Monday, May 5, 2008

OSC vs. JKR

Abel Keogh

Hats off to Orson Scott Card who blasts J.K. Rowling for her frivolous lawsuit against Steven Vander Ark and his Harry Potter reference book Lexicon. Card writes:

If Steven Vander Ark, the author of Lexicon, had written fiction that he claimed was original, when it was actually a rearrangement of ideas taken from the Harry Potter books, then she'd have a case.

But Lexicon is intended only as a reference book for people who have already paid for their copies of Rowling's books. Even though the book is not scholarly, it certainly falls within the realm of scholarly comment.

Rowling's hypocrisy is so thick I can hardly breathe: Prior to the publication of each novel, there were books about them that were no more intrusive than Lexicon. I contributed to one of them, and there was no complaint about it from Rowling or her publishers because they knew perfectly well that these fan/scholar ancillary publication were great publicity and actually boosted sales.

But now the Harry Potter series is over, and Rowling claims that her "creative work" is being "decimated."

Of course, she doesn't claim that it's the Lexicon that is harming her "creative work" (who's she borrowing from this time?); it's the lawsuit itself! And since she chose to bring the suit, whose fault is it? If she had left Vander Ark alone to publish his little book and make his little bit of money, she wouldn't be distracted from her next novel.


I encourage anyone to wants to see how baseless Rowling’s lawsuit is to read Card’s entire article here. You’ll also get a little insight into how original Rowling’s Harry Potter series actually is. It’s very revealing.

3 comments:

Gamila said...

Has OSC read the Lexicon book? Has he looked at it? Does he really know that if falls into the realm of scholarly commentary? OSC likes to shoot his mouth off, but I'm not convinced he is right. Even Steve Vander Ark has said that he's not sure if it falls under fair use copyright laws because he quotes so much from JKR books directly. I think that OSC calling JKR a hypocrite and witch is poor taste. Seriously, why should the man make money off of the universe that she created? There is hardly any scholarly commentary or essays in the book and that's the point of the case. Vader ark is not publishing a book of essays, but a book of quotes of copyright material. Don't believe everything OSC says because of standing in the writing community. The man's not a god. Go to the Leakycauldron.com and read what the trial manuscripts actually say. There are two valid sides to the case, which are both backed up precedents in copywrite laws.

Abel Keogh said...

Gamila,

Card’s commentary, as far as I can tell, is based on the trail’s transcript. After reading Rolwing’s testimony on the stand (I found a copy of the transcript here), I’m inclined to agree with Card’s conclusion that Rowling’s main complaint seems to be that she could do a better job creating a similar book. Based on her testimony, I wasn't convinced that she really has a case. If anything, she comes across as a whiner.

Card doesn’t call Vander Ark’s work scholarly but says the reference book falls under the same realm as scholarly commentary – again something I completely agree with.

You can hate Card for calling Rowling a hypocrite, but at least he backs up that claim. Rowling can borrow from other writers but heaven forbid if someone else does it to her. Fame, it appears, has gotten to her head.

I don’t know where you get the assumption that I think Card is a god. He’s not. I posted the article because I agreed with it – not because Card wrote it. If anyone is acting like a “god” throughout this entire thing, it’s Rowling. Don’t believe everything Rowling says just because of her standing in the writing community.

Tracy Winegar said...

I listened to some of this on talk radio the other day. I have to agree with you. Rowlings has more money than she could ever possibly spend in her life time and she is making a stink about Ark's book.
Didn't she praise his website that was devoted to the Potter books? It seems a very petty thing. But that's just my opinion.