Harry Potter copyright update

Harry Potter Lexicon image, from the Lexicon websiteA little while ago on this blog, I asked Is Harry Potter making a Parody of Copyright Law? One of the points I made was that J.K. Rowling and her publishers had sought to prevent the publication of The Harry Potter Lexicon. Now, from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog comes news that they have succeeded in this endeavour:

After four months of deliberating, Judge Robert Patterson has ruled that the H.P. Lexicon infringes J.K. Rowling’s copyright in the Harry Potter series … and takes away the future market for a similar compendium that Rowling plans to write.

Here’s [pdf] the opinion.

Judge Patterson ruled in Rowling’s favor because the “Lexicon appropriates too much of Rowling’s creative work for its purposes as a reference guide.”

More legal information about the case is available here; and detailed background is available here. Legal Eagle on Skeptic Lawyer has an excellent discussion here; Madisonian has a similar analysis of why fair use defence in the case unsurprisingly failed; and Stanford CIS provide a take on the case from the perspective of losing counsel. See also House of Commons | IPKat here (Rowling wins; Murray loses) and here (sequel) | Laurence Kaye (not a David-and-Goliath case) | Marquette | OUT-Law (a UK court could reach a similar result) | TechnoLlama (traditional copyright owners vs fans generating content) | Wrote. According to the Irish Times, Rowling is “delighted” with the ruling. I wonder how many of her fans are?

Update (11 Sept 2008): From NPR:

Fred Von Lohmann, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discusses the nuances of copyright infringement and the intellectual property rights involved in the Harry Potter case.

Listen, and enjoy.