Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Plagiarism Suit Against Harry Potter and Scholastic




Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

The estate of Adrian Jacobs is going global in its pursuit of copyright infringement against J.K. Rowling and the publishers of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After suing Bloomsbury Plc in the U.K. last year and adding J.K. Rowling as a defendant in February, estate trustee Paul Allen filed a new suit this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against U.S. publisher Scholastic for copying plot elements from Jacobs’s The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, which was published in 1987. The Estate also claims that Rowling and Jacobs shared the same agent, Christopher Little, which Little has denied.

Scholastic spokesperson Kyle Good called the lawsuit “completely without merit” and cited a statement Rowling made in response to the Estate’s accusations earlier in the year: “The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004, and I had certainly never read the book. The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd.” As for Little, Good said, that that’s “simply untrue.”

In its response, Bloomsbury called Willy the Wizard “a very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which had very limited distribution. The central character of Willy The Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.”