02/08/2005: It's a fair cop, it seems to me....
J.K. Rowling is upset.
Ms Rowling, creator of the wildly popular "Harry Potter" series of novels, is a bit peeved that the U.S. Army is using (IMHO) pretty clear knockoffs of the Potter characters in a cartoon series featured in a U.S. Army magazine: Preventive Maintenance Monthly
Its cartoon strip includes a boy wizard called Topper and a professor of Mogmart's School called Rumbledore.The Army denies any infringement:
Among the other similarities in the comic strip are teachers called Snappy and McDonagal. There are characters in the Potter books called Snape and McGonagal.
One of the young female wizards is called Miss Ranger, while Harry Potter's best friend is Hermione Granger.
But the magazine's editor, Ken Crunk, denied there had been any copyright infringement.I, on the other hand, have to confess amusement at the very idea of an Army spokesman named "Crunk". I'm sure our friends at TNF would approve, especially if Mr. Crunk actually lives up to his name.
"The drawings do not look like any of the characters from Harry Potter," said Mr Crunk.
"We are very careful when we do these things not to copy images because that would be illegal."
Frankly, the similarities of the names speaks volumes to me, not to mention the artwork, which sure reminds me of the Potter characters in what I've seen of the movies (which, to be truthful, amounts only to the trailers and TV commercials). But go decide for yourselves (the artwork, though IMHO a bit to small to be definitively enlightening, is available at Auntie Beeb's website).
What really pleased me about the story, though, was this little piece of information:
But Rowling is happy for the popular trend of writing fan fiction online based around her characters to remain, as long as no money is made from it.In this day and age of copyright protections expanding beyond reason, it's good to know that there's at least one author out there who appreciates fan homage for what it really is....
Hat tip: Bryan at Why Now?
Len on 02.08.05 @ 12:51 PM CST