MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast

MuggleCast 118 Transcript (continued)

News Discussion: Harry Potter Lexicon Lawsuit

Andrew: Yeah. I'm sure they're going to be very clever. I would really enjoy seeing those. Okay, so one more news line on that we wanted to touch on, we don't really want to get into, because at this point it is semi-controversial, but as many people have been hearing, J.K. Rowling and WB both have filed a lawsuit over a companion book that basically is an entire encyclopedia to the Harry Potter novels. This is coming from the Harry Potter Lexicon ( which,it's a great resource for Harry Potter content. I mean, characters, timelines, everything.

Laura: And I mean, Jo said that she's used it to check facts before, too.

Andrew: Yeah, she's called it her natural home. I mean, she was a huge fan of it, and Steve Vander Ark has great reason to brag about it. It's very complex. It's very in-depth. It's a very, very, very good resource. However, as it turns out, the creator, Steve Vander Ark, had decided to turn it into a book, and the understanding--the general consensus is that it's basically--the book that is going to be released is basically an entire copy of the website printed, so of course this raises concerns over trademarks and copyrights, because how can you write a Harry Potter encyclopedia without using WB's trademarks? I mean, WB owns all Harry Potter words. Like, we couldn't sell MuggleCast t-shirts because we were in violation of these copyrights just by having the word "Muggle" on our shirts, even though it was "MuggleCast." So, we're going to see how this whole story plays out. It's very interesting, and RDR books, the publisher, is still planning on releasing this book. I am not going to lie, I will be purchasing this book, because now all this negative publicity has gotten a lot of people interested in this book. What are you guys' thoughts?

Eric: Ugh. They can change the cover of the book. "The Book JKR Tried to Ban," you know?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Laura: I don't know, I think that they're not making a very smart move by continuing to publish it. I mean, if you look at the kind of lawyers that WB and J.K. Rowling are going to have? I just would not want to mess with that, personally.

Eric: See, my initial thoughts on when I heard this, I was thinking, well it wouldn't be so bad to have a sort of definitive encyclopedia of what did happen in the books. You know, we're talking stuff that's already in the Harry Potter books that is just an easy reference guide for saying, "this is all the times that we saw Aberforth, or all the times he was mentioned," sort of something that. It would be something altogether - and on JKR's post, it would be something altogether different than what she was going to do with her Harry Potter "Encyclopedia," which I hate calling it that to begin with, because it would actually be just a bunch of stories and loose ends that never made it into the books, right? Timelines and ideas, but ones that weren't actually in the books. So, Steve's book is apparently all the stuff that is in the books, a compendium, a lexicon of sorts [laughs] to borrow his - the title of what did happen in the books. And I thought in the first place that those two things would be entirely different and therefore, they could co-exist.

Laura: I think the point is, is that the content that he has on the Lexicon that he was planning on esentially printing in book form is free and accessable to people on the web.

Eric: Right, and there. Okay.

Laura: But esentially what he would be doing is selling information that is - it's not even like there's origninal theories embedded in it, it's that it's just strict information from the books, and that's why it's a problem.

Andrew: Right, and J.K. Rowling has specifically stated that if it was an analysis book looking at Harry Potter - for example, the MuggleNet book. That was never in any sort of legal trouble because it wasn't an encyclopedia of sorts, it was analysis of what was going to happen. It wasn't threatening anything J.K. Rowling would be publishing in the future. I mean, that's another thing. J.K. Rowling - like, when she says she's writing this encyclopedia does she mean it's only stuff she hasn't included in the books before? Or does it include everything, plus the stuff we haven't heard before? You know?

Eric: Do you really think that JKR could be, I don't want to say innacurate about what she's said in the past, but I mean, she's messed up when she's written the books sometimes, and...

Laura: Yeah, but I think if she's writing and encyclopedia she's going to reference the books.

Eric: But that seems kind of pointless because it's in the books, the information in the books is in the books.

Laura: Yeah, I don't really think that we're going to have stuff like in Year 1, Harry did this.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: I don't think we're going to have that.

Andrew: It just - I just wonder right now how she's actually going to lay this book out.

Eric: Well I mean, a lot of people are saying, and this is, I have people IMing me like five times every hour saying "WTF Jo is suing Steve!" and all sorts of stuff like - I mean, that is the thing. It is a hot issue, and that's why it was smart to mention it on here at least. But, you guys, I'll just plug, Leaky Cauldron has the full article. It even mentions the lawsuit itself, all of the legal terms, and it has a timeline of itself on there of Warner Brothers trying to contact Steve and sort of sort this stuff out. I think you guys will find, and I'm just going to say right now, I do actually, despite the initial feeling, I do support this lawsuit because Steve's publisher, RDR Books are seriously, seriously stupid. They have made some seriously bad moves, completley, horribly wrong and rotten moves. And their dodgy as hell. And it's just, if you guys read this, seriously, just think. I mean, I feel bad for Steve. I think he's going to lose just because his publisher is just so dumb. They refused to give a print copy of the book to WB. They said "Well, if you can't print out what's on the website, as one of your people to show you how." [laughs] Okay?

Andrew: Mhm.

Laura: Yeah, ouch.

Eric: So can they blame Warner Brothers for thinking then that the book will be and exact print version of what is on the website, and becoming more worried.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, what is this all about? Money. I mean, obviously this could be a big seller. I think J.K. Rlowling and WB realize that.

Laura: Well, yeah.

Andrew: I mean, it would be a great reference book to have right here when we're talking Harry Potter [laughs], I'm going to be honest!

Eric: Yeah. But then again, we're...

Laura: I think the problem is that she wants to write that encyclopedia to benifit charity.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Laura: She doesn't even want to keep the royalties at all. She wants to give them all to charity and I think she feels like...

Andrew: No, no, no, all I'm saying is I think the reason RDR is being such a pain about this is why they're not giving up is because of money.

Laura: Oh, I know. Oh yeah, it's because of money. Of course.

Eric: Well they're going to lose a hell of a lot of not just money, but they're going to be like the guys that pulled out Indiana Jones 4, they're going in that town again. You know what I'm saying?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They're just going to be - I mean, I just can't believe the publisher. Reading the details on Leaky, and reading that news post where it has all of those, you know, nasty things that RDR is doing, I feel bad for Steve, but at the same time his publisher has just made some very wrong moves. Like, I just can't believe any publisher, and actual publisher can be so stupid to take on Warner Brothers like this without actually offering any sort of rebuffing of Warner Brothers' claims.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean J.K. Rowling and WB both I'm sure hold some very powerful lawyers.

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: And I think they'll get whatever they want.

Eric: Yeah but it's not like what they want is unjustified like many people are feeling, is what I'm saying.

Andrew: No, no, no, no, no, oh definitely. But, you know, what I'm trying to say is to just add to your case, RDR Books is digging themselves into a deep hole.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Kind of like a hole that goes all the way down to hell.

Andrew: Yeah. But to be honest with you, now there's so much controversy, I'm really looking forward to checking out this book, you know?

Eric: Yeah, you know like RDR, and I don't want to say I gave them the idea, but copies are probably going to surface. I mean look at how close it is to delay date - publishing date! That's the problem, see?

Andrew: Well they said they're still going forward with it. So....

Eric: Well ah, geez. That's like such a bad idea though. But....

Andrew: Well. I mean, anyway. What does bug me a little bit - I mean, I'm not taking it personally because I had nothing to do with the MuggleNet book, but RDR Books published an FAQ on their website where they ask, you know, where they're addressing questions everyone has and they specifically reference MuggleNet. One of the questions is: "Why do Warner Brothers and Mrs. Rowling want to sensor the Lexicon book when dozens of other reader's companions are on the market?" And RDR's response is: "At the moment, books published by Penguin,'s, Spark Notes, Broadway and Ulysses Press and many other publishers are in print around the world. At least 46 such books are presently available in bookstores and libraries. Obviously none of these books have been enjoined by the courts including Books that are barred word for word by the Lexicon without the author's permission. In addition countless newspaper articles have appeared about the Harry Potter books." One question I have, come to think of it Spark Notes, what is the deal with Spark Notes? Do they have...

Laura: Spark Notes. They do, but the thing about Spark Notes is that it again offers analyzation

Andrew: Oh right.

Laura: And it offers summaries. It is not taking direct passages from the books it is offering summaries as a study tool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: And you go into the symbolism section and it will pick symbols out of the books and analyze them. So, I think again the difference here and I think that Jo made this distinction on her site is that there it quite a difference between a companion novel and an encyclopedia because a companion novel does reference the ideas from her books but they are purely that, they are just references.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Writers of these books are using them I order to make inferences and opinions whereas just taking basic facts form the books and publishing them is copyright infringement. So...

Eric: Yeah, I think it is also, I mean, you said that it would be great to have a, you know, book right next to you and sort of think well, we are always on our computers when recording MuggleCast, so we can technically always go to the

Andrew: Mhm.

Laura: And the Lexicon is a great site. It really is

Eric: I know, Jo herself loves it, which is why I am sure that this is tearing them up because of the lawsuit.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: I think that it was really, based on the Leaky timeline and the lawsuit, it was really, actually a last resort of sorts because of RDR sort of dodging them. I mean Warner Brothers and JKR talked to the publisher and were pushing the lawsuit basically and RDR requested a little bit of time of from the whole deal and took that time to turn around and sue Warner Brothers. [chuckles]

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So RDR filed a claim against Warner Brothers that says that they used Steve Vander Ark's Timeline on the Lexicon for one of their DVDs. Now what do you guys think about this claim because I recall that timeline being on the DVD's because I hate it, but...

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: ...I recall it being on the DVDs.

Laura: Yeah, I vaguely remember that I don't really know what all specifics went into that. But, just thinking about it just, how different could the two timelines be? It is the same story. I mean I do not know if...

Andrew: Well, the think is that WB got it from Steve. They asked permission.

Laura: We know that. Do we know that for sure?

Andrew: Yes, yes.

Laura: Okay.

Andrew: Okay, but... So, you know that Steve gave them permission that he took the time to put together. Steve did not get permission from J.K. Rowling to print and make money off of all of her information that came out of her head.

Eric: Yeah. And I mean back to the - I think that there should just be, like what is the best way to do this? Like, do you think if they actually do - if they able to give profits of the book to charity do you think she will let them publish it?

Laura: I think if that was going to happen from - I do not know.

Andrew: There has been no about that happening though, at least not publicly

Eric: Yeah, but RDR is just stupid though, geez, I am just laughing at these publishers.

Laura: And see I have a feeling that if there had been an intention for the royalties to go to charity it would not have blown up like this.

Eric: But Steve could somehow, I mean, look, I don't know if he is even in control of this thing. I feel like JKR are him aren't even in the middle of this. I think that their lawyers are having at it because of all the screw ups and stuff. And if you read this article it is this big big mess and it is like "WOW!" I mean I do not even think even if Steve wanted to donate the book's profit charity. I don't think his contract with his publishers would let him do it unless his publishers fell through with JKR could probably ensure will happen, but at the same time what does that mean for the book, I mean I did not know that this book was coming out until it was being sued.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, I didn't know either.

Andrew: Well, I don't think anyone really knew. What is interesting is that J.K. Rowling on Halloween made a very suspicious post on her site saying, "I really love fan sites. That is why I created the 'Fan Site Award' however, I cannot support or approve of any companion or encyclopedia books, because as some of you may know, I am working on my own encyclopedia and this will be taking money away from charity and the ultimate losers would be the charities." And nobody knew bout the Lexicon book at that point so...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I have to be honest, when I read that I was like...

Laura: I know we were all like...

Andrew: " she talking about the MuggleNet Book?"

Laura: I IM'ed Andrew and was like "Oh, my God, what happened?"

[Andrew and Laura laughs]

Eric: Something big must have gone down and all the companion books ever are about to ripped from people's houses, you know? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. I was like, it did not make sense to me because the book has been out for since what, like when did it come out? April?

Laura: Almost a year ago, no...

Andrew: Earlier?

Laura: It was out last Christmas, yeah.

Andrew: Well, I am going to click the news post right now. October - wow, yeah it has just been over a year. Yeah, so we were all thinking that and then I was thinking, "What other websites have a book?" and of course, as she is well known Melissa Annelli over at Leaky is working on her book, but it is not a companion book or an encyclopedia - it is an analysis of the fandom. And I also know a couple Wizard Rockers are working on their own books, but that is not an analysis or companion or encyclopedia book either. So, or no sorry, an encyclopedia or companion book. It had us worried about MuggleNet for a bit, but hey we are all good now.

Eric: [chuckles] Because we know its Steve. But, honestly guys there are other companion novels and this is what sort of people do after. I mean there are other companion novels I just think that "why JKR has allowed them, and not this?" This is in many reasons - I mean, I heard it described as, I mean we do certain... It's actually that JKR wrote this. These aren't for analysis, sort of too concise material quoted directly from the book. Because RDR Publishers have not given Warner Brothers a single reason to believe that the book won't infringe on copyright, because they wouldn't give them a copy to review beforehand, because they wouldn't even answer any of their claims, and then turned around and tried to sue them back, it is seeming and very openly, blatantly that RDR/Steve will me infringing on copyright.

Andrew: Yeah. So, I guess we will leave it at that for now. We will see how the story plays out. We weren't really sure whether or not to talk about this, because the story is still unfolding and all that, but I think we addressed it.

Eric: Yep. Fair enough.

Andrew: So... [sigh] So, with that said...

Laura: Wow!

Andrew: Huh, is right. "Wow," is right.

Eric: Andrew, we have Muggle, we have...

[sings like on PotterCast] Mail time! Mail time! Mail time! MA-IL TIME! Right?

[sings like on Blues Clues and PotterCast] Here's the mail. It never fails. It makes me wanna wag my tail. When it comes I wanna wail. Muggle Mail... Muggle...

Laura: Oh, Nick Jr.


Andrew: We have announcements first though.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Announcements? God, we didn't even do those? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. They really aren't - it's sort of the same thing every week not, but HEY! Heeey! Here's a new thing. It's a new month. It's now November, and when I realized that, I was like, "Ugh! It's the worst month ever!"

Laura: Why is November the worst month ever?

Andrew: Ogh! Cause it's cold. It's dreary. You have to eat turkey with your family...

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Awww. That's so horrible.

Andrew: It gets dark really early.

Laura: You poor baby.

Eric: Not here it doesn't, Andrew. I'll tell you that. It's almost summer here. I'm waiting for it. I'm waiting for it.

Andrew: Well. Whether it's dark or not, don't forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley.

Eric: [whispers] Podcast Alley.

Andrew: We ask for your vote of support so we are up there.

Eric: [whispers] Higher.

Andrew: We are over there at Podcast Alley...

Eric: [whispers] Podcast Alley.

Andrew: ... where a lot of news outlets check out when they want to see who is popular in podcasting, and with your guys' support we have been up there, so thank you very much. Also, MuggleCast ring tones are for sale, and they are the only thing WB hasn't ceased and desisted us for yet.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So...

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Check those out. It goes to support the show, and we are trying to save up some money for future [nerdy voice] podcasting events. And also of note, Hedwig's Theme, the opening. The rocked out, cracked out, Hedwig's theme is now available for ring tones.

Eric: Now, who is the artist that wrote that? Isn't it Advanced Potion Making?

Andrew: Yes, it's Kenneth, and he agreed to allow us to put it up, so we thank him mucho maximo.

Eric: Hmmm!

Andrew: So, check those out if you want them on your telephono! No Verizon support. We will work on that eventually.

Previous Show Feedback

Eric: So, "Butterbeer by the Keg," that was last weeks show. Is that correct, Andrew?

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: What was our...? Now, it sounds kind of ominous, doesn't it? Like Butterbeer... by the keg. Because you've got your butter and your beer,but what was that show actually about?

Andrew: Weren't you on it?

Eric: Yeah. I was. [laughs] I'm just trying to lead in.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh. Okay. Yeah, well it was about Dumbledore being gay, and of course we got a lot of feedback about it, and we, you know, a lot of people liked that show. A lot of people said it was the best show we have ever done.

Laura: Yeah.

[Laura and Eric laugh]

Eric: Thanks guys!

Laura: Wow! Thank you.

Andrew: I guess, yeah, thank you. We are glad everyone enjoyed it a lot. Ummm, at the same time we did get some negative feedback, but the positive feedback far outweighed it. People liked that we were speaking in a more mature manner. We were treating the show a little more adult-like because we were talking about adult topics, and they were glad we were talking about that and at the same time throwing a few funnies in there. Some people didn't like those funnies, but...

[Eric laughs]

Muggle Mail: Ron and Parseltongue

Andrew: Over all, the general consensus was that it was one of our best shows. So we did get a lot of feedback. The first e-mail addresses something else other than Dumbledore being gay.

Laura: This comes from Melissa, 16, of Wisconsin. She says:

"Hey guys, love the podcast.

I am just writing, because in Episode 116 you were wondering how Ron could know how to say the word "open" in Parseltongue, when he only heard Harry say it in the second year, but actually he heard Harry say it in the Seventh Book when he was telling the locket to open. Also, in the Seventh Book, Ron kept showing signs of being able to imitate people's voices, such as when they were in the Malfoy's dungeon and he imitated Wormtail's voice."

Laura: This is what I kept trying to tell you guys last week, but you weren't listening!

Andrew: Awwww...

Eric: Because you weren't articulate enough Laura. Now that you have got your reference in Book 7, you can blow us away.

Andrew: Well, sorry Laura.

Eric: You just - I forgot that this had happened in Book 7, so obviously, if you would have told me, then...

Laura: I was like, "But wait, didn't he imitate..?" And everyone was like, "Nope! Braugh!"

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: We were wrong. I was wrong.

[Laura keeps laughing]

Eric: Laura, I was wrong. You were correct.

Laura: You are wrong. Go repent.

Eric: I will reflect that Ron is good at imitating voices, or at least Wormtail's. Well, you live with a rat for eleven years, you think he would be able to imitate his voice.

Laura: Yeah, that's true.

Eric: But anyway, I still think that we should have seen the Chamber of Secrets and that Harry should have gone down, and that will just be my opinion always. In that whole thing, that just Ron and Hermione going down in the back story, was not good enough for me. Which is fine. It doesn't have to be, but hat is always going to be my opinion. Sort of whether or not...

Muggle Mail: Singapore

Andrew: Mhm. And then we have another e-mail here. Heather, 17 of Singapore, she writes about our main discussion.

Eric: I can read... Should I read this? All right, next rebuttal is from Heather, 17, of Singapore, and the subject is "Wrong Information from MuggleCast 117." She says:


You mentioned in MuggleCast 117 that it is illegal to be gay in Singapore. It isn't illegal to be gay in Singapore, but it's illegal to engage in gay relationships."

So, yeah.

"Anyway, great show."

[laughs] So, let me clarify. It's not illegal to be gay in Singapore, but it's illegal to engage in relations. So, yeah.

Laura: Yeah, but, I mean, that same law has been in effect in a few states in the U.S...

Eric: No, I think it's different because I actually heard - there was a story of some Australian kid who got caned for doing something like that. I mean...

Laura: Yeah, yeah, I know, but I mean they're basically saying, "Oh you're allowed to be gay, but you can't engage in any sort of sexual relation." Like, I don't know. It's just stupid.

Eric: Yeah, well, at any rate, it's - I think Singapore is there.

Andrew: Is pretty strict.

Eric: I think, I think, I think. So... It's really strange, but thank you for clarifying, Heather.

Religious Rebuttals

Andrew: So, we got some other feedback. A lot of people had things to say about Christianity, or at least our response to Christianity, and a lot of people got the wrong impression, I think. Right, Laura?

Laura: Yeah. Yeah, a few people did. We talked a lot about the Bible last week, especially Leviticus. Those of you - those Christians who are... [expletive] What am I trying to say here? Those Christians that reference the New Testament, we weren't referring to them. We were talking about the more fanatical Christians who abide by the Old Testament, and even though we know the Old Testament isn't - is used mainly for study now, there are still a lot of people out there who try to reference those rules in order to get their own issues with homosexuality put up on a higher pedestal, I think. I mean, do you guys agree? I feel like even though - even though Leviticus isn't supposed to be viewed as anything more than historical at this point, at least that's the impression I've gotten, it seems like a lot of people try to use old traditions in order to prove that homosexuality is wrong, and those were the people we were referring to.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Not, not people - not Christians that were accepting of homosexuals. We weren't talking about you at all.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, that's, well put, I think.

Eric: Wasn't our consensus that if you don't support homosexuality then, you are, by rule of thumb, immature?

Andrew: No, I mean, listen. This podcast is a very opinionated podcast.

Eric: It is.

Andrew: I mean, that's all we do, is speak our own thoughts on everything. So, it shouldn't have really come as a surprise to everyone when we were talking about it with our own opinions. I do see how some Christians may become upset. I mean, I'm Christian. A lot of people - we've got some e-mails saying, "None of you guys are Christian." I'm Christian, however, I'll be honest and say I'm not up on the Bible and how to interpret what was said in the Bible with it's current - how we all live today. So, with that said - again this is a very opinionated podcast, and if you have different opinions, that's fine. We're just getting ours out there. That's - you listen to the show for our opinions and news.

Eric: I think a lot of Christians - what do I want to say, divisions? I think a lot of Christian groups are of the policy "live and let live," though, with the whole thing. Accept God's love, and God loves everyone the same, and it's just "live and let live" of that thing. I was raised Catholic. I'm Catholic, actually, and so I sort of know - I mean, I know a lot about this religion thing, at least from a Catholic stand point, and I know they don't support gays, but they do things to little boys. So, I mean, it's just - in religion it's - just using your religion to ban practices and say that certain people are just going to go to hell - you know, that's not really - I don't think that's really productive.

Laura: Yeah, and there seems to be a misconception that we were saying that if you are adverse to homosexuality, you must be a Christian. That's not what we were saying, and we weren't saying the opposite either. We weren't saying that all Christians were adverse to homosexuality, but what we were saying was that if you look at the main - if you look at the main group of people who are against gay rights, especially in America, that they do tend to be Christian. Albeit they are...

Eric: You know what that is Laura? You...

Laura: Extremists. They're extremist Christians, but we aren't saying that all Christians are that way.

Eric: That's a stereotype, is what you're saying. You're creating a stereotype.

Laura: It's not - no, no, no, I'm not saying that all people who are against gay rights are Christians. I'm saying that the majority of people that do protest gay rights tend to be extremist.

Eric: And then use it for religious purposes, because that seems to be the best reason for them to...

Laura: Yes.

Eric: Yeah, well, I mean, this all relates back, guys, because we are talking about Dumbledore being gay, and it's affect on the Harry Potter fandom, is sort of the reason why we are talking about all these heated sexual politics and stuff, but we have a few responses, as well, about Dumbledore and sort of how that affects the books and the fandom still.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: You guys...

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