Bloomsbury to fight copyright infringement claims

The publisher of the wildly popular and very profitable “Harry Potter” books says it intends to fight a lawsuit alleging that author J.K. Rowling stole the idea for the series about the boy wizard.

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC is being taken to court in London by the estate of the late author Adrian Jacobs for copyright infringement, statements released Tuesday by the publishing house and legal representatives of the estate said.

“The estate … claims that the book `Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ reproduces substantial parts of the works of Adrian Jacobs, ‘The Adventures of Willy the Wizard,’ without consent, and that in selling the books, Bloomsbury has infringed and continues to infringe copyright,” said a statement on the Web site of London lawyers DMH Stallard, the firm representing the estate.

Jacobs died in London in 1997. His book “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No. 1 Livid Land,” was published in 1987, 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.

Bloomsbury said Tuesday that the allegation that Rowling lifted from Jacobs’ work is “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue.”

Jacobs’ estate first approached Bloomsbury in 2004, but was “unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy ‘Willy the Wizard,” the company said.

Rowling made no comment on the suit. Bloomsbury said the claim is baseless and the books “will be defended vigorously.”

“J.K. Rowling had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read, or heard of his book ‘Willy the Wizard’ until this claim was first made in 2004,'” the statement said.

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