back to article Harry Potter Lexicon published after judgment-guided edit

A new version of the Harry Potter companion book at the centre of a US intellectual property court case has been published. Author Steve Vander Ark has stripped the book of the material a US judge objected to in order to make it publishable. Harry Potter author JK Rowling's representatives have welcomed the publication, saying …


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  1. Francis Fish

    Grow up Rowling

    Fan generated content is a huge compliment. It's not going to stop people buying her books. What the hell was the problem?

    Authors get far too precious about their creations sometimes.

  2. Hollerith

    I think it's a case of 'let one through, they all get through'

    Rowling seems fierce, but she knows her copyright is being ripped off here there and everywhere. She can't stop everything, but she can stop someone using her specific language (which is what is cited by the judge) to make money off her ideas. Fandom is one thing, someone cashing in on his enthusiasm another.

  3. ElFatbob

    RE: Francis Fish

    'What the hell was the problem?'

    The size of her slice of the potential pie.

  4. Ian Rogers

    @Grow up

    "Generated" is the key word. Fan-generated can be great (or apalling depending), but fan-copied is never good and that was the problem with the first version.

  5. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down


    Fan content on a website is one thing. Commercially publishing a book worldwide which appropriates the mythos while weaselling through the cracks in the law is not a huge compliment to anyone.

  6. Duncan Hothersall

    @ Francis Fish

    I think Rowling's problem was that this wasn't fan-generated content. It was her content, copied not by a fan but by a profiteering publishing company.

    The fact that she is happy that the amended book is being published speaks volumes. The previous version clearly just copied her work, which is indefensible.

  7. Justin White
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Grow up Rowling

    The "creations" have been replaced by big business...

    Paris, who freely shares her creations with everyone.

  8. DutchOven
    Paris Hilton

    One thing to say

    'shittybooks dissapearum'

    I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing about Harry fucking Potter.

    The first book is quite good (for a kids book). The rest get longer and fucking longer (particularly after book 3) with no discernable reason for this (other than the possibility that Rowling started to be paid by the word). The stories are slower paced and less interesting and by book 7, you'll need to hire a crane or mechanical lifter just to move it around.

    I wouldn't say any of them have very high literary values either. If I say that the style of prose is simple enough for 10 and 11 year olds to understand, all I mean is that it's functional. That's the best thing which can be said about it.

    Fair crack to Rowling though, she's got a lot of fans (but then again, so has James Blunt!)

    Paris, 'cos in a few years she might be clever enough to read Harry Potter all by herself.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems like...

    ...a well-reasoned decision, to me. You've got just as much right to protect your work if you're insanely popular as you do if you're a minnow - and Hollerith is right; if you're too easy-going, things get out of hand in a hurry. Just look at all the scumbags selling 'Calvin pissing on (whatever NASCAR number)' window stickers - fan art, my ass!

  10. Coalescence

    I'd rather..

    Slam my cock in a car door than endure any more Harry Fucking Potter

  11. Anonymous Coward


    The first book was "quite good (for a kids book)"?! Are your kids retarded or something? The first one was quite good for a book written *by* a kid, but it was badly written, derivative drivel for an adult to churn out.

    Rowling's pathetic gurning in the court really was embarrassing - she's raking it in for what were essentially a rehash of a bunch of ideas that have been done many times before and then rolls out the "that's a copy of my work" routine? Hypocrisy ahoy!

  12. EvilJason
    Thumb Down

    Fan made content is one thing but

    All this guy originally did was just ctrl-c and ctrl-v large segments of the books into his so called "guide" that's where jk had the problem.

    Its not as if he wrote a comprehensive guide to her books in his own words a lot of the words in the guide where letter for letter ripped straight from her books, that's why she and her publishers where pissed.

    If he had bothered to do the work and write a proper guide and not just do a copy and paste with comments then I would feel bad for him but he tried to make some quick cash from something that as originally an online guide where 50% and more of the writing was not his.

    I have no problem with anyone using a copyrighted material if the end use is for free and non derogatory. When you try to exploit it that's where i think the line is crossed.


  13. David Eddleman


    Does she care? Honestly, someone writing a piece that details like an encyclopedia of a world you create. As long as the guy's not trying to make something non-canon canon (writers hate this -- look at Games Workshop), it's not a big deal. She will be getting money off of it no doubt, as the Harry Potter series is copyrighted to hell and back and royalties will be paid out.

    For that matter, why are we caring? It's not like it's a book about an actual *good* fictional series. A book about a magical raccoon with an afro named Squiggles who shoots pixie dust out of his bunghole is more interesting. (Kudos if you get the reference.)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Spot the difference!

    Star wars.

    Harry Potter and the Philosphers Stone.

    Luke Skywalker is an orphan living with his uncle and aunt on the remote wilderness of Tatooine.

    Harry Potter is an orphan living with his uncle and aunt in the remote town of Suburbia.

    Luke is rescued from aliens by wise, bearded Ben Kenobi, who turns out to be a Jedi Knight.

    Harry is rescued from Muggles by wise, bearded hagrid, who turns out to be a wizard.

    Ben reveals to Luke that Lukes father was also a Jedi knight, and was the best pilot he had ever seen.

    Hagrid reveals to Harry that harry's father was also a wizard, and was the best Quidditch player he had ever seen.

    Luke is instructed on how to use the Jedi light sabre as he trains to become a Jedi Knight.

    Harry is also instructed in how to use a magic wand as he too trains to become a wizard.

    Luke has many adventures in the galaxy and makes new friends such as Hans Solo and Princess Leia.

    Harry has many adventures in Hogwarts and makes new friends such as Ron and Hermione.

    In the course of these adventures he distinguishes himself as a top X-wing pilot in the battle of the Death star, making a direct hit that secures the rebels victory against the forces of evil.

    In the course of these adventures he distinguishes himself as a top Quiddicth seeker in the Quidditch match, making a catch that secures the gryffindor victory against the forces of evil, Slytherin.

    Luke also sees off the threat of Darth Vader, who we all know murdered his uncle and aunt.

    Harry also sees off the threat of Lord Voldemort, who we all know murdered his parents.

    In the finale, Luke and his new friends recieve medals of valour.

    In the finale, Harry and his new friends win the house cup.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Greedy much?

    During the trial I got the impression from the transcripts that Rowling seemed to think she could control who mentions or critiques characters and plot lines she created in their own fiction. At the time, she also claimed that she was in the process of producing her own Lexicon and thought that the work by Van Der Whosit could detract from her own future work; which seems to me to be a huge stretch.

    Rowling should also give credit where credit is due. She didn't synthesize the dribble she writes from the ether, she copied many of the ideas from much better fiction by other fantasy authors and then used infantile language and insipidly weak plots to snare our intellectually weak youth.

    Should you wish to I think you should be able to write a book called _Harold Carpenter and The Flagon of Shite_. In all likelihood, there's little chance you'd produce anything worse than Rowling has done.

  16. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Oh Dear

    I really enjoyed reading Harry Potter. Lovely simple story lines.

    So I guess that makes me an imbecile. Oh well, back to the space elevator project.

  17. RW
    IT Angle

    Harry Potter: mediocre novels

    I've read the first four, and won't bother with the rest. Rowling has the bad habit of getting her plots in a tangle about 2/3 of the way in, then sorting the mess out by suddenly introducing some altogether new and unanticipated plot element: a sort of cutting-the-Gordian-Knot approach.

    In my books, the first page or chapter of a novel should foreshadow, however dimly, all that comes afterwards. When you get to the last page and discover the butler did it, you should go "oh, shit, why didn't I see that?"

    IT relevancy: none that I can see of.

  18. James Pickett

    Et tu?

    "I think you should be able to write a book called _Harold Carpenter and The Flagon of Shite_"

    So why don't you? I think you may find it's not quite as easy as it appears...

  19. Anonymous Coward


    "Slam my cock in a car door..."

    And I'm selling tickets to the big event as we speak....

    Odds are you won't be doing it more than once.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    What if...

    Tolkien had taken this line?

    Its just an index!

    Even if someone took the characters and wrote a "Harry Potter - the toddler years" book, you'd think with a cash pile that big she could show a little largesse.

  21. Graham Marsden

    Forget Rowling, try Pratchett

    Rowling writes childrens' books.

    Pratchett writes books for children.

    Read his latest, "Nation" (ostensibly "for children") and see how much it has to say to adults too.

  22. Jeffrey Nonken


    "I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing about Harry fucking Potter."

    Which no doubt is why you read this article, which you KNEW was about "Harry fucking Potter" because it's right there in the title, so that you could post a trollish flame. Consistency seems to be a problem here, you might consider working on that.

  23. jake Silver badge


    Or is that "giggles"?

    Whatever. People are sheep. They enjoy what they are told to enjoy.

  24. Hugh_Pym

    @AC - Spot the difference!

    Same could be said for Lord of the Rings, King Arthur and legends from dozens of ancient cultures everywhere, Rowling has said as much herself. You are not seriously trying to say that Star Wars is an original story and Harry Potter is a copy are you?

  25. Sam Radford
    Paris Hilton

    I'm 58

    I'm 58 and have written many technical books. I've tried to write novels and failed. I take my hat off to Joanne Rowling. I enjoyed every one of her "Harry Potter" books. I guess that makes me an alzheimers victim like somebody else we know?

    But I don't see what the quality of her writing has to do with the blatant plagiarism under discussion. Even if they were Noddy books, it's still plagiarism.

    P.H. because she probably enjoyed having somebody read her the Harry Potter books.

  26. Karl Dallas
    Thumb Up

    Good news

    I'm working on a lexicon of another popular author (think sky like a TV tuned to a vacant channel) which I put on hold pending the outcome of this case. Now it's back to the keyboard!

  27. Martin


    So you read all seven, to whine and complain about them?

    No-one FORCED you to read them - nor this article, come to that.

    I thought they were great. Not great literature, but great stories. I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought and devoured the last four books on the day they came out.

    Anything that gets kids reading that enthusiastically is fine by me.

  28. Hugh_Pym

    Harold Carpenter and The Flagon of Shite

    I believe you are thinking about Eragon aren't you?

  29. James Hughes

    What a lot of bitter people

    JKR writes some very popular books, make some money, tries to stop plagiarism, and gets slated by you lot (well, not all of you/us)

    Are you just upset you didn't do it first?

    As some else has said - instead of whinging about how 'bad' the books are, or how they are derivative/copies of something else, why don't you go and write an original novel, and see how far you get. Anything past page three would be a success I would think.

  30. Markie Dussard

    @James Hughes

    Couldn't agree more.

    The issue at stake has nothing to do with whether one "likes" the books, or whether JK Rowling has earned '"enough" money. It's about the general principle of attempting to pass off someone else's writing as your own work.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @ Coalescence

    "I'd rather..

    By Coalescence Posted Tuesday 3rd February 2009 17:25 GMT

    Slam my cock in a car door than endure any more Harry Fucking Potter"

    Wouldn't we all mate, wouldn't we all.

    In fact, I'd rather do that than be here pretending to work.

    I've got my coat, I'm off to the car park now.

  32. John Bayly
    Thumb Down

    I lost all respected for her when...

    she donated a million quid to the Labour party. Dopey woman didn't realise she could have blown it all on sex and drugs with no net difference to the country.

  33. David


    "Slam my cock in a car door..."

    Hey stupid, it ain't long enough. My Biro has a bigger tip !!

    Who cares if you don't like a book or books. The point here is that someone infringed an author's rights to the copyright of material published in their name. What would you do if that happened to you ? Ah..oh .. sorry, I forgot, you can't write !

    I bet you have a ring in your ear/nose ... sure as hell it ain't in your foreskin ... which we all already know is too small !!

  34. Paul

    I might be able to see her side

    if this wasn't the same loony who sued people to prevent them from reading her book before the official publication date.

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