Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plot Thickens

The case between Steven Vander Ark and J.K. Rowling is taking an interesting twist. He broke down on the stand yesterday and said he was concerned all along that he was infringing on her copyright. He said he was talked into it by the publisher.

I have been assuming (something I am often too quick to do) that the print encyclopedia will be the same as the online one. Perhaps it is not.

I think this case will have huge implications for other authors. The outcome is much bigger than even J.K. Rowling herself. I still think her claims are ridiculous, but perhaps the publishers have changed the lexicon to be something us bloggers are yet unfamiliar with.

An author from the Times of London wrote a brilliant brief editorial on how Rowling's words belong to the people now, the same way so many other words we use have come from past authors. At first I thought the copyright symbols scattered throughout the two paragraphs were a mistake since they didn't make any sense, but realized towards the end that the author was giving credit to so many words that were coined by others and now are general use. These words include besotted, zany, cyberspace, pig-headed, chortle, quark, and many others from a variety of famous and niche-famous authors of the past. Just like these other words, Harry Potter, muggle, horcruxes, and other words from the Harry Potter empire now belong to the people. This author feels J.K. Rowling is incredibly foolish to try to stop that.

An interesting new angle on this topic, and cleverly demonstrated!

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