The Wind and the Oatmeal and the J.K. Rowling thing.

A Wind Advisory is in effect for much of Western Minnesota right now. They say the wind is gusting up to forty-five miles per hour and is knocking branches from trees and sending cats on long trips via the air*. This news does not bode well for those walking to work today (namely, me).

While I would marvel at the sight of branches leaving their wooden housings and go skipping across the road, I would not enjoy being hit by one.

If you don’t hear from me again, you know what’s happened.

The oatmeal I’ve just eaten was far too dry. It’s made me wish we had milk in the house.

Random, I know, but it does have its place, as I’m only eating oatmeal as a step in the direction of general health.

Wendy, a friend of mine in California, replied to the free fiction entry with these links. They happen to be very helpful, informative and fun to browse. (thank you, Wendy)

Baen Free Library

Project Gutenberg

The Universal Digital Library

Google Books

John Tierney, over at the NYT, has posted an article on cognitive dissonance in monkeys that makes for an interesting read.

Shame it’s from the Times. I have trouble taking anything I read in the Times seriously anymore.

Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, has filed a lawsuit against the owner and manager of a wildly popular Harry Potter website.

The owner, Steven Vander Ark, had reportedly gotten permission from Rowling to start the website. Rowling agreed, so long as Vander Ark would not try to parlay the site’s success into the printing of a book. Vander Ark agreed and the Harry Potter Lexicon went on to become one of the most popular Harry Potter fan websites on the internet.

Last year, Vander Ark was approached by RDR Publishing and offered a deal to publish the Lexicon as a book. He took the offer, so long as RDR would pay for any legal fees and damages if he should find himself at the business end of a lawsuit.

Here’s a bit of the article linked above:

Rowling acknowledged she once bestowed an award on Vander Ark’s Web site because she wanted to encourage a very enthusiastic fan.

But she said she “almost choked on my coffee” one morning when she realized Vander Ark had warned others not to copy portions of his Web site. She said she now has second thoughts about all the encouragement she has given to online discussions and Web sites devoted to her books.

The emphasis is the bit that saddens me. The creator of something as beloved and honored as the Harry Potter books should never feel leery when it comes to encouraging online discussion and fan websites. Creating something that resonates so loudly, and with so many people, should open an entire world of possibilities. The idea behind the Harry Potter Lexicon is brilliant and its creation should have been a heart warming moment for Rowling.

Instead, she’s now concerned about who will try to steal from her next.

It’s just a sad state of affairs and I feel for her. I truly do. I hope she wins her argument, I hope the Lexicon is taken out of print and I hope she’s able to resume her literary work unhindered by this mess.

I also hope she’s able to move on and feel a little better about the online world view of her work.

*As far as I know, the cat story is merely something I made up. The idea of a cat unwittingly taking flight due to high winds made me chuckle, therefore it was mentioned here.


Published by Rob Kaas

Biographical information? I was born 37 years ago. I've lived a little here and there since then. I do not look forward to death. Biographical enough for you?

4 thoughts on “The Wind and the Oatmeal and the J.K. Rowling thing.

  1. I understand why Vander Ark doesn’t want anyone to copy portions of his Web site, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet he’s spent quite a bit of time putting up the information and editing it, other websites can use their own wording and concepts. But him publishing it is taking it a bit far. I like to compare this to the Star Wars fandom. Lucasfilm has (thank goodness) stopped trying to shut down every fan site that pops up (they tried really hard during the early days of the web), but if something is in blatant violation (aka the new Clone Wars trailer), the owner gets a nice little cease and desist. Books chronicling the universe are the domain of Lucas. You and write as many books about Lucas and the actors working on Star Wars, you can write about the theological implications of the movies, but try and find one about Wookies that Lucasfilm didn’t give it’s stamp of approval to. I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling is going to win this one hands down and she can get back to writing. She should really look at how the Star Wars franchise is being controlled though, I think it pretty much has the right balance.

    You’re welcome for the links =) One more for poetry and only for this month (as it’s National Poetry Month) – Free poem a day in your email inbox!

  2. Dude if he made it a point to tell the publishing company that they had to pay any legal fees associated with printing the Lexicon then that’s as much as admitting guilt that he said he’d never print the stuff oh so long ago.

    I’m going based entirely on your post since I’m not a HP fan and didn’t look into this debate at all independently, so I blame you if you’ve steered me wrong :)

    Lame though… I hope she wins her case as well.

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