ARL: Fair Use the Winner in “Harry Potter” Copyright Case
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) this week posted a thought-provoking paper by lawyer Jonathan Band lauding the recent decision by Judge Robert Patterson, who ruled in the high-profile “Harry Potter case” that school librarian Steven Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon infringed author J. K. Rowling’s copyright. “Although J. K. Rowling prevailed in the litigation,” Band writes, “the big winner actually was fair use.” The loser of course, was Vanderark and his Michigan-based publisher RDR, which was enjoined from publishing its encyclopedia. ARL officials said they found Patterson’s decision so thoughtful, they asked Band to write about its merits for librarians.
Fortunately for the Lexicon’s publisher, the Fair Use Project of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society participated in its defense,” he adds. “Public interest ‘law firms’ such as the Fair Use Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation play a critical role in leveling the copyright-litigation playing field to ensure that courts have the ability to consider the merits of assertions of the fair-use privilege.”