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John Bumbledore wrote:This topic was opened to archive the above titled thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum (HPLF) as it was created and hosted on World Crossing (WX) until WX ceased operation on 15 April 2011.
(Note well: Embedded images and links were not saved in this text based process. Written URLs were made active links, and some character based emoticons were recognized and replaced with graphic emoticons automatically by the ForuMotion software.)
+ JK Rowling Official Site
Kip Carter - Nov 1, 2007 4:56 pm
Almost forty-two months ago (15 May 2004), Jo Rowling provided enjoyment to those awaiting the release of Book Six, her own web site. Immediately Liz Mann started a thread at 7:39am PST that became one of the most popular threads on the Lexicon Forum with this thread being the third of the series. The original thread JK Rowling Official Site has Permanent status, has been renamed [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and has been moved to our Archived folder. The second thread JK Rowling Official Site has Permanent status, has been renamed [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and was moved to our Archived folder. The third thread, + JK Rowling Official Site, with Permanent status, has been renamed [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and eventually will move to our Archived folder.
Hopefully much of the data concerning the clues on the site will be preserved when our editors edit these threads.
The J.K.Rowling page in the Lexicon Sources area provides excellent insight to what is available on Ms. Rowling's Official web site.
These are all the working links to Jo’s site:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Last edited by John Bumbledore on Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:20 pm; edited 12 times in total
Madam Pince - Nov 1, 2007 6:21 pm (#1 of 421)
Money does not need to come into it. --zelmia (bold emphasis mine)
Yes, but clearly in this case it does. JKR herself said it on her site. If we're talking about the same body of work (ie: the Lexicon -- and the news accounts I've read say they are assuming the book in question is going to be merely a print version of exactly the same info that's given online), and it's exactly the same information but just presented in two different mediums, then the only difference is that one makes money while the other doesn't. That's going to be the sticking point in the case, I would think. One presentation of exactly the same material is hailed and praised and even utilized by the plaintiff, while a different presentation of that material is worthy of a lawsuit. Plaintiffs don't object to the basic fact that the work is "stolen" -- what they object to is how it is presented. Is that a valid objection? Probably. Maybe. I don't know. I guess that's why they have a judge to decide!
It is by her good graces we can discuss her books online in a forum like this one. --Gina
That's kind of a depressing thought. Our thoughts and discussions and ideas have to be licensed? We can read her books but we can't talk about them? We can't organize information from them so it's easier to read and understand? I suppose maybe you're technically right, but that sure is depressing to think about. I feel like the Ministry is looking at me.
Edit: My first ever "first post." Wow what a bummer of one, too...
Liz Mann - Nov 1, 2007 6:40 pm (#2 of 421)
Not knowing who to believe, I feel sorry for both Steve and J.K. right now. Steve being sued by an author who has impacted his life so much, and J.K. who doesn't seem to be able to do anything without criticism these days.
(I'm going to bed now. I wonder how many posts there will be to read in the morning. )
Thom Matheson - Nov 1, 2007 8:21 pm (#3 of 421)
This suit could have severe landmark reprocussions behind it if Steve wins. You all can see that right? It would open the web up to profiteering from all sides and invariably the "free" in brousing would disappear. This is going to be really interesting to follow. The idea that it is ok to produce on the web but not in print is the same as the music world being free to download without buying. Now books? As I said this is going to get dicey for more then Steve and JKR.
PeskyPixie - Nov 1, 2007 8:21 pm (#4 of 421)
I had no idea that she can ban online discussion of her books. Apart from fanfictions, are the rest of our discussions also copyright infringement?
I posted the above on the previous thread after reading Gina's post ("It is by her good graces we can discuss her books online in a forum like this one.")
So authors are permitted to ban discussion of their work by law? How are many of the threads on the forum different from critiques or book club discussions? Or can those be banned as well?
wynnleaf - Nov 1, 2007 8:25 pm (#5 of 421)
Madam Pince, I think you bring up a good point in that JKR has approved the online Lexicon, but disapproves the published book form of the Lexicon. What's the difference? Can she do that?
There could be a technicality here that both sides might argue from differing viewpoints.
One of the aspects of copyright law is the right of the copyright holder to "fix" the material into a particular form for the first time. I originally studied copyright law because of the music business so I'll use that example first. If I write a song, I have the right to choose the place, manner, etc. of the first time that song is published (assuming I find a publisher of course). After that, I have the right to choose the first time and manner that it is recorded. However, after I have made those choices, anyone else can record the song again, using perhaps a different arrangement, different artists, etc. They do have to pay me for the privilege, but they don't have to get my permission.
In this case, JKR is (I think ) saying that she has the right to take her work and create the first HP encyclopedia in book form. The Lexicon could argue that in giving the Lexicon permission to produce an HP "Lexicon," JKR has already made her first choice option about how the first ever "encyclopedia" of HP would be allowed to occur. After that, anyone could do an encyclopedia, they'd just have to pay for the privilege.
However (and this is theorizing about a possible legal argument), JKR's side could say that when she gave permission to the Lexicon, it was for the first fixing of the HP material into an online lexicon/encyclopedia. But that the right to the first published non-electronic encyclopedia was still her right.
Have I been totally confusing?
So authors are permitted to ban discussion of their work by law? (PeskyPixie)
No, authors can't ban that. However, they could prevent many types of fan sites devoted to their copyrighted or trademarked characters and books.
zelmia - Nov 1, 2007 8:51 pm (#6 of 421)
[Authors] could prevent many types of fan sites devoted to their copyrighted or trademarked characters and books
Which JKR didn't do - and she could have.
On the contrary, Jo has been extraordinarily generous and supportive in condoning - and using - the Lexicon and other fan sites. In my, surely unpopular, opinion, the Lexicon is abusing the privilege of having such a close and amicable relationship with the author by choosing to publish her work using a different "arrangement".
Unfortunately, what may be likely to come of this in the long run is that the fan sites will be shut down to prevent something like this from happening again.
Mrs. Sirius - Nov 1, 2007 9:18 pm (#7 of 421)
Gina, I obviously have not been as eloquent but I see the situation as you do. I am embarrassed for both Steven and JKR, but hope this can still be resolved. I would hate for the relationship to end acrimoniously.
ETA: I think you would be hard pressed to see a lawsuit regarding costumes make its way to court. I doubt there would ever exist a judge who would even hear such a case. Besides: it would probably fall under the "fair use" defense, since it could be argued that the costume is a form of parody.
To show how old I am, back in the early days, Sesame Street did object to people creating costumes of Big Bird. A friend of mine used to dress up as BB for Halloween. Her costume was so good that she’d win all the contests. She said the Sesame Street people were not happy and she was asked to cease and desist.
Several years ago there was a huge lawsuit brought by the estate of Margaret Mitchell. A parody of “Gone With The Wind” was written told from the perspective of the slaves. The estate contended that to use so many characters and settings from the book was not parody by copyright infringement. The parody was something like “The Wind Done Gone”. The estate lost but it did get the suit into court even though from the title it‘s obviously parody.
I must say that when I first came to the internet I was very surprised at how much of JKR’s materials were available on the web. For a few heady minutes I contemplated my own site and went to WB and was truly surprised at how much they made available to fan sites.
Perhaps Steve could write a short description on each entry from our comments here on Forum or him impression of each item when he first read the item.
As I understand the book for auction, JK will retain copyright so the books cannot be published.
Meoshimo - Nov 1, 2007 9:18 pm (#8 of 421)
Actually, wynnleaf, that made a lot of sense.
PeskyPixie - Nov 1, 2007 9:19 pm (#9 of 421)
Unfortunately, what may be likely to come of this in the long run is that the fan sites will be shut down to prevent something like this from happening again.
Oh, I hope not. I did not need to think of this right before getting into bed.
Okay, happy thoughts, happy thoughts ...
Luna Logic - Nov 1, 2007 11:13 pm (#10 of 421)
Edited by Nov 1, 2007 10:13 pm
Very interesting facts about "first times", Wynnleaf.
I woke this morning (here it's November 2th, 7 am) hoping that "all was well".
(Sorry for the no-constructive post).
Elanor - Nov 1, 2007 11:51 pm (#11 of 421)
Bonjour Luna! I've just done the same thing as you did. So many news and posts in a few hours. Reading both versions of the issue leaves me with the impression of an incredible mess, that could probably have been handled in a more constructive way by both sides. I hope a settlement will be found and that the winner will be Harry and the love and respect the fans have for both the books, Jo and all those dedicating so much time and passion to her universe.
I've also seen some pictures of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"... I want one!!!!!!!!! (**sorry. Breathes deeply and checks pulse**). I can't believe Jo will let us just to "dribble" like a poor starving dog looking at a butcher's shop's window. (Maybe if we all do her the puppy eyes... ). Actually, if that charity is so important to her, she should be publishing fac-similes of the book, a là "Fantastic Beasts", it would be the best way to raise money for it, wouldn't it?
Please, Jo... **insert poor little puppy eyes icon**
zelmia - Nov 2, 2007 1:54 am (#12 of 421)
The Lexicon cut off their "Pensieve" (Comment) section yesterday immediately after somebody posted there asking to hear the Lexicon's side. That sort of thing tends to give more than a bit of credence to the claim that communications from Jo's people went unanswered.
It's also just plain bad form to apparently treat people who have participated in and supported the Lexicon and the Forum all these years like they don't deserve an explanation of some sort - like they don't matter.
The Lexicon would do well to issue some kind of a statement - even if it's just to say "We're not going to discuss the lawsuit using this venue. Please refrain from commenting about it."
septentrion - Nov 2, 2007 3:12 am (#13 of 421)
Well, I'm really sorry by all this mess too. Now that I know more, I understand better Jo's position, and if I tended to side with Steve first, I'm not so sure anymore. But how to be sure when we don't know precisely what's in Steve's book? Just in case things went ugly, I've made a copy of the Lex on my hard drive. I use it too often to just been deprived of it if it's decided it should be taken down.
Phelim Mcintyre - Nov 2, 2007 4:07 am (#14 of 421)
As someone who has worked in publishing, and seen a lot of what WB has done from inside the trade I am still siding with Steve against JKR.
Edit - I have come across one or two books that have done the same as the Lexicon book appears to be doing. These were self-published and the authors did not have the profile of Steve. I wonder if the fuss is because it is the Lexicon and Steve having a high profile rather than the subject matter of the book.
Anna L. Black - Nov 2, 2007 4:34 am (#15 of 421)
You know what seems weird to me in all this? That until now we (or at least I) haven't heard about this book at all. I can't think of a scenario in which it would make sense.
Hollywand - Nov 2, 2007 5:08 am (#16 of 421)
Perhaps Jo should consider taking the third way and recognize the preciousness of her time and the tremendous efforts Steve spent assembling the information. By supporting Steve's efforts, she can spend her time moving forward creatively to a different project. Less time in court, less legal fees, lots of good will, and she can move forward with another project.
Even if one is royalty, no one gets another free afternoon.
Chemyst - Nov 2, 2007 5:54 am (#17 of 421)
I don't think that is the least bit weird, Anna. That is precisely how greed works. It is also the reason all the "for charity" arguments run very thin very fast for me. (And when I say "greed" I'm using it in a wide universal sense, not singling out any one person but referring to corporate mentality.)
When you so a search for RDR you get:
Radar, Rally for Democracy and the Republic (Republic of the Congo), Ralph Davis Reptiles (herpetoculture), Rassemblement des Républicains (French: Rally of the Republicans, Ivory Coast), Raw Data Record, Receiving Discrepancy Report, Reduced Data Requirement, Registered Diplomate Reporter, Remote Data Recovery (Ontrack Data International, Remote Data Requester, Remote Data Requestor, Requirements Definition Review, Retail Delivery Record (paper-based delivery manifest), Retail Delivery Report, Rijksdienst voor Radiocommunicatie, Runway Distance Remaining. There was no RDR for the publisher. I had to add "books' or "Rowling" to the search to get a first page match. (This will probably change if the lawsuit continues very long)
RDR Books is an independent book publisher of
travel literature, Judaica, guidebooks, history, biography, education, sports, guidebooks and children's literature. Named as one of the nation's top 100 independent book publishers by Book Marketing Update, RDR's list includes the I Should Have Stayed Home trouble travel series, Taking Risks by Joseph Pell and Fred Rosenbaum, What's Whole in Whole Language by Ken Goodman, To Travel Hopefully by Christopher Rush and The Best of Michael Rosen by the bestselling children's author himself. Our books are sold throughout the Americas and in translation around the world.
The titles are unfamiliar to me.
I would like to know how RDR came to have Vander Ark's book in the first place. Did they seek him out? Did Steve go looking for a publisher on his own? I'd like that information before I start judging, but at first look, these guys are not the big leagues, and are probably a bit naïve when it comes to dealing with huge corporations. They have a statement at RDRbooks.com but it does not answer that question.
One thing that hasn't been brought up much on this thread is how much untold free publicity the Lexicon has generated for the Potter books. With over 25 million visitors, the site has had untold impact and Rowing & publishers have benefited from this for free. Yes, JKR has been generous in "allowing" use of her stories, but she has reaped huge rewards from doing so.
Before I began posting here, I was perfectly willing to wait for the paperbacks to come out. It is only the Lexicon that created the "need" for me to have the books sooner. The Harry Potter commercial empire has benefited plenty from the free Lexicon. Ronald Reagan liked to use the metaphor of 'a rising tide floats all boats.' It seems begrudging to want to pick and choose which boats will be allowed.
Many people have volunteered their time and intellectual property to the Lexicon. I do consider that a form of charitable giving. Maybe it is not as emotionally noble as feeding third-world children, but it had boosted Rowling's bottom line in the parts of the world that thrive on capitalism. To keep this from getting too political, I'll cut this short and revert to quoting a trite-but-true saying: You can't have your cake and eat it too. I think both sides are making major blunders.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 6:11 am (#18 of 421)
Zelmia, RDR Books has issued a statement, and I think they (and Steve) are the ones named in the suit. The Lexicon as an entity is not named I don't think, so maybe that's why there is nothing there addressing the situation. I know that typically in a legal situation like this, the lawyers usually tell everybody to keep their traps shut. In something I read (not sure where?) it said that Steve initially responded to one of the early "threatening" legal e-mails by saying something like "I've been told to let others handle this" which leads me to believe that he has been given legal advice to say nothing until it's in an official venue, etc. I can certainly appreciate that. JKR can issue a statement on her site because, let's face it, her resources are pretty deep and she's probably got hundreds of lawyers working on this and drafting things for her to release, whereas the other side is probably not in as fortunate a position.
Phelim, the books that you mention having come across before -- are they in the Harry Potter field, or others? I have seen some "encyclopedia" type things for other TV shows, movie series, etc., also.
Anna, I thought that was odd too -- I'm on the Lex about every day, and I never knew anything about the planned book, either.
Hollywand, you're so right -- unless you're the lawyer, there are few less profitable and fun ways to spend your time than wrapped up in a legal case. (Voice of experience here, trust me -- three years in one once... helping mom with another one now involving right-of-ways across property... aaaaarrrrghhhh Oh to have that time and money back...) In this situation, though, probably it won't affect JKR herself in that regard nearly as much as it will RDR and Steve. Like I said, her resources are pretty deep. She'll have "her people" handling everything for her, while they'll probably be waist-deep in grindylows and kicking hard.
The Harry Potter commercial empire has benefited plenty from the free Lexicon. -Chemyst
Excellent point, Chemyst -- very true. This is probably why most authors / artists are reluctant to step in and put a stop to fansites (like Gina mentioned earlier with Anne Rice - you can do it, but you have to be prepared to take something of a hit.) Do I think the HP series would've "survived" without an online fandom? Certainly! It's great reading which stands on its own. But anyone who says it would've become the phenomenon is has without the online fans would be, I think, kidding themselves. Now that the series is "over" and the big chunk of cash has already been made for the most part, perhaps JKR et. al. will see no further need to coddle fansites and maybe they will end up getting shut down. I hope not. And I hope I'm not being too cynical by thinking that it's not likely they would've been shut down before the phenomenon had been milked for all its worth.
I also agree that both sides have excellent points, both sides seem to me to have made some pretty big blunders, and now it's just a mess which probably could've and should've been avoided.
Denise P. - Nov 2, 2007 6:27 am (#19 of 421)
Add me to those who are disappointed that her "new book" is only going to six lucky friends and someone who has at least $62,000 to spend. I know the money is going to charity but why announce this when it is not being made available to the average fan? Am I alone in thinking that if this were made available, fans would have a combined sale of a lot to donate to charity? It is hard to say how much since the book has not sold yet.
wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2007 6:41 am (#20 of 421)
I realize that fans of the books would like JKR to have "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" made available to all, but I really think JKR is under no obligation to do so. Any creative person, regardless how famous their works, ought to have the right (legal and moral) to create personal works. To create 7 books, handmade, is a *lot* of loving work, which she did as unique and personal gifts. That she decided to do one extra for charity was her choice. Sure, fans wish they could see it and perhaps one day she'll have it published, but to do so will take away some of the unique qualities of her personal gifts. Even if she had never decided to put one of the books up for auction, you can be sure that eventually fans would learn of the existence of these other books and wish they could read them. Since people would eventually learn anyway, why not put one up for auction?
And, by the way, like any other creation of hers, she retains the right to publish it, so no recipient of the books can reproduce the book in any way, including making scans or photographs of the pages available to the public.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 7:02 am (#21 of 421)
Oh, I agree that she certainly has the right to create personal works and is under no obligation to share them. To me, it just feels rather disappointing to have the big announcement that she's doing so -- it's a bit of a slap in the face to the average-Joe fan who bought all her books and helped put her in the catbird seat, but isn't in the little "inner circle" that gets to have new information. (It's a feeling -- it's not logical. ) If she'd made them a gift of, say, a leather-bound collection of her personal notes and drawings that she'd done for the books that've already been written (ie: no new information), that would feel different to me. Still incredibly cool and very special to own (handwritten/hand-drawn by JKR? Awesome!) but not "keeping new stories" from us. Do you see what I mean? We may have found out about these books anyway, as you say, but then again, if she's giving them to truly personal friends, we may not have. (We shouldn't have, but perhaps I have my rosy spectacles on again...) Oh, I don't know.
Making the announcement publicly that she's giving these "special gifts" to these people makes it seem... well, frankly, somewhat less special. If she's going to write private stories to give as personal gifts, more power to her -- but I'd just as soon not know about it. And I don't need to know anything about her charitable contributions, either. I mean really, couldn't the second-richest woman in the UK make her own charity donation in whatever amount she feels appropriate, without holding a charity auction? And it doesn't really hold water to think "Well, she did this to make the opportunity available to any and all fans because technically anybody can bid on it," because clearly only one very very rich person will, and as you say, with copyrights etc. there will be a very limited number of people who get to read it.
To me, it feels sort of in the same vein of big pop celebrities who get all dressed up and make a big production of arriving in a luxury car with an entourage of security at a fancy public restaurant, and then complain that everyone's looking at them. Well, if they'd done it more low-key and kept it more private, maybe nobody would look! Or when they assuage their guilt at being multi-millionaires by having huge concerts or parties to benefit charities, that cost $10,000 per plate to attend so wow look how charitable they're being. I'm much more impressed with celebrities who do good things on the Q.T.
But then, maybe I'm just grumpy today.
Elanor - Nov 2, 2007 7:14 am (#22 of 421)
**Taps Madam Pince on the back and offers her some chocolate**
A thought just came to me... Maybe the Tales of Beedle the Bard will be in her encyclopaedia...
Bible Spice - Nov 2, 2007 7:17 am (#23 of 421)
The only people who are going to benefit from this ugly business is lawyers.
It sounds to me like two creative, hard-working people who have always liked each other have fallen under the spell of lawyers who don't really give a hoot about children in Roumania or fans or anybody else for that matter.
O, think of the *children*, Ms. Rowling! "O, think of the *fans*, Mr. VanderArk!" "But you've worked so hard, you deserve blah blah blah..." "Don't you worry your pretty little head. We'll take care of the whole thing, *just don't talk to each other.*"
Does anyone else think his whole thing would have been resolved if corporations and lawyers had just let these two intelligent people talk?
I'm disgusted by the whole thing.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 7:17 am (#24 of 421)
LOL, Elanor! That's a cheery thought! (((hugs))) Thanks for the chocolate!
Agreed 100%, Bible Spice.
(Poor Loopy. We do still love you, though -- honestly we do!)
Flo - Nov 2, 2007 7:18 am (#25 of 421)
!!! SPOILERS ABOUT THE "HALLOWEEN EGGS" !!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW
I hope I am posting in the appropriate thread. I have a pb with the "Halloween eggs" : I found the recipe on the RoR page (peeling of the wall paper), I clicked on the eggs after Peeves' passage on the main page, but when I clicked on the lacewing fly on the Trophy page, nothing happened... Wasn't the reward supposed to show up ? I don't know how I can have access to it know.
Thnks for your help
Liz Mann - Nov 2, 2007 7:38 am (#26 of 421)
Bible Spice - maybe the matter would have been better if lawyers hadn't been involved, like if J.K. had contacted Steve directly and they'd politely talked it through, rather than formal 'cease and desist' emails being sent.
Maybe Beedle will be in her encyclopedia. It's not coming out yet so it wouldn't take any of the specialness away from the presents.
I don't think the fansites will be shut down because they're not harming anyone. With the encyclopedia I think it's a question of principle and fairness - it's not really fair to make money from re-printing someone's work in a different format. That's why J.K. objects, I think, as well as the charity thing.
My biggest worry is that STEVE will shut down the Lexicon after this business, because he'll have gone off HP. It occured to me while I was in bed last night, and I was like, "Oh no! And I can't even post this thought on the forum until morning!"
I still don't quite know who to believe, since the law suit and RDR's response tell completely different versions of events, but I'm still inclined to support J.K. and WB. I'm treating it like a murder mystery and trying to think of motives. RDR books seem to be implying that J.K. and WB are doing this because Steve asked them to stop using the timeline. I'm not sure I believe that. I mean, I believe that they used the timeline (not that I've looked at it) but the RDR response says that they asked them to 'cease and desist', rather than filed a suit against them, so why couldn't WB just apologise, blame it on unnamed employees who were asked to compile the info for the DVD, that their bosses didn't know where they got it from, stop using the Lexicon one and ask Jo to complile one herself, or get a WB employee to do it? It's a bit of an extreme response to try and smear Steve and RDR's reputation.
RDR books is an independent publisher, not too big. You can see their motive for wanting this book out, it'll get them a shed-load of money because lots of people would have bought the book. As for Steve, since he hasn't spoken personally (probably, as someone above said, because he's been advised not to by the lawyers) we have no idea what he thinks of all this. For all we know he may be in favour of stopping the book but RDR doesn't want to. If he's signed all the contracts I don't know how much power he'd have to stop at this point in the proceedings, or if in publishing the book he's signed over all the rights to it to the publisher. If he doesn't want to stop publication, it's probably because he doesn't think it's fair.
Holly T. - Nov 2, 2007 7:43 am (#27 of 421)
I work in publishing so I have been following this from both sides, having worked with authors, publishers, and dealt with copyright issues.
Where I used to work one of the departments published an encyclopedia, which was (and still is) for sale as a printed volume. The same encyclopedia was then turned into an online encyclopedia, which has been updated with new articles that weren't in the print version. It is available online for free. Very often, when going to other web sites, I will find articles that I know are from this encyclopedia reprinted in full on another web site, without a credit line to the original author or to the printed volume or the web site encyclopedia. This is copyright infringement. They should give credit to the publisher, whether they are using as article from the online or print edition. Usually printing an entire article doesn't fall under fair use, that only applies to short excerpts. But, not having an enforcement division, the most we could do was to e-mail these sites as we found them and say please give us credit or provide a link to our web site and quit presenting this as your original material. Most of them are using the material for educational purposes, but they should still give credit. The only time it would become a problem that would lead to a lawsuit would be if we found out that someone was printing a book that they intended to sell using our material without permission. But we simply cannot police everything that is published, so I have no doubt that there is a book or books out there using material from this encyclopedia, we just don't know about any specifics. Ideally, the publisher of those books should have asked the authors to verify that all material used was either original or falls under fair use, complete with forms giving permission for any other material that was not the authors' own, but some publishers and authors just skip that step. They shouldn't, but they do.
I think the thing that bothers me most about this case is that no advance copy was given to JKR and her people for them to see what material was being used and in what format. Some of it might be fair use, but without seeing it you cannot judge.
wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2007 7:49 am (#28 of 421)
I think the thing that bothers me most about this case is that no advance copy was given to JKR and her people for them to see what material was being used and in what format. Some of it might be fair use, but without seeing it you cannot judge. (Holly)
That's a good point. And since JKR and her people have already thought that some things on the Lexicon online were too much just regurgitating her own work (even if they let it pass), they'd be especially concerned about this publication.
Denise P. - Nov 2, 2007 8:09 am (#29 of 421)
Oh, I agree that she certainly has the right to create personal works and is under no obligation to share them. To me, it just feels rather disappointing to have the big announcement that she's doing so -- it's a bit of a slap in the face to the average-Joe fan who bought all her books and helped put her in the catbird seat, but isn't in the little "inner circle" that gets to have new information.
Exactly Madam Pince! I absolutely agree she has the right to create personal works and do with them what she pleases. I just take issue with the "Nyah, Nyah, look what you don't get!" kinda vibe from putting it up starting at $62,000 but the money goes to charity. If the purpose is to raise money for charity, I think she could do that easily with publishing the book. Make exclusive book, sure, but don't announce to the fandom/world as a whole you are doing it. It makes it really look like she is thumbing her nose at everyone who doesn't have an extra $62,000 laying around. I guess I should not have got those extra bags of Halloween candy on sale yesterday
Of course, we should be very happy and glad she didn't do like another well known author did. He was in the middle of a series (still unfinished) when he decided to write a pre-series novel. Noooo! Finish the series and THEN go back to write the backstory. We already knew the main points, we didn't need the extra few hundred pages of details in the middle of an epic series.
Luna Logic - Nov 2, 2007 8:24 am (#30 of 421)
Liz Mann : My biggest worry is that STEVE will shut down the Lexicon after this business, because he'll have gone off HP. It occured to me while I was in bed last night, and I was like, "Oh no! And I can't even post this thought on the forum until morning!"
Exactly my thoughts of this morning when driving home after work...
Aren't we in a strange situation, like children caught into a conflictual divorce, not knowing even what will happen to them?
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 8:28 am (#31 of 421)
Oh, I agree that she certainly has the right to create personal works and is under no obligation to share them. To me, it just feels rather disappointing to have the big announcement that she's doing so -- it's a bit of a slap in the face to the average-Joe fan who bought all her books and helped put her in the catbird seat, but isn't in the little "inner circle" that gets to have new information. -Madam Pince
Yes, this sums up my feelings perfectly. I know some people feel we should just be grateful that she shared her HP world with us, but her (mainly) middle-class fans around the world have bought her pricey books and contributed to her success.
I guess I'm just feeling a bit Snapey today. (That's 'fair use', isn't it? )
ETA: I wish mommy and daddy would just make up!
Luna Logic - Nov 2, 2007 8:31 am (#32 of 421)
Edited by Nov 2, 2007 7:32 am
PeskyPixie : ETA: I wish mommy and daddy would just make up!
Alas! Maman and Papa put too much Lawyers between them!
Liz Mann - Nov 2, 2007 8:33 am (#33 of 421)
I wish mommy and daddy would just make up!
Here here! I still think that if Jo and Steve were to talk directly things could be resolved. Maybe we could encourage them in some way.
Luna Logic - Nov 2, 2007 9:12 am (#34 of 421)
Edited by Nov 2, 2007 8:12 am
But I think it too late. When lawyers are at work, the first thing they say to their clients is, do not talk to each other.
journeymom - Nov 2, 2007 9:16 am (#35 of 421)
The Harry Potter commercial empire has benefited plenty from the free Lexicon. -Chemyst
I almost feel traitorous asking, but can we quantify this? I love the lexicon, I love this forum. But I rather suspect that the average Lexicon visitor is already more invested in the HP world than the average reader/movie-goer.
I realize that fans of the books would like JKR to have "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" made available to all, but I really think JKR is under no obligation to do so. -Wynnleaf
Agreed, and I'm surprised that people are so disappointed that JKR isn't sharing. The tone of entitlement is notable.
It makes it really look like she is thumbing her nose at everyone who doesn't have an extra $62,000 laying around. --Denise
But is this really what Jo is thinking? It never occured to me that she might be thinking this.
Denise P. - Nov 2, 2007 9:22 am (#36 of 421)
No, I don't think she thinks that, I never said she did. I said it looks like she is thumbing her nose, not that she actually was. I don't think she ever though people would view it that way but judging comments I have read here and on other HP related sites, that is the way it is coming across.
Liz Mann - Nov 2, 2007 9:34 am (#37 of 421)
When lawyers are at work, the first thing they say to their clients is, do not talk to each other.
Does anyone else think that this rule makes things worse?
It might not be too late. That "don't talk to each other" thing is only advice, isn't it?
If we drafted an open letter or a petition asking that they talk to each other directly to try and peacefully resolve the matter, and asked Leaky, who is one of the Lexicon's partner sites, to advertise it, we probably wouldn't even need to send it off in the end because the people in question would see it. And even if they don't listen, at least we tried. The thing is that the book is due out this month, so the court case will probably be before then, which means we would have to move quickly.
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 10:17 am (#38 of 421)
re: JKR's decision about The Tales of Beedle the Bard
I think that the different personalities of different people just tend to rub each other the wrong way at times. For example, regarding the query about becoming JKR's penpal (on her website), JKR answers that she's very busy and her kids have to come first. Fans have millions of penpals to choose from while her children only have her for a mother. This is a straightforward, honest answer.
However, I can also see how a small child who idolizes JKR may be hurt by the bluntness of it. Personally, I'd go in the line of, 'I'm so busy now and there's such a large amount of mail due to the popularity of HP that I'd have to pick and choose among all of you and I'd hate to do that because I value you all. How about making penpals with one another?' or something like that. I wouldn't choose to incorporate my family life with my interaction with fans because, like it or not, many fans do have emotional attachment to their 'hero'.
Nevertheless, what JKR feels is honesty on her behalf may be interpreted differently by fans who happen to have different personalities than her.
It's all just a sticky mess right now.
journeymom - Nov 2, 2007 10:27 am (#39 of 421)
Nicely put, Pesky. And yes, it's a sad, sticky mess.
azi - Nov 2, 2007 10:33 am (#40 of 421)
Aren't we in a strange situation, like children caught into a conflictual divorce, not knowing even what will happen to them?
I was thinking that this morning, but didn't want to say anything in case it sounded silly (I mean, how can you compare this to a divorce?)! It's like being caught between two parents who are arguing and being forced to choose between them, even though you'd rather stay out of it. I myself find it difficult to stay neutral in conflict situations. I'm trying to wait for all the evidence, I really am, but I'm not fond of WB already so no matter whether the publisher was doing something illegal I am tempted to side with them because of the alternative being WB.
Maybe an out of court settlement could be reached still? Perhaps they could all get round a table and talk? Alas, the statements of both sides tell me they're gearing up for a court session.
You know, with all of this I haven't even considered trying out the new easter eggs! What do we get if we do them?
John Bumbledore - Nov 2, 2007 10:36 am (#41 of 421)
Speaking from my opinion:
I have taken a good deal of time to visit the Lexicon and see for my self how Lexicon Steve has used Jo's material. Readers guides: mostly are original prose for summary and significant character moments, the rest are listings of character names (appearing or mentioned) and short (usually) quotes that were assessed to be exceptional or important. Time lines: brief citations with original prose explaining time, date, order of placement, and some questions or conflicts.
Well, aside from the Bestiary, Wizard of the Month, and some character listings, these seem to be Steve's (or other noted page editors) original comments, summaries, and observations. I have not found any so called lengthy quotes. I have not read QA or FB so can not determine if the beast/monster descriptions are direct quotes or summaries in Steve's own words.
I agree with others who have suggested that RDR publications appears to have handled it poorly. If the characterization of the letters or emails from RDR are accurate, they lead me to believe they were not drafted or reviewed by council but only by someone who thought they new something about law.
There is, perhaps, another viewpoint on the time line; that being intellectual property rights. This recognizes the act of researching facts and assembling an understanding of those facts. However, I don't know if you can refer to details about fictional characters, times, dates, and places as "facts." I did not find Steve's time line and I have never seen it on a DVD either, but Jo does not give a time line only mentions events and characters. Any work by Steve to compile and assemble a discrete description of time and events is his intellectual property and communicates more meaning than was provided by the original author. Sounds like a critical review and fair use.
In short, I believe both sides are miss-characterizing the other party.
I agree with Chemyst, et al., who mention money; I also think this give a strong impression of corporate greed motivating the fray.
I also don't understand why Jo keeps "jingling her coins" as she "donates" to her charity. It reminds me of a story that cautions against false piety and overstated self-sacrifice.
I view the hp-lex.org website and the reported book edition "The Harry Potter Lexicon" to be to be detailed analysis of the series with critical commentary. I believe the words "Harry Potter," though (I am confident are) trade marked by WB are also use here as an adjective phrase. It would be impossible to clarify what the subject of this lexicon was without the use of those two words.
I would think adding the word "Unofficial" to the title would be sufficient to distinguish it from Jo's works.
I find her argument, that it would be confusing to fans and detracting or reducing proceeds from her planned encyclopedia to be unfounded.
Steve hasn't produced a fan fiction or derivative work here; he has provided a critical analysis and review of her works. It (the web site) contains many essays by various contributors that all appear to be original prose by those contributors that provides critical analysis. RDR is said to have stated that the book would be a printed edition of the web site. While the hp-lex.org web site does provide many (cited) quotes from Jo's works, in whole the web site contains substantial analysis and critical review.
Oops, I've let my opinion run on. Sorry about that.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 10:41 am (#42 of 421)
And a very excellent analysis it was, John Bumbledore! Fifty points to your house!
I almost feel traitorous asking, but can we quantify this? --journeymom
Chemyst quantified it in her next sentence I think -- she said she went out and bought the nice hardback books because she'd become "invested" as a fan via the Lex, rather than just being satisfied with the cheaper paperbacks.
I would add that I, too, have made additional purchases that I probably wouldn't have made without "the fandom." I would've never bothered with FB and QTTA certainly. Also lots of "non-book" things that are nevertheless licensed through WB and JKR and so I assume that means they make royalties from them. There's undoubtedly others like us -- I don't think we're the only two.
I wouldn't put it as a tone of "entitlement" although maybe that's how it's coming across. I'm with Denise that it's more a "don't rub it in" kind of feeling -- for me, anyway. I'm sure that's not how JKR intended it, but it's how it's coming across to a lot of us, apparently. On our own shoulders be it, I suppose.
I will say that it seems odd to me that Steve wouldn't have just run this idea past JKR long ago when the idea of a book first began to be tossed about. Wouldn't you think you'd just drop her a note "Hi, this is Lexicon Steve, I'm hoping to commit the Lexicon to paper and publish it -- do you have any thoughts on that?" I guess we don't know because he hasn't said anything -- perhaps he did. After all, he has had that "Open Letter to JKR" on the Lexicon for ages and ages and no response from her ever I don't think. Well, if he wanted to meet her face-to-face, this is one way of going about it! Not the best way, probably... Anyway, still more (((hugs))) to Steve because he probably needs them, and heck even a couple (((hugs))) to JKR also. (But none for Warner Bros. ) Wow, this is like a divorce....
I thought the Easter Eggs were just the old ones that we could now access anew or something? Hmmm, maybe not! I should go check it out instead of cramping my fingers all up typing so much...
John Bumbledore - Nov 2, 2007 10:56 am (#43 of 421)
Azi, et al., there are indeed two new easter eggs: I will give a brief description but not say how to do them.*
One is "early draft transcript" from the back side of "page of doodlings (page 2)" the page from whence the sorting hat came. The early draft transcripts depicts a scene where Nick wakes the Gryffindores for breakfast and introduces himself as the house ghost.
The other is "early draft workings" from the back of the "more idle jottings (page 1)" where the teachers names, genders, and subjects are listed. The "early draft workings" show a list of twelve subjects and posible instructor names (such as Enid [sic] Pettigrew).
I'll stop now an not say how to get them. Just that One is two parts, look to the RoR room page and the other in three parts start from the rubbish bin page. If you wish more details, see Belinda's complete guide, but you will have to find the link yourself.
I don't think anything here is a spoiler, if there is, may a host white it out or edit as is fitting.
*Edited to clearify what is here. Also will add that I did five a road sign type pointer to the correct starting portkeys.
Following this is are hidden hints (kind of brief riddle like words: One must be picky, the other persistant.)
azi - Nov 2, 2007 11:09 am (#44 of 421)
Applause for John! **claps hands** A lovely, well thought out statement. I agree that there don't seem to be the lengthy quotes on the Lexicon that WB claim. I thought the chapter summaries might be the main place for it to be found, but reading them they're speculating and analysing rather than quoting.
JKR did respond to that open letter, but didn't answer all the questions.
My, the Lexicon is running slow today! Is everyone trying to read it?
Edit - Thanks John!
Anna L. Black - Nov 2, 2007 11:14 am (#45 of 421)
Reagarding the easter eggs: John, where excatly is the lacewing fly leg? I spent quite a while witing for it to appear on the FSA, but it just didn't come... I've collected Peeves's egg, and I looked at the recipe near the door, but it just doesn't appear...
Azi, I just went back to the "What's new?" page on the Lexicon, just to find a big error "Internal Server Problem". For a second I thought somebody shut the site down.... It's working OK now, though. *Breathes in relief*
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 11:16 am (#46 of 421)
I'm sure it's getting gazillions of hits today. Rita Skeeterses and all...
The "response" by RDR Books says essentially what John Bumbledore noted -- that the Lexicon consists of tons of original essays, observations, etc. and is not just info lifted totally out of JKR's text.
wynnleaf - Nov 2, 2007 11:16 am (#47 of 421)
John, excellent comments. I agree that, at least as far as I can see, the Lexicon doesn't have an over use of quotes from the books. And a great deal of the book is very detailed material analysis that isn't available in the books without picking through it as Lexicon volunteers have done.
Right now, I don't see what would be copyright infringement if the book was basically the Lexicon on paper. Because the online Lexicon already has been more or less approved by JKR, the real question - if the book is basically the same as the online Lexicon -- is whether or not JKR has the right to approve the Lexicon online, but later disapprove the same material in print.
zelmia - Nov 2, 2007 11:20 am (#48 of 421)
But anyone who says [the Harry Potter series] would've become the phenomenon is has without the online fans would be, I think, kidding themselves.
Well, I guess I'm kidding myself then. Because I would say that it's precisely the opposite: that it's the fan sites like the Lexicon, the Leaky Cauldron, et al that wouldn't be the phenomena they are without the series having been so popular. People only go to those sites because they are so "into" the books.
I'm surprised that people are so disappointed that JKR isn't sharing [The Tales of Beedle the Bard]. The tone of entitlement is notable.
Indeed it is and I'm really disappointed by it. It is precisely this sense of entitlement that Jo and her representatives are attempting to quell.
I suppose one could argue either way about how much of the Lexicon is original critical commentary and/or analysis; but one thing is certain: that site would not exist if JKR hadn't written the series.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 11:29 am (#49 of 421)
...it's the fan sites like the Lexicon, the Leaky Cauldron, et al that wouldn't be the phenomena they are without the series having been so popular. -zelmia
Well, sure! None of the whole "Potter-verse" would exist without her having written the books! But how does that translate into that the supporting fandom made no contribution to the growing popularity of the books?
People don't only go to the sites because they're "so into" the books. I stumbled onto the Lexicon when I was trying to find out the release date for one of the movies, for example -- before I'd even started into the books (I think, anyway. Maybe I'd read one - I can't remember. Certainly it was before I got "into" them.)
You say it's a tone of entitlement because someone is disappointed to not have the ability to read more tales about a fictional world to which we've all become attached? Wow. I can't see that at all. Disappointment and entitlement are very different in my view.
When you hold a sirloin steak out in front of your dog's nose, let him see it and smell it, and then yank it away from him -- is he feeling entitled? or disappointed? or frustrated? or what? You worked and earned the money to buy the steak, so you can do whatever you want with it -- it's your steak and your privilege to keep it out of his reach. But whatever you call it, I'd call it not a very nice thing to do to the dog.
John Bumbledore - Nov 2, 2007 11:36 am (#50 of 421)
Madam Pince and Azi, your comments evoke the memory of a quote by Albus about earmufs. LOL Thank you. And I also (both a fan of Lexicon Steve et al and a fan of Jo's) find myself upset that a disagreement has occured between the two.
Does anyone know how to contact Dr. Phil? Would he be available to arbitrate or moderate a meeting between the two (preferably without the dementors-the corporate interest on both sides)?
I must admit that I was quickly frustrated in my search for these new scrap book awards. I wonder how Belinda found them.
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 11:54 am (#51 of 421)
Despite my more objective previous post, or perhaps because of it, I understand what Madam Pince feels.
Wouldn't a fan of Beethoven (I'm not comparing his genius with JKR, but bear with me please) desire to hear everything he's composed? Weren't Tolkien fans over themselves with excitement when The Children of Hurin was released? Don't film buffs anticipate their favourite director/actor's next film with excitement/nervousness?
Any fan is entitled to feel a bit of disappoint when they are told they do not have the privilege to experience their admired writer's/composer's/director's/actor's newest work. It stems from love and admiration, not necessarily entitlement (though that too exists to a certain extent), which is not a bad thing as it is the element which maintains an artist's popularity between works.
Personally, I'm now over The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I should just yank the dusty copies of Grimm and Andersen out of my library and re-learn real fairy tales. (I'm ashamed to admit that it really has been too long)
Liz Mann - Nov 2, 2007 12:03 pm (#52 of 421)
If the law suit is telling the truth, then they haven't even seen a copy of the book, so they don't really know what is in it. (Of course this means that they have to assume that there is something to hide.) They have just been told that it is an ink-and-paper version of the Lexicon, which means lists of characters and their descriptions, timelines, details on all the beasts etc, all of which are Jo's material rearranged into a different format. The encyclopedia probably does have analytical content too, but the former things are what is considered a problem.
It's a shame that it has come to this. If Steve had done some research on copyright, and then written to J.K. before writing the book and said, "Would this be okay?", then this could have been avoided. She probably would have said, "So long as this, this and this." Likewise, if there weren't so many lawyers in the case then this might have been settled peacefully out of court. Personally I think formal emails and letters always sound a little bit threatening, because you alway associate formality with carefully restrained anger. If it had been a phone call from J.K., or Christopher Little or someone, it might not have come to this. And of course the lawyers telling J.K. and Steve not to talk to each other, if indeed they are doing so, would also hinder things.
I still think we should at least try to do something. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. It's like if two friends are arguing, you want to try and keep the peace without taking sides.
Anna L. Black - Nov 2, 2007 12:10 pm (#53 of 421)
Liz, I'm with you
zelmia - Nov 2, 2007 12:17 pm (#54 of 421)
I don't understand that "dog" analogy. Am I supposed to be the dog?
In any event, I am responsible for feeding my dog, whatever I ultimately give him to eat. JKR is not responsible for feeding my intellect, my leisure time or my personal library. She is an artist with a work available for me to choose for those things if I wish.
I see the "entitlement" coming from that very notion: that we - we, private individuals, we the fans - contributed to her wealth and popularity so she owes us.
As always, this is my own opinion. Obviously you may not agree.
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 12:23 pm (#55 of 421)
Yes, zelmia, I think you've understood Madam Pince's 'dog' analogy correctly. However, I didn't get the impression that she meant for the analogy to carry into the relationship between a dog and its owner and the responsibilities such a relationship entails.
Personally, I just took it as an image of someone in power holding something someone wants just out of arm's reach. But that's just me.
legolas returns - Nov 2, 2007 12:37 pm (#56 of 421)
Does anyone else want to get a dirty great big time turner and go and break wizarding law? e.g go back and change things so that this mess never occured. Wish I could .
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 1:11 pm (#57 of 421)
PeskyPixie is understanding it more the way I meant it. Obviously I'm the dog if anybody is.
Clearly I don't think JKR is responsible for providing us with all our reading material like an owner is responsible for providing a dog's food -- that would be ludicrous. JKR "owes" us nothing other than the simple courtesy which we would likewise give her, and which any author owes their fans, or really any human owes another. As I've said, to me it felt like "rubbing our noses" in something we can't have, (or as PeskyPixie said - a person in power holding something just out of arm's reach) which - again, to me only - doesn't feel very nice. As I also said, I realize it's not logical -- it's my feeling. And I'm sure JKR didn't intend it that way. Someone else very astutely noted that different people feel things differently and see things through different lenses -- neither are wrong necessarily, just different. Obviously that's the case here. I was objecting to the phrase "entitlement," which to me carries a very negative association. But, as you say, that's just me! Let's drop it, shall we? There's enough word-haggling going on between JKR and Steve without us adding to it! We feel differently about the issue. ***dog puts paw up to shake***
journeymom - Nov 2, 2007 1:19 pm (#58 of 421)
Agreed, Madam P. You are so gracious. ***shakes***
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 1:27 pm (#59 of 421)
Someone else very astutely noted that different people feel things differently and see things through different lenses -- neither are wrong necessarily, just different. -Madam Pince
Nope, that was me too!
John Bumbledore - Nov 2, 2007 1:48 pm (#60 of 421)
They have just been told that it is an ink-and-paper version of the Lexicon, which means lists of characters and their descriptions, timelines, details on all the beasts etc, all of which are Jo's material rearrange into a different format. — Liz Mann
Liz, I see much analysis and review provided with the Lex pages about the major characters. But I would agree with you that the lists of lesser characters draw heavily from Jo's material with out much addition. I would point out that the list are much like a glossary in the larger work of the Harry Potter Lexicon and are a smaller part of the whole work. Indeed, the lesser characters have, in general, much less about them that can be analyzed. What I reviewed to get a volume comparison shows that any one "letter" page of the list of lesser characters is less text (character or word count) than the original, analytical contents included on one major character page.
My impression is that there is more analytic content than direct quotes. I acknowledge that I have not done a thorough, empirical count and only offer this as my observations from a random sampling.
I would also agree that the bestiary and the spell list would also have less analytical content.
Now about the hand written books I find myself disappointed but less so now as I reflect on the subject.
a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights, or by agreement through law. It can also refer, in a more casual sense to someone's belief that he/she is deserving of some particular reward or benefit. — Wikipedia
a feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realized — wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn I didn't hear anyone say we should get "The Tales" for free, only expressing disappointment that we will never have the opportunity to purchase or read these tales.
As for the dog analogy
Jo would be the one with the meat and all fans of the Harry Potter series could be the "dogs." Her friends received invitations to the dinner party (meat) but a big show was made in front of all us dogs that are kept well outside her yard. With one unsavory exception, any dog who had amassed (or inherited) enought wealth my by the one available ticket (with the purchase price-less action house fees-going to a charity).
Well, that does make it sound like a spetical. Sorry Jo.
I do wonder if we could contribute to an amicus brief or such. (spelling is not one of my strong points, especially latin).
I think I can say that we all enjoy the on-line HP Lexicon and this associated forum; And that we all enjoy Jo's HP novels and associated works. This really does fit well with the divorce analogy where all fans are the "children" who are disenfranchised from having a vote or voice in the argument between two people we feel fondly of and both to whom we are grateful.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 1:55 pm (#61 of 421)
Sorry, PeskyPixie! I couldn't recall who the "someone else" was, and I thought it was many many posts ago and I must admit to being too lazy to scroll back!
I thought of a better analogy but I promised to drop it... ***shakes paws with journeymom***
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 1:59 pm (#62 of 421)
No need to apologize Madam P. I found it funny that I could be so cool and objective in one post, then have my emotions churned up against my will after reading everyone else's posts and have an opinion in my next one!
btw, I'd love your opinion on a question I've posed on the Snape thread.
zelmia - Nov 2, 2007 5:00 pm (#63 of 421)
Okay this is the last thing I have to say about this whole issue:
I actually do love the Lexicon - despite how it may seem - and I admire the bejeezus out of everyone behind it. I admire all of you - and thank you - for your insights, as well as your joyful engaging in intelligent and lively debate.
But regardless of the actual amount of analysis/commentary versus regurgitated original text on the Lexicon site, one can't help but wonder why this sudden urgency to get the book version out there. Why, after all these years, is it suddenly so important to publish a hard-copy version?
I'm sorry, but to me it smacks just a bit of opportunism.
jo bot - Nov 2, 2007 5:52 pm (#64 of 421)
Why do you say that it 'smacks of opportunism'?
The series is complete, if not now (3 months after), when should he write one that wouldn't be percieved as opportunistic.
James Greenfield - Nov 2, 2007 7:37 pm (#65 of 421)
Would it be (1) possible, (2) useful, and/or (3) legal, for some or more of us fans/Lexicon users to write a note to both Jo and Steve expressing our dismay at the controversy/suit(s) and expressing our sincere wishes that they could settle it some other way? If so, could as many of us as possible sign it to give it more impact/force/relevance? And then deliver copies as printout of it to both parties and their legal representatives?
Or, am I too naive, and would we get embroiled in the mess?
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 9:37 pm (#66 of 421)
Personally, I think that's a sweet idea, but I'm guessing it would do nothing but make us feel good maybe. The suit's already been filed, the cat's out of the bag, the lawyers are running it now. Plus I'd question whether anything we'd write would actually get in front of JKR's eyeballs anyway -- I'm sure she gets so much fan mail that she has people to do that for her.
Zelmia, I would say it would've been more like "opportunism" to try to publish a book right before DH came out (like MuggleNet did) rather than now, right after. Riding the wave of pre-release hysteria, as it were, when fans were rabid for any possible clues. Now, eh. A lot of people are done with it. It seems to me that "Potter-mania" is definitely on the ebb. (In fact, a little teensy part of me wondered if this suit wasn't just an attempt on WB's/JKR's part to squeeze some more headlines, but I quickly shut that out of my brain...)
The other thought is that the Lexicon book couldn't possibly have been published prior to DH's release, if it was going to purport to be a "compleat" guide to the Harry Potter universe. They had to be able to get all the DH stuff in there, so they pretty much had to wait. Not much choice. (Other than to not do it at all, of course. )
vball man - Nov 2, 2007 9:51 pm (#67 of 421)
It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author's hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else's work, it does not become theirs to sell.
However much an individual claims to love...
Give me a break.
Yes, JKR may legally be in the right here, BUT - doing this also puts her squarely in SLYTHERIN ! !
Seems like she's giving old Goblin-Crusher-Fudge a run for his money.
Madam Pince - Nov 2, 2007 9:53 pm (#68 of 421)
Hi there vball man! Where've you been? Nothing like a good scandal to bring 'em out of the woodwork...
Chemyst - Nov 2, 2007 9:58 pm (#69 of 421)
The Harry Potter commercial empire has benefited plenty from the free Lexicon. -Chemyst
I almost feel traitorous asking, but can we quantify this? … I rather suspect that the average Lexicon visitor is already more invested in the HP world than the average reader/movie-goer. – journeymom
Madam Pince did an excellent job of picking this up. I gave you one personal anecdote– I can add one more and I can draw some more from general media coverage.
Left to myself, I'd have considered Harry an equal with Artemis Fowl: a pleasant kid's book. I read Artemis if and when it was convenient. Then they went back on the shelf and were nearly forgotten. The first four Potter books were the same way. They were fun, but nothing compelled me into fandom. Then someone mentioned the Lexicon. I'd never seen a book disassembled and analyzed like that before. The process was fascinating. The Lexicon was more fun than the books. After a few months, I started reading the forum, and after a few more months I decided I wanted to say stuff too. Without the lexicon, I would not be invested in the books.
The Harry Potter commercial empire has also benefited from much of the free media hype that has used the Lexicon as a reliable source. Major publications such as TIME magazine and USA Today newspaper have depended on the Lexicon as a source for their stories. Often, as one who had actually read the books, one could tell if a reporter had really read them or just relied on research. It was this media buzz, blizzard actually, that made fandom cool.
People only go to those sites because they are so "into" the books. –zelmia
Can you quantify that?
I would not be "into" these books were it not for the social opportunities of the fan sites. The books and the fan sites have a symbiotic relationship and neither would do as well if the other did not survive.
And anyway, if the BOOKS' copyright is being infringed, then why aren't Scholastic and Bloomsbury leading the lawsuit? A paper version of the Lexicon is not going to copy a movie.
zelmia - Nov 2, 2007 11:10 pm (#70 of 421)
Scholastic and Bloomsbury are not the copyright holders. They are only the publishers.
PeskyPixie - Nov 2, 2007 11:26 pm (#71 of 421)
What makes this book different from all of the other companion books out there? Why is JKR pinpointing this book in particular?
Luna Logic - Nov 3, 2007 12:12 am (#72 of 421)
Edited by Nov 2, 2007 11:15 pm
I think many many forumers in the world are indebted to the Lexicon without knowing it, because when somebody ask a question on a forum some other forumer may go to the Lexicon to answer. Then the first person can, later, give to another the same answer or knowledge, and the followers will not know where the answer came from.
I am not saying that other forumers don't seek the answers directly in the books ! That's my case, and I have bought the English versions of the first five books because of the Lexicon Forum, or because sharp questions in French forums, which needed the VO to answer precisely.
I also bought the Quidditch and Fabulous Beast in VO because of the Forums, to answer some questions of mine or others, and to seek for clues.
I have myself a taste for locations, geographical and architectural details, and only the Lexicon have been the one to give me those details (who is saying obsession ? ) See for example the beautiful plan of Hogwarts first floor I discovered recently on it...
Here I am not speaking about the legal side of the case (and I'm not speaking about money !)
But on the social (and affective?) side of it, I am under the impression (even before this sad event) that the Lexicon is suffering from a lack of recognition about the work done.
edited to change some words and add my personnal obsession with HP places!
Joanna Lupin - Nov 3, 2007 4:23 am (#73 of 421)
I think there would be no problem if RDR books/Steve had asked JKR's permission/given her advance copy. Why didn't they do it? How silly is that?
Eponine - Nov 3, 2007 4:51 am (#74 of 421)
Steve and RDR did ask her permission. And she said no. When the copyright holder tells you no, you don't ignore it. That's just begging for a big, fat lawsuit. And when RDR was asked for a copy to review, WB/JKR was told to print it off the internet, and if they didn't know how, to find someone who could.
I believe that the difference between this and other companion books is that this book will contain very little original material unlike the bestiary book which took the animals in the books that also appear in mythology and gave the history of the animals. Unlike the Mugglenet theories book, which theorized about the future of the books with original essays, not reorganized a bunch of facts.
Even if that's not the case and the book is to contain all the essays and artwork that appear on the Lexicon, the problem with this is that no one I know (and there are quite a few) who has contributed to the Lexicon in essay or art form has been asked if it is okay to include their work. Several of the essays on this site also appear on other fan sites. What makes those essays the property of the Lexicon and not the other sites they appear on? What makes those essays/artwork the property of anyone but the creator?
I think this entire thing has been extremely poorly handled by RDR (and possibly Steve) from the beginning. RDR is claiming that the book is being printed to bring this information to underprivileged children in impoverished nations. (Really? You think the children in war zones or those without food are going to have the money to buy this book) They claim this is about first amendment rights. No, this is not about first amendment rights AT ALL. This is about copyright and intellectual property.
Simply put, this information is NOT his property. You can claim these are facts and facts don't belong to anyone, but fictional facts DO belong to the creator/copyright holder. There was an incident with a Seinfeld trivia book that (I believe) legally determined this. This whole thing is unpleasant, but it's my opinion that Jo is just doing what she must to protect her own work. It's not because she's greedy or mean, but because it's what's right.
Potteraholic - Nov 3, 2007 4:57 am (#75 of 421)
RDR is claiming that the book is being printed to bring this information to underprivileged children in impoverished nations. (Really? You think the children in war zones or those without food are going to have the money to buy this book.) Eponine
I was wondering the same thing, too. This reason just struck me as an odd motivating factor when I read it off their website.
wynnleaf - Nov 3, 2007 5:09 am (#76 of 421)
I suggest reading RDR Book's statement, not reported in the news media that I could find, at their site:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Thom Matheson - Nov 3, 2007 6:39 am (#77 of 421)
Sorry Steve, You are wrong. Don't waste your time or resources on this. You will lose. This is not about JKR being greedy. She is exercising the same rights to protect her works as she has done in the past with all her other properties. This is no different, nor should you be told by others that it is. She is not acting out of character, she is protecting what is her's.
Liz Mann - Nov 3, 2007 12:32 pm (#78 of 421)
I agree with what James Greenfield said. In resposne to Madam Pince's question of whether it will get before J.K.'s eyes, the open letter that the Lexicon and Leaky created never got sent, she saw it online and answered some of the questions from it on her FAQ. So a letter might not even need to be sent if we got Leaky in on the act.
PeskyPixie - Nov 3, 2007 12:37 pm (#79 of 421)
Although rather sceptical by nature I'm certainly not opposed to Liz's idea. The worst that can happen is nothing, so why not try to make a difference? If someone takes initiative I'm for it.
Joanna Lupin - Nov 3, 2007 12:51 pm (#80 of 421)
Yeah, at least we will have done something. I'm for it, too.
Liz Mann - Nov 3, 2007 12:52 pm (#81 of 421)
Anybody else want to do it?
This is what I suggest:
1. Write a petition statement
2. Email Melissa Anelli of The Leaky Cauldron and ask if they'll help
3. If yes, create the petition and send Leaky the link
4. If no, turn the petition statement into a letter and send it to J.K. (through her agent rather than the fan address as it probably has a better chance of getting to her that way) and Steve.
The petition statement/letter should be supportive of both sides and present that as one of the reasons that we want them to work it out outside of court.
Madame Kulich - Nov 3, 2007 1:07 pm (#82 of 421)
Luna Logic - Nov 3, 2007 1:49 pm (#83 of 421)
I am supporting this idea. Without illusion but with heart!
Liz Mann - Nov 3, 2007 1:58 pm (#84 of 421)
I have a draft of a potential petition statement but I'm not too happy with it. Please feel free to input, both in wording and in content. As I've said before, if we're going to do this we have to move quickly as the law suit will likely be held before the planned publication date for the book, which is this month.
We the undersigned wish to encourage a peaceful end to the dispute over the print version of The Harry Potter Lexicon. As people who respect both J.K. Rowling and Steve Vander Ark we are distressed to see them in conflict, especially considering their past good opinions of each other. We hope that this matter can still be resolved without a law suit which could cause a rift that would cause sadness and disappointment on both sides, as well as with the rest of the fandom. We understand, from the details we have been given from the law suit, that unsuccessful attempts were made to resolve the matter without taking it to court. However, as we have been informed, these were made between lawyers and publishers, rather than between the authors. It is probable that J.K. Rowling and Steve Vander Ark have been advised not to talk to each other, as is standard, but we believe that direct conversation between them would be the best way to resolve the case, considering the admiration and respect that they have previously had for each other, and which we're sure neither party wishes to lose. Even if this does not work, at least every other option will have been tried before taking the matter to the courts.
Anna L. Black - Nov 3, 2007 2:12 pm (#85 of 421)
I'd rephrase one sentence (changes in blue): "We hope that this matter can still be resolved without a law suit which would only lead to a rift that would cause sadness and disappointment on both sides, as well as with the rest of the fandom."
I also think we should add something from the books to "illustrate" the point. Maybe something from this paragraph (the bold parts, mainly):
I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
I'm sure there are more relevant bits, but that was the only one I could think of at the moment
Liz Mann - Nov 3, 2007 2:15 pm (#86 of 421)
I like that idea, Anna. That would be a good thing to end with.
I've also added a little bit towards the beginning: As people who respect both J.K. Rowling and Steve Vander Ark, and do not wish to have to take sides, we are distressed to see them in conflict...
Mare - Nov 3, 2007 3:30 pm (#87 of 421)
About the petition, allthough a lovely one, I don't think it's such a good idea, we have two statements but no details what so ever. Basically we still have no clue what is going on behind all the legal mumbo jumbo. Butting in, even though it is ment well, specially coming from Lexicon members, might seem rude, or make things worse. I understand every-one is upset, but I think this is one of those times where we sit back and wait for the people involved to sort it out.
So... Jo's site: new info! I assume every-one has found the latest two easter eggs by now, so I have been waiting for it to pop up... but: Enid Pettigrew?
Was that supposed to be Peters mother or such? And how was that supposed to work out with well, the entire book 4. She joined voldemorts side while she thought that Sirius (believed to be his loyal follower) killed him. Or she knew that Peter was his supporter, but then Peter would have had no reason to hide with the Weasleys, he could have gone to her house! Any ideas?
valuereflection - Nov 3, 2007 3:33 pm (#88 of 421)
Two quotes from Leaky's updated story today, "Questions and Answers with WB and RDR," jumped out at me.
“RDR claims that Steve Vander Ark originally contacted J.K. Rowling, they think ‘via letters…over a period of months,’ to ask to work with her to create an encyclopedic resource, and was rebuffed, which is when he sought out a publisher for the Lexicon. He made no further contact to the J.K. Rowling camp.”
WB said: “The British publisher of the Lexicon book is cooperating with WB’s requests and engaging in a dialogue, but it isn’t the case in the U.S.”
Don’t those two statements contradict each other?
I read this to mean that WB has seen and approved a version of the Lexicon manuscript. After I read this news story on The Leaky Cauldron website, I looked up the book on amazon.co.uk: "Harry Potter Lexicon (Hardcover) by Steve Vander Ark." Methuen will publish it in Britain on November 5. I notice the cover art is different from RDR's.
It doesn't sound like Steve was rebuffed by WB and JKR in his efforts to publish the Lexicon anywhere, because they approved its publication in Britain with a different publisher than RDR. It sounds like JKR and WB object only to its publication by RDR books, because RDR books has been uncooperative in working together.
Did I misunderstand this?
Does anyone know more about Methuen’s publication of Steve’s book? I would like to buy the British version, even if it cost a little more than the American version. I'd like to see a printed version of the Lexicon, but I don't want give business to the RDR company because they have behaved unprofessionally.
EDIT: I cross-posted with Liz Mann.
Liz Mann - Nov 3, 2007 3:36 pm (#89 of 421)
Can you post a link to this new information? I can't find it.
Mare - perhaps you have a point, especially in light of valuereflection's post. It's more confusing than ever.
PeskyPixie - Nov 3, 2007 3:49 pm (#90 of 421)
Yes, I thought of the same ideas presented in Mare's post after posting my own thoughts and do agree with sitting back and letting events take their course.
Eponine - Nov 3, 2007 3:50 pm (#91 of 421)
The American publisher, RDR, would have made deals with foreign publishers, (such as whichever British publisher they're talking about in the article). What probably happened was RDR made a deal with nameless British publisher prior to this lawsuit. Now that the lawsuit has been filed, this nameless British publisher probably has no intention to publish this book AT ALL, and they are likely waiting to hear the results of the lawsuit instead of insisting that they're the ones who are right and WB and JKR are big meanie heads for not letting them print this book which is what the guy at RDR seems to be doing.
It looks like Enid Pettigrew was originally supposed to be a teacher. Maybe Jo just liked the name better for Peter and dropped her as a teacher. Do we know when this draft was written? It might not be any relation to Peter at all.
TwinklingBlueEyes - Nov 3, 2007 3:59 pm (#92 of 421)
Hmm, what Easter eggs?
legolas returns - Nov 3, 2007 4:00 pm (#93 of 421)
Easter eggs appeared on Halloween.
Mare - Nov 3, 2007 4:05 pm (#94 of 421)
Oh TBE, you missed it? There are two new goodies for your scrapbook to find!
I will post the solution in white for any one who wants to find them on their own: (PS Credit: Most of the text is copied from the message Belinda wrote in the What's new section of the Lexicon).Clues:
1) Clue: Hold your curser on the Sneakascope in the Rubbish Bin until it moves.
2)Clue: Switch of the lightswitch in the room of requirement and "scratch" the wall.
1)Draw a ? mark on the square blank paper on the Extra Stuff bulletin board.
2) Peel back the wallpaper next to the light switch by the Door for a new Potion recipe (egg and Lacewing Fly leg). Wait on the desk top for Peeves to knock over the pens, an egg appears. Click on it. Wait in the Fansites trophy case for a new Lacewing Fly to flit in and land on the FSA cup. Click on it.
valuereflection - Nov 3, 2007 4:59 pm (#95 of 421)
Would someone please post (in white, if that's appropriate) what the two new Scrapbook goodies were on Halloween? I usually use the text-only version of JKR's website, because her regular website is too difficult to work with for me and my computer. The new goodies aren't posted on her text-only version. They aren't posted on the Lexicon yet, either. But I'm interested in the new information. Would it be okay to share it here, if it isn't too laborious to copy or describe?
Mare - Nov 3, 2007 5:09 pm (#96 of 421)
Here are screenshots of the most important parts:
early draft transcript
early draft workings 1
early draft workings 2
They are just pictures so I hope they show up on your computer okay.
Denise P. - Nov 3, 2007 5:16 pm (#97 of 421)
Wow Mare, I had missed those when I went to the site. Thanks for posting them! How interesting that original Pettigrew was a teacher. I wonder if initially, Peter was related or she just liked the name and after dumping it as a teacher, recyled it to Peter.
TwinklingBlueEyes - Nov 3, 2007 5:33 pm (#98 of 421)
Thanks Mare. I have no idea how I missed it.
...toddles off reminding self to be awake when I read the forum...
valuereflection - Nov 3, 2007 5:41 pm (#99 of 421)
Eponine, thank you for the explanation about Methuen; I feel a bit less confused.
Mare, thank you much for the screenshots of the scrapbook items. It's nice to see what everyone is talking about.
jo bot - Nov 3, 2007 6:15 pm (#100 of 421)
About this whole lawsuit and the ensuing (no pun intended) controversy, I think that the vitriol written about from both sides on this thread is...suprising, actually.
I obviously know nothing of what's really going on, and I am not on anyone's side--Steve's or JKR's. I don't think that it is constructive to be accusing either one. I suppose I'll just watch, and maybe shake my head sadly a few times along the way.
But, I do hope that the on-line Lexicon and the Forum don't get shut down in the cross fire. I also wonder if the status of the websites and various groups (who were approved and granted access to the sanctum 'once upon a time') will change in the near or not so near future?
About the Halloween Eggs, I found that the Lacewing took forever to happen by. I had to go to bed and when I came back two days later, it took less than 5 minutes for it to show up. Maybe with all of the media attention from the lawsuit, her website was especially slow. Also, I am having difficulties opening a few of the RoR doors. The dates are 31/10/04, 20/12/04, 31/03/06, 12/21/06, 13/06/07. The rest are accessible to me.
PeskyPixie - Nov 3, 2007 6:18 pm (#101 of 421)
But, I do hope that the on-line Lexicon and the Forum don't get shut down in the cross fire. -jo bot
This is what I'm most worried about.
Eponine - Nov 3, 2007 6:58 pm (#102 of 421)
The WB lawyers have said that this lawsuit is not intended to affect any websites (or Wizard Rock!). So there's no danger of the Lexicon (or the forum) being shut down.
Personally, I find it quite amusing that they specifically mentioned wizard rock as not being in danger of getting shut down.
PeskyPixie - Nov 3, 2007 7:18 pm (#103 of 421)
Eponine - Nov 3, 2007 8:33 pm (#104 of 421)
There are a number of wizard rock bands including Harry and the Potters (their songs include "Hogwarts Tonsil Hockey Team," "My Teacher is a Werewolf," "The Missing Arm of Viktor Krum," and "In Which Draco Malfoy Cries Like a Baby" among others.
Other wizard rock bands are Draco and the Malfoys, The Remus Lupins, Ginny and the Weasleys and other similarly named bands.
Loopy Lupin - Nov 3, 2007 11:32 pm (#105 of 421)
The Lexicon would do well to issue some kind of a statement - even if it's just to say "We're not going to discuss the lawsuit using this venue. Please refrain from commenting about it."-- zelmia
This would be a wonderful sentiment for all of us to observe on this thread which is supposed to be dedicated to discussion of JKR's official site, particularly anything new. Her position was made quite clear on the site a few days ago and nothing new has been posted. That would seem to be "'nuf said" on the topic, at least on this thread. Indeed, if you really want to "help," you'd be doing Steve a favor in refraining from discussing the issue. Even if you don't care to help Steve in particular, I'd hope you'd care to keep the Forum around for all of us.
As many of you know, I've been practicing law for several years. Too be clear, I do not represent Steve or the Lexicon in any capacity. That being said, you really have to understand that lawyers advise litigants to refrain from communicating because statements by party to a case are pretty much admissible in evidence. It is impossible to anticipate how even the most seemingly innocent statement may have vast legal consequences. Thus, the proper advice is to "say nothing" while litigation is pending.
Similarly, none of us, not even a lawyer with years of experience, can anticipate what may or may not become relevant during the course of litigation. My point here is that the Forum is a related part of the Lexicon. It is simply not helpful for this "part" of the Lexicon to be planning unsolicited petitions, making arguably defamatory comments about JKR or Steve, or offering lay opinions about copyright law. While we all understand that we are offering our own opinions and not speaking on behalf of Steve or the Lexicon, it is not out of the realm of possibility that things said here could serve to harm Steve's position at a later time in ways that are not completely apparent at this point.
My further point here is that I highly doubt that Steve will shut down the Lexicon, at least not while litigation is pending. That would actually be contrary to his position. The Forum, however, is a different matter. If it continues to contain unnecessary discussion of an ongoing legal matter, I would not be entirely surprised if it would be the thing to be shut down. Frankly, if I were advising Steve right now, this would be a topic of conversation. That would truly be a shame and I hope everyone will heed this friendly suggestion to get back to discussing JKR's site itself, else we risk finding ourselves fully free to discuss JKR elsewhere.
So, how is everyone coming with the Hallowe'en eggs?
zelmia - Nov 3, 2007 11:48 pm (#106 of 421)
I can never find those things without cheating off somebody else's paper. (Thanks Mare!)
Elanor - Nov 4, 2007 12:49 am (#107 of 421)
Yes, many thanks Mare!
The mention of Enid Pettigrew is very interesting, the more because it seems to have been the name Jo was first thinking of giving to the Divination teacher.
I've searched a bit the internet for name meanings (askOxford.com) and it says this about Enid:
"Celtic name of uncertain derivation, borne by a virtuous character in the Arthurian romances, the long-suffering wife of Geraint. The name was revived in the second half of the 19th century, following Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1859), which contains the story of Geraint and Enid, in which Enid recovers her husband's trust by patience and loyalty after he has suspected her, wrongly, of infidelity.
Loyalty, treachery, are major elements of the series, I wonder if there was to be a subplot around Pettigrew's family that finally never went to be mentioned in the text.
I also find it interesting to learn that Pr Binns first name was Cuthbert (which means known"" and ""famous/bright"") and Pr Sinistra's Aurelia (from aureus: gold in Latin). I think that, on an another draft, there was the name Aurora Sinistra. There is a link between ""Aurelia"" and ""Aurora"" though as both can be linked to the Latin word for Gold. Aurora adds an ""aurore/dawn"" symbolism to it, which is (basically) the same as ""gold"" in alchemy (we have often commented the dawn/auror symbolism on the alchemy thread if anyone is interested in it ). "
Edit: I've searched the Lexicon (couldn't open it at first), and it does mention Aurora as the first name that was mentioned on early drafts for Pr Sinistra. On the same early draft (for PoA also), Binns was also named Cuthbert.
Potteraholic - Nov 4, 2007 1:07 am (#108 of 421)
Well said, Loopy Lupin. (post #105) I for one will not say one more word about it; I made a little remark a few posts earlier, but from now on, not a peep.
Luna Logic - Nov 4, 2007 1:27 am (#109 of 421)
Edited by Nov 4, 2007 12:29 am
Enid Pettigrew, wow ! Thanks, Mare
I immediately thought of Enid Blyton
Divination, then. I wonder if she would have been like our Sibyll Trelawney... And why "Enid Pettigrew(4) (6) (7)" ?
Elanor: I wonder if there was to be a subplot around Pettigrew's family that finally never went to be mentioned in the text. .... imagination galloping fast about possible subplots...
zelmia - Nov 4, 2007 1:57 am (#110 of 421)
Pettigrew is actually a fairly common name, though WE can't help but have associations with it. Do we think there is a connection to Peter? My tendency is to think not deliberately. But we on the Alchmey Thread have noticed several perhaps unconscious connections by our Author. I tend to think this might be another one, as evidenced by Elanor's insightful post.
I have to admit, I laughed at "Cuthbert". But such a name does fit our Prof. Binns, eh?
Merci encore, Elanor pour tous!
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