RDR loses Harry Potter lexicon trial

Perhaps this ending was inevitable (Telegraph article & Guardian article). RDR have lost the case for the Harry Potter Lexicon to Rowling and Warner Bros Entertainment who has also been awarded statory damages of £3,850 ($6,750). Whilst they have options to carry on, I don’t think its in RDR’s best interests. RDR issued the following statement on their website:

“We are encouraged by the fact the Court recognized that as a general matter authors do not have the right to stop the publication of reference guides and companion books about literary works. As for the Lexicon, we are obviously disappointed with the result, and RDR is considering all of its options.”

What I take from it is the ongoing theme of attribution, plagiarism and adding your own commentary if writing commentary. Whilst I cannot help feel that Rowling or Warner Brothers should have warned the online version that it needed to pull its socks up in terms of not merely quoting but also analysis, this is a salutory reminder to non-fiction writers to try and write originally about their subjects.

From what I’ve seen of the Lexicon it was too close to the source material but perhaps Rowling’s and Warner Brother’s agents could have done something about this far earlier and not had the apparent volte face of the early stages of the trial.  However the “winners” (and I don’t think of them in that sense either) should also carry on promoting the various communities and fan groups that Internet allows to grow far more freely to spread news, gossip and talk about their poperties. In the long run it is far more healthy.

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