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JK Rowling, Warner Bros to sue over Potter book

A book billed as an unofficial encyclopedic companion to the Harry Potter book series infringes copyright and attempts to cash in on the successful series.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2007 04:00 IST

A book billed as an unofficial encyclopedic companion to the Harry Potter book series infringes copyright and attempts to cash in on the successful series, author JK Rowling and Warner Bros said in statements announcing a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The 400-page book, titled the The Harry Potter Lexicon, due to be released by RDR Books on Nov 28 in the United States, had inappropriately referenced Rowling's fictional characters and universe, Rowling and Warner Bros. said.

"The infringing book is particularly troubling as it is in direct contravention to Ms Rowling's repeatedly stated intention to publish her own companion books to the series and donate proceeds of such books to charity," said the lawsuit, which the plaintiff said was filed on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan.

The suit names RDR books, a book publishing company based in Michigan, and unidentified persons as defendants and seeks damages for copyright federal trademark infringement and any profits to be gained from the book.

The company's Web site said the author of the book, Steve Vander Ark, had based the book on a Web site that Rowling herself had awarded for its excellence.

But in a statement released on Wednesday, Rowling said even though she loved Harry Potter fan sites, she said she hoped to write "the definitive Harry Potter encyclopedia, which will include all the material that never made it into the novels" and donate the proceeds to charity.

"I cannot, therefore, approve of 'companion books' or 'encyclopedias' that seek to pre-empt my definitive Potter reference book for their authors' own personal gain," she said. "The losers in such a situation would be the charities that I hope, eventually, to benefit."

Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc and the distributor of the Harry Potter films, said in a statement it was seeking to protect its intellectual property rights so that "everyone can continue to enjoy Harry Potter books and films in the spirit in which they were created."