Two posts in the Machinist blog to ponder:
In the past, [J. K.] Rowling has offered high praise for the [Harry Potter Lexicon]. “This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter (which is embarrassing),” she says on her site. She calls the HPL “a website for the dangerously obsessive; my natural home.”
Thanks to such acclaim, Vander Ark recently landed a publishing contract with RDR Books to put out a printed version of the online lexicon. His book was to have gone on sale this fall.
You might suppose that given her appreciation of the online HPL, Rowling would have encouraged the book’s publication and sale. But you’d be wrong. On Halloween, Rowling and Warner Bros., which produces the Potter movies, filed suit to stop Vander Ark and RDR from selling the book. Late last week, RDR agreed to halt publication of Vander Ark’s Potter lexicon pending a federal judge’s review.
In response to my dig at J.K. Rowling for slapping down a fan’s “Harry Potter” reference book, several of you have asked, What if we copied your Machinist posts and tried to make money off of them? Wouldn’t you get mad?
[...] So the question: Would I get mad if you did this? Would it upset Salon if you did this?
I hope all of you know the answer is no. We wouldn’t care if you did this. Knock yourself out.
Be aware, though, that someone’s already beaten you to punch. Someone comes to Salon every day — many times a day, in fact — and pulls down every word we write, and then stores it to his own hard drive.
Then he analyzes our words and prepares lists of our articles full of items very much like the one above. Worse, this fellow sells ads alongside these lists, making money — a lot of money! — from my brilliant creations. And he has never given us a single dime in return. Were we to ask him for something, I bet he’d laugh at us.
Who is this thief? Right, it’s Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. [...]
Of course, the legality of Google’s strategies remain an open question