Harry Potter fan book halted


US:A US judge has halted publication of an unofficial encyclopedic companion to the popular Harry Potter book series in a copyright case author JK Rowling argued would threaten other writers.

Judge Robert Patterson in the US District Court in Manhattan wrote in his opinion that an independent US publisher, RDR Books, had "failed to establish an affirmative defence of fair use" and that publication of The Harry Potter Lexiconshould not proceed.

The ruling said Warner Brothers Entertainment and Rowling had established copyright infringement of the Harry Potter series of seven novels and two companion books, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages. The British author and Warner Bros, a subsidiary of Time Warner, sued RDR Books, which planned to publish the lexicon. The proposed book was a 400-page reference written by fan Steve Vander Ark on www.hp-lexicon.org

The ruling said that the encyclopedia could impact the market for Rowling's companion books.

Rowling said in a statement from her home in Edinburgh that she was "delighted".

"The proposed book took an enormous amount of my work and added virtually no original commentary of its own. Many books have been published which offer original insights into the world of Harry Potter. The Lexiconjust is not one of them," she said.

In April, Rowling, estimated by the Sunday Timesto be worth about $1 billion (€708 million), said she was outraged her work was considered fair game because it was popular.

At the same hearing Vander Ark, wearing glasses similar to Harry Potter's, said his book was intended to help readers and celebrate Rowling's work.

The judge awarded Warner Bros and Rowling the minimum damages of $750 for each of the seven novels about the boy wizard and $750 for each of the two companion books for a total of $6,750. - (Reuters)