Rowling, Time Warner seek to block Harry Potter fan publishing

[Reuters]

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is expected to testify in a New York court on Monday in a bid to stop the publication of a fan's unofficial encyclopedic companion to the boy wizard series.

Steve Vander Ark has written "The Harry Potter Lexicon," a 400-page reference book based on his popular fan Web site (www.hp-lexicon.org). Rowling and Warner Bros. are suing RDR Books, which planned to publish the volume last November.

In a declaration filed in the U.S. District Court in February, Rowling, 42, who wrote the seven hugely successful Harry Potter novels, said she was "very frustrated that a former fan has tried to co-opt my work for financial gain."

The author said she would be exploited by the publication of the book she said constituted a "rip-off."

"I feel intensely protective, firstly, of the literary world I spent so long creating, and secondly, of the fans who bought my books in such large numbers," the British writer said.

The lawsuit filed in October names RDR Books, an independent Michigan-based publisher, and unidentified persons as defendants. It seeks to stop publication and requests damages for copyright and federal trademark infringement and any profits to be gained.

Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc, which owns the copyright and trademark rights to the Potter books.

Rowling has said she plans to write her own Harry Potter encyclopedia, which would include material that did not make it into the novels, and donate the proceeds to charity. The novels have sold more than 400 million copies.

RDR Books has said Vander Ark, a librarian, had spoken at Harry Potter academic conferences in Britain, Canada and the United States and that a timeline he created was used by Warner Bros. in DVD releases of the Harry Potter films.

The company and Vander Ark have said the book would only promote the sale of Rowling's work and that Vander Ark's Web site, used by 25 million visitors, had been called "a great site" by Rowling herself.

But Warner Bros. said the book "fails to include any of the commentary and discussion that enrich the Web site and instead is nothing more than a rearrangement of J.K. Rowling's own written material."

RDR Books said Rowling "appears to claim a monopoly on the right to publish literary reference guides, and other nonacademic research, relating to her own fiction."

"This is a right no court has ever recognized," it said. "If accepted, it would dramatically extend the reach of copyright protection and eliminate an entire genre of literary supplements."

article originally published at http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSN1147556020080414.

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