Friday, November 14, 2008

Transformative Use as Fair Use : Harry Potter Lexicon by RDR Books Enjoined from Publication because of Excessive Amount and Substantiality of Use

In Warner Bros. Entm’t Inc. v. RDR Books, 2008 WL 4126736 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 8, 2008), the court after a bench trial enjoined publication of the RDR's The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Material, finding in general that reference guides to fictional works can be transformative in nature and entitled to raise the fair use exception to copyright protection, but not in the instant case, where the amount and substantiality of the original Harry Potter material used in the RDR Lexicon was simply more than required for reference purposes, as the court wrote: "verbatim copying and close paraphrasing of language from the Harry Potter works".

See the website of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP for an analysis of the case by Lewis R. Clayton of the New York office, cochairman of the firm’s intellectual property litigation group, as assisted by associate Darren W. Johnson.

LawPundit posted about this case previously at:

The Harry Potter Legal Saga : To Whom Do the Characters Truly Belong? (May 4, 2008)

Harry Potter and the Cyclopians : A New Chapter by J.K. Rowling? The Case of the Century in Copyright and Trademark Law? (March 13, 2008)

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