Tuesday, September 9, 2008

J. K. Rowling wins court case

So I was wrong... or she has better lawyers than the publisher does. I'm sure there are some longer stories out there, I'll link to them when I find them. I really hope there's a lot more to this case than there seems to be from the newspaper stories, because it seems to set a bad precedent for reference books.

Here is the article from the New York Times, which is more descriptive. Perhaps more interesting than the article itself is the 82 comments (as of 8:25 a.m.). The exerpt of the judge's decision gives a different reason for the final decision. Whereas the above article says the publisher's lawyers didn't make a sufficient case for "fair use," the NYT article states the judge decided he copied too much of the content. Perhaps the difference is when something is outright copied and when something is paraphrased. I'm not sure if a lexicon has to be entirely copied. But I am familiar with the online version and don't feel it's unreasonable. Just as he piggy-backed on J. K. Rowling, she piggy-backed on his online work to complete her later novels... But this opinion is based on the assumption that the print was identical to the online version, and I am not sure this is true. Here is another NYT article on the same topic.

I hope now the author will go back to mending the online version, which has fallen into disrepair in the past year. Many updates from book 7 haven't been entered, and half of the links are dead. This is an incredibly useful resource... and maybe I'll just send him $25 to show my appreciation.

On a side note, a very loud thunderstorm rolled through Williamsport at 6 a.m. When it was clear I couldn't sleep through it, I got up early. I was sure our library's basement would have water spouting through the walls, yet when I got here at 7:15, it was bone dry. Absolutely amazing. If it rains anywhere in the surrounding states, the carpet at least gets damp.

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