The Harry Potter Lexicon
is a fan-created online encyclopedia
An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....
of the Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...
The site was created by school librarian Steve Vander Ark. It contains detailed information for all seven published Harry Potter
books. The Lexicon lists characters
Magical creatures comprise a colourful and integral aspect of the fictional wizarding world in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Throughout the seven books of the series, Harry and his friends come across many of these creatures on their adventures, as well as in the Care of Magical...
Spells in Harry Potter occur in the fictional wizarding world of the series of books by author J. K. Rowling. Magic spells are used by many of the characters to achieve useful effects without the benefit of modern technology...
, potions and magical devices
The following is a list of magical objects used in Harry Potter. These objects exist for the use of the characters in the series by J. K. Rowling.-Enchanted coins:...
, as well as analyzing magical
In the Harry Potter series created by J. K. Rowling, magic is depicted as a natural force that can be used to override the usual laws of nature. Many fictional magical creatures exist in the series, while ordinary creatures sometimes exhibit new magical properties in the novels' world...
theory and other details of the series. The Lexicon is credited as creating one of the first timelines of all events occurring in the Harry Potter
universe. A similar timeline of events was adopted by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...
for inclusion with their Harry Potter film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...
DVDs, and was accepted by author J. K. Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...
as conforming to her works.
The Lexicon is a winner of J. K. Rowling's Fan Site Award. Rowling said:
On October 31, 2007, J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers filed a lawsuit against RDR Books over the publication of Vander Ark's Lexicon in book form. The lawsuit was heard in a New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
court on April 14, 2008. Whilst some sources refer to Vander Ark being sued, the lawsuit actually names only RDR books.
The lawsuit states,
The result of the lawsuit was that the book could be published, but not in its present form. A modified version of the book was published in 2009.
This case went to bench trial
A bench trial is a trial held before a judge sitting without a jury. The term is chiefly used in common law jurisdictions to describe exceptions from jury trial, as most other legal systems do not use juries to any great extent....
in the New York Federal District Court of Judge Robert Patterson on April 14, 2008. RDR Books defense team, which includes solo San Francisco practitioner, Lizbeth Hasse of the Creative Industry Law Group, solo New York practitioner David Hammer, and the Fair Use Project
The Fair Use Project is part of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Founded in 2006, it offers legal assistance to "clarify, and extend, the boundaries of "fair use" in order to enhance creative freedom." It is headed by Tony Falzone, lecturer at Stanford Law. It...
at Stanford University Law School, has replied to the suit arguing:
Rowling stated that her efforts to halt the publishing of the Lexicon have been crushing her creativity, and said that she was not sure if she has "the will or the heart" to now publish her own encyclopedia.
On 8 September 2008, Rowling won her copyright case against RDR Books. Lexicon publisher RDR Books said:
Judge Patterson said that reference materials were generally useful to the public but that in this case, Vander Ark went too far. He said that "while the Lexicon, in its current state, is not a fair use of the Harry Potter works, reference works that share the Lexicon's purpose of aiding readers of literature generally should be encouraged rather than stifled." He said he ruled in Ms. Rowling's favor because the "Lexicon appropriates too much of Rowling's creative work for its purposes as a reference guide."
In December, 2008, a modified (and shorter) version of Vander Ark's Lexicon was approved for publication and was released January 16, 2009 as The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction