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

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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3031 Points

suck for Jo

Posted by Horcruxalej on June 15, 2009, 03:07 PM report to moderator
3031 Points

i dont think they can win. Jo can afford the best lawyers there are

Posted by Horcruxalej on June 15, 2009, 03:10 PM report to moderator
1290 Points

Another lawsuit :(

Btw is it bad that I lol’d when I saw the solicitors are in Wagga Wagga?
Ravenclaw thoughts ftw

Posted by MuggleQueen on June 15, 2009, 03:13 PM report to moderator
804 Points

sounds totally pointless to me. what do they expect to achieve

Posted by potter2005 on June 15, 2009, 03:14 PM report to moderator
277 Points

Sounds like a desperate author trying to get attention and sell some copies of a failed book.

Posted by Kait on June 15, 2009, 03:17 PM report to moderator
598 Points

There are some similarities as described above, but they seem pretty superficial. Loads of ideas get recycled in fiction these days, intentionally or otherwise. These claims will probably be defeated, it has certainly been a long time since GoF came out!

Posted by Sally_Zaar on June 15, 2009, 03:18 PM report to moderator
75566 Points

justice for Jo!

Posted by Girlraven1 on June 15, 2009, 03:29 PM report to moderator
160 Points

I should be able to sue Jo because of the following claims

“This suit alleges that J.K. Rowling purposefully and with foreknowledge copied aspects of my store, where a “protagonist” does “something” that involves one or more human or non-human sentient beings, who are affected by the actions of other human or non-human sentient beings or the natural environment, in a manner that is entertaining to read about."

Where’s my cheque!!?!?!??!

Posted by Caracticus on June 15, 2009, 03:31 PM report to moderator
774 Points

this whole thing sounds like a desperate scam to make money off of the harry potter franchise.

Posted by iheartpink(ROAR) on June 15, 2009, 03:39 PM report to moderator
196 Points

I don’t see the point.

“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.”

That sounds like a HUGE exaggeration, in my opinion. First off, just because they both used half-human characters doesn’t make it plagiarism. That’s just stupid. Also, the second task isn’t the “main task” in the Goblet of Fire. That’s one exaggeration of their part. Human hostages is commonly used in every form of literature, so that also doesn’t make it direct plagiarism.

If “Willy the Wizard” actually had merpeople (which the statement seemed to have skated around, predictably), involved Willy growing gills and swimming under a black lake to find the hostages, and in the end helping everyone get out safely, I would believe it. But the idea of saving hostages from half-human/half-animal fantasy creatures isn’t enough to STOP SALES OF A HARRY POTTER BOOK. About a bathroom, I don’t see that either. Unless Willy had a GOLDEN EGG with a MERMAID CLUE in it, I don’t see how it’s similar at all.

This is all crazy. I hope Jo hires the best lawyers in the world and countersues the pants off of this guy.

Posted by Jaymie Brooks on June 15, 2009, 03:42 PM report to moderator
2799 Points

I agree with Kait, it’s just another desperate author. It’s also interesting that the place in Australia is called Wagga Wagga. Didn’t one of Lockheart’s books say that there was a werewolf that he supposedly defeated from Wagga Wagga? Just something that I wanted to point out.

Posted by 3 Weasley Twin (ROAR!) ~{WWW Employee}~ on June 15, 2009, 03:45 PM report to moderator
4630 Points

They could never take GoF off the shelves. Hello, Harry Potter protestors much? Anyway, I’m glad it didn’t go through.

Posted by Live Laugh Love Potter ♥ROAR♥ on June 15, 2009, 03:51 PM report to moderator
94 Points

waste of money…

Posted by Ecrof G on June 15, 2009, 03:52 PM report to moderator
58 Points

That guy should just get over the fact that Rowling obviously made the better books with a better thought out story!

Posted by AishMeist on June 15, 2009, 03:58 PM report to moderator
320 Points

JK isn’t the only one who has never heard of this person.

Posted by jeannemclROAR on June 15, 2009, 03:58 PM report to moderator
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