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Scholastic sued for Harry Potter copyright infringement

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A trustee of the estate of the late author Adrian Jacobs filed a lawsuit against the US publisher of the Harry Potter series, Scholastic Inc, on Tuesday. He claimed that J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, had copied scenes from Jacob's novel, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, to the fourth novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The suit followed a similar case last year, in which the trustee sued the UK publisher of the series, Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Both of these cases are currently pending.

The complaint stated that in both books, the protagonists "are required to deduce the exact nature of the central task in the competition", and had done so in a bathroom. Both books also involved "rescuing hostages imprisoned by a community of half-human, half-animal creatures." The suit also claimed that Christopher Little, a literary agent of Rowling, was originally the literary agent of Jacobs. The claim was denied by Scholastic.

Scholastic called the claim "completely without merit". They pointed out that Rowling had said in February that she had never read Jacobs' book. The trustee said that the US was the world's largest foreign market, so they brought their first overseas action there. He demanded that all copies of the Harry Potter novel be destroyed, and all the profit made by the book given to him.


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