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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

Noavatar-thumb
347 Points

that’s outrageous! Jealousy is such a fitly thing, and everyone already has the book! You can bet on it that most houses have a copy in their house, don’t bother silly people. Jo Rowling is the most achieved writer since William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, if you take a single penny she’s rightly achieved, then you’ll have SO many protestors fighting along side her. Take it from me, really do not bother.

Posted by HarryRichardsPotter on June 16, 2009, 05:14 AM report to moderator
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2906 Points

:)

Posted by gayle.marie [[ ROAR ]] on June 16, 2009, 05:16 AM report to moderator
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115 Points

Interestingly, there’s a children’s book called “Willy the Wizard” by Anthony Browne that is about chimps. I wonder if that author has came in contact with a similar lawsuit.

Posted by The Hollow on June 16, 2009, 05:19 AM report to moderator
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11307 Points

if this even makes it to court i will be sad. that other author has no life, stop grasping at straws. honestly.

Posted by GF_of_Seamus on June 16, 2009, 05:32 AM report to moderator
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257 Points

This person is just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

I mean, there’s no specific evidence that Jo copied off this guy, because, like this article said, ‘still without identifying any text said to copy Willy the Wizard’.

So, all these arguments their holding are useless!

Like, if this ‘Willy the Wizard’ is accompanied by three other competitors, one being Russian, and one being a girl who is part Veela, and if ‘Willy’ turns into a mer-person using some sort of herb, THEN we have a logical argument they can debate about.

Until they actually show evidence, this is just idiotic.

Posted by Sara Weasley on June 16, 2009, 05:33 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
179 Points

How sad that having a wonderful inspiring series also inspires such a remarkable lack of decency from fellow writers (I use this term very loosely) Talk about grasping at straws! These people need to concern themselves more with the quality of their own writing, rather than dig in at Jo, making false claims to justify their own failed works.

Posted by Lisee_Lu on June 16, 2009, 05:33 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
179 Points

How sad that having a wonderful inspiring series also inspires such a remarkable lack of decency from fellow writers (I use this term very loosely) Talk about grasping at straws! These people need to concern themselves more with the quality of their own writing, rather than dig in at Jo, making false claims to justify their own failed works.

Posted by Lisee_Lu on June 16, 2009, 05:34 AM report to moderator
Puppet_pals_yes_thumb
3238 Points

Not another lawsuit….Jo never heard of this series or this person. I don’t take her as a liar..

And… It took this person how long to make this allegation, it would make more sense if she filed it right after the book came out. BUT IT IS NOT LIKE SHE HASN’T HEARD OF JO. IF HER BOOKS WERE KNOW PEOPLE WOULD GO UP TO HER AND SAY “Hey, this Harry Potter plot is a lot like your book!”

Desperate author. ’nuff said.

Posted by phoenixes are in ravenclaw on June 16, 2009, 05:39 AM report to moderator
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257 Points

Also, if you look at the press release Sue linked, it says ‘It is also alleged that, at the time in trying to get his work published, Mr Jacobs sought the services of a literary agent, Christopher Little, who also later became Ms Rowling’s literary agent in the Harry Potter series.’

I know what Alleged means, but I got a creditable deffinition:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alleged
Alleged
1 : asserted to be true or to exist 2 : questionably true or of a specified kind : supposed, so-called 3 : accused but not proven or convicted

That’s another hole in the case.

Can you tell I’m 1) Reaaally mad, and 2) Took debate this year?

Posted by Sara Weasley on June 16, 2009, 05:47 AM report to moderator
Ravenclaw_thumb
51 Points

I agree with most people here.
Its just a washed out, never before seen author, trying to sell his worthless book by critisizing one othe te best selling authors in the world. Jo could buy every lawyer in the world, and bribe the jusge by 1 million. Seriously.

And who ever heard of him anyway?

And aswell, I mean, the Goblet of Fire is an award winning book, sellng over 1 million copies, It would destroy the industry, and fans, to take it down from the shelves.

But theres no need to worry.

Posted by Loony_Moony on June 16, 2009, 05:52 AM report to moderator
Metallica---ninja-star-poster-c10282759_thumb
879 Points

A waste of time if you ask me, all that money and time from Jo dedicated to win this perposterious suit… this will definitely delay her next book (assuming she’s writing one lol)

Posted by Ascendancy on June 16, 2009, 05:57 AM report to moderator
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147 Points

The fact that this assertion has been rejected by the courts in the past should be some indication of the merits of the suit.
Bloomsbury should recoup their legal fees from the Jacob’s estate.

Posted by realspace on June 16, 2009, 06:02 AM report to moderator
Budgie_thumb
12001 Points

There are a lot of literary wizard contests. A 36 page booklet could hardly contain enough for one chapter of the Harry Potter series.

Posted by budgie on June 16, 2009, 06:04 AM report to moderator
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6196 Points

Wow, this is so ridiculous. There’s no way Jo could possibly lose this one.

Posted by Professor Cassandra *~WBM~* on June 16, 2009, 06:20 AM report to moderator
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115 Points

Interestingly, there’s a children’s book called “Willy the Wizard” by Anthony Browne that is about chimps. I wonder if that author has came in contact with a similar lawsuit.

Posted by The Hollow on June 16, 2009, 06:20 AM report to moderator
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