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J.K. Rowling VS The Harry Potter Lexicon

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J.K. Rowling VS The Harry Potter Lexicon

Postby Dark Knight » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:40 pm

Author of rival Harry Potter book cries in court
9:30AM Wednesday April 16, 2008

NEW YORK - The author of a Harry Potter encyclopedia cried as he told a New York court about his devotion to the series of books about the boy wizard and denied accusations by J.K. Rowling that he plagiarized her work.

Rowling and Warner Bros. are suing independent US publisher RDR Books, which plans to publish The Harry Potter Lexicon, a 400-page reference book written by Steve Vander Ark. The book by the boyish-looking former librarian is based on his popular fan website, hp-lexicon.org.

Rowling, 42, told the court that Vander Ark's plans for an unofficial encyclopedic Harry Potter companion book and the stress of the lawsuit had stifled her creativity and caused her to stop work on a new novel.

Vander Ark, 50, wearing round spectacles similar to those worn by Harry Potter, said his Potter encyclopedia was merely a companion reference guide to help fans and readers and was intended to celebrate Rowling's work.

With Rowling sitting directly in front of him with her lawyers, Vander Ark broke down in tears after more than three hours on the witness stand when asked if he still thought of himself as part of the Harry Potter fan club community.

"I do," he said, trembling with tears and struggling to continue speaking. "It's been difficult because there's been a lot of criticism, obviously, but ... it has been an important part of my life for the last nine years or so."

Rowling has called Vander Ark's book, due to be published last November, "sloppy, lazy" work compared with other Harry Potter companion books already published. She said the other books added original commentary and criticism, unlike Vander Ark's.

Rowling, the British writer whose seven Harry Potter books have sold around 400 million copies, said she felt her work was being exploited. She said she wants to write her own encyclopedia, which would contain material that did not make it into the novels and that the proceeds would be donated to charity.

Earlier Vander Ark, who is based in London, said he had no choice but to use words similar to Rowling's own descriptions in his lexicon due to having to define creatures from a work of fiction and not the real world.

Vander Ark said he wrote the book after requests from fans at a Harry Potter academic conference in Canada. He defended not using quotation marks and not listing Rowling as an author.


"It's a reference book," he said. "If I was writing a reference book to Shakespeare, I wouldn't list Shakespeare."

Rowling and Warner Bros. also seek damages for copyright and federal trademark infringement. Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc, which owns the copyright and trademark rights to the Potter books.

At times during his testimony, Vander Ark, gushed about the "magical world" Rowling had created. Asked his thoughts on Rowling's promised future encyclopedia, he replied, "I for one can't wait to read it."

- REUTERS


from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.c ... d=10504388

Should it be published or does Rowling have a point?
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Postby Llew » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:42 pm

400 million books sold and she's whining about an encyclopedia? Give me a break. :?
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Postby RHFay » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:37 pm

Legally, Rowling and Warner Brothers are in the right to sue, based on copyright and trademark infringement. However, I personally think Rowling has been a bit dramatic about the whole thing. And she apparently endorsed the lexicon author's web site prior to the fight over the encyclopedia. Of course, an endorsement is in no way a contract.

Moral of the story - never write anything involving possibly copyrighted work (he apparently lifted stuff directly from the Potter book) or trademarked characters (Harry Potter is a trademark) unless you have permission from the copyright and trademark holders in writing, in a contract.
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Postby aldan » Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:14 pm

She complains that she can't concentrate on the novel she's writing due to this situation, but I think it's simply that she can't concentrate on it due to the fact that she's not hearing any 'cha-ching!' coming from the lexicon, and that she won't. *aldan shakes his head sadly*
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Postby Qray » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:00 am

Rowling has called Vander Ark's book, due to be published last November, "sloppy, lazy" work compared with other Harry Potter companion books already published. She said the other books added original commentary and criticism, unlike Vander Ark's.


Yeah, if you want sloppy and lazy work, go to the source and read some of Rowling's stuff.

Ark's book is a reference work for smeg's sake. The next thing you know, Rowling and her suits are going to want all mention of her works expunged from dictionaries and encyclopedias.
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Postby aldan » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:44 am

...or she'll want to be paid for every reference in every encyclopedia/dictionary...
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Re: J.K. Rowling VS The Harry Potter Lexicon

Postby Dark Knight » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:24 pm

Publisher will issue Harry Potter 'Lexicon'
Friday, December 05, 2008 By Lynn Moore lmoore@muskegonchronicle.com

The cover of "The Lexicon" speaks volumes about the lengths to which a West Michigan author and his Muskegon publisher have gone to get the comprehensive guide of the Harry Potter book series into the hands of readers.

The subject of a lengthy, groundbreaking legal battle with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, the soon-to-be-published lexicon has a cover that appears to be one big nod to copyright.

"An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials" appears boldly below "The Lexicon" title and above author Steve Vander Ark's name. A full paragraph on the otherwise sparse cover further details the fact that neither Rowling nor a host of others with trademarks and other interests in the Harry Potter series had any part in the book.

That leaves Vander Ark, of Cutlerville, to quibble with publisher Roger Rapaport about the color of the title's typeface.

"Lavender's not my color," Vander Ark told Rapaport Thursday when the two gathered at Northshore Books in North Muskegon to discuss the long-anticipated release of the reference guide.

After all the two have been through to get "The Lexicon" published, the color of the title seems a trivial side issue. But for Vander Ark, the book has been a labor of love that began eight years ago with a wildly popular Web site -- www.hp-lexicon.org -- he established to help readers navigate the extremely complex series about the adventures of Harry Potter and his wizard friends.

A U.S. District judge ruled in September that The Lexicon violated the copyright of Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment, which owns the movie rights to the seven-book series. But for months before then, after the trial concluded last spring, Vander Ark had been spending six to eight hours a day rewriting The Lexicon.

"We think it's a better book in many ways because it has a lot more analysis," said Roger D. Rapaport of Muskegon, whose RDR Books is publishing The Lexicon. "He's done an amazing amount of new work."

Rapaport, Vander Ark and their team of lawyers -- including Craig Monette of Muskegon -- are confident this version of The Lexicon will pass legal muster. (The cover was negotiated by both sides to avoid a separate planned trademark lawsuit.) The book is set to be released on Jan. 12 in the United States and England.

For $24.95, readers can get a treasure trove of background information about the Harry Potter series that Vander Ark, who calls himself "just a librarian," culled through years of research. They'll get not only an index of characters, but background on them, the reasons behind their names, the folklore and mythology behind the creatures they encounter and much more.

"There's so much depth to her writing," Vander Ark said. "It makes a book like 'The Lexicon' enhance her work."

A fan of the Harry Potter series, which he has read dozens of times, Vander Ark said he doesn't give away any of the plots, but entices readers to re-read the books for more meaning and to make connections they may have missed.

He said it will be especially appealing to Harry Potter fans who have read the series and "who have a sense there's so much more there."

He culled information from interviews and articles Rowling has written as well as a great deal of "literary detective" work.

In suing RDR Books over "The Lexicon," Rowling claimed it took away from her own plans to write a reference guide to her series. But the judge, in the first-ever opinion on the legality of reference books based on other literary works, said there was nothing inherently wrong with writing "The Lexicon," Rapaport said.

But he ruled against RDR Books because Vander Ark had used descriptions and wording too close to Rowling's and inappropriately used material from two guide books she had written about the series.

Using the judge's very detailed, 68-page ruling, Vander Ark said he was able to rewrite his book to comply with the law. The ruling by the judge served not only as a "rule book" for Vander Ark, but any author looking to compile reference books on literary work, Rapaport said.

An October conference held by the University of San Francisco attended by about 100 attorneys featured a daylong presentation by Vander Ark, lawyers from both sides of the case.

"In legal circles ... it's being written about as one of the major intellectual property cases in the 21st century," Rapaport said.

On Thursday, RDR Books officially withdrew its appeal of U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson's decision, and Rowling's public relations agency issued a statement favorable to the release of the rewritten lexicon.

"We are delighted that this matter is finally and favorably resolved and that J.K. Rowling's rights -- and indeed the rights of all authors of creative works -- have been protected," the statement said. "We are also pleased to hear that rather than continue to litigate, RDR have themselves decided to publish a different book prepared with reference to Judge Patterson's decision."

Vander Ark said he never intended to offend Rowling, but rather wanted to give her books "deeper meaning."

"I don't want to do a book she's unhappy with," he said. "I'm a fan of hers."

from http://www.mlive.com/news/chronicle/ind ... thispage=1
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Re: J.K. Rowling VS The Harry Potter Lexicon

Postby Dark Knight » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:26 pm

I will not be buy it.

Will you buy the Lexicon or not?
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