Suit Filed Against Bloomsbury Regarding “Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire;” Bloomsbury States Claim is “Without Merit”


Jun 16, 2009

Posted by: SueTLC | Comments


Today the estate of late children’s author Adrian Jacobs filed a suit against Bloomsbury Publishing citing copyright infringement involving Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. In a press release, the estate claims that “JK Rowling copied
substantial parts of the work of the late Adrian Jacobs, The Adventures of
Willy the Wizard-No 1 Livid Land
, and that Bloomsbury in selling the books
have infringed the Estate’s copyright.” The Bookseller also notes the estate is
“seeking an injunction to prevent further sales of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and either damages or a share in the profits made by Bloomsbury. As noted by the Bookseller and the release, the claim says that “both books describe the adventures
of a main character, ‘Willy’ in Jacobs’ book and ‘Harry Potter’ in Rowling’s,
who are wizards, who compete in a wizard contest which they ultimately win.
Both Willy and Harry are required to work out the exact nature of the main
task of the contest which they both achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues
from helpers, in order to discover how to rescue human hostages imprisoned by
a community of half-human, half-animal fantasy creatures, ‘the merpeople’ in
Harry Potter. ”

Bloomsbury, UK publishers of the Harry Potter series, has now responded to this matter at length. In a response sent to Reuters and TLC, reps note “this claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously.” They continue:

The allegations of plagiarism made today, Monday 15 June 2009, by the
Estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue. JK
Rowling had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his
book Willy the Wizard until this claim was first made in 2004- almost
seven years after the publication of the first book in the highly
publicised Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s
Stone and after the publication of the first five books in the Harry
Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was written by JK Rowling
before approaching Christopher Little in 1995 and the book was
published in an essentially unaltered form by Bloomsbury in 1997.
the Wizard is a very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which
had very limited distribution. The central character of Willy the
Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a
wizard school.

This claim was first made in 2004 by solicitors in London acting on
behalf of Adrian Jacobs’ son who was the representative of his father’s
estate and who lives in the United States. The claim was unable to
identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy
Willy the Wizard.

Following correspondence between lawyers over a period of three months
in 2004 rejecting this claim, no more was heard about the claim until a
new set of solicitors put forward the claim on a significantly
different basis four years later in 2008 (eleven years after the
publication of the first Harry Potter book) but still without
identifying any text said to copy Willy the Wizard. These lawyers have
stated that they are acting on behalf of a firm of solicitors in Wagga
Wagga, Australia and on behalf of a West Midlands property developer
who was appointed in 2008 as Trustee of the Estate in order to bring
this claim. The claim is now made in respect of Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire, which was published in 2000.

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