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Harry Potter’s battle against Voldemort lasted for seven years, and sometimes it seems as if the battle over his Lexicon will take just as long. After RDR Books, publishers of the Harry Potter Lexicon, lost a copyright infringement action brought by JK Rowling and Warner Brothers (the decision is detailed in our blog post on the subject), they originally planned to appeal the ruling. However, they have recently withdrawn their appeal, deciding instead to release a version of the book that complies with the judge’s ruling.
Rowling’s literary agency stated in a press release: “We are also pleased to hear that rather than continue to litigate, RDR have themselves decided to publish a different book prepared with reference to Judge Patterson’s decision.”
Apparently the preparation of the manuscript was not an arduous process, since it is slated for a January 12 release. The book’s author, Steve Vander Ark, has also published another book in the meantime. Though Rowling’s lawyers had asked to see a copy of it before publication, apparently it posed no similar copyright concerns (which isn’t surprising, since it’s a travel memoir).
As I speculated previously, based on the judge’s decision, a revised Lexicon would involve: (1) taking out a great deal of the material about the two Harry Potter companion books, (2) editing out most of the use of Rowling’s specific language, and (3) adding a large number of citations. It is unclear at this point just what kinds of changes have been made, but Vander Ark and RDR Books have made statements suggesting that a large amount of (presumably original) commentary has been added.
The book has been retitled as well: The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials. Somehow I think a lawyer may have had a hand in that one.
– Casey Fiesler
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