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A Friday Grab Bag

Friday, January 11, 2008, 15:04
This news item was posted in William Patry Archives category and has 0 Comments so far.

Two items from Canada are much in the news. The first is the Canadian Court of Appeals reversal, within 24 hours of oral argument, of the imposition by the Copyright Board of a levy of up to $75 on iPods. See here. (Congrats to Howard Knopf). Then, following up on an earlier posting, Avril Lavigne has confidentially settled her copyright dispute, see here. In the UK, after issuing the comprehensive follow-up to Gowers discussed in this blog two days ago, Lord Triesman has apparently abandoned the topic entirely, resigning his government position and taking a job as President of the Football Association, see here. He has a longstanding interest in the subject, as a player, referee, and coach. His appointment surprised many, especially those at Manchester United, who had expected one of their own to be appointed.

Back in the U.S., Professor Tim Wu has a piece on Slate about the Harry Potter Lexicon suit, here, in which he states:

Rowling is overstepping her bounds. She has confused the adaptations of a work, which she does own, with discussion of her work, which she doesn’t. Rowling owns both the original works themselves and any effort to adapt her book or characters to other media—films, computer games, and so on. Textually, the law gives her sway over any form in which her work may be “recast, transformed, or adapted.” But she does not own discussion of her work—book reviews, literary criticism, or the fan guides that she’s suing. The law has never allowed authors to exercise that much control over public discussion of their creations.

Unlike a Potter film or computer game, the authors of the Lexicon encyclopedia are not simply moving Potter to another medium. Their purpose, rather, is providing a reference guide with description and discussion, rather like a very long and detailed book review.

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