Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling says encyclopedia is ‘wholesale theft’ of her work

NEW YORK – J.K. Rowling testified before a packed courtroom in a lawsuit to block publication of a Harry Potter lexicon, telling a judge that the book amounts to a “wholesale theft” of nearly 20 years of her hard work.

“We all know I’ve made enough money. That’s absolutely not why I’m here,” Rowling told the judge in U.S. District Court.

The British author sued Michigan-based RDR Books last year to stop publication of Steven Vander Ark’s “Harry Potter Lexicon,” claiming copyright infringement. Vander Ark runs the popular Harry Potter Lexicon Web site, and RDR wants to publish a print version of the site and charge $24.95.

Rowling claims the book is nothing more than a rearrangement of her own material and told the judge it copied so much of her work that it amounted to plagiarism.

“I think it’s atrocious. I think it’s sloppy. I think there’s very little research,” she testified yesterday. “This book constitutes wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work.”

She also said she has recently started work on her own encyclopedia but does not expect to complete it for two to three years because she wants to do it right.

RDR’s lawyer, Anthony Falzone, has defended the lexicon as a reference guide, calling it a legitimate effort “to organize and discuss the complicated and very elaborate world of Harry Potter.” The small publisher is not contesting that the lexicon infringes upon Rowling’s copyright but argues that it is a fair use allowable by law for reference books.