J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. are going to court today where they will face off against copyright experts from the Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project.
The dispute was sparked when Steve Vander Ark, who runs a Harry Potter fansite, got a book deal. Vander Ark, along with others, created a site called “The Harry Potter Lexicon” that catalogued J.K. Rowling’s imaginary world. Even Rowling declared herself a fan of the site, but when RDR Books decided to issue a print copy, things got litigious. Rowling and Warner declared that publishing the lexicon would cripple their chances of printing a similar book and making another, smaller mountain of money.
Larry Lessig, a Bay Area champion for free culture who once considered running for congress, is co-counsel and summed up the fight this way: “The importance of the case goes beyond the world of Harry Potter and its fans. The decision could have a far-reaching impact on the literary landsacpe, and beyond, to disucssion of any fictional work in any medium.” –Andy Wright