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Stanford Law Prof Takes On 'Potter'

Publication Date: 
April 18, 2008
San Jose Mercury News
Lisa M. Krieger

Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone is quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story about the Harry Potter Lexicon case:

Defending a small-time book publisher from the legal titans of the Harry Potter empire, Stanford Law School professor Anthony Falzone did battle with the Warner Bros. media company Thursday in a New York City federal courtroom.

"I think we put on a strong and persuasive case," Falzone said. "Now it's in the judge's hands."


But Falzone - a former Bingham McCutchen litigator and heir apparent to Lawrence Lessig's Fair Use Project at Stanford - says it is important to fend off what the Fair Use Project believes is a growing effort by copyright holders to extend legal protection of their works.

Copyright protection was meant to foster creativity, not to stifle it, according to his Fair Use Project's Web site. Rowling is claiming a right that, if granted, will hurt everyone, they say.

Falzone, who is handling the case pro bono, doesn't believe that people should be allowed to steal the work of others. But he says that the law allows people to create something new based on someone else's art. That's the definition of "fair use" in copyright law. The same Stanford team successfully went up against the estate of Irish author James Joyce and its trustee, Stephen James Joyce, when they tried to block the use of the writer's material in a book by Stanford English Professor Carol Shloss.