A new suit was filed Wednesday by the author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. in federal courts in Manhattan against publisher Holy Blasphemy, which they hope to prove will infringe on Rowling’s intellectual property rights if it goes ahead with its plan to publish the 500+ page “Jesus Potter Harry Christ” on Dec. 21st., which explores the similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ and concludes that Jesus, like Harry, is a fictional character.
This would be the 2nd major suit filed against an author creating a spin-off of the Harry Potter franchise. The last was the federal court trial of 2007 instigated by Warner Bros and Rowling against Steve Vander Ark and RDR Books, who attempted to publish a print-based version of his popular online site www.hp-lexicon.org; a fan-created collection of essays and encyclopedic material on the Harry Potter universe, including lists of spells and potions found in the books, a catalog of magical creatures, and even a “who’s who in the wizarding world.”
The judge in that case sided with Rowling and forbade the publishing of the book, although Steve Vander Ark and RDR Books were only made to pay a marginal fine for copyright infringement. To come to its conclusion, the court applied the standard four-factor fair use test as set down by the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107, which considers
1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
As Rowling’s Lawyers have not yet seen a copy of “Jesus Potter Harry Christ”, however, the suit is based mainly on the title of the book and it is unclear whether Fair Use has been breached.
According to the publisher the book ” is not mainly about Harry Potter at all but about religious history, astrological mythology, esoteric symbolism, and the literary tradition of Jesus Christ. The title of this book merely refers to the central claim of this book, which is that Jesus Christ and Harry Potter have a lot in common; most exceptionally, the fact that they are both literary constructions. As an obviously fictitious literary character, however, Harry is a symbol that can help situate the literary elements in the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ into their original contexts.”
Holy Blasphemy also claimed that in the 140,000 word manuscript, “Jesus Potter Harry Christ” uses only a handful of passages quoted from Rowling’s actual books and deals more with the social conflict and similarities between Jesus Christ and Harry Potter; and moreover that the bulk of the text was about Christian history and comparative religion, which, unlike the “Harry Potter Lexicon”, is not likely a subject Rowling herself will pursue in future projects.
There are currently over a dozen books on the market that use the name “Harry Potter” in their titles, such as “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook”, “Harry Potter Film Wizardly” and “Charmed Knits: Projects for fans of Harry Potter” which capitalize on Rowling’s famous character but have not been authorized by the author. Here is a short list:
- Harry Potter Power by Julie Anne Sykley
- The Seeker’s Guide to Harry Potter by Geo Trevarthen
- Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger
- The Hidden Key to Harry Potter by John Granger
- Harry Potter and Torah by Dov Krulwich
- What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? by Connie Neal
- A Charmed Life: The Spirituality of Potterworld by Francis Bridger
- A Closer Look at Harry Potter by John Houghton
- Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life by Philip Plyming
- Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick by Richard Abanes
- Harry Potter’s Bookshelf by John Granger
- Does Harry Potter Tickle Sleeping Dragons? by Nancy Solon Villaluz
- How Harry Cast His Spell by John Granger
- The Wisdom of Harry Potter by Edmund Kern
- The Mystery of Harry Potter by Nancy Carpentier Brown
- The Gospel According To Harry Potter by Connie Neal
If these fall under “Fair Use” and hence are legally protected, it appears that, although controversial, Harry Potter Jesus Christ will as well.
***This is not a real news article; it’s a hypothetical reaction to the book, Jesus Potter Harry Christ, created for promotional purposes.**