‘Potter’ author wins copyright case

Further publishing of spoof Russian novel scuppered

LONDON — Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling have won a court case in Amsterdam blocking publication of a Dutch translation of a Russian novel that claims to spoof the “Harry Potter” stories.

The Dutch court ruled that “The Magic Double Bass,” featuring a girl wizard called Tanya Grotter, plagiarizes “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” infringing Rowling’s copyright and Warner’s trademark rights.

It rejected the claim by the book’s author Dmitry Yemets that his work is a parody, which would make its publication permissible under copyright law.

“The Magic Double Bass” has already sold 500,000 copies in Russia, but this was the first attempt to publish it outside its home country. Dutch publisher Byblos had printed 7,000 copies of its translation.

But the ruling by the Amsterdam District Court has laid down a powerful precedent that is likely to discourage publishers in other countries from picking up “The Magic Double Bass.”

“We are absolutely delighted that the court recognizes that this book significantly infringes intellectual property rights in Harry Potter,” said Neil Blair from Rowling’s lit agency Christopher Little.

“J.K. Rowling has always encouraged young writers all over the world and believes that copyright law is as important in protecting the creativity of burgeoning authors as it is for established ones. Today’s court decision supports and benefits all authors.”

A Warner spokesperson said the decision “clearly reaffirms the uniqueness and genius of Harry Potter and his author J.K. Rowling.”

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