“While the Lexicon, in its current state, is not a fair use of the Harry Potter works, reference works that share the Lexicon’s purpose of aiding readers of literature generally should be encouraged rather than stifled.”-Judge Patterson
The Judge agreed with JK Rowling that having someone else publish a Harry Potter lexicon would be bad for Ms Rowling, that it would cause her irreparable harm as a writer. The Lexicon is basically putting a website into print form. JK Rowling didn’t object to a site that pointed fans to her works but she was not too keen on someone else making money with her creations.
The Lexicon was blocked from publication, and JK Rowling was awarded $6,750 in damages. Of course, JK Rowling says it isn’t about the money, its the principle. The proliferation of sites with Copysafe or similar anti-word-theft programs shows that plagiarism is viewed as a pretty serious problem. While most bloggers are not getting rich off their writing, they understandably don’t like the idea of others just taking the words and using them as their own.
So it is good news for all writers that you can’t just gather up quotes from someone else’s books and slap together a reference book from them. There has been a long standing tradition of writing books like The Anointed Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Everything You Ever Wanted To Know, which takes as it’s job the task of explaining everything possible about a book. I have always liked these kinds of books. It is possible I would have liked the Harry Potter Lexicon as well. JK Rowling is writing her own Harry Potter Encyclopedia and I’m sure it will be fun to flip through.
Seems the Harry Potter Lexicon website has also gone the way of all good things. Maybe it was part of the settlement, or maybe Vander Ark just decided not waste his time on the website any more. He is reported to be in England doing work on a new book. One of those Everything You Ever Wanted To Know books about Harry Potter-centric sites in the UK. I’m guessing he’s actually going to write this one himself.