Shame on you, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, herself rowling in gazillions of dollars, is along with her publisher suing Steven Vander Ark, a poor librarian who produced a lexicon of the Harry Potter universe.
Rowling says it’s not about the money, it’s about control. Poppycock. If that was the case, she would have objected to the web site. Instead, Rowling is quoted as saying:
This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter (which is embarrassing).
A lexicon is a collection of existing (fictional) facts, not something that is going to wrest creative control of the franchise away from the author. This work makes the Harry Potter universe more valuable, not less. Even if legally this is a gray area, it’s a boneheaded move to sue one of your greatest fans for providing a valuable and useful reference.
What troubles the bean counters so much is that the printed lexicon costs, well, actual money, $24.95 to be exact. As an author it troubles me to see how out of touch copyright law is, and how badly the scent of a few dollars can make an otherwise reasonable person behave. -m