Copyright law: Harry Potter plagiarism case collapses after seven years

Copyright law: Harry Potter plagiarism case collapses after seven years

A long and bitter legal battle has fizzled out after spanning seven years and racking up millions of pounds of legal costs.

Paul Allen, trustee of the estate of Adrian Jacobs, made a claim in 2004 that J K Rowling had plagiarized a book called ‘Willy the Wizard’, by Adrian Jacobs, when she wrote her famous book ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’.

Last week, the court of appeal ordered Mr Allen to pay £1.5million as a security against costs, and gave Friday (15 July) as a deadline for the first instalment.

Mr Allen appealed against this decision, but was rejected. He then failed to make the payment on Friday and the case was struck out.

David Hooper, solicitor for Rowling’s publisher Bloomsbury, said: “They have not paid the money into court.

“The whole thing is a scandal – it has been going on for seven years. It was an absolutely ludicrous case. The claimants had spent well over £1m.”

Mr Allen had taken the case to the United States last year where it was dismissed by a judge who explained that “the contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity”.

Mr Justice Kitchin, who presided over the London case, also felt it was “improbable” that the plagiarism case would succeed. He said that the literary agents for ‘Willy the Wizard’ attempted to pressure J K Rowling into a settlement and told her if she did not settle she would be inviting “unwelcome publicity”.

Rowling’s PR company said: “J K Rowling has throughout the case maintained that the claims made are not only unfounded but absurd and she is pleased that the case has now been struck out.”

Related links:
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