Debate and Discussion

Harry Potter Lexicon?
StaceyMontgomery at 8:37AM, Sept. 9, 2008
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joined: 4-7-2007
A Judge in the US has just ruled that a fan cannot publish an A to Z of Harry Potter. Steve Vander Ark (who runs a popular Harry Potter website) has been told that he cannot legally publish his book. Rowling says she will publish her own lexicon of Harry Potter terms.

I have to say, I regret this ruling. All in all, I think we are making copyright last too long, and making it much too powerful. Well, unless you are rich (as in this Harry Potter case, or see Sarah Schulman's book “Stagestruck” about her attempt to sue the Muscial “Rent” )

So I throw it open to the Debate and discussion crowd - how do you feel about copyright these days? The Founding fathers thought copyright should last 14 years or so - what do you think? Shouldn't Superman be in the public domain after 50 years and the death of his creators? Should Steve Vander Ark be allowed to publish a Harry Potter Lexicon?

Can I write a book about YOUR webcomic?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
saryn11 at 11:41AM, Sept. 9, 2008
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I agree with the ruling, personally. What it comes down to is that Steve Vander Ark is attempting to make a profit off of JK Rowling's idea. I've heard that Rowling said it was ok for fans to make lexicons, as long as they didn't publish and sell them.

Also, I'm a Harry Potter purist, so even though I'm a fan, I don't visit the fan sites or try to get more out of the HP universe because I feel that it contaminates the original idea. With a lexicon there might not be as much contamination as there is in fanfic, but I still feel there would be a subtle influence. This is just my opinion and the way I view HP. Basically, I don't have a problem with all the fan sites, but I choose not to participate.

I've always thought it was weird the way Star Wars has so many different contributers, but if that's the way George Lucas wants to do it, then it really isn't my business. But it doesn't seem that's the way Rowling wants to do it. It seems like she wants to keep it as her baby.

Now, if you wanted to write about my comic, I'd be totally flattered, but also worried that you'd alter my “intellectual property.” :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:24PM
DAJB at 12:19AM, Sept. 10, 2008
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posts: 1,462
joined: 2-23-2007
As a creator, I want to keep control over my creations as completely and as for as long as possible and so I see no reason why Rowling should think any differently. The fact that she's already made millions from Harry Potter is irrelevant. She created the properties and no one else should be entitled to profit from them without her express permission.

That said, the handling of this seems very short-sighted and heavy-handed. I would guess there is a real demand for this book (although not from me!) and she would probably have been better advised to license the right to the author in exchange for editorial control and a sizeable share of the profits.

Of course, we should also bear in mind that although the media says that Rowling is pursuing this action, the truth is probably that it's an action brought by her publishers and their lawyers.

************

(And yes you can write a book about my webcomic … Let's talk terms!)
;-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
arteestx at 8:44PM, Sept. 10, 2008
(online)
posts: 285
joined: 6-1-2007
StaceyMontgomery
So I throw it open to the Debate and discussion crowd - how do you feel about copyright these days? The Founding fathers thought copyright should last 14 years or so - what do you think? Shouldn't Superman be in the public domain after 50 years and the death of his creators? Should Steve Vander Ark be allowed to publish a Harry Potter Lexicon?
I do agree with the ruling in this case, and other people shouldn't be able to profit off of others' work. But I do think that copyright does last an incredibly long time. It currently stands at the life of the author plus 70 years, correct? For corporate owned copyrights, it's 95 years after initial publication. That probably is a bit much. So Superman won't be in the public domain until 2033 (it was initially published in 1938 after all), and that's assuming DC doesn't successfully extend the copyright, which you know they will attempt.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM

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