There’s a battle going down over the world of Harry Potter, and this one is taking place in a location more terrifying than the deepest recesses of Azkaban. That’s right, the US Court system.
JK Rowling and Co. have submitted an injunction against Michigan-based publisher, RDR Books, to prevent publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon, an A-Z guide to all things Hogwarts. On March 24th, a NY-based court will consider the case and potentially make history over how an author control secondary works, as well as the right to publish in book form that which already resides on the web. The information for the Lexicon is being derived from an online fan site that compiles and keeps track of all HP facts and oddities.
Even more damaging, however, is the fact that releasing such an unauthorized piece of the Harry Potter universe might cut into Rowling’s future charity plans. From the article,
“Warner Bros and Rowling argue that the publication of the Lexicon infringes Rowling’s copyright and that she has openly and repeatedly expressed her interest in publishing an encyclopedia covering all seven of the Harry Potter books, whose profits would go to charity.”
Unlike the handwritten companion pieces she auctioned off earlier for record amounts, this Rowling-penned encyclopedia would be served up fresh to the millions of fans worldwide. The charity-generating potential of this release would be staggering to say the least. Defendents of the alternative Lexicon argue that people would buy Rowling’s version regardless, but her lawyers aren’t letting that hold sway on their decision to fight its release. This should be an interesting court battle to say the least. Anyone want to get dressed up and sit in the audience?