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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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38 Points

It’s so disheartening to hear stuff like this! Ugh. Like Sally said above, tons of ideas get recycled in fiction. Tons of ideas get recycled in everything! Music, film, books, science…c’mon peeps! Stop trying to get Jo’s money!

Posted by dinahrose on June 16, 2009, 06:20 AM report to moderator
4208 Points

Poor Jo! This should not be happening to her again. Her stories are fresh and funny, and alos have lots of mystery. Her books are not based on a 39 page booklet either!

Posted by Fresca ROAR on June 16, 2009, 06:46 AM report to moderator
4208 Points

Poor Jo! This should not be happening to her again. Her stories are fresh and funny, and alos have lots of mystery. Her books are not based on a 39 page booklet either!

Posted by Fresca ROAR on June 16, 2009, 06:48 AM report to moderator
404 Points

I think Jo should just admit she stole every single idea in every HP book from every other book ever written about a boy wizard (or a girl witch) or a witch/wizard school or magical tasks envolving help from friends to complete or good vs evil or adult wizards/witches being in close proximity to teen (or younger) witches/wizards or magical beasts or magic in any form because surely it was and is impossible to come with anything new or on one’s own, In fact, there should be no further books written about anything because ALL ideas, plot lines, characters and place settings have most certainly been already written by someone somewhere. (In case you can’t tell, I am being 100
% sarcastic – this is absolutely stupid and wrong!!!!)

Posted by Sirius B (HeartMagic104) on June 16, 2009, 06:53 AM report to moderator
544 Points

“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.”

Oh, puh-lease…

Posted by Alatarielle on June 16, 2009, 06:59 AM report to moderator
1344 Points

Who the heck is this guy!? I’ve never even heard of this guy! He’s probably just doing this because he wants her money. Stupid.

Posted by SlytherinGirl911 [FTC] ^HISS^ on June 16, 2009, 07:02 AM report to moderator
4986 Points

This is utterly rediculous! I agree with everyone that since Harry was required to do “something” and was assisted by “someone” there’s no basis for a suit. Good job Bloomsbury sticking up for Jo. I also love how it took them 7 years to come up with the suit…gret job! If there really was any basis for the suit (which I don’t think there is), it should have come out right away in 2000. People are greedy and stupid! Growl.

Posted by gooseywizard on June 16, 2009, 07:08 AM report to moderator
923 Points

Sorry, but this seems weird. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been published for how long? The series (both book and film) has been popular for how long? To me, reading this feels like a way to make money off Jo’s back.

Am on Bloomsbury/JK Rowling side on this one!

Posted by PewterWolf on June 16, 2009, 07:29 AM report to moderator
196 Points

This is just ridiculous. How can that idiot even attempt to get a HARRY POTTER BOOK removed permanently from bookshelves? The idea of it all is impossible to comprehend. Not only that, but GoF was probably the second most important book of the series. If they had removed Chamber of Secrets, then that’s one thing, but there’s no way they can cover up Voldemort’s return and the introductions of a dozen new characters.

It’d be interesting if the court did rule against Jo. Harry Potter fans would protest like mad while ebay users would raid boostores and buy the remaining copies of GoF by the truckload. Then WB would probably get involved, because there would probably be a lawsuit against their billion-dollar movie after Adrian Jacobs’ money-hungry son succeeded in reaping the profits of the book.

But anyway, this guy is mad for trying to mess with Bloomsbury, Jo Rowling, Scholastic, and the Warner Brothers. Altogether, they are worth probably tens of billions of dollars, which is enough to buy the best defensive team on the planet.

Posted by Jaymie Brooks on June 16, 2009, 07:35 AM report to moderator

Will those of you blindly commenting please go read the article that is linked in the news story. Firstly, it is not “the author” bringing this case – it is his estate. He is dead, therefore clearly not trying to find fame and fortune as several have commented here. There is also more information that is being reported elsewhere, the main point being that it is alleged Christopher Little saw the manuscript at some point, before he agreed to represent the Harry Potter series.

Whether this has any foundation in law is another matter, but some of the comments here about “washed out authors trying to sell their worthless books” are just as frivolous as the lawsuit would appear to be.

Get the facts first before commenting.

Posted by MaraudingDon on June 16, 2009, 07:40 AM report to moderator
7524 Points

Wow, this case looks pretty pointless… I mean what is this supposed to achieve, its pretty obvious that JK is going to win this case. I just don’t get it. This is just going to create more attention to people reading the Harry Potter Series. Remember, what happended when Umbridge tried to ban the Quibbler in Harry Potter 5?

Posted by Bradyboy on June 16, 2009, 07:43 AM report to moderator
3703 Points

I only have one question: WHO is this?!

Geez. This case isn’t even worth it.

Posted by Christine on June 16, 2009, 07:56 AM report to moderator
2113 Points

Get a job instead of asking for money

Posted by selene21 (ROAR) on June 16, 2009, 08:02 AM report to moderator
1925 Points

What are the chances they will take hp off the shelves. But it must be impossible to be completely Original as a author. Anyone read this book?

Posted by Parkinsonpansy on June 16, 2009, 08:09 AM report to moderator
13596 Points

Fantasy themes (as in solving riddles or going through mazes) date to pre-history. There is nothing new under the sun. Who knows? They may just want a lump some so they can move on.

Posted by Garden State Geek on June 16, 2009, 08:19 AM report to moderator
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