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Harry Potter and the Lawsuit of Doom

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The publishing trial of the decade begins at 9:30 this morning at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan in the case of Warner Bros. and Rowling vs. RDR Books. Judge Robert P. Patterson will hear testimony from J.K. Rowling regarding her lawsuit alleging copyright infringement by Midwest independent RDR Books, publisher of the Harry Potter Lexicon. Based on material from the Harry Potter Lexicon fan website run by librarian Steven Vander Ark and his team of volunteers, the Lexicon details people, potions, places and creatures from the Harry Potter world. In 2004, Rowling and Warner Bros. bestowed the site a fan award and Vander Ark was flown to the set of the fifth Harry Potter film.
“Given my past good relations with the Lexicon Web site, I can only feel sad and disillusioned that this is where we have ended up,” Rowling stated on her site last fall. Rowling believes that her words were stolen by Vander Ark for use in the Lexicon and that she feels violated. RDR books maintains that the Lexicon serves the greater purpose of scholarly pursuit. Vander Ark, in a cautious move to avoid just this situation, arranged in his contract for RDR to handle any copyright infringement lawsuits regarding the publication of the Lexicon, and as such is not listed in this suit.

For a complete timeline of the legal process and all documents related to this case, visit here.

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