Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling defends against another lawsuit

By Ric Bohy

June 18, 2009 at 9:27am

The estate of a dead writer who created a fictional wizard named Willy wants $50 million from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, claiming she stole passages from their man’s book and infringed on his – and now the estate’s – copyright.

The estate also says it intends to sue Rowling individually.

The showdown – Rowling’s second plagiarism lawsuit – will take place in London and invoke the ghost of Adrian Jacobs, author of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, published in 1987. The book was first rejected by Rowling’s publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, more than a decade before it gave Rowling’s her start.

Jacobs died about the time the first book in Rowling’s hugely lucrative series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, hit the market.

Tuesday, Bloomsbury responded to the plagiarism accusation in the London Daily Mail, calling it “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue,” dismissed Jacobs’ book as “a very insubstantial booklet running to 36 pages which had very limited distribution,” and said the claim was first made in 2004 – years after the first several Potter books were published – and the publisher was “unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard.”

Rowling, who prevailed in an unrelated 2002 plagiarism suit after that writer was found to have changed evidence to bolster her own claim, had no comment about the latest clash of wizards.

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