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Suit Filed Against Bloomsbury Regarding "Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire;" Bloomsbury States Claim is "Without Merit"

Legal
Posted by: sue
June 15, 2009, 03:02 PM

Today the estate of late children's author Adrian Jacobs filed a suit against Bloomsbury Publishing citing copyright infringement involving Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. In a press release, the estate claims that "JK Rowling copied substantial parts of the work of the late Adrian Jacobs, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard-No 1 Livid Land, and that Bloomsbury in selling the books have infringed the Estate's copyright." The Bookseller also notes the estate is "seeking an injunction to prevent further sales of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and either damages or a share in the profits made by Bloomsbury. As noted by the Bookseller and the release, the claim says that "both books describe the adventures of a main character, 'Willy' in Jacobs' book and 'Harry Potter' in Rowling's, who are wizards, who compete in a wizard contest which they ultimately win. Both Willy and Harry are required to work out the exact nature of the main task of the contest which they both achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers, in order to discover how to rescue human hostages imprisoned by a community of half-human, half-animal fantasy creatures, 'the merpeople' in Harry Potter. "

Bloomsbury, UK publishers of the Harry Potter series, has now responded to this matter at length. In a response sent to Reuters and TLC, reps note "this
claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously." They continue:

The allegations of plagiarism made today, Monday 15 June 2009, by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue. JK Rowling had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his book Willy the Wizard until this claim was first made in 2004- almost seven years after the publication of the first book in the highly publicised Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and after the publication of the first five books in the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was written by JK Rowling before approaching Christopher Little in 1995 and the book was published in an essentially unaltered form by Bloomsbury in 1997.
Willy the Wizard is a very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which had very limited distribution. The central character of Willy the Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.

This claim was first made in 2004 by solicitors in London acting on behalf of Adrian Jacobs' son who was the representative of his father's estate and who lives in the United States. The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard.

Following correspondence between lawyers over a period of three months in 2004 rejecting this claim, no more was heard about the claim until a new set of solicitors put forward the claim on a significantly different basis four years later in 2008 (eleven years after the publication of the first Harry Potter book) but still without identifying any text said to copy Willy the Wizard. These lawyers have stated that they are acting on behalf of a firm of solicitors in Wagga Wagga, Australia and on behalf of a West Midlands property developer who was appointed in 2008 as Trustee of the Estate in order to bring this claim. The claim is now made in respect of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was published in 2000.

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197 Comments

Dailyprophet_thumb
759 Points

A completely unnecessary (and frankly, stupid) lawsuit. Whoever is defending that estate doesn’t stand a chance.

@MuggleQueen: No, it’s not bad that you lol’d when you read about Wagga Wagga. When I read it, I was like “OMG! Lockhart said he once defeated the Wagga Wagga Werewolf!!” Ravenclaws FTW!

Posted by Richie Gagen on June 16, 2009, 08:28 AM report to moderator
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6690 Points

willy the wizard?!! lmao that’s SAD…this is what happens when ppl WISH they had thought of HARRY POTTER…this is going nowhere, it is the lamest excuse for a lawsuit

Lightning_thumb
222 Points

not another one. they can’t possibly expect to win. and what they want is to stop the publication of GoF!! the nerve.. some people are so stupid. and adrian jacobs is dead. i bet he didn’t want to sue jk. and then the people who manage his stuff want to sue her now for money.

Posted by chaos35 on June 16, 2009, 09:11 AM report to moderator
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1642 Points

IDIOTS!!! They’re all jelaous of Jo! come on…there is nothing out there like Harry Potter. its unique! God bless Jo!

Posted by Matea on June 16, 2009, 09:31 AM report to moderator
001_thumb
7393 Points

Never heard of this Willy wizard. This is just another stupid and gready way for some to try to get a piece of somone elses hard work and deserved fame.Shame on them!

Posted by saffran { roar } on June 16, 2009, 09:44 AM report to moderator
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208 Points

They can’t win..!

Posted by Rita_Dumbledore94 on June 16, 2009, 09:59 AM report to moderator
P1010630_thumb
2417 Points

nonesense

Posted by Hagrid 713 (ROAR) on June 16, 2009, 10:00 AM report to moderator
Scrap_tiger_1879__thumb
61 Points

And people don’t understand if you say JKR’s not completely blessed to have brought us Harry -she’s constantly got a pain in the neck (or some even less convenient body part) caused by someone with an agenda. In this case the original author of Willy the Wizard has “gone on” -it’s not even the author complaining! This will sound a bit harsh, but I think it’s a case of a father with, perhaps, some talent, survived by a son with none who thinks there wasn’t enough in the will to suit his appetite. Perhaps he should consider working for a living. In any case, he’s not terribly bright-the lawyers would get any benfit here, not the estate, and not the greedy son. In the meantime, booksellers will raise the price of GOF in case someone’s silly enough to think they won’t sell any more. If you accept the premise of this case, you might as well say that anyone who writes about a witch or a wizard should be sued to death by the estates of Tolkien and L. Frank Baum -ridiculous!

Posted by CathrynOCamdentowne on June 16, 2009, 10:07 AM report to moderator
Rowena_thumb
2270 Points

Ok, those “extracts” from Willy the Wizard are ridiculous, and are in no way up the the standards of Jo’s writing. Clearly their website was set up in such a way to make it look like Jo copied a lot of concepts, but if you read the exerpts, such as the “Wizard Chess” one, you see that the section titles are misleading. It looks like this author created a world with wizards and so called everything in that world “wizard something.” The “wizard chess” just seems like a normal game of chess played between wizards – which, as we know, is very different fron Jo’s awesome violent Wizard Chess. I don’t think we should worry; the estate for “Willy the Wizard” clearly used titles and links on their site that sound like the Harry Potter world, but the parts from the stories are very different. And even if she were indirectly influenced by those books, her writing is far, far superior – it’s the WAY she tells these stories that we all love!

Jo and her lawyers are intelligent and have had to fight against this type of claim in the past; I’m sure they’re well prepared to deal with it again. But I do hope that people stop with the lawsuits; she just finished a beautiful decade-long series, and she deserves a break!

Posted by lumosshimmy {WBM!} on June 16, 2009, 10:08 AM report to moderator
B9ce557d1547686c_thumb
2573 Points

Sad attempt to draw monetary gains from a well known author, book series and publishing company. Countersue JKR! Maybe these nonsensical types of lawsuits will finally end! And by the way, a 36 page booklet vs. the building brick we know and love as GoF? Kind of a far stretch, don’t you think?

Posted by ErinM {Roar} on June 16, 2009, 10:16 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
395 Points

I just rolled my eyes. What can I say? It just seems ridiculous to me.


@ MuggleQueen: If it is, then I’m just as bad as you, LOL.

Posted by hufflepuff_86 [OTC] on June 16, 2009, 10:26 AM report to moderator
Scarff_copy_thumb
580 Points

nice try guys, but jo rowling had nothing nto do with that stupid willy the wizard booklet. it seems odd that harry potter is sucha huge phenomenon and they are just coming to realize the infringement now.whch year did GOF come out aain? because this claim was made WAY too lat, if it was 2004. thats when POA was in theatrs! now way, dude, no way ca they win this. its ludicrous.

Posted by weasleyalltheway(rrooaarr!) on June 16, 2009, 10:31 AM report to moderator
Poa_thumb
232 Points

^^ @lumoshimmy:
Exactly! I read some of the extracts (on this website that was created sometime last year) and they did everything they could to make it sound like it was related to Harry Potter. For example they used a sentence that went something like: “Willy once went to wizard college and took a course in Palermo…” Then, they used that same sentence to make two titles- one for “Wizard College” and a whole separate title for “Wizard Student Courses”.
Another example that really upsets me was where Willy sees the Wizard Duke Louis with two cockatoos perched on his head. “He could see the cockatoos but no head” – they used that quote and titled the column “Apparently Headless Aristocrat” clearly to make a reference to Nearly Headless Nick. So sometimes, these names don’t really have much text to back them up, but the TITLES may, unfortunately, try to put us in a bit of a panic. Must I go on? Each one of us could set up a logical explanation for all of these extracts!
Another example that made me explode was: “His strange face with a central eye above a roman nose looked at Willy‚Äôs left ear.” This extract was titled “Strange Eye Wizard” URRRRRGH! NO! Where does it say he has a strange eye??
Okay! Just one more thing: If you are writing about a magically community that lives in secret, (such as in Harry Potter) wouldn’t it make sense that these people also had their own government, hospitals, prisons, and any other buildings and shops containing and varying in anything you can possibly think of???? GAAHHH!
That is all.

Posted by Rumbleroar! on June 16, 2009, 10:44 AM report to moderator
15657683_thumb
791 Points

As far as I can see, the “Willy the Wizard” website was created with the deliberate intent to mislead people who aren’t deeply in-the-know about the Harry Potter series: the captions of the extracts from the aforementioned website are extremely misleading, and the similarities are just few (most probably both Rowling and Jacobs were inspired by the same fantasy and non-fantasy milestones: The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc.). No author in the world can escape influences. No book is entirely based on original ideas. And it will always be like this.

In my opinion this lawsuit is just a pretentious attempt at gaining some money/fame. And it will end up like the “Nancy Stouffer” lawsuit, with them desperately trying and trying to succeed in winning oer JKR.

Posted by Cellar Door [*SQUEE!*] on June 16, 2009, 10:54 AM report to moderator
Poa105_thumb
906 Points

Where do these people come from? Out of nowhere? How many years after GoF was published??

Posted by Lucilla{ROAR!!} on June 16, 2009, 11:37 AM report to moderator
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