J.K. Rowling to Testify in Copyright Case

Posted on March 28, 2008

J.K. Rowling will appear in court next month in New York to testify in the case over the fan site which wants to publish a Harry Potter encyclopedia for profit.

A New York Federal District Court Judge on Monday ordered the case to go to trial on April 14. A lawyer for RDR Books said Rowling was expected to appear to give evidence in the case.

"We asked for her and they said they would provide her," said lawyer David Hammer. "I would say it would be very unlikely that she would not appear," he added. The witness list needs to be handed to the judge in the case by April 4. The lawsuit, filed by Rowling and Warner Bros. in November, alleges "widespread misappropriation of Ms. Rowling's fictional characters and universe."

Rowling is seeking unspecified damages against RDR Books, which describes its Harry Potter Lexicon as "the most trusted reference source on Earth about the wonderful world of Harry Potter." An injunction is currently preventing the publishers from proceeding with sales or even marketing the book.

Rowling said last year the book threatens a similar reference guide she is planning to release. "I cannot, therefore, approve of 'companion books' or 'encyclopedias' that seek to preempt my definitive Potter reference book for their authors' own personal gain," she said in a statement.

This case is being closely watched by the publishing industry as well as owners of fan sites. Fan sites are well-tolerated by most authors, but when those sites start a for-profit publishing venture, most authors believe they have crossed the line into copyright infringement. When Jo testifies, it will be an absolute circus, count on it.

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