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 First Floor.......................Canon Obsessions
 Philosopher to Hallows
 Lexicon gets sued!
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  17:45:42  Show Profile Send Siobhan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=allBreakingNews&storyID=2007-10-31T195657Z_01_N31339724_RTRIDST_0_HARRYPOTTER-LAWSUIT.XML

JKR and Warner Brothers are suing Steve Van Der Ark over publishing of his Lexicon information.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand I see JKR's point (I'm not interested in Warner Bros.), on the other hand she's found the online Lexicon very helpful in trying to keep her world straight. Perhaps what JKR should publish a book of all the stuff she didn't put in the books and leave the rest to all her fans.

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Jokelly
Barking

USA
1509 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2007 :  18:55:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I can see her point of view. If she plans on publishing her notes the information will overlap with the Lexicons. Right now with a website he's not profitting from the information, but when it's published he'll be compensated for it. I'd probably be a little peeved, too. It's one of those iffy situations. I wonder how this will affect others who have written and published HP companion books.


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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  09:42:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is truly tragic, like an online Oresteia.

quote:
I cannot, therefore, approve of ‘companion books’ or ‘encyclopedias’ that seek to pre-empt my definitive Potter reference book for their authors’ own personal gain,” she said. “The losers in such a situation would be the charities that I hope, eventually, to benefit.


http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=101

It all seems a far cry from 2004, when Rowling named the Harry Potter Lexicon one of her favourite fansites, calling it "my natural home."

http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/fansite_view.cfm?id=14

Like you two, I can see her point in a way, but I can also see the point raised by Sword of Gryffindor,

quote:
Haven’t there already been various types of encyclopedias published, although certainly not as wide in scope? Isn’t all Vander Ark’s information on the web anyway? How could Vander Ark possibly know or be publishing the backstory material that Rowling plans to publish? Wouldn’t it, of necessity, be a book full of material that is very, very different from what Rowling will publish?


It all seems a bit heavy handed, like being bitten by the hand that feeds you. I'd hate to see the cosy Harry Potter web community undone by internacine conflict like some Shakespearean family; I hope this gets cleared up without too much stress.

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"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  10:46:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well when you think about it, it's not like he's publishing something that isn't available to everyone through the books. In effect JKR has already published this information. The Lexicon's value is as a reference tool. VanderArk and others have complied a great deal of information gleaned from the books, inverviews, etc. There are essays and art. Why not let him reap some monetary reward for all his hard work. Nowhere was it mentioned what VanderArk plans to do with money from sales. He may have planned to donate it all to charity anyways.

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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  13:13:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay, but the problem with all this is that legally, if JKR permits the Lexicon to publish unauthorized books on the details of HP, she can't stop anyone else. The Grateful Dead faced this in the 80s - they used to allow fans to tape their concerts and distribute them free. But then they found they couldn't go after bootleggers doing it for profit and people ripping off the Grateful Dead name and symbols. Essentially, if you don't defend a copyright or trademark, it's not yours any more. So I think it's fair for JKR Inc to say - we approve of non-profit-making HP websites but we won't tolerate the publication of unauthorized for-profit HP books. Unless HP is to become like Calvin and Hobbes (please see the lovely image of Calvin peeing on Chevy symbols displayed in Ford truck windows across America) there have to be some standards set for copyright defence.


And I love you, I love you, I love you.
Like never before, like never before.


Edited by - AMC on 11/01/2007 13:14:41
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2007 :  15:41:08  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AMC

Okay, but the problem with all this is that legally, if JKR permits the Lexicon to publish unauthorized books on the details of HP, she can't stop anyone else. The Grateful Dead faced this in the 80s - they used to allow fans to tape their concerts and distribute them free. But then they found they couldn't go after bootleggers doing it for profit and people ripping off the Grateful Dead name and symbols. Essentially, if you don't defend a copyright or trademark, it's not yours any more. So I think it's fair for JKR Inc to say - we approve of non-profit-making HP websites but we won't tolerate the publication of unauthorized for-profit HP books. Unless HP is to become like Calvin and Hobbes (please see the lovely image of Calvin peeing on Chevy symbols displayed in Ford truck windows across America) there have to be some standards set for copyright defence.

But AMC, haven't there been lots of book already that discuss HP themes, predictions, etc? How are those different, since I don't think she authorized them, from collecting the info already published. They aren't reselling HBP copies, or selling fanfiction.

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2007 :  13:26:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sunsethill


But AMC, haven't there been lots of book already that discuss HP themes, predictions, etc? How are those different, since I don't think she authorized them, from collecting the info already published. They aren't reselling HBP copies, or selling fanfiction.
[/quote]I agree. We're not talking about pirated copies of her books. This is simply a companion book and yes, there are plenty of others out there. The information that the Lexicon is proposing to publish in no way infringes upon the HP books themselves or violates JKR's copyright to her characters, etc. Nor will it cost JKR a dime. No one is NOT going to buy her future encyclopedia just because the Lexicon has come out with a book of its own. This is petty.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2007 :  14:36:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just found that there is a note from JKR on her website regarding what she calls companion books.

There are also a number of articles and the text of the suit over in news on Leaky Cauldron.

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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2007 :  15:32:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/11/1/j-k-rowling-updates-companion-books-article

Leaky's page goes into a lot of detail over this, and in the end I think Jo emerges on the moral high ground, if only just. I edit Wikipedia, and am very consious of the nature of fair use. You get slaughtered on Wikipedia if you don't add the right copyright tags to an owned image, and if fair use is deemed not to apply, your picture is taken down. And Wikipedia is compltely non-profit! I would certainly have no problem with a book that merely collected together the essays on the site, but a book that actually transcribed text wholesale from the books, along with images from the movies, for sale? I'm sorry, but that's crossing the line.

Someone over at Leaky with knowledge of copyright law has explained the issues better than I could:

quote:
the legal argument now centers on whether or not the planned book is primarily composed of direct quotes from either JKR’s writings or interviews she gave. In that case, the matter does become one of publishing copyright [not intellectual property] —JKR owns (with WB, Scholastic, etc to some extent) the copyright to anything she wrote; the copyrights for interviews are usually held by the interviewer (that is, when she was interviewed by Meredith Viera, the copyright would be with MV’s employer, NBC. again, much depends on the contract JKR signed when she agreed to be interviewed).

Legally, anyone can write a book about HP (etc), and quote up to X number of words from a specific book (I do forget the exact number of words, its something like 3000 from a single published work) without seeking permissions from the copyright holder. If Steve’s project was to be a hard copy version of the site, then considerable portions would be direct quotes from JKR’s writings, and he can’t do that without the permissions. If on the other hand he paraphrased the bulk of the information, had as few direct quotes as possible, and provided correct full citations for his information (those good old foot/end notes!), he should be allowed to go ahead.


From the looks of things, it seems that this is to be a carbon copy of the site, which would be a legal no no. I'm sorry; I like Steve but he's completely wrong about this.

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As to the avatar, well, if you girls can all have Alan Rickman...

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power; The children in our generation want Harry's power, and they're getting it." - Laura Mallory

Edited by - diricawl on 11/02/2007 15:38:47
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2007 :  17:18:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not even sure what the point is to a hard copy of the Lexicon, if that's what they're planning. It's much more convenient to use on-line. They should put out something condensed that meets the copyright requirements. Then everyone can avoid wasting time and money on lawsuits.

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AMC
Mediwizard

1710 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2007 :  22:27:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The point to it is that you can sell a hardcopy of the book and you can't sell a copy of the Lexicon. Clearly, the website is better for searching but it doesn't make anyone any money. I have tremendous sympathy for Steve, who has done us all a huge favor by compiling and publishing the Lexicon online but... it was originally done as a labor of love and those don't make money. His trying to cash in on all that effort after the fact is completely understandable, but so is JKR's refusal to allow him to.


And I love you, I love you, I love you.
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sunsethill
Confunded

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2007 :  19:42:23  Show Profile  Visit sunsethill's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ah, yes. I see the difference now if Steve is going to try to reproduce the Lexicon in print. I know I have seen these for other authors, but maybe the books were done after the author lost copyright, or maybe they were done by the author's estate with proceeds going to the estate.

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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2007 :  10:43:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Myf posted this over in the "What's Up With JKR" topic and I thought it should go here too:
quote:
Hello chaps, thought I'd duck by to see what you all thought of this Lexicon furore.

I'm really surprised by some of your responses. I can't quite understand why anyone thinks Steve Vanderark should be supported in his quest. It is very much one thing to be a fan, to make it a labour of love to the extent that you CHOOSE to create a time-consuming and popular website. But to then ignore the creator of that information to go ahead and publish it because you think you 'own' the material is just ridiculous.

He/his publishers come across and terribly naive and only digging themselves deeper. They seem not to understand that just because the 7 books are publicly available that means they're in the public domain. They're not in the least, and just because the series has ended doesn't change the issue one whit. Jo created something, she allowed fansites to go ahead and she even pointed out some she enjoyed. But when you take what she created and try to use it as though you created it, you're crossing a number of legal and moral boundaries.

HP isn't ours. We've gained enjoyment, and we've made JKR rich as Croesus, but that doesn't mean we own any part of it. To assert that just because she's finished, and just because she's rich, she doesn't have the same rights as another, lesser known author, is completely wrong-headed.

You might not like the way she's gone about it (though personally I don't see the problem - SVA asked JKR if she'd like to collaborate a while ago, as I understand it, and she refused. Why is he continuing with this? He even admitted that to try to publish the Lexicon would lead to a world of trouble with JKR's lawyers) but she's well within her rights to stop SVA doing what he's trying to do.

I think what clarifies it for me was your remark, Theowyn, about her grasping to keep ahold of what is slipping through her fingers. Of course she should grasp, as hard as she can, to keep control of her property. It is not SVA's right, nor anyone else's, to try to wrest control from her, and the law is right there to back her up. I'm sorry if he feels hard done by, but that's very much the reality of the world and he's a bit of a fool if he thought that he'd be exempt from it just because he's a. well known and b. been endorsed by JKR when it was a not-for-profit website.

The whole thing seems rather ridiculous. Apparently SVA himself or his publishers are still touting his book, even in amongst all this hooha!

Anyway, hope you've all been well. *waves*

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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2007 :  11:33:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My point was that there have been numerous books published about HP and it seems that only recently has JKR tried to suppress these. The Leaky Lounge's Book 7 predictions was originally supposed to be published and all the proceeds donated to charity, but JKR's camp refused to allow it even though that book was no different in its use of JKR's work than the book on Snape's loyalties that I bought at Phoenix Rising.

Now, if SVA's proposed book is a blatant plagerization of canon, that's different of course. But at least in the case of LL, I know for a fact that the HP camp is tightening down on works that used to be permitted.

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