Law prof Tim Wu has written a great article on JK Rowling's lawsuit against the fans who are publishing a commercial edition of the Harry Potter Lexicon website
, in which he explains, in his customary clear and engaging fashion, exactly why the law is not on Rowling's side here.
Unlike a Potter film or computer game, the authors of the Lexicon encyclopedia are not simply moving Potter to another medium. Their purpose, rather, is providing a reference guide with description and discussion, rather like a very long and detailed book review. Such guides have been around forever–centuries if you count the Bible, and more recently for complex works like the writings of Jorge Borges or The Lord of the Rings. As long as a guide does not copy the original work verbatim, it falls outside the category of "adaptation." And that's why it is largely unnecessary to discuss the more complex copyright doctrine of "fair use." Rowling's rights over the guide don't exist to begin with, so we don't need to go there.
After years of missteps, blunders and disasters in which Youtube users have been censored through spurious copyright claims or had their accounts deleted altogether, Google has announced an amazing, user-friendly new initiative though which it will fund the legal defense of Youtube creators who are censored by bad-faith copyright infringement claims.
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The Anne Frank Foundation — a Swiss nonprofit that supports children’s charities and provides a stipend to gentiles who hid Jews during WWII — has claimed that Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, is the legal co-author of her diaries, a move that will have the effect of extending copyright on the diaries to at least […]
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