Friday, November 07, 2008

My article on "fair use" defense trial over "Harry Potter Lexicon"

In case you're interested in reading my recent article on the "Harry Potter Lexicon" case and the "fair use" defense, which appeared in the excellent e-commerce law publication, e-commerce law reports, it's online here (Copyright by e-commerce law reports, reprinted by permission)

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Unknown said...

Haven't read the article, yet. I wonder if you touched on the courts having recognized the Creative Commons licensing of works, and how this might impact future issues surrounding "fair use". Specifically, when the present copyright ends, the license continues into perpetuity. Interestingly, we see the RIAA/MPAA and content producers as well, deliberately avoiding this consideration as a strategy for maximizing profits. I have works sitting in the Internet Archives ( repository, mirrored by the Great Library of Alexandria. Should they become useful to some future generation of my family, there will be no question as to enforcement of such issues as "fair use", for the courts can look to the Creative Commons license provisions to determine the issue.

Anonymous said...

It seems to this man that the judge criticizes the author of the HPL for being a poor writer more than anything else insomuch as in the judge's opinion this author doesn't do as good a job as some other authors have managed when producing lexicons of their own regarding other works. In short, without documenting his own special expertise in this area, this judge has anointed himself as a literature critic extraordinaire.

It is clear to this man's common sense that the HPL author has performed a prodigious amount of original work to reorder nine volumes of work into a completely different and original form. This takes a very different sort of mind from that which produced the works originally to create a lexicon such as this. Such work should be applauded, not suppressed.

So the overall result of this is that the world is denied a useful creative expression that could have only enhanced their appreciation and enjoyment of the entire HP series of books. A work that JKR has yet to produce herself, or justify how fans of the series wouldn't buy her "encyclopedia" as well – if it ever comes out.

What this man most of all fails to see is how a web-site that has been allowed to exist with obvious approval by all the copyright holders involved here is any different in its expression from a printed book. Cost shouldn't be the deciding factor. If one is allowed, so should the other. In fact, how could JKR's "encyclopedia" ever compete with free – if that was the true issue here.

Since the lexicon cannot in any sense of the word replace the nine volumes of HP literature (i.e. you wouldn't buy the lexicon to avoid reading the books themselves) and there is no other competing work on the market, this man absolutely fails to understand how JKR, WB, or anyone else is damaged by it.

It will be interesting to see if JKR can possibly publish her own lexicon that doesn't infringe in the work from this author, since she has obviously admitted to being aware of it and using it in the past. Also if she can, on her own, produce a work as good as this one since she obviously fears it.

This man is left to wonder what would happen if it was turned into an e-book and simply given away on the site as a compendium of the site's content.

{The Common Man Speaking}