Lexicon Dispute Update

113

Jan 05, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

We last told you that the WB/JKR vs. RDR Books case, in which WB and JK Rowling are suing a Michigan publisher over its attempts to publish a print version of The Harry Potter Lexicon, would next be updated on January 7, this coming Monday, when WB/JKR file their full petition for an injunction on publication. That date has now been changed to January 15. The change accommodates “various schedules,” according to WB’s lawyers.

The schedule is now:

January 15: WB/JKR file their “principal menmorandum of law and supporting papers.”
Febraury 5: RDR Books will submit its opposition and supporting papers
February 15: WB/JKR will file a reply on RDR Books’ opposition
February 28: Hearing will occur to decide on WB/JKR’s motion for an injunction.

We hope to have more information about this case over the weekend; in the meantime, the Stanford Law Group has joined the fray on RDR‘s side, and other small details have emerged: There have been several documents filed arranging permissions for the Stanford Lawyers to practice in this case, which is filed in New York (this all seems standard and procedural). On Nov 28th, two letters from Dale Cendali (lawyer for WB/JKR) and one from David Hammer (lawyer for RDR) indicate that an attempt for a “discovery conference” was made and failed because parties have been “unable to agree to a discovery schedule in this case, or to resolve any of the preliminary issues raised.” These letters have been summarized but not posted publicly.

J.K. Rowling also discussed the writing of her encyclopedia on our Harry Potter podcast, saying that she absolutely intends to publish her own version, proceeds to go to charity, though it may be several years before she does so. “It’s about doing the absolute definitive, giving-people-everything guide,” she said.

You can read this article for a brief on the case so far against RDR/the Lexicon, the latter of whom is a partner site of the Leaky Cauldron.





139 Responses to Lexicon Dispute Update

Avatar Image says:

Even if RDR wins the case and the Lexicon can sell its book (which probably won’t happen) I wouldn’t buy it anyways. I’d much rather have an official encyclopedia straight from Jo.

Avatar Image says:

Hmm. After reading the USA Today article (linked from this posting from Leaky) describing the reasoning behind Stanford Law Group’s decision to represent RDR, I wonder if WB/JKR might lose this lawsuit should it proceed to court? I mean, “CliffsNotes” exist, so why couldn’t a print version of the Lexicon? Just being a devil’s advocate. Sorry if I’m reiterating anything already debated in earlier comments.

Avatar Image says:

::Sigh::

We’re getting back into that gray area again. At this point I don’t think that RDR will win. Even with Stanford Lawyers. After all, if they are using the “cliffs notes” defense then there is a lot of stuff in this book that is original discussion about the hows and whys of the books. Editorials almost, from what I recall reading in High School (which was almost 10 years ago). I will admit my law info is almost nil so I am probably wrong.

However if these are editorials about the characters motivations and goals, along with the ‘encyclopedia’ did Steve write them? If not, if they are discussions that other fans have posted, does the Lexicon have a disclaimer saying that anything added to the sight becomes Steve’s property?

I guess I’m just rambling again, but every time this gets brought up it just seems to be a hornets nest. This seems like it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Avatar Image says:

Cliff’s notes and Spark notes offer a lot of analysis and commentary along with their summations. If we are to believe RDR that the content of the Lexicon book is word-for-word from the site, then none of that is relevant to the Lexicon case.

Avatar Image says:

As said before not like Lexicon is giving us new information. All it does is put in the information of what J K Rowling has already told us.

Why would people want to buy the book that is clearly not going to be complete because there is still loads of information coming out from J K Rowling about the books, so basically it is the Lexicon up to a certain date.

Why would people buy the book when basically the site is free to look at, or is Steve closing down his site.

From me Dazed and Confused

Avatar Image says:

Thank you Melissa for continuing to update us on this matter, and in a very professional manner too. It’s really appreciated.

Avatar Image says:

And yes, we’ve been down this road many times folks – RDR books admits that all the book does is repackage Jo Rowling’s words without adding anything new to the picture. They will not get away with profiting off of that. Oy.

Avatar Image says:

will be interesting to see what happens.

Avatar Image says:

I want the lexicon to win. i think steve vander ark should be allowed to publish it, because he isn’t giving any new information, but Jo’s encyclopedia is giving new information. so i don’t think that steve’s encyclopedia would take away any of the profits Jo’s encyclopedia will make. i’d buy both of them. i really don’t understand why they’re being so funny about it, it’s already on the internet, so why not publish it?

Avatar Image says:

Your right ismss and Amy S, I’m just remembering the discussion from the original posts about the lawsuit. I forgot that RDR admitted the book was more or less a repackage of Jo’s words.

Sorry bout that, my memory isn’t the greatest out there.

Avatar Image says:

lizzyx15x: it’s already on the internet, so why not publish it?

Why publish it, since it’s already on the internet?

Avatar Image says:

Now I admit I could be wrong, but I believe the difference is that Steve would be profiting from the sale of the book. The Lexicon on the net is free, we as individuals do not need a subscription to view it’s content. However, to have a copy of the book we would need to pay X amount.

Avatar Image says:

if its about harry potter i wont read anything that is not by my favoret writer J.K ROWLING plane and simple.

Avatar Image says:

I hope this book doesn’t get published. The next thing, we’ll be publishing fanfics for profit. The Lexicon, as fanfics, as fansites are just this… stuff for the fans benefit. It’s not nice to try and take money from them.

Avatar Image says:

I’m surprised she didn’t sue Mugglenet for their little book venture.

Avatar Image says:

Much agreed. As much as I love the Lexicon, and think SVA is awesome, I will never buy this book even if ti is published. If we can’t have the Scottish Book, I don’t want an imitation that doesn’t even go to charity. I honestly don’t know what Steve was thinking, doing this.

Avatar Image says:

CarolynJ: You are allowed to quote from others work to a certain extent provided you comment on it and analyze it critically. I believe Mugglenet’s book was trying to predict what might happen in book 7 based on what we already knew and thus constituted fair use, though I would imagine JKR/WB’s lawyers still checked it out and quite possibly suggested changes before it was published. The legal argument is over whether the Lexicon book constitutes fair use, because we presume it contains more facts from the book and less analysis, and thus is more contentious than the Mugglenet book.

Avatar Image says:

I just wish this whole thing could get settled without having to go to court. My stomach gets in a knot every time I read about it. I don’t understand enough to really know what the law says. I don’t think people should be able to profit from Jo’s work, but yet I know that (1) the Lexicon site must have cost a lot of money over the years to keep it up and also took a lot of work, so I’m not against him getting some of that back, and (2) other books that seem to be very much like encyclopedias have been published, and I really don’t see how this one is different.

Also, the interviews that Leaky did say that Jo’s side used a cease and desist letter as a way to open up dialog with the RDR, which I think started the whole discussion off on the wrong foot. Why they couldn’t have just tried to contact them with a request to review the manuscript first, I don’t understand. I just wish the lawyers could get out of the way and let Jo and Steve work it out, but I think it’s gone too far for that. :-(

Avatar Image says:

@Mountain Violet: The whole problem is, as I see it, that RDR plans to SELL it. Yes, it’s on the internet. Where anyone can download it, for free. JKR (as I understand it) did not and does not object to that. It’s the idea that someone is going to take a “repackaged version”, of HER work, and SELL IT. I’m only chiming in This whole discussion, got way out of hand, last time. It’s going to be another few months, before anything else “comes to light”. I am confident that Leaky will keep us (as always) up to date on the information. Just my two cents….

Avatar Image says:

Anytime you take the work or property of another and sell it – you’ve stolen their property. Jo owns the rights to her work, SVA does not.

Jo has been honorable enough to allow us to use her material, and put it on the internet for free. (and many authors would not have allowed sites like Leaky or Mugglenet to flourish) Then nobody profits off the sale of the material.

I'm not sure what SVA is trying to accomplish by pursuing this.

Thanks Leaky for the updates.

Avatar Image says:

I still support Jo 100%, but I’m sad that it had to come to this. Like Billy, I’d much rather buy Jo’s encyclopedia with new info on everything rather than just a “print copy” of the Lexicon. The Scottish Book, roflol xD

Avatar Image says:

The thing that’s wrong about it is that the Lexicon is legal because you aren’t making a profit from it, but if you go and stick that in a book and sell it for profit, it becomes a copyright infringement. (I think) I’m really torn about this because I quite like the Lexicon, but it should be Jo’s decision as they’re her books. And also I wouldn’t waste my money on something that I can get to relatively easily, for free, on the internet. Sorry if I’m just parroting stuff someone else said, I just got up…

Avatar Image says:

Also the Scottish Book’s just going to be able to have way more stuff…Can’t wait!

Avatar Image says:

I don’t actually see this confrontation as JKR vs. Steve/HP-Lexicon, but as a WB vs. RDR Books affair. Having said that, I want with all my heart to see RDR lose this case, because I feel that their arrogance, dodginess and thirst for “easy money” is what really started this mess in the first place.

Avatar Image says:

If WB wins this case, websites are next. The lexicon existed as long as it was “free publicity” for WB and would have been a public relations disaster if WB tried (as it did in the early years – remember all the threats about using images online – Disney did shut it all down, if you are old enough to remember?).

The whole realm of intellectual property law is exploding, especially with the new “markets” online. As we’ve seen in Jo’s interviews and with this lawsuit, controlling the intellectual property is very important for maintaining absolute control of the marketing (and exploiting for profit) of the property.

When it appeared that shutting down the websites or severely limiting what fans were permitted to do with the intellectual property (i.e., the Harry Potter books) was a public relations disaster, they backed off. Instead, rather brilliantly I might add as you can see here at Leaky, they completely changed their marketing strategy and decided to use the websites to broaden and deepen the market. So WB has been very “helpful” in not shutting down websites) because they smartly realized that the fansites actually were excellent marketing tools.

But now that the books are completed and controlling the property’s management becomes a crucial component in long-term marketing strategies, a site like the Lexicon going into print becomes a huge threat to the franchise. If the book is published, it will set a precedent for other materials now on websites going into print. The internet is still in a “Wild Wild West” mode and nearly anything goes. As I said before, companies like WB have learned that investing (even if that means not suing) fansites has been a marketing bonanza for them. But precedent will be set if fansites start publishing their works in print.

I have several encyclopedias for Harry Potter on my bookshelf, published before WB turned their attention to controlling the property once the series were completed. What may have behooved Steve in publishing the Lexicon would be for WB to back it, but then he would have lost creative control of the work and would be merely the “frontman” and not the actually creative director. There’s just no way, with this present generation of executives, for fans to be given creative control over their works like encyclopedias or extensive commentaries (unless the parent company of WB publishes them) – those days have ended.

One could make the case that Jo was encouraged to go on Pottercast to make sure fans don’t realize the long-term effects that will happen to their own freedom of expression on the internet with creating artwork and stories based on the Harry Potter series. If it is shutdown in print, then it will be shut down online. International companies like the one WB belongs too understands that the relationship between print media and online media should be seamless. That is not the case right now – Congress has continued to refrain from placing the same limitations on the internet that now apply to print and broadcast media (though that is changing).

There is a connection I think between this case and the one now going on regarding loading your CDs into iTunes for your iPod. Music Companies are now in court making the case that loading your personally purchased CDs on to your own personal computer and then used in your own personal iPod is stealing.

This is what is happening now and though I know we are not lawyers or executives, we’re probably all still voters and consumers and so we need to be watching these things very carefully. Note how not one of the candidates running for president is talking about this stuff. But for the “internet generation” this is very important.

That day may come when the generation now reading MuggleNet or here at Leaky grow up and become executives at WB. But that will be a long, long, time and by then Harry Potter will be on the shelf like Winne the Pooh.

Unless Steve wins this case. Then all bets are off. No wonder Stanford took the case. They get it.

zr

Avatar Image says:

I will wait for the Scottish Book. I want the one that has it all. I love the Lexicon and visit it often, but let’s face it, the book will be out of date five minutes after it is published.

There is new information coming out fairly regularly right now. The site will be updated, the book can’t. Why should I buy a book that will be outdated the minute it is published when I can go online and get what I need in a place where it is pretty much always up to date?

Also, online at the Lexicon, I can find what I want and then follow the links to find out more or supplement my knowledge with other facts. I wouldn’t be able to do that in the book. Heck, there would be so many references to other pages, you wouldn’t be able to read it anyway. The book will not work like the site.

Kay

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Leaky, for working to keep us informed.

Avatar Image says:

actually, zoerose, they could have chosen to shut down the lexicon online any time they chose and have made a point of saying they don’t have a problem with the web site. we have more to worry about if RDR wins, because then copyright holdres in GENERAL, not just with HP, will have to start being more cautious about their copyright tha they’ve been. THEN stuff might get shut down.

and as for steve recouping costs of the Lexicon, no, it just came out that Leaky had been hosting the Lexicon for several years, for free. All his bluster about site cost is false and I can add pretty tasteless too.

Avatar Image says:

@ Mrs. Lovegood:

JKR did try to work this out with Steve before this blew up. They asked repeatedly for a copy of the maunscript to check for infringement but were basically blown off and told that they should just look at the Lexicon for what’s in the book. There just happens to be a LOT of copyright infringing stuff on the Lexicon, which is how all of this came to be.

@ ZoeRose:

The core issue in all copyright infringement cases is whether or not another party is making money using words that you wrote. This really isn’t anything like the RIAA lawsuits, which are ridiculous. What Steve is doing isn’t ripping a CD onto his IPOD, it’s taking the CD, reorganizing the track order, and reselling his version to the general public. That is most certainly illegal. The websites won’t be next because they don’t make anyone any money. They can make money and put it back into the webiste but the people who run it can’t pay themselves for anything other than expenses. It’s the difference between a profit and non-profit organization. That’s why the websites will never be shut down, they’re not making a profit, but that is exactly what Steve is trying to do with this book. The sole purpose for publishing this book is so Steve can make money by being a superfan. And that’s just wrong.

He’s been DYING to get close to JKR and be brought in to the “loop” of creation and money-making for so long that he’s determined to do it with or without her blessing at this point. He asked her if he could help with her encyclopedia (first, just imagine the audacity of going to this beloved, best-selling author and trying to convince her that she needs YOUR help writing her next book), she said no, he got his feelings hurt and now he’s doing all of this as a huge “screw you” to JKR. I think it’s pathetic, and that sucks because there was a time when I really liked Steve.

We should really all be thankful that JKR has let the fandom get away with the fansites and other resources we have. She really doesn’t have to do that (neither does WB, they do it for the money). I for one am thankful that she let’s things like Leaky and Mugglenet and the Lexicon go on without question (and even appears on a fansite podcast to answer questions, thank you very much) even though people like Steve just kick her in the shins for having such a generous attitude towards them.

Avatar Image says:

Excellent comentary, ZoeRose. Kudos – you get it. For WB, this is not about the material being published or profitable – it’s already published and profitable (we think Steve et al do this for free?) It is about any profits from a print version going to them. I’m not sure that a print version of the Lexicon is necessary – the internet version is far too convenient! – but I, too, hope Steve wins. In any case, this is a fascinating case study in intellectual property management.

FWIW, I don’t think the Lexicon & the Scottish book can be compared – apples and oranges. The Lexicon is about bringing it all together, the Scottish book will be about filling in the blanks. If WB had been smart enough to outbid RDR for Steve’s work, they could have used the Lexicon as a teaser and marketing tool until Jo was ready to publich the Scottish book. Alas, now what we have is in-fighting and damage control.

Poor Jo – the upshot of this whole mess, methinks, is that she’s not going to get her well-deserved rest from the story, but is going to be forced to publish her encyclopedia much earlier than planned. Not necessarily a good thing for fans, either, if she does it because she’s rushed and forced due to intellectual property wars. {Sigh}

Avatar Image says:

People at non-profits get paid all the time. The difference is whether it’s a commercial venture or not. The fan sites aren’t commercial ventures, their aim isn’t to make money. I’ve heard plenty of rumors of people who run the web sites getting paid, and I’ve got no problem with it,they work as much as they would at a job anyway. The difference is that their purposes don’t include making profit, their purposes are based around presenting information and community for fans. That’s non-profit work; non-profit work doesn’t mean no one ever makes money, it means the work isn’t aimed at profit, isn’t commercial.

Publishing the Lexicon as a book is a commercial venture, no two ways about it.

Avatar Image says:

and I think i’m te only person reading the JKR quote above: She said it’s about giving people EVERYTHING. Hers is the Lexicon PLUS new info. And an accurate lexicon at that. It’s not apples and oranges, it’s a small apple and a really big one, and I want the really big one, and see the small one as trying to steal the big one’s thunder when it has no right.

Avatar Image says:

Websites aren’t next, because J.K.Rowling doesn’t make a living from her website, or from wizard rock or other niche productions. She makes it from books and royalties on books, and she alone has the right to determine who does what with her intellectual property.

First, the Lexicon is a directly competing product, a derivative work, based on Jo Rowling’s intellectual property. No argument there. Secondly, I don’t think this would have gone to court if the other party hadn’t treated Jo Rowling and WB like scum who were interfering with their “right” to use her material. Finally, if the Lexicon were written with at least some class and insight, there might have been some opportunity for official endorsement. But it’s just dull paraphrase and no decent author would want their name near it.

By the way, the whole structure of the Lexicon looks as though it was designed for print right from the start. I hope that was obvious to anyone who contributed, even if not spelled out in as many words.

Avatar Image says:

To Michele: Jo has been honorable enough to allow us to use her material, and put it on the internet for free.

I don’t know if you remember. She did try to (at one point) shut down role playing websites for Harry Potter. But realized that she wasn’t going to win and stopped trying. It’s one of other things were if you can’t beat them join them.

Honestly, I don’t know why she’s doing this. As mentioned by CarolynJ, why not sue Mugglenet for their book they published. Or take off the shelves. Mugglenet is making money off of basically the same material. Why not allow Lexicon to publish it. It’s not like he’s going to publish fanfics and if he is well…..then we do have a problem.

When your richer then the Queen of England…..Why do this just to put an extra buck in your pocket?

Avatar Image says:

I love Steve-o, and would really like to see him come back for Canon Conclundrums. However, I think it slightly unwise to have attempted to publish this book. I just want it to be over quickly as possible. I hate being stuck in this situaton as I have a great respect for Steve’s work on the HPL website and Jo’s work (why else would I be commenting here?). Steve, come back for Canon Conclundrums! I’d like to see you be in the Bit-by-Biy some time… xMaggie

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zr, I disagree that “if WB wins this case, websites are next.” I do agree with your statements that, “If the book is published, it will set a precedent for other materials now on websites going into print.”

I also disagree with those that appear to be saying that money is the critical issue.

Many fans have put their works online and in print. Some make money, some do not. Anything Harry Potter-related, that is STILL online or STILL in print or real-world-form, is still there because WB or Jo (or whomever owned the rights to it) didn’t feel like what was there was violating their rights or posed a risk to their rights being compromised in the future. I think the critical issue is legal precidence and how the COURTS might rule in the future based on what actions the WB and Jo take or do not take. Even Jo had to (pre-book 7) refrain from putting certain hints about “Deathly Hallows” on her own website, or face the possibility of losing the rights to keep spoilers and her book offline.

From what I can tell, the WB has to take certain actions or it can lose the rights it currently holds. Those actions might include: Asking to look at a book that is to be published, asking for words or lines or images to be removed from a book or website, determining what percentage of original vs straight-out-of-Jo’s-world a book or website contains. If an author or a website refused to let the WB look at something, refused to remove something, or still tried to move forward with publishing a book that the WB hadn’t approved in its current form, then the WB would have had to take legal action, just like they are with RDR.

It is my personal opinion that if the WB wins, then they can feel confident that the way that they’ve worked with publishers and websites in the past is still sufficient to retain their current rights in a court of law. It is my opinion that if RDR wins, then the WB may not have any legal choice but to start putting heavy limitations on online media (websites, podcasts, fan music, fan art, fan stories, etc.) created by the fandom, or risk losing more and more of their rights to the Harry Potter franchise.

Avatar Image says:

On the PotterCast interview Jo pointed out that she doesn’t want to be forced in to publishing her “Scottish Book” just because if she doesn’t then someone else will.

The points made about the Lexicon book were that very little of the content was original to Steve (unlike the Mugglenet book, which was analysis and opinion or Melissa’s upcoming book which is about the fandom). That while the Lexicon is on the web it is free to anyone. And that by selling it for personal profit he is violating the copyright protection. Steve (or RDR) claim that he “created the timeline” that is on his site. Actually all he did was organize it. – all of the information comes from stuff that Jo created. IT’S HER WORK! If Steve were to make up his own facts, that would be fine, but it wouldn’t be canon. He still wouldn’t be allowed to publish a work using HER characters if it were to be done for profit. No fanfic books, in other words.

The websites are allowed to sell advertising space to offset the cost of running the site. They can take donations as well, but they can’t require payment for access. The Jingle Spells CD references the HP world, but it was sold for charity. The only money not going to charity went to production and shipping costs. These are all fair use of the HP properties.

Avatar Image says:

SarahW, I agree with you that the critical issue here is the legal precedent, but I disagree with you as to what the precedent would be. You’ve missed ZR’s point – in the legal world of intellectual property, the line between paper and ink/bits and bytes is blurring more and more daily. The point is, we are presumably talking of already published material (unless something comes out in the print version that is NOT already online, and then we’ve another kettle of fish entirely.) If we were discussing something that no one had ever seen before, your point would stand. But we are discussing material ALREADY published and ALREADY profited by its creator (er, compiler, anyway.) Not only that, but as with any good reference material, it’s all properly cited and proper credit to the original creator already given. It’s my understanding that the author never refused to give over the numscript, merely declared it unnecessary because all materials are currently published already in internet form. The legal question to be settled is that if someone is allowed to have a “dot com” site and receive revenues by advertising without objecting or control by WB, why is the exact same material not allowed in print form without WB?

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Actually PotterMomNV I think the issue is not so much internet versus paper, and rather free information versus charging people for it. Jo has no objection to the Lexicon as a website because it is free, though she would arguably be within her rights to shut it down as well, but she does object to others profiting from her work by repackaging stuff she wrote and selling it. And RDR saying that the stuff in the book is on the website is distinctly unhelpful, because some stuff on the Lexicon would count as fair use (eg. some of the essays), but others wouldn’t (in JKR/WBs opinion) and so it depends a great deal exactly what bits of the Lexicon are in the book as whether WB/JKR consider it an infringement of their copyright or not.

Avatar Image says:

After reading everything, I can’t help but take JKR’s side… Bottom line: It’s her series, and her right as author to decide what can be published.

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I wonder if she would let the Lexicon publish if they promised to donate all proceeds of the book to charity…

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“Jo has no objection to the Lexicon as a website because it is free, though she would arguably be within her rights to shut it down as well, but she does object to others profiting from her work by repackaging stuff she wrote and selling it.” She IS arguably within her rights, roonwit, which is what makes this such an interesting case. You see, Steve VA has been repackaging (in a rather brilliant fashion, I might add) and selling her work (just to advertisers, not the public at large) for years. She has even honored him with her own fansite award for doing the same. The question becomes, if it is okay to do this and sell it to advertisers online, why is it wrong to sell the same material in paper form to the public? As long as it IS the exact same material (and I do rather think that RDR has to prove that) then what is the legally defining difference? Some have spoken to the commercial nature of the the thing – but I have to say that since all of these fansites boast multiple commercial ads (not criticizing, mind you, just noting) that this rather begs the question of what we consider as “non-profit” and what we consider as “commercial.” That, too, in the realm of intellectual property law, is somewhat of a gray area. After all, if you have commercial adverts on your site, how can you claim that your intent is not to make money? Thus, I think legally it’s going to be much more a question of form than intent.

Ashlee, I agree with you – that, I think, would be the best-of-all-worlds solution. However, I will not hold my breath. There are, after all, lawyers involved here. But, hey, it could happen! Keep faith!

Avatar Image says:

There has never been any serious argument that (1) some of the material on the Lexicon site is “protected,” such as commentary, and (2) some of it-quite a bit of it-is not protected, because it is simply repackaging of JKR”s own copyrighted work. There is NO reason to doubt that WB and JKR would have been willing to work with Steve and RDR-as they have with hundreds of other authors-to negotiate what was permissible to print, and what was not.

There has never been a persuasive denial of the fact that RDR refused to provide an advance manuscript to WB for their inspection. This FORCED WB to take legal action. Who could possibly believe that Jo Rowling would actually desire to get into a legal confrontation with Steve? Or that she’s “just trying to protect her profits”? That’s, frankly, an idiotic and contemptible line of reasoning.

Copyright is widely ignored on the web. To some extent it’s inevitable. However, nothing would provide greater incentive for copyright holders to aggressively attack copyright infringement on the web than would legal protection for web-based infringers converting their materials into for-profit formats using other media. Several commentators have pointed out that in the unlikely event that RDR wins, all copyright holders will be forced to mount ferocious campaigns to stop web-based copyright infringement before it has any chance to gain a foothold.

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I keep forgetting that one can not use dashes in these comments because they become converted into “cross-outs.” I did not intend for any of my words to be crossed out. I should have used commas or parentheses.

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There is an enormous legal difference between generating income to cover expenses on the one hand, and making profits on the other hand. Granted, creative accounting can transform one into the other, but if the accounting is TOO creative it becomes subject to legal attack. I leave it to the experts to fill in the details on this.

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PotterMomNV: But he hasn’t been selling stuff to advertisers for years. The google adverts on the Lexicon are recent, and basically the same as Leaky uses. And the difference is that the Lexicon website is free – you pay nothing to access the information (it seems Jo has no objection to a small amount of advertising to cover costs). The book crosses the line in JKR/WB’s opinion because you have to pay to read it, so the issue as to whether it infringes their rights becomes relevant.

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I’m sorrym, but as much as I love JKR, I’m with SVA in this one. I understand JKR’s pov, but if that was the case she should have sued many piublishers before. IMHO, she’s suing the Lexicon bc it’ll be the first of the “companion books” who is not rubbish and can actually make good money. If it comes out, I’m buying it. I know it can be consulted freely on the web, but with that concepty, we wouldn’t buy any real books that you can find online too. And when JKR does her Encyclopedia, I’m buying it too.

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Snape’s Mistress said ‘IMHO, she’s suing the Lexicon bc it’ll be the first of the “companion books” who is not rubbish and can actually make good money. If it comes out, I’m buying it.’ Well, that is the point really. Previous books have probably played by WB/JKR’s rules and only included a limited amount of stuff from the books, which is probably why few of them are good, and they probably also co-operated with WB to make sure that copyright wasn’t infringed. I suspect that most of the other companion books are published by publishers who do a lot of this type of thing for one fandom or another, and know how the system works and how to settle things without the courts getting involved.

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“Why publish it, since it’s already on the internet?”

I can’t speak for others (or the person you’re talking to), but I’d quite like to own a nice shiny print copy of it.

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This really is heartbreaking, but it obviously has to be done. What I don’t understand is really WHY this is happening in the first place. The information has already been published out on the internet…why not put it in a book? I would buy both of them. Several Fansites have books out about Harry Potter. As long as their is a disclaimer, why the fuss? I’m not very good with law jumble- so if I am embarking on something completely off market, please correct me nicely :D

On the other hand, if Jo asks for it not to be published, the moral thing to do would be to not publish it. I would NOT want to be on the other side of Jo Rowling- especially when she has the clout of actually writing the books that you are critiqing.

What I’m getting from these comments is that its ok to publish a book ( like Mugglenet did) if you are critiqing..but since Lexicon is publishing an excyclopedia, which isn’t really critiqing but rather re-writing, then legally its questionable.

I just hope that this all gets cleared up- for Jo and Steve’s sake. It must be so hard on both of them, and my heart breaks every time someone bashes Steve for this. We are all VERY loyal to Jo, but can’t we also look at our fan friendship with Steve and respect him as well?

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Hope the lexicon wins.

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Im with JK/WB. However, If lexicon wins, I look forward to buying the book! Hows that for contradiction. Funny area this copyright infringement. I uploaded the JK Rowling A year in the Life to youtube for Leaky readers to watch. I thought it was perfectly ok to upload as other JK documentaries are on youtube as well as the Leaky channel. But then within 24hrs, Youtube pulled it out and sent me an email warning me of copyright infringement. I was disappointed obviously (and so were a few of you!) and so wondered why this documentary was pulled and not others on youtube. Then I found out who told youtube to pull it. It wasnt JK, or WB, or Bloomsbury. It wasnt ITV, the channel that broadcast the show. It wasnt even the documentary film makers either. It was a small company which designs the media player that ITV used to show the documentary online to UK residents. Strange area this copyright business.

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Can’t respect Steve when he’s lied so boldly. He makes himself out to be some martyr but we all know he could have talked to JKR’s peopel about this beforehand; they claim to have wanted to and he wouldn’t, and he has said for a long time now that he talks to them for other reasons. Yet when he contacted them about someting that would result in a lawsuit later, they didn’t answer? Right. It’s because he didn’t contact them, and until he puts in a legal document that he wrote to JKR’s lawyer, who had written to MANY times before according to his own web site, and he refused to answer him about the proposed Lexicon book, all I can believe is what’s in the OTHER legal documents, which is that he DID NOT contact anyone at JKR’s camp beforehand about the HPL book.

Can’t respect him when he claims to be JKR’s man through and through and does this.

Can’t respect him when he’s willing to let all fandoms be severely restricted because of his greed.

Can’t respect him when says he had no idea you could publish something as a PDF for free, when he’s not only been the webmaster of a popular web site for years, but he was also part of HarryPotterSeven.com, which DID say it was going to publish PDFs for free. So he had no idea his work in there would be published as a PDF? He’d never been presented with the idea?

Can’t respect him when he has said many times in the past how he knows this would be against JKR’s rights and illegal, and now claims he knew no such thing.

No, can’t respect him at all.

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I agree with Billy, I wouldn’t buy this “Lexicon” book even if it does get published, though I hope it doesn’t. Anyone truly claiming to be a fan of Jo and the Harry Potter would never dream of doing this.

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BOOKS… that should read “and the Harry Potter books”...oops.

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Professor Potter: Actually, if your youtube clip was IWCmedia, then I think you will find they are the distributors of the programme, and therefore are entitled to pull your clip – if you were watxhing closely you would have seen their logo on the closing credits.

Attenborough: There are two sides to everything, particularly once the lawyers put a legal spin on it. I doubt Steve would recognize the things you accuse him of.

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And yet they are the ones who have sworn such legally and he hasn’t. that’s all I’m basing it on. what’s been sworn. eh. we’ll see.

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I say let them (RDR Books) do it, but make sure they say it’s this persons (Lexicon) option of the harry potter world and it’s not J K Rowling’s Scottish book (hahahahah)

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I can’t believe anyone would want RDR to win this case. If they do, then HP fandom is pretty much over. Fan fiction will have to go underground and most websites will have to shut down because the threat of legal action will be always hanging over their heads. Fandoms will be seen as a liability instead of a creative forum for fans. And it will all be because RDR and the lexicon are greedy and self entitled and think they have the right as”fans” to make money off someone elses hard work. They give fandom a terrible name and the mainstream media will probably think we’re all like them. So bye bye fandom. Thanks so much, Steve and RDR!

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Even if it’s published, I fail to see how/why the Lexicon would do any good, really. We can all go to their site for free every day and get the same information: why should I pay someone for that “distinct pleasure?”

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Bravo to ZoeRose’s astute arguments. As a webmaster of my own site, I try to understand both sides and while I’m not happy with the conduct of RDR, I’m not going to blindly agree with the powers of JKR’s people, WB, Bloomsbury, or Scholastic. The notion that any fan site should never be allowed to generate any small amount of revenue for the continutation of their site is rediculous, and by implication here at TLC, that attitude has been expressed. Attenborough, Will ormont, Dragonallycat77, Sarah W and other’s, your argument’s don’t move me at all. Frankly, I continued to be dismayed that Melissa’s moderators aren’t doing a better job of presenting some balance on this issue. If Steve was only having to suffer the slings and arrows of fans, that would be one matter, but there’s a lot of arguments being made here based on falsehoods. Staff members of Steve’s Lexicon have been personally attacked in their E-mail accounts, and that’s where I draw the line. If Steve is personally only facing criticisms via E-mail, he’s a big boy and should be able to handle it, when others who work for him, are being attacked, that’s unfair. If anyone here was truely intellectually honest, they’d have to admit that attacks on participants on the Lexicon should stop.

If we further follow the reasoning of some, then cliffnotes or unauthorized reference books about Tolkien’s novels or television shows like Star Trek should never be allowed to be published. Yet they have been, even with or without author’s approval. Furthermore, JKR has stated recently that it might be up to ten years before her Encyclopedia will see publication, how will a Potter reference book affect sales considering the length of time mention? I’m not buying that argument, and I have doubt sales of such a book using Lexicon material will generate a lot of sales anyway.

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Matt, we are not presenting any unprovable facts (though we sometimes cannot name a source) which is the only way to create balance on this issue. FYI, the case doesn’t even mention the notion of fan site revenue. And until there is proof that any Lexicon staffer has been”attacked in their E-mail accounts,” we cannot consider what you say as true; you clearly have taken it as fact and that’s fine and definitely your decision, but those are private details that are not part of this case, and certainly haven’t been proven or even posted anywhere, so they won’t be included here. I’ve personally never seen one person, ever, slight anyone from the Lexicon but Steve over this matter. If it’s going on privately, then it’s a private matter, but so are many things, and if you want to start bringing all private matters into this case you might find a lot you wish we hadn’t brought up.

I’m actually pretty confused as to where you got the idea it was happening. That’s never been said by any credible source in this case. If I’m missing something, let me know; perhaps you’re talking about Steve saying that on his site? Steve cannot be considered a credible source for that piece of information, as he would be the only person it benefits. Is he lying? I have absolutely no idea, and it’s not my business to: all I know is that I’ve been reading everything there is to read on this case and I have never, not once, seen seen a Lexicon staffer besides Steve publicly attacked over this issue; I was happy not to have to say that, ever, but you’re equating that information to how we’re covering this case, and that’s when I need to say something.

Disagree with those who defend JKR, that’s your right: don’t start saying that we need to do so in order to present this issue fairly. Thanks.

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Here is my concern about the lexicon being published (sorry if I’m repeating everyone): What if Jo decides not to create the encyclopedia? Could this book being published discourage her from putting out her own? I definitely hope not, because I wouldn’t much care to learn about things I could figure out on my own, and would rather learn new information from Jo herself.

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Steve clearly has been having a mid-life crisis. It happens when you turn 50. He said on PotterCast how disappointed he was that the Deathly Hallows weren’t put together with a resulting SFX explosion. I took that to mean he was feeling that fear of death that comes to those who mark their half century of living. I think he had big dreams. Just as Lucius Malfoy had big dreams until that Potter brat stuck a basilisk fang into his book idea. If only Steve had gone out and bought himself a turquoise Ford Anglia instead. Maybe he’d have felt better. The Latin for fifty is L. A big “L”. Fits, doesn’t it?

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Melissa, thank you for your reply. My comments are not directed at TLC staffers as much as distortions I have seen from general members who have posted comments here since this legal debacle began. I have a lot more to say about this issue, but I will be contacting you via private E-mail, to express my disenchantment, having said that, it’s not a personal attack on you. There’s great work done at TLC, let’s make that clear, I just have issues nevertheless.

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JKR, WB, and the two book publishers have profited heavily from fan sites such as mugglenet and all members of The Floo Network. The information is nothing new, its not attempting to change anything. Its an unauthorized informational companion to the books. Go to the Sci-Fi section of any bookstore and look at all the Star Wars, Buffy, Star Trek, ect. guides that aren’t official. Its released information that has been gathered and compiled.

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I hope Steve wins. This whole thing is a bunch of BS. JK’s encyclopedia is going to provide NEW information that wasn’t covered in the books. Steve’s book is just going to be a regular encyclopedia giving info on what’s on page in the books. I don’t get what the hell JK’s problem is. Is she paying any attention to the projects? They seem completely different. And I’m getting sick of hearing about JK’s court adventures.

Seriously, the woman is lawyer crazy.

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Melissa, I do have one other point to make. If you have only had interaction with Steve, and no one else at the Lexicon, unless you have access to their webmail accounts, which I can correctly assume isn’t the case, how can one say with any certainty that Lexcion Staff members haven’t forward to him, personal attacks on their character for being involved with the Lexicon? While people love to argue that Steve hasn’t any credibility, I fail to see why he would be dishonest about that when he’s defending people who help him with his site. You wouldn’t do the same with your TLC staff under the same situation? I find that hard to believe. People can continue to be emotionally high strung on this issue, generally speaking, or they can choose to be more objective. Nuff said.

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Sorry in advance for the long post!

PotterMomNV said: “After all, if you have commercial adverts on your site, how can you claim that your intent is not to make money?” There is a world of difference between profit and revenue. Profit isn’t the amount of money raised by a website. It is the amount of money after costs that is left over. Non-profit organizations are not prevented or even discouraged from taking in revenue.

PotterMomNV said: “The question becomes, if it is okay to do this and sell it to advertisers online, why is it wrong to sell the same material in paper form to the public?” I draw a distinction between putting commercial advertising on something free, like a (network) TV show or a website, and taking what used to be a free service and making it a paid service. As far as I know, the courts do too.

PotterMomNV said: “As long as it IS the exact same material (and I do rather think that RDR has to prove that) then what is the legally defining difference? The legally-defining difference, as Roonwit points out,

Lindsay said: “As long as their is a disclaimer, why the fuss?” There actually isn’t a single disclaimer on the book. That’s part of what is causing this fuss.

lucy, I completely agree with you and I am also surprised that what you mention isn’t being more widely discussed.

brian said: “The information is nothing new, its not attempting to change anything.” And therein lies the problem. According to the doctrine of fair use that operates in U.S. copyright law, you must have changed or interpreted the author’s work in some new way in order for it to not violate their copyright. If you looked at those books, you’d see that either they are official books published by the copyright holders, or else they reinterpret or analyze in some fashion their source material.

brian said: “Go to the Sci-Fi section of any bookstore and look at all the Star Wars, Buffy, Star Trek, ect. guides that aren’t official.” But for all that any of us know, for every one book that did get published, many more did not because they would have violated copyright. You can’t point to the portion of books that managed to pass muster and say that they’re proof that any book should be able to.

Jessica said: “I don’t get what the hell JK’s problem is. Is she paying any attention to the projects? They seem completely different.” Actually, if you listen to the recent interview that Leaky did with her (I think it was the second half?), she talks about how she’d like it to be the definitive encyclopedia. And, of course, an encyclopedia, which is what she originally called it, sounds almost exactly like what Steve and RDR are trying to publish, doesn’t it? It does to me.

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Matt said: “Melissa, I do have one other point to make. If you have only had interaction with Steve, and no one else at the Lexicon, unless you have access to their webmail accounts, which I can correctly assume isn’t the case, how can one say with any certainty that Lexcion Staff members haven’t forward to him, personal attacks on their character for being involved with the Lexicon?”

No one is saying that with any certainty, Matt, except you. Are you the one with access to their webmail accounts? I’m not, so I haven’t said it. I say that unless that fact becomes provable, it is completely irrelevant to the case, and that the ONLY source we have on this information is Steve. Looking at it objectively, there is no one who benefits from such a claim except him because of the tone of his last posting, so I can’t make any discernment on whether it’s credible or not. I’m nt saying he’s lying, I’m not saying he’s not, I’m saying that until I see the actual words, emails, whatever, I’m not believing it, because i’ve read thousands of pages of comments about this case, where people have been utterly vicious, there has never been an unkind word uttered about any Lexicon staff. If there was anywhere it was going to surface, it would be in these places (like Fandom Wank), and yet it hasn’t; so unless there comes proof otherwise I can’t believe it has occurred.

“Matt said: “While people love to argue that Steve hasn’t any credibility, I fail to see why he would be dishonest about that when he’s defending people who help him with his site. You wouldn’t do the same with your TLC staff under the same situation? I find that hard to believe. People can continue to be emotionally high strung on this issue, generally speaking, or they can choose to be more objective. Nuff said.”

Matt, you are faulting me for not having the info that you yourself don’t have, don’t you see the contradiction there? I’m saying that I’m going on what I’ve seen and read and refusing to believe that which I haven’t seen and read personally. That’s being objective. I’m not saying anyone is lying, but I am saying that I’ve seen thousands of pages of conversation on the Lexicon suit, and not a single comment, though I’ve read them all, slighting other Lexicon staffers. That’s what I’ve read and seen, so that’s the only evidence I have. I’m not going to believe there’s been mean emails until I see those mean emails myself.

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Much of the discussion, as we all know, repeats what we’ve argued before.

The one thing I would ask is that we remember that at this point neither STeve nor JKR are really in charge of the proceedings, but rather WB and their legal staff, and RDR and its legal representatives, are. Let’s avoid personal attacks on the individuals, please, those are just inappropriate.

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Matt, if you look back over the threads concerning this sad case, the evidence is that Melissa specifically, and Leaky genrerally, has been scrupulously neutral. Rumors are identified as rumors, links to the statements of all parties and to relevent documents have been provided. Leaky has been our source of up to date news, and for that we should be grateful

It would be sad indeed if any fan attacked a member of the Lexicon staff, including Steve, and on that we are all in agreement. Let’s hope that no one claiming to be a HP fan stooped to such an act?

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I know an author of a book that had some stuff that was Harry Potter-related. Their book had to be looked at line by line by the WB before it could be published. The WB made suggestions for edits. At the time, it was within the WB’s rights to ask for the book and to ask for edits. The author complied, and of course no lawsuit was necessary.

Why did the WB ask for certain edits? Well if certain things had been allowed, then it would have weaked the WB’s claims to some of the copyrights/trademarks it holds. If the WB knows of a book it has to look at it. If the WB knows of something that might infringe on their rights, then they must ask for it to be changed. If authors/publishers refuse anywhere along this course, then the WB must take them to court (like they are with RDR since RDR wouldn’t give them what they need to look at.)

Certain copyrights/trademarks the WB has to take actions to protect or it runs the risk of losing them all together. Yes, the “lines” between online and print may appear to be blurring to us, but it is the courts now and in the future that will be the ones who decide case by case the “lines” between online and print forms of media.

What the WB asked of the RDR is no different than what it asked of countless books and websites in the past…a chance to protect their copyrights/trademarks. As far as I can tell it doesn’t matter if the website or the author is or has profited. The copyright/trademark holder (the WB) still needs to act. Profit however, does appear to be a factor often when someone like the WB decides what to do AFTER an author or website complies with removing something from the public domain.

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Melissa, okay, fair point. My point has been there has been too much hearsay from some about the Lexicon staff issue. I can’t claim I know any more about what happened, if staff members from the Lexicon step forward and mention they’‘ve recieved written attacks, I would hope fans would not jump on the position it must be a lie.

Budb, I’d like to believe that TLC has remained scrupulously neutral being that this sad case mostly involves the legal teams for JKR and RDR. It should remain just that. Yet, I’ve continued to see a lot of personal attacks on Steve on these comment boards. Which was my intended aim with my pointed comments with Melissa. It’s not something people really like, isn’t it?

Has anyone from TLC thought of interviewing Steve or anyone from the Lexicon about this legal battle? Then, if they fall on their own sword, that’s their burden. Such an act would reinforce the perception of balance that the TLC staff prides themselves on. If Steve has flatly declined such an interview, that might change my perception. Then, I’m willing to stand corrected. My previous defense of ZoeRose still stands.

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Matt, I’ll agree that some guests posting here in the Leaky threads have attacked steve (and others have attacked JKR, let’s face it). attacking either individual is inappropriate in my view. I assume you are making the distinction between comments posted here in the open forum, and what the Leaky staffers themselves have posted. Not sure what the legal implications of interviewing Steve would be, to be honest. Usually some of our fans who happen to be attorneys gravitate toward these discussions, and we’ll probably hear from them shortly.

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Did anyone read this editorial from the LA Times? It’s clear that while they think a lawsuit is okey-dokey from a legal perspective, that it might cast a shadow over the fans and their view of the author: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-potter31dec31,0,6620334.story?coll=la-opinion-leftrail

To me, it’s important to show a truly opposite view, instead of slandering the Lexicon or always spinning JKR as a victim. The legal bills for WB will cost more than this book was ever going to make.

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SarahW: “I know an author of a book that had some stuff that was Harry Potter-related. Their book had to be looked at line by line by the WB before it could be published. The WB made suggestions for edits. At the time, it was within the WB’s rights to ask for the book and to ask for edits. The author complied, and of course no lawsuit was necessary.”

Aside from Steve’s claim, on the flip side, there are authors who approached WB and the publishing powers that be for permission to publish Potter related books and were ignored. It depends on one contacts, as well as the perception out there if an author has been legitimately published in the past. On-line bloggers, and fan writers, have a stigma they have to overcome with established publishing powers. It isn’t so cut and dried seeking permission, you have to know whom to go to.

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Matt, there HAS been too much hearsay about theLexicon staff issue…but you’re the one who brought it up here, not us. That’s WHY we didn’t bring it up – it’s hearsay. No one had jumped on that position at all….except you, to imply it was true. If a staff member says they’ve been attacked I would still like to see the attack and not just take anyone’s word for anything right now. That’s what this case has done: makes us wonder about everything, want proof of everything.

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I forgot to add, yes, I am aware of the argument, “If they have talent, they will get published.”

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“I hope this book doesn’t get published. The next thing, we’ll be publishing fanfics for profit.” - Jesse

it’s happened before with Phantom of the Opera. Just about every fan-brat has to write her own peice of fan fiction and and get it published through a subsiderary no matter how horrible it is.

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Yep, and he knew exactly who to go to. He bragged in the past of contact with Jo’s people and lawyers and all the rest. He knew just who to go to. And he wasn’t some random blogger; the powers that be knew who he was. If he had really contacted eeeeveryone he could think of regarding the case, you can be sure they’d get back to him. As you say, Matt, there’s a stigma to overcome. SVA had overcome it, and knew who to go to. Had he gone to those people, this would not have happened.

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Melissa, having followed this issue for months and having seen the tone in previous comments whenever news of the these legal issues are posted at TLC, while yes, I pre-emptively brought this up. I base it on recent history. Someone would have brought up the staff attack arguments anyway. It frequently happens, when the issue should be the legal debates between both parties. Please do not obfuscate my question about interviewing Steve, or weather he declined to speak to TLC about his role in this mess, I would appreciate it. That’s all for me folks. Take care.

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matt, there are a hundred questions about this issue, including my opinion of who is right, that I have not answered. I came here to answer your allegations about TLC’s coverage and have done so. I’m not changing my or TLC’s stance on answering questions about behind the scenes info; answering all your questions (the premise of which I dont accept anyway, that interviewing Steve changes at all our fairness on this issue) changes that stance and you should not ask that of me. I have gone to large lengths privately to keep Leaky uninvolved and that will not change because you feel entitled to demand answers of all your questions from me. I declined speaking to several reporters about this as well. Incidentally your argument about past precedent justifying you bringing something up that cannot be proven and then take us to task for not considering unprovable info, doesn’t hold much weight with me either. I hope you get all the answers you seek in this case, but nothing has been obfuscated – indeed it is quite clear – that you haven’t earned them from me. Have a great night.

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But isn’t it the stance of this and many fan websites that it is JKR’s way or the highway? Isn’t that why so many fans immediately began to pour gasoline and insults on the Lexicon the minute this story came out?

But what if the WB loses this case? JKR doesn’t automatically win all her lawsuits. What will be the stance of Leaky then? Won’t it still be that JKR was somehow “wronged” by the very fact that Steve dared to write a book without permission? Just saying . . . alot of people will not accept a verdict as fair just because there was a lawsuit to begin with.

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The LA Times editorial displays a tenuous grasp of facts and undisguised ill-will. It claims Dumbledore’s outing occurred at “a Rowling press availability,” says Rowling “mercifically” cut off her series of “increasingly bloated” books, and makes a satirical remark about the timing of the movie adaptations. It admits that “for the sake of copyright” Rowling’s action “is probably necessary,” and that it “appears to be within bounds on both a narrowly legal and a broader moral basis.” Despite this, they call it “petty” and “churlish,” say that she is “clinging” [to her work], and accuse her of “bad behavior.” They imply that she is taking steps to “devalue and ruin” her own franchise, and support this by comparing her popularity to briefly-famous authors who didn’t sell as many books in their lifetime as Deathly Hallows did in its first hour of publication.

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I feel very strongly that, even if SVA did put a lot of his own work into the Lexicon, the world of HP is still JK’s, and that SVA should not profit from selling his own interpretation or additions to it without her consent. Also, because until JK publishes her own encyclopedia, neither we nor SVA know whether everything in SVA’s version is actually ‘correct’. This is absolutely JK’s world.

I second what Michela says about JK’s generosity allowing HP websites to publish such a lot of material on the web in HPs name without her interference.

I am also VERY VERY happy that JK seems to have confirmed that she will write her encyclopedia soon! I can’t wait.

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I would buy both. I use the Lexicon, so I would buy their version. But come on, who WOULDN’T buy Jo’s version in addition or exclusively? If it’s a question of copyright, I can kind of see, but I have the feeling that with WB, it’s really about dollars.

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Even though it’s not updated to include the Deathly Hallows-facts, Kim? Not to mention all the post-book info JKR keeps dropping?

Why even consider publishing the Lexicon of a seven-book-series before the series are finished? SAV must have left his manuscript about the same time DH was released. The online Lexicon is not DH-compliant, in some cases not even HBP.

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I wish people would stop bringing up CliffNotes. Does anyone have a copy at hand? Check the copyright page, acknowledgements and permissions. CliffNotes does seek permission to do what it does. And it even warns readers not to copy from their text for reasons of infringement.

I have never seen any of the Lexicon staff attacked except Steve. And I consider Steve fair game as he has gone on record as saying he would not publish the Lexicon without Jo’s permission and yet, well,... here we are.

And Attenborough is right. It’s just not believeable that Steve was ignored by Jo’s people when he tried to talk to them. Steve said nothing about the book on his website until after he was sued. Was he being modest or secretive?

Steve could have shown the manuscript to Warner Bros and Jo’s people before being sued. We’d all have been spared this screaming fest. I hate to think of Steve being Jo’s “number one fan” in an Annie Wilkes way.

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Wow, that opinion piece from the LA times was utter rubbish. I get it. They don’t like Harry Potter. Jeez.

It’s easy to lay it on thick with the negative criticism when you don’t have to sign your name to the editorial you’ve written…

I would break it down but Fragesteller has already done so. :)

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I can’t believe anyone would want RDR to win this case. If they do, then HP fandom is pretty much over. Fan fiction will have to go underground and most websites will have to shut down because the threat of legal action will be always hanging over their heads. Fandoms will be seen as a liability instead of a creative forum for fans. And it will all be because RDR and the lexicon are greedy and self entitled and think they have the right as”fans” to make money off someone elses hard work. They give fandom a terrible name and the mainstream media will probably think we’re all like them. So bye bye fandom. Thanks so much, Steve and RDR!

Posted by lucy on January 05, 2008 @ 07:58 PM

That was a really powerful post, and I do agree with you, even if i am a bit half-sided. I don’t know WHAT to believe in this case- i’ve been following, but since i am not involved, i really have no idea whats reality and whats fabrication. The fandom certainly will change because of this- the lawsuit will just be hanging over everyones head. Imagine what will happen the next time a fansite decides to publish a book on Harry Potter? Madness.

I have been thinking it through, and all Lexicon is really doing is just re-typing what JKR has said in interviews, what she has written in the books, and whatever information came from her charity books. Jo owns the rights to all of that stuff- and all Lexicon really has clout to publish fairly is the editorials, right? So in reality..this isn’t a very moral, or legal, thing for Lexicon to go through with. It’s just copying what Jo said- its a good idea, seeing as they are the online encyclopedia of HP, but legally i’m not sure if they should really be doing it to make money.

Since Tirade corrected me on this-Lexicon, just put the damn disclaimer on the book and be done with it!

Do you guys think that if Lexicon gave all the proceeds to the book to a charity of Jo’s choice, then the WB would be more lenient? Or is this pretty much going to be cutthroat?

And I know this sounds selfish- but I thank God that this is not happening at Leaky. To me Leaky is the epitomy of the fandom, and it would really break my heart if it ever got involved. I really hope that this all gets cleared up quickly!

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Number one, I would just like to go on record as saying that Melissa and Leaky have done an outstanding job of remaining neutral in thier coverage of this topic. Especially considering they are a partner site of the Lexicon and have interviewed JKR on the air recently which could put them in a pretty wierd position. And they’ve included really comprehensive source materials with their reporting, which to someone who works in the legal profession is paramount, we’re all about sources and research. (Anyone who is trying to get a grip on what actually happened and what’s going on legally should check out the links in the previous news posts to the complaint and supplemental documents BTW.)

Secondly, I probably have been guilty of personally attacking Steve on these comment boards and should not have done so. But I also am really dissappointed in his actions because I think he’s much smarter than to do some of the things that have been done. I also believe his ego led him to hook up with the morons at RDR and they are ruining everything for him. I for one would be happy to see him try to resolve this as quickly as possible and maybe make some type of statement to the fandom that he’s not as moronic as this suit makes him out to be and he’s just in over his head. (As are RDR, what are they, some college kids in a dorm somewhere?)

And lastly, for everyone who is talking about how WB is in this for the money, THAT’S WHAT THEY DO. They are a multi-billion dollar international corporation. They exist to make money, like lions exist to hunt and eat. It’s like saying a lion is only in it for the slow zebras. Of course he is, HE’S A LION. Anyone who doesn’t realize that anything involving Harry Potter (one of the biggest selling franchises of our day) and money isn’t going to involve lots of special permission needed and many, many lawyers is just ignorant and should educate themselves on the matter before attempting anything like this craziness.

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Some of the above comments that are critical of Leaky’s coverage seem to be confusing the content of the readers’ comments with the site’s own reporting and views. I’ve been following all of Leaky’s reporting on this case, and they certainly have never expressed (or even hinted at) the view that it’s “Jo’s way or the highway.”

As I understand it, the reader comments here are moderated only to the extent that egregiously hurtful or hateful personal attacks are deleted. Specifically, it is NOT the job of any Leaky “moderator” to keep the Comments sections fair and balanced. The dominant tone of the comments, be it pro-JKR or anti-JKR or anything else, is determined solely by the readers who choose to post.

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Long time lurker, rare poster with a question:

I seem to remember that part of Steve Van Ark’s lawsuit, he claimed that WB utilized parts of the Lexicon verbatim on the DVD’s without getting permission from him or providing payment for his intellectual property (i.e. – the collection of a timeline after culling facts in the separate books; JKR’s ideas, but his effort and skills put it together).

As I am not a hugely rabid fan of HP (just enough to visit this site), I’ve never actually visited the Lexicon and cannot judge this for myself. Does anyone have any input on the truth of that allegation?

If this is true, I actually have no respect for this lawsuit, and consider it extremely hypocritical. Both the WB and JKR have adequate funds at their disposal to have an employee create the timelines. To lift something off the Internet for their own immense profit without paying the source, and then to turn around and sue that source when he tries to profit on it himself? That doesn’t seem a tad childish?

And note: there is no timeline on the OotP DVD as this lawsuit is bouncing about, only the A&E special with historical aspects of the Potter universe.

And honestly…who really *believes a print Lexicon would actually undermine the Potter franchise (especially as so many people here have avidly said they will not purchase it, should it ever come to pass)? Or that it would negatively impact sales of any book by JKR? It’s not as if her “Potterpedia” is ready for publication and this is an actively competing book – it could be years before we see it. If the book is still around then, it would probably be on remainder tables, where RDR is hoping they could break even on the book (and the lawyer’s fees).

Also – as many have noted – the Lexicon is on the Internet. So those with funds who want to buy an RDR book, will. Those who do not have funds to buy it will still be able to access it on the Internet (it is assumed). As long as the packaging does not attempt to duplicate the signature look of the Potter series, then it will be obvious this is not a JKR/Scholastic sponsored book, so those who only want to buy “official” books will stay away. It will be no more damaging to the Potter franchise than all the other Potter-related books I’ve seen out there that don’t carry the JKR imprimatur.

For example, how is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter” radically different than a Lexicon? Both repurpose the work of JKR into a different format for clearer understanding – yet the former is allowed. Shouldn’t *all these books be stripped from the shelves and their publishing houses sued? (That was a rhetorical question…)

I’m all for protecting intellectual property rights – as an Internet professional, I work with that issue daily. But this is really kinda ridiculous. JKR is not a saint and is hardly a little-known author…and this book is hardly flying under the radar these days. And of late, JKR has seemed somewhat litigation happy for the sake of having her world just the way she likes it. (For example, I didn’t agree with the paparazzi taking pictures of her children…but she was walking down a public street in a large city – she can’t actually ban people from taking pictures of her and selling them, however tacky and tasteless it may be. It’s the price of being enormously famous and living in a society that worships famous people.)

I would also say she most likely has enough money to ensure the comfort of her family for the next 10 generations, and WB is hardly a charitable organization that is hurting for profits (there’s very little red ink on their balance sheet – http://finance.google.com/finance?fstype=bi&q=NYSE:WB). She can talk all she likes about having profits on her creations go to charity…are all the profits that WB makes on the movies and associated merchandise going to charity? Has she earmarked the royalties for any one of the main 7 books for a charity? I don’t believe this is the case.

To sue one particular author (okay, an author who does perhaps seem to have a somewhat arrogant air about him) when others have done the same before him seems either arbitrary or punitive than anything else. It’s not like Mr. Van Ark is publishing Harry Potter and The Book Number 8 – he is publishing what amounts to an editorial review of the material. To play a game of legal pedantics is actually quite unbecoming.

As for the fanfic….um, honestly, I’ll say I’d be kinda happy if it went away. awaits flagellation from the commenting crowd I’d rather re-read books and canon-approved items by their original authors than fan fiction any day. If you feel the need to write – well, let JKR’s example inspire you and create a world of your own :D

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Chasmosaur, JKR being wealthy and well known is not relevant. It doesn’t matter if she is or isn’t a saint or well known. Being rich and famous doesn’t mean she suddenly has no copyright anymore.

As for the paparrazi, I’m not sure of the legal arguments there. I do believe that children should be protected however. I do not believe that people have any right to see those young children’s faces. It may well be legal, but, IMO, morally reprehensible.

As for the other guide books, many (most?) did something that SVA and RDR have been accused of not doing: getting permission. As for SVA, he was apparently told no. And that really should have been the end of it.

You mention the packaging, well, it DID look remarkably similar to the packaging of some versions of the Harry Potter books (IIRC the British adult version).

The Lexicon is online on the internet – for free. And that makes a world of difference. Anyone can access it. The book version is a for-profit venture that will not be freely accessible. And JKR and WB don’t approve of this.

What you can make a profit out of is something that is actually yours. If you contribute something new (analysis, criticisms, mythological origins, etc). You cannot, however, take someone else’s work, repackage and reword it, and say its yours and then charge for it.

As for the timeline, that’s a bit more murky. Some are taking your position. Others point that SVA did not create the very concept of timelines, nor did he create any of the details of the timeline. Everything he used was created, and copyrighted by others (timelines and Harry Potter info).

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sigh all the guide books that have been published on HP are exaclty that. GUIDE books. Commentary on the books. Commentary and critcism do not infringe copyright. What the Lexicon does is reprint the information from the books and put it on the web. Doing that for free is a nice service for everyone. Taking all that information and printing it on books and selling to for your own profit when you are not the author of said information? Copyright infringement. And copyright infringement is illegal. I dont get why that is so hard to understand. There is a line and SVA crossed it for greed.

Re: paparazzi photos – there are laws in the UK protecting the children of celebrities against the paparazzi and under those laws JKR has every right to take action against them.

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In my opinion, someone that holds a copyright doesn’t give “permission” for something UNofficial, rather they chose not to block something that they feel is not violating their copyrights (or that has been edited as requested and no longer violates copyrights.

As far as I can tell, RDR wouldn’t let WB see the book they were planning, so WB had to take them court to temporarily halt the publishing of the book and to get a copy of the book to review. Now the WB has a copy of the book and are going line by line through it, like they have done with other books in the past. This is a process that usually happens outside of the courts, but RDR wouldn’t cooperate with the WB, so unfortunately it is having to happen within the court system. RDR can choose to make all, some, or none of the changes that the WB requests. Eventually, (Feb 28th I assume) the judge will make a ruling as to whether the Lexicon book, as it stands at that time, should still be blocked from publication.

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Why are the unofficial guys even pushing this? It makes them appear horrible and greedy. JK wants to do this for CHARITY, unless they were to do the same then it is simply a money making exercise. If they had any respect for Jo and her intentions with the charity proceeds promise they would either follow her example or simply wait until she has published hers (which admittedly will take a while but makes them seem a lot less greedy and thoughtful) and do it afterwards. JK has allowed many sites to make lexicons and encyclopedias of her books and has let them do it for free, a lot of people have made money from her work without her permission or she has not seen any of the profits (which undoubtably she would give to charity). They should have respect for the opportunities she has given them. She says she doesn’t want them to publish this book and they should respect her wishes. For people who claim to be fans of the books or to have respect for her work they are certainly practically spitting in her face while trying to rob from her and the recipients of those who would benefit from the proceeds her official book when it is released. I don’t think I would have been tempted to buy the unofficial one and this situation has made me resolute that I NEVER will. Seeing how much the proceeds of the two other charity books made and how much good they did is evidence enough to me that to do otherwise would be wrong. There are many times I do not agree with things JK has said or done but this is certainly not one of them. She is in the right (although I hate WB and am not bothered an iota what they think). If the unofficial book is printed I hope every decent HP fan will boycott and blacklist it.

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So what makes a reliable source? Why is JKR a reliable source but SVA is not? It seems to me that as a news organization, you can present what is said from both sides without implying that either side is telling the truth all the time. So, maybe SVA is lying about other Lexicon staffers being attacked and maybe he isn’t. Who knows. It does seem, though, that SVA’s words should receive the same consideration and attention as JKR’s and her reps’.

That said, I do tend to side with JKR in this issue but in reading a couple of exchanges taking place here, it is a bit confusing why SVA’s claims of people attacking Lexicon staffers shouldn’t be reported along side information from sources that you can’t even name.

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What kind of drugs is Steve Van Derark on? How long will this insanity continue?

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Chasmosaur said: “As long as the packaging does not attempt to duplicate the signature look of the Potter series, then it will be obvious this is not a JKR/Scholastic sponsored book, so those who only want to buy “official” books will stay away.”

Part of the problem is that the book actually does look like an official book. That’s a large part of this lawsuit, getting that changed so that it says “unofficial” or “unauthorized” somewhere on the cover like any other decent unofficial and unauthorized book does, and changing the art to not resemble a HP book.

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When we use an unnamed source, we are confident in its reliability and it’s up to you whether to believe it or not. We don’t blame you at all if you choose not to believe an unnamed source, but if you follow Leaky and have followed it for a long time and beleive in its credibility as many do, then you will. That’s up to you. We hate unnamed sources but sometimes they are necessary to get some important information out. You can take that information or leave it, that’s up to you.

If JKR said that her family or friends had been attacked over this matter, would we put it on these pages? Probably but only because she’s J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter books, and we are a Harry Potter site. Everything she says gets put on these pages. We are not a Steve Vander Ark site. Everything he says doesn’t automatically get put here. If it’s relevant to the case, it will get put here. An unproven claim of private staff attacks in the face of public evidence to the contrary does not pass that bar, to get it posted as news. Steve’s being able to be named doesn’t make everything he says newsworthy, credible or reportable in regard to this case. And DEFINITELY, information that is admittedly private, referred to second hand with no proof? Never.

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This will be settled in the courts, thank goodness, and not on HP forums. Obviously, JKR has the upper hand here because, as you say, these are sites dedicated to her, and not to anyone who chooses to write a book about Harry Potter.

No matter what the verdict, Steve has already been labeled a thief, and there are those who will keep calling him names for years to come, and he will be blamed for things far and wide that are not his fault, and he will never be seen in the same light again. If this book had gone forward with no lawsuit and no fanfare, the same fans who are raking him over hot coals are the same ones who would have been glad to buy his book and use it daily to look things up. You all know that;s true. Most people believed Steve would be helping JKR write her own book, and instead all this is happening, which is still a shock. Based on this lawsuit, Steve’s name went from “superfan” to “mud” in about 24 hours.

I expect JKR will try to remain above this controversy, as she has already said how much she hates lawsuits. In that case, she shouldn’t allow her attorneys to go forward, but that’s just my opinion. She is the one who coined the phrase: “Our choices make us what we are.” So what are we to think when she says over and over that she “has no choice”? I don’t understand how this fits with her philosophy of tolerance, either.

But as I said – this will be decided in a courtroom, where things may be quite different from the ordinary world of Harry Potter.

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Yes, thank god this will be settledin a court of law.

JKR “hating lawsuits” does not mean she should forfeit all her copyrights. She can hate lawsuits and have them be necessary as well.

You think this lawsuit is not tolerant? Suing someone because you believe they have violated your copyrights does not now and never has meant that you are intolerant. What a weird argument.

“Most people” thought Steve would be helping JKR write her book? Who are these most people? I never for a second thought he had ANY right to help her write an encyclopedia. I don’t know anyone who did. I don’t know anyone who even thought that was a possibility except, perhaps, Steve himself.

His name became mud once people realized what he had done. That’s how long it takes for your name to go from good to mud: for people to realize what you’ve done. That’s all that’s happened with this case.

Of course, I never considered Steve a superfan either. A good cataloger who had focused on Harry Potter, but only that.

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I find it sad that Steve’s gotten involved in something like this. I’ve always liked him and use the lexicon frequently. That said, I’m on WB/Jo’s side on this. It seems by all accounts that he’s not going to offer any anaylsis or mythological information or anything like that. It will simply be the online lexicon (which is incomplete) in print and for sale. There’s no other reason for it than to make a profit. I’ve thought about writing a book on the series, but it would be analytical and I’d surely get permission and gladly hand it over for them to review. I’m disappointed in Steve as we all learn in school that plagarism is bad and paraphrasing falls under that category.

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I should add that paraphrasing without adding any perspective or anaylysis or application falls under that category.

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I am not sure how much Steve is claiming that the Lexicon staff (other than himself) have been abused. What he says on the what’s new page is “Over the past few months, we here at the Lexicon have been traumatized and disheartened. What has been the hardest are the personal attacks, blatant disinformation, and rushing to judgement that have been hurled our way. The staff of the Lexicon consists of some of the most selfless, dedicated, passionate people on the face of the planet and they have quite frankly been on the verge of throwing in the towel. They don’t deserve that kind of abuse.” That can be interpreted to be referring to poorly directed criticism of the Lexicon as a whole (I would imagine that Steve personally has received a lot of abuse and maybe some of this was directed to the Lexicon or all the Lexicon staff). Probably there is no public record of such abuse though because it would either in a private email or on comments pages and moderated away.

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roonwit, that’s a good point. Steve’s comments are unspecific about what exactly has been making his staff feel like “throwing in the towel.” The mention of “personal attacks” may just refer to personal attacks against Steve himself which, in combination with more the general criticisms, might easily have led to an overall disheartening among the staff.

So far, then, I haven’t seen any clear claim from anyone in the know (not Steve, not anyone else) that any non-Steve members of the Lexicon Staff have been subjected to “personal attacks,” by e-mail or otherwise. Undue suffering, yes, but not personal attacks.

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Putting aside all the legal issues, I personally love to have a printed Lexicon book, simply because with that I can wander in a such a detailed wizard world generalized in Lexicon site, without turning on the pc. I just prefer reading books to watching the pc screen.

Also all the things on the Lexicon site are so amazing, though I might have read them all in the books. The site is really a original review work which SVA must have put much work, time and also money into.

Hope, though desperatedly, that all these stuff would end up with a friendly agreement. I love you both.

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Melissa, well done. Stick to your guns.

Roonwit, thanks for clarification of these alleged “personal attacks.”

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BTW, I’m interested to hear everyone’s definition of “attack.” Is there a difference between “attacking” someone and criticising him? disagreeing with him? What should the rules of engagement be? I’m all for niceness and politeness, but one should be able to express honest disagreement.

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Momamia, the asssertions of Lexicon staffers being harrassed have not been verified. Leaky has been very careful to avoid being a rumor mill, and has very thoroughly provided us with verified information. Its as simple as that.

Now, having said that, I personally do think that some of our more exciteable fellow fans probably did do e-mail blasts to Lexicon staff members, or to RD and WB. We see some nasty interactions and postings in the discussion threads here in Leaky, afterall. Its truly unfortunate that anyone would do such an inappropriate thing, and we can only hope that those who have done so will think first and not do so again.

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and I would like to repeat my request: please do not attack individuals (in case JKR and SVA), villify the attorneys on both sides to your hearts content!

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You know, I tried to stay clear of adding any more to this. I have a few points to make. sigh

budb, thank you for your last post. It would be nice if people would just villify the attorney’s on both sides, being that those attorney’s are conveniently faceless, criticism end’s up directed at the wrong people.

Regarding Chasmosaur’s comment.

“I seem to remember that part of Steve Van Ark’s lawsuit, he claimed that WB utilized parts of the Lexicon verbatim on the DVD’s without getting permission from him or providing payment for his intellectual property (i.e. – the collection of a timeline after culling facts in the separate books; JKR’s ideas, but his effort and skills put it together).”

I seem to remember as far as the DVD-ROM extras on “Chamber of Secrets”, regarding that timeline, there was speculation that WB was using material from the Lexicon as a guide reference. I don’t remember specific dates, but I also recall seeing comments that members of the WB feature production team using the lexicon as a quick reference source. Now this might be purely perception, but there seemed to be, up until this year, some joint co-opperation between WB and The Lexicon as a support resource.

Regarding Attenborough’s comments.

““Most people” thought Steve would be helping JKR write her book? Who are these most people? I never for a second thought he had ANY right to help her write an encyclopedia. I don’t know anyone who did. I don’t know anyone who even thought that was a possibility except, perhaps, Steve himself.”

Sorry Attenborough, there was a perception out there. That might have been from the Lexicon’s inner circle, meaning the forum, yet I recall seeing comments from Mugglenet that reinforced that perception.

Regarding roonwit’s comments.

“That can be interpreted to be referring to poorly directed criticism of the Lexicon as a whole (I would imagine that Steve personally has received a lot of abuse and maybe some of this was directed to the Lexicon or all the Lexicon staff). Probably there is no public record of such abuse though because it would either in a private email or on comments pages and moderated away.”

Yes, point taken, while as the webmaster of my own site, I’ve never personally encountered attack E-mails in my own experience, but I can’t discount the possibility considering the lack of etiquite that exhists out there in the on-line community generally. Regarding Arithmancer’s comments, Yes, the comments section is one matter. It should be pointed out though that when Dumbledore’s sexual orientation began to heat up at LC, represenatives of GLADD were brought in to clear up misperceptions. Which is an example of balance to many, if not all.

To be continued.

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Few more points to add…

regarding Tirade’s comments.

“Part of the problem is that the book actually does look like an official book. That’s a large part of this lawsuit, getting that changed so that it says “unofficial” or “unauthorized” somewhere on the cover like any other decent unofficial and unauthorized book does, and changing the art to not resemble a HP book.”

I find this rather odd, wasn’t the issue that the book would quote in depth from Rowling’s books? Are you refering the graphic look of the Lexicon itself, which I might add hardly plagerizes the offical logo? If the RDR lawyers for Steve had advised no unauthorized disclaimers, then that’s truely idiotic advise, since such disclaimers are well established knowledge in on-line copyright issues.

And lastly, Chasmosaur’s comment brings up a few issues.

“For example, how is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter” radically different than a Lexicon? Both repurpose the work of JKR into a different format for clearer understanding – yet the former is allowed. Shouldn’t *all these books be stripped from the shelves and their publishing houses sued? (That was a rhetorical question…)”

When the countless speculation books exhisted before publication of the final book, it was a non-issue. Of course, as long as those books promotionally benefit the books and franchise. Since the publication of book seven, that’s changed, why the double standard for an arbitrary criteria? It doesn’t add up.

Which finally brings up the arguement of ‘unofficial books must go to charity’. When JK Rowling sold the rights for WB to produce the features as well as the countless merchandise, did she have a contract rider that stipulated that a small percentage of the profits from the films and merchandise must go to charity?

Yes, she’s done a lot of commendable work with charity organizations, yes, the ‘Fantastic beast’ and ‘Quidditch’ books do go towards charities, can anyone clarify that question. I’m just not willing to take the word, nor the spin, of JKR’s lawyers on this issue. I’d like to see a little more intellectual honesty over the grey areas in this whole debacle. That’s all I really have left to add to this.

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Jumping in to add my two cents…

Matt, responding to your comment about that GLADD interview, did you see the Q&A that Leaky did with Richard Harris from RDR books (and with a WB spokeswoman too, to be fair)?

http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/11/3/questions-and-answers-with-wb-and-rdr

It seems like that’s exactly what you’re asking for.

Also, you said this: “I also recall seeing comments”

And later: “Sorry Attenborough, there was a perception out there. That might have been from the Lexicon’s inner circle, meaning the forum, yet I recall seeing comments from Mugglenet that reinforced that perception.”

Isn’t that hearsay and rumors? You said that your point is that “there has been too much hearsay” about these issues. I wouldn’t be too trustful of comments sections and message boards as primary sources.

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It just seems slightly unfair to me that SVA isn’t considered a reliable source. We know that someone must be lying about the case, since both sides say they tried to contact the other but no response was made by the other side. These contradicting terms of the case have been presented. Where’s the evidence for these things? Well, we may not see the evidence but it is still reported. I don’t really agree that abuse (be it direct, personal abuse or indirect abuse felt through the abuse the site is getting) isn’t relevant to the case, or to the fandom for that matter. I’m not asking for Leaky to present rumors and untruths. I don’t want Leaky to be some trashy tabloid. But it does seem to me that if both sides are to be presented fairly, then a link to SVA’s own words on the matter would be important. It’s not like Leaky has newspaper inches and they are worried about going over the limit, so I don’t understand why there needs to be a restriction at all.

All that said, I still tend to side with JKR. I just can see Matt’s point on this specific issue and am confused as to why SVA is not a reliable source and/or not a source worth reporting when it comes to this case.

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Momamia: We have linked to Steve’s words before on this matter. The latest update gave no information about the case, and only implications of private and unprovable matters, and so it was not considered news and still isn’t.

I didn’t say he can’t ever be a reliable source, only in the matter of these purported slightings of his staff members; he is the only person to ever suggest that this has happened publicly, despite overwhelming public evidence that other Lexicon staffers are not being abused. That makes the report unreliable, and its foundation in private hearsay means we’re not treating it as news.

If he posts something ABOUT the case, of course, we’ll link to it. We always have, and will continue to. It should continue to be noted, however: He has not been named in this law suit. The person we should speak to in order to be fair is RDR; and indeed, whenever we ask one question of JKR/WB people, we ask the same of RDR. Not Steve.

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“And I know this sounds selfish- but I thank God that this is not happening at Leaky. To me Leaky is the epitomy of the fandom, and it would really break my heart if it ever got involved. I really hope that this all gets cleared up quickly!”

I’m completely with you on that point. Leaky is my only source for HP news and forum.

“sigh all the guide books that have been published on HP are exaclty that. GUIDE books. Commentary on the books. Commentary and critcism do not infringe copyright. What the Lexicon does is reprint the information from the books and put it on the web. Doing that for free is a nice service for everyone. Taking all that information and printing it on books and selling to for your own profit when you are not the author of said information? Copyright infringement.” lucy

yes and intellectual property theft. I don’t get why it’s so hard to understand either.

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http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/new-york/nysdce/1:2007cv09667/315790/ has new documents on the case, they seem to contain the same information as Melissa reports on in the article.

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roonwit, how do you find the time to do everything you do?

just to everyone, generally:

we can conjecture as much as we want, ask all the unanswerable questions we want, but to my knowledge no one here knows all the information, nor is anyone here authorized to speak for JKR or for SVA.

From both personal and professional ethics, I have no patience with personal attacks on individuals, regardless of who they are and what outrageous things they are accussed of. I’ve been rather consistent in that, I hope?

due to professional interests, this general topic has kept my attention. There are swirling debates about intellectual property rights going on across the board, which appear to be benefitting only attorneys and a few large corporations who are driving toward monopolies of specific technologies (I’m thinking specifically of BlackBoard here, tho i’m sure you can all think of your own villains) and other “properties”. Right now, there is not sufficient information available to learn anything from the RDR/WB dispute, so I’ll just follow along…

Its been clear from the start that the entire matter was out of the hands of both JKR and SVA. Each of our authors must be very careful about what they say or write regarding this “unfortunate situation” as Steve accurately labelled it. In addition, I’ve had my own unsatisfactory dealings with small publishers, who often see publicity and dollar signs before ethical considerations or legal issues. My read of the situation is that neither SVA nor JKR have much control over what is going on. And as Melissa reminded us above, SVA is not named in the suit… Therefore, we should be discussing RDR and WB, not SVA and JKR.

There is a poster with the screen name Mars who is well informed about intellectual property and copyright issues, haven’t seen him in a while but perhaps he’ll chip in with the next update on the legal situation.

best to all…

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To all who answered, thank you very much for the clarification (yeah, I don’t check back in here that much). Like I said, I wasn’t sure about all of the aspects of the case – I’ve only read the odd article here and there.

While the whole concept of WB using his stuff without his permission is still “murky” as one responder put it, I didn’t realize Mr. Van Ark was capitalizing on the JKR graphical brand as well as repurposing her content. That isn’t murky or in a gray area, that’s violation of intellectual property law. He probably wouldn’t be meeting either of the concepts of minimal creativity or originality at that point, at least as far as the title and cover of the book are concerned.

If he’s arguing it’s editorial comment, then there is no need for his book to share the rather unique and distinct appearance Scholastic has used over the past decade. He negates his argument by utilizing her brand on top of her content. It’s all just a nasty bit of a situation, isn’t it?

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Matt, to respond to what you said, there are several counts in the case, including several based on the way that the title is worded and the cover art is done. Check out the court documents that are linked in the older news articles on Leaky for more info.

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I think the argument that SVA claimed that his timeline was used verbatim on a HP DVD is irrelevant to the issue. How meticulous has Jo been about creating notes and preplanning character profiles, family histories, and all aspects of the books and the story. I could not imagine that she doesn’t have at the very least an overview of the timeline of the world that she created. Why would WB have gone to information that SVA layed out, when they could go to the source.

I think that SVA’s claim that the timeline used was his, is a case of ego running rampant. It seems to me that SVA is feeling that he has somehow been involved in the creation of the HP world through his work on the Lexicon….a little bit creepy if you ask me.

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I think the reason why Steve claims that WB copied his timeline is he made mistakes in it and the CoS timeline apparently has the same mistakes. Also I suspect the timeline was compiled by someone fairly junior in WB, so referring to the Lexicon would be much easier than going through the channels to get an answer from Jo (who in this case probably isn’t the best person to consult because I doubt she goes into that sort of detail with dating events).

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JKR has my thanks for many pounds of great books, but she’s off her crumpet on this—her case is a loser, with masses of precedence against her, and nothing going for her. A learning disabled first semester law student could knock her case out of the park, and I expect that to happen quickly. I look forward to seeing the print version of the HP Lexiconquite soon.

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A friend of mine said something interesting – she thought that the website guy was in a BETTER position than JKR to sort and organize the HP data because he’s removed from it and can be totally objective. As we know, JKR has volumes of back story crowding her brain and so it may be difficult for her to only look at what’s canon in the books. I think I agree w/ith my friend. At any rate, I think the two books will be totally different beings.

On another note – I personally would rather see JKR use all of her infinite creativity re: the HP universe to write us another story instead of vomiting it all out in Encylcopedia format.

On ANOTHER note – PeevesJKR is one of the priveledged few in this world that can afford to give all of her profits to charity. The rest of us still have to worry about paying the bills.

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That’s privileged, sorry.

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Bnickel: The whole point of the JKR encyclopedia is to reveal stuff that isn’t public, and isn’t in the books. Of course it will include stuff in the books, but its main interest will be new information that didn’t fit into the final story, and reveal stuff she planned to do and later changed, and why she decided to do it. Probably Steve and his staff do do a better job of organizing information from the books than Jo would do, but they can only work with what is public, they can’t see Jo’s notes, and can’t see into her brain and see her train of thought.

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Right – so the Lexicon and Encyclopedia books would be two totally different things.

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JKR is trying to protect a future charity fund-raiser. SVA is trying to make money for himself at the expense of sales of the charity book. I know who I’m supporting.

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We shouldn’t look down on SVA just because he’s trying to make a profit. Yeah, yeah I get the fact that he may be infringing on property rights to make that profit but if the Judge determines that RDR is within its rights to publish SVA’s book … then bully for SVA and whatever money he makes. Did Rowling donate all of her Philosopher’s Stone profits to charity?

As far as the Lexicon book detracting from Encyclopedia sales – I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue. Potter freaks that would by the Lexicon book are the same Potter freaks that would buy the Encyclopedia too. Plus, THE BOOKS WILL BE TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS.

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Mountain Violet: Why publish it, since it’s already on the internet?

Agreed. I understand Steve will make some cash, but why would anyone buy it if they can go get the same thing for free online. Not to mention, it is easier to find things with a search feature than it is thumbing through a book. I think the whole thing is overkill. Just my opinion.

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Slate has an article I found interesting. It argues the Lexicon’s case—http://www.slate.com/id/2181776?GT1=10837

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Isn’t wikipedia an infringement then? I mean it has info on everything from harry potter and this is written by random people. I doubt they all have copy rights or whatever. I mean if all you guys are doing is writing a guide than what is the big deal? Wikipedia is basically a huge summary of the HP books, which I would take JK would have more of a problem with. IDK just my opinion.

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Thank you for the professional and unbiased updates, Leaky. Although Steve seems to be a really nice guy, and a huge fan, if an encyclopedia only rearranges Jo’s work (and it is not as if she’s been dead for centuries, then it’s another matter, but she is a living author with every right to the proceeds of her own work) it is not right that he publishes it for money. The site was a tribute to her and the Harry Potter world, it should remain so. I do understand however that a very very very large amount of effort, think-work (blood sweat and tears as we say in Holland) went into the site, but, at the end of the day, it was a work of love, and voluntary done…

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Amanda -

Wikipedia is not charging for its services, hence the distinct difference. Jo has said she has no problem with the website, the book infringes because he is trying to make money off of it, and in doing so he’s stealing her words and ideas for his own profit.

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Do you think that no one makes any money off the web sites “dedicated” to Harry Potter? Look at all the ads that run on the page. The web site owners make money every time some one looks at the page.

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loomy – With the limited about of knowledge I have about running a website, I do know that sites like this one cost a lot of money to keep online. You pay for the space on a server, you purchase the websites address, you pay for the connection too.

The difference, is when I click on the page I don’t pay anything. I get all of the information for nothing more then a small click of my mouse. Steve wanted us to purchase a book that just reordered Jo’s work.

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