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just the internetz
They were producing a guide to the terms used in the books - something that doesn't actually exist already. So it's hardly as if they'd be buying these people's version rather than her version and therefore they by definition cannot be taking her money.
Indeed this is the very point. If she had written a reference guide and then they'd done it then it would be an infringement of copyright but I don't see how you can infringe copyright by writing a text which actually doesn't otherwise exist, especially given that (at least under British law) you cannot copyright an idea in itself.
The point is that actually shameless unofficial tie-ins have never at any point been illegal. Unscrupulous and money-grabbing perhaps but not illegal.
The fact she's thought she might do something in the future doesn't actually legally protect her in itself.
It's like if I told you a brilliant idea for a book but didn't write it. If you then went ahead and wrote it I'd actually have no legal leg to stand on.
which I guess is what the court made its decision on, and possibly the point where I disagree. To my mind JK Rowling has the copyright to the stories she wrote and the characters she created and that should protect her from people ripping off the story and characters, and creating future stories without her consent, but should not extend to people writing about the story she wrote and the characters she created.
But at the same time I think it raises questions about how much you're therefore allowed to discuss popular culture in published texts. Certainly unoffical books exist on various series (certainly Buffy and the Simpsons) discussing the shows in-depth or just providing episode guides. And I think those books should be allowed to exist.
I mean obviously it depends what the book contained and the extent to which it was whoever wrote it's original text but I do not think someone writing in their own words about the contents of another book should be classified as copyright infringement (if it just quotes Rowling throughout that's a different matter).
I'd agree that releasing an unofficial cash-in of a popular series is a tad money-grabbing potentially but I don't actually see why (again, assuming they've not ripped her wording off wholesale) it should actually be seen as an illegal infringement of copyright.
should be sued for "appalling taste in cash-in"
and how much of it is actually her words and how much of it is interpretation of her words.
with incredibly popular book series wins court case? Im not really sure how much of a precedence it creates. Most unofficial guides, i assume, are let be because they only help the cause of the actual writers er...make more money (or, more generously, help people understand their work). But is it not a bit cheeky to assume you have some right to make money from other peoples work? its not really a critical discussion or such a like, its just taking ideas from the book and putting them in a different order.
Also, however, the bit at the end where she says she "doesnt have the heart" to write the book and then donate the money to charity is a shocking pull on the heartstrings. Just donate some of your squillions anyway then...or write another book. whatever. dont pretend this has somehow crushed your soul to donate money.