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World of Harry Potter Lands In A Mugglesome Legal Matter

Publication Date: 
April 14, 2008
Source: 
Daily Journal
Author: 
Craig Anderson

Lecturer in Law and Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone is quoted in a Daily Journal story about the Harry Potter Lexicon copyright battle:

Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, who is representing RDR Books, said Rowling and Warner Bros., which own the movie rights to the series, are trying to abuse copyright law.

"Thirty years ago, I don't think any author would have had the gall to bring this claim," Falzone said in an interview at his Stanford office. "They have come to believe that copyright law gives them the right to absolute control."

Falzone said Rowling's lawsuit - if successful - would effectively eliminate an entire genre of books that act as reference guides to assist readers in their ability to understand and enjoy fictional books.

...

Falzone said it is unclear when Rowling plans to write a Harry Potter reference guide. "She may not get around to doing this for 10 years," he said.

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Falzone and Cendali each tapped academic experts to argue by affidavit whether the Lexicon qualifies as fair use.

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Falzone said Rowling's attorney and expert are holding the book to a scholarly standard it doesn't need to meet to qualify as fair use. He says the Lexicon, unlike the Twin Peaks book and other enjoined works, contains more than enough original commentary and reference information to pass the fair use test.

"Fundamentally, this is a reference guide that helps readers better understand and enjoy the Harry Potter books," he said.