The trial in Rowling v. RDR Books starts today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The New York Times reports that Rowling herself will take the witness stand. At issue, of course, is whether Steven Vander Ark's print version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website infringes Rowling's copyrights in her enormously popular books. Rowling contends that Mr. Vander Ark's book merely repackages her fictional content, while RDR Books, Mr. Vander Ark's publisher, maintains that his work "provides a significant amount of original analysis and commentary concerning everything from insights into the personality of key characters, relationships among them, the meaning of various historical and literary allusions, as well as internal inconsistencies and mistakes in the novels."
Sounds like an entertaining question of fact for Judge Patterson, who is presiding over the bench trial. In the background is the burning question whether the Harry Potter Lexicon looks more like The Seinfeld Aptitude Test from Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishing Group, 150 F.3d 132 (2d Cir. 1998), or the Beanie Babies Collector's Guide from Ty, Inc. v. Publications International Ltd., 292 F.3d 512 (7th Cir. 2002). This should be fun.