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February 12, 2008
How Much Potter Does Rowling Own?
Dave Langford's February ANSIBLE (a fanzine for fantasy/SF readers and authors) has a commentary from Steve van der Ark relating difficulties encountered in producing a print edition of a "Harry Potter Lexicon."
For some time there has been an online Lexicon, which has been criticized for both using and linking to large chunks of Rowling writing. Many of the critics feel that the online Lexicon goes beyond the bounds of fair use. In an attempt to avoid this, van der Ark rewrote, cited, and reduced the use of original material. He claims to have "received assurances from several copyright and intellectual property experts that the book we were creating was legal."
Except now there's a lawsuit. Warner is suing the Lexicon's intended publisher in an effort to enjoin the book as a violation of both copyright and trademark protections. The book's author and publisher are vowing to fight, noting that Rowling doesn't have "the right to completely control anything written about the Harry Potter world."
Intuitively I'd tend to agree with that assertion, but IANAL and it's not at all clear to me which way the judge is going to go in this case.
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