Harry Potter vs Willie the Wizard

It seems that the world just can't be happy for J.K. Rowling these days. After all, she's not only famous, she's also fabulously wealthy, happily married and mother of two. Or is it three now?

And now that she isn't putting out any more Harry Potter books, what have we to look forward to? Plus, she wrote that pesky little epilogue at the end of Book 7 (something for which I will never forgive her, because it was just downright bad writing and bad storywriting), but that means that no one else (save Warner Brothers, of course) will be able to make money off of her fantastic story creation.

...Or will they? I guess the mysterious "they" are going to try, this time in the form of the estate of deceased British author Adrian Jacobs. The claim is that Rowling stole huge chunks of text from Jacobs' own wizard book, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, No.1 - Livid Land. It turns out this is actually related to a previous lawsuit drawn up by the same estate; they have now added No. 1 to the suit as they were unclear on whether or not it would be eligible before (copyright law is fickle, I take it).

Rowling denies the claims, arguing that she has never read Jacobs' books and had not even heard of them until the initial lawsuit was filed in 2004.

Over at Editorial Anonymous, they were kind enough to offer some words of comfort for those of us marveling at this odd state of affairs:
One of the lessons of working retail or waiting tables or reading the slush or being a bestselling author or in any way coming in contact with a wide range of the public is this: there are CRAZY people out there. Freelance wackos. Earnestly delusional lunatics. Vicious looneys.

Sure, there are plenty of just mildly wacky yahoos, and sometimes they're even published authors. But you want to be careful about the public at large and how much of their attention you draw, because this kind of flagrant money-grubbing can be the result.
Maybe a bit harsh.

They then went on to very helpfully post some of the original text from Willie the Wizard:

Willy sat in Ali Baba’s chair and was frequenctized into vision acute, now receiving clarity waves from the Ruby Tower.
Kentucky set the scene for the polo feast. A green green carpet appeared like a field in the sky, and the audience was enthralled as the mini polo ponies careered back and forth with their Jockies at breakneck velocity around the entire carpet lawn. … Duke plied them with the local coconut juice which spiced and blended with Bay pineapple juice, caressed their lovely day.
In Willy’s laboratory, Wizard Cricket demonstrated how a mixture’ of grounded nicket paste and paleberry juice applied gently on the eyebrows of an Aussie guinea pig would bring a marked change of appearance. Willy suffered the mixture and clumsily knocked the contents of the texture into the berry juice paste and ! The guinea pig became a winking wongo - a wonderful little chap, a cousin to the Dutch Tree Squirrels.
It was specially intimate between them and had provoked some envy as its sweet success for silent discourse. Sitting in the cove, Willy sniffed deeply and drew into his mind Breathair Oxy-Zone. He had been taught the trick by Master Wizard Onlywheness who had been blessed by Guardian Saint Lovely Lucinda. Onlywheness had shown Willy how to breathe and on outward breath to sound silent messages. It was a question of nose muscle control and delicate lacquering of the air with thought pellets. Willy concentrated hard. He was rusty for he hadn’t drawn on this secret power for decades but his patience was prized.

I think I'm going to have to venture out on a limb here and say that Harry Potter is approximately 1,265 times better than the above, but then again, I've been reading HP since book one arrived for Christmas one year when I was about 10, so I might be biased.

It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit turns out, or if the lawsuit is ever settled, or, if the lawsuit is settled, whether anyone will still be paying attention to it...


  1. I'm going to jump in here with my applicable knowledge of intellectual property law and say that when filing a lawsuit like this, it is the plaintiff's responsibility to prove the case (as opposed to the defendant's job to disprove it). As such, the first step in establishing copyright infringement is to prove access. If Willie the Wizard's estate can't prove that J.K. Rowling had an opportunity to read or be exposed to Willie the Wizard, they have no case.

    On a separate note, are those passages provided supposed to be exemplifying the similarities that the estate is providing as proof of infringement? Because I'm not seeing it...

  2. Based on what excerpts of Willie the Wizard i see no similarities. The Goblet of Fire barely no new information except for the triwizarding tournament. Most of the props used in the competitions have been mentioned in other books including Dragons(Norbert), monsters in the maze, and mermaids in the lake. If you ask me people are just so desperate for money these days they are willing to make any allegation that they think can make them money. Then again all my fact could be clouded by the fact i have read all of the Harry Potter books and find them to be one of the best series i have read.


Thanks for stopping by!