Monday, 08 September 2008 17:51

HARRY POTTER AND THE IRREPARABLE HARM

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J.K Rowling emerged victorious in a copyright decision that was announced earlier today by the Southern District of New York.  The work at issue?  A Harry Potter encyclopedia written by a librarian and rabid Harry Potter fan.  In permanently blocking publication of the work, the court rejected the defendant's "fair use" defense, finding that the encyclopedia incorporated "too much of Rowling's creative work" and would cause J.K Rowling "irreparable harm" as a writer.  

Obviously, a guide to a "fictional universe" must necessarily incorporate lengthy references and passages of the underlying fictional work.   However, today's decision highlights the limited applicability of the "fair use" defense to such works (which are not, in a strict sense, academic.)   Accordingly, future authors of such literary guides may want to consider seeking a copyright holder's consent prior to beginning any such endeavor.  Otherwise, they too will risk having their book tossed into a 'goblet of fire' (or 'chamber of secrets') by an adverse copyright ruling.

Find the story here.

Find an explanation of the "fair use" defense here.

Read 2198 times Last modified on Monday, 29 April 2013 18:09
Francisco Ferreiro

Mr. Ferreiro earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Florida. He earned his law degree with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he also served as Research Editor for the Florida Law Review. He concentrates his practice in Trademark Prosecution, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Copyright Law. Mr. Ferreiro is admitted to practice law in Florida and New York state courts, as well as in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.