Friday, April 25, 2008

Parabasis: Total Intellectual Property Insanity (2 for 1 deal!):

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, a guy named Steven VanDer Ark is a big Harry Potter fan, so big that he created a comprehensive lexicon of the Harry Potterverse so detailed and well-organized that Rowling herself has consulted it in order to make sure she had the continuity of her world straight while writing the later novels in the series.  Well,  now the lexicon is set to be published and Rowling and Warner Brothers are suing.

Her claims on this one are nuts.  She claims that the lexicon lifts sections of the Harry Potter books without adding original thought or interpretation, but she herself has consulted it for her own purposes. This is becasue its added value is not in new information but rather in organization of the information. That's because it's a lexicon. He didn't claim her words or ideas were his own, he's written a tool to help others access the world she has created, one she herself finds useful but doesn't want distributed.

Far smarter for Rowling and Warner Brothers would've been to buy the rights for the Lexicon and distribute it themselves (with, if she wants, possible additions or reworking from Rowling).  They have the money to do so, rather than sue an independant press over this.. But because we have this nut-ball emphaiss on creative content as physical proprety, that kind of flexibility is unthinkable.  What matters to them is property rights, and the assertion of territory and power, rather than what might be best of the series, or readers, or even Rowling's legacy.

9:29 PM