J.K. Rowling Testifies
J.K. Rowling is suing RDR Books for publishing a Harry Potter lexicon dictionary of sorts. Their website with the same content has been free, but now that this book is going to bring in revenue, J.K. has brought out the guns. And those guns include tears at a press conference.
The questions at trial will be how much of the original work was copied, and it’s potential impact on J.K.’s market. It will be easy to show that RDR had access to the Harry Potter series. If she can show that she previously planned to release a dictionary of her terminology, RDR may not stand a chance.
There does not seem to be a fair use defense for RDR since this is not a commentary on the book or it’s terms. It will also be hard for RDR to argue that they are copying only ideas rather than the expression itself since J.K.’s “lexicon” is filled with words created by J.K. The copyright in J.K. seems to be strong. Whether these made-up words have entered the general lexicon a la Chaucer will be up to the court, but it’s highly unlikely.
– Maxim Price