:

so sorry that my comment posted about 10,000 times. ...oops! my bad.

Avatar Image says:

“you cant steel from Santa and expect the elves not to get pissed!” Posted by Beth A on May 05, 2008 @ 10:52 PM

LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m totally stealing that line.

Avatar Image says:

You know, what really bugs me the most about the SVA quote that JKR is a god and Melissa is her prophet is this: What is he saying about the fans? When he characterizes JKR and Melissa, he is characterizing the rest of us as brainwashed followers. Wow, he must be pretty self-confident to insult such a large group of people. I mean, even if what he were saying was true, the fact that he actually said it caused my opinion of his intelligence to drop considerably.

And another thing, the characterization of anyone who supports JKR/WB in this suit as brainwashed lemmings has become so unanimous that the people saying it are starting to sound like lemmings themselves. So just remember, if someone calls you a lemming, they are a lemming too, only they are a hypocrite as well.

Avatar Image says:

@akemi42

I am not stating that SVA should be condemned for wanting to make money with his Lexicon. Totally fine with it and believe that he has the information and ability to do so. But when the author of HP is concerned that when she decides to publish her encylopaedia she could indeed be sued for copyright issues for taking information that the Lexicon book currently contains and SVA/RDR would then hold the rights to, things are getting very complex and need a judgement. SVA/RDR did have an inkling that things could go to court. This is one aspect of the case that would have to be considered should SVA/RDR prevail. This is the kind of detail that Tim Wu could write about with great insight. I guess not as eye catching as “Fan Feud”. Besides we aren’t feuding, we are discussing and commenting.

Avatar Image says:

What an ass to bring Melissa into this, I mean seriously like, what an ass! I wasn’t in the group of villifying Steve but I’m finding it harder and harder to empathise with the man. What an ass!

Avatar Image says:

Desperate, angry, pathetic. That is all I can think when I read this. What happened to Steve? I think his obsession ran away with him and he honestly can’t separate fiction from reality anymore. ( I wonder whether he thinks he wrote the books?) This is actually pretty sad. Melissa, I can only imagine what this makes you feel like and while I’m sure a part of you wasn’t surprised, it still has to sting. I am sorry you have to even go through this. This is a sad period for the HP fandom. Remember guys, we need to try not to been juvenile or mean toward Steve though, whatever he says. That’s just not what Potter People are about. He’s done enough damage to himself anyway.

Avatar Image says:

I now know what my HP book will be “The Sad, Lonely, Fall of a Once Mighty Harry Potter Superfan” the unauthorized story of Steve Vander Ark.

First Chapter

From his meager beginnings as a Star Trek fan Steve learned he was a dime a dozen amongst those catalouging, ship detailing, red shirt counting uber fans. When Harry Potter came Steve realized he could do what every star trek fan does for their passion, catalouge everything, for the Harry Potterr series. But instead of having to sit through and transcribe endless hours of videotape he could just scan books into a computer and cut and paste. Thus the Harry Potter Lexicon was born.

Hey Melissa, you could add a last chapter to your fan book “The Fan Devide”, “A fan’s Final Fate” or “The Dangers of Obsession and Ego.”

Personally I blame myself and others for Steve’s fate. In Star Trek fandom he is a dime a dozen. Also unlike Star Trek that has many people involved from actors, designers, costumers,etc. that helped shape that world HP has one author, and since JKR could not be at HP events Steve stepped in. In the beginning of HP fandom we crowned him a God. We let him shape our opinions and speak for us as a collective. Wheter we meant to or not we supported Steve’s ego, and unlike his Star Trek book, the published Lexicon would have made him rich selling much more than only 40 copies.

Avatar Image says:

I now know what my HP book will be “The Sad, Lonely, Fall of a Once Mighty Harry Potter Superfan” the unauthorized story of Steve Vander Ark.

First Chapter From his meager beginnings as a Star Trek fan Steve learned he was a dime a dozen amongst those catalouging, ship detailing, red shirt counting uber fans. When Harry Potter came Steve realized he could do what every star trek fan does for their passion, catalouge everything, for the Harry Potterr series. But instead of having to sit through and transcribe endless hours of videotape he could just scan books into a computer and cut and paste. Thus the Harry Potter Lexicon was born.Hey Melissa, you could add a last chapter to your fan book “The Fan Devide”, “A fan’s Final Fate” or “The Dangers of Obsession and Ego.”

Personally I blame myself and others for Steve’s fate. In Star Trek fandom he is a dime a dozen. Also unlike Star Trek that has many people involved from actors, designers, costumers,etc. that helped shape that world HP has one author, and since JKR could not be at HP events Steve stepped in. In the beginning of HP fandom we crowned him a God. We let him shape our opinions and speak for us as a collective. Wheter we meant to or not we supported Steve’s ego, and unlike his Star Trek book, the published Lexicon would have made him rich selling much more than only 40 copies.

Avatar Image says:

I agree with Splinched. The things he is saying are getting more and more unbelievable, but any attack on SVA at this point is just going to garner him sympathy, so leave him to lie in the bed he’s made. Besides, I don’t WANT to see anyone suffer like this, I desperately wish he would shut up because he keeps making things worse. Dude, don’t screw yourself over so bad!!! I keep thinking he can’t make things any worse, and then BAM, he finds a way.

Avatar Image says:

all i can say is that this thread just makes me feel very uncomfortable. having gone to cons and wrockstock, i’m constantly amazed by the amount of love and acceptance this fandom has. this whole issue only shows me that we’re still as petty and mean as the rest.

Avatar Image says:

Re: Comment originally posted on April 17th, 2008 @ 3:57 p.m. to the article, “JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: A partial settlement reached; WSJ summarizes day three of testimony.”

In some ways, fan sites, supplemental books, and critical analyses, are being portrayed as utter “boiler room” transactional money makers, where an industrial, sterile environment employs drones who work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, “shooting out” something that is “reverse-engineered” based upon the original Rubik’s Cube®. That concept is a bit hard to grasp, especially when a fan site, or other supplemental material, is largely audience driven, or the material may be produced or posted by a fan (to be fair this includes SVA for the most part). While the site or publisher themselves expend resources to switch on electricity, many of the images, or other intricacies of Harry Potter have already been paid for, or are going to be paid for by the audience user, through purchasing DVD’s, books, etc., a million times over; what you are left with is a Harry Potter Club that is exchanging baseball cards. When indexes, references, or reports are created for Legal or Academic purposes, that is one thing, even then they can be reduced down smaller and smaller to the original creative source, be it a Statute or Judges opinion, or directed back to the originator of the light bulb, because citation is given to the originator. On the other hand, I too, would have found it highly useful, in a utility sort of way, to take J.K. Rowling’s books that I paid for and scan them into a computerized format; if anything so I could read the pages, save them, search for words, numbers, and sentences, count words, index, and rearrange until I squeezed every little thing out of Harry Potter that I could. But, therein lays the value. Most every Harry Potter fan congregated religiously to squeeze every little thing they could from each other once a new Harry Potter book was published. Those things were largely offered back and forth without barter. Every new thing that came about, idea, concept, theory, waited in limbo and docked somewhere in the ethereal universe, until it was trumped by what J. K. Rowling wrote in her next book; even J. K. Rowling’s intermittent comments left hardly anything for Cannon. What is being muddied is the fact that timelines and characters can be discussed until we fans are blue in the face, and that the fact will still remain that within J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter there is a “timeline”, all fancied up and storied as it is, and there within Harry Potter, the characters are developed, as storied and unalphabetized as they are. It is a bit peculiar, any questions in the form of “Do you the author receive entertainment value from what I’m giving you? Do you find what I’ve done useful?” On the one hand, one is left wondering if the Harry Potter brand would be as big as it is for J. K. Rowling, if there weren’t the movies, or the extensive discussion of the material on fan sites. On the other hand, it would be rather annoying if you drilled a water well and laid a driveway across my property, then tried to encourage me that it is somehow useful to me as well. If one were to get into comparative legalities, surely there is some legal discussion as to when the property owner loses “title” to the underlying property, maybe after a period of time has elapsed?; let’s say, for example, 15 years. Maybe there is other discussion as to the property owner giving an “‘A’ for effort” as “consent,” therefore never really losing actual control in title of the property that holds the water well and the driveway, no matter how much time has elapsed. Further those trains of thought might say that any further embellishment, addition, change of circumstance, could lead to the original property owner enforcing the rights that were established. It really isn’t much different with this Harry Potter case. Let’s say that there was any consent to the existence of any fan website whatsoever. Does that allow for the creation of a publishable, bounded material from the one who was given the hypothetical consent? Yes, I too, would love to have scanned each of J. K. Rowling’s books into a computerized format, to analyze and rearrange, but I can’t go out and present that to the blue chip executives that have some interest in what the latest Harry Potter clothing trends are these days. As to fan sites, and Rubik’s Cubes®, I would say that it really does help J. K. Rowling tremendously to have fan sites, commentary, and critical analyses lurking about, when the overall effect of the audience’s interaction actually adds value to what she is doing. If something I do deserves a marking of “ ‘A’ for effort”, I’d do what I could to keep the status quo. What does the “ ‘A’ for effort” actually mean? Well as any Harry Potter fan is aware of, it could mean anything. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean perform the “Sectumsempra” curse on my material, and it doesn’t say anything about re-publishing in revised form all J. K. Rowling books “Years 1 through 7.”

Avatar Image says:

This all makes me uneasy. I can’t wait for it to be over.

To be honest, I remember reading about Steve and his “celebrity status” a while back and thought he had a nerve parading himself as a HP celebrity, when he did nothing but quote the book online.

But lets be fair, he did have to type all those quotes manually, you can’t copy and paste from a book, so poor Steves fingers must have been all sore and tired. He has some nerve.

It all seems to have lowered itself to an immature level really. He’s courting the media in the hopes of gaining sympathy (poor me, Jo didn’t look at me, Jo didn’t hug me, sob sob sob, Melissa’s not my friend) and its back firing, but surely only within the fandom? There are people out there who don’t read Leaky, Mugglenet etc and who will take the media’s misrepresentation of the proceedings as fact.

Some fan you are VDA, I’d hate to see what you’d do to someone’s work if you weren’t a “true” fan.

Avatar Image says:

Oh Melissa, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe he would say that about you.

Avatar Image says:

Well if JKR is God and SVA’s been ‘cast out’, then I guess that makes him Satan?

Avatar Image says:

Don’t pay any attention Mellissa.. that was such a cheap shot. Saying that you went against him because you enjoy your status too much?

We all know that’s not true.. heck, even he does.. he knows what kind of person you are I’m sure.. which is why that remark was both low and untrue.

You can’t pay attention to comments like that; the comparison between your book and his is also untrue.. yours is full to the brim of original work -whilst as we know his is plagiarism. Keep faith, this will all be over before long!

Avatar Image says:

To inform those who may not know: Wu is not a journalist. He is a lawyer associated with the Fair Use Project (which is funding RDR in the case). It all stinks of a PR job. I don’t know why…Steve is already the media’s darling.

Avatar Image says:

- low whistle -

Do you reckon ‘no way’ on page 8 could secretly be SVA?

Comment was pretty harsh though. Fair enough if you want to express your opinion, but if you’re going to speak about Melissa like that then maybe you shouldn’t do it on her site. Just a suggestion.

And I know there must be others who have said similar things in these comments but noway’s is the only I have come across so far – I have not got time to read through every single comment on here.

Avatar Image says:

@medea callous

that’s one of the cleverest things i’ve come across all day!

but, nah, not so much satan, i’d say. just a 50-year old king-of-the-nerds.

Avatar Image says:

@mugglequeen

wow, you’re spot on… that was a ridiculously harsh comment. i hadn’t seen it until i read yours… i doubt that it was sva, but i would wager it IS someone who wouldn’t have the gutz to say that if he/she wasn’t hiding behind their computer… excessively rude and, in the end, the mark of cowardice.

Avatar Image says:

I suppose Melissa is going to give her book away. That’s the only way she won’t profit by it, which seems to be a major sin. Well, let’s wait and see!

Avatar Image says:

If melissa’s book was plagiarism, it would be.

Avatar Image says:

JESUS CHRIST SUE AND MELISSA!

OMG, what the hell do you think you are doing? I mean come on, Melissa doing that with Rowling right in front of him, you and Vanderark have been allies for years. And Sue, saying that behind his back, come on you are better than that. For shame.

Harry Potter fans are allies for life and should never be angry at others for writing what they have always wanted to write. The only reason that you (Melissa) are not being scolded the same way is because you are friends with Rowling and Vanderark isn’t. You are lucky that it wasn’t you on trial and you shouldn’t scold Vanderark for being where you could have been if you never met Rowling.

Come on!

Avatar Image says:

To correct my above statement: I’m not sure if Wu is a lawyer, but he’s definitely associated with FUP.

@ akemi:

Steve’s wife’s most damning comment about Steve’s personal life was actually deleted. I remember commenting on its deletion.

As for those calling us lemmings, where is your evidence? Just because we side with Jo, we automatically did so because we have no brains of our own? Well, how about those who only pay attention to the mainstream media and believe everything it says? I’d say that’s more lemming like. At least Leaky’s coverage has been as unbiased as it can be and based around the facts. They even inform us of articles that contradict our views. If they were truly trying to brainwash us, as you so claim, then it’d be fairly quiet as the mainstream media seems to have hopped on the “Jo is evil” bandwagon.

@ noway on page 8:

“Oh please. We are not all with you Melissa. I personally find you an insufferable kiss-up who’s always flaunting her advantages, and your commentary annoying. And, as for Sue Upton making the aforementioned comments, she still did so with Melissa’s blessing, so give us all a break here kids. Furthermore, anyone who says that Melissa “worked” on her book and SVA did not is simply a moron. You’re all playing a cliquish playground game and you should be ashamed.”

Posted by noway on May 06, 2008 @ 09:13 AM

I don’t know how you’re under the impression that Melissa has any power over what her fellow hosts say. Also, if you had truly listened to the episode, you’d realize how torn Sue is and that she remained pretty quiet throughout that episode. The fandom has vilified Steve in some places. Sue was pointing that out. She did not say “I vilify Steve.”

If you are so annoyed by Leaky and PC, why come here? Why listen? Something must have appealed to you. Or are you just a bitter SVA supporter or (as someone above suspected) Steve himself? I doubt the latter, but the former is fairly likely.

@ Brett Morgan

” ‘It’s her world,’ Annelli said. ‘She lets us play….’

Now go buy a Leaky Mug, & kneel before me, you lemmings!”

Well, it’s true. She could be Anne Rice and shut down all fanfiction sites and who knows what else. It would be perfectly within her rights. I think some people in fandom have become spoiled and have an entitlement complex.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, reading that article in the New Yorker was really surreal: My worlds are colliding! Melissa and John and Sue (or, at least, Sue’s words misattributed to Melissa), and a sketch of SVA, in the New Yorker! Too bad it wasn’t for something more pleasant.

I’m curious about who this writer (Tim Wu) is and how much he knows about the HP fandom. (Thanks, mollywobbles23, for pointing out that he is a lawer and not a journalist. Along those lines, I’m not sure it’s accurate for this Leaky post to call him “Tim Wu of the New Yorker,” because this seems to be the only thing he’s ever written for that publication.) On the one hand, he seems to know a lot: He quotes PotterCast, he knows about Steve’s “it’s our sandbox now” talk, he tosses off words like ‘Ravenclaw’ and ‘Gryffindor’ with an air of familiarity, he knows that Melissa is “a Gryffindor” and seems perhaps to have recognized her by sight in the courtroom (since he knew she sat in the back). On the other hand: He can’t be a regular PotterCast listener (or even a halfway-careful onetime listener) if he confuses Sue’s voice with Melissa’s, can he? And (unless he’s being wilfully opaque) he seems oddly unaware of the difference in content between Melissa’s book and Steve’s.

Finally, I want to say thank you to Leaky for drawing this piece to our attention, even though it depicts this site and its staff in an unflattering way. All of you Leaky staffers, including Melissa, have my great respect. I hope that everyone involved with this thing, and everyone who’s having fingers pointed at them, can make it through without too much suffering.

Avatar Image says:

@ mollywobbles23

(which is an awesome name, by the way), you write, “I think some people in fandom have become spoiled and have an entitlement complex.”

man, i agree 110%... it’s so well-said i don’t have anything to really add, but i just wanted to voice my support.

i’m getting fed up with the rudeness of people, and, as a 28 yea-old guy, i have better things to do than feel pissed at nameless, faceless people hiding behind screennames. that’s why i just wanted to say that i agree with you, and don’t let the obnoxious, venomous comments get you down!

Avatar Image says:

@mollywobbles23

I looked up Tim Wu’s bio as follows:

“Mainly, I am a professor at Columbia Law School – I am lucky to have such a fun job and great colleagues. I teach copyright and telecom. “

“In some of my spare time, I write for Slate Magazine (some here), on law, media, culture, and food (well, dumplings). I have also written for some other publications more as a pure freelancer, including The Washington Post Weekend, Forbes, Playboy, but writing for Slate is the most fun! “

“Finally, I’m involved in various other projects, usually related to alternative channels of content distribution. Many are run through the Columbia Program on Law & Technology. One example is Project Posner. Another is Altlaw, and another is Keep Your Copyrights. “

“My first book was “Who Controls the Internet” (with Jack Goldsmith).”

So he is well versed in law, copyright & writing. I think you are right, he just may have a different agenda.

Avatar Image says:

@mollywobbles23: On his website, Tim Wu says that he is a professor at Columbia Law school who writes “in some of [his] spare time,” mostly for Slate. So, it seems he is a professor and on-the-side writer who is trained as a lawyer.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, steve-o! I like my name too. That part in HBP cracks me up and it’s adorable at the same time. I was 23 when I made my account here (I’m 25 now). But, the 23 works still because I’m also a LOST fan and 23 is one of the mystery numbers (4 8 15 16 23 42). Serendipity is my favorite force.

Avatar Image says:

@Arithmancer:

I too respect Leaky. Anyone who thinks this site is biased should look at the media TLC has linked to. There has been one TLC post containing links to two pro-JKR articles and in that same time there have been like ten anti-JKR articles linked (that says more about the slant of the media in this case than anything, but again, never a word from Leaky about this). And this latest, the most personal and derogatory towards Leaky, is it hidden? Hell no, Leaky posts it in bold letters on the main page just like always.

And honestly, I think the lack of pro-JKR commentary in the media isn’t necessarily “bias,” I think there are a lot of people who are pro-JKR but they don’t want their names to get dragged into this, for which I can’t blame them, as well as the fact that, let’s face it, “David vs. Goliath” is going to sell more copies than “how the Lexicon stacks up against the four criteria for fair use”.

Avatar Image says:

WWHHHHAAA!!! How come I’m not the teacher’s pet??

Actually, I’m most uncomfortable with Wu’s avoidance of the legal proceedings, to trivialize the argument to sniping within the HP fandom. Gives me flashbacks to the days when college kids in Star Trek red shirts and black pants were being vilified as fanatics and geeks. Except that now some fans are being elevated to prophet status-WOW! Is that better than being a geek? ;)

Then again, journalists have not had the best reputation for correct notation and attribution of the facts either, so perhaps that’s why he appears sympathetic to SVA.

I’m just making it up as go (or copying off someone else if it’s easier…)

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Cathy and Arithmancer for clearing that up. :-) If he’s a law professor, he most definitely has passed the bar. My best friend has a degree in Legal Assistant Studies and all her law professors were also lawyers or judges. He’s a commentator, not a journalist. He was present at the trial…sitting on RDR’s side with FUP, from what I understand.

Avatar Image says:

That personal attack really must have hurt, Melissa. But like all low-blows, it deserves to be ignored.

Avatar Image says:

I can’t believe he would say that. At least melissa’s book will be er own work and research into the fandom. SVA is really frustrating me!

Avatar Image says:

When journalists write before knowing or even researching their facts, that in itself should be a crime. This Tim Wu has no clue what he is even talking about. He miss quoted Melissa and John and took things out of context. He then vilifies Melissa, with help from SVA (allegedly), as if she were Ms. Rowling’s pet. Melissa’s book is about the fandom of Harry Potter. She didn’t lift quotes directly from the books and if she did, I think she had the sense enough the cite them correctly! This entire article reeks of the media trying to start a war among the HP fans and I for one am more angered at the reporter than I am by anything that was allegedly said by anyone in the article itself. Mr. Wu needs a clue!!!!

Avatar Image says:

I am a pure theorist. I like to think about the future. I think the ground work has been laid for a SVA best seller. SVA calls the epiloge of Deathly Hallows the “crapaloge” at the HP Conference following the release of Deathly Hallows. SVA claims in his book that JKR decides to go after him for this comment. He and his researchers have compilied many months of gathered material from the forums where any critic who dared to give a negative review of Deathly Hallows was attacked by the fans of Leaky and Mugglenet. The fans are split over their like and dislike of Deathly Hallows. Ask Red Hen about the personal attacks against her for her dislike of the book.

He claims the lawsuit was because of his crapaloge comment and not his book. He claims JKR wanted to "put him in his place." He claims that JKR got her loyal fans(through Melissa and Emerson) to attack him. These attacks are documented with many months of negative attacks on him including the death threats, etc. Many of you might be quoted in this book. Since he still seems to have some regard for JKR, I'm probably wrong about him accusing JKR of being the evil Mastermind behind these attacks. If the editors have their way, however, this accusation will be made.

It doesn’t matter who wins the lawsuit, who is right or wrong, or even if the accusations are true or false, the press will love this book. I smell a SVA best Seller in the works. Of course I will probably be as wrong about this as I was with my Harry Potter theories.

Avatar Image says:

What better way can there be to get your name publicized than create controversy with misinformation. Seems the writers of these articles have been getting more attention than they could have ever dreamed of. Must fall under “no such thing as bad publicity”.

Avatar Image says:

SVA’s comments are stright on acurate. It is a great shame that so many are willing to blindly follow when their muse makes a mistake. Many major authers have come out in defence of SVA with good reason, and they understand this better than most as they are actual published writers. How many here can lay that claim.

Avatar Image says:

All SVA did was copy and paste, Melissa deserves her standing with jo

Avatar Image says:

“Melissa has done more to hurt me than Rowling,” Vander Ark said during a recess.

Does this mean we start talking about Vander Ark’s personal life and WHO has HURT WHOM the most??

sorry…I know….. inflamatory…..but….honestly.

Avatar Image says:

@paintball: That’s a very interesting theory. I can see it happening, too. (But, like you, I was wrong with lots of my Harry Potter theories…)

As others have pointed out, one of the strangest things about the New Yorker article is that it totally ignores the legal aspects of the dispute (despite being written by a law professor) and instead seems to support the narrative that paintball’s theory has Steve espousing: the story that Jo is suing him not because of the contents of his book but because he dared to raise himself to her level through his “sandbox” speech, etc. (Thence the central metaphor of the piece, with Jo as Athene, Melissa as her acolyte, and Steve as Ariadne.) Does this narrative have any reasonable basis at all? Did Jo know about the sandbox speech, etc., before deciding to sue?

Avatar Image says:

oops, oops, Arachne, not Ariadne. Sorry!

Avatar Image says:

ah, also I should stress that Jo is of course suing RDR and NOT suing Steve himself. But in the narrative of the New Yorker article, that’s a minor technicality.

Avatar Image says:

Is Mr. Wu trying to tell us that J.K. Rowling is a goddess?

(I’ve always used the name ‘Athena’ online, but this is cracking me up)

If the goddess Athena existed, I wonder what she’d think about this.

Avatar Image says:

It amazes me the way that, some of you are basically proving SVAs point about fansom. I mean, I keep hearing the same two points over and over:

1) VanderArk is an idiot for saying that Rowling is God to HP fans and Melissa is his prophet. 2) How DARE he speak that way about JKR and Melissa!!!!! Silence the infidel!!!!!!

In addition, he’s considered a horrible person for disrespecting the Sacred Writings (because he didn’t like the epilogue to DH? A lot of people didn’t like that. I did, but that’s just me), and for daring to disobey a Command from Above to cease and desist publication.

People, I don’t know Melissa, but I have to say everything I’ve heard gives me the idea that she’s intelligent and articulate enough to take care of herself. (The fact that she has published his allegation on her own website without comment suggests that she has a great deal more professional ethics, personal integrity, and self-confidence than VanderArk gives her credit for.) On the other hand, the way certain OTHER are reacting to some comments about her goes a long way towards proving his point about THEM.

And as for JKR—-after a decade of bad reviews from literary snobs, book burnings by American preachers, and probably a few disturbing letters form the cazy fans that every famous person gets) I think she can handle one disgruntled fan.

The point is, neither of these people needs the kind of defenders they’re getting on here.

If I were in his position, I would probably feel pretty abandoned as well. Of course, if it were me, I would never have BEEN in this position, because professional courtesy and a reasonable respect for JKR should have convinced me to stop publication when she asked him to. But the fact that he sees it differently does not make me hate the man. At this point, I feel very sorry for him.

Avatar Image says:

“SVA’s comments are stright on acurate. It is a great shame that so many are willing to blindly follow when their muse makes a mistake. Many major authers have come out in defence of SVA with good reason, and they understand this better than most as they are actual published writers. How many here can lay that claim.”

Posted by Myrth on May 06, 2008 @ 04:32 PM

I don’t know who’s “blindly following” here. Those of us support Jo because we believe she is right and RDR is wrong. It’s as simple as that. Frankly, I think those that simply just say “oh, you’re just saying that because you’re a lemming” are saying that because they have nothing better to support their argument than to say that ours is based on blind loyalty. How about those of you who seem to be on RDR/SVA’s side in this case and are calling us lemmings, tell us why you support them using legal reasons and not ad hominem? Then, maybe some actual discussion could be had. As of now, most people here are falling straight into the media’s trap to pit us against each other. It’s exactly what they want.

Avatar Image says:

How dare they! this Wu guy is a pernicious venimous snake! Not only do we have yet another respectable journal going for the easy story let’s all shed a tear for poor defenseless fan but they are dragging Melissa (and John) in it. I’m seriously starting to lose faith in journalism. What a cheap way of dirtying others. This is despicable, it’s disgusting to the nth degree, this is low and shameful.

I’m appalled, I can’t find enough adjectives to qualify this article but mostly SVA’s words. And on what planet is he living on? No smiles? WTF did he expect?

There is not one ounce of pity left for this [insert rude word of your choice] guy. He deserves it, he’s a shame to the fandom, he’s responsible for this ugly mess. SVA should grow up and see things as they are, actions have consequences. Deal with it (and see a shrink)

Avatar Image says:

“As others have pointed out, one of the strangest things about the New Yorker article is that it totally ignores the legal aspects of the dispute (despite being written by a law professor)”

There’s not much you can say about the law, though, as hours of discussion on here have demonstrated. We all know by now that the law is very murky and no one knows how the judge is going to rule. Most experts won’t even offer a suggestion as to how he SHOULD rule, because they have no idea, and the judge clearly didn’t want to HAVE to rule because HE had no idea what to do either.

Anybody who is a respected enough expert to get an article in the New Yorker probably does not want to send in 1500 words about how totally clueless everybody is, when that is in fact the whole truth of the case. Much more interesting to discuss the various personalities involved.

Avatar Image says:

[TO THOSE DOING NEGATIVE COMMENTARY EXPERIMENTS]

I would like to make a suggestion to those who are doing experiments about negative commentary, or who may be leaving Legal commentary as guidance on Harry Potter forums: For the most part, there is nothing that indicates that your OPINIONS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE, within appropriate guidelines, one would think. To those, such as Paintball (see commentary posted below) who claim to be Lawyers/Attorneys, mind yourselves of your Rules of Professional Conduct. Don’t disseminate legal information, and present it as truth, if you know full well a layperson can go to WestLaw, or the nearest Law Library, and find more information than what it is that you are providing. If you are a Lawyer, it seems that you wouldn’t leave a passing word like “Stalking” in your post, knowing full well the particular elements one has to prove to charge one with “Stalking.” If anything, those people who are leaving their opinions on other sites are “picketers,” prove that one wrong. And, put this commentary in your experiment.

Re: Comment posted by Paintball on May 05, 2008 @ 4:59 p.m. to the LeakyLounge: http://www.leakylounge.com/WB-JKR-vs-RDR-SVA-Part-X-t61643.html&st=50

“…some have a desire to find material for an unkind article they are intending to write. Don’t assume that everyone visiting this site are friends who think like you.”

“As a Criminal trial lawyer, I have to deal with the press on a very regular basis. You can do what you want, but I will tell you what I tell my clients who get a bad press release: Ignore it and it will die. Let it absorb you, comment on it, and make public statements, then the writer of the article is only laughing while he researches and complies a followup article twice as bad as the first. If a writer decides to go negative in his first article about you, he has already made up his mind how he feels. Nothing you say will change his mind, but you can give him an excuse for another article. My suggestion is : “Let it die.”

Re: Comment posted by Paintball on April 28, 2008 @ 5:13 p.m. to the article: “JKR

“The only comment I want to make is my observation that the fans on this site have developed a reputation of stalking any other site that says anything critical of JKR. Any time mutiple post in support of JKR start being posted on a critical blog it becomes apparent that the “Leaky Fans” have started their stalking. If people wanted to read your “JKR is wonderful, great, and always right” post they could come here and read to their hearts content. My suggestion is that you let these people state their opinion and quit stalking them. It is really kind of childish.”

Re: Comment posted by Paintball on May 06, 2008 @ 4:17 p.m.

“He and his researchers have compilied many months of gathered material from the forums where any critic who dared to give a negative review of Deathly Hallows was attacked by the fans of Leaky and Mugglenet.”

“These attacks are documented with many months of negative attacks on him including the death threats, etc. Many of you might be quoted in this book. Since he still seems to have some regard for JKR, I’m probably wrong about him accusing JKR of being the evil Mastermind behind these attacks. If the editors have their way, however, this accusation will be made. It doesn’t matter who wins the lawsuit, who is right or wrong, or even if the accusations are true or false, the press will love this book. I smell a SVA best Seller in the works. Of course I will probably be as wrong about this as I was with my Harry Potter theories.”

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, I know that I’m not the person you need to hear this from, but: I’m so sorry about all this.

Avatar Image says:

I have to agree Copperhead. When a friend sees something on a website that they don’t agree with, and that they feel strongly about, they share it with their other friends. And we often read and post our personal opinions and the conclusions we personally have come to in regards to the matter. No one is filling our minds with propaganda and then sending us marching orders to go fill up other websites’ post comments with our words. We comment because we feel passionate – for individual reasons. Yes I am a fan of J.K. Rowling’s work, and yes that has led me to spend a lot of time on Mugglenet back in 2004-2005, and then here on Leaky from 2005-present. And yes that I guess would label me a fan of the websites. I like accuracy and truth and kindness and humor and people who are nice and responsible, and I’ve chosen to spend my time discussing Jo’s books on those two websites.

But it’s unfair to box us into just a Leaky/Mugglenet fan. Those over the course of the years have sort of emerged as the two biggest Harry Potter websites, but we are all still complex, free-thinking individuals.

And most of us couldn’t get by for long (at least on the Leaky Lounge forums) if we were the type to attack people. We’ve learned for the most part to be respectful of others.

Avatar Image says:

I can understand why Steve is upset- he probably never thought this would be so brutal- and the entire fandom has pretty much turned against him. However, it seems like everyone is pitying him, the fan who tried to “mess with Athena”, and that the reason most of us support Jo is because she is “God”. After years of reading books calling for integrity is everyone, how can they possibly think that I would put aside my integrity to be a ‘puppet’? And that of the rest of us? It’s pretty annoying, actually.

Those comments about Melissa were uncalled for. Steve keeps saying how he doesn’t want this to get personal- well, then maybe someone shouldn’t be naming names and making it personal!

Avatar Image says:

This whole pity-party thing that SVA said in the New Yorker is really sad. He said something to the effect of, “Melissa has hurt me more than RDR? ” Who is he trying to convince of this? I think we have all seen the interviews he gave where he was quite comfortable talking out of the other side of his mouth. Now that things have gone south, it’s suddenly someone else’s comments that are hurtful to him?

I think JKR has been more than flexible with the fandom. She could have been like Anne Rice, but she allowed fans some freedom.

It also brings JD Salinger to mind—anyone see the movie ‘Heathers’? Brilliant movie if you enjoy satire. Anyway, Shannen Doherty’s character was reading Moby Dick and I never paid it much thought. Well, recently, I learned that the writers had wanted to use ‘Catcher in the Rye’ but they couldn’t get clearance for it. ‘Heathers’ would’ve been a completely different movie with the ‘Catcher in the Rye’ references, but since they couldnt get permission, they used Moby Dick.

My point is that just because you want to use someone else’s material, doesn’t mean you can. And most people seek out permission in the proper channels before they use it.

Avatar Image says:

OMG!!! How dare he go after Melissa. There is no comparison between her book and his. GRRRR!!!! I never used the lexicon, and now I never will. If I have to wait 20 years for the scottish book…..I WILL!! and I will be buying a copy of Melissa’s when it comes out too….WE LOVE YOU MELISSA!!

Avatar Image says:

Could people do accuracy a favor and stop talking about what “the fandom” thinks or what “the fandom” supports? There are diverse opinions about this issue in fandom, if not perhaps in your particular corner of it.

Avatar Image says:

@ steve-o Thanks! I laughed when I wrote it.

Avatar Image says:

Shame on SVA. I can’t think of anything more juvenile than his current behavior. We’re behind you, Melissa (and John and Sue, too, when your comments start to be used against you).

Avatar Image says:

At what cost fame, Steve? Reason has gone out the window and any hint of Steve acting like a polite, responsible adult is long gone. It’s shameful, really. And I, ever the grown-up, want to give him a swift kick in the nether regions. ;o)

Avatar Image says:

@Copperhead

I don’t know why, but I have wasted more time the last few days on the internet reading and making post then I have done in total the last year. Back when I did spent a lot of time on the different discussion forums I was only interested in theories. The shipping war among the fans didn’t interest me and I didn’t comment on a single thread devoted to that war. For some reason this SVA “fan war” does interest me. In my opinion there is a fan war going on. If you call telling this site that they are in a war “fanning the fire” so to speak then I am “Guilty as Charged.”

Avatar Image says:

my jaw is still on the floor. This makes me more sad than probably any thing i’ve heard about the trial so far. This isn’t a personal attack, its about copyright law.

Avatar Image says:

@ Paintball,

Then let there be a “gentleman’s war” between friends of differing and civilized opinion.

Best Wishes

Avatar Image says:

Meanwhile….amidst this distraction we’re missing the point: TIME Magazine just published an article calling Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight,etc., the new J.K. Rowling!!! I’m not saying I don’t have an unhealthy addiction to Meyer’s books, but they are hardly literature, whereas Rowling has created required reading material. Are we gonna let them say that?

Avatar Image says:

Come on.

This rediculus! Of course he has trashed his standing, yes the fandom hates him, and yes he is a lier, a cheat and a loser! with a capital L. SVA should do some good honest work ofr like, i dont know, a few hundred years, and then maybe Je MIGHT talk to him again. Comeplete and utter jerk, loser, and every bad name in the book.

and to go all Molly Weasly on you: Congratulations Melissa dear.

You deserve your standing with Jo. You rock and i would definitly read your book with YOUR thoughts.

Live, Love, Harry Potter, Jo, and Melissa!

Avatar Image says:

Bnickel you are totally right!

Avatar Image says:

Tim Wu’s own personal web page indicates he graduated from Harvard Law School. He even clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He may or may not be a “practicing” attorney anymore (being a professor at a law school does not require this). Anyone wanting to write an e-mail to him can do so by using the e-mail found on his personal page…

http://www.timwu.org/about.html

The following article has a lot of entertaining information about Mr. Wu.

http://www.observer.com/node/36285

Among the interesting parts, Tim Wu wants to be one of those popular law professors who is interviewed by the media about all sorts of controversies. He believes he can influence the law, including copyright rules, by “popularizing” issues. That way people can see through all the technical, legal arguments and get to the “right” answer, which is of course his own answer. After reading his New Yorker article, you can definitely see how he wants the “Potter” case to be decided.

I am sure the New Yorker will have to issue a correction because of Mr. Wu’s bit of “confusion” between Melissa and Sue…

Avatar Image says:

I am not in the least surprised by this bit of fluff; nor am I surprised by the comments by SVA that were quoted. The comments of SVA were taken at the time of the trial, before he had felt the overwhelming backlash of the fandom.

While I think the things that SVA has said are loathsome, I’d be interested to hear his comments post trial. I truly believe the guy has become unhinged. He was sitting in a courtroom testifying and seeking the eye of JKR? For a nod of approval? Delusional is the only word I can use. He seriously needs some mental health assistance.

I think he deluded himself to believing that he had become such a BDD in the fandom, that any action he took would be received at his word. I think he deluded himself into believing he was so important to JKR that she would hire him. I think he deluded himself into thinking that his David and Goliath story would win points in the media. One out of three is likely not a happy bedfellow. If I was mean and sarcastic (which I am) I might suggest a fund be set up to buy a lifetime supply of pacifiers for SVA.

As I have commented previously in other news posts, I fail at finding even a morsel of pity for SVA; he’s brought this on his own shoulders.

Avatar Image says:

OH my freakin’ god. I’m so sorry Melissa, yet again we’ve received a grossly misinformed and immaturely written article. How dare Steve say those things, too…this is getting worse and worse. : ( Maybe if Steve actually contributed some of his intellect to his book, rather than taking 91 freaking % of Jo’s, he wouldn’t be in this effing situation! The jealous Lockhart-a-like! He makes me so MAD!

Avatar Image says:

Oh, waaaaaah, Steve! Could you play “poor me” a little bit longer? Jo is okay with Melissa’s book because she’s apparently going to be doing some actual writing rather than copying and he has the cajones to make a comment about how he’s no longer in Jo’s good graces? Spare us the melodrama, Steve! I have actually never been to Steve’s site because when I heard it was basically a dictionary I figured that would be kind of boring. Now, I’m sure I haven’t missed a thing.

Avatar Image says:

Jessie: Lockhart-a-like! Ha! That’s funny, as well as being accurate! :)

Avatar Image says:

I think that most of these writers are too blind to realize that SVA wasn’t all that popular even BEFORE this controversy! The man was a pompous fool who thought he was a God of all things Harry Potter when he doesn’t know much more than the average Leaky viewer! Unlike the people who work to run real, interactive fansite sites, all this guy has done from the start was collect HP information from the books and outside contributors to bolster his own reputation!

And making jabs at Melissa only shows me that this man will say pretty much anything to get sympathy from members of the public who perhaps don’t understand the HP community as well.

Avatar Image says:

That pathetic excuse for a fan is attacking Melissa now? How immature. “Rowling is God and Melissa is her prophet?” Honestly. It’s surprising that anyone can take his side.

Avatar Image says:

”...Tim Wu wants to be one of those popular law professors who is interviewed by the media about all sorts of controversies. He believes he can influence the law, including copyright rules, by “popularizing” issues. That way people can see through all the technical, legal arguments and get to the “right” answer, which is of course his own answer.” Posted by arthurh on May 06, 2008 @ 09:24 PM

“If I was mean and sarcastic (which I am) I might suggest a fund be set up to buy a lifetime supply of pacifiers for SVA.” Posted by PB&J Rules on May 06, 2008 @ 09:31 PM

“I think that most of these writers are too blind to realize that SVA wasn’t all that popular even BEFORE this controversy!” Posted by Belle on May 06, 2008 @ 09:46 PM

I just had to reprint those three quotes as they are three of the funniest (and true) quotes I have read since this debate started. LOL clapping my hands. Classic, classic stuff.

Avatar Image says:

Several Diverse Points:

First off, I would like to clarify that I am not, and never have been a fan of SVA or RDR books. If SVA actually made the comments as printed in this article, he lost the little bit of respect I had for him. Having said that, on to my points:

Tim Wu is not actually with the New Yorker magazine, as this posting seems to imply. Rather, he’s a copyright professor at Columbia Law School. The article he wrote was PUBLISHED in the New Yorker, certainly, but that doesn’t mean that he’s OF the New Yorker. If you’re going to rake others over the coals for not being accurate, perhaps you should be a bit more careful with your own words. If I hadn’t know already who Tim Wu was, I’d have thought by reading the beginning of this post that he was employed by the New Yorker.

No one but SVA and his former school actually know why he was asked to leave his position. Please don’t be so quick to assume that he fudged his credentials. It’s silly to jump to conclusions when you don’t know all the facts. It also might leave you open to a lawsuit for libel. (Not very likely, but possible.)

Finally, is there a way to read the comments here without having to scroll down past the main article for each page? If there is, I haven’t been able to find it, and I’m getting a bit tired of scrolling past the article on every page of comments.

Avatar Image says:

Yeah they should write Tim Wu FOR the new yorker instead of “of.” yeah,t hat’s the same thing as misquoting someone in an inflammatory fashion. exact same thing. eyeroll.

Avatar Image says:

Kristin,

Thanks for changing the wording at the beginning of the post. Hopefully, it will help avoid any confusion.

Avatar Image says:

Well, since there are 13 pages to this I am certain no one will actually read all of what I am saying, but I would like to join in the venting of the frustration that is SVA.

@Belle agreed, before this suit I didn’t even know what SVA stood for or what it was, I thought the Lexicon was a website of fans collaborating on piecing together all of the information from the series. I thought that because it was so poorly organized and put togther, I am sorry I work with procedures for a living and organization is just a huge neurosis of mine. I thought some kids were putting it together, so I discerned what I could of some of the character build up for a day and I never returned to the site. I find the fans at Leaky to be far more helpful, but I am sure others utilized the website far more than I.

Additionally the professors at the univerisities, such as Stanford who is supporting SVA, and now Columbia are usually quite liberal, I am actually more liberal than conservative so hear me out, therefore their opinions on this piece are already biased and should be read as such. In general, the professors usually vouch for anything that will give more freedoms to literary writings and naturally than oppose anything that would constitute an impingement of said freedoms. Any professor who tells you different is a liar, statistical speaking that’s how they see it.

Furthermore, don’t rule out that their personal statements will obviously receive a lot of readings from fans, with which prior to their brief affiliation of HP we wouldn’t even know who they were. Don’t mention a thumbs up to another university such as Stanford could benefit their university or themselves.

And in regards to SVA I’ve really tried to be respectful, but I think it’s best if the lawsuit gets settled and SVA sees a mental health professional. He seems unbalanced and clutching to anyother world that doesn’t remind him of reality. And c’mon who here wasn’t captivated by the HP series. And JKR as God, perhaps, he needs to re-read the series and it’s religious affiliations. Does JKR have a lot of pull, yes, someone with billions of dollars and best selling novels generally do. But at least she has given us a positive role model, as have the trio of the film HP, I mean how often do we get that type? Poor JKR one mention of religion in your books and everyone writes that you think of yourself as a god.

Avatar Image says:

@iamminerva

Just my two cents about the Lexicon website: Because I’m a Potter fan who loves to hash over the details of the books with my sister (and online), I’ve found the Lexicon website to be an awesome resource. It’s not meant to be read like a novel: it’s a reference tool. You use it when you want to remember what Fleur’s parents’ names are, or whether or not we know that Stan Shunpike went to Hogwarts, or how old Viktor Krum is, or how to pronounce “Pius Thicknesse,” or whatever. So, I think the website is really useful, and impressively detailed. But if you’re not the kind of fan who often comes up with questions like that, then it probably won’t do too much for you. (The proposed book is another matter entirely, because not everything on the website made it into the book.)

Avatar Image says:

Sorry…corrections I meant infringement and instead of “Don’t” I meant Not to…lol I am tired.

Also my comments about SVA are not in regards to this article but previous ones and some of his statements he has made regarding the fan community. Additionally, an article stated previous to HP he was enwrapped in Star Trek…not that it’s bad or anything, there’s a fan and there’s obsessive bordering on loss of reality. As has been documented by some lone crazed fans attacking their idols, others suing for outrageous claims, and it’s similar to a disorder that children who play too many videogames for too long out of the day exhibit. So please don’t take this as inflammatory, I sincerely believe he needs to see someone, because I think he shows some of these warning symptoms.

Avatar Image says:

Well, I have used the Harry Potter Lexicon website and I still do !! Does that make me a lesser HPfan?? I like the HP books, I like Mrs Rowling, the author of the books, but I do not love Mrs Rowling, as a person, I do not know her, so why should I have to love her?? Does that make me a lesser HPfan?? It took me more than a month to read the first HPbook in english, because I needed a dictionnary translating English to Dutch, and no HPbook in Dutch translation was already available at that time. When the Lexicon was created a few years later, to me it was a great help. This lawsuit is all about copyrights, but that is not what I have read in most of the postings here about this trial. Most people here say, that Rowling should win this lawsuit, afterall she spent several years to create it , she has the right to protect her HPworld. But what I do not understand is : why did she sell her precious world to Warner Bross? Why all the merchandizing?? Why the theme parc?? The Lexibook and the Scottish book are two completely different books, the first is a dictionary , the second is an encyclopedia, there is room for both. And for those who believe nothing will change for those writing fanfics if WB and JKR win, think twice!! Have you all allready forgotten WB wanted websites with registrated domainnames taken from the HPworld to be returned to them?? Maybe Mrs Rowling wants fansites to remain, does WB wants that too?? And what about the warning Mrs Rowling gave us in an interview after her testomony at the trial in case she should loose ?? Perhaps no Scottish book at all ! Is that fair in regard to the HPfans all over the world?

Avatar Image says:

@HPfanBelgium:

I don’t know if you listen to PotterCast, but in last week’s episode they answered a question from a listener about what WB might do. Basically, the conclusion was that they wouldn’t dare try that again as they received such bad PR. Also, they have enough bad PR with the suit, so they won’t try anything like that. Now, as for other creators, who knows?

Avatar Image says:

@ copperhead “On the other hand, it would be rather annoying if you drilled a water well and laid a driveway across my property, then tried to encourage me that it is somehow useful to me as well.” “Revised version of Harry Potter years 1-7” So beautifully articulated, this is exactly the points I was trying to make, and how hilarious to boot.

@Trosa leave prophet, god, infidel out of the argument it’s too heated and takes away from the actually meaning of your argument. If you want to use those words, I recommended backing it up with proof or an example of what you mean. Additionally I think the reason, at least what I’ve gathered from posters, is their lashing out at someone who not only lashed out at JKR, but to the entire fandom in general…as if we are Jo’s Army that works at her will. I think we have every right to discuss it, however, I do believe somethings are getting far too heated and if you are arguing a point please back it up with some proof…and I do this doesn’t suffice unless like Elizabeth you can start taking apart some of the legal terms and dumming it down for us simple folk.

Also to the multiple posters who have stated that we “fandom” in general shouldn’t make comments about these things, because we aren’t authors ourselves. 1) Being author doesn’t mean you know more about copyright than we do. 2) And what have you done lately that deludes you into believing your opinion matters more than mine, or anyone elses, and that you are the one who thinks apart, individualistically, from the rest of the fandom.

@HPfanBelgium hello: Agreed about the fan park and WB, my boyfriend actually works for them and I am telling you it’s like Disney they are business monsters. However to respect their job, it’s to sell their characters for as much as they can pinch us for, and their not holding a gun to my head to make me go or increasing taxes to pay for the construction. So, basically, I actually want the theme park…it looks like it could be quite fantastic. Additionally JKR sold some character rights, but she still retains full control over how they are used, for what purpose, etc, etc…that’s why JKR sits in meetings with the Producers/Screenwriters/Directors, because she has the authority of a producer if she wants something added it’s added, removed from script it’ll be done…Kreacher with OoTP is an example. To sell all her rights would have been foolish, as WB could have done whatever they wanted to with the name Harry Potter. WB is also acting, by contract, as her legal protection. Just as JKR said in the stand some books were approved by “her” people, but she never read the book, that’s because they act on her behalf, she’s entrusted them with her legal affairs regarding Harry Potter. JKR is named within the lawsuit, because she still has rights to Harry Potter. If any of this doesn’t make sense let me know, because I made my boyfriend repeat it multiple times when all this started so I understood what all of it meant…he can back it up with resources, but I trusted him to tell me, so I don’t know them off the top of my head. So in answer to your question about WB restricting fansites, no, they have no legal barring whatsoever; JKR could have if had chosen to originally. That’s the issue is what was once allowed on-line allowed for distribution for profit, the lexicon website.

Moreover, JKR was making a statement on the first day of trial how distraught she was over the Lexicon, because the lawyers had brought up that they were once friendly. JKR stated that she has had difficulty writing because of this tension and she didn’t want to force the material, she stated something in regards to inhibiting her creative mind. JKR didn’t turn to the judge and say if he wins then I’m not writing my “scottish book.” Don’t worry, she has lots of information saved up, I’m sure sooner or later we will see something. And it’s not if there’s room for both of the books, it’s if one of the books is profitting off of the work another, and what has to be proven in court is that SVA/RDR knew of the planned companion book and whether or not a planned companion book is sufficient enough to meet the fair use criteria. JKR’s not just protecting herself she’s protecting all creative writers from such infringements of use, and protecting the fans from purchasing something that ought to have remained free. Hope that helps, if it needs clarifying let me know, as I’m rambling.

In all honesty, even if the Lexicon book is allowed and published I will make a movement within my school and bookstores to ensure that they don’t have it available, and I will never ever buy it. It not only ripped off JKR, it would rip off the fans that helped make it.

Avatar Image says:

Jealousy. That is all that is needed to lash out on Melissa. The trial is not about any other fan but mister VanderArk himself. And the fact that he has made himself unpopular with this trial, has nothing to do with Melissa or anyone from TLC.

Avatar Image says:

@Ginny :

Thank you for your kind explanation. . I understand Mrs Rowling wants to protect her creation, to me that is a normal reaction. By trying to read the HP books, I was forced to learn english, so I am gratefull to Mrs Rowling and I thank her for it. But I also thank the HPLexicon, because due to the Lexicon I had better understanding of the HP world created by Mrs Rowling. You should know that a lot of the typical atmosphere Mrs Rowling created in her books is lost in the dutch translated books, as not only the story is translated but also most of the names of persons, places, spells and so on. The Lexicon is just a dictionnary, due to the explanation given for the different names , I understood better the atmosphere Mrs Rowling wanted to create, off course every word explained , is a word belonging to the HPworld, and maybe it is not useful to you, native english speaking HPfans, but it is to others and to my knowledge it is the only in his kind at the moment. That is why I do not understand why Mrs Rowling is so against the Lexibook . People , here at the site are talking about a simple “cut and paste” , but I have to say, it is really more than that. And off course, it is not 100% accurate, but there are also mistakes in the original HP book. I also think it is not possible to write a HP dictionnary without quoting the original . Anyway, I find this lawsuit a very sad thing to have happened, what ever the judge may decide, there will be no winner, people who used to share the same passion are now calling each other names. And why do have the feeling that we own this situation to WB?? Why do I have the feeling WB dragged Mrs Rowling on a path she did not want to go ??

Avatar Image says:

The Harry Potter Lexicon was the first Harry Potter website I ever discovered and yet, I’ve never seen Steve as this important part of the fandom. I would only attribute the quasi-celebrity status to certain staff of Mugglenet and Leaky.

Was I under a rock or something?

Avatar Image says:

I’ll preface my post by saying I know nothing about the finer points of law – and also, though I’ve been following the case from the beginning on Leaky and have read a lot of the comments, I haven’t read them all – so I may end up repeating what someone else said, and if so, I apologize.

It seems to me that once a book does not give commentary or analysis, it is no longer a book “about” Harry Potter, but as an encyclopedia or lexicon, it is a book that would “represent” Harry Potter. So, as something that would represent the Harry Potter series, having had to use so many direct quotes, it seems like it should fall into some new category – not just be argued over whether it falls into fair use, because without the original content, it doesn’t seem to fit that category.

Has anyone brought up that, other than books, all Harry Potter merchandise has to be licensed? So when something, even a book – so long as it does not give a significant amount of commentary or analysis, wishes to represent Harry Potter and be marketed to the public, shouldn’t it be subject to licensing like any other product?

I guess that’s what I don’t quite understand… why people can still argue that the lexicon book in its current form can be fair use – when so much of its content is made up of direct quotes. I can see how it could be used as a reference, but that alone doesn’t seem to make it eligible to be published without permission from the copyright holders, when there is not a significant amount of new material provided by SVA. The book is not “about” Harry Potter – it “is” Harry Potter as it is material straight from the original books. So, though there could be worth in the Lexicon book, it seems like something that needs to be licensed in order to be sold.

Just my thoughts – not taking much in the way of law into it.

Avatar Image says:

I too used the lexicon periodically to remind myself about a tidbit here or there. Unfortunately, after finding a few inaccuracies I decided I was better served finding it on my own. As a librarian SVA is mildly adequate. He alphabetizes and categorizes fairly well. He needs to do a little more study into ALA (American Library Association) standards in re: attribution.

As to Mr. Wu: He should do a little more research in Bullfinch. SVA is more Narcissus than Arachne. He made the mistake of falling in love with his own reflection. Unfortunately, he has no Echo to pine for him.

Mr. Wu should also have done a little more research on the subject of Melissa’s book. He would have clearly seen that there is no comparison between the two. He should also have listened to the Pottercast more closely…he too could use a lesson in attribution. But perhaps that was not the purpose of his article?

Avatar Image says:

Some people seem to be forgetting that this case is first and foremost a copyright case. As such, shouting slogans like ,,traitor” ,,betrayer” and ,,he/she is not a real fan” doesn’t really matter. What matters is what is legal and what is not, and what the judge will decide.

Personal opinion: The Lexicon is a very useful site, I’ve used it many times before and will do so in the future. Frankly I don’t give a damn whether it’s run by SVA, Jo or Frankeinstein as long as it remains reliable. It is (mostly) true that the Lexicon doesn’t have any creative/original ideas in it. But the sheer amount of time and effort spent on developing the site, so it would encompass the HP world, should be expected.

I don’t agree with Jo’s statement that SVA is stealing her life’s work. Everyone knows what the Lexicon book would be about and no one is going to attribute it to Jo. Jo won’t loose any money on this, in my opinion, because no one is going to refrain from buying her lexicon once they’ve bought SVA’s.

Another thought: until now Jo was pretty quiet about copyright problems- fanfic, sites, other books. Suddenly she seems to be very worried, given a favourable verdict for her I can only wonder what the next target will be… Leaky? Mugglenet? FanFiction.net? I don’t believe popular protest would worry WB at all.

SVA’s comments about Melissa were rude and false, no respect for this. But some comments that fans are making about SVA are equally rude. People shouldn’t get so excited about something even though they are ,,real HP fans”. If Melissa is as intelligent as she seems to be she wont get angry over something like this.

Lastly: the HP community in the past years has been an island of serenity so to speak. Now it is replaced by an angry mob. Is any debate worth this?

Avatar Image says:

@kael123

Jo is upset because, in theory, if the lexibook went unchallenged it is not outside the realm of possibility that when the Scottish book is published SVA could SUE HER for copyright infringement. The librarians I work with find this concept quite intriguing.

Avatar Image says:

I am simultaneously eagerly anticipating and totally dreading the judge’s decision on this suit. Given that the one thing everyone can agree on is that the law is murky, I feel there is a huge chance the judge is going to in essence create new law somehow to support his decision. And even then, the judge said reversals are so common that no matter what he thinks, an appeals court may think the exact opposite.

So if the judge winds up deciding for RDR, all the fair use people will be celebrating, and then what? A year later an appeals court reverses the decision and all the copyright people are celebrating. I side with JKR, but I think the Lexicon would be okay with stringent quotation and citation as well as some analytical essays thrown in. This would in my opinion make the Lexicon more like the Cliffs Notes that everyone keeps comparing it to.

In truth, I am intentionally removing myself further and further from any emotional investment in the decision because I know it is such a coin flip and likely to be reversed.

Avatar Image says:

sva just needs a girlfriend and a life… i mean we all like harry potter, but i think he’s kind of lost touch with reality here…

Avatar Image says:

Ok, if Steve really is a Harry Potter fan than he wouldn’t have attacked Melissa in the newspaper. And another thing, Melissa’s book is a commentary on the series as a whole and Steve’s book is just using all of Jk Rowling’s work. Melissa, like Athena said, we’re all here for you.

Avatar Image says:

@Çathy:

Tim Wu is a copyright professor so he is (like myself) a lawyer. He isn’t writing about the possibility that this case could result in RDR suing JKR for copyright infringement for her encyclopedia because that could not happen. A win for RDR means that The Lexicon book is fair use, not that it is entitled to its own copyright protection. Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, but when an allegedly infringing work is deemed to fall under the fair use doctrine, it does not mean that work automatically is entitled to copyright potection; that is a whole different matter with different legal standards.

If RDR wins, JKR’s encyclopedia is not at risk. The Scottish book is a derivative work of her original works (the HP books) to which she has rights as the author and WB has rights as the licensee. The many rights associated with IP can be confusing so I can see why some people might think this could happpen, but copyright law is not that nonsensical.

@mollywobbles:

I didn’t call anyone lemmings, but I don’t see how one can interpret TLC’s reporting to be non-bias when the main reporter covering the story submitted evidence to the plaintiff.

Also I still see 2 comments about Steve’s personal life up here which were not deleted: 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.

Avatar Image says:

@Shelli

The librarians you work with are not lawyers and copyright law is a specialized complicated branch of an specialized complicated area of law (intellectual property). If RDR wins, all it means is that The Lexicon book is infringing, but it is an acceptable form of infringement that is allowable under the doctrine of fair use. When something is deemed to be fair use, it does not mean that something is entitled to its own copyright protection. SVA could not (and probably never would even if he could) sue JKR for publication of the Scottish book.

The only thing in The Lexicon which may be eligible for its own copyright protection are the timelines. So if JKR just copied the timelines word for word into her encylopedia theoretically SVA could sue her, but he would first have to register the copyright and I doubt he would win the case ultimately. I also doubt he would bring the case. Remember who is the plaintiff here: JKR and WB. The defendant is RDR and Steve is just a witness.

See my post above which addresses the same issue. I don’t like to be double posting, but I just hate seeing incorrect legal information being spread. IF RDR WINS, SVA CANNOT SUE JKR FOR PUBLISHING THE SCOTTISH BOOK.

Avatar Image says:

This is one of the most biased and innacurate pieces of journalism I’ve ever seen. By taking that story of Athena and the seamstress, he’s clearly insinuating the Rowling is simply “jealous” of Vander Ark for being better than her. He can’t be better than her when he’s simply doing whatever she did sloppily.

Also, the whole way he portrays Melissa and Jo as evil is just ridiculous. Really, where was the editor. This is the “reputable” New Yorker.

What’s sad though, is the number of people who will read that and think that SVA is the underdog being walked all over and everyone loves the underdog.

Avatar Image says:

Re: Comment posted by akemi42 on May 7th, 2008 @ 11:15 a.m.

“Also I still see 2 comments about Steve’s personal life up here which were not deleted: 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.” (“akemi42”)

From a surreal, shock-value standpoint, I am very much inclined to agree with “akemi42” when he notes those “personal” statements left to another article, because they need to be read with a spoon full of sugar.

On the other hand, what are the “weighing” effects of “personal” information given by: 1.) Someone “privy” to the situation, 2.) Who may be telling the “truth” (which could be proven by evidence from the privileged person), 3.) Who splices the “personal” provable (or not provable) information with her own opinion.

Such information could easily be read as journalism, where “personal” information, is combined with editorial opinion.

Yet, no matter how much I want to differ with “akemi42,” How are we readers, and fans, able to “prove” the information that is purported to be “truth”? It would require much more than we are allowed to infer, I am afraid; with all due respect, of course.

Avatar Image says:

I’m not well educated about laws in the world, so I’ll just throw in a thought: The way I understood it, the concept of Fair Use is strictly American. There is something called “Fair Dealing” in the UK but that’s not the same (it’s much more restrictive).

Could it be possible that, even if RDR wins the case, publication in other countries won’t be possible?

And by the way, the thing about WB “targeting” one of the fansites next is just unnecessary panic. They’ve tried once and retreated, likely because of “popular protest”.

Avatar Image says:

As a former journalist (I’m now a teacher), I can tell you first hand that the New Yorker article is actually typical journalism. It’s very rare that anyone is actually given the time to research ANYTHING, so they take what someone has told them and run with it. It’s a very emotionally driven profession where everyone has an opinion and a cause and believes that their opinion can change the world. Yeah, it’s kind of like teaching but teaching has to deal with the consequences of what they did yesterday.

I know most people hate Rush Limbaugh but I do find his description of the media very correct – “the drive-by media”. They swing by grab some “facts” and put it out there to tintilate everyone. The actual phase the media uses is “flash and trash”. Unfortunately, that’s what sells/increases viewership so that’s what they got with. I hated the mentality so much that I got out.

So I am not one little tiny bit surpised by the article or the uproar I can guarantee it was intended to cause. My word of warning to you all is that you can expect almost everything you read/hear in the news to be just like this. I have some wonderful lessons that I teach my classes where they get to see first hand just how skewed reporting can be and how you need to get a variety of different sources (rather than everyone just using AP) in order to get a clearer picture of what reality may be.

Thank you Leaky for being one of those sources for the Harry Potter world.

Avatar Image says:

Hello.

@ Akemi42 and Copperhead

Melissa stopped reporting on the case officially as soon as her evidence was brought into court. http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2008/4/16/jkr-wb-vs-rdr-books-trial-testimony (A note from Melissa regarding this is near the bottom of the article). Also, if you listen to Pottercast, she also refrains from reporting on the case – and only makes personal comments, for this reason.

Also, after much deliberation, the comments of a personal nature were allowed to remain in the comments as Melissa stated that a person is able to talk about their own life, which is very different than someone talking about another person’s life. Also, she (Melissa) closed the comments as she didn’t think the direction that they were taking was serving anyone’s purpose. Please see the (long, sorry) link below: 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/9

Too all people from both sides making balanced, civilized comments, I congratulate you. (You know who you are.) ;)

Jill

Avatar Image says:

@copperhead:

I think all of the personal issues are irrelevant to fair use which is the issue here.

@ Campusanis:

You bring up a really good point!

I am a US trained lawyer currently working on an assignment in Europe with both British and Dutch IP lawyers. I have asked them about how this would work out under their legal systems and received a really varied degree of answers. Copyright is just as complicated all over the world.

Just pulling some info from my law schools days, one interesting difference is that European countries tend to recognize a concept called moral rights. Moral rights include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. These generally are not recognized in the US except in the case of certain visual works.

I am not sure how they would apply in this case, but I think it would definitely complicate the situation.

Avatar Image says:

“The only thing in The Lexicon which may be eligible for its own copyright protection are the timelines. So if JKR just copied the timelines word for word into her encylopedia theoretically SVA could sue her, but he would first have to register the copyright and I doubt he would win the case ultimately. I also doubt he would bring the case.” Posted by akemi42 on May 07, 2008 @ 11:23 AM

SVA already has brought this up. He and RDR sent a letter to WB last fall accusing them of infringing on SVA’s copyright regarding the timeline, demanding financial compensation which would then be split between RDR and SVA. During the trial, JKR stated on the stand that the amount that they asked for amounted to more than what she earned with her first three novels.

Avatar Image says:

What nerve. You can say, “This is a copyright case, remember!” all you want, and it’s true; but that was a low, unnecessary blow to Melissa. It will not help Steve Vander Ark’s case, and it will get him no sympathy, I can guarantee it. At least, I can guarantee no sympathy from me; the rest of the fans seem rather against his comment as well, though. It seems like a wild swing, hoping to hit some chord of understanding from the fandom. But he should know that aiming at Melissa Anelli - someone who has built this site up and let us all talk about the case like we are - will get him no where.

Avatar Image says:

Here is RDR/SVA’s cease and desist letter to WB regarding the timeline, cut and pasted directly from the trial transcript exhibit:

“Dear Mr. Meyer, as publishers of the print version of Steven Vander Ark’s popular international Web site the Harry Potter Lexicon, we represent Mr. Vander Ark in matters of subsidiary rights to the content of the Lexicon…. Regarding the countless millions of copies the Harry Potter DVDs that have been and will be sold all over the world, you will surely agree that it is only fair and just that he receive acknowledgment and tangible rewards for his contribution.”

I’ll also add that SVA has posted on the Lexicon website that everything on there is copyrighted to him, and warning viewers to not steal his work.

Avatar Image says:

@akemi42

Thank you for your expertise regarding the trial. The only reason I brought up the matter of JKR’s future HP works being at risk should the Lexicon be allowed to be published is because the topic appears in the trial documents during JKR’s questioning and seemed to be a possibility. Your reasoning is far more sensible.

Regarding my comments about Tim Wu’s article for the New Yorker was that he is extremely qualified to comment on the trial irregardless of which side he would like to support but chose to shoot a little lower. Although I’m guessing that an article about the mundane details of the trial would never have caught the attention that this one did.

@ Cat

Well said, too true and so very sad.

Avatar Image says:

@mollywobbles:

“I didn’t call anyone lemmings, but I don’t see how one can interpret TLC’s reporting to be non-bias when the main reporter covering the story submitted evidence to the plaintiff.

Also I still see 2 comments about Steve’s personal life up here which were not deleted: 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.”

Posted by akemi42 on May 07, 2008 @ 11:15 AM

I know you didn’t call anyone lemmings, akemi42, so if you don’t fall into the group “those of you calling us lemmings” don’t worry about it. I never said you did.

And as has been stated many times before, once Melissa’s email from Steve was submitted she stopped taking notes, even though there’s no statute saying she had to. That’s why since then, the person reporting news about the trial has been Kristen, someone who has never known Steve. I’d call that unbiased.

As for the comments, you’re right, they were reposted. If you look at page nine of those comments, you read why and see that comments were eventually closed. Apparently it was Steve’s wife who said those things and I have to agree with Melissa’s assessment that one can talk about their own personal life if they so wish. It just so happened Brenda’s overlapped with Steve’s.

Avatar Image says:

“If RDR wins, JKR’s encyclopedia is not at risk. The Scottish book is a derivative work of her original works (the HP books) to which she has rights as the author and WB has rights as the licensee. The many rights associated with IP can be confusing so I can see why some people might think this could happpen, but copyright law is not that nonsensical.” Posted by akemi42 on May 07, 2008 @ 11:15 AM

Sorry to keep posting short little messages- should have held off on hitting “post” until I was sure I was done!

I’m confused by this statement, however. Akemi seems to be stating this as a definite fact, that SVA cannot sue JKR for copyright infringement in regards to the encyclopedia. However, JKR’s attornies presented this possibility during the trial. The court seemed open to the possibility, and RDR’s lawyer Mr. Hammer’s only objection to this line of questioning was that it was regarding a settlement that wasn’t necessarily a part of this case (in regards to the timeline “infringement”).

Below I’ve pasted the snippet of the transcript that shows the Court asking Ms. Cendali to clarify why she is pursuing questioning about the timeline issue, and when she explains the concern that SVA will then turn and sue JKR over the encyclopedia, the Court allows it. Why would that be, if it is as clear cut a situation as Akemi suggests? Why wouldn’t Mr. Hammer object, or bring up this apparent fact later during the trial, perhaps in the closing statements?

” Mr. Vander Ark has refused to settle the action. We have not worked out the settlement against RDR. Mr. Vander Ark is still pressing his claim, and our reference to it here is not from the point of view of the merits of the claim. The reference to it here is an illustration of part of the harm that Ms. Rowling feels as a writer that she will in fact be sued by Mr. Vander Ark. The exhibit number—

THE COURT: All right.”

I’m certainly not a lawyer, though, so maybe I’m missing something here? It just seems that this area of copyright is much less concrete than Akemi has presented it here, if it’s being brought up in the courtroom. Unless Cendali isn’t aware of this, which I have a hard time imagining that WB and JKR can’t afford competent representation.

Avatar Image says:

You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Avatar Image says:

“You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Posted by DEEPIKA on May 07, 2008 @ 02:27 PM “

Um, didn’t someone already say this a while back? Is this the SVA supporter form comment?

Avatar Image says:

“You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Posted by DEEPIKA on May 07, 2008 @ 02:27 PM “

The lawsuit could hardly have hit him by surprise – RDR and SVA got plenty of requests to cease and desist on the plan to publish the book prior to the case being taken to court. He’s hitting out at the very people that made his site a sucess in the first place – the fans.

The fact that Jo has given her blessing to Melissa’s book speaks volumes – Jo is quite happy for books to be written that discuss and review her original work and characters, but she objects to plagerism. And who can blame her?

Avatar Image says:

This type of article is just infuriating. I literally just listed to the Pottercast discussing the trial last night, and Wu’s facts are so slanted. Some facts are just wrong. It’s a good thing the article wasn’t open to comments.

Avatar Image says:

I am firmly on the side of SVA and RDR. While we all love the books and J.K.Rowling, we can’t delude ourselves into just believing whatever comes from her mouth. I am sick of the worship; she is a human being and has no right, currently, to stop SVA’s book being published. There is simply no chance she will win this case, and RDR is going to win by a landslide. Consider simular trials; most have been won by the “RDRs” of those cases.

People need to get a grip on reality with this case.

Avatar Image says:

Oh, come one, Mollywobbles. “SVA supporter form”? All the bullying makes my stomach hurt, and what is it – ten? twenty? – comments supporting (or being neutral to) SVA/RDR out over 280?

I just wish that everyone would please try to remember that SVA is real, not fictional, and that he disagrees with one of your favourite authors on a couple of things. He hasn’t killed anyone, for Pete’s sake.

I sure hope he’s staying away from these pages. I can’t imagine how all these mean, spiteful comments would affect me, if I were in his position. Even if you have a disagreement with someone you thought you had reason to trust, even if you are right, and the other person is to blame, this is not the way to behave.

Avatar Image says:

sorry, out of, not out over.

Darn this lacking editing.

Avatar Image says:

Bullying? Pointing out that they said almost exactly, if not exactly, what someone else said? What else am I supposed to think other than it’s a comment box form letter?

Avatar Image says:

@ elvine,

you’re totally right, he “hasn’t killed anyone, for Pete’s sake.” ...but i look at what he’s doing as very petty, uncreative, and nothing short of stealing. you’re right to say that everyone ought to keep this in perspective, but if it were my work he was re-writing and publishing for profit, i’d feel incredibly violated. wouldn’t anyone?

Avatar Image says:

cheers, mollywobbles

Avatar Image says:

Mollywobbles: It’s not as if the same arguments (for and against, mostly against, RDR/SVA) hasn’t been repeated over and over again in comments regarding this case. Why do you find it provoking now?

No, you weren’t bullying anyone by pointing that out, of course. What I meant was that there are severe bullying going on at this site at this moment, and that is wrong no matter how angry or let down anyone might feel.

Avatar Image says:

Sean wrote:

if it were my work he was re-writing and publishing for profit, i’d feel incredibly violated. wouldn’t anyone?

No, I don’t think I would. Apparently not all authors would either, as we have seen in previous news posts. I understand that some people would, though. And that is their right, and it is also their right to defend those views.

I find bullying and destructive group mentality the lowest, worst kind of human social interaction. That is violating, to humanity. We are better than that.

Avatar Image says:

Elvine,

It was the exact same thing as this (on the first page):

“You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Posted by Diaperchangindaddy on May 05, 2008 @ 09:26 PM “

“You have to be fair and remember that we all probably frequented his site in its hey-day. Don’t kick him while he’s down – the lawsuit probably hit him as a total surprise and he’s got his reasons for defending it. He put a lot of work into what he did. An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rowling’s going to win, but don’t turn Steve into a villain just because in this one thing he’s in a disagreement with your favorite author.

Posted by DEEPIKA on May 07, 2008 @ 02:27 PM “

Those aren’t just the same points. They’re the exact same words.

Avatar Image says:

Elvine,

Bullying goes both ways. It seems to me everyone is so quick to point out any negative comments about Steve, but everyone has the right to say “JKR is just being greedy she has enough money.” Yes, I agree Steve is a real person and personal attacks on his appearance, family life, etc. are unwarranted. However, I feel this article has some pretty petty personal remarks about two real people Melissa and JKR made by Steve “Rowling is a God, and Melissa is her prophet.” That is a pretty degrading comment and it belittles JKR and espescially Melissa who he once called friend. When you make those types of comments you open yourself up to personal attacks. Its the Golden Rule “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Avatar Image says:

Re: Comment posted by mollywobbles23 on May 07, 2008 @ 5:15 p.m.

I’m trying to pull a constructive argument out of this train of thought that relates to the Articles, so bear with me. It would be okay, if “DEEPIKA” and “Diaperchangindaddy” were the same person? Otherwise, “DEEPIKA” should have cited “Diaperchangindaddy” properly.

Avatar Image says:

Deepika must surely be a dedicated SVA fan, as he’s even taken to imitating SVA’s cut-and-paste writing style!

Sorry, just found that funny, and I couldn’t help myself. :-P

I am firmly in the belief that SVA and RDR are in the wrong here. In regards to this particular article, however, I still haven’t made my mind up on how valid it is. Commenters have pointed out some of the errors in Mr. Wu’s article, so it’s quite possible that he misrepresented what SVA was saying. Or at least I hope so. Wu is the one who mentions that the embrace between Rowling and Melissa might have stung SVA, SVA never claims that. I don’t know, just seems like the whole thing should be taken with a grain of salt.

I guess I’m surprised, because I felt that SVA came across as likeable during the trial transcripts (though I disagree with what he said, and I think he seemed confused on a lot of basic points about his own book, I mean that he didn’t come across as someone being malicious or intending harm, and who sincerely wishes that none of this had happened), and the feeling I get from this article is the absolute opposite. Though I suppose that it’s possible SVA was actively trying to come across well in court for the judge’s sake, but…. Like I said, I just don’t know. Too inconsistent.

Avatar Image says:

“Yeah, it’s kind of like teaching but teaching has to deal with the consequences of what they did yesterday.”

Posted by Cat on May 07, 2008 @ 12:22 PM

Ouch! You know, I’m finishing school now, and I decided in the past month or so to pursue a career in teaching rather than journalism. Your assessment of the two careers makes me think I made the right choice.

One thing I’ve learned as a Potter fan is how commonplace it is for respectable newspapers and magazines to get their facts wrong. This most recent example from the New Yorker is particularly egregious, with its misattributed quotations and its unquestioning acceptance of a highly questionable explanation of the lawsuit. (Namely, that Jo sued RDR because she was angry over Steve’s criticisms of the epilogue, etc., and that Melissa’s book was spared a similar fate because she kisses up to Jo.) But frankly I don’t know if I’ve EVER read an article about Potter that doesn’t get at least SOMETHING wrong. And that makes me wonder how many other false things I read every day without knowing any better. I’m certainly a more skeptical consumer of news and commentary than I used to be.

Avatar Image says:

Dumledweed:

Yes, if those comments by SVA are true, they are rather nasty. He is one person, however, and he is clearly under great pressure. His statements, true or not, are no excuse for hundreds of comments about how disgusting he and/or his statements are, how he has no talent, how his work could have been done by anyone etc.

One of the major justifications for bullying is that a group decides that a certain individual deserves what s/he gets. That s/he is below them. Very ugly mechanisms indeed.

Avatar Image says:

Yeah that’s it Steve, don’t just go against Jo, go against Melissa too. That will REALLY get the fandom on your side…

Avatar Image says:

Elvine dear, you have to understand that the “group mentality” argument has some flaws when one forms the basis of the theory on a web site DEVOTED to Harry Potter. Of course the majority of people here are going to side with Jo. That is obvious. It is also incorrect of you to assume that because the majority of us have the same opinion, that we have also lost common sense. No one is going to be stoned here. No one is being bullied. Steve is not being forced to do anything. He is an adult (though I have yet to see actual evidence of it) and he has to realize that he may be unpopular because of his actions. I have the right not to have pity on him and the right to say that I am GREATLY disappointed in him. I am not going to hurt to him (only jokingly- dry humor is a curse, you know), but the last time I checked, it was o.k. to form an opinion about things and then gasp say them.

Avatar Image says:

I’ve never seen such a barrage of juvenile fans in my life. I truly must say that I need to divest myself of this fandom (and will encourage my children to do so as well). What an incredibly distasteful group of opinions and such knee-jerk reactionaries. I’m ashamed to have considered myself a part of this fandom (and supported it in monetary ways (!)... including Leaky, Rowling, the Lexicon, et al). Goodbye and good luck to you all.

Avatar Image says:

They make a point, but I just see no reason at all to bring melissa in. They don’t mention any of the facts of how he’s writing a book that says everything jo says, and melissa is writing her book on the impact of the books (I believe).

Avatar Image says:

I am on JKR’s side but there has been an overreaction to this article. I read it before it ever came up on Leaky and I thought, “Well they’re getting down the nitty gritty now, anything to not have to report on the issues, I guess.”

But did I really think it was at all damaging to Melissa? Naaah. It makes SVA look just as bad as it makes Melissa look, which isn’t that bad at all. Like somebody else said, nobody in this is a murderer or a really bad person. Again, I am on JKR’s side in this suit, but this article is really not going to hurt anyone’s reputation. The article is actually kind of amusing really. Just idle gossip type stuff.

Avatar Image says:

this guy is ridiculous. actually they both are, the writer of the article and sva. what can they possibly be thinking? Wu clearly doesnt have a grasp of what is going on, and Steve is just delusional. lol good word choice.

melissa, we love you, remember that!

Avatar Image says:

As with most things outside of my direct experience, I don’t know all the parts of this case / story; but SVA’s ‘woe is me’ posture is not aided by his comments about Melissa, which come off as childishly envious.

Avatar Image says:

I think we need to look at the bigger picture here. This case is about whether the courts should regulate fan guides and supplements to fictional works. If we force the court to draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable usage, it’s going to be more difficult for other fan-based books to be published at all. It’s a slippery slope. Do we really want to set arbitrary standards on these things? If fans are upset about SVA profitting from his book, then they should oppose the publication of any book about HP that is not written by JKR (yes, that would include Melissa’s book, too). The argument that SVA’s book doesn’t have enough original content is flimsy at best; you can’t ask the court to draw a line dictating what percentage of the book must be original writing to be legal because it will just become arbitrary and set a dangerous precedent that could suppress the fandom. If you really disagree with SVA’s book, don’t buy it. If there’s no demand for these books, publishers won’t publish them.

So let’s not bash SVA and pat Melissa on the back—their books aren’t as different as JKR’s lawyers would like you to think. I love HP and I think JKR is brilliant, but it’s hard for me to reconcile her blatant favoritism in giving Melissa the go-ahead on her book and suing SVA for his book.

Avatar Image says:

Why does he drag Melissa into this??? I mean, Melissa worked hard,and slogged to write her book, she didn’t just copy-paste the original books! I always held respect for Steve,even if I differed with him on this issue. I want Jo to win and always did, but I still held Steve in regard for what he did for the fandom. But today,with this interview, I have lost every respect I ever had for him. I can never consider him to be a part of this fandom, and he’ll probably never ever be able to return to it.

Sorry of I’m ranting off,but his mentioning Melissa was the ultimatum for me to lose my temper. It’s disgusting!!

And just a note, Melissa’s book is on the HP fandom, not a reference to the books. So there is NO WAY it’s similar to SVA’s book. There’s no connection between the two,except for the fact that they’re related to HP in some way.

Love you Melissa! Rock on!

Avatar Image says:

Socks4Dobby- have you read the manuscript fr the Lexicon book, or Melissa’s book? Or are you just guessing on this one?

Avatar Image says:

Posted by Diaperchangindaddy:

“An atlas maker didn’t create the world, but he can still describe it and catalogue everything in it.”

Indeed, though I don’t believe God’s made a cent off His creation, so a map maker isn’t infringing on God’s copyright with any publication of his atlas.

Avatar Image says:

The copyright question here is whether the lexibook is derivative or whether it is infringing. Librarians may not be attorneys but they do have to be very familiar with copyright law. Libraries deal with copyright issues on a daily basis.

The issue of whether SVA could sue over the Scottish book came up in discussion over RDR’s threatening correspondence over the ‘timeline.’ If it was possible for him to claim rights over the timeline, could he possibly claim copyright infringement over the Scottish book? Granted this was speculative and it would take cohones the size of boulders. It also came up briefly in testimony.

Avatar Image says:

Hi Shelli, different people acquainted with US copyright law explained in different threads why the Lexicon never could be detrimental to JKR’s copyright of the Scottish Book – so the answer to that part of the question is an unequivocal, clear NO.

Avatar Image says:

The reason there was concern over the lexibook / Scottish book, was because SVA uses her wording so very closely (which is the point of the lawsuit). If this version is allowed to be published without further and extensive editing could he then claim that these were his own words and sue for infringement on those grounds? This was the issue as discussed. Copyright law has many murky areas, as we have seen. Some professors even eschew campus email to avoid potential intellectual property entanglements.

Avatar Image says:

That was just to clarify where the thought came from. I pressed the submit button too soon.

Avatar Image says:

Lily Phoenix wrote: “The worst part is, his actions are all selfish. He isn’t writing this book for the HP fans; he’s writing for money, pure and simple. Otherwise he would have either been satisfied with the online lexicon as a representation of his work and dedication or he would have sold his books and donated the profits to charity as JKR has done.”

Much as I agree wholeheartedly that Melissa Anelli’s book will be her original work, I think this speculation about SVA’s motivation (implicitly contrasted to Melissa’s) is very unfair. No matter from which point you look at the matter, you certainly cannot deny that there are commercial – financial! – interests behind Melissa’s book as well. Not entirely commercial interests, of course. But I doubt that mere greed is the only motivation for SVA either!

Avatar Image says:

“Derivative works” were touched upon in a recent post, May 07, 2008 @ 11:15 a.m. by “akemi42.”

As to a comment posted by “Socks4Dobby” @ 4:26 a.m., the term “slippery slope” seems to describe “precedent,” and about how “allowing” one sort of “thing” or case to make it through the gates of Court would “allow” other similar “things” of greater and greater proportion (a snowball effect) to make it through, as well. So, in that case, according to that which was stated by “Socks4Dobby,” setting arbitrary standards, about “books that do not have enough original content,” and “drawing lines which dictate what percentage of the book must be original writing,” is more important than how it is being phrased within the comment. The “slippery slope” application might say that it might be both, “dangerous” precedent to restrict others from using smaller and smaller percentages of another’s original authored work, and “dangerous” precedent to “allow” greater and greater percentages of another’s original authored work to be used, as well.

“Akemi42,” and maybe others that have provided perspective through Legal commentary, described “derivative work,” for example, as WB has obtained “license.” The author could produce/publish a “derivative work” of her own, and through presenting “licenses” to other’s, such as WB, for fee or otherwise, those who obtain the “license” are allowed/licensed to use a certain extent of the author’s original work, while the author continues to maintain control of her copy right. On the other hand, as alluded to by “Akemi42,” and again by “Shelli” @ 10:00 a.m. & 10:17 a.m., about “Timelines” and RDR/SVA suing J. K. Rowling, it seems that:

The defendants seem to be attempting to purport that a “license” exists A.) through some manner of “fiction”/ethereal concept where “licenses” are created out of thin-air (genius, if they can actually do that); B.) through some tacit acquiescence where RDR/SVA has been already been allowed to do or carry on with something so that would be inequitable to stop them from doing it now; C.) through some yet to be determined “allowability” of a “Timeline,” and it’s further placement in millions of DVD’s.

According to that which has been previously commented about “derivative work,” it seems that the defendants may be implying that through this notion of “license,” the “ability/allowability” to produce/publish a “derivative work” exists.

Avatar Image says:

[A POINT IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFENSE]

It might be a misinformed illusion to have the opinion that Mr. Vander Ark is not a “defendant” in this present case. If one refers to the Petition, and as it is amended, Who are DOES 1-10? Additionally, Who are those who may have fictional names (whether under business names, or otherwise)? Further, Who are those affiliated with RDR, variously described, who injunction is sought against?

Although, keeping Mr. Vander Ark unnamed in the Case, and “unnamed as a defendant” in commentary, as I too hope the best for Mr. Vander Ark’s interests, it would be naïve to go about one’s life aloof, only to later find that the Court required something of you, as well. I don’t think Mr. Vander Ark is that naïve.

Avatar Image says:

@ Pamela Hawks

It’s a shame that this article (or other fans’ comments/views on it) are encouraging you to leave the fandom. I would have thought that one event like this wouldn’t be enough to make you leave, especially as you have obviously cared enough about HP and the fandom to support it financially. However, it is your choice.

If you really feel that way then goodbye to you too.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks for being so balanced you guys. It has to be so hard for you personally since you know Steve and have basically had to choose which side you agree with. It is not your fault Melissa that Jo has formed a friendship with you and the Leaky Cauldron Team that she has not with other fan sites. You should be excited about your book, you have done things the right way and it is unfair for others, who have done things the wrong way, to hold this against you. Looking forward to your book and all that it has to offer the fan community. Once again, I think I repeat many other fans thoughts when I say that we greatly appreciate the balanced look at the trial when you are personally involved.

Avatar Image says:

“It makes SVA look just as bad as it makes Melissa look, which isn’t that bad at all.”

Posted by Mimblewimble on May 07, 2008 @ 08:07 PM

I should qualify this a little. If I was a truly disinterested person in the whole situation, this article would have lightly amused me. If I took anything from the article in the back of my mind, it would have been feeling a little disturbed by SVA trying to get JKR to smile at him in the courtroom. Even if I knew nothing about any of the players, I would feel that a normal guy being sued by a celebrity who then tries to be buddies with the celebrity while in the courtroom is a little… just a little off. The fact that he talked about it to a reporter is also a little off. It’s unsettling.

Avatar Image says:

Posted by Mimblewimble:

“Even if I knew nothing about any of the players, I would feel that a normal guy being sued by a celebrity who then tries to be buddies with the celebrity while in the courtroom is a little… just a little off. The fact that he talked about it to a reporter is also a little off. It’s unsettling.”

Indeed. It’s not merely unsettling, it shows the level of delusion that exists in SVA’s head. The fact that he would seek some form of friendly acknowledgment at that point is beyond the pale. I have said it before, and really it is without rancor, I think SVA needs some mental health assistance. He is out of touch with reality.

Avatar Image says:

Though, the case could set a precedent, if WB/JKR wins, then there’s nothing different than has been in the past. Also, fair use cases are looked at individually. It’s such a vague law that it has to be. So there will be no one ruling on this type of case because each case is unique.

Also, Melissa and SVA’s books are VERY different. Melissa’s concerns the phenomena of HP and the fandom. SVA’s is a regurgication of what’s in the books. Two completely different books.

@Copperhead:

If SVA wasn’t named as one of the “John-does” during the trial, he’s not being sued. I don’t think any of them were named.

Avatar Image says:

In addition to my previous post I would like to qualify my statement a bit. I am quite convinced that Melissa Anelli’s book probably is entirely her original work, but I cannot possibly judge its originality without having read it.

Avatar Image says:

@ goldfish

I have not read all the transcripts, but I would not take from this snippet that the judge agrees that SVA could sue JKR for publishing the encyclopedia. From a copyright perspective, he is not entitled to any copyright protection for the material in the Lexicon except for some small bits such as the timelines. I don’t believe he would win if he tried to assert this very narrow right. My bottom line again is that if RDR wins, it does not mean that SVA can sue JKR for publishing the encyclopedia. It only means that the book form of the Lexicon was within the bounds of fair use.

@Cathy

Thanks. :) I think we are are on the same page

@ mollywobble and others

According to the code of ethics on the Society of Professional Journliasts web site (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp), I think Melissa should have stopped reporting on Day 1. Journalists should avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest and I think both exist here. I also think that the comments left up about Steve’s personal life fall outside the terms of use typically employed on TLC. They are ugly, tasteless, and leaving them there makes TLC look tacky.

Avatar Image says:

God Bless Harry Potter

Avatar Image says:

I just emailed The New Yorker and politely requested that they correct the article. Even if nothing comes of it, doing so made me feel better.

But honestly I think they will issue a correction. The New Yorker is usually above such shoddy journalism.

Avatar Image says:

I’m a bit late, I’ve just seen that. I’m speechless, I was still hoping for some sort of understanding at some point so we can all move on but I realise now that this is impossible. I’m having a hard time believing that this is the same Steve who created the Lexicon, they seem like two different people. All of this makes me sick, this is by far the saddest thing that has happened to the fandom. Good luck with your book, Melissa, I’m so sorry about what’s happening to you. I don’t even think Steve would have had the nerve to say that to you in person. I hope Jo’s okay as well, nobody deserves all this.

Avatar Image says:

Just because this is the leaky cauldron website, I am not going to sit here and lie to you and say that what Jo is doing is dandy. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Jo, but what she is doing now to Steven is not right. Do you realize how much Lexicon has helped us? Sh!t, Lexicon even promoted her books to a certain extent. But none of that is remembered and Jo decides she wants to sue her most loyal fan. And the more messed up part about this is that, people say anyone can make a Potter Website full of contents. Well… where are they?

I just want you to name one website that is as reliable to canon as Lexicon. You cannot name any because there is none! Steven work shouldn’t be humiliated like this! He deserves to get that book published, and trust me I hope he will.

I know if his book gets published a lot of people will not buy the book out of spite, but guess what I have to say about that… that is your loss.

You guys are so obsessed with Jo, you will not see reason. Well, I do. Although I may love Jo, my heart resides with the people in fandom, and if we aren’t going to back each other up, then who will?

Avatar Image says:

To SiriuslyInLuv71 : From what I’ve read about the lawsuit, Steve knew enough about the law to include a clause that he couldn’t personally be sued if anything went challenged. That implies that he had an inkling that the problem MIGHT arise. So he’s not as naive as some would make him out to be. Jo isn’t suing Steve but the publishing company as he made sure would be the case. You say that the Lexicon is more “canon” than any other website. That is a major point of Jo’s defense as he’s writing major parts of the Lexicon book word for word from her books!

I know that Steve has put in tons of effort and I actually like the Lexicon Website very much. But I guess that Jo’s point is, unless more original works are included, it just isn’t moral or legal to copy her words, put them in book form and sell for profit for himself.

So, even if RDR wins the lawsuit, I won’t be buying the book and I don’t consider it a loss at all. It certainly isn’t spite but a conviction of what I believe is the ethical thing to do.

Avatar Image says:

sighs its a shame to see that Steve has been reduced to something as petty as calling you out, Melissa. You don’t deserve that.

Avatar Image says:

I was very disapointed with Steve’s comments about Melissa. I am very discusted with Steve for throwing out such hurtful comments infront of the entire nation. I am a dedicated PotterCast listener and I never hear any of the slander they quote Melissa of saying. The New York Times needs to run a reliability check on all of this before they publish such an article. P.S. I am looking forward to Melissa’s book

Avatar Image says:

do we know if steve real said that? I am really not sure.

Avatar Image says:

I wonder when the correction will be printed?

Avatar Image says:

Well, Mr Tim appologised to Melissa, and the New Yorker SAID they were going to print a correction… but the correction (about the misquotes) is NOT in the same page as the article (if it was printed at all!) I think it should be in the SAME page as the article. If it’s not, what’s the use? People will still bump into the article and not know about the apology, the misquotes and the fact that the quotes have been taken out of context!

Avatar Image says:

I have been reading the “New Yorker” since I was a little tot. I am disappointed that misquotes were made re: Melissa, since I feel the Potterverse is generally so well-intentioned and ...?innocent, almost, based on pure affection. This whole trial has just been a mess. However, Melissa, consider yourself in good company; some of the most influential people in the world have had their comments taken out of context in the “NYer”! By the way, I do actually read the corrections on a regular basis, so I will go back and look for them (I’m a little shocked that I missed this article till i heard about it on Pottercast….red face).

Write a Reply or Comment

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.