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Rowling v. RDR Books Trial Set For March 24

The Fair Use Project of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society is co-counsel defending independent book publisher RDR’s right to publish The Harry Potter Lexicon, an unofficial reference guide to the Harry Potter series of books and movies.

The Court has put this case on the proverbial fast track by combining the hearing on the preliminary injunction motion filed by Ms. Rowling and Warner Brothers with the trial on the merits. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 24 at 9:30 am.

The trial will be open to the public, and will be conducted before the Honorable Robert P. Patterson in courtroom 24 of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl St., New York, NY 10007.

Warner Bros., which owns the film rights to the Harry Potter books, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling filed a lawsuit on October 31, 2007 against Michigan-based RDR Books to block the publication of the lexicon, claiming that it violates copyright and trademark law and infringes on Rowling’s plans to publish her own companion book. RDR Books contends it has the right to publish the encyclopedic reference book under the fair use doctrine, which safeguards the use of copyrighted material so long as it is used transformatively and does not damage the market value of the original work.

“The public has long enjoyed the right to create reference guides that discuss literary works, comment on them, and make them more accessible,” said Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project, who will serve as counsel on the case. “J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. are threatening that right. We intend to demonstrate that the fair use doctrine protects the Harry Potter Lexicon.”

Joining Falzone as co-counsel is Stanford’s Lawrence Lessig, founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law. They join RDR’s lead counsel David S. Hammer, a former federal prosecutor.

More information about the case is available on the CIS website at:

Lauren Gelman

  • Executive Director
  • Center for Internet and Society
  • Lecturer in Law
  • Stanford Law School

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