Harry Potter author JK Rowling has never heard of a writer who claimed she plagiarised one of his books, her publishers said on Tuesday, branding the allegations “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue”.
Lawyers acting for the late Adrian Jacobs have launched legal action against Bloomsbury, the publishers of the phenomenally successful series about the boy wizard, claiming breach of copyright.
They claim Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has similarities to Jacobs’s The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No 1 Livid Land, published in 1987.
Rowling has never heard of Jacobs, or “seen, read or heard of his book” until the claim was first made in 2004 — seven years after the first Harry Potter book was published, a spokeswoman for Bloomsbury said.
“Bloomsbury would like to state that this claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously. The allegations of plagiarism made by the estate of Adrian Jacobs are unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue,” the spokeswoman said.
She added that Willy the Wizard was a “very insubstantial booklet” of only 36 pages, which had a “very limited distribution.”
“The central character of Willy the Wizard is not a young wizard and the book does not revolve around a wizard school.”
Jacobs's lawyers also claim that he had approached Christopher Little to be his literary agent, and Little later went on to represent Rowling.
Jacobs died in a London hospice in 1997. Rowling, 43, has earned 499 million pounds from the Harry Potter books and films, according to the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List.