JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: JKR Wins Copyright Case

94

Sep 08, 2008

Posted by KristinTLC
Uncategorized

News sources are reporting that the judge in the case of J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers vs. RDR Books has issued a ruling. From WNBC NY:

“The small publisher was not contesting that the lexicon infringes upon Rowling’s copyright but argued that it was a fair use allowable by law for reference books. In his ruling, Patterson noted that reference materials are generally useful to the public but that in this case, Vander Ark went too far.
“While the Lexicon, in its current state, is not a fair use of the Harry Potter works, reference works that share the Lexicon’s purpose of aiding readers of literature generally should be encouraged rather than stifled,” he said.

He added that he ruled in Rowling’s favor because the “Lexicon appropriates too much of Rowling’s creative work for its purposes as a reference guide.”

Reuters reports that JKR and WB were awarded $750 per book (seven novels plus the two companion books) in damages, for a total of $6750. The opinion said:

“Since the Lexicon has not been published and thus plaintiffs have suffered no harm beyond the fact of the infringement, the court awards plaintiffs the minimum awards for each work to which plaintiffs have established infringement.”

On the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, IP lawyer Ethan Horwitz summarizes the ruling:

“What Judge Patterson is saying is that when you look at fair use, one of the dominant issues is, are you providing commentary or taking the value of the work and selling it as your own? He decided that the value of the work was being taken, that [Rowling] had the ability to put out the kind of encyclopedia that [Vander Ark] was putting out, and that she’d indicated an intent to do so.”

The Wall Street Journal has the entire 68 page ruling on their site as a PDF.

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Please return to this post for updates as we learn more of the particulars of the ruling. Past Leaky coverage on the trial can be found here.





150 Responses to JKR/WB vs. RDR Books Trial: JKR Wins Copyright Case

Avatar Image says:

As it should be…all was well!

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JKR AND WB WINS HOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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YES! Happy to see it!

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Yay I’m glad the right side (IMO) won.

And lol @ 1st comment ^^

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I am so happy to hear this. Congrats to Jo, and all authors, for that matter.

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I am just well, very pleased with this decision and cannot wait to read the complete one.

Alla

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I am glad we finally have a verdict! And I have to say that I agree with the decision.

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I’m not sure that all is necessarily well. This particular case is over (other than endless potential appeals), but it seems to me that the judge decided not to help set precedent by stating that this particular case was only found in favor of the plaintiff due to his judgment. It seems as if this only invites copycats rather than establishing actual ground rules.

Avatar Image says:

W00t, now she can continue the Scotish Book!

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It’s nice to see that copyright law is not dead. The judge made the right ruling. This is good thing for fandom and for writers. Yay!

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Drinks are on me! Woohoo!!! Ms Cendali, you’re the best.

Avatar Image says:

A victory for common sense.

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Let’s hope it stays settled! Though I dont really think it will :(

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A victory for common sense.

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Ah, just posted this news on another thread! My opinion? – good. Now waiting for the JKR haters to start venting their spleen for the next couple of days.

Avatar Image says:

YIPPPEEEEE! Finally JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED!

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James, let’s wait and see what the judge actually said about “how much is too much.” Reference guides have always been fair use, as long as their wasn’t a substantial chunk of the original work copied. So in my mind, it will deter copycats, not welcome them.

Avatar Image says:

Thank goodness for common sense! Well done to the Judge. Lets just hope that all concerned accept this and don’t start trying to get the verdict overturned.

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I am pleased to see the completion of this trial. I am also glad to see the copyright laws upheld in the traditional manner. The electronic age has blurred the perceived boundaries of so much, but in the end it is JK Rowling’s writings, not Steve Vanderark’s. I agree with the judge. He took too much of her materials and tried to publish them as his own.

Avatar Image says:

YIPPPEEEEE! Finally JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED!

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James, I’m not sure that I agree with you. What this judge has said is that, the Lexicon book itself was wrong. He’s saying that there is a place for this kind of work, as long as it includes a good bit of original thought in it. What he’s saying, and I (humbly) agree with him fully, is that the Lexicon itself has too much of Jo’s work and not enough SVA originality.

Actually, maybe I do agree with you: this judge did not set a precident, and he really shouldnt have. Each work should be judged on it’s own merits. I think it was the best possible decision.

Congrats Jo!

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YAY!!

Avatar Image says:

I am pleased to see the completion of this trial. I am also glad to see the copyright laws upheld in the traditional manner. The electronic age has blurred the perceived boundaries of so much, but in the end it is JK Rowling’s writings, not Steve Vanderark’s. I agree with the judge. He took too much of her materials and tried to publish them as his own.

I was a long time user and enjoyer of the Lexicon. I was sorry this came about, but felt Steve stepped over the line with the attempt to publish for profit and without the blessing of the person on whom the Lexicon depended.

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Congrats Jo!!!

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Glad to know there’s a ruling out. Now we can focus fully on the stories again ;-)

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Fantastic—exactly right: copycats out, reference books in!

Avatar Image says:

Greed. Simple greed. JKR used to be my hero.

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Finally! Now hopefully this entire debacle can be over and done with.

I’m glad the judge reached the same conclusion that a majority of other people have done over the past months.

Avatar Image says:

This is the BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!!! Well done to the judge for making the right decision and allowing fandom to continue to be awesome.

Avatar Image says:

In this brief, and concise report, the case has been settled. Judiciously, and fairly. Also, with great care to all sides. I am very glad to see that the judge, in this case, took the time and pains to explain the entire reason why his ruling was as it was. I also agree, with scully, that there will be post after post after post of those who will vilify WB and Jo, “for what they’ve done to poor Steve”, and the rest of those who will follow…. The “haters”, who always see that everyone is “out for the buck” or “out to get them, personally” Thank you, Leaky, for keeping us up to date, through this long and drawn out trial. Your impartiality is important. It is also very appreciated.

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Congrats Jo!!!!

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YAY! CONGRATS JO! And WB… well suck it, I still hate you. This is great news though! I’ve been wondering what was taking so long since I read on the WSJ months ago that the ruling was supposed to be made back in April. Still… YAY!

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What a comfort to know that the law was on Jo’s side. I’m really pleased that the judge ruled as he did (so far as we can tell). Congrats to Jo and WB!

Avatar Image says:

In this brief, and concise report, the case has been settled. Judiciously, and fairly. Also, with great care to all sides. I am very glad to see that the judge, in this case, took the time and pains to explain the entire reason why his ruling was as it was. I also agree, with scully, that there will be post after post after post of those who will vilify WB and Jo, “for what they’ve done to poor Steve”, and the rest of those who will follow…. The “haters”, who always see that everyone is “out for the buck” or “out to get them, personally” Thank you, Leaky, for keeping us up to date, through this long and drawn out trial. Your impartiality is important. It is also very appreciated.

Avatar Image says:

Yay!!!!!!!!!!

Go Jo!

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A sound result.

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WOOOOOO!!! Finally, I can breathe again!

Avatar Image says:

Yes, Yes, and HECK YEA!!

I’m so glad the trial’s finally over, and that we have a positive verdict on this case. While it wasn’t a full referendum on Copyright laws, I’m glad that the judge decided that too much material from the Harry Potter books was taken for the project.

No one ever said Steve VDR et al. couldn’t write a Harry Potter-related book. They just couldn’t lift whole passages from all the HP books, slap a title on the front and call it good—however much time was spent alphabetizing said passages.

Hopefully fandom relations (for & against) can look forward to healing after this.

Avatar Image says:

Hold it, now you’re all cheering for WB because they won a lawsuit? After they moved the movie to make more money? And after JKR has remained totally silent on the matter? These folks don’t care about you, just your wallet.

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What a happy day for JKR! Congratulations!!!!

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I’m glad the ruling turned out this way. To me, it had seemed a very simple conclusion to come to, but in retrospect I am glad the judge took his time to be unbiased. I had read coverage of the trial, and some of the representatives for WB’s side didn’t make a very good case, which made it a bit more difficult. I wish the Lexicon all the best, but I don’t think it should be published. And I agree, there are those who simply think J.K. Rowling was in it for the money, but as a writer myself (unpublished thus far) I think it would feel tantamount to having your baby kidnapped. Either way, it’s over, so let’s move on!

Avatar Image says:

Nice one Judge Patterson! Justice is seen to be done, and the true fans are happy. That’s a win-win situation.

Let’s just hope that SVA is gracious in defeat. Maybe he should read these comments before making any public statement.

Avatar Image says:

Well,congrats for not being put in the slammer – bad luck that you lost against the bigwigs. I’d like to know why, if JKR rates the work so much, she or her cronies didn’t employ the guy to write it in an official capacity? Selfish bitch.

She’s made her money, much more money than she deserves, for publishing a load of books, half of which are composed of twaddle and filler, are badly edited and lacklustre (mainly the later books). Oh, and outing Dumbledore as a gay man at a time when sales were obviously dropping is just shameful.

She knows what it’s like to be poor, creative and in need of an outlet – why didn’t she provide it, you know, pass the luck on?

She’s now going on about how she was going to write a similar book and how she doesn’t have the heart now. Oh, boo fricking hoo. So, out of spite, you’re just not going to bother? That means everyone loses out. But oh no, that doesn’t matter when you’re propped up in your ivory tower. Spoilt little princess.

Avatar Image says:

Here is the trial summary:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/potterdecision.pdf

Avatar Image says:

YES!

Avatar Image says:

congrats to Jo! stuck to her beliefs and won. :]

however, i do worry about someone else giving the encyclopedia idea another go before Jo gets a chance to publish hers. and they’ll probably use the lexicon to make it, so it’ll be bad news all around. :/

Avatar Image says:

Nice one Judge Patterson! Justice is seen to be done, and the true fans are happy. That’s a win-win situation.

Let’s just hope that SVA is gracious in defeat. Maybe he should read these comments before making any public statement.

Avatar Image says:

Yes, Yes, and HECK YEA!!

I’m so glad the trial’s finally over, and that we have a positive verdict on this case. While it wasn’t a full referendum on Copyright laws, I’m glad that the judge decided that too much material from the Harry Potter books was taken for the project.

No one ever said Steve VDR et al. couldn’t write a Harry Potter-related book. They just couldn’t lift whole passages from all the HP books, slap a title on the front and call it good—however much time was spent alphabetizing said passages.

Hopefully fandom relations (for & against) can look forward to healing after this.

Avatar Image says:

YES!

Avatar Image says:

“Hold it, now you’re all cheering for WB because they won a lawsuit? After they moved the movie to make more money?”

Exactly. Because in this instance, they were protecting the rights of JKR. I don’t care a fig about the movie release date change, but I did care about the ramifications of this case.

Congratulations, Ms. Rowling!

Avatar Image says:

...................All was well – so as it should be…....................

Congratulation Jo, it’s your very own creative work and you are the only one to publish it. It’s strange that it needed a judge to confirm this, it’s common sense.

There’s a big difference of putting a few references from a book of an other author, .... to completely write a whole book about the work of the other author selling it in your name.

tstststs and than above all feel offended, if the author in question is not happy about this.

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YES! After reading so many comments about the complexities of copyright law, I was very doubtful the ruling would come down this way. I’m THRILLED for JKR!!!!!

Avatar Image says:

Excellent! Finally Steve has to accept the fact that he did infringe upon JKR’s rights!

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Yay, this really brightened my day, and my week, I’m glad it turned out this way. _

As for people saying JK is greedy and selfish, and isn’t looking out for the little people, you forget that she’s donating everything she’s doing lately to charity. Get over yourselves and read the facts instead of blowing hot air. >.>

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“Hold it, now you’re all cheering for WB because they won a lawsuit? After they moved the movie to make more money?”

Exactly. Because in this instance, they were protecting the rights of JKR. I don’t care a fig about the movie release date change, but I did care about the ramifications of this case.

Congratulations, Ms. Rowling!

Avatar Image says:

The BBC is reporting much stronger language from the judge in favour of Jo. This cannot be all that is out in the US media?

Avatar Image says:

Sundaeg1rl, do you french kiss your father with that mouth?

seems likely.

jk rowling has been talking about her encylopedia longer then steve vander ark has even had a website. she also owns harry potter, having created it, and has the right to stop as book that is proven to simply be 93% of its text lifted directly accross from her copyrighted and intellectually property protected works into this travesty of a book, with 4% more found to be uncited stolen copyright work from other sources. meaning, only 3% of the lexicon book was original work.

sundaeg1rl, learn the case before you attack jk rowling for excercising her legal rights against illegal abuse of her works.

Avatar Image says:

Yay, this really brightened my day, and my week, I’m glad it turned out this way. _

As for people saying JK is greedy and selfish, and isn’t looking out for the little people, you forget that she’s donating everything she’s doing lately to charity. Get over yourselves and read the facts instead of blowing hot air. >.> Just because she was successful doesn’t mean anyone should leech off of her to be the same, they can be successful with their own words instead.

Avatar Image says:

...................All was well – so as it should be…....................

Congratulation Jo, it’s your very own creative work and you are the only one to publish it. It’s strange that it needed a judge to confirm this, it’s common sense.

There’s a big difference of putting a few references from a book of an other author, .... to completely write a whole book about the work of the other author selling it in your name.

tstststs and than above all feel offended, if the author in question is not happy about this.

Avatar Image says:

“Hold it, now you’re all cheering for WB because they won a lawsuit? After they moved the movie to make more money?”

Exactly. Because in this instance, they were protecting the rights of JKR. I don’t care a fig about the movie release date change, but I did care about the ramifications of this case.

Congratulations, Ms. Rowling!

Avatar Image says:

The BBC is reporting much stronger language from the judge in favour of Jo. This cannot be all that is out in the US media?

Avatar Image says:

The judge got this one right! This isn’t a ruling against companion books and reference books in general (which I love), it’s against a particular instance of such a book that took too much from it’s source material. All of this never would have come about if Steve had choosen to add more commentary to the book and use less of the actual wording in the books. I wonder if now he’ll go back and rework it, or if this is the end of it?

Avatar Image says:

Victory, victory, victory for WB and the JKR’s encyclopedia project. RDR / SVA took too much from the Potter books for the purpose of a reference guide, that is one aspect of the decision. Will – accordingly – reference guides to fantasy fiction be harder to write? Will the Fair Use Project appeal?

Avatar Image says:

Yay, this really brightened my day, and my week, I’m glad it turned out this way. _

As for people saying JKR is greedy and selfish, and that she isn’t looking out for the little people, you forget that she’s donating everything she’s doing lately to charity. Get over yourselves and read the facts instead of blowing hot air. >.> Just because she was successful doesn’t mean anyone should leech off of her to be the same, they can be successful with their own words instead.

LOL yeah, WB gets a few brownie points for this one… I guess =P

Avatar Image says:

The judge got this one right! This isn’t a ruling against companion books and reference books in general (which I love), it’s against a particular instance of such a book that took too much from it’s source material. All of this never would have come about if Steve had choosen to add more commentary to the book and use less of the actual wording in the books. I wonder if now he’ll go back and rework it, or if this is the end of it?

Avatar Image says:

Excellent! Finally Steve has to accept the fact that he did infringe upon JKR’s rights!

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Here’s the irony: Vander Ark had the material for this book on his website for years, and Rowling is quoted as saying that when she needed to look up some ‘fact” from her earlier books, she would sometimes “sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter.”

In other words, she already had made personal use of Vander Ark’s work and found it valuable. Even if it has shortcomings, she found it useful.

That means that Vander Ark created something original and useful – he added value to the product. If Rowling wants to claim that it interferes with her creativity now, she should have made that complaint back when she was using it – and giving Vander Ark an award for his website back in 2004.

Now, of course, she regrets “bitterly” having given the award.

Avatar Image says:

I’m very glad the judge came to the right conclusion.

I’ve always wondered how much Vander Ark was to blame, or was he just dreadfully naive and badly advised by RDR Books who saw a nice fat money spinner?

Avatar Image says:

Here’s the irony: Vander Ark had the material for this book on his website for years, and Rowling is quoted as saying that when she needed to look up some ‘fact” from her earlier books, she would sometimes “sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter.”

In other words, she already had made personal use of Vander Ark’s work and found it valuable. Even if it has shortcomings, she found it useful.

That means that Vander Ark created something original and useful – he added value to the product. If Rowling wants to claim that it interferes with her creativity now, she should have made that complaint back when she was using it – and giving Vander Ark an award for his website back in 2004.

Now, of course, she regrets “bitterly” having given the award.

Avatar Image says:

Yay!!!!!!!!!!

Go Jo!

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Congrats to Jo!!!!(not to wb,they still suck =P) i’m glad this whole trial thing is over now.

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Yay!!!!!!!!!!

Go Jo!

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Great. Now, I am waiting on JKR’s encyclopedia. :)

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Congratulations to JKR (and Warner Bros)!!

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Good result! I just hope RDR give up and don’t try to appeal- but I’m sure they will.

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I thought the final verdict was pushed back to Summer 2010 to tie in with the movie, video game release ;)

Jo is probably saying “Mr HAMMER, I think you best move on”

Avatar Image says:

“In other words, she already had made personal use of Vander Ark’s work and found it valuable. Even if it has shortcomings, she found it useful.”

No, in other words, she used his site to reference her OWN words. Big difference.

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I am so glad this ordeal is finally over.

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Have any of our legal friends who have followed the case had a chance to read the court’s verdict in full?

From the little here, it would appear that this decision does not have implications beyond the immediate scope of the case, and hence will not impact publishing or copyrights in general. Good! That’s the right approach

Avatar Image says:

“In other words, she already had made personal use of Vander Ark’s work and found it valuable. Even if it has shortcomings, she found it useful.”

No, in other words, she used his site to reference her OWN words. Big difference.

Avatar Image says:

Best news I’ve heard in a long while!

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uhh said: “Here’s the irony: Vander Ark had the material for this book on his website for years, and Rowling is quoted as saying that when she needed to look up some ‘fact” from her earlier books, she would sometimes “sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter.”

In other words, she already had made personal use of Vander Ark’s work and found it valuable. Even if it has shortcomings, she found it useful.”

I don’t have time to look it up (I’m in the middle of work, and granted, I’m procrastinating my work at the moment…but…well, I’m actually waiting for a spreadsheet to stop being stupid, anywho), during one of the trial transcripts JK addresses this issue. In that she wanted to be able to say something nice about the lexicon website, so she did check it a few times, but she did not use it nearly to the extent that fans believe she did.

Also, there is a difference between the lexicon website (which so far, WB/JKR have been willing to let be) and the book, in that the website is a free site (you don’t need to pay to access it), and the only revinue being made (from ads) should just be to cover operating and hosting costs—they’re okay with the free website. The book would be an item being sold solely for profit at, what was it, $25/book? Given the amount of material taken straight from JK’s stories, this was infringement on her rights as an author.

Thankfuly the judge has recognized this.

Avatar Image says:

Have any of our legal friends who have followed the case had a chance to read the court’s verdict in full?

From the little here, it would appear that this decision does not have implications beyond the immediate scope of the case, and hence will not impact publishing or copyrights in general. Good! That’s the right approach

hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?

And, above all, can we stop trash talking either SVA or JKR? Leave them out, trash the attornies for both sides if you must, but leave both SVA and JKR out of it…..

Avatar Image says:

All is well.

Wizardology.org

Avatar Image says:

Have any of our legal friends who have followed the case had a chance to read the court’s verdict in full?

From the little here, it would appear that this decision does not have implications beyond the immediate scope of the case, and hence will not impact publishing or copyrights in general. Good! That’s the right approach

hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?

And, above all, can we stop trash talking either SVA or JKR? Leave them out, trash the attornies for both sides if you must, but leave both SVA and JKR out of it…..

Avatar Image says:

This is a darned shame. I disagree wholeheartedly with the verdict.

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Good.Very good.

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This is a darned shame. I disagree wholeheartedly with the verdict.

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Go Jo!

and for all you fools saying she is greedy, please remember, any money earned for the future “Scottish book” IS GOING TO CHARITY.

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yes justice has been served, but to be honest ill be lieve this case is over wheni see that either all appeals are exhausted or no appeal is filed at all

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Finally! JKR can now have some peace of mind. =]

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Hooray! Yay for Jo, this is the only fair ruling.

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Sigh…. I think I’m one of the few here that is disappointed in this ruling. I really seriously doubt that the Lexicon would have done anything to harm JKR or her causes (I believe her own encyclopedia will be written for charity). For one thing anything SHE writes will be cannon, and can and likely will include new info. His work would instantly become yesterday’s news.

And given what the website looks like – I think the Lexicon wasn’t merely a rehash of her work, and looks like all sorts of other reference-based works – and given that she used to LIKE the Lexicon, and thought it was valuable as a web-based work…. well, that weakens her arguement as well.

Shrug. I love JKR, but I’m disappointed in her actions.

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You may think this is a BIG win, but in fact it is a very, very small one. The judge awarded the least possible amount. In other words, he didn’t think much of the case. All that has to be done now, is a little commentary and juggling of quotes and the Lexicon will be published. In case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of other books, just like the Lexicon out there already. And since there are plenty out there already, this whole thing was stupid on the part of Warner Bros. Just wait and see. The Lexicon will get published, one way or another.

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Amen, great news. _

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Wow, what super news, and on my birthday too!!!!! I love the Lexicon site, and I have a lot of respect for the work Steve has done on it, but I do believe that he made a poor decision about publishing it in the way that he did. I put a lot of blame on the publisher. They just wanted to make as much money as they could, I’m sure.

I wish that the publishing company and Steve would have worked with Jo wishes so all of this could have been avoided and everybody could have been happy.

However, I am happy with the outcome.

JKMcGonagall (Kay)

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“hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?”

“hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?”

And now you can see how it happens. :/

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Wow, what super news, and on my birthday too!!!!! I love the Lexicon site, and I have a lot of respect for the work Steve has done on it, but I do believe that he made a poor decision about publishing it in the way that he did. I put a lot of blame on the publisher. They just wanted to make as much money as they could, I’m sure.

I wish that the publishing company and Steve would have worked with Jo wishes so all of this could have been avoided and everybody could have been happy.

However, I am happy with the outcome.

JKMcGonagall (Kay)

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Yea!!!!, and on my Birthday, too. Super news.

Kay

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“hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?”

“hey gang, can we not have the multiple postings?”

And now you can see how it happens. :/

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Wonderful news! Congratulations, Jo; all is well indeed. It’s nice to see justice prevail. Of course, the JKR haters will be wailing as usual but really, they’re just background noise and no one should bother getting upset about that. “The dogs bark, but the caravan passes.”

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Yea!!!!, and on my Birthday, too. Super news.

Kay

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WONDERFUL – the right decision has been made. If only SVA had been more cautious in the first place . . . plagiarism is plagiarism. It has been a crazy hurtful ride for everyone I think

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It doesn’t matter how rich JKR is, or how poor SVA is for that matter. It is about the rights to the works that JKR has produced, and who really authored the bulk of the Lexicon and whether or not the words by JKR fall under the rules of “fair use”. Clearly, the judge has determined that the Lexicon crossed the line.

Stating that JKR should let the Lexicon cross the line because she’s “made so much money” is not a valid legal argument. Neither is the argument that they should let the Lexicon be published because they pushed the release date of a movie back, or because she supposedly “outed” Dumbledore to boost flagging sales (the stupidest criticism I’ve ever heard)

I ventured over to the Lexicon well before this all started… and didn’t really care for the site. It wasn’t original. I could find the same information, basically word for word, in my copies of the novels. At the time, I was surprised and impressed that JKR allowed such freedom in online fandom – she is BY FAR the most supportive author of online fandom that I’ve ever come across. SVA took advantage of her good nature. Any other author would have issued a cease and desist YEARS ago. Quite frankly, I’m also surprised her publishers didn’t do it years ago.

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Who was the real winner here? Just read the countless blogs now slagging off Rowling. The books remain in her domain but her reputation as the nice girl went up in tatters the minute she took to the stand. The Lexicon crossed the line, but so did she.

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Yayyyy =D So pleased for Jo! And glad to see lots of people sticking behind her =) She said in a letter that she didn’t expect fans to rally around as they have, so I’m glad they have!

samtheman- I think that’s a price she was willing to pay! She’s not going to do a Hagrid & hide in her house if someone writes horrible things about her, she’s a Dumbledore <3

I just went on the Lexicon & noticed that it’s disappeared, how long has it been like that for?

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Maybe I’m missing the point here. Maybe there are people out there who can read the writing on the wall that I can’t even see.

The way I see it is this: the judge justified the amount set for damages due to the fact that the book hadn’t yet damaged Jo’s market (not having been released) so a higher amount would have been inappropriate. It seems to me to be a token, a representation of a very worthy decision. Like a sharp slap to bring someone to their senses – no more is needed. Against the ‘he should have awarded her more’ bray, we have the ‘greedy bXXch’ clan. Huh? The damages awarded would not even pay Jo’s legal, transport, accommodation etc etc costs incurred in fighting her (and others to come) corner. I don’t doubt she knew that at the outset. The judge too.

The point is IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT JO’S PERSONAL INCOME.

It is obvious to me how much HP means to Jo (just as any piece of writing, published or not means to its creator). She has always ALWAYS said that she feels Jessica shared her babyhood with her fictitious brother. As a mother and a lover of literature that is all the proof and understanding I need. The (unnecessary) extent of direct lifting of her material for the sole purpose of personal profit could be likened to having a child kidnapped and sold. In comparison, other HP-related books take your child to school and bring them home to you at the end of the day (may or may not be a good school, but home they come). And that would be before getting into the realms of the cringingly, butt-clenchingly AWEFUL examples of SVA’s added ‘work’. Talk about ‘murdering your darlings’!

(And yes, I do mean SVA and not RDR or the legal teams. I was under the impression that SVA produced this ‘work’ – not the legal teams – and continued to produce it despite being made unmistakeably aware of the moral incorrectness of what he was attempting to do. THE BUCK STOPS WITH HIM.)

I think a rather timely (albeit, sad) proof that Jo meant it when she said the real damages were to her will / ability to continue writing can be found in the recent coverage of Ms Meyer. With the leak of her current work in progress to the public, she states that for the timebeing, she has lost the desire and drive to write. Now, I haven’t yet been bitten by that series (I know, that was a bad one, I’m sorry, I’m sorry) but I can imagine how her fans are feeling about that. I would so hate to be the one with that on my conscience…

So I very much doubt Jo will be rushing out to collect her damages awarded and bopping down to Sainsbury’s for her weekly shop. Rather I like to fantasise that she is now shaking her shoulders, flexing her fingers, taking a deep breath and draught of Starbuck’s finest and diving into The Scottish Book (or anything else).

Thank you, Jo, and you too Jessica, for the work you put into this battle. The case may not have set a precidence but it will undoubtedly be considered in future, individual ones. In my non-legal opinion, no better outcome possible. Congratulations!

And Steve? I hope you find inner peace, comfort and wisdom.

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FABULOUS! This made my day! Go Jo! :)

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gag me ugh. this is so wrong

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yes yes YES!! I am SO pleased!

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YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY tho i dont quite understand all of it just that Jo wins. can someone please explain in a more simple english?

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I’m so elated right now, after hearing this verdict! After everything that this trial has put Jo and the fans through, I’m so happy that the judge came out with a fair verdict! All I feel bad about is the bitterness this whole thing has left behind…

As for those people who’re saying Jo has a lot of money…ummmm….hello! This isn’t about how much money anyone has! The books are her personaly intellectual work, she’s slogged,struggled and given up long hours for it, and no one has the right to infringe upon those creative rights of hers. As for her being selfish, everything that she’s doing these days is done for charity, what on Earth do you mean by saying she’s selfish? The Scottish Book will also be for charity, whenever it comes out, she’s already said that. Give it a rest people!

Hopefully, the fandom moves on now after this whole thing.

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Cathy W Said: “And given what the website looks like – I think the Lexicon wasn’t merely a rehash of her work, and looks like all sorts of other reference-based works – and given that she used to LIKE the Lexicon, and thought it was valuable as a web-based work…. well, that weakens her arguement as well.”

Cathy, you’re making the mistake that many (and many still are) made at the beginning of this lawsuit. You’re assuming that the Lexicon book matches the Lexicon website. You must treat these as two different things, because they are. The proposed manuscript (which can be found submitted as evidence on justia.com) contains only a fraction of what the website does (with none of the essays, none of the content that would let it fall under fair use). The proposed manuscript took too much of JK’s original work and did too little of it’s own.

Also, JK/WB’s still have no problem with the website (they stated that they’ll let it be), because it’s a free site. Users do not have to pay to access it, and as I stated above, there is much more content on the site that falls under fair use. The reason they had issue with the book is again, it took too much and did too little and in book form meant that people had to pay to access this infringing material. So Steve would be profiting from infringing on JK’s rights. That’s what they had issue with.

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it would hav been rediculous if rdr won.. how would steve van know more about harry potter then the actual author _

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HIP HIP HOOOO RAAAAAYY!!!!! Jo’s argmument just make too much sense to be turned down. Also – does anyone know when (or if ) the Lexicon has been pulled as a site? I haven’t been on since last november out of protest… but went to see it today and it was gone… did they disband?

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I still don’t understand what the WB has to do with this…did they infringe on their movies somehow?

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KVerdun said: “Also – does anyone know when (or if ) the Lexicon has been pulled as a site? I haven’t been on since last november out of protest… but went to see it today and it was gone… did they disband?”

The Lexicon has not been pulled as a site (since the lawsuit only had to do with the proposed book, and JK/WB were fine with leaving the free website alone). It has merely changed domains (hplex.org, I believe, though I haven’t been there myself)

As to Iolanth regarding WB, WB is a part of it because—due to their agreement to make the movies, they’ve aquired certain licensing rights to the Harry Potter world. I believe the proposed Lexicon book imposed upon these rights (though it’s been so long since I’ve read the original filings on justia.com that I might be a bit off on that, any of the legal beagles want to chime in?)

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“Will – accordingly – reference guides to fantasy fiction be harder to write?”

In as much as cut and paste is out, yes, but otherwise I don’t think so. The opinion rather resoundingly rejected JKR/WB’s argument that the Lexicon is a derivative work (that is, it requires licensing like a movie), so the primary threat to reference guides was rejected.

“Will the Fair Use Project appeal?”

I think it’s RDR that would have to appeal, so the question is whether the FUP would support an appeal. It’s possible the FUP was attracted to the case by JKR/WB’s rather expansive claim that the Lexicon is a derivative work and will be satisfied with the current opinion. On the other hand, the FUP’s stated purpose is to clarify and extend the boundaries of Fair Use, and it’s easy to imagine they would want to continue with such a high profile case to that purpose.

Assuming the latter, the opinion regarding Quidditch and Fantastic Beasts might give them pause. The opinion found that the Lexicon adds value to the seven novels (“transformative”), a factor in determining Fair Use. However, because Quidditch and Fantastic Beasts are already in the form of an encyclopedia, the opinion found that the Lexicon adds much less value to them. Hoping to extend the boundaries of Fair Use that far may be hoping far too much.

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I am glad that this can be put to rest….maybe!

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At first blush, it looks to be the best of all worlds. Jo gets to write her own book (and she’s promised she will), the Lexicon stays online, no punitive judgment is invoked, fan sites will not worry about threats made against them by WB if it went bad for them, and the ruling is so narrow it does not appear to set precedent. Just no more fan concordances.

Now, do we restore the relationships?

zr

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I’m glad the trial is over, but I wholeheartedly (and respectfully) disagree with the outcome.

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thxx to saiph for the address!

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I am so tired of these wormtaily fans who want to jump on the wagon of an authors sucess and attempt to write a book. And because they have no talent and their imagination is limited, the “borrow” from their favorite author and call it a homage. Enough already. You are not the next great author. You only get one or two a century, and JK Rowling already has this one covered.

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I really do think the judge made the best possible decision there. He was right to ban the publication of the Lexicon – it really does just take far too much wholesale from Jo’s work to constitute fair use, and if you read the full judgment his decision is reasoned out extremely thoroughly. He equally acknowledged strengths and weaknesses in both sides of the argument, he just explained that when balancing the factors under the legal tests the scales tip in JKR’s favour.

I’m also pleased that he didn’t just slavishly put everything in her favour, he did point out that companion guides like Steve’s aren’t totally without merit and that although copyright has to be upheld that we shouldn’t just blindly discriminate against them. I think he very fairly stated that in this particular instance the Lexicon went too far but that on the whole an author can;t just lay claim to any and all commentary on their work . He said reference guides are a valuable thing that should in general be encouraged (which, of course, Jo has readily admitted herself in testimony) and I wholeheartedly agree. To that extent, I’m glad he shied away from setting precedent.

The “JKR is rich so she should let him have a go” argument is as ridiculous as ever. Saying that the small amount of damages means the win is insignificant also misses the point – the main aim was not to get damages, it was to get the Court to grant a permanent injunction against publication and they got what they wanted. I think it more than fair that since the book wasn’t published damages remained at the bare minimum.

That judge gets the thumbs up for being very fair and reasonable all around.

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Justice! (uncle Vernon way :D )

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Congratulations JK!!! This was a very fair ruling.

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Heeeeeeyy I’m very happy that this is all over!!!!

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This case was a car wreck from begining to end. Everyone involved came out with their reputations damaged in some way. My respect for Rowling has been lost, as has my respect for Vanderark. To hear her be so nasty on the stand was shocking. The result was never in question so did she have to turn the knife like that? Truly sad.

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Congratulations to Ms Rowling.

As an author, I have been watching this case from the start with horror and baited breath. Had Mr Vander Ark won, I would currently be in the process of closing the RPG based on my in progress novel and appologising to the players. I am relieved that that doesn’t have to happen.

This isn’t merely a victory for Ms Rowling. It’s a victory for authors, and for fans, everywhere.

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You may think this is a BIG win, but in fact it is a very, very small one. The judge awarded the least possible amount. In other words, he didn’t think much of the case. All that has to be done now, is a little commentary and juggling of quotes and the Lexicon will be published. In case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of other books, just like the Lexicon out there already. And since there are plenty out there already, this whole thing was stupid on the part of Universal. Just wait and see. The Lexicon will get published, one way or another.

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have any of you noticed the lexicon website is now down for what appears to be forever!! yay

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btw, I don’t think he offered so little in damages because he didn’t care, I think its because she just wanted justice served, not money from the case.

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She never wanted the site removed and she never wanted big bucks. All she wanted was for the print Lexicon (as is) to not be considered fair use. She got that in this judgement = BIG WIN.

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I am very pleased that the case has turned out the way it has. I think that authors should be protected and their original works should not be pilfered for a buck.

As for the lenient fines and judges commentary, I think the judge just did not care about the novels or the fandom or anything HP related anyway. He has made comments during the case that disturbed me from the start. He said he had trouble following the HP stories when he was reading them to his grandchild and an encyclopedia would have been of benefit. I’m sorry but I don’t think HP at the beginning is a difficult read. And JKR clearly describes all new things in the books anyway so why the necessity of a reference book as a companion reader?? If anything my impression is that he wanted to dispense of the case and having decided that JKR wins on a technicality is almost bittersweet. Yes JKR did win but I think her win should have been viewed by the judge in his comments as well deserved and not begrudgingly so with very little remark to RDR and SVA.

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This is awesome! And I am SO glad that the judge said that reference books in general are a legal thing, but RDR was overstepping its boundries. Patterson for President!

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Thank god.

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Congratulations JKR and WB…as everybody said JUSTICE IS SERVED. Yeah, I remember JKR mentioned in one of her old interview that she is going to write an encyclopedia, aside from Prologue and Beedles and Bard, abouth the origin, explanation of the spells and the characters in HP, hmnn, another book in waiting. :)

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PB&J Rules, yeah, i finally was able to get back and read the discussion since the other day, and saw mine posted multiple times as well (but, i really did hit the submit buttion only once!) technology, great stuff…

i note tho that in the past we had a number of lawyers and legal researchers participating in the discussion, but none appear to have contributed this time. I would be very interested in hearing from them after they have a chance to read the verdict. There appear to be no larger implications to the decision, and, since the RDR Lexicon is not going to appear “in its current form” (that’s the key phrase, folks), there were no monetary damages to assess. I do note that there appears to have been no awarding of court and legal costs to WB….which also strikes me as fair.

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WOW! Great! The judge has ruled in favour of JKR without demonizing the fandom. How cool is that?

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beth said: “have any of you noticed the lexicon website is now down for what appears to be forever!! yay”

Beth, the site is not down, and this case was never about the website, it was only about the proposed book. The site has merely changed domains. It can still be found at either hplex.org or at hp-lexicon.info

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See, this is why I didn’t go to law school, as much as I like arguing:

68 PAGES??!

Oh, and I am really pleased with the judges decision and comments, it looks like we basically have the status quo again, except for the fact that the HPL is currently down. But I’m glad that they awarded the minimum damages, and that the judge said that things like the Lexicon would be fine, if not as much had been directly taken, and Jo hadn’t already said she would make something like that. So it wasn’t really extreme in either way.

You know, I was wondering what had happened to the case, but the fact that the decision was 68 FREAKINPAGES LONG makes the delay quite understandable.

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Oh, and hey – the Lexicon’s back up. Did anyone else notice that it was down for awhile, or did I just make that up, like the time Matt Magaciamo and I went seal hunting in space?

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As others before me has said, I believe this is a big win - especially for authors. Jo didn’t want money - she wanted her work protected. She wanted and needed justice. Who cares about the monetary awards - that is not what this was ever about. Justice has been serviced - and if the other side pays attention, that should be the end of it. And yes, the Lexicon may still manage to be published, but there will be boundaries in black and white that have to be followed—and they will be watched to make sure they follow them.

As someone who has published a lot of fan fiction, there are always boundaries you should recognize and follow. I, for one, am elated by this decision. Let’s move on and anticipate movies and the Scottish Book :-)

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If the authors of the Lexicon book hadn’t been so lazy, then this would have been published by now, but I don’t think this is a big win for Jo. A lot of people dislike her now because of the way she behaved. The outcome of the Hari Puter lawsuit will now be interesting. Onwards and upwards to the next lawsuit.

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Faraway Faerie is right, a lot of people do dislike JKR now because of how she behaved. But on the other hand, another comment said that “people forget how hard it is to come up with something creative and original like JKR has.” And that is also true. I say if the price of having things like HP is just that the author has stringent intellectual rights, that is a small price to pay compared to the benefit the public gets from works like HP existing. Put another way, I’m more worried that we will never have another book as good as HP than I am that there will never be another Lexicon.

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This can only be described as a win for Jo.

What was her main goal? It was not money, it was to keep an infringing book off the market.

What was the goal of RDR Books? It was to publish the HP Lexicon.

Who achieved their goals?

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I know. no really… I knew this would work out alright! A little birdie told me so!

:)

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Wait a min WOAH WOAH WOAH Hold on there.

JK Rowling loved the Harry Potter lexicon, she gave it a fansite award but she just said off with your head because they decided to make a book form of a website she loved and gave an award to.

This would of just been a book form of the website, JK Rowling gave an award to.

Please dont be deluded.

Shame really this book would of been good for people who can’t be bothered getting a computer, cant afford one, in a hostel, has dial-up or Virgin Media.

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This is fantastic. As gillyweed said, “A victory for common sense.”

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Glad to hear it. I really enjoyed reading the transcript of the trial, though. Not only was it full of Jo’s hilarious and utter massacre of any ridiculous Lexicon ‘defences’, but I was surprised and delighted to see how much it related to courtroom dramas! Looking forward to ‘Beedle’ and the Scottish Book! = D

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