Happy Anniversary Harry Potter!

Today is the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Harry Potter phenomenon.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published on this day in 1997, and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) were produced with regularity afterwards, eventually in some degree of step with the movies.

Author J. K. Rowling was to produce a number of Harry Potter related things later, but she also started a series that we hope continues about something unrelated to the world of wizardry and witchcraft, with the production of a series of books starting with The Casual Vacancy about a British detective and his very interesting assistant.

If you have not read these, read them now. If you have read the Harry Potter series, red it again now.

Comments

  1. #1 dean
    June 25, 2017

    It hardly seems possible that it was 20 years ago that I read this to our older son.

    By the way: typing Harry Potter in Facebook today results in a little “magic”.

  2. #2 L.Long
    June 26, 2017

    And as soon as they were condemned by the religious I knew they were well worth reading and watching the movies!

  3. #3 Wow
    June 26, 2017

    When JK closed down fan sites and fanfic, I knew she was not worth reading and not bother with the series.

    When I later learned of another author who had years before come up with a story about a boy who was orphaned by a wizard who lived in the real world with muggles (non magical people) and wizards (magical people), I knew that she was as venal and selfish as Disney taking other people’s work (see Kimba the White Lion).

  4. #4 L.Long
    June 26, 2017

    Well, Wow, where are the court cases for copyright violation? Theft? plagiarism? It don’t matter what anyone else wrote, as there is no such thing as a truly original idea! Every body steals from everyone else. And if this is so, what is the name of that 1st book? Then I can find it and judge for myself. I used the notes A-C-D-F in a song, do I owe the Beatles some money now?

  5. #5 Wow
    June 26, 2017

    Yeah, long, those do not make copyright infringement. You do not have to have a court case for infringement to take place. Cease and desist can make someone stop without going to court. And if you’re given a threatening letter by someone more powerful than you legally, you will give up trying. See also Samsung v Apple. In that case it helped that Apple were a Good American Company whilst Samsung were a foreign stealer. Apple even managed to get the POTUS on their side.

    Sorry.

    Have no clue what you intended to prove by asking, though.

    Oh, it’s theft or plagiarism for the Kimba case. For the JKR Larry Potter case, it’s the same “infringement” that JKR slammed shut fanfics and fan sites with.

  6. #6 Wow
    June 26, 2017

    “as there is no such thing as a truly original idea!”

    Not according to the powerful copyright cartels. Not according to the laws they lobbied and bribed to get in place.

  7. #7 L.Long
    June 26, 2017

    The copyright people can say what they like, I’ve seen & read the same basic plot lines over and over. As one author said, all plots are a ripe off of Shakespeare!

  8. #8 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    Well, yeah, they can. they can say “Make the law like this”. And it happens. The law then says what is copyright infringement. That’s how it works.

    And the Ancient Greek structure of storytelling is still irrelevant.

  9. #9 gingerbaker
    United States
    June 27, 2017

    “Have no clue what you intended to prove by asking, though.”

    He was trying to see if you could document the charges you leveled at JKR. AFAICT, you did not address that. 🙂

  10. #10 reader in residence
    Canada
    June 27, 2017

    And Shakespeare borrowed his plots from various Italian writers. Your point being?

  11. #11 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    So he couldn’t google? Two links will cause a post to go into moderation, so since I’ve already given Kimba the White Lion, and Larry Potter, what exactly are you asking to be provided? Do you want me to say “Google Larry Potter” and “Google Kimba the White Lion”? Maybe you want me to tell you to google JKR’s takedown of fansites?

    Am I dealing with adults or with people who would rather make work for others so that even if they lose they can feel vengeance has occurred by pissing about with others time?

    Is your contention that no such event has happened and it’s all fiction? Because if it isn’t, then you’re not wanting links to where these events occurred but details of how they relate. Which is a different question.

    But again if you make me run around with a whooshing of goalposts because you never bothered to say what the hell is wrong so it can be addressed, you get the sense of taking vengeance on me for not thinking the way you want me to. And that will, you think, take the sting off having lost an argument.

    As if losing an argument was somehow a real and valid wound rather than the way everyone gets from their current state of incorrect knowledge to a state of better understanding of reality. It’s called “the scientific method”. It’s coded up as basically “try and find out how you’re wrong” and not “try to get someone else to convince you you are wrong”.

  12. #12 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    “And Shakespeare borrowed his plots from various Italian writers. Your point being?”

    Since Shakespeare hasn’t been extending copyrights and shutting down fanfics (like, say, “A West Side Story”), your point is what?

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    June 27, 2017

    Wow, did I miss is or did you tell us of a specific book?

    I’m pretty sure that Kimba the Lion story is not about muggles and wizards.

    Are you sure this earlier work you imagine uses the term “Muggle?” Are you sure the idea of having both wizards and non wizards in the story is not a widelyused trop?

    What Wow is missing is this: There is almost no element in the Harry Potter books that is not done before over and over. A scarred youth (literally or figuratively), a dead mother (or parents), a young individual with lack of confidence but friends that both buttress him up and screw him over, clueless adults, unbeatable evil, etc. etc. … those elements are to be found in a double digit percentage of fiction world wide.

    Wizards, Witches, Elves, Goblins, Ghosts, Magic Wands, Dragons guarding treasure, etc. etc. … pretty much all of it … is directly taken from prior fantasy. Dementors resemble previous bad guys, werewolves, giants, vampires.

    That is the brilliance of Rowling. Every element, almost, is familar, yet the reader (the normal reader) has no problem reconstructing that world with Rowling’s rules, in modern times, with a particular and creative interface between the worlds, and an excellent series of storylines.

    Seriously, man. Now, please document your case of Rowling breaking the law as quickly as you can, briefly, with the name and reference to the work and related case law.

  14. #14 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    No Kimba the White Lion was Disney.(cf “Disney taking other people’s work (see Kimba the White Lion)”). So, yeah, I don’t think it’s about muggles either.

    Can you guess what Disney story that is about?

    Are you sure this earlier work you imagine uses the term “Muggle?”

    Yup. Also sure about Larry Potter. It’s being reprinted in the USA, not available in the UK, only imports. Not that I’m particularly interested in the book to buy it just to confirm the colophon.

    And, no, I’m not missing any of that BS, Greg. I DO know about the eternal hero (can’t remember the “proper name” for the term, something greek ish). Indeed the entire stuff is satirised by both Terry Pratchett with regards to Rincewind (the Discworld has reified every opposite. Knurd is to drunk as Rincewind is to The Eternal Hero, lampooned in Graig Shaw Gardner’s second series in the “Malady of Magics” world, and done seriously in Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion sagas (Elric, Prince Corum, et al).

    So, yes, I do know about those tropes.

    But see, when “Bored of the Rings” came out, it called the main character Frito *but was patently a piss-take of LotR*. When JK came up with Harry Potter instead of Larry Potter, it wasn’t a piss take, when she used muggles, it wasn’t an honest mistake, though it may have been forgetfulness.

    I could sort of forgive the problem, but she shut down several fan sites and sent C&Ds to fanfic because they used the same setting (London?!?!?!) and characters. “Because the names were her creation”. No, it wasn’t.

    If she’d asked that it was disclaimed as being officially part of JKR’s work and not endorsed (and she could therefore sell endorsement if she wanted some input, as she did with the film adaptations), then if she’d retorted to Nancy that she’d not taken inspiration for Harry’s name or the story from her and that “muggle” was either referencable as another term she got from elsewhere or acceptable because everyone has to run off almost identical stories, and this was hardly trying to piggy back off Nancy’s work, I could also have gone “Well, reasonable people can reach reasonable actions”.

    But by shutting down works related to HP because it was “her creation” rather kills the idea that she can just blithely ignore Nancy’s creation.

    Seriously. Google Larry Potter, Greg. Or are you too lazy to bother?

    You didn’t bother to check yourself before asking “Oh, did she really take the word muggle?!?!?”, did you. Despite the pointer you needed being there.

  15. #15 L.Long
    June 27, 2017

    Well Wow! As a side point, if JKR ‘stole’ this idea than its good that she did. As a broad idea they are similar, but there is a big difference between a kids book that is boring as hell, and a fast paced adventure, that is very well written!
    So ya JKR may well have taken the idea, but she also made it a lot better!

  16. #16 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    Oh dear.

    So it’s good because JKR did it. But she did it. Whether you claim it good or not.

    What about the fanfic sites closed down? Was it good if they do the same thing? JKR said not. Why not?

  17. #18 gingerbaker
    June 27, 2017

    According to wiki, it does not look good for the case that JKR stole her ideas from the author of the word “muggles” and “Larry Potter”. These elements do not relate very well to JKR use of terminology, and they were merely in self-published pamphlets which never sold a copy.

    Additionally, the author’s suit against JKR was dismissed with prejudice, and notes that the author lied in court and fraudulently changed text and dates of texts. Appeal was dismissed.: [from wikipedia]

    “In 1999, American author Nancy Kathleen Stouffer alleged copyright and trademark infringement by Rowling of her 1984 works The Legend of Rah and the Muggles (ISBN 1-58989-400-6) and Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly.[1] The primary basis for Stouffer’s case rested in her own purported invention of the word “Muggles”, the name of a race of mutant humanoids in The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, and Larry Potter, the title character of a series of activity booklets for children. Larry Potter, like Harry Potter, is a bespectacled boy with dark hair,[11] though he is not a character in The Legend of Rah and the Muggles.[12] Stouffer also drew a number of other comparisons, such as a castle on a lake, a receiving room and wooden doors.[11] Portions of Rah were originally published in booklet form by Ande Publishing Company in 1986, a company founded by Stouffer together with a group of friends and family.[13] Ande Publishing filed for bankruptcy in September 1987 without selling any of its booklets in the United States or elsewhere.[13] Rowling has stated that she first visited the United States in 1998.[14]

    Rowling, along with Scholastic Press (her American publisher) and Warner Bros. (holders of the series’ film rights), pre-empted Stouffer in 2002 with a suit of their own seeking a declaratory judgment that they had not infringed on any of Stouffer’s works. The court found in Rowling’s favour, granting summary judgment and holding that “no reasonable juror could find a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the two parties’ works”.[13] During the course of the trial, it was held that Rowling proved “by clear and convincing evidence, that Stouffer has perpetrated a fraud on the Court through her submission of fraudulent documents as well as through her untruthful testimony”,[13] including changing pages years after the fact to retroactively insert the word “muggle”.[13] Her case was dismissed with prejudice and she was fined $50,000 for her “pattern of intentional bad faith conduct” in relation to her employment of fraudulent submissions, along with being ordered to pay a portion of the plaintiffs’ legal fees.[13] Stouffer appealed the decision in 2004, but in 2005 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.[15] In 2006 she stated on her website that she was planning to republish her books and was entertaining the possibility of another lawsuit against Warner Bros., J. K. Rowling and Scholastic Press.[16]”

  18. #19 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    “Meh,”

    Fair enough. That’s your take on it.

    Two things

    1) How hard was it to find? Not very.
    2) The law doesn’t ascribe copyrights to works that are worth engaging in. See Gigli. Where not watching it caused the movie studios to start trying to ban phones from cinemas because people were texting friends waiting and saying “DO NOT WATCH”.

    I would be “meh” too if JKR had been similarly “meh” about fanfic.

    She wasn’t.

    Ergo my stance on her.

  19. #20 Wow
    June 27, 2017

    “These elements do not relate very well to JKR ”

    Yeah, right. Muggle is such a common place word.

    And Larry Potter practically the John Smith of the children’s entertainment world.

    The fact is that JKR had shitloads of cash and therefore got the justice she could afford.

    Much like, say, OJ Simpson.

  20. #21 gingerbaker
    June 27, 2017

    “Muggles” was the name of a race of mutant humanoids” in Stouffer’s pamphlet. Which sold zero copies, so it seems impossible JKR could have stolen it.

    I think “These elements do not relate very well to JKR ” is accurate, if not generous.

    Your O.J. reference seems way beyond the pale. Doubt if JKR was wearing Bruno Magli’s when she wrote the Harry Potter series.

  21. #22 Wow
    June 28, 2017

    ““Muggles” was the name of a race of mutant humanoids””

    Who looked after the orphan larry potter….

    ” in Stouffer’s pamphlet.”

    Oh dear. So childrens’ books are now “pamphlets”, ginge?

    “I think”

    No, not really.

    “Your O.J. reference seems way beyond the pale.”

    No. Not really. Pretty accurate.

    JK Rowling becomes richest British celebrity in the world | OK! Magazine

  22. #23 gingerbaker
    June 28, 2017

    “““Muggles” was the name of a race of mutant humanoids””

    Who looked after the orphan larry potter….”

    No. It’s right there in print from wiki. Larry Potter was not in any book that had the word “Muggles” [mutant humanoids] in it. Larry Potter was not a character in a novel – it was an “activity booklet”. Pamphlet was the wrong word.

    So, you have this story completely backward. Stouffer is a documented liar, perjurer, and legal opportunist looking to cash in off the brilliant work of JKR, a universally admired woman who has given away to charity most of that billion+ dollars her intellectual property was deservedly earned.

    And you, for some reason inexplicable to me, refuse to admit the plain evidence of your error, but stoop to mention JKR’s financial celebrity, as if that is trenchant to the discussion. You seem blinded by your resentment.

  23. #24 Wow
    June 28, 2017

    “Larry Potter was not in any book that had the word “Muggles” [mutant humanoids]”

    Neither did Harry Potter have any book with the word “Muggles” [mutant humanoids].

    X-Men has mutant humanoids.

    Larry Potter and Harry Potter books both have the word muggles in them, though.

    “Stouffer is a documented liar”

    And JKRowling is a documented greedy douchebag. I can make my claims “documented” too, ginge.

    “but stoop to mention JKR’s financial celebrity, as if that is trenchant to the discussion”

    It is.

    You get the justice you can afford. Just like OJ Simpson did. Got off the criminal charge and practically broke because of his high priced lawyers. Just like the lawyers JKR employed to get her off the hook.

  24. #25 gingerbaker
    June 30, 2017

    “Larry Potter and Harry Potter books both have the word muggles in them, though.”

    Umm… No. No, they don’t. Again – No.

    Is this why your handle is “Wow”?

    J/k – I have enjoyed many of your comments over the years. But on JKR, for whom I admit to unqualified admiration and perhaps a little bit more, you are hideously and irrevocably incorrect. It’s as if you have been enchanted by a Dementor.