Orson Scott Card’s written some interesting commentary on J.K. Rowling and her frivolous lawsuit against Steven Vander Ark and his Harry Potter reference book Lexicon.
If Steven Vander Ark, the author of Lexicon, had written fiction that he claimed was original, when it was actually a rearrangement of ideas taken from the Harry Potter books, then she'd have a case.
But Lexicon is intended only as a reference book for people who have already paid for their copies of Rowling's books. Even though the book is not scholarly, it certainly falls within the realm of scholarly comment.
Rowling's hypocrisy is so thick I can hardly breathe: Prior to the publication of each novel, there were books about them that were no more intrusive than Lexicon. I contributed to one of them, and there was no complaint about it from Rowling or her publishers because they knew perfectly well that these fan/scholar ancillary publication were great publicity and actually boosted sales.
But now the Harry Potter series is over, and Rowling claims that her "creative work" is being "decimated."
Of course, she doesn't claim that it's the Lexicon that is harming her "creative work" (who's she borrowing from this time?); it's the lawsuit itself! And since she chose to bring the suit, whose fault is it? If she had left Vander Ark alone to publish his little book and make his little bit of money, she wouldn't be distracted from her next novel.
When I first heard about Rowling’s lawsuit, I thought she was overreacting. I sure didn't see any copyright infringement by Vander Ark – especially since Rowling herself has praised Vander Ark’s website and claimed to have used it at times when writing her books.
For the record, if I ever write a series of books that are even a tenth as popular as the Harry Potter series, I’d be thrilled if someone wanted to write a reference guide or a scholarly work to complement it. Rowling should have been flattered that there was someone out there that cared enough to actually compile such a guide. It sounds like her success has gone to her head.
I’m probably one of the few people that has never read a single Harry Potter book. Card’s article, along with Rowling’s despicable behavior, makes me never want to even read any of them. (OK. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably give in once my kids express interest in reading them or want me to read the books out lout to them. But I will wait until then.)
You can read Card’s entire article here.
The judge is expected to rule on the case Friday. Stay tuned for updates.