The estate of children’s book author Adrian Jacobs has sued Bloomsbury in England’s High Court, alleging that JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire “copied substantial parts” of Jacobs’ THE ADVENTURES OF WILLY THE WIZARD–No 1 Livid Land. The estate “is also seeking a Court order against JK Rowling herself for pre-action disclosure in order to determine whether to join her as a defendant to the…action.” They also allege that when Jacobs was first seeking representation, he submitted to Rowling’s agent Christopher Little.
Apparently both books feature wizards who compete in contests and have to rescue humans. While on the surface the suit would appear to be a ploy for attention, Bloosmbury’s shares were down more than 7 percent this morning.
In other legal news, Amazon disclosed in a short SEC filing last week that they will pay $51 million to settle the lawsuit brought by Toys R Us over their aborted online partnership. The AP notes that “the settlement comes two months after a New Jersey appeals court ruled against Amazon, agreeing with a lower court’s 2006 ruling that Amazon breached the deal. That allowed a lower court to consider awarding damages to Toys R Us, which had not disclosed how much it was seeking in damages. The settlement will take the place of a court award.”
And in one more lawsuit, in late April the Christian Civil Liberties Union is suing the town of West Bend, Wisconsin, asking for damages for being exposed to Francesca Lia Block’s YA novel BABY BE-BOP in the town library and seeing the right to burn a copy in public. As this Guardian article notes, “the legal challenge follows a lengthy campaign by some West Bend residents to restrict access to teenage books they deemed sexually explicit from library shelves, which was eventually thrown out at the start of June.” The ALA also reviewed the controversy in a recent posting.