No Snow White. Willy the Wizard seeking a bite of the Big Apple

Readers will be familiar with the lawsuit brought by the Estate of Adrian Jacobs (the long deceased author of Willy the Wizard) against J K Rowling and her UK publishers, Bloomsbury.  It is alleged that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is derivative of Willy the Wizard, infringing copyright in that work.

IP Whiteboard compared the works in April, reporting our findings here.

Well, not to be deterred by the wheels of ‘justice’ grinding slowly in the UK, the Estate has now announced the launch of proceedings in the USA against Scholastic, the American Publishers of Harry Potter.

A press statement put out by the trustee of the estate Paul Allen, has been reported, which justifies the proceedings on the basis that:  “We’ve taken comprehensive legal advice and have a strong case…  The USA being the world’s largest market for Potter books means that our first overseas action is brought here in America.”

The reference to ‘our first overseas action’ is curious, given the longstanding UK proceedings already on foot, and the fact that some of those behind the suit have connections with Australia.   In any event, the reference to the US as a key “market” seems somewhat removed from Mr Jacobs‘ motives in writing the book, which are said to have arisen after “always making up stories for the children of visiting friends”. 

In circumstances where the official Willy the Wizard website describes Mr Jacobs as a man who was bankrupted a second time in 1991 shortly prior to his death, the Estate is presumably funded by third parties, who are prepared to bear the fiscal consequences if this comprehensive legal advice is incorrect.  But then, the prize is a share of royalties in one of the best selling books of all time.

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