JK Rowling has been named in a lawsuit alleging she stole ideas for her widely popular and lucrative Harry Potter books from another British author.
The lawsuit, filed in a London court, claims Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire copied substantial parts of Adrian Jacobs' 1987 book, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard." Jacobs' estate also claims that many other ideas from Willy the Wizard were copied into the Harry Potter books. Jacobs died in London in 1997.
The estate of the late Jacobs added Rowling as a defendant in a lawsuit it filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for alleged copyright infringement, according to a statement released by the estate's representatives, who are based in Australia.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in Rowling's series and was published in July 2000. Sydney agent Max Markson, who is representing the trustee of Jacobs' estate, Paul Allen, said Rowling was added to the lawsuit after Allen learned that the statute of limitations to sue her had not run out, as previously thought.
"I estimate it's a billion-dollar case," Markson said. "That'll be the decision of the courts, obviously." There was no immediate comment from Rowling. In June, Bloomsbury said the allegation that Rowling lifted from Jacobs' work was "unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue." Bloomsbury said Jacobs' estate first approached the company in 2004 with its claims, but was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books that was copied from Willy the Wizard.
In a statement, Allen said the estate is also seeking legal advice on whether the Harry Potter films and soon-to-be-opened Harry Potter theme park breach copyright law.