Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Harry Potter Defeats Infringement Claim; Voldemort Next

Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireImage via WikipediaU.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Shira Sheindlin has dismissed a copyright infringement claim against the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire brought by the estate of the author of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard--No 1 Livid Land, Courthouse News Service reports.

In tossing the 13-page complaint in Paul Gregory Allen, Trustee of the Estate of Adrian Jacobs v. Scholastic, Inc. (Case No. 10-CV-5335), Judge Scheindlin found "no overlap" and "stark differences" in Rowling's epic 734-page Potter book, which garnered a Children's Book Award in 2000, and the late Jacobs' 32-page adventure written in 1987. In a copyright infringement analysis better-suited for the New York Review of Books, Judge Scheindlin declared Willy the Wizard "progresses as a series of fragmented and often tangential scenes" and is "entirely devoid of a moral message or intellectual depth." She also complained that Jacobs' story "offers only narration, not nuance."

In contrast, Judge Scheindlin gives Harry Potter a gavel's up review, describing it as "rich in imagery, emotive and suspenseful."  Moreover, she said the story is "highly developed and complex, and captures the attention of both children and adults for long periods of time."  Not to mention that you can read it while playing John Williams' rousing score in the background, which trumps the 16 pages of illustrations accompanying Willy the Wizard's adventure.

The heirs of Jacobs, who died insolvent in a hospice in 1997, also sued Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Potter's English publisher, for 500 million pounds. (See "TUOL" post 6/17/09.)

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1 comment:

  1. And if Judge Scheindlin is wrong as some of know she certainly is... what then? Or does infallibility come with the office?