Monday, April 28, 2008

Spellbinding Testimony

The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society has put online the complete transcripts of all three days of J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers' suit against RDR Books. I read the opening statements and the direct examination of Rowling, and found them fascinating. It's a rare treat to read the testimony of someone who can actually use words evocatively on the stand. Here's a sample from the first day's transcript, p. 107:

"1 Q. Do you have any views as to the impact the publication of
2 the Lexicon on your relationship with fan Web sites?
3 A. Very definitely, that's part of my concerns about fans. I,
4 perhaps naively, I accept that, perhaps naively, I was very
5 keen to maintain an almost entirely hands-off approach to the
6 online fandom where Harry Potter was concerned. And I say
7 'almost' because there are obvious boundaries of decency that
8 occasionally one would not like to see overstepped. But by and
9 large, I simply let it happen. Maybe that was naive, but I saw
10 massive positives in this amount of fan activity. I saw -- I
11 saw it as a great global book club with a lot of enthusiasm. I
12 met people who had made real life friendships through posting
13 on Harry Potter message boards, which I thought was a wonderful
14 thing. The fan sites, the fan created fan message boards and
15 the essays and so on, they were all fun.
16 I have never read online fan fiction. It is
17 uncomfortable to see your world restated in that way. But, I
18 never censored it or wanted to censor it. I let it all happen.
19 So, what will happen if it is decided in court that by
20 taking that approach, I effectively gave away copyright, I --
21 well, I know what will happen. Other authors -- I mean, other
22 authors are already much more draconian than I am with their
23 view of the Internet. Of course, other authors will look
24 sideways at what happened to me and say I need to exercise more
25 control. She was an idiot. She let it all go."

Hat-tip to for the link.

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