I have been curious for a long time about what LitNetters think about copyright issues and intellectual property, and I thought this piece of news would be a good starting point for a discussion.
According to an article on arstechnica,
J.K. Rowling is suing the publisher of the Harry Potter Lexicon, which began life as a popular Potter blog, and wants a court to rule that she has the sole right to profit from the "descriptions, character details, and plot points" of the Potter tales. Now, a federal judge has issued an injunction against RDR Books to prevent them from completing the typesetting, selling the books, or even marketing it on Amazon.com.
The arstechnica article links to some remarks about the case from one of Google's lawyers. His blog entry concludes with:
Regardless of how the Harry Potter case comes out, the most depressing part is that it was brought at all. Fans will happily buy her book; the only effects of the suit, therefore are negative: if successful it will diminish the number of books available, and even if unsuccessful, it may cast a cloud over a fan base that has provided her and her licensees with great value.
The arstechnica article also links to a comment by J.K. Rowling, who feels that
It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author's hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else's work, it does not become theirs to sell.
I'd like to hear all of your opinions about this lawsuit. Do you think J.K. Rowling has a good case? Should this lawsuit have legal merit (whatever the laws that are currently on the books may actually be)? Legal matters aside, are the publishers of the Harry Potter Lexicon doing anything wrong? Is J.K. Rowling right to be upset?
I know there are a lot of Harry Potter fans here, and I think the issue is easy enough to comprehend even to someone (like me) who hasn't read any Harry Potter books, so hopefully this can start a good discussion.