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 Has Nancy Stouffer moved to the UK?
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  08:01:22  Show Profile Send diricawl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had an unnerving experience the other day. I was happily editing Wikipedia's article on JKR's multifarious legal travails

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_disputes_over_the_Harry_Potter_series)

which I co-wrote, when this addition was made by an anonymous contributor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Legal_disputes_over_the_Harry_Potter_series&action=historysubmit&diff=340186292&oldid=339264048

(Right hand column. Please read but do not click anything on that page, or you could end up restoring it)

It seemed to me that the only person on planet Earth who still cared about this case, and the only person who could have made such specific claims about it, was Stouffer herself. But just today, out of curiosity, I checked the point of origin for that contribution

http://toolserver.org/~chm/whois.php?ip=149.254.186.201

and found it was from a T-Mobile UK network. It's difficult to tell from the words alone whether the contributor was a native Englander. The term "fat cats" is certainly more current in the UK then it is in the US, but the term "money talks" is almost never heard in this country. But it does raise the unnerving prospect that Nancy Stouffer may have emigrated to Rowling's home country, for whatever reason I cannot fathom. She might be down the street from me...

Order of the Bookmark

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 02/25/2010 08:03:50

Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  09:07:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't know Diri, but people can convince themselves of things despite proof to the contrary.

All the same, hope she isn't in your neighborhood-- or mine!

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
Member of the HPEW & HPCS Appreciation Society
s.i.n.e. qua non
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2010 :  12:33:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hard as it may be to believe, I'm sure Stouffer has a few die-hard supporters out there even in the UK, so I doubt you need to worry about running into her in your neighborhood. On a different note, do you despise Bloomsbury and WB as much as I do. After reading your article, I must say they come across as greedy bullies. Threatening to sue for libel because some company accused them of over pricing their books? Suing over a "replica" of Hogwarts. Sheesh!

Order of the Bookmark

s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2010 :  10:15:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JK Rowling's legal fights certainly reveal her darker side. There are many legal actions taken by Rowling and her publishers that I disagree with; their hounding of Claire Field being top of the list. To this day I still don't know how Rowling feels about that. I've even asked Claire, but she's never received so much as a postcard from Jo. You can also argue that the "Potter injunctions", however much money they may have saved, set too dangerous a legal precedent. And while I feel that Rowling was legally justified in taking action against Vander Ark, her behaviour and comments during that case were overblown and unnecessarily cruel.

In the two cases you mentioned, however, I actually disagree with you. The ASDA libel case is a fairly murky affair all round. As far as I'm concerned, the "lawsuit" was simply a highly effective advertisement; ASDA got free air to remind everyone of its low prices, while Bloomsbury got to play up its green credentials and its "support" for struggling independent booksellers. The whole event lasted less than a week, by which time they'd all kissed and made up, which suggests to me that they were never very serious to begin with.

As for the Indian scenario, well that was brutal no doubt, but I have no idea how much or how little the "replica" sold itself has Hogwarts. If they hung Harry Potter banners from the front gate and had ushers dressed in Gryffindor colours, then yes, Rowling and her publishers had every right to sue.

Order of the Bookmark

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 02/27/2010 10:55:48
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2010 :  21:44:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by diricawl

In the two cases you mentioned, however, I actually disagree with you. The ASDA libel case is a fairly murky affair all round. As far as I'm concerned, the "lawsuit" was simply a highly effective advertisement; ASDA got free air to remind everyone of its low prices, while Bloomsbury got to play up its green credentials and its "support" for struggling independent booksellers. The whole event lasted less than a week, by which time they'd all kissed and made up, which suggests to me that they were never very serious to begin with.
ASDA certainly started this with a rather crass statement to publicize it's low prices, but Bloomsbury's reaction was nothing short of blatant bullying and blackmail and was completely out of proportion to ASDA's 'offense'. First they threatened to sue (their knee jerk reaction to all HP issues?), but since such a suit probably would have been laughed out of court and ASDA wasn't scared, they played their trump card - pulling all of ASDA's copies of DH. Sure ASDA might have eventually won a breech of contract lawsuit, but not in time to get the books on the shelves to draw in the customers (who ASDA was certainly counting on to purchase more than just DH on their visit). So ASDA had no choice but to cave and go groveling to Bloomsbury for forgiveness for the sin of insulting them. And I thought Voldemort was a power-hungry megalomaniac.

quote:
As for the Indian scenario, well that was brutal no doubt, but I have no idea how much or how little the "replica" sold itself has Hogwarts. If they hung Harry Potter banners from the front gate and had ushers dressed in Gryffindor colours, then yes, Rowling and her publishers had every right to sue.
Sure they had the right, but was it the right thing to do? The alumni association of my old university sponsored a Harry Potter day on the opening day of GoF. Everyone who bought a ticket to the event got a ticket to the movie after which we were all supposed to come back to campus to vist "Hogwarts". They didn't build a stone castle in the quad, but they did hang banners and the professors dressed up as our favorite Hogwarts staff. The whole idea was to bring the kids for a fun afternoon of games, "magical" science demonstrations and so forth.

Was this a non-profit event? No, though it certainly wasn't a money-making event either. Did it violate Rowling's rights? Probably. Should Rowling's pack of lawyers have swooped in and demanded that such illegal activity be stopped under threat of a lawsuit. Of course not! Only Scrooge would be so uncharitable.

Now I wasn't in India, but I'm somewhat skeptical that a replica of Hogwarts set up in conjunction with a religious festival was designed primarily as a nefarious profiteering scheme. I mean, don't corporations and a major bank have better ways to make money? What I do believe is that such companies would construct a replica of Hogwarts as a showpiece to entertain all the families and children attending the festival. I doubt the companies involved would have made any profit, though it certainly would have been great advertising. And it would have been great fun for the kids, just like Harry Potter day at my alma mater was.

Do we really need to crush such simple joys in life? Instead of suing, couldn't Rowling's people have quietly given the Hogwarts builders a legal waver granting them permission to carry on? That would have protected her rights. Beyond that, what was this event costing her? I can't believe this was about royalties?

In both these instances and in the ones you mentioned above, obsessive control seems to be the driving force. Of course, JKR has always been controling, so maybe this shouldn't be a surprise, but it is ugly. I appreciate the need to protect copyright, but JKR and her agents sometimes seem almost paranoid.

Order of the Bookmark

s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"

Edited by - Theowyn on 02/27/2010 21:51:18
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2010 :  03:42:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm sorry, but given the fact that ASDA is owned by Wal-Mart, not a corporation known for clemency or charity, and Bloomsbury is a mid-range publishing house that would barely register in the business world if not for HP, I can't see your Voldemort analogy. Bloomsbury may have been venal and aggressive in its tactics, but they don't destroy entire towns like Wal-Mart does, or ruin local farmers by artificially deflating its prices like ASDA does. On the karmic scale, they win by default.

The whole Indian thing, well again I don't know. There's no indication that this was a minor event, or even connected with the festival. All I know for certain is that it was constructed while the festival was going on. The connection between the event and the festival was made by Indian newspapers, who later retracted their statements. I'm not saying you aren't right; I'm simply saying I don't know enough to judge.

Order of the Bookmark

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 02/28/2010 03:50:36
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2010 :  18:33:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by diricawl

I'm sorry, but given the fact that ASDA is owned by Wal-Mart, not a corporation known for clemency or charity, and Bloomsbury is a mid-range publishing house that would barely register in the business world if not for HP, I can't see your Voldemort analogy. Bloomsbury may have been venal and aggressive in its tactics, but they don't destroy entire towns like Wal-Mart does, or ruin local farmers by artificially deflating its prices like ASDA does. On the karmic scale, they win by default.
Don't get me wrong; I'm no fan of Walmart. But blackmail is blackmail. I can't condone it just because Walmart is evil and deserves to get beat up. Maybe that's why Bloomsbury was so heavy handed; because they relished the chance to play David to ASDA's Goliath. But that still doesn't make what they did right.

As for the India thing... it doesn't sound like there's enough clear information to judge one way or another. I will say though that on principle, I tend not to trust retractions. Call me cynical, but I think these are usually coerced.

Order of the Bookmark

s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"
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diricawl
Looney

United Kingdom
1078 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2010 :  05:01:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Of course retractions are coerced. Investigative journalists are not known for their humble and self-deprecating natures. The question in this case is were they coerced to correct the facts or to cover them up? And I don't know. Unless I do my own investigative journalism, which would probably involve a trip to India, I'll probably never know.

Order of the Bookmark

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 03/01/2010 05:09:00
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Theowyn
Looney

1078 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2010 :  12:20:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
True. On the bright side, if you ever need an excuse to go to India, you've got one.

Order of the Bookmark

s.i.n.e. qua non

"Always"
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