JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: Tim Wu Leads Panel at Copyright Conference, Discusses Fan Response to Vander Ark


May 09, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC

Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu led a panel May 1st at OnCopyright 2008, a conference hosted by the Copyright Clearance Center. The panel focused on the JKR/WB vs RDR Books lawsuit, and more particularly on the response Harry Potter fans have had to Steve Vander Ark since it was announced the HP Lexicon would be produced in book format. From a summary on the conference at EContent Magazine:

“Wu played an official Harry Potter podcast in which other members of the Harry Potter fan community ostracized and effectively banished Vander Ark from their ranks. Wu’s question to the panel was, “Why are Harry Potter fans disowning Vander Ark?” The panel’s answer was that the fan community needs to disassociate itself from anyone who goes to far in appropriating creative content for fear that their own access to that content might dry up. The panel also noted that Vander Ark’s attempt to turn his online Lexicon into an ink-and-paper book was his ultimate undoing.”

From the same summary:

“Panelist Gigi B. Sohn, the president of the nonprofit organization Public Knowledge, pointed out that many people still consider the internet to be the realm of amateurs, and author Douglas Rushkoff said in following that the transformation of an internet-based project into a printed work presents a significant symbolic shift that forces copyright issues to be taken much more seriously.”

159 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: Tim Wu Leads Panel at Copyright Conference, Discusses Fan Response to Vander Ark

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Oh this ought to be good…

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What rubbish! First of all, what’s an “official” Harry Potter Podcast? And secondly, are they trying to paint SVA as some kind of victim? Why isn’t anyone calling him to take account and responsibility for his own actions in this mess? While I fully agree with the fair use doctrine, these “fair use experts” (especially those who testified in the trial) make me angry. I don’t see the fan community’s reaction the way described above. Rather, I think the fan community is, like Jo, feeling betrayed by one of their own, and by one who is a self-proclaimed defender of the online community’s rights. Yet he’s missing the mark completely in his arguments.

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Sorry, At first glance I thought this was another something new, like he was stirring the pot more.

There should be an edit function on these :p

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Ugh…this whole situation is so sad.

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Why are we ‘disowning’ Steve Vander Ark?

We aren’t, this prick of a jounalist thinks we are! It’s been said that if he were to go to a fan conference that he wouldn’t be ‘shunned!’

Even though we have every right TO disown him, look at what he said about Melissa (this has already been posted on leaky, just moving it to this comment: “Melissa has done more to hurt me [Vander Ark] 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.”

This whole trial is ridiculous, and this ‘Wu’ guy is getting on my nerves!

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Tim Wu, apparently has used the HP fandom to provide himself with ammo for his conference. Write an incorrect article, get us commenting and then play the Pottercast tape, I believe out of context, to show how fandom feuds and turns on one of it’s own. I think we’ve been toyed with.

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i don’t see why we’re on the defense. it seems pretty strieght forward what was said.

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is it just me, or is Tim Wu milking jk rowling for publicity?

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My only comment, on this “journalist” is : Par for the course. Perhaps Mr Wu can find a better position with the Globe or the Enquirer….isn’t it interesting that the members, of this panel [Gigi B. Sohn, in particular] seem to see things as they really are. Not as a sensationalist writer WANTS them to be. Perhaps they AUGHT to “force copyright issues to be taken much more seriously” And perhaps the type of thing, that SVA has done, will be less likely! [“official PotterCast”?? What’s with that?] It’s all tripe, really….As I said: perhaps Mr Wu could find a better home with the Globe or Enquirer. He’d fit right in!

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Cathy: I think you’re right. Plus, official HP Podcast? Like JKR/WB are sponsoring it?

I wouldn’t welcome SVA back into the fold though. I mean if I went to a conference with him I wouldn’t protest his panels or anything, but I sure as heck wouldn’t attend. Not after how he’s treated the fandom and Jo.

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Um folks…I hate to break it to you, but copyright / intellectual property concerns surrounding the Internet are becoming more and more important.

It’s not just about this lawsuit, there are a lot of questions about this kind of thing. I deal with them a lot. (I just had to take down a section of a client’s site because of intellectual property issues, actually.) And right now, this lawsuit is being watched carefully by those of us who do deal with intellectual property issues on a daily or weekly basis. Because I’ve decided I’m on the side of fairness in intellectual property, which probably means a solution that won’t please the fully-pro JKR / fully anti-SVR contingent.

Mr. Wu may not be involved in the HP universe or understand the motivations behind the “disowning” of SVA, but his observations come from a very specific place – intellectual property law. His bias and observations are going be towards these topics, obviously. Just as observations here are slanted towards pro JKR feeling.

And really – stop playing semantic games. If he played a podcast from this site, that is about as “official” as it gets, considering the support this site has from JKR and WB.

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I wondered why Wu did the “fan feud” angle for the New Yorker. Now we know why and where he’s going with this, but I’m still confused.

He’s been arguing that copyright law, as currently written, is not flexible enough when it comes to Fair Use excemptions; that this inhibits creativity and violates 1st Amendment Rights to Free Speech. Or something like that.

But, I’m confused at just how this “fan feud” angle advances his legal arguments.

Is he arguing that there’s a natural social enforcement process that takes place no matter the law and, therefore, copyright-holders don’t need the law to enforce their rights?

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I pretty much feel the same as you do. My opinion, and this is mine only, is that SVA has had visions of becoming an author and considers himself to be a HP celebrity. He has been thought of an authority. This in itself is just dandy but unfortunately SVA has gotten involved in a lawsuit and a media frenzy. Has he been contradicting himself constantly or is he a mega victim of misreporting? Or both? We’ll see what comes of it all very shortly. This has been very interesting to watch.

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I’m confused. He was leading the panel, but the panel answered his questions about SVA? I thought the panel gave pretty good answers. Or am I confused about this?

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God, not this guy again!

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From the article: “Wu’s question to the panel was, ‘Why are Harry Potter fans disowning Vander Ark?’ The panel’s answer was that the fan community needs to disassociate itself from anyone who goes too far in appropriating creative content for fear that their own access to that content might dry up.”

I think Wu’s question is legitimate and interesting. Some (tho’ not all) Potter fans clearly are “disowning” SVA, saying that he can’t be a “true fan” given what he’s done. It is interesting to wonder why those fans have been driven to make those statements. The panel’s ultimate answer was, apparently, “fear”— fear that our “access” to the creative content of the series (or of future series, etc.) will “dry up” (presumably due to reactionary, blanket litigiousness) if RDR wins. I think it’s a gross oversimplification (if not an outright falsehood) to say that John and Sue’s comments on PotterCast (the ones quoted and misattributed in the New Yorker) were based on fear. But I also can’t deny that “What Will Happen if RDR Wins” is something that comes up often in many of the more reasonable discussions I’ve seen and heard at Leaky.

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I feel as though nobody will really “disown” anyone else in this community, because I think that requires a certain lack of forgiveness and understanding. I hope that we have learned something from Jo’s books, specifically from Dumbledore in how he treated Snape. We might not have to agree with what Vander Ark’s publishers are doing, but I really think “disown” is a strong word.

Also, I really feel like using the word “disown” comes with so many emotional feelings. I think semantics hold such power in our thinking and our assessment of situations and we don’t give them another thought. I really hope this trial can be presented in a fair way, without using loaded words like “disown”.

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I found the conference reportage on econtent curious. The copyright lawyers didn’t seem to be willing to buy into Tim Wu’s leading questions. And later, few were willing to call for a complete overhaul of copyright law. What amused me is how Suzanne Vega was there and spoke and was told that the CCC appreciated her views but she just didn’t “get it”. (Well, that’s how I interpreted it.) I’d love to hear what Suzanne Vega had to say—I know Natalie Merchant isn’t impressed with internet piracy.

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I wonder if they used a Mugglecast or a Pottercast during the panel. Maybe the Mugglecast boys did use the words “banish” etc? I dunno.

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To clarify my last post: By “more reasonable discussions,” I meant “more reasonable than others I’ve seen and heard.” I did NOT mean to imply that the discussions on PotterCast were unreasonable!

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@ Arithmancer

Gotcha….it’s difficult to write instead of speaking, have to be so careful and politically correct. Easy to be misunderstood (OMG there I go making excuses for journalists and bloggers.)

You are right “What will happen if RDR wins?” or for that matter loses? With the long list of similar court cases challenging copyright laws (I had no idea just how many until paying attention to this one) and the internet it is difficult to believe that there won’t be fall out either way.

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I KNEW someone was doing “Negative Commentary Experiments”!

(See Posting by Copperhead on May 06, 2008 @ 5:58 p.m. to the article: JKR/WB vs. RDR Books: “Fan Feud”)

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OK, I’m typing this without reading anyone else’s comments (trying to think for myself here).

I think the panel’s conclusion was not quite correct. I am not against SVA’s position out of “fear” of anything. For the panel to say it that way is misleading, because they make it sound as if the fandom hopes for favorable treatment due to disowning SVA. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Disowning SVA is not going to gain anyone special access to creative content.

I believe that an RDR win is bad for fandoms, and at first I thought maybe SVA just didn’t think it through before signing the deal with RDR, but no, after he had months to think about it , he STILL came out attacking JKR and making self-serving characterizations of RDR’s position. I think his position is a selfish one and shows a disregard for what happens to anyone else. And at the same time he was trying to play the victim, which I felt was dishonest and in stark contrast to his public statements supporting his actions.

So these are the reasons I am against his position, not because I think “disowning” him will gain special access to creative content in and of itself.

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@ Copperhead

Just read it again, you smelled the skunk way before I did. As interesting as all of this is I do find it to be a lot to take in. So many different perspectives and motives. Very astute of you.

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Continuing my 10:11 PM thought.

Or, is he arguing that the copyright law controls fans’ emotional feelings and actions and, therefore, inhibits our creative expression?

Whatever he’s arguing this “fan feud” angle, while provocative, seems too simple to me. It ignores what different fans think being a fan means. It ignores love of Jo, the person.

It ignores the difference between amateur organic/tribute/celebration and professional work that is influenced by the original source.

I wish I could express this better.

It will be interesting to see how (or, if) this affects future artist/fan relationships and what is allowed online.

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What is interesting to me after reading the article was that after someone brought up google being printed off as an encyclopedia the debate became heated. It is interesting because they mention, just like the jkr,wb/rdr trial, the wholesale copying of resources. Only then, in my opinion, was what the Harry Potter fans have been saying all along seem to be commented on. Why should one person profit from someone else’s work?! I wish the panel would have commented on that in regards to hp. Because, I believe, that is what the fandom of HP is really mad at SVA for. The wholesale copying of her work, and trying to make a profit off of it.

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@ Cathy: Thanks for sympathizing with my frustrations and fears!

@ desertwind: I agree that Wu’s “fan feud” angle leaves a lot out. It’s pretty clear from the New Yorker article that he’s imposing this feud-driven narrative onto his view of the issue, with distorting results.

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I’m hoping that any other “negative” comments that we’ve read along the way were just the result of an experiment as well. I felt it around April 17th or 18th, and stated that it feels like “the Lord of the Rings, where one is asked to ‘speak Friend and enter,’ only to find goblins coming out of all points of the woodwork.” I’ve been sending out long and thought out commentary ever since to beat the devil.

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Why is everyone attacking US?! The FANS haven’t done anything wrong!

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At this stage of the story, I find it appalling that the idea that JKR took SVA to court still finds its way into these articles. RDR is the defendent not Steve. The fact that these articles keep getting this vital point WRONG speaks volumes towards whether they will get anything RIGHT.

HAS Steve been shunned from the fandom? I think not. Just read some of the comments in his favor on the Lexicon. There are fans who support him. I’m not one of them. Mostly because in my opinion, he’s got no leg to stand on, but also because he’s being a bit of an idiot. All his arguments sound like he’s grasping at straws to find SOMETHING that supports his case. To attack Melissa for her beliefs is just more of the same kind of tactic ffom him. But he doesn’t seem to see that it’s not helping his case. Some of the things he has actually written on the Lexicon comments indicates that he is, for lack of a better word, deluded.

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As someone who used to be an active member of the Harry Potter fandom and isn’t anymore, I have been following the JKR vs SVA situation with some interest. In particular, I’ve been following the reactions of the fans.

I haven’t read any of the other comments on this particular thread, so you’ll excuse me – but I have read many from other threads on this issue.

This might be an oversimplification but to date my experience of the fan reaction is this:

1. The response of the fans has been almost unilaterally against SVA, with the exception of a very small number of people. 2. The response has been almost unilaterally, 100 per cent in Jo’s favour, with the exception of a very small number of people 3. The Leaky Cauldron and their staff, while they’ve done an admirable job of reporting on this issue, is undeniably 100 per cent on Jo’s side on this issue with Melissa reportedly giving Steve a cold look in the court room 4. This, however, does not reflect the diversity of opinion or response of the non-HP community, including copyright lawyers, media and other interested parties.

While Harry Potter fans may feel that they have had a complex range of responses as individuals and take exception to being portrayed as a vilifying mob, the perception from the outside is a hard one to avoid given the cold hard facts of your behaviour.

There have been calls to boycott the book should it ever be published, people have accused SVA of being a liar and worse, and I’ve lost count of the number of posts where ‘I’m right behind you Jo’ or, even more strangely, ‘Poor Melissa’, is the central theme.

In short, while it may seem unfair and untrue to many, the Harry Potter community HAS shunned, vilified and disowned Steve to the greater part and this IS an interesting phenomenon for those not part of the group dynamic. Moreover, you continue to be extremely vocal against any and all who argue against Jo Rowling’s position and for the complexities of the ethics of this case.

I myself have sympathies for both the author and SVA in this instance and feel that there is no clear right or wrong here and that Jo may have painted herself into an unfortunate corner by not being stricter with other publishers of Harry Potter unofficial guides and books.

But, I find it very interesting that Journalists, Legal Commentators, Professors, Academics and even other authors have come out with arguments in support of SVA and yet the Harry Potter community cannot bring itself to be even-minded about any of it.

All the best, Vicki K.

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My personal opinion:

Crafting a lexicon in the nature of the HPL is not really creative at all. It’s lots of hard work, like doing a jigsaw puzzle that’s all a single colour: not really brilliant, not even that creative.

He’s coming off like he’s god’s gift to the fandom.

It’s his attitude, his sense of entitlement, etc. Played very differently, in the hands of a person who was doing it for the fun of it and NOT the self promotion etc he might not be having such a hard time… but the things he’s said, his attitude in general, and the bare fact that he went ahead with it when Jo specifically asked him not to is what sets a ‘true’ fan apart from SVA.

I think if the author asks you not to, you don’t do it. Period.

I think lots and lots of people could have put together a lexicon as good or better than the HPL. Lots of work, but not necessarily lots of talent.

So, someone lacking creativity and talent (but was inspired) rides on the coat tails of someone we all respect (for more reasons than the books) and we’re all supposed to just accept it?

Nah. At this point, I just think SVA’s a d*ck. Pick your own vowel.

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Brad said it perfectly. Steve should take responsibility for his actions. He betrayed and disrespected JKR and by extension all her supporters. The fan community is right to be rejecting him. And come on, “official Harry Potter podcast” what?!

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“Yet the Harry Potter community cannot bring itself to be even-minded about any of it…”

I wanted to take this part of my previous post back actually because it is clear that some in the Harry Potter community have been extremely even-minded, so it would be more correct to say that many in the Harry Potter community cannot bring themselves to be even-minded about the issue.

All the best, Vicki

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What on earth is an official Harry Potter podcast?? All these people riding on SVA’s deluded coat tails are just as annoying as he is, to be honest.

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“Nah. At this point, I just think SVA’s a d*ck. Pick your own vowel.”

That is golden, Caracticus. Really. XD

I think if people are still wondering why so many fans are angry with SVA, then they need to pull their head out of the ground and look around.

This whole thing is such an unfortunate circumstance.

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Fandom is about creativity and fun, not profit. That’s why we have disclaimers all over our creative ventures! Steve completely violated this for his own greed. And people wonder why so many in the fandom want nothing to with him?? If he and RDA win this, he’ll have irrepably damaged all fandoms, not just HP. Who wants to be associated with that? I hope he stays away for good.

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Objectively -the article makes some good points. My problem is that I can see both sides of the Jo/Steve story and it just makes me sad. The last 12 months has been (by her own admission) a very, very emotional time for Jo and I have always wondered if , for example, all of this had happened in three years time, when she was free of “Harry”, she would have allowed herself to be persuaded into fighting this case. The Tolkien Estate, for example, have much the problem with the same type of publications being launched on almost a monthly basis, and they simply ignore them, figuring that the fan base will always buy “approved and authorised ” product anyway.

Having said that, I am not too happy with the sweeping generalisations about the HP fandom contained in the artilcle ! Because we admire Jo, does not mean we are blind or incapable of ur own rational thought which is also what this article seems to be saying.

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this joking.where are half prince snape and main character harry

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Vicki K: Most Potter fans know more about this case than your average editorial writer, to be frank.

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The problem is that it’s virtually impossible to find one of those articles, Vicki, that doesn’t have such an egregious error in fact that it discounts their entire argument. When one of them actually gets everything right and addresses all the important issues, and still disagrees, that will be SO much more reputable. Do you have an article like that? An actual link to one? I’d be anxious to see it. I’ve yet to see one that includes all the basic concepts of the case accurately and still comes down on the defense’s side.

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I agree that SVA has been vilified and ostracized but actually I’m not offended at that portrayal. I think the fandom is right to do that considering that most are outraged by what he is trying to do. Why should he expect support?

I was actually heartened when I read this article. It looked to me like the panel members were making good points and those points are not necessarily against the fans. They seemed pretty reasonable to me.

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This is getting tiresome. JKR is not suing SVA. She only testified. If the fans are coming out in her support so vehemently it’s because the media is making her out to be a villian. No one was against SVA at first. He just kept sticking his foot in his mouth annoyed everyone.

I say blame the Lawyers – yes – even you copyright folks who have been data-mining the HP sites. They are the ones who truly started this whole thing. This lawsuit is just a petrie dish test to see how copyright laws will have to be re-created to deal with new media. It’s a complicated world out there.

It's unfortunate that the RDR and the WB decided to lead this effort and JKR & SVA got dragged into it.  It's too bad the lawyers couldn't have done this with Star Wars or Star Trek first.  However, they're probably next.
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“the fan community needs to disassociate itself from anyone who goes to far in appropriating creative content for fear that their own access to that content might dry up”

That’s not why I’m doing it at all! I dislike SVA because he’s a slimy, hypocritical idiot who has tainted something great- the lexicon, and the fandom- with his greed, and has made disgusting, untrue comments about two people who I admire very much- Jo and Melissa.

Oh and yes, I have definitely “disowned” him. If I saw him in the street I’d give him a good slap.

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Gosh, now we have Tim Wu in the line of those trying to “milk” the Potter phenomenon. Great, that’s just what we need. In response to your question Mr. Wu, the fandom has every right to disassociate itself from Mr. Vander Ark. What we,as fans have gone through in the course of this trial, our emotions and feelings, only we know. I know it isn’t of any legal consequence, but it makes more a difference in our personal world. Steve has been effective in hurting, and somewhat internally dividing up this fandom. Not only that, he is also responsible for breaking of ties between long-time friends. He also spoke crap against Melissa. How much more is this fandom supposed to take? Seriousely Mr. Wu, get your facts straight on this issue. As a non-Potter fan how much right do YOU have to get involved in a personal matter concerning the fandom and turning it into some kind of media circus anyway?

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I’m pretty sure the “official podcast” is Pottercast. Ha ha. John, Melissa, Sue, Frak, you guys have more authority than you realise! So Melissa, if you signal “thumb down” we obedient fandom shall toss SVA to the lions. We the fandom are your loyal servants and serve the Empire of Harry Potter. Well according to a very delusional Tim Wu, thats what we are. I think he is looking for love and attention.

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I will also add that being a part of a fandom, in this case Harry Potter, does not mean we have any say or right whatsoever to banish anyone from being a fan, no matter who they are. SVA may have lost favour with many fans (including me) but he has every right to go to conventions etc and if you cross path with him, have a civilised debate with him on his actions…Then shake his hand but dont release it, instead, swing it over your shoulder and perform a slam down on him then punch his face. Uh, something just skewed my train of thought, there. Scratch that last bit.

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Melissa, I found many links which report the case accurately and without bias, you are just not looking hard enough and are right under your nose. The only thing is, I found them all at some site call theleakycauldron.org.

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Briliant intervention, Professor! Now, seriously, all this debate seems to be the result of a huge demonstration of lack of respect on the part of Mr. Van Ark who, knowingly, is trying to make a buck out of someone else’s original idea without showing any creativity of his own. Respect has been very rare goods these times. I dare to think that JKR would kindly agree to the publication of a work such of that of Mr. G. Norman Lippert’s, for example, which is respectful of her creativity and authorship.

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But it’s not like that at all!! The fans are going against SVA because he is showing absolutely no respect for our hero!

Out of interest, do we know which podcast he played? It wasn’t PotterCast The Trial, was it?

Sorry if this has already been mentioned in the comments but I don’t have time to look through them all!

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Tim Wu’s audacity to even analyze the logic behind the fandom’s rejection of SVA is reprehensible. He fails to realize that the fandom can see what he can’t, that Steve Vandar Ark has treated J.K. Rowling and her works with a disrespect and arrogance and has also acted in a most atrocious manner. His recent remarks about Melissa’s behavior toward him show this, as I doubt she could hurt him that much by deciding, in a very reasonable, impartial, and objective manner, to terminate their connection through the Floo Network.

Also, Tim Wu shouldn’t say that the opinion described above represents the entire fandom. There are many I have met online and in real life, who consider themselves to be passionate Harry Potter fans, that still support Steve. Tim Wu is shoving the fandom into one group, it seems, just to implicitly disparage them.

Neither are we afraid of losing our creative capabilities. Because what Steve Vandar Ark isn’t creative, innovative, or original. It’s just repackaging for the fans who don’t already have every single word of the books stored in their heads (and I doubt there are many of those).

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@Melissa and others: I did not read the article about the Conference. I did, however, go to Mr. Wu’s website. Going through the Conference’s “Speakers List”, I found Mr. Wu. I went to his sight and found an article, he had written, about the study of Law Breaking. It’s called ‘Harry Potter and The Order Of Copyright, Should Tanya Grotter Be Banned?’ I am interested to know what others think of this man, after you have read the article. He discusses how JKR has gone into other countrys and forced Copyright Infringement on them. /He discusses a book, from China, called ‘Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-Dragon’ Another, from Belarus, called ‘Porri Gotter and the Stone Philosopher’. In Russisa, ‘Tanya Grotter and The Magic Bass’. His argument is that “copy cats” have a right to their works without interference from JKR as “copyright infringment” This man graduated from a prestigeous Law School. He is on serveral boards and teaches….it’s too bad that his article, while sound in it’s context, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SUIT AT HAND, AGAINST SVA!!!! How sad is it that a man, of his Law Learning, cannot tell the difference between “Copy Cats” and Copyright Infringement. Outright theft of an authors work? What SVA did was not “copy cat”....he took JKR’s work, word for word, repackaged it, and claimed it as “his own work”...no changes or additions. THEFT OF ANOTHER’S WORK, OUTRIGHT! Then, proceeded to villify Melissa, as “prophet and JKR as God’ [paraphrased] and claim to be “unjustly shunned by the Potter Fandom”. I, myself, am a Harry Potter Fan. I like the books. I like the movies. I like Ms Rowlings writing style. I would like to collect some of the cool figurs and wands and such….as display items…like my son’s ‘Spawn Figures’ and McFarlane Dragons…..What SVA did was he took someone elses work [be it Dickens, Twain, Stoppard..they all have the same right.] to his own self and copied it, word for word. Decided to make a “hard copy” book out of it and sell it. THAT, I do not like. As far as I know, that is Plaigerism., at it’s finest. Are there “footnotes”? are there “reference pages”?. As someone said, in another discussion, “If I turned in an essay [especially in college], and did not have those things, I would be guilty of plaigerism. I would fail the course and possibly have to answer to some higher authority. Do they not teach this in the courses on ‘Copyright Law’Or does it not appyly ‘Muggle Queen’ has the right of it.”The fans are going against SVA because he is showing absolutely no respect for our Hero” I don’t believe she [JKR] is “our hero”. That gives the impression that “we follow her like lambs”.... as was said [bySVA] about Melissa: ”....JKR is God and Melissa, her Prophet” [again, paraphrased] No, she [JKR] has written a wonderful series, and deserves to stand up, for her rights as an author. The “hero” part is for that. I am getting long winded, here??? I’m sorry…. I invite anyone, here [Melissa included] to read this “article” and find some reference to the suit, at hand….I guarantee, you won’t!

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Melissa, John, and Sue, who would have thought 3 years ago when you started Pottercast you would become the voice of Potter Nation. LoL.

First of all, I think there is some truth to this article. 1) Steve has been ostracized(but he did it to himself). 2) Part of the reason he has been ostracized is because we’re unclear what will happen to the fandom in the outcome of this trial (which is what Wu means by “Fear”). I think that’s true, and I also think it’s a legitimate reason. If RDR wins based on implied liscense, this fandom, and others like it, could be in trouble. It ’s like one of our own turned his back on us. Et tu Brute?

Now, I don’t think “fear” is the only reason why many potter fans are angry with Steve. We’ve read several of his comments which have been very hypocritical over the past few months. Those more than anything, have hurt his credibility with the majority of the fandom.

Here is my problem with Wu: he’s entitled to his opinion, like we all are, but he’s getting involved in a fandom which he doesn’t participate in or even respect. He doesn’t have a clue how much this fandom means to so many of us, and he’s using it as a way to push his own agenda. Like others have said, he is seeing it from his own perspective (that of an IP lawyer), not from ours, so sadly he may never fully understand why so many of us have turned our back on Steve.

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to one’s enemies but even more to stand up to one’s friends.”—Dumbledore

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The original question posed to the panel was “Why are fans disowning SVA?” No one seems to be hitting the heart of this – it ALL BOILS DOWN TO LOYALTY AND APPRECIATION. We, as true fans, are grateful to Jo for providing this world in which we revel. It is an endless sorce of entertainment, wonder and inspiration for me. Anyone who hurts her, or the world she has created, is no one I would associate with. THE MATTER IS NOT THAT MY “OWN ACCESS MAY DRY UP”!! This is not about what we can get out of Jo – it is entirely about what Jo has given to the world – let’s be grateful, kind, appreciative receivers of her miraculous gift – not vulchers.

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Please forgive my long winded post, from earlier. I agree, with Mollywobble, that Mr Wu is trying to “push his own agenda”...trouble is, his “agenda” is tainted by his obvious lack of knowledge. It is a sad state of affairs, when a proclaimed Copyright scholar, isn’t even arguing the proper context of a suit he is discussing. By the way, thank you TLC, for reporting EVERYTHING, as best you can, with the utmost taste and with both sides represented..[I think that’s called ‘unbiased reporting’???]

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Thank you, Dawn, for that! You have hit the whole discussion, on the head. “Our own access may dry up”! We have the books…the movies…and anything else that’s already out. We have access to everything that is Harry Potter. There is no need to “steal” from the author.

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Um, if you listen, the intro to the podacst forever has been the line “the OFFICIAL podcast of the Leaky Cauldron”.

They use the word “official” and it’s a Potter site and podcast. There you go. I thought that was pretty straight forward—I don’t see why everyone is screaming about it, personally.

The guy is a professor who was conducting a panel at a conference. I think the answer the panel came up with is a valid one—I, personally, will hold Steve Vander Ark responsible if the Lexicon gets printed and Jo decides not to write the “Scottish Book”. She has already said she doesn’t think she will write it if RDR wins. In that way, yes, the panel is correct. I would rather the fandom shut out Steve and beg her to write the book for US, and hope the bitter feelings go away so I can get my hands on another Potter work from the source. Call me selfish, but I would disassociate myself from anyone who jeopordizes that.

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I don’t think SVA should be banned.

I don’t think he should win the case, but since there’s the case to take care of that particular problem, what other problem would I have with him? He’s just as big a fan!

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This whole thing is absolutely asinine. I don’t argue JKR’s right to take SVA to court and fight about this thing, but I hope you all realize that the only reason up until maybe when he insulted Melissa yesterday that anyone even cared at all was because JKR told us to and because of her threats to not release her own encyclopedia if the Lexicon got published. We’ve been blackmailed into hating somebody that probably had no malicious intent to begin with and definitely isn’t worth all this attention in any case. As much as I enjoy her writing, I think JKR has overstepped the boundaries of what she should be doing with her fan support.

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@ Heather

JK isn’t suing a ‘fan’ though, she’s suing ‘someone who wants to publish on her back’ sort of. There’s a difference. It’s the fan’s ‘fault’ (sort of speak, I’m exaggerating here- I’m a fan as well!!) that it got so nasty on the internet for SVA. That’s not Jo’s fault. And what is said within the court is between her, the judge and the other party. Don’t get me wrong, I have strong opinions too, but in the end we only make it all worse outside the court.

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I feel rather sad for Vander Ark who is quite young in worldy terms and can easily see him seduced by suits and ties in a serious publishing house. I just don’t think he had the strength or requisite wit of a suit who could talk him into the small but admirable glory of publishing a lexicon. The same suits would have assured him too about the legal implications. It’s all very Slytherin and Helga Hufflepuff would not like the animosity drummed up by the case. What a pity; if he had sat down and done the hard slog of writing the ‘paedia in his own words, we’d all buy a copy. A sad thing but I hope things will heal for Vander Ark and the community to which he belonged.

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So we got punked? Haha. The joke’s on Wu.

I stand behind every comment I have made with regard to this issue.

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I am not one to use the word “disown” lightly either. To say that we’ve disowned SVA would mean that we have owned him in the first place. I hate to say it, but SVA can still be a fan since no one has the right to tell us what we can and can’t like/read/watch on tv etc… Now is he the type of fan that we would rally around and support? That answer is no. SVA has crossed over from an appreciator or lover of the books to a person with an obsession and that obsession has driven him to make some terrible (and costly) decisions. And as for this garbage of our fear of access to creative material will dry up blah blah blah, who is he kidding? All you have to do is go to a book store! The books are there! Buy one and voila, you have the “creative material” in your hot little hands. The only way we wouldn’t have creative material is if JKR said that’s it, I’m packing it in and retiring. And I don’t foresee that happening any time soon.

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I have read the trial transcripts and many of the comments. SVA broke ranks with the fan base when he decided to profit from his ‘work’. I have not gone to the Lexicon site and don’t intend to. I have read all the books over and over. JKR has made a wonderful world for us to live in through her writing, much like Disney and Tolkien and Herbert. My point is that I enjoy the books and the story, I have fallen in love with the lives of the characters and no one can explain the world that is Harry Potter but the creator, JK Rowling. When she writes a ‘lexicon’, or encyclopedia, I will buy it and read it. As for the on line world of Harry Potter, I come here and go to JKR’s site. I would hope that SVA and the publisher would take notice that if published, most of us would not purchase a work not endorsed by JKR. Copywrite issue and the expert Wus’ of the world aside.

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SVA has received too much attention. I think it’s now clear that he enjoys it too much and was even willing to be seen in a seriously bad light in order to get it. Just because several thousand people (many of them kids) within Potter fandom know your name doesn’t mean that can be exploited in the name of JKR.

He comes across as a spoiled brat even though he’s 50. Of course I don’t know him, hardly anyone here does, so it’s definitely unfair to judge him as a person. But you’d think he’d want to stay on the fans’ good side. He can give as many excuses as he wants but you can’t deny he had some sort of chip on his shoulder about Jo from the get go. Maybe more has gone on than was brought up in court. There are DEFINITELY secrets being held back by certain people, people who have been backtracking and trying to seem on the fence when in fact they have similar plans of their own to make copious volumes of cash from Jo in a similar way.

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Personally, I don’t have a problem with Steve profiting from a Harry Potter based book or endeavor. Many people within the community make money off of HP, so I think we’d be a bit hypocritical to only point the finger at Steve only.

My problem with the Lexicon is that is it poorly written and poorly cited. It’s plagiarising at it’s most basic form.

My problem with Steve is that he didn’t think this through when he did it. He was completely naive of the potential consequences. To me that is sad. Is it enough to banish him? Probably not. However, when you continue to make contradictory comments over and over again depending on who you are taking to and what you aim to get out of the conversation, that is just sneaky and an insult to people’s intelligence. I can’t respect someone like that.

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Is it just me or does there seem to be a lot of sympathy for Steve from the “talking heads”? The summary from this conference is not very revealing, but the tone of much of what I’ve read before is critical of JKR. It seems a lot of people have reduced this to a David vs. Goliath battle. That makes it all very simple, doesn’t it? Not many of us would support Goliath, at least not publicly.

When this case started, I thought it would be a slam dunk for JKR. Very naive on my part. I’m very dismayed.

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I agree with you, it is totally ok to write a book and make money from it. I don’t think it even matters if it is a good one, the book stores are full of poorly written books. Just make it your own version. With less plagiarisim, more original, verified content the Lexicon could have been a good book, with people anxious to get it. The rush to get it to market quickly after DH was the “flaw in the plan”.

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And that is really what all this is about. Just putting information in a website for others to share it is one thing but almost copying the work of an author[any author ]almost word-for-word and trying to publish it as your own is a whole other kettle of fish.One is just sharing your love and knowlegdge of said work with others who also love it ,and the other is taking from that author and isn’t something any REAL fan would do.

Of course the publishing company ,for the published Lexican book,could care less ,all they want is to make monies ,they have NO LOVE for the author or really for her work.And SVA is a smart man and should have looked before he leaped.

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I do not think Wu understands the fan response to Steve at all.

We are not afraid of our own selves, rather feel betrayed by somebody who has represented our fandom for years.

I hate how the media is trying to paint this as a “David and Goliath” case. Steve is a grown man. He is not some naive child.

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KB Perez ,you were right,it should have been a slam dunk ,for it to turn into SVA favor and ultimate win [I sure hope NOT] is like saying go get any book you want re-copy 90 % of it word-for -word and put you name on it and publish it, with your name on it.That is just wrong no matter how you look at it.

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This is NOT a David and Golieth issue,the press just are too uninventive and lazy to really think of what it isand could care less ,also.And the paralel is an extreme insult to JKR.

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@ Mollywobble and Cathy… you both pretty much nailed it.

Though I did not agree with Steve, I remained sympathetic toward him… until recently. Those harsh words directed at Melissa were terrible.

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You know what I’m finding amusing about all this?

It’s not enough that this community reads up on the case (I’ll give y’all that – you give as much attention to this case as you do any of the canon materials), comes down on Jo’s side and still has a fair share of people who don’t want to admit there are gray areas in intellectual property law. As an earlier poster on this thread put it, it’s about loyalty and appreciation, so you are coming down on JKR’s side, no matter what.

But now you’re arguing/complaining about whether or not you have actually “disowned” SVA? And, again, whether or not “Pottercast” is an “official” Potter podcast?

The semantic justifications here are starting to drive me insane. You’re almost as bad as the lawyers! Perhaps you need to pull back from your over-analysis, and take things in the spirit they are intended, instead of parsing every sentence for meaning. This case is not an episode of “Lost” where every casual phrase has meaning. Sometimes a word is just a word, properly or improperly chosen.

Mr. Wu may not be a HP expert, but his professional focus is on copyright law and how it applies to telecommunication (i.e. – the Internet). The fact that the HPL started on the Internet, that JKR was fine with the HPL as an internet site but not a book, saying it now infringes on her intellectual property rights? He is actually somewhat qualified to discuss this case and the phenomenon surrounding it. If you don’t agree with him, that’s fine. But I assure you, the man has no need to “milk” this case for publicity – he’s got plenty of his own. He may not have the mega-fandom of JKR, but there are those of us within the Internet professional community who know his name well. And the fact is, if you’re going to have a conference on Copyright Law and the Internet at this moment, then you can’t have it without discussing this case.

I am pro intellectual property. Because JKR’s world – while lovely and complex – has plenty of references or ideas that exist in works previous hers. Mythology. Neil Gaiman’s stuff. C.S. Lewis. You can see their influences and many more in every word she writes. To give her one step towards the legal rights that it is all uniquely hers is a problem for any legitimate creative author who has been inspired by her, or, more importantly, the works she herself pulled from (whether consciously or subconsciously).

And the fact remains – the organization of the lexicon materials is actually SVA (and his team’s) intellectual property, because JKR has NOT done it herself. The logical organization and interpretation of data (because the timeline is definitively interpretive – she provides few concrete dates beyond Harry’s birthday and holidays – the rest must be inferred from the text), is something that JKR has not provided. Had she done so already and SVA tried to capitalize on that, definitely not kosher. But his works provide value to the HP community, because they do not exist in canon form at present.

It may not be originally creative, but it is a reference material of value, and therefore, SVA has some rights to the work he’s done. (Again – if he hasn’t referenced properly, I strongly feel he needs to do that and/or edit his entries. He should know better as a librarian than to not reference source material. As someone who works with data, I definitely don’t support that.)

Someone in a previous comment on another article said they wish there was a law that “allowed” the author “first shot” at writing materials like this. The thing is, they don’t NEED that law – they can publish that material alongside or as part of their own books, or even publish it on their own web sites if their publishers don’t want to spend the money to print the material. They have their own notes and definitions so they could easily put it all together – far more easily than an enthusiast who has to deal with the final, edited materials.

Again, not all fans retain an encyclopedic knowledge of the books, movies and supplement canon in their head. Some of us need a boost like a simple, non-interpretive reference material. So this case should not be allowed to kill the concept of enthusiast-written lexicons or reference guides for complex popular fiction, which is what many here are missing, I think. It is not just about this book – it’s about future books, HP related or otherwise. (A fact I’m almost positive that has appeared to kill Mugglenet’s Encyclopedia, whatever its title was…)

You’re too focused on “Poor Jo” (the billionaire author) to actually realize the case is precedent setting, despite any protests to the otherwise. I don’t know that any of you would care if someone tried to say, write a lexicon for the “Twilight” series or Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series, but were blocked by doing so because of a potential legal precedent set in this case. Because it doesn’t affect you, and your comments do bear that out – you’re thinking in a very parochial and personal vein.

If JKR/WB wins outright, it clears the way for authors to not allow anyone to write supplement, non-canon books to their worlds. Or for publishers to be fearful to even pick up books that are similar in practice but may not have the potential “plagiarism” stigma due to definitively original writing and interpretation. Why should any publisher touch a work of this nature if they don’t want the wrath and legal bills of authors to rain down upon them?

For a community that thrives on fan-fiction and reveling in every theory and speculation in their universe, I find it surprising that would you deny that same joy to others who revel in other fictional universes and may be willing to buy a book off the shelves.

Think beyond yourselves, HP Fandom. There’s a larger world out there, and there are lots of other much beloved fiction series this is going to impact.

And stop playing word games…really. It makes any valid and solid arguments that come out of this forum (of which there are many), look invalid. If Pottercast or Mugglecast aren’t actually officially sanctioned by JKR and WB, they are as close as it gets, so take it as a compliment. And maybe some have never “owned” SVA, but he is an undeniable part of the broader HP fandom. The vilification he has received looks very much like the fandom has given him the boot, even he was not overly loved to begin with. If you can’t see that, then your objectivity really is in question.

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My take on this is that SVA can no longer expect to see a market for his product. Why the publisher is continuing to push it is beyond me. After the fan support is gone, who will buy it. Now that it has been exposed, I for one am waiting for the JKR written version. I want to thank the entire staff of Leaky for this forum. Keep it up.

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@ Cynthia

Tim Wu and the many others that have written on the lawsuit’s effect on HP fandom is not based on reality. The inflammatory headlines followed by nonsensical paragraphs about David & Goliath or if they know the books at all, Harry & Voldemort. ( I think at best these articles are “Skeeterisms”.) Some of the fans have been quite upset but I do believe a great number of them are young – these are, after all, books that are read by children and adults.

However, a huge portion of the fandom has examined every minute detail of the legal documents, media information provided, debated the details and had intelligent ideas and discussions about copyright issues. Young and old have participatted. It has been an enlightening, educating, sometimes enraging process. In my opinion this is a perfect example of how the Harry Potter series has joined the generations. To make it as simple as “fandom savaging and eating one of their own” is cheap, lazy and insulting.

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Chasmosaur, I wholeheartedly agree. As literary scholar myself, I find the current situation a bit unnerving. I think that it is very interesting (and very telling), that, while I probobly generally disagree with you on the issue of intellectual property, we come to the same conclusion on this. I have always comedown on the side of allowing free use of ideas (barring fraud, etc.). I also am fearful of the effect of this suit on the field of bibliographic research in general. Thank you for the breath of fresh air.

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@ Chasmosaur….

Thanks for your excellent comments. You put into words exactly what has been swimming around in my head as I’ve been reading the comments here.

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omg not this guy again.

this is so confusin i dont know where its going, well when it is finally ova i will try and understand it but till tha time i will stay confused

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@thefish -

I generally agree with you on the free use of ideas thing. I have admitted in previous posts on other articles I simply don’t know enough about the canon materials and how extensively SVA has used them to make an appropriate judgement.

If he’s over-used JKR’s published text and refuses to change it, then yes, he deserves to lose. If he hasn’t, then it’s a far murkier area where settlement and editing are called for. I definitely believe in authors retaining their rights (my aunt is a poet and author on a small scale), but this case is problematic from a precedent-setting aspect for any supplement works, whether they are lexicons or interpretive/expansion.

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Thank you Chasmosaur.

The posts that you and a few others have undertaken, is appreciated by this librarian, who understands the complexity of copyright, intellectual property and the doctrine of fair-use, and appreciates the larger issues beyond Harry Potter.

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this is a note to @ Chasmosaur wow what great comments i am still not fully sure the story but your cooments helped alot thanks

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Chasmosaur, I appreciate your well thought out and interesting post. It was very classy and respectful. So thank you.

However, I’d like to argue a few things. First, most people find it inappropriate that Wu should feel the need to comment or write an article about (the New Yorker article) how the fandom feels about Steve Vander Ark since he is not a member of the fandom. Obviously, he is perfectly allowed to do it. Just because he’s not a member of the fandom, it doesn’t mean he can’t examine it. However, it just makes it difficult to consider him an authority on that matter. As for his opinion on copyright and intellectual property rights, obviously it’s impossible to argue the validity of this arguments since he has an expertise in the matter. We can still disagree with him, of course.

You also said, “If JKR/WB wins outright, it clears the way for authors to not allow anyone to write supplement, non-canon books to their worlds. ” This is a flawed argument. First, JKR is not arguing that fair use laws should change. She simply wants the current fair use laws to be applied with this book. There are also several books, which Jo mentions on her first day of testimony, that she enjoys. She is not out to end all supplemental books. She just wants this book to be better written (cited properly, add commentary, etc). Books like, “If Harry Potter Ran General Electric,” would not be targetted because it falls under fair use. The Lexicon, from where I stand, does not fall under the current laws. However, the only opinion that matters now is that of the Judge and any Appellate court in the future.

As for the future of other fandoms, I would argue that this is a huge reason why many fans are actually on JKR’s side. It is my belief that copyright holders, like Jo, have been very lenient towards most fan endeavors. However, copyright holders may have to crack down on some of them out of fear that they are giving them “implied license” to continue if RDR wins based on the implied license argument (JKR liked the website therefore she gave Steve rights to make it a book for profit). If RDR wins based on fair use only, not implied license, then I think everything will be okay. You just might see a lot of bad encyclopedia’s out there.

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I think it was my post you were referring to about wishing the author had “first shot” at producing an encyclopedia. I think it was on page 13 of the comment section of the other Tim Wu article. There was more to that comment in my original post than what you mentioned in your post, but nevermind.

I respect what you wrote in your post, but I wish you also addressed some of my other concerns/confusions that I had put in my previous post.

I wrote how the lexicon doesn’t seem to be “about” Harry Potter, since it is strictly direct reference to Harry Potter and is not commentary or analysis, but rather “represents” Harry Potter – since it is taking its entries directly from the original material without altering it (for the most part).

I mentioned before how I can see how this book could have worth as a printed text, but since it “represents” Harry Potter, I don’t understand why this wouldn’t need to be licensed. This is what I am most confused about – and don’t recall anyone else bringing this up. Is it because it is a book and not some other item like a board game, it wouldn’t be treated like any other piece of merchandise… which has to be licensed?

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My problem with all of this is the same one Melissa expressed on PotterCast, and runs rampant throughout the media these days… a lack of journalistic integrity and an honest, objective reporting of events. This is wide spread, and everywhere you look. Anyone trying to “raise the bar”, so to speak, gets attacked.

It’s a scary state of affairs when the Media often intentionally misguides the public for ratings and or other “agenda” (one can only guess).

I always remember Ben Franklin’s statement that he’d rather have a free media than a democracy.

My main comment here is directed at Leaky, and is basically applause for their efforts in holding to a standard that I truly admire.

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I see where you’re coming from on the arguments on Tim Wu – he’s not an expert on the HP Fandom (and FWIW, I did think his arguments were kinda odd, but he was probably looking for a different spin than everything else out there – you have to admit he provided that). But thank you for seeing where I’m coming from. Let’s just say we both agree he is an expert in his own field, but he’s tangential to this experience :)

And again, I’m just not familiar enough with the canon to know how good or bad the HPL is – I’m totally willing to admit it could be rubbish and poorly executed, which I don’t condone. So if you’re gonna do something of this scale, you need to do it right. Obviously, SVA hasn’t on some level, large or small. I just don’t want to see one bad book or bad lawsuit set a legal precedent that can be manipulated negatively down the line against legitimate reference and analysis books.

And I understand that JKR doesn’t want Fair Use Laws to change, but that doesn’t change the fact that they may very well change because of this lawsuit (not that the laws obviously don’t need some fine tuning). You seem to perceive that as well (i.e. – fair use vs. implied license).

Because her intentions really are besides the point – what’s that quote about roads and intentions? ;) (Not really maligning here, just using hyperbole…)

I’ve said previously I feel bad for Judge Patterson – he’s in between a rock and a hard place. There’s good and bad points on both sides, and it all really comes down to the ruling and interpretation against current standards (which is what makes lawsuits infuriating – it’s about what’s on the books, not what logically makes sense). Settlement makes more sense, but I think both sides have taken too public a stand now for that to happen gracefully. It’s a shame.

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Actually, I never read the comments on the original article, so it was a different one. So great minds think alike, obviously – who the other great mind is, I don’t know ;)

Your licensing questions are interesting, though, I hadn’t thought about that. Maybe that’s really what this is all about, since we know how charitable WB is ;)

And yes, I’ll agree – The Fourth Estate is sloppy, sloppy, sloppy these days. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

And on that note, I’d love to stay and chat all day (especially since I’m not being flamed – I was ready to don my asbestos underwear), but work is calling. Gotta launch some web sites and pay some bills so I can keep my Internet access….

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Here, here Tani! Not only has this happened, but My husband has pointed out something else. Through all of this and the fact that there are 85+ comments about Mr Wu and SVA, SVA has achieved what he wanted: Publicity. Mr Wu has achieved what every journalist [and, basically that’s what he is] wants….PUBLICITY. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of those who have tried to be fair about the whole issue. He wound us up and let us go, knowing that they would recieve publicity…..yes, as someone said, earlier on” “We’ve been punked!” Jus as there is “freedom of speech”, there is also “freedom of the press” But I don’t think the “founding fathers” meant anything like this…..”Freedom Of Speech” means freedom to have your own opinions. It does not include [from my perspective, of course] doing intentional harm to others. “Freedom Of The Press” means [also, from MY perspective] write what you want, but not I think, taking someone else’s work as your own, and intentionally mis representing statements made by others. How very sad and just plain wrong. Melissa, Sue and the rest of the Leaky Staff…continue to do the job you do. You are fair minded and open. Thank you.

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@ Chasmosaur

My thoughts in your words! ( a copyright infringement issue, heh? D:)

I agree with you, it’d be serious blow-up for any reaserch book if JKR is going to win this case. The lexicons are not for adding something creative, they are for factually correct notations and informations. They must be “taking too much and adding too little” – it’s their nature.

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Chasmosaur, I think you and I see things very similarly. I agree that it’s a shame on a variety of levels.

I wish RDR had been more willingly to make changes to the book early on, but they seemed dead set on getting this out in a timely manner.   The question is now, would RDR even consider a settlement involving a rewrite? I doubt it.   I think Steve would be willing to do it though (though his opinion on that changes weekly depending on who asks the questions).
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Maybe the reason why fans dislike SVA so much now is because of what he’s done to our favorite author. He’s selfish; he wants this book published because he wants the money. When JKR said she didn’t want his help on her encyclopedia, he wrote his own. Then he said terrible things about JKR and former friends, who actually tried not to say hurtful and horrible things about him (despite the fact that he deserves to be called every single one of these things). He has offended fans worldwide for challenging JKR and going behind her back to try and get his encyclopedia published.

This is very simple. Why did they need a panel to figure this out? What’s sad is people aren’t intelligent enough to reach the obvious and TRUE conclusion.

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@Chasemosaur and FatFriar

It would fine for a research book if it had adequate quotation marks and cites. That is the problem with this book; it does not have either of those things. Further, the fandom was upset, but not completely shunning SVA until he started to say very negative things about JKR and then Melissa. In fact the Leaky went above and beyond to tell people to wait this out and see what happened with the trial. However, SVA opened his mouth and stuck his foot in it so many times that many in the fandom have gotten feed up with him and the media that has misreported this case and vilified JKR and the WB for that matter. It is a classic case of wealth envy with those in the media, this David vs. Goliath crap. JKR feels very passionately that she is protecting her rights as an author and the rights of other authors that may not have the financial ability to protect their rights. All you have to do is read the court transcript of her testimony to see that. Unfortunately the media has spun this case for its own benefit and could care a less about JKR or any other authors’ rights. Further, Dr. Wu could care a less whether or not this book is sold, he just wants the fair use law changed for his own liberal agenda.

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Yeah god this stupid ‘wu’ guy!

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Lisa, let’s not turn this into a liberal vs conservative thing by suggesting Wu’s agenda is “liberal.” I think Chasmosaur has made it clear in her subsequent posts that if the Lexicon is poorly done (badly cited, etc.) then she/he doesn’t condone the Lexicon. Chasmosaur is just suggesting that this issue could be much more complicated than some believe, and he/she may be right.

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I do agree with you on the point of citation. That is where SVA’s writing fails in its claimed academic nature. The book fails in its academic duty to cite its references (and, as chasmosaur said, SVA’s a librarian, and should know better). While the the lexicon is very helpful, it would be tremendously more helpful (and more viable as an academic endevour) if it had cited its sources. Of course, there are two sides to that coin, too. Even though we can say that SVA should have known better, he still wan’t offered that or any similar opportunity (a fact he has claimed for a while now). On that point, I believe him. If he had simply taken the book and went through to cite his sources, even though it would be a time-consuming task, he’d still be done with it by now.

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Off topic – today is May 9th, and up to now there has not been anything heard of a settlement. So with every minute passing it seems certain that Judge P. will have to write a judgement.

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Also “off Topic”: Well put, p.f. Let us hope that this all will end soon…..no matter who it favors. Just let it be done and over. May justice and cooler heads prevail! Quoth Mr. Weasley,’Order Of The Phoenix. “As the Muggles say, Truth will out!”

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Yeah wasn’t today the final deadline for the parties to submit some sort of final argument?

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I find it interesting and revealing that any media coverage that isn’t sympathetic or supportive of JK is instantly categorized as a “pack of lies” by the readers of this site. No bias at all here, eh?

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Confederate Lady, Baldric, hi – exactly, today 23:59 of New-York-time (whatever you call it) is the deadline for putting final arguments in writing before the judge. (I’m posting from central Europe where it is 20:26 now).

Being not familiar with US procedural law, I don’t know if the parties would be entitled to settle after this deadline, but in any case there doesn’t seem too be much time any more.

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According to the transcripts, today is the due date for the “findings of fact and conlusions of law,” which seems to be from the judge. So we basically find out his decision today.

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Chasemosaur, thanks for your comments.

I still don’t understand why Tim Wu is bringing up the “fan feud” angle. Not just in the Talk of the Town/NewYorker atmosphere piece, but also at this conference. How does it add to his view on copyright/IP law?

(PS – maybe after the dust settles, we can have a short tutorial on what’s involved practically & legally with going from an amateur hobbyist/fan to becoming a professional writer or other artist. Not just to avoid a repeat of this situation, but also as protection for the hobbyist turned professional!)

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I’m lost.

In the transcript, Ms. Cendali identifies the findings of fact and conclusions of law as something the parties themselves will give to the judge on May 9, but the only definitions I can find on the internet for “findings of fact and conclusions of law” say that it comes from the judge.

So I guess there is another definition that applies here that I am not finding anywhere.

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@Baldric – the deadline makes only sense for the parties rsp their lawyers. It is, after the hearing and the oral exchange of arguments, their last chance to bring legal arguments or newly identified facts to the court’s attention – facts / arguments which they might not have thought of in the heat of the debate, or which seem important to underline after an thorough analysis of the protocols.

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“The fan community needs to disassociate itself from anyone who goes to far in appropriating creative content for fear that their own access to that content might dry up.”

I think some fans’ reactions are driven by fear. I know one person very involved in the fandom declared that she was afraid what this could do to the wizard rock movement. Overall, I think that is a valid point.

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to Chasmosaur. It is great when someone puts so much thoughts into their posts, and even better and shines upon them when they will be honest that they dont know all the details. I commend you on your approch and your directness and honestly.

As such, I thought I would help give you a little more understanding on the issues with the HPL.

As many have pointed out, Jo is not against companion books, but she is against plagerisem and profitering. She wants to promote the rights of legitamate companion book writers. the HPL dosent fall into the catagory of legitamate, and before people explain that im biased as a fan, let me explain where the HPL fails.

Steve Vander Ark was a librarian until he got fired from his job for going against school policy for faculty actions. we dont need to get into them in a attempt to villinize him, but it explains why he keeps saying he is in desperate financial straights. he got fired for misconduct, tried to get a job with jo, saying he wants to help her write her encylopedia and was moving to london so he can work with her. jo’s people declined, and a few weeks later, book seven was released, and a few weeks later, after years of pointing out it would be illegal to publish the lexicon, he takes the first offer to publish he gets.

now, on the matter of the lexicon, It can not be considered a legitamate book for many reasons. Firstly, fair use requires the majority of a book to be original work by the author, or authors, and that original work has to add new insights into the text. Fair use allows authors to use a small ammount of copyrighted material to jumpstart and/or support their commentary or critiq. the general rule of thumb is if you take more the 10%-15%, you have a moral and legal obligation to seek permission from the copyright holder. more often then not, and jo has done this with authors in the past, they will give you permission to use more because they see it will be put to good use and be of value with new insights. the harry potter lexicon takes 91% of its texts according to court documents directly from the harry potter books. on top of that, there are more percents of its text taken from other copyrighted and uncited sources word for word.

so instead of taking 10% of the text being copyrighted to jk rowling and have 90% his own work like fair use docterine basically requires, he takes 90+% of his text directly word for word or near word for word from the harry potter book, then the rest is a mixture of other copyrighted material and then a few measely percent can not be attributed to other copyrighted works.

as a librarian, you would expect that steve would understand how to properly cited copyrighed works like the law, and moral writing requires.

he dosent put quotes around the text copied from jo’s copyrighted and trademarked works. as was pointed out in trial, if steve vander ark put quotes to denote he didnt write it, most all of the book would be in quotes. but the problem is, he is claiming that its all his work, and anyone who has the harry potter books on hand can see he just copied pasted quotes and called them entries.

in the trial, RDR was unable to point to a single entry in the book that they could claim was accurate commentary. the few points that WB and JKR found that could be considered commentary were pointed out, and shown to be glaring falsehoods. so little of the book itself is commentary that if you remove everything that isent, you would literally only have 2-3 pages of text.

RDR kept saying it was commentary, and it was transformative, but saying it and proving it are completely different, and they never did.

one of the reasons judge patterson wanted a settlement was because he knew that if they dont settle, and RDR agrees either to not publish the book, or edit the book to ensure that the book is legal, which RDR never proved it was, then it would be less costly and less time consuming. RDR books spent the entire time from the moment they got cease and desist letters to the moment they went on trial claiming they didnt have to edit the book, and it was well known jk rowling gave them the option of giving them a copy of the manuscript to check that it dosent infringe her work. in the past, she has helped writers ensure their companion books are legal, and many have been published and unchallanged by jo because those writers did it the legal route and sought to work with the copyright holders to let them know what they were doing, and to make sure that the book was legal.

RDR the moment they took the stands acted like they pleaded and begged to work with jo, which court documents show they didnt, and were actively trying to cut the copyright holders out of the process.

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I’m still flabbergasted as to what in the world the fandom’s views on SVA have to do with copyright at all. I think America’s new mentality of “give the losing team trophies to save their self-esteem” has bled into the general public attitude. We could burn Steve in effigy or build a monument in his honor (not that we would do either, just saying) and it would STILL have absolutely no bearing on copyright law, which is supposedly what that conference is about.

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@ newbie

No one is asking the media to be sympathetic or supportive of JKR. I think most would just like the media to get their facts correct, which most have not and not show a bias in the other direction for RDR and SVA, which some have.

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Didn’t Judge Patterson make comments to the effect that he would be judging this case on its own, and not taking into account what might happen, legally, in the future as a result? (I sincerely hope I’m not remembering this wrong.) I think that’s a very wise decision.

In these comments we’ve had sides argue that restrictive changes could be imposed if WB wins, or if RDR wins. In truth, we don’t know what will happen in either event. It could very well be that other authors and fandoms have had their courses changed already because this lawsuit even exists at all. Of course people will be worried about what-happens-if, but it’s far too speculative to allow it to influence the decision on this case.

On another note, I think many people are being tripped up by the conflation of the legal issues of this case with opinions about the personalities involved. You may think that Steve Vander Ark is a opportunistic jerk, but that’s beside the point if he’s within his legal rights to publish his book. You may think JK Rowling is a greedy bitch, but that doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not she’s rightly defending her legal property.

I’m not saying that the fans shouldn’t have opinions about the people. They will anyway, because it’s a major component of what’s going on here. The court case aside, this is a personal and emotional issue for lots of us. We just need to be clear on which issue (legal or emotional) we’re discussing.

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“The lexicons are not for adding something creative, they are for factually correct notations and informations. They must be “taking too much and adding too little” – it’s their nature.” Posted by fatfriar on May 09, 2008 @ 12:36 PM

Ms. Cendali addressed this point in her closing remarks:

“Now, one of the issues you may have to address, your Honor, is what we argue is a circular argument, which is that if they can argue that their purpose was to take everything, does that justify their ability to take everything. I don’t think, your Honor, that there’s justification under the law for such an argument. Moreover, the issue of the Harry Potter companion guides, as evidenced by the testimony of Mr. Vander Ark and of the documents dealing with the Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch make very clear that those words, including the EA cards, were taken virtually completely.”

Dictionary.com identifies a circular argument as “any discussion in which one argues the conclusion as a premise; a discussion that makes a conclusion based on material that has already been assumed in the argument.”

Fallacyfiles.org identifies a circular argument as synonymous with “begging the question,” which it defines as follows: The phrase “begging the question”, or “petitio principii” in Latin, refers to the “question” in a formal debate—that is, the issue being debated. In such a debate, one side may ask the other side to concede certain points in order to speed up the proceedings. To “beg” the question is to ask that the very point at issue be conceded, which is of course illegitimate.”

So I see where you are coming from and the judge may very well decide for RDR, but the argument you are using was addressed in court and argued to contain a logical fallacy.

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I’m not really in the mood for commenting this. I want news from trial! or about HBP!

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the issue of the nature of bibliography (what fatfriar) is talking about is not quite the same thing as the circular argument issue you are talking about. Yes, to claim that someone has a right to do something because they intend to do it is a circular argument (in a way. not quite, but close enough). However, the issue that the cataloging of information is a long-standing, estabilished scholarly endevour. It is an intellectual excercise that is, itself, protected by the same laws that protect JK Rowling. Whether you agree that this should be protected is alltogether other issue. The question in this case is (no, strike that. it SHOULD be) whether SVA’s work properly meets the standards for a bibliographic archive. In subject matter, I believe it does (but some may disagree on the amount of direct citation in the encyclopedia). In documentation, it does not (see page 5 of comments). It’s a grey issue. Not clearly black and white either way.

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Hello! i posted about what i thought of this artcal earlier! But i just wanted to say i was one of the 25 blue peter competition winners last july to meet j.k.rowling and she is SOOOOO lovely! just like you always dream; really warm and smiley! x

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This is how I see the circular argument of “we meant to take that much, so we should be able to.”


“Professor, I meant to use that much verbatim and paraphrasing from that one source and meant to not cite it well. I should get an A because I organized the information so well (except for my poor citing and occassional factual errors).”

To the honor board you go!

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okay SVA did this to himself becauseof the greed, as for being naieve about the world of publishing, if i remeber correctly what i have read about this case, SVA wrote lexicons on star trek and at least one other subject so he is hardly a new comer he knew what he was getting in to. as for settling, i think if they were going to settle it would have been done by now, all that was settle were a few minor sidebar issuses related to this case

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As more and more people use the internet for research, communication, and publishing the issues of intellectual property, fair use, and open access (not an issue here) will necessarily need to be far better defined. That is (imho) why Stanford was so interested in this case to begin with. This is an opportunity to set precedent. I have no doubt that they are more than prepared to see this issue through to the end. The smaller issues were settled quite quickly and without fanfare.

I tried very hard to remain objective, but in the end I found I agree with Mollywobbles. Had the Lexibook been better written, included more commentary, fewer mistakes and proper attribution I would not thought twice about its publication. I probably still wouldn’t have purchased it, knowing as I did that JKR planned on writing the Scottish book (she’s been saying as much for years).

In reading the many exhibits and filings, I found it disturbing that SVA referred to JKR as ‘Rowling.’ I could not decide why that bothered me. Was it because I found it disrespectful? Or maybe it spoke of a familiarity I didn’t seem to feel he was entitled? A personal issue I’m still working out.

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mollywobbles23….addendum: Mr/Ms [insert name here] No student nor other persons are given permission to take any works, paragraphs or other quotations without citing the author and or reference used. Therefore, in keeping with the bylaws of this University and in accordance with copyright law, this Board Of Honour finds you guilty of Plaigerism. In accordance with said regulations and bylaws of this Board Of Honour and this University, you are hereby expelled.

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@ JohnV After the fan support is gone, who will buy it.?

Do you imagine for a second that the world of Potter fans starts and finishes with those who scribble their obsessions here? Grow up, for heavens’ sake. The world exists beyond your own “little” country even if you don’t know its whereabouts

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I was hoping that perhaps someone who knows about the intellectual property ramifications could answer a question. I am a Potter-fan who has been watching this case with interest. Frankly, I have always felt that there was some sort of sub-text to this case that was motivating JKR and WB that I wasn’t quite sure I understood. Somehow, it has always felt like there was something more at stake for them than simply a little book published by a little publisher. I’ve been well aware of SVA for many years and always thought of the HPL as an asset to the fan community and I don’t have a reason to doubt that those at WB and associate organizations used the lexicon for research just the way fans did.

I found the comment from Rushkoff that this represented a “symbolic shift” interesting. I’ve also been interested in some of JKR’s comments from the trial. Her comment (and I’m paraphrasing) that she had always been open with the internet but was afraid that now she would be thought an idiot for letting it go too far; her concern about a “slippery slope”; and finally the focus on SVA personal feelings about the epilogue. It all makes me wonder if there is a fear that the standards and mores of the internet HP world could begin to invade the free-market HP world. I guess what I’m asking is: is the real core of the problem not what SVA has created but the fact that he has taken something from the internet and published it. If he had kept the lexicon all along in his own little private notebook and then published it in exactly the same way would we be having this big deal?

If this is obvious to everyone but me, my apologies, but I needed that clarified.

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(Continuing the hypothetical with Confederate Lady):

“But…but…but…ah crap.” Stomps out of conference room, gets in car, peels off campus, holds press conference and calls the students biased and lemmings.”


Anyway, even though I have five cases of Weasley fireworks riding on a verdict coming out on May 27th, I really hope it comes sooner than that. *twitches

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The Google debate is huge and will be ongoing for quite some time. It is possible with some versions of Adobe to cut and paste from one document to another. You can combine, extract, print to text, etc. An ‘encyclopedia’ can be extracted fairly quickly in comparison to old school methods.

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Didn’t Jo say that she’s worried that if SVA and RDR are allowed to go ahead and publish their book that they will then be able to stop Jo from publishing her own book, saying that SHE’S plagiarizing HIM?

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@ Hp fan – sorry, if JKR said such a thing, it was pure polemics. Or fear. Or misinformation by her lawyers. Or whatever. As a legal argument it would be totally besides the point.

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We all live by the law so we can enjoy the resulting harmony. And we all have a sense of fair play that when applied to life makes us together as a civilization feel nice and comfortable.

If the law has been broken let the courts set it right and with our sense of fair play hope that all parties concerned work it out to the best interest of the many and not just the few.

Harry Potter has been a lot of fun for all of us and Jo is his creator. Personally I think she should have a say in how her creation is used.

May be she has the next generation of wizards on her mind to thrill us all and is just making sure things don’t get too out of hand copywright wise before she and her publishers and WB seal the deal.

One can only hope, (Harry Potter – The next generation)

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Why is everyone suddenly on the defensive? Perhaps were so used to it during this trial, but Wu said on this panel was pretty on the mark

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What absolute crap. I wish just once that journalists and reporters would get something right.

I personally don’t listen to Pottercast, but I know of them well through Mugglecast, and I know that Pottercast would never “ostracize” him, or banish him, as everyone else would do too. We have simply lost respect for him, for what he has done, and what he won’t do. We never ban him. Most potter fans look at both sides, and quite simply, the law is on Jo’s side. We are a massive community, and anyone who is hurting our beloved author and her wonderful series, we take offense to.

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I also wonder how much of the podcast was played, and what was taken out.

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Was Steve going to go Portus? Does anyone know if he still is?

And lets be honest here – we are banishing Steve.

It’s all so sad. In times like these I really, really wish we could just open PoA and hand that man a time turner. I can’t stop feeling sympathy – though with all that he has publicly said about this and what was brought up in the trial it is nearly impossible to understand how he could get himself into this mess – He MUST have seen it coming. And why do it then?

Money causes as many ailments as it cures… and now he lost the fandom and isn’t going to get the money either….

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“the fan community needs to disassociate itself from anyone who goes to far in appropriating creative content for fear that their own access to that content might dry up.”

More crap, crap, and other things I won’t write. We actually respect Jo for her work, and we are willing to leave her creative genius alone so she can write more for us, not try and take more away from her and make her afraid of everyone. We “shun” him because of what he did to Jo AND to the law, not for what he did against us as fans.

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He had the choice to back out, and he kept going against Jo, and now he has to deal with it. I don’t feel any sympathy at all. If he was truly so ignorant that he thought that he would get away with it, he deserves to be sued.

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I wish whenever journalists and conferences for harry potter go on, they had at LEAST 1 harry potter fan on the panel. Then they wouldn’t get so much wrong, and articles like this would have some truth to it. There is plenty of potter fans to go around!

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You’re right-it is a fear. A fear that Jo (or any other writer) may not be able to publish works of their own because some other person claims copywrite on work that isn’t theirs to begin with.

I think SVA admired Jo so much, and wanted so badly to be a part of the HP world, that he kind of lost touch with reality.

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No one can stop SVA from being a fan: but his livelihood related to Harry Potter will be impacted by those who effectively “boycott” him. Like me!

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This is rubish. Official podcast? what is that?! And how come we havent heard from SVA? We havent gotten anything from him but that one quote about how he is sooo upset that he is shunned from the fandom. Complete twit. And this makes it sound like the accusations against him are too harsh.

What ever. Jo rox, SVA sucks.

The truth will out, and HP will remain a ligit. source, that is, its comes DIRECTLY from its original author.

Live, Love, Harry Potter, and Jo. Dislike, Protest Steve Vander Ark!

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“Do you imagine for a second that the world of Potter fans starts and finishes with those who scribble their obsessions here? “

@lorgasmo, since you also post on Leaky, I’m sure you must include yourself among “those who scribble their obsessions here”.

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Quote: “newbis I find it interesting and revealing that any media coverage that isn’t sympathetic or supportive of JK is instantly categorized as a “pack of lies” by the readers of this site. No bias at all here, eh? Posted by newbis on May 09, 2008 @ 02:31 PM”

Hey Newbis and other contributors here! I wish, you would stop writing “WE”, “US”, “the whole fandom” and “the readers of this site” because then you include me and I don’t know you well enough to have you include me in any way! The lawsuit is about the law. The fandom is about being a fan – with it’s (sometimes) bias oppinions. Please if anyone wants to implicate me – a fan – in an oppinion, then at least ask me about MY oppinion! There are some good, informative comments here. It’s nice to get some facts and easier then to grasp, what it’s all about. Still loving JKR’s work and still not bying ANY other authors books written about Harry Potter, no matter what the judge rule, but recognising that the law has to be challenged from time to time. Wonder what held RDR (sp?) from advising SVA a little better. They must either be amateurs or have alterior motives. It seems a little silly, that they had no idea, they were working in a grey area. Sorry for SVA if he landed in a hornets nest. But then again – he is a grown-up AND a librarian!

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@ HP fan – sorry to come back again, but what can a writer own more than their copyright? There can be no doubt that JKR’s copyright for the Potter series is hers and hers alone, and it does include the right to write and to publish any lexicon or encyclopedia or reference guide based on her former work, she may – like Richardson for his Pamela, as cited in the trial – write a million authentic commentaries to her own creation and make more billions of it. On legal grounds, SVA cannot take that away from her or even touch upon it because her very own copyright would overrule everything.

Probably she even could copy and paste the lexicon’s structure because her copyright would cover her very own filling in.

What might be touched upon in case of that trial’s outcome in favor of fair use is the possibilty for writers to control or steer their own reception in academe or elsewhere. Which in itself is, imo, a kind of crazy thing to do for an author, but this kind of craziness is inherent in the canon thing, to say the least. I won’t go on about this, or else I’ll get censored again.

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[Continuing Hypothetical Board of Honour] We’re sorry, Mr/Ms [enter name here] but this decision was unanimous, and therefore not subject nor entitled to appeal. Case closed. Student expelled for Plaigerism and false statements to the Board Of Honour of [insert University here]

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I’ll assume you know what you’re talking about re her copywrite overruling everything. If that’s the case, great.

LOL at the thought of her copying and pasting the lexicon.

My allergies are very bad today so I’m a little slow-could you please explain what you mean by ”...for writers to control or steer their own reception in academe…” ? Thanks.

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folks, he’s using you, he’s using us for the free publicity and his 15 minutes of fame don’t give it to him

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Here is a follow up Tim Wu wrote about the Fan Feud Article. In it he walks about he fan reaction to this and how he is not surprised. He is much more neutral in this article than in the Fan Feud.


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“Briefly, I mention and quote language to the effect that her and other leaders in fandom have been strong supporters of Rowling, and tough on Steve Vander Ark. This no one can deny.”

He adds that a fan’s quote of ““Fandom tends to eat their own” basically sums up what he wanted to say.

So, um. Not sure I see the much-more-neutralness of this second piece, Vapid Philosophy. Sorry. :-/

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I don’t know why anyone is worried about Tim Wu (or anyone) using our comments. I’ve always known that there could possibly be people of diverse intent who were paying attention, but I’m not embarassed about anything I’ve said and I feel that anyone who would try to build some kind of case based on fan comments is out of ideas and grasping at straws. If people here are somehow afraid to express their honest feelings (whether or not I agree with them), people like Wu are getting far more power than they deserve. So don’t worry about him, we’re not that important and neither is he. I did notice that in his post he omitted any mention of misquoting Melissa. It must have slipped his mind in his haste to be factual.

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Will Steve be presenting at Convention Alley?

“Leaders in Fandom”??? Does Wu know anything about Fandom? I think not.

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Let’s prove Mr. Wu wrong and find a way to reembrace Mr. Vander Ark.

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Hey everyone I have a suggestion. Turn off your computer for the rest of the weekend. Forget about Harry Potter, the fandom, or the lawsuit. Spend the weekend with your family, give them 100% of your attention. Put everything in the right perspective. It’s just a child’s fantasy adventure series for crying out loud.

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“Wu played an official Harry Potter podcast in which other members of the Harry Potter fan community ostracized and effectively banished Vander Ark from their ranks.”

Excuse me, Mr. Wu? No one is ostracizing or banishing Steve…what planet do you live on? Oh yes, the one where everything is twisted around to mean what you want it to say…I’m sorry for being so facetious, I just can’t stand this Wu person. What disgusts me even more is that I am a proponent of ‘net neutrality’, and before this I didn’t know that Wu was the one who coined the term. I’ll have to be careful in my activism from now on—don’t want to be associated with him in the slightest way.

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@ Paintball, good suggestion It’s good to realise Harry Potter is not the centre of the universe, neither is JKR the ultimate author there ever was,

And that is probably why so many are mad at mr. Wu. He makes his observations as a complete outsider knowing professionally what he is talking about. And when his conclusions sound like those of a zoology scientist observing a troop of baboons. it is obvious because fandom is behaving like a troop of baboons.

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@ HP fan – first things first, may your allergies get better!

If you go through the rsp threads in the TLC-coverage of the trial you will find enough commentary to JKR’s copyright overruling everything – I forgot to add more precisely – as far as reference guides, lexicons or encyclopedias are concerned.

For the academe thing, I will just answer hypothetically and in a most general way. Let’s imagine for instance a rather known but not famous author A who knows some people in the literary science department of her / his home town university, she might even call them friends. Maybe there are students interested to talk to her / him , so she / he will come to a seminary and talk to them and answer questions about her / his work. If she / he has an open mind she / he will be most interested how people (professionally interested in literature) read her / his texts. The students will write papers, maybe later on, they will publish their papers etc. at ideas they get by analysis, ideas she / he might not have been aware of. This would be encouraging a climate of open discussion and scholarly criticism. The author might get better known by this. Her / his priority would be with her / his literary work, getting printed and being able to make a living, but not necessarily getting famous or cashing in (this of course is a rather elitist and conceited attitude). This authour can influence by her statements the students’ papers but she / he cannot control what they write about her / him.

Let’s take an author of the type B. B made some money by his / her books and donated a chair to his / her hometown university which would be named after him / her and dedicated to the analysis of his / her work. B is strictly against censorship or against damaging the freedom of science in any way. Professor X of the B-chair, though, will discourage a too unfriendly or critical analysis of B’s work in subtle ways; he will never do so in an aggressive or outspoken way. Professor X will encourage comparative research likening B to the greatest national authors.

Those models are – of course! – pure fiction (fan fiction, so to say) and have nothing to do with reality. According to your literary imagination you might want to work out more C, D, E models, complemented by scientific or journalistic commentators M, O, P, Y, Z and fill in more realistic or suitable details, e.g. by adding “B and his / her publishing house”, or placing Z in a jury for some literary award.

So that would be about “steering”. And in a way, all would be very 19th century, of course. Now I have to hurry on.

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You asked how come we haven’t heard from SVA? If you were him would you try to jump into this wank pit of people who have called you a thief and said they no longer see you as part of your fandom?

I imagine Steve is spending his time trying to work out a settlement which is a better use of his time than arguing with people who are dead set against him.

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SVA has probably kept quiet also on the advice of attorneys. If he says the wrong thing, it gets back around and can affect his case.

As for anyone ostracizing him, how do you ostracize a guy that contributed to the products you enjoy? And before anyone jumps on that, please remember JKR herself admitted she consulted the Lexicon for reference, and that the DVDs used his timelines, as well as interviews from him.

Is he the originator, of course not. But you can’t say that even a small piece of his time-consuming assemblage of data into an online encyclopedia wasn’t used to help or improve the HP books…it became a circular thing in a way.

Frankly, JKR might owe SVA something just for compiling data from the books, her interviews, etc etc, as she does tend to contradict herself on plot points in interviews. But the seven books that she wrote are, of course, the primary source…the changing of Hermione’s middle name from Jane (given in an interview) to Jean (DH) is an example. Still, there’s a lot of those dangling plot points she teased in interviews that the Lexicon either noted or tried to resolve by compiling against other data.

If you want to go a step further, since JKR has already used the online Lexicon as an aide to writing her books, who’s to say she wouldn’t use it to help write her encyclopedia? Again, she is the source author, and she’s promised the addition of information never before presented (IE closing up all the plot holes she left with an essential book 8), but especially after this lawsuit wouldn’t she be seen as glomming off someone’s hard work that glommed off her hard work, except she’s going to get payola and SVA is getting kicked in the shorts?

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@ Ken M.

JKR has admitted in several intervieuws she is not the most organised person and was a terrible secretairy. For a writer compiling and organising the source material must look like uncreative dull secretairy work.

So I think she rather creates an other set of seven books about Albus Severus Potter, then compiling one encyclopedia about Harry Potter.

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Thanks for the explanation. Very interesting and informative.


Any sensible Potter fan knows that Jo would not glom off SVA, especially at this point. And why the constant need to mention payola?

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In order to disown someone, you had to feel some attachment to them to begin with! Though SVA seems to think of himself a celebrity on the Harry Potter scene, I think most of us wouldn’t say the same thing. So he was a Harry Potter “expert.” How much more knowledge does he really have over an avid fan who has read all of these books 15 times each? Flaunting your knowledge does not make you more important than the next fan!

If anything I think fans would be much more upset if this had happened to someone from TLC or MuggleNet (though neither of them would be selfish enough to deliberately disobey JKR then look for pity.) This is because TLC and MuggleNet were the pioneers behind forming an HP community, and yes, they are celebrities among the fans because of this. SVA maintained an online encyclopedia and tried to flaunt his not-so-superior knowledge at conferences.. how is this supposed to make him a celebrity? I know that I, for one, never really cared about who SVA was in the first place.

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Some people seem to think (including Mr Wu) that Pottercast announces themselves every week as THE OFFICIAL PODCAST. Well yes it is. For THE LEAKY CAULDRON. Not for Harry Potter. Listen to their announcement again. They never said they are the official podcast for Harry Potter or even the fandom but for Leaky Cauldron. If Mr Wu cannot be careful enough to interpret statements such as this and use false interpretations as a support for his argument then I would have no respect for his judgements or comments. Others here have misinterpreted that statement and that is forgiveable (I also misinterpreted on initial hearing”). But for Mr Wu’s stature, it is very very sloppy.

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I feel no need to find a way to reembrace SVA as I barely know him. I disagree with his actions and I’m disappointed, but I haven’t banished him. If he wants to try to make his way back into the good graces of much of the fandom, that’s fine. I’m not going to stop him. I just don’t see myself as having any power to help him do so. I think he should first apologize to the friends he DOES have in the fandom who have been hurt by his actions. I think personal relations are more important than any fandom relations. I really want to say something about his family situation, but that may be out of line. If you want to know what I think about that, feel free to PM me on the lounge (same screenname).

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No need. Your words are well placed ;)

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Since when did the words ‘law professor’ become synonymous with ‘journalist’? I suspect that some people would get greater enjoyment out of JKR’s books if they learned to read. Or do some people think that everyone who has written an article for a magazine must therefore be a journalist?

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When you want to act like a journalist – he’s not writing on law after all, he wrote an article any other journalist (at least one with shoddy ethics) would write – the standards and practices of journalism are welcome to be applied to him.

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