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Judge Ends <I>Harry Potter</I> Copyright Dispute

18 Sep, 2002 By: Hive News

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling did not infringe trademarks or copy materials to create the boy wizard's adventures, a federal judge has ruled in issuing a summary judgment in the case.Rowling, Scholastic and Warner Bros. won the judgment in the of the District Court for the Southern District of New York in a case brought by Nancy Stouffer.

The court ruled that the “publication, distribution, and exploitation of the Harry Potter books does not violate any of Stouffer's intellectual property rights” and barred Stouffer from “making false representations to third parties indicating that she owns all rights in the Muggle and Muggles trademarks and copyrights, or indicating that plaintiffs have violated her intellectual property rights.”

Further, the court noted that a number of the materials Stouffer claimed were copied appeared to have been created or altered after the first Harry Potter book was published. Specifically, the court found that Stouffer had “perpetrated a fraud on the court through her submission of fraudulent documents which were willfully altered” as well as through her “untruthful testimony” and “asserted claims and defenses without any reasonable basis in fact or law and has attempted to support such claims and defenses with items of evidence that have been created or altered for purposes of this litigation.”

As a result of this misconduct, the court imposed sanctions on Stouffer of $50,000 and a portion of the attorneys' fees and costs incurred by J.K. Rowling, Scholastic and Warner Bros.

”Warner Bros. is deeply gratified by the court's ruling, which unequivocally affirms that J.K. Rowling alone created the extraordinary and universally beloved Harry Potter,” said Alan Horn, president and COO, Warner Bros.

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