MuggleCast 142 Transcript
[Intro music begins]
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[Harry Potter theme starts]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] "This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you all enjoyed - Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby!" [as Dobby] "Yes, I'd just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!"
[Show music begins]
Micah: Because court is now in session this is MuggleCast Episode 142 for April 19th, 2008.
[Show music continues to play]
["Law and Order" theme starts]
Andrew: Well, big news week in Harry Potter world this week because court trial. Big court trial going on. Micah, enlighten us, please, real quick.
Micah: Real quick? I don't think this is something that can take, you know, two minutes to go over, Andrew. This is going to be a whole show worth...
Micah: ...of discussion.
Andrew: We're going to be spending the whole show talking about this gigantic mess of a lawsuit. I'll have to stop going on and, of course, we'll say right off the bat we're on Jo's side, right? Everyone can agree with that?
Elysa: Yeah, absolutely.
Andrew: All right, well we got a big show to get to today. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Elysa: And I'm Elysa Montfort.
[Music fades away]
[Show music plays]
Announcement: The News
Andrew: All right, normally I would intro Micah for the news right here, but from here on out we're going to no longer throw it to Micah for the news. We're just going to talk about the news during...
Micah: Maybe every now and then we'll do a news update or something like that, but I think it's just better if, you know, I kind of say, "Here's what's going on," and then we all discuss it because a lot of times it ends up being repetitive, doesn't it?
Andrew: Right, but...
Andrew: ...it's very repetitive.
Eric: That was the fun though. We hadn't fixed that sort of repetition for 140 episodes, and now you want to, Micah.
Eric: So that's just...
Micah: Yeah, well I figured, you know...
Eric: I don't get it.
Impact of Trial on Harry Potter Fandom
Andrew: So we're not even going to talk about news this week. All we're going to talk about is the trial and in fact this whole show is going to be about the trial. So we're going to try to keep it to simple terms so everyone can understand and follow along with us. Because personally I was confused before this all began, but now I'm very well-educated in the Fair Use Doctrine.
[Elysa and Laura laugh]
Eric: Let's hope.
Micah: Maybe we should talk a little bit about why we're spending a whole episode on this, because I know I saw on a lot of the comments that people were leaving on - I don't even know how many posts we made over the last couple of days about the trial, but people seem to think, some of them, that this really has nothing to do with the books or the movies or anything like that, and I just wanted to make the point that without J.K. Rowling and her creation we wouldn't have the books to enjoy, or the movies, so this has a huge impact on really how all of this proceeds in the next couple of years, because I have a feeling that the decision that is made in this trial could have a very, very big impact on how things go from here on out.
Andrew: Oh, well - and some people wonder, "Oh, well this isn't a big deal. Why are you guys talking about this? This is not going to affect the fandom." It will. It's a very big, important - it's a very important part of the fandom and, in fact, if R.D.R. was to win, the publisher publishing the Harry Potter Lexicon, you can say "bye" to things like Harry Potter fan-fiction. I personally...
Eric: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Do we know this for sure?
Andrew: Well, we don't know for sure but...
Eric: I mean that's kind of what J - well, then don't make those stupid predictions, man.
Andrew: ...they're educated...
Eric: "Bye fan-fiction."
Andrew: ...because Fair Use galleries would start falling apart. A lot of things would be affected...
Andrew: ...if R.D.R. wins.
Eric: Is this because Jo would go on some kind of crazy-ass rampage and get rid of this stuff, or what?
Andrew: This is the same movie company that a few years ago was filing lawsuits to fansites run by teenagers, and then they pulled back from that. But they've given it thought and then they realize, "Oh, there's no harm here," but now all of a sudden...
Laura: Yeah and there are plenty of authors who have forbidden fan-fiction to be written about their work. So I don't think it's unreasonable to think that that's a possibility. I hope it wouldn't come to that, but we can't exactly rule it out.
Andrew Introduces the Discussion
Andrew: So we're going to get into a whole discussion here. We're going to start. Micah wrote up a very nice discussion for all of us, and we're going to get into it. Like I said, I just want to make a quick disclaimer saying that we will - well, most of us I think - will be having a natural bias towards J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers. Not just because we think she's right but because we support J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers and don't want to turn against two big figures who have always supported us, for the most part. [in a softer voice] Except for the t-shirts. [clears throat]
Micah: The key players in this huge court trial that has taken place over the last four days. Obviously, everybody knows about J.K. Rowling and Steve Vander Ark, but...
Andrew: So wait a second, wait. This is all your - you don't have any fanfare or anything? This is the best you can do?
Micah: What do you mean fanfare?
Andrew: Well, I mean, like this is a big - you just said yourself, it's a big - this is a big trial you...
Eric: [in a booming voice] And the co-plaintiff is...
Andrew: Yeah. You...
Eric: ...J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: ...you don't have anything prepared like that?
Micah: Oh, you want me to do it like that?
Eric: Well, we're not all like you, Andrew. We don't all have those j-j-j-j-J.K. Rowling c-c-c-co-plaintiff.
Andrew: Hold on, wait, I think I can set this up properly. Hold on one second.
[Theme from Monday Night Football plays]
Eric: Oh, god.
Andrew: [announcer voice echoing] In this corner, coming in at five foot five and an undisclosed amount of weight, J...K....Rowling! And in this corner, looking not a day over twelve years old, breaking down at the podium, Steve Vaaaaaander Ark! [echoing announcer voice stops] All right, that's much better. Now we have the whole thing set up, and people will realize how big this trial actually is. So go ahead, Micah. Continue.
Micah: That's really going to be the only fun we poke at this whole thing, right?
Eric: Almost, Micah.
Andrew: Um, maybe.
Micah: All right.
Micah: I don't even know how to continue after that, though. That was just amazing.
Eric: I agree.
Andrew: Thank you.
Those Involved in the Case
Micah: But just to make people familiar with some of the other names that are probably going to come up while we're talking about this over the next hour or so, but David Hammer, who is the lead attorney for R.D.R. Books, who is the defendant in this case, obviously. Roger Rappaport; he's the owner of R.D.R. Books. Dale Sendali, she is the attorney representing Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling, and Robert Patterson, who is the presiding judge.
Eric: Wait, wait, Micah, did you say Robert Pattinson?
Micah: No. Robert Patterson.
Eric: Oh. So it's not Robert Pattinson, the Cedric Diggory actor.
Micah: No, no, no.
Eric: Because I was confused. I thought a few people in the comments were a little confused there, too.
Micah: No. He is the presiding judge in this case. So I thought if anybody out there wanted to kind of give a little bit of background on this case and how this whole thing started, I know there are a few people who are a little bit more knowledgeable than me on that, and then we could get into kind of what everyone's position is on the issue.
Eric: Basically, there was actually a lawsuit filed, I believe it was October 31 last year, against Steve Vander Ark, or actually, R.D.R. Books, the publisher, who were planning and intending to publish a book version of Steve Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website, which up until that point had been frequented by many. It still may be, but including J.K.R. herself. There were numerous occasions. It won a fansite award from Jo, and it's basically a facts site, and a really helpful compendium, I would say. Kind of like an encyclopedia, but not exactly like an encyclopedia, a fact which will become relevant later in the discussion today. Basically, it's a good way to find quick facts and everything that's ever happened that Steve and his associates over at the Harry Potter Lexicon have done.
And R.D.R. Books, as this publisher, they were now looking at taking the website and putting it out as a book. And that's the key issue here with J.K.R.'s suit, because although she supported the Lexicon in their web endeavors, printing and publishing this book and making profit off of it stirs up a heck of a lot of controversy. And what we're looking at now is to find out exactly if it's legal to be doing this sort of thing, but basically speaking, there were basically issues since day one between Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling. Micah and everyone mentioned that this court case is really, really big, spectacular, evil, but as a matter of fact, it's actually, I mean, since the beginning there were kind of iffy relations between R.D.R. and Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers had sent a few inquiries trying to see if they could get a copy of the book before it was published, and R.D.R. basically rebuffed all of their claims...
Eric: ...even made a bunch of low-handed insults that I was surprised about.
Micah: We discussed this on the show too, yeah.
Eric: Yeah, R.D.R. has not been the most intelligent, I must admit, in, sort of, the things leading up to this case. But - so they went to court and it was a three-day long trial, during which we heard testimony from everyone, and it has ended now, but the judge is still deliberating.
Andrew: The amazing thing about this - and we'll get into this - but the amazing thing about this is the judge is even urging them to settle.
Andrew: There is no - he can't even make up his mind. He even suggested it could go to the Supreme Court, and I just could not - I couldn't believe it, because all of us, well, a lot of people in the fandom were like, "Okay, R.D.R. has no shot in hell. There is no way this could - this could turn around." But it was a combination of the Fair Use Doctrine, and frankly, I thought J.K. Rowling's lawyers - between J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers sucked. For someone - for the top movie franchise company of all time making billions off Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling making hundreds of millions off of Harry Potter, they hire these lawyers that the judge is getting upset at.
Eric: Now, okay, so, Andrew, by saying that, are you saying that the points the lawyers made weren't that great? That they couldn't accurately show how Steve was actually violating the Fair Use Doctrine, or that they didn't...
Andrew: They couldn't - they didn't come up with enough original ways to show it, and if you read the reports you'll see that J.K. Rowling's lawyers would just repeatedly - they just kept emphasizing that there was nothing creative in it. It was just - "moving the furniture" they kept saying. There was nothing creative or unique about it...
Andrew: But - and - and that was their only argument!
Eric: And there is four parts to the Fair Use Doctrine.
Andrew: Right, which we'll get to later.
Eric: There's four separate parts. Right.
Micah: Yeah, and part of what Andrew was trying to say, though, is if you look at the - the testimony from J.K. Rowling that was given yesterday, the issue that came up from the judge was that he was unimpressed. He - he referred to it as not helpful testimony because it draws conclusions without specifics. He said, "I can't simply take the expert's opinion as my own." So I apologize, it wasn't in reference to J.K. Rowling, it was in reference to one of the experts that they had called. I believe she was from Oxford, and she was trying to make some comparisons, and he was saying, "look, this situation is so vague, the law is so vague here that even for him it's going to be a tough decision to make," and that's why he was urging the settlement on. And let's also make, you know, the point of saying that this case was tried to be settled out of court initially between Rowling and Steve Vander Ark, and I know there was, you know - I don't know what you would...
Eric: Are you sure it was supposed to be between Steve and Jo...
Micah: Well, I'm saying because...
Eric: ...because I thought it was between Warner Brothers and the publishers initially. The suit doesn't even name Steve itself. The suit is against R.D.R. books.
Micah: The point was that J.K. Rowling, I believe, tried - or people on her side tried to talk with Steve to make sure that - to ensure that this book did not go to print in the first place. There were - there were attempts on her side to try and reconcile this in a way that would not eventually result in a lawsuit.
The Casters' Opinions
Andrew: So, Elysa, let's start with you. What's your view on this whole situation?
Elysa: Well, I think it's important to remember that we're not talking about an author who has been exceptionally strict with her creation. I mean, as head moderator for the fan-fiction site I'm, frankly, you know...
Andrew: [laughs] You're scared?
Elysa: Surprised! And scared as well, yes. Frightened - [laughs] No, I mean some of the things that I've seen, and some of the things I've seen in fan-fiction and for her to allow that openly and to accept, you know, other people meddling with her work, I think it's important to remember that. I mean I think she's been pretty phenomenal about the whole thing, and, again, like Laura and Micah were just pointing out, she did make an attempt to stop this from going to the courts at all. So I mean I think she's clearly proven that she's a fair-minded person, and that in conjunction with the fact that it is indeed her work and that, in my opinion, Steve Vander Ark would be taking quite a bit of it to be doing an encyclopedia, I think she has a really strong case.
Laura: Well, I - you know, I'm pretty much going to be echoing what Elysa just said because she described it perfectly. I think that Jo has been so open with allowing the fans to be creative with her work. I mean you're looking - [coughs] Excuse me. You're looking at, for instance, the MuggleNet book which we're going to talk about a little bit later. A lot of the reasons that you see a lot of other companion books out there that haven't been contested is because they add original commentary to the, you know, the piece that they're publishing. Whereas the encyclopedia I don't think she would be making such a big deal out of it if it did add original commentary. And it - frankly, it's her creative work, so I think she has every right to question what's being done with it.
Andrew: She said it herself. She said she's had no problem with other companion books. Eric, your opinion?
Eric: My opinion. There are certain things in the Harry Potter Lexicon - if you want to go and look at the website - there are certain things - it's a bit interesting because, for instance, there's a floor plan of the Dursley's house. You know, things like that that Steve has taken and sort of created based on Jo's word for it. Now - and based on what he's found in the books. He's really done some unique things with the books that I think are helpful, but also his own. There are some things that he has done that I would actually say are his own content that he, you know, should have the right to sell in a way. But as far as certain things go with the characters, I think Warner Brothers has more of a case against those sort of things, compounding information and stuff like that.
Personally, and this was my initial reaction to it all, was that there's a question in the court now if this trumps Jo's encyclopedia, which she had expressed interest in doing, and I think certain things that are going to be in this Lexicon book, if it's published, are certain things that Jo might not even have touched. You know - I mean we would go to Jo for - not floor plans - We'd go to Jo to find out what happens next, for the - to learn about the parameters of the magical world and all the family trees of all the characters. Things like that that Jo alone can create. But what Steve has done - I just think - I'm more in favor of a trimming of the book than I am of a banning of the book. I think there are certain things that are certainly beneficial, and looking closer and closer at free speech and the four categories and all that stuff, I think there actually is something to this case that would make it so hard for the judge to decide, not just the law being so vague. I think there are certain things that are Steve's, and it's really interesting.
Andrew: I think the idea of trimming is an interesting point. However, it's important to remember that this Harry Potter Lexicon book is not a complete clone of the online website. There are not Dursley floor plans. It's rather, this encyclopedia is just an index of creatures, spells, things like that.
Andrew: It's not an exact clone, and that's where the problem is. And I had that exact thought, Eric. I thought, "Well, what if he just went back and re-wrote it and did publish stuff that was entirely unique?" But the problem is the reason he didn't do that, at least this is my theory, is that they were trying to rush this out for the holiday season. So therefore, you're looking at a book that, well, what can we get printed inside a book first? Oh, I know, definitions that we already have here. Hold on one second; copy, paste, book done.
Eric: Well, and the other thing - and let's ask this question. What do you guys think? Do you think R.D.R. books has put Steve in this position, and that Warner Brothers has put Jo in this position potentially because - I mean R.D.R. basically opened all fight with WB. They insulted their intelligence. Warner Brothers was asking for a copy of the book, and R.D.R. said something along the lines of, "if you can't read what's on the website, get one of your people to do it for you." And - which would allow them to believe that what was in the book was an exact copy of the site, which is interesting as well that you say, "well, it's not an exact clone, it's kind of an index," so even more of Steve's stuff that he did spend his life creating, you know. Steve is a - I would say a cornerstone of the fandom, to be perfectly honest. If anybody's seen his - his - sorry - lectures and things that he gives at the conferences and stuff, he is a very powerful speaker, and he has devoted his life to this, so I think that weighs in somewhere. I think that weighs in somewhere, and it's really interesting because everyone was crying, and that's kind of what upset the judge too, because everyone was crying. Jo's talking about how she put her children aside for the books. I personally feel that she put the books aside for her children, and that was the right - I think she did the right thing, but I feel that it's the opposite of what she's saying, but all the same everyone's crying, and there's not a lot of whole testimony that really affects the Fair Use thing.
Andrew: All right. Micah, your thoughts.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, before we get onto what Eric was saying about did R.D.R. put him in this position - but what I was going to say is you can talk about how devoted he's been, but there are plenty of other people out there who are devoted to this series, who have spent a lot of their time on it, and they're not in this same position. And Eric, you were talking before about how, you know, maybe we would get some things in the encyclopedia that we wouldn't necessarily get in what J.K. Rowling makes down the line. I don't know how you can necessarily say that as of right now, but also the books - those are the things that you go to to find out - and I understand people want references, people want to be able to go and get these things very easily. "Okay, I want to go to a book, I want to open it up, I want to see this spell, this character, what have you." But the fact of the matter is that has all been defined in the original books, and to say that Steve Vander Ark has sort of devoted his life to this, J.K. Rowling has devoted her life to this. She was the one who came up with this. She is the one who has the rights to all this, in my opinion, and the idea of trimming the book - you're not going to necessarily be able to sell a book full of floor plans; that's just not going to happen. And it would be similar, in my opinion, to me - okay, I'm going to take all the transcripts that myself and the other transcribers have done from MuggleCast, throw them into a book, and try and sell them. It's just...
Andrew: Don't you dare.
Micah: It would be...
Andrew: Don't you dare. I'm getting my lawyer on the phone.
Eric: We're taking you to court.
Micah: And then what Elysa said about fan-fiction. You know, I think Jo's been extremely liberal in her, you know, her stance in terms of what she has allowed, and the problem is with Steve Vander Ark, I think he's taking that liberty a little bit too far. He's exploiting the opportunity that Jo has presented all the fans with in terms of being able to sort of take the series in the direction that they've wanted to take it in and enjoy it the way that they have. And I think you set a bad precedent if you're going to decide in the favor of Steve Vander Ark for that very reason.
Laura: Yeah, and I think that - and one of the original qualms that Jo brought up from the beginning was that she's writing this encyclopedia to benefit charity, and the Lexicon is originally available for free online for people, and she doesn't mind that. But the fact that it's going to be put into a print version and be sold for profit is a problem, especially considering she's really, really hoping to use those profits to benefit charities. And I think she takes real issue with the idea of her fans - of fans of hers rushing out and spending their money on books for something they could get for free elsewhere.
Elysa: Good point.
Andrew: And what annoys me is when people are calling Jo - like on our site - they're calling her greedy. "Oh, she's just doing this for more money, and she's telling Steve no so she can get - she can make more money out of it." How can you say that when she even said in her testimony that this is clearly not about money. She was like, "Everyone knows that I have enough money."
Andrew: I mean, okay, sure, she could be lying, but come on. It's J.K. Rowling. Who would want more money? Not just that, but she also said that a portion of the encyclopedia would go to charity.
Micah: Yeah, well...I think all of it.
Andrew: I don't think it was all of it.
Eric: I think it actually - she's saying now that it's all of it.
Andrew: Is she saying that? Are you sure?
Eric: It was - I read it written.
Micah: Yeah, I think it's all the profit...
Laura: I'm fairly certain, yeah.
Andrew: Oh. Okay.
Eric: But I mean, I like what you pointed out, Andrew, which is that there are certain people - I mean, basically there's a lot of ignorance in this case, and I - you know, at least on the comments pages there are people who will say, "Oh, J.K.R. is greedy," or there's people who will say, you know, "Oh, Steve's trying to make a quick buck." That sort of thing. There's a - there's a Facebook group, for example, that says, you know, "I support Jo Rowling no matter what." And that's great until J.K.R. takes up, you know, serial killing. But what I'm...
Getting the Facts
Eric: But what I'm saying is that there are people on either side that will be, you know, completely - they won't read the facts. What we're trying to do is have an intelligent discussion with this MuggleCast that really looks into Fair Use and all that stuff, I mean, just - supporting one side dully and blatantly is always wrong. It's just my opinion, but I really think, you know - I really - I'm impressed by what we're doing so far, and what we're going to do on this show, because, you know, there are people that, you know, seriously should have their own opinions, you know? And I think it's a bit difficult because this is an author of a book series that we all owe everything to, more or less. You know, we owe the last 145 episodes, you know, all that stuff. And all of our feelings to Jo Rowling. So the fact that she's in court crying really, really makes us - gives the whole fans - it's really hard to support Steve Vander Ark at a time like this; it's really hard to do anything. I mean we don't want to piss off Warner Brothers, you know? And there's just so many other things that fans are so attached to J.K. Rowling, when really, as the judge is saying, the judge is telling everyone that it has no relevance to whether or not Steve is actually breaking the law here. That's what he's saying, that it's too emotional...
Laura: Yeah, but...
Micah: Well, I think it's also important to look at, though, why it got to this point. And I mean we'll obviously talk about that, but you also have to factor that in that, unfortunately, via R.D.R. Books, Steve created this situation. And it's a very unfortunate situation, but he created this situation. And it's very, very difficult for any fan of this series to sit here and to side with him when he essentially made his bed and now has to lie in it.
Eric: I'm going to agree with you on that. I think they should have been in better contact from the start. I thought - I think R.D.R. Books is completely wrong in what they did when WB initially...
Micah: I completely agree with you on that side of it as well, but the greedy comment, though - I mean there's a difference between not - I don't know. With the whole idea that, you know, this is who J.K. Rowling is, and she just wants money, that's absolutely ridiculous, because if that's all she cared about she would have shut down all of our fan sites a long time ago, and she would have made sure nothing was published as far as, you know, companion books, in the sense of MuggleNet, in the sense of many other things that have been written, you know, since then.
Andrew: I am going to say this right now. MuggleNet for a time was planning on writing an encyclopedia, and sure enough there came a letter from Jo's lawyer saying, "Take it down. Get rid of it right now." And we obliged, because how could anyone get a letter from J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers - their lawyers - and be like, "I'm going to continue with this anyway." Knowing how much money that they have...
From R.D.R.'s Point of View
Eric: I think they feel - I think R.D.R. Books felt picked on. I think - I mean Warner Brothers, guys, to be honest, they shut our shirts down cause they said "Muggle" on them. We obliged, yes, but come on guys, seriously? That's a little - I mean that's like - we are their main supporters. We are the people that all the fans go to. Us, Leaky, and HPL.
Laura: Selling shirts that say "Muggle" doesn't really have much to compare to someone selling a book that is essentially plagiarism.
Eric: Well, it might or might not. What I'm saying is that WB snatched both of us for it. I mean I guess I'm trying to see what R.D.R. Books is thinking, and I'm just thinking that well maybe they - like I said, nothing justifies what R.D.R. did to Warner Brothers. In my strong opinion, what they did initially, they basically said, "Screw off," and that's what caused this big mess. I agree with that completely, but I'd like to think also that, like you were saying Andrew and Micah, this is pennies in J.K.R.'s pocket. She really - she can't be in it for the money. But the same goes for Warner Brothers too. They - you know - this is - the money that the book will make is nothing in comparison.
Micah: She's not in it for the money simply because she wouldn't be making any money off of the encyclopedia to begin with, so, you know, I just want to clear that point up. If she is doing it all for charity, the Scottish book that comes out whenever it comes out would all be going to charity, so she's not making any money off of it. There is no financial tie to this for her at all whatsoever.
Spending Hard-earned Money on Sloppy Material
Andrew: Let's talk about some quotes that J.K. Rowling and Vander Ark have said over these last few days. I guess we'll just go through the list and react to them afterwards. First one from J.K. Rowling: "The idea of my readership parting with their parents' hard-earned cash for this is a travesty."
Micah: And this is where a lot of the greedy comments came from, because a lot of people made the comparison, well, they parted with their money for the series, so what's wrong with parting with their money for a book that would essentially detail out the series? What are your thoughts on that?
Andrew: I think that this quote was the one thing that was a little harsh, because I can't see it being a travesty because a child wants a book, and their parents are going to buy the book to make them happy, so I don't know what to think about that one.
Elysa: I don't think it was so much about parting with their money as much as it was, what are they parting - why are they parting with it? I mean there's a big difference between buying a piece of literature and, you know, variable X or whatever it might be. And I think she's just saying that she doesn't feel like it's worth it because - I mean one of the other quotes that you're going to get ready to read pretty soon is that it's sloppy, lazy, and takes [unintelligible]. I think those two, you know, sort of work in conjunction to each other. She's saying that the reason why it's not worth their parents' hard-earned money, or their hard-earned money, is because it's sloppy and it's lazy. And I don't think - I think that to characterize that as being greedy in any way shape or form is just a mischaracterization. I mean she's proven herself with her actions in the past and, frankly, I think this is all about the principle of it. This is about the principle of her work, of her life-long work, being used for someone else's profit. Or even if it wasn't for profit, just being used at all. It's her work, it's something that she created. And I think anyone who's claiming that it's greed just don't understand principles and probably aren't principled themselves.
Laura: Yeah, you know, Elysa, you and I have been friends for far too long because we have this mind connection...
[Elysa and Micah laugh]
Laura: ...and we think exactly the same thing.
Elysa: I'm sorry.
Laura: That's - I mean it's essentially what I was going to say, as well. I think she's looking at this and - she brought it up several points during the trial, that there are inaccuracies in this book. There are - when she was talking about, I think, the Alohamora spell, where he got the root of it wrong or something like that. And she doesn't like this idea of people not only going out and spending money that's not going to charity, but they're spending money on something that's not correct.
Micah: Right. That's - that's a huge thing for me, too is that only the original concepts, the original ideas, what Jo, you know, what she meant when she created the spell; only that can come from her. When she created a character, why she created him, and why he did this or why she did that. And that can only come from Jo. And I agree with what Elysa was saying because, you know, they're taking their money and they're essentially paying for something that, for the most part, Jo has already put into her books. So why do they need to go out there and spend money on something? And then you brought up the inaccuracies, Laura, the fact that there are things in there that don't coincide with what's in the books, and maybe with what's in Jo's mind when she would go back and, you know, do something like this herself. So it's just really - a travesty, maybe, is not the best word, but certainly, you know, when you look at the fact that she called the work itself sloppy and lazy, it's just - you don't want to think about people going out and spending their hard-earned money on that kind of stuff.
The Book Will Sell
Eric: Well, the question is, too, though, nobody has to go out and spend their money on this. It's really a question of if anyone would. You know, it's a question of, can they? Can they spend their money?
Micah: Harry Potter will sell. The name itself will sell, no matter what. It's called the Harry Potter Lexicon. It will sell. There's no question about it.
Andrew: The subtitle is, like, "The most comprehensive thing inside the Harry Potter-" It's - it's a very...
Micah: And maybe for people who don't know that Jo was going to come out with something down the line, or maybe there are people out there who think that this was done in conjunction with her. You know, there are plenty of people out there who like the series who aren't as knowledgeable of the situation and what's going on, who may just decide to go out and buy the book because they think, "Oh, this was the, you know, so-called encyclopedia that they were talking about Jo writing." And, you know, that's what they think, you know. You don't know. But the fact of the matter is the name itself will sell. There's no question about that.
Laura: And we all...
Andrew: Borders and Barnes - go ahead, Laura.
Laura: I was going to say we all know very well how popular the fansites are. And the second you put a book out there that has a fansite's name on it, it will sell. There's no doubt about it.
Andrew: Borders and Barnes and Noble do not have very impressive first runs of this book. Reportedly, I can't remember which had which, but one bookstore had about 1,200 copies, and one had about 1,500 copies.
Eric: Wait. Of the Lexicon?
Andrew: Of the Lexicon, yeah.
Andrew: So it wasn't that big of a run for them, initially. Now, if they're sold out immediately, of course they'd be getting more copies in a flash and other stores will pick it up, too.
Micah: And, to be honest, the publicity that it's going to get or it has already gotten from this trial is going to spike sales, regardless.
Andrew: Oh, I will be purchasing this book if it goes on sale. Who - who else will purchase this book?
Eric: Me too. But not because we're mindless drones and it says "Ooh, Harry Potter" on it.
Eric: I'll be purchasing it because it seems like a book form of something that's helpful.
Laura: I - I don't think so, no.
Elysa: I wouldn't buy it.
Micah: I wouldn't buy it. No.
Andrew: See, I would buy it because I want to be part of the - the action. Like, I want to say I bought it.
Micah: Why don't you have him sign a copy and just send it to you?
Andrew: I - I - Facebook friended him the other day. I hope he approves my request. But anyway, let's talk about two other quotes.
Micah: Not after this episode.
The Effect the Book Will Have on the Fandom
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. Looking - not looking a day over twelve. Highlights two other quotes we should talk about. The other ones we've sort of been through already. "This trial has decimated my creative work over the last month. You lose the plot threads and worry whether you'll be able to pick them up again." What a...
Eric: Is she threatening?
Andrew: Yeah, well, let's read the other one cause it sort of goes hand in hand with this. "Should my fans be flooded with a surfeit..." Is that how you pronounce that?
Andrew: "...of substandard books and so called lexicons, I'm not sure I'd have the will or heart to continue."
Micah: And this is the quote to me that could have the biggest impact.
Andrew: Very threatening. And I almost feel like she said this to get everyone on her side.
Eric: She did. She did. This is - this is tough. This is almost like a threat. It's not because she said it while crying, but I really think it's honest. I mean this case is very personal to J.K. Rowling, and she is saying that she might not - she'll be completely disenchanted if - if Steve's book is allowed to continue. But this isn't about who hates Steve and who hates J.K.R. It's about the law. It's what Robert Patterson, judge, is trying to figure out. If it breaks the law.
Micah: Well, the other quote that's tied into that that we have on there is about the negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the Internet, 'cause I think that, you know, this all falls in line together. Because you mentioned this before, Andrew. If R.D.R. were to win this case the - the sort of, you know, windfall that would have on the Internet would be massive.
Eric: Micah does - does this come from WB's statement? Did you - did you quote from their statement...
Micah: These were all quotes that were pulled from the Wall Street Journal blog that the - actually we should give them a lot of credit because they did a great job covering this over the last three days...
Eric: Well, they spent - they - yeah they did, they did really. They spent a few chapters, sorry, a few paragraphs talking about how Steve compared to Harry Potter. [laughs] But, you know, after they got over that they did a really good job.
Micah: But - I mean just looking at those three quotes, I mean, it sounds like this could have a really negative impact for all of us moving forward just because of the kind of way it would affect the fandom. Don't you agree? I mean...
Eric: What - yeah, yeah. What strikes me is the term "surfeit of substandard books" because if this were allowed to come through, I mean, J.K.R. seems to think that a lot of other people would be purchasing, or would be sort of writing these kind of, you know, like she said, "substandard books." Books that aren't the ones she would write and aren't nearly as creative or innovative as I'm sure Steve's might be.
Andrew: Laura and Elysa, what do you girls think about this?
Laura: Oh, you know, I just have to say that like Eric was saying, if this goes through just think about all the other types of books that can be published on this. And then you're no longer looking at the ability Jo has had to have close relationships with the makers of the fansites. I mean you look at the Fansite of the Month Award that she does, and there's no telling whether she'll want to do that anymore. Because she could actually be afraid that by endorsing sites in the future that she could be opening herself up to this same kind of situation. And I hate thinking that she might have to feel that way, because I don't want her to have to feel that way. Because as somebody who works on a fansite I feel extremely devoted to her work, but at the same time I couldn't criticize her for that because this is something that has been so close to her heart. She said it saved her life, and the fact that anybody would want to manipulate that really speaks volumes about their principles. Which is what, you know, everyone's been saying this whole time.
Micah: Right. And she said also she put aside her children for how many years to write these books, and exactly what you said, it's just the principles. Where are they for somebody like that?
Andrew: The fansite awards were brought up in the trial, and Jo even said she regrets it bitterly. Regrets giving the Harry Potter Lexicon one bitterly.
Eric: That's a shame, you know, because Steve and Jo were such good friends. You know, Steve's collaborated on most of the video games. You know, he's a really prominent member and this thing kind of really tore a lot of people up. It tore up that friendship, too. And just to mention another fansite, The Leaky Cauldron, they've lost all their friendliness with Steve too, and...
Andrew: We could write - we could write - let's - I got an idea. Let's write a whole book on this trial.
Eric: [laughs] A book about the trial about the...
Don't Pick on Steve
Andrew: The Harry Potter Lexicon: Trial, I'm going to call it. Let's talk about some things that Vander Ark said. Quoting the Wall Street Journal here, but "the most telling part of Vander Ark's testimony came at the end of Hammer's direct examination. Asked whether he still considered himself a part of the Harry Potter fan community, those that, in Vander Ark's words, 'devote most of their free time to all things Potter,' he choked up and said, 'I did,' but then when pressed on it he changed his answer, 'I do,' he said, breaking up." That's a very - that's a very like movie-like, "I did! I do!" It's like - I don't know.
Elysa: Yeah, that's got Lifetime written all over it.
Andrew: [laughs] Yes! Exactly. Lifetime movie.
Laura: And I mean, I don't think that we should be out to ridicule anyone on either side of this case...
Andrew: Oh no, I'm not trying to.
Eric: Thanks, Laura.
Laura: Oh, no, no, no. That's not what I'm saying at all, and I think we've seen a lot of this type of commentary from several newspapers who, you know, have said very unflattering things about Steve, and I don't really think it's the way to be going about this case. I think we just need to look at it for what it is, and that this is Jo's right as an author, and Steve knew the situation he was getting himself into, and he's an adult...
Micah: Thank you.
Laura: ...and he should have to deal with it. But I think that's as far as it needs to go.
Micah: Yeah, I don't think it's necessary, the ridicule that's taken place, but at the same time you have to realize, if you're going to put yourself in that position, and we'll talk about...
Laura: Oh, it's going to happen.
Micah: ...being put in that position. You have to be ready for it, and, look, I'm not saying that - this trial has been extremely emotional, clearly, on both sides, and for him, for somebody who's such a devoted fan, I feel that in this case in particular, probably, if you were to talk to him about it, he doesn't want to be in this situation, and he's forcefully in this situation, probably because of R.D.R. Books. But it's just - I don't know. I just - I want to feel bad for the guy, but I can't.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. That's how I feel too, because it's not even like he's someone who is inexperienced with this type of thing. He's been working in the Harry Potter fandom. Like we've said, he's collaborated with Warner Brothers several times before. I just don't see how he couldn't have seen something like this coming.
Micah: He's a librarian! He's worked with books his entire life! He knows the whole idea of copyright.
Andrew: Yeah. You guys are missing something. He said in this trial that, well, for one, R.D.R. pressured him into it, which, okay, I can see a book company doing that. But also, Steve had a clause in his contract specifically stating that if there was a lawsuit brought onto him that R.D.R. would cover his ass. So he knew. He had a feeling something like this would happen.
Eric: Exactly, and he is quoted, I believe I read in one of the trials, that somebody had brought up something he had said a while ago on the website about ever putting the Lexicon into book, and he said no, that would be illegal...[laughs]...which is ironic.
Andrew: And not just that, but also in the past he has said he has read numerous copyright books. He read them all the time apparently because he was a librarian, and he educated students on properly sourcing your material. And in the trial he said he's never read a copyright book despite the fact that there is some evidence saying that he had. So it's just silly, and the way he responds to - I mean, obviously, he's in court and his lawyers told him what to do, but he was giving these very vague responses like, "Not to my knowledge," "Not that I am aware of," stuff like that, that, you know, it was just beating around the bush. It's where he knows it's true, but to cover his ass he's just saying it's "Not to my knowledge" etc.
Eric: This whole thing is an emotional circus. It really is. It's an emotional Barnum & Bailey. Everyone is crying, the judge is saying, "I need to find out what's actually legal." So can we move on and talk about if it actually breaks Fair Use?
Micah: Is there anything else, I mean as far as Steve is concerned?
Can Steve Still be a Part of the Fandom?
Andrew: I want to play one quote from Steve, and I think this is worth bringing up. This was an AP article, well, AP video, I believe. And I took the time to edit this so damn straight we're going to play it. Here it is.
Steve Van Der Ark Audio: The excitement is the same now as it was then. I mean it's a wonderful, exciting world that she's created, and it's been a delight to be part of it and to enjoy that, and I hope I can still can.
Andrew: No, Steven! No! [laughs]
Eric: No, Steven what?
Andrew: Did you hear what he said?
Eric: He said he's happy to be a part of it and hopes he still can.
Andrew: And he hopes he still can. But this is the thing. Will the fans accept him after this trial is over? Whether he wins or loses, I think no. What do you guys think?
Laura: I think that there are a lot of people who aren't going to accept him. It's really difficult, it's really along the lines of what Micah was saying earlier; you want to feel bad for him just knowing the perspective of a fan. But at the same time you can't because you're looking at the situation, and it's like, how could you not have seen this coming? How could you not have known? And you look at the facts, and you realize that he did know, he did have an inkling about this. So I don't know if he's going to get that much sympathy.
Micah: Yeah, and, Andrew I forgot about the clause. So me trying to somewhat defend him in the face of R.D.R. Books pressuring him, which I'm sure that they still did in a lot of respects, but if he was aware of this clause, he's a librarian, he knows about copyright infringement. You mentioned the quote about him never publishing the site because it would be illegal, yet he still went forward with this and tried to go after Rowling and create this book. Why? Why are you doing that? And yet you're surprised that you're sitting in this situation. How can you possibly want to side with somebody like that? It's just - he knew what was going to happen and yet he went through with it anyway, and then he sits on the stand and, you know, gets very emotional about it, but is that real? Or is it all just an act because he knew how many ever months ago that he would be in this situation, eventually. And why put Jo though that? You know, that's my other point. Why put her through that? You supposedly love her books, you've devoted your life to her. You're going to put her through that? The emotional strain, having to fly across the Atlantic, having to go to court in New York City, over something as stupid as this?
Eric: Well, Micah, the other thing then - I mean I understand exactly what you're saying. I sympathize one hundred percent with J.K.R., I really do. If this were just Warner Bros, though, and not J.K.R. doing this. If it were Warner Brothers battling R.D.R. Books and having the emotional thing, would it follow that anytime Warner Brothers says something you can't contest it, you can't - like what exactly is going to happen if Steve loses, is kind of a question that I want to ask. I mean if Steve loses is everything bright as daisies, and everyone goes back to what they were doing?
Micah: No, there are still going to be certain problems, I think, because of it and...
Eric: So we should wait [unintelligible]...
Micah: ...it's a slippery slope.
Elysa: If Steve loses then the power remains in the hands of, primarily, J.K. Rowling. And I mean for the past several years that's worked for us. That's worked for MuggleNet, for Leaky, and for everyone else. The only one it hasn't worked for so far is R.D.R. and Steve Vander Ark, so I don't think it would be setting any new precedents. I think it would go back to how it was before this trial.
Micah: But the fact of the matter is I don't understand why he is not content with the site itself. It seems like, in this instance, he's the greedy one, he wants to make a quick buck off this, and, look, we all put time and effort into our respective sites. But I can speak, as somebody saying here right now, that I have never made a dollar off MuggleNet.
Eric: Yeah, I can say that too! [laughs]
Elysa: I can definitely say that.
Eric: So we're all poor and if you want to endorse us, we'll support you.
[Andrew, Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: But the question goes back...
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Micah: It goes back to, why do this then? Why, if you care so much about J.K. Rowling, if, you know, you've devoted the last eight or nine years of your life to her, why put her through this emotional stress? I wish somebody would ask him that.
Laura: Yeah, and what I don't even get with the money is it's really no secret that the fansites do generate some amount of revenue, and no one has ever really made a big deal about that before, except Warner Brothers once in the past, but they dropped it. And so - didn't Steve talk about how he's made something like $6000 off the Lexicon?
Eric: You know, the thing about that, though - the thing about that is that he's put that right back into Harry Potter.
Laura: Oh, and I - oh, and I'm not denying that.
Eric: I mean he really truly has. I mean even more than we have. We do it going to events and doing podcasts, he's done it. I mean his whole trip to Scotland - I think it was - he went, like, searching for the reality of Hogwarts, did this wonderful presentation at Prophecy, and had everyone in tears by the end of it. I mean he is really seriously devoted to it, and I'm not going to go back into how he put his life into it because I know J.K.R. put even longer amounts of her life into it for sure, but the money he makes off the site...
Micah: And it's her creation! That's the thing. It's her creation, though. It's not his.
Micah: That's my point.
Andrew: It's also worth noting that the Harry Potter Lexicon has always been hosted by Leaky. It's always - Leaky has always been paying for their web space until now, of course. They're transferring the rights over and Steve's going to start paying for it.
The Fair Use Doctrine: First Category
Andrew: So, with that said, should we start talking about the Fair Use Doctrine now?
Andrew: So the Fair Use Doctrine is basically what this whole thing is riding on; this is what the whole case is about. So we're going to break it down for everyone. In the simplest terms, the Fair Use Doctrine is a United States law allowing quote unquote "limited use of copyrighted material without required permission from the rights holder such as use for scholarship or review." Review being - a simple example would be the MuggleNet book, taking a look at what would happen in Book 7. It was strictly theories and analysis. So there's four categories, and MTV did a really great job of outlining this for all the dumb kids who watch MTV so we all understand it. There's four categories, and it's not a thing where just one of them can be met and you make a decision. All four have to be met or I think there can be a majority.
Eric: There probably can be a majority. If it's up to the judge to decide anyway, then he could think that one of these four potentially is more important than the rest and still make a really strange decision, but they're still expecting an appeal, I guess, depending on what, you know, whatever happens.
Andrew: Yeah. So let's look at each one and we'll figure out if the Lexicon meets it. We are going to be Judge Robert Pattinson of Twilight.
Andrew: Oh, Patterson, sorry. I was kidding.
Eric: I made that joke, Andrew. [laughs]
Andrew: I know you did. I know...
Eric: No one laughed.
Andrew: But I didn't dwell on it.
Micah: And we should also talk about what he said afterwards.
Andrew: Yes, we will, because that's very important too. Number one, first category of the Fair Use Doctrine: the purpose and character of the use. "In simple terms, this boils down to an opinion on whether the work is transformative, meaning, does it add to the culture's appreciation and/or knowledge of a work, or does it merely seek to supersede the original?" This is a quote from MTV. So what is this? What do you guys think? Does it meet this clause?
Laura: I don't think so. I mean, frankly, to add to a culture's appreciation of a work there has to be some original commentary, and thus far there doesn't seem to be any.
Eric: I'll disprove that, Laura. I'll disprove that, or I'll try to, just in a short little thing here. For instance, what is the spell used to put out Lumos?
Eric: Nox. Very good. You get ten points and a cookie.
Eric: But what happens is certain spells like Nox, for instance, fly right by when you're reading them inside a Harry Potter book. And I wonder - I mean certain spells I know, certain spells - when it comes down to the really deep chapters of Book 5 - certain spells do escape me. And so if I were to pick up this new Harry Potter Lexicon, and there was a list of all these spells and what they do, I might gain some serious appreciation out of J.K.R. for coming up with all of this, especially if it explains where and why. You know, things like this - by where and why - I mean what it means in Latin, that sort of thing. And J.K.R. likened it in court to some, you know, little five-year-old with a pocket dictionary, but I don't think it's like that, okay? If J.K.R. wants to write - I mean J.K.R.'s encyclopedia would explain something along what she thought about making Nox, say, for instance, using the same example, the spell to put out your light. And that would be far more important and far more interesting because we learn the author's insight into the book, and that's why everybody would still buy J.K. Rowling's book, but that's not exactly the point I'm making. The point I'm making is I think the book in and of itself just being a companion, even if it adds no content - useful content, if it rearranges things, a list of spells would be helpful because they fly right by in the books. How am I going to know, necessarily, what all the spells are if it's not compiled for me, you know, or who would want to?
Laura: You go on MuggleNet or you go on the Harry Potter Lexicon where it's available for free and where the author doesn't have a problem with it.
Eric: There's your answer. But at the same time I think I've demonstrated how certain lists could improve appreciation of the series. We're not thinking, oh great, you know, we're not thinking this is wonderful for Steve to do this as much as we're thinking it's wonderful for J.K.R. to be this complex.
Micah: Well, I'm not disagreeing with you. I think, though, that there should be a list available, and there is, like Laura mentioned, online, but at the same time, if somebody wants to go out and make a list, it should be the author. In publication it should be the author. Nobody else should have the right to go out there and make a list of terms - you know, spells, characters, what-have-you - and give their origin unless it's that author. Because, yes, I'm sure there's Latin behind a lot of these different spells and a lot of other things in the series, but maybe there's another reason why J.K. Rowling went out and named this spell this way, or this character that way, and only she knows that, and it's only her right to be able to go out there and explain it.
Eric: Would she?
Elysa: Well, I do want to say this. In an attempt at being completely objective here, I would have to say that - I mean in a strict interpretation of the character of the use part, I don't think they're meaning to supersede the original. I don't think that an encyclopedia could possibly supersede the original - the seven books. I think that Eric actually did make a decent case that it could add to the culture's appreciation or knowledge, or whatever else, so in this particular one quarter of the clause, then I can understand, you know, how they could possibly - objectively speaking, you know - take that stance. However, there's another part of it that this doesn't really illuminate, and that's the purpose of the use. What's the purpose of R.D.R. and Steve Vander Ark putting this out? And I think that they're going to have to prove - and they're going to have a hard time doing this - that it's for something that isn't personal gain, that they're not - they're going to have to prove that they're doing this for, I suppose, more than just their own selfish means, because usually that's not such a big deal if it's your own work, clearly, but if it's not, if you're taking someone else's work then they have to show that the purpose is sincere. So there's two parts to that.
Eric: Thank you for illuminating that, Elysa. The whole purpose thing. I like that. The unfortunate thing is that trial has ended, so all the testimony has been given, so they will have already had to prove that their purpose was - yeah, you're right...
Eric: ...and it's now for the judge to decide. True that.
Elysa: True that.
Fair Use Doctrine: Second Category
Andrew: Point number two of the Fair Use Doctrine: "The nature..." - and again, this is quoting MTV - "The nature of of the copyrighted work. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Published or unpublished? This guideline isn't particularly applicable in this case as nobody argues, for instance, that Dumbledore or Harry Potter are in any sense real." So I guess they just skipped that one. I mean...
Eric: Well, there is a little thing... [laughs] ...that MTV - it's a good quote for J.K.R., it really it is, and I think it supports her opinion.
Andrew: But I guess this is an important point because, according to Copyright.gov, it just states "The nature..." - number two is "The nature of the copyrighted work." So - I - is it a copyright issue? I guess maybe not. Actually no, no, 'cause that's point number three.
Eric: I think with two, it has something to do also in this case with maybe canon. You know, because, like J.K.R. is the only one currently who holds rights to canon. Think - you know, series like Star Wars have, you know, fans writing books that can or cannot be considered canon. For instance, one of them killed off Chewbacca, and they had to ask George Lucas to do it, but I think in this case - and there's a little quote by Rowling; it says - on this MTV article, which you have to link to because it's beautiful and we're using it a lot - and we don't want to get sued - Rowling says - Rowling was comparing a description she wrote of a Chinese Fireball with one from the Lexicon, stating that it wasn't as if they were both describing giraffes. Her quote is, "It's not as if we're describing something that exists outside my imagination." And do you guys want to talk about that quote, for instance, because I like this point that J.K.R. makes, but I'm wondering if the Chinese Fireball at this point - the Chinese Fireball doesn't actually exist outside of her imagination - I think it might, because she's put it in books that have circulated so far around the world. So is it...
Laura: Yeah, but I think...
Andrew: You're saying it exists because of how popular Harry Potter books are?
Eric: Interesting. I'm saying that J.K.R. will and has and will always control the canon of a Chinese Fireball. If she wanted to addendum, to add on to her details of the Chinese Fireball, only she could do that. Steve could - Steve could not say anything about the Chinese Fireball that Jo Rowling hasn't said, is what I'm saying, unless he...
Micah: But then that goes back to the idea of not having any original content.
Eric: Well, if he were to say, then, that he thinks Chinese Fireballs sound pretty, that actually is something that he could say that J.K.R. didn't say.
Micah: Yeah, but then is that of any value to the culture?
Eric: It is commentary.
Andrew: Well, it is commentary...
Micah: Yeah, but it's [word bleeped out].
Laura: It's not really extensive commentary.
Eric: Think domestically.
Andrew: A couple of the theories...
Micah: Yeah, but are they copying other people's work?
Andrew: Dobby had a hundred percent chance of living.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: No way is he going to touch him.
Micah: There's a difference between being wrong and being complete bullshit.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: Saying the Chinese Fireball is pretty is not analysis, I'm sorry.
Eric: It's not analysis, but if we can agree with him, if he can prove conclusively, that, based on J.K.R.'s [unintelligible].
Micah: He can't because he's never seen one.
Eric: If he can, then maybe by that use people who read this book can agree with him and start having, like, Chinese Fireball Appreciation Societies, Facebook groups, things like that. All because of his little one-word statement that Chinese Fireballs are pretty. I'm just trying to say, is there anything in this number 2 clause that we can use, because MTV has said that basically we can't.
Andrew: No, I don't think so.
Fair Use Doctrine: Third Category
Andrew: Let's move on to point three, which is the amount of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. How much of the whole text appears in the work? Generally speaking, the less you use the more likely that it's Fair Use, but of course there are instances - instances in which you can quote the entirety of something and get away with it. So this is probably one of the bigger ones in the Lexicon case, because Warner Brothers showed on multiple occasions throughout the trial that Steve basically took what was in the book and simply reworded it.
Eric: Rearranged it. Rearranged the - what - furniture?
Andre: Rearranged the furniture, they kept saying. But in these cases, more literally, they just - they move the words around. And I'll try to look it up - an example while we're talking, because I know there is one floating around out there. But what do you guys think about this one? I mean this definitely goes in favor of WB and J.K.R., right? Because it is just - it's just...
Eric: I would say very similarly.
Andrew: It's just information that's in the books.
Micah: It's the lack of commentary factor again playing in here.
Eric: Lack of commentary, yeah.
Micah: And again, no original thought. That's the problem with this particular thing, and, yeah, I think this one probably does go more in the favor of J.K.R. and Warner Brothers because, look, if you're taking a spell, for example, from the book, and you're putting it into this Harry Potter Lexicon, where's the original thought behind it? You know, you're not creating anything of your own and applying it to that. So there's really no instance where, you know, your own, you know, thought is appearing in the book.
Eric: I would agree. I would agree that this is certainly a point, as Micah and Andrew have both said, that definitely would go most in favor of Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling. It was brought to my attention earlier today, though, there are certain things, based on this article, where it says that there are instances in which you can quote the entirety of something and get away with it. I've - someone made a point, someone very close to me made a point that if this book is copyright infringing, then so are Cliff Notes, which want to take - by the way, Cliff Notes exist for almost every major work you can find. All Shakespeare, all of these different authors, all Dickens, everything. Cliff Notes. And how exactly would you then go about - I mean to be honest I think that comparison kind of stunned me because, although Steve isn't Cliff Note-ing - I mean thank God - I think Cliff Note-ing in this case would be a lot more of a copyright infringement. If he were to take actual words and sentences as opposed to doing lists of characters. I think that would be even more, you know...
Micah: I think the difference, though, with that is that whoever is writing the Cliff Notes is doing their own interpretation of what things mean.
Andrew: And not only that, but the...
Andrew: ...theyíre Ė sorry to cut you off Ė but there are analyses in these. And you can go online and look at free versions of these Cliff Notes books that are printed in Borders and Barnes and Noble and Iím looking right here for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Thereís a little area called Character Analysis for Huckleberry, Jim, and Tom Sawyer.
Eric: Those things got me through high school.
Andrew: And those are literary classics!
Eric: Ain't gonna lie.
Eric: Those things got me through high school. Ainít gonna lie.
Andrew: Yeah, me too.
Eric: Actually, I did lie.
Micah: Yeah, so thereís the difference though.
Laura: Me too. [laughs]
Micah: They provide analysis, whereas this book does not. [laughs]
Eric: All the same though, if this is a more easy reference than the whole seven Harry Potter books, is it bad? Is it - yeah...
Andrew: I donít know if I see Cliff Notes as reference material, because itís not indexed. I mean, itís indexed by chapter, but you still have to go searching for what you want.
Laura: Yeah, and I mean as somebody Ė I mean, we all just admitted to using Cliff Notes all through high school, and there are many instances where, if I was reading a book and I didnít feel like reading the whole thing and I turned to the Cliff Notes, I would still have to turn to the original source material...
Andrew: Thatís very true.
Laura: ...to understand certain things. So...
Eric: I guess I get that, but, then again, this isnít really taking away the fun. Which is kind of how it goes with number four, but just stepping on the toes of number four here, I think that the difference is that - I mean, this book isnít exactly going to take away - this is with number one too - it isnít going to take away anything, really. I mean lists and things arenít going to prevent people from reading the Harry Potter books, which are canon. Society knows the difference between what is canon and what is, sort of, a reworking of canon. The whole real thing is, is this illegal to do this? It really, you know...
Micah: What I was going to say to that is - and J.K. Rowling actually said this when she was testifying - just because sheís been so successful doesnít diminish the fact that he would, in some way, be taking away from the series as a whole. Whether that is through the books themselves or from the financial standpoint. Just because she's been able to do the things sheís done and be a successful person does not mean that she is any less affected by this book being published. And I think looking at, you know, the financial side of it, sheís probably not - she probably doesnít care about that as much. What she cares about is not the market value. What she cares about is the, sort of, the internal value of how this is affecting her and the fact that sheís put in so much time and effort to this over the past seventeen years or twenty years of her life, and now she has to turn around and defend that fact against somebody who's out there just to make a quick buck.
Andrew: Well said.
Eric: In an opinion. That was well said.
Eric: And I think too, if J.K.R. is to say Ė which she has said in this trial, hinted at, at least Ė is that, you know, this book being published will severely scar her, like Ė something like that Ė and will, you know, delay the encyclopedia she was going to write and somehow affect the quality, I, as a Harry Potter fan, have to say that this book should not be published because I want everything I can get from the original author. You know? I mean, I have to say then that if this is Ė if thatís what J.K.R. feels, that she wonít be interested in Ė that itíll just be such a, you know, horrible thing to come back for I have to support her. I have to support J.K.R.
Andrew: But my other thing is that I feel like she will do this because she wants to support charity. If she doesnít do it then sheís Ė I mean, sorry, but sheís screwing a charity.
Andrew: Because she already said sheís going to do this, and then if she turns around and doesnít Ė well, how would whatever charity feel?
Eric: I think theyíd understand.
Andrew: I mean I guess it might be a little bit of being greedy for the charity, but I think it would look bad if Jo turned around, especially since sheís already said she would do this. Which, okay, if you say you were going to do it and then this trial made you not do it, fine. But if youíd do it and then - and youíre going to do it for charity, and then you say no, Iím not going to do it, so the charity or whoever I choose is not going to benefit, that looks kind of bad, donít you guys think?
Laura: Well, she hadnít exactly put a timeline on how quickly...
Andrew: Right, but she said it would.
Laura: ...it was going to be finished and published. I mean we didnít...
Someone: I wasnít expecting it for years.
Laura: Yeah, and did she actually point out a specific charity that she was hoping to donate to?
Andrew: But I still think it would look bad for Jo...
Andrew ...if she all of a sudden, "Oh, forget it. Iím not doing this." Then all this tabloids are going to be like, "Jo decided not to support charity."
Laura: No, I think you bring up a valid point and, honestly, I mean obviously not one wants to speak for her, but I could see her doing one regardless, but...
Andrew: I could too.
Laura: ...I - but honestly I completely see where sheís coming from at this point. Having her world be put up and just having her authority as the author questioned? I just - I can understand her being emotional and upset about that. I would be.
Fair Use Doctrine: Final Category
Andrew: For the final point: What is the effect of the use on potential market value? Will the publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon take away from the sales of Harry Potter or stop anyone from seeing the movie, buying toys, or going to the soon to be opened theme park? Almost certainly not, of course, but itís an avenue Rowlingís lawyers are exploring in earnest. Yeah, thatís a point - an important one for lawyers - Rowlingís lawyers to defend, because I feel like they could come up with a convincing case for affecting market value. However, I cannot believe that purchasing Steveís Lexicon would prevent people from buying the J.K. Rowling one. Unless the way I can always see this situation with the books and the films, is that if youíre a mother and your 10 year old son says, "Mommy, can I have this encyclopedia?" Sheís like, "Sure, son, you want to read." And then you get it and then, say, 6 months later - although it probably would be a bigger difference.
Micah: Well, chances are heís already probably read the books if heís asking for the encyclopedia.
Andrew: Yeah. No, but Iím saying If he wants one encyclopedia then he gets it and he asks his parents, "can I have this encyclopedia?" then theyíll say, "no, you already have one."
Eric: I never ever ever ever ever supported the term "encyclopedia" for J.K.R.'s book. Iím sorry, I have to say I never ever did, because itís not going to be...
Andrew: Well, youíre right.
Eric: At least from everything I heard, itís not going to be a companion to all the things sheís already written. Itís going to be behind the scenes, itís going to be character development, itís going to be - she said there was a very large sub-plot, I think it was about Seamus Finnegan that never got into the series because the books had to move a certain way and thatís the kind of stuff thatís going to be in this book. I just donít - I hate, hate the term "encyclopedia" as it refers to Joís unwritten future work. Because I never ever thought that's what it was going to be. So itís interesting now that Steve should come and do this encyclopedia.
Laura: Well, but, technically - I mean not to get too technical here, but the definition of an encyclopedia is a book or a set of books that give information on a subject or an aspect of a subject.
Eric: Yeah, youíre right.
Laura: So, technically, I donít think itís a bad term.
Andrew: And you know what? Jo canít change the name now because calling it an encyclopedia is what is making a big difference in this case, because they keep saying "oh, itís going to compete with Joís encyclopedia." So if Jo calls it the Harry Potter Bonus Info Book they're going to be like, "Oh, well, Steveís Lexicon is..
Micah: Or The Scottish Book.
Andrew: ...No bonus info, so..."
Eric: If they just change the cover and say this adds no new content, this is about the first 7 books, you know - Jo has so much more to offer is what Iím saying. Jo has so much more to offer that itís almost like if she didnít have to spend all her time doing what Steve has done and compend all the spells and everything, she could actually be giving valuable insight to the characters and things. I just think the books would be two different things. I really do. And experts - going with number four here - experts are saying in this court trial that there is no way whatsoever that this book is going to affect anything J.K.R. does. The experts at Oxford have said that in this case.
Micah: Well, yes. But my point - going back to what I said before - is that J.K.R. has explicitly stated that...
Micah: ...it's not about the money. I don't think anybody thinks that his book is going to affect the Harry Potter series as a whole.
Eric: ...that automatically kind of gives him one out of four of a win here as far as the Fair Use Doctrine goes.
Micah: However, it depends how you decide to look at this. Because from a financial standpoint, in the grand scheme of things, there is no way that his book is going touch the Harry Potter series. However, just because J.K Rowling - and I said this before - is so successful does not mean that that precludes her from being affected even if it's a small financial sum. You know, you can't say just because she is worth this amount of money and has made this amount of money off the series, then that automatically awards this category to Steve Vander Ark, because you know that that amount of money that he makes off of it is not going to have a huge impact. It's just not being fair on her side of it. Do you know what I'm saying? I don't think...
Eric: Wait, could you repeat? Okay.
Micah: I'm saying - okay. J.K. Rowling has made this large sum of money clearly off the Harry Potter series and - from the movies and everything else that's gone along with it. And we're in agreement that Steve's book in the grand scheme of things is not going to take away that much money or be a competitor to this stuff. However, you can't say that because - just because - the reason why we're saying this is because the series, this franchise, has made so much money. If it hadn't, if she was a smaller time author, this would be a bigger issue because the encyclopedia maybe would have the chance to, you know, overtake it or hurt her financially. It just seems to me that it's unfair to say because she makes x amount of money...
Eric: Yeah, yeah. Then anybody can do anything with her work...
Micah: Exactly, yeah.
A Conclusion of Sorts
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, I totally see that. And I mean I just want to say to the listeners here who are out there listening to this go back and forth, and people are probably really pissed off at me, really angry with me, I just want to say that I really, you know, I wanted to - I just wanted to present the facts, because there are the people who are on both sides, who aren't really informed. And I think that it's important to go through these four different things and really draw conclusions out of it, because that's what we should do. It's who and what MuggleCast is, you know? And I really do think that what we're doing is justified. Maybe I'm just saving myself for some really mad e-mails but...
Andrew: J.K. Rowling even issued a statement saying - I guess - is this what you were referring to, Micah? She said, "Do I have fewer rights because many people read my books?"
Eric: Yeah. And does she? I don't - I don't really...
Micah: That's exactly the quote that I was referring to.
Eric: ...think so necessarily.
Micah: And she is right though. I mean, if you think about it - No, I didn't say it but that's the one - I was actually looking for it. So I'm glad you found it. But, yeah, how can you disagree with that? I know, but there's like forty posts about the trial...
Andrew: I felt all important because J.K. Rowling's lawyers e-mailed that to me. I was like, "Ahhh! Cool!" So I posted it.
Eric: J.K. Rowling's lawyers e-mailed that to you?
Andrew: Yeah. I was like, "Hey, what's your name?"
Andrew: ASL. LOL.
Micah: The future Mrs. Sims: Dale Sindale.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: What? You took that too far.
Micah: Yeah, I'm joking.
Andrew: In like - well, hold on - so where do we stand on this? If we were Judge Patterson...
Micah: We're just as confused as he is.
Andrew: Well, basically. Okay, so - move on.
Micah: No, no...
Laura: Yeah, I mean...
Micah: People can say what they think. Yeah, go ahead...
Laura: The law is extremely vague, and they have - you know, it's split up into four parts, but so much of the wording just - it takes from each other, you know what I'm saying? Like - we were talking about how there was stuff from the second one, "The Nature of the Copyrighted Work," that applied to the first one, and so you're just looking at this jumble of a law, and it's really really hard to decide, but, honestly, taking what we have and looking at it from a principle point of view, I think that Jo and Warner Brothers should win. Absolutely, and I know that's biased, but I just can't see how it could go any other way, or how anyone could rule it any other way, because it's simply not Steve Vander Ark's work. It's hers.
Micah: Yeah. I agree with that. And I think, you know, you spend so much of your life working on something like this and, you know, to have somebody that you put a great deal of trust in and have conversed with and, you know, certainly have supported in their fan site, to have them turn around and to take it to this extreme, to make you get up out of, you know, your home and fly, you know, across the Atlantic Ocean to spend a week in New York City debating this - and clearly the effect has gone far beyond this. I mean it's really impacted the way - her life and the work that she's been trying to do on the encyclopedia over the last couple of months. She stated that in the trial, and it's affecting her will to want to continue on should R.D.R. and Steve win this case. So, I mean I really think that somebody who you thought was so devoted to you, to turn around and to put you through this is, you know, is a little bit ridiculous. I mean that's more of a personal standpoint than a legal standpoint, but I think even the law here tends to side with Jo.
Elysa: I think so too, and not just because of this particular clause, and I'm really upset that I can't find it now. I had it written down, but - I'll post it to the forums perhaps later - but I found a court case that was really similar in nature to this that did take place in New York state, and of course - I mean, just - if anyone didn't know, the whole premise of Common Law is based off of setting precedence, so judges will take precedence set by other court cases, and they are legally bound to base their judgement off of that. So it's not even just this clause that we've been discussing. It's other cases in the past that are going to have a huge affect on this, and the case that I've found - and I'm definitely going to have to post this - but the case that I've found favored the author, and it took place in New York state, so you can't even make the - you know - the whole - you can't even make the whole "Federalism" argument. That whole, "it happened in different states, there's different laws," no. This was in New York, so I think that his - Patterson's going to have to really pay attention to that, and I think between the two - that plus the fact that there's the whole issue of preponderance. Preponderance is basically just the sort of the quality over the quantity, so I think that even if it doesn't meet all four of these exact issues - even if it only just meets one - but it sides with J.K. Rowling to a greater extent, that that's going to take precedence, so I think - I don't really see, honestly, any legal way that this could work out for R.D.R. or Steve Vander Ark, and if it does I'd be really surprised.
Eric: I think the - my opinion on this is that I think the - regarding the Fair Use law being so vague, I really like the idea - I mean it was only - it's only been a law for about 30 years, and I think it was initially - I mean it seems - the way it's so dependent on itself and has the four clauses that somewhat overlap, it's supposed to be in favor of - I think the law itself is supposed to be in favor of the little guy. As opposed to the bigger corporation. I mean a lot of American laws kind of do that, but they leave an ambiguity obviously, and I think that in this case, you know, because of how much it's affecting J.K.R. and that sort of thing, that it's really the right thing. But I think initially it's trying to protect the little guy from the big, mean, scary, bully corporate people, but in this case, again, I'll say this, I think, you know, J.K.R. is very emotionally impacted by this. I think that - I mean I - as I said, as a Harry Potter fan, who can not seriously - I mean who can not understand exactly how Jo feels and be worried that if Steve wins that it will cause such issue.
Micah: Yeah, you open the floodgates. That's - I mean - I guess we could talk about...
Andrew: That was said too.
Micah: ...you know, what kind of impact it'll have, you know, at the end of this but I just wanted to mention this comment that the judge made because it goes to what you were saying, Eric. Kind of, you know, the little guy on one side and the large company on the other. But his point was - and his exact quote that he made was, "I'm concerned that this case is more lawyer driver than it is client driven. The Fair Use people on one side, and a large company is on the other side. The parties ought to see if there's not a way to work this out because there are strong issues in this case, and it could come out one way or the other. The Fair Use Doctrine is not clear."
Eric: I think after discussing this - yeah, I think after discussing this, we see there's really - as far as Fair Use goes it's vague, and it's really - like the judge said, I think we see a little bit more now why it's such a kind of up in the air thing, 'cause, you know, he doesn't want to hurt anyoneís feelings. If they can settle, you know, it's really not up to the judge. I mean he's under a lot of pressure, and I don't think he's folding under pressure, but I think a settlement would be best for everyone. I think there needs to be - like, I mean - what I ask, why don't - why doesn't Steve cut the book? Trim it. Do something that's legal. Or why hasn't there been any kind of discussion back and forth on what Steve can do, that sort of thing. I mean I think it's largely because of R.D.R. and their - I don't want to say - R.D.R.'s courage...[laughs]...or R.D.R.'s, sorry, stubbornness in the issue I think, propelled a lot of this, as we talked about before, but the whole question is then sort of just what we were talking about as for as, you know, settling is the best kind of thing.
Micah: Well, let's also remember that part of it was settled.
Andrew: The day after the judge called for some sort of settlement, lawyers for J.K. Rowling, WB, and R.D.R. told the judge, the following morning, that they reached a settlement on the false advertising and deceptive trade practices, and then they were hoping to settle on the trademark infringement and unfair competition claims.
Micah: Right, and the first one means that neither J.K. Rowling's name nor her quote endorsing the online version of Steve Vander Ark's Lexicon would appear on the cover of the book.
Andrew: Which I think - and now I'm thinking, if they settled on that, isn't WB basically saying go for it? You just can't publish the - or is it if the judge - it must be if the judge...
Micah: No. It - the thing that's still such an issue is the copyright infringement. That - which is what, you know, was part of that whole thing.
Andrew: That's the big point that still has to be solved.
Micah: They settled on like the smallest thing possible. So basically, Jo's name cannot be the Lexicon book.
Andrew: Which would hurt sales, I'd think.
Andrew: That would be a big selling point for me.
Eric: I noticed that too. I was looking at the - I was looking at the book cover, and does it say anywhere that, you know, "This is not endorsed by J.K. Rowling"? I mean, I think - it was - it would only be clear - you know, I mean, if you're not even going to have that on the cover, of course you're out to get - you know that goes with the "purpose" thing. If the book didn't even have a "Not endorsed by J.K. Rowling" thing on it, then of course it seems that they were out to get, you know, a quick buck. I think it would - That's the thing with R.D.R., they don't seem to be ever willing to cooperate at all. They were just really bold and, "Urgh", and I think
that's going to count against them, and especially Steve. I think Steve - if he looses this case, I'm going to blame it largely on the R.D.R. Books and not even on his what could be considered malicious intent. I think R.D.R. has gotten him into a lot of trouble with this...
Eric: ...and I think he's going to have to suffer for that. I feel bad for the guy. And I...
Micah: And I'm looking...I'm looking on the site to see where there's the quote, and I guess it's under the fan site award that they have. So I guess that quote was going to be published on the book.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean - well the quote - I remember it. It talks about The Harry Potter Lexicon being her natural home and she's used it a couple of times when she's in a cafe because it's handy. We've used it! I mean - I mean, I'm not saying this is our reason for...[laughs]...the trial to go any way, but we've used it you know, when - when I'm looking forward to next week to see what we're going to talk about in Chapter-By-Chapter, I go on the Lexicon to get the little summary. I'll be like, "Oh, okay it's..." Now, granted, I could just be going on the MuggleNet encyclopedia, which is the most legal Harry Potter encyclopedia online right now, but...
Andrew: ...it's all good.
A Similar Case from the Past
Elysa: Okay, I think I found this - well, I found a case that was referring to. It's Harper and Roe Publishers, Inc., vs. Nation Enterprises, and - well, basically, so it was really, really similar to what's happening here. Harper and Roe Publishers, Inc. had sued Nation Enterprises for writing an article actually that was going to appear in Time Magazine, but Time Magazine opted not to print it once they discovered that this suit was being taken against Nation Enterprises, and essentially the District
Court ruled in favor of Harper and Roe Publishers, saying that it was not a Fair Use, that they had used too much material without seeking the publisher's direct permission. But then, interestingly enough, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying that because Nation Enterprises was only using excerpts of the publishing company's work, that they - it was a Fair Use and therefore that they could publish it. But I'm reading one of the concurring opinions here, and it specifically says if they had used more than just excerpts, then it would have definitely been a violation of Fair Use. And this was ultimately taken to Federal Courts, but it began in New York State, so I think cases such as that are going to have a pretty major effect.
Andrew: Yeah, I was just going to say, I hope Judge Robertson's been looking at this.
Andrew: Yeah, sorry, Patterson.
Elysa: Yeah, yeah. I'm sure he has. I mean - and I think just proves that a lot of it is going to have to do with just how much that they use, and just the quantity of it, probably.
Eric: Yeah, and if it can be considered for scholarly review, or if it's sloppy and lazy.
Elysa: Right. No, that too. Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Let's wrap it up for now.
Micah: I was just going to add that this could probably go through a serious round of appeals and eventually end up at the Supreme Court.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
The Fandom After the Trial
Micah: I know, Andrew, you mentioned that before, so, you know, as Elysa said, with that other case she was talking about, clearly, you know, if R.D.R. were to lose this case I'm sure they would take it to the next level and, you know - I'm just - kind of, I guess, a good note to end on would be, what do you guys think the impact is going to be regardless of the outcome sort of moving forward within the fandom?
Andrew: I think people will want to move on, like I do right now with this
Andrew: I just feel like - I just feel like people are going to be so done with this.
Eric: Well, itís a - well, maybe, but we hadnít - but we havenít covered it before this, so if weíre going to...
Andrew: Right, right. No, this has been a very good discussion, donít get me wrong.
Micah: Well, itís a very important question, though. Especially when you look at the potential to create that slippery slope, or you look at the sort of floodgates that can open.
Andrew: Yeah. Well letís go around real quick. Letís start with Laura.
Laura: Oh goodness. I think we kind of outlined some of the possible outcomes towards the beginning of the episode, but I think - and this is something that kind of saddens me. I feel like regardless of the outcome, weíre looking at the possibility of Jo maybe being more cautious with the way she approaches fansites. And I think thatís a really very sad reality. I donít want her to have to feel like she canít grant some site a fan award, because then that might give, you know, the creator the initiative to go out and do something like this. However Iím hopeful, Iím optimistic that if this trial is completed successfully on Joís part that it wonít
really matter because then this sort of thing really couldnít happen again. Because I just feel like if someone tried to pull something like this after what allís happened with Steve Vander Ark it just would fall apart. It wouldnít go to trial, you know what Iím saying? So I donít know. Iím hoping, like Andrew said, that we kind of all move on from it, but I think that there will be some hesitance in the future.
Elysa: Itís total ESP, Laura. You just stole the words right from my mouth.
Elysa: Thatís it, I agree! Amen. Thatís it.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Thatís an easy way to get out of it.
Eric: I'm going to say a similar - I remember - yeah, really - I remember - well, thereís a show now called Lewis Blackís Root of All Evil. Do you guys watch that show?
Andrew: Terrible show. But go ahead.
Eric: Well itís a - it is...[laughs]...but they do a thing when the [unintelligible] of evil, what happens if everything goes, you know, unchecked and everything, and I think Laura and Elysa are, you know, correct. I'm worried that no matter what J.K.R. is going to be cautious and Warner Brothers is going to be really tense. And the freedom - I mean Iím not saying it's a reason not to have done this case, Ďcause I think it had to have happened sooner of later, I really do, considering all the years of writing Harry Potter are behind us and all the years of speculating and reading Harry Potter are about five hundred years are ahead of us. You know, I mean I always thought it would happen and it had to have happened, but Iím worried. Iím just worried, too, is how I feel. I think it was something that had to happen and weíll see how Jo handles it. I think how Jo handles the future, regardless of the outcome, is going to be something that a lot of people will look up to her for and continuously sort of, you know, talk about her regarding and other positive or negative ways.
Andrew: Micah Tan?
Micah: I agree with the points that have been made by Laura and Eric since
Elysa just differed to Laura, but...
Laura: Oh no...
Laura: ...seriously, do it. Because Elysa and I have an interchangeable brain thing going on here...
Micah: That - Thatíd be the...
Laura: Weíre the same person.
Elysa: True that.
Andrew: Thatís hot.
Eric: You know what, that should be the title...
Micah: Itís hot.
Eric: ...Mugglecast 142: That's Hot.
Andrew: Interchangeable brains: Thatís hot.
Micah: No, weíve said it. You opened the floodgates, essentially. If R.D.R. wins and, you know, anything can then be taken, you know - Jo is looking at it from the standpoint of her work can be extremely compromised if something like this gets published. And then, you know, I think that, you know, it should be in favor of Jo. I think thatís been pretty clear throughout the course of this whole show.
Andrew: All right, well, I think that does conclude our discussion this week for the court thing, whatever the hell weíve been talking about. So weíll move on to Chapter-by-Chapter.
Laura: I was about to go, "No! Not Chapter-by-Chapter!"
Andrew: [laughs] All right, weíre going to have a fun segment before we get out of here for today.
Make the Music Connection
[Make The Music Connection sound clip plays]
Andrew: Laura, you ready for your first one?
Laura: I was born ready.
Andrew: Okay, letís go.
["Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher begins playing]
Andrew: "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher. These are Ericís choices this week, by the way. This is not in my personal library collection.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah, did you just get that IM I sent you, I take it?
Andrew: Yes, I did.
Eric: Why? What did it say?
Laura: Oh, you know, itís a pretty popular acronym on the Internet.
Laura: Whatís it called again?
Andrew: "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."
Laura: Well, I think youíve got a lot of those kinds of people that we see in the Harry Potter books. I mean, weíve got - I donít know about gypsies so much, but I mean there are certainly a couple or characters in the books whose...
Eric: Where would you find them?
Laura: What do you mean where would I find them?
Eric: Like, an example of the location. I see what youíre saying, I agree with you.
Laura: No, no, what I mean is that there are certainly thieves, I mean look at Mundungus Fletcher, who is clearly a thief. As for tramps, I mean thereís Pansy Parkinson...
Eric: Not that kind of tramp! Not that kind of tramp, Laura! Theyíre talking about women in rags, the kind youíd find in Knockturn Alley.
Laura: Okay, well, thank you, Eric.
Elysa: Again, Pansy Parkinson.
Micah: Didnít Voldemort use a tramp for one of his Horcruxes?
Laura: Yes, he did.
Andrew: Ow. All right, Elysa, your turn?
Elysa: All right, letís go for it.
["Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra begins playing]
Andrew: Please tell me this is Frank Sinatra.
Eric: Of course, Andrew, of course. [laughs]
Andrew: Awesome. Frank Sinatra, "Witchcraft." Make the connection, Elysa.
Elysa: Oh god, I donít know where to begin on that.
Eric: Was it too difficult? Should I give you "Pretty Fly For A White Guy," by Offspring? Thatís my backup.
Elysa: Oh, please donít. Letís not molest, you know - let's not molest my ear drums today with that nonsense.
Elysa: Frank Sinatra. God, I donít know! I donít know, Iím trying to connect it to the court case. [laughs]
Eric: "Those fingers in my hair."
Elysa: See, I don't really particularly...
Micah: It doesnít have to be about the court case.
Elysa: I know, but thatís the first thing I thought of, honestly, because I donít particularly care for, you know, Frank Sinatra. I know that may be a tragedy, but I donít really care for him, so Iím going to go with the sound of Steve Vander Arkís tears. When he looses the court case.
Eric: Strangely, I like that.
Elysa: That will be the theme music to him walking out.
Eric: [sings] Itís witchcraft! [speaks] I must say, I like the comparison. Kind of.
Andrew: Poor Steve. He's never coming on this show.
Elysa: All right, all right. R.D.R.'s tears. Okay.
Andrew: No! No. That's fine. Thatís fine. All right, Eric. Hereís your connection.
["Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer begins to play]
Andrew: [sings] "Waiting."
[song continues to play]
Andrew: Okay Eric. John Mayer. I don't know the name of the song.
Eric: It's "Waiting on the World to Change." It came from my iTunes so I should know, but...[laughs]...I would set this around the time of Book 5. There are certain members - I'm going to say the unsung sort of school members who weren't directly involved with Harry but who knew that there was some kind of shady stuff going on with the government, you know, people who suspected it. Like Neville's gran. You know, she was never involved, but she was waiting on the world to change, but I'm going to
take it down to the adolescents, you know, 'cause one of the lyrics is, "Me and all my friends. They say we stand for nothing," that sort of thing. So I'm going to say the unsung heroes of Dumbledore's Army, for instance. Let's just do that.
Andrew: Good choice. Micah.
Eric: You're going to like this one.
["Wild Side" by Lou Reed begins playing]
Andrew: Laura, did I hear you in the chorus there?
Andrew: "Wild Side," Micah. It's a bad joke I guess.
Micah: Yeah. I would say maybe Aberforth talking to his goat.
Andrew: Every episode you have to have a reference with the goat.
Micah: It had to be here, dude! We couldn't talk about it during the trial.
[Elysa and Laura laugh]
Andrew: What if we didn't do Make The Music Connection? During the sign off would you be like, "I like goats, Micah Tannenbaum."
Laura: Andrew he has to do it...
Micah: No, I don't like goats! Aberforth likes goats.
Laura: ...now, there are people on the fan forums writing Micah/goat fan fiction, so I mean...
Micah: [laughs] Are there really?
Laura: Yes! [laughs]
Micah: Wow. People need...Yo, guys, go see a movie or something. Please!
[Andrew and Elysa laugh]
Eric: Micah speaks out to the fanfic shippers.
Andrew: All right. Good. My turn.
["Cheers" theme song begins playing]
Andrew: What the hell is this?
Micah: It's the "Cheers" theme song!
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: I love just picturing these songs in the movies. So it's the "Cheers" theme song.
Micah: It is, yeah.
Andrew: All right, well, how about this? The Leaky Cauldron. The trio's walking in and then just all of a sudden you just hear this bit right here.
["Cheers" theme song chorus plays]
Andrew: And you see them all waving to everyone. "Hey! How you all doing?"
Eric: No, that's good, dude. Tom the bartender seems to know everyoneís name.
Announcement: Number One on Podcast Alley
Andrew: All right. Well, we skipped announcements in the beginning of the show, but just two announcements we wanted to make this week. First of all, thank you to everyone who has been voting for us on Podcast Alley. We've been doing great. I think we're still number one. Right? So thank you to everyone whoís been voting for us. Are we number one? I'm loading it real quick. Yeah, we're number one. Awesome. Thanks, guys. Thanks to everyone who's been voting. Don't forget, I mean, just because it's MuggleCast Mapril doesn't mean you don't have to vote in MuggleCast May, so...
Andrew: ...see you there. Also, it's somebody's birthday this week!
It's Eric's Birthday!
[Happy Birthday song plays]
Andrew: Eric's birthday! April 23.
Andrew: Happy birthday, Eric.
Eric: God. Thank you, guys, so much. I'm leaving my teens behind. I couldn't think of a better way to do it than with that song. Who did that, Andrew? That's...
Andrew: Oh, that's my voice. I'm singing.
Eric: Oh! Thank you so much. That's - seriously.
Andrew: You're welcome.
Micah: It sounds more like Ryan Sims.
Andrew: See, isn't that nice?
Micah: Instead of Andrew Sims.
Andrew: Wasn't that cute?
Eric: Well, remember, Ryan... [laughs]
Andrew: That was just for you, Eric. I composed it all.
Eric: Thank you. Thank you so much.
[Show music begins playing]
Andrew: Ah. Okay, well. This has been a very filled show, a very good show. But I think it's time to wrap up the show. Laura, if people want to contact us via the P.O. Box, how do they do that?
Laura: Send stuff - not pickles - to:
P.O. Box 3151
Andrew: You could also call the MuggleCast hotline to leave your voicemail,
questions, comments or concerns. If you're in the United States, you can dial 1-218-20-MAGIC. If you're in the United Kingdom, you can dial 020-8144-0677. And if you're in Australia - let me try that again. And if you're in Australia, you can dial 02-8003-5668. You can also Skype the username MuggleCast. No matter how you call us, just remember to keep your message under sixty seconds, eliminate as much background noise as possible, please.
We also have a handy feedback form on MuggleCast.com to contact any one of us, or you can just use our first name at staff dot mugglenet dot
com. Don't forget to visit MuggleCast.com for a variety of contact links including community outlets: MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Frappr, Last.FM, the fanlistings and forums. Digg the show at Digg.com, and as we said, vote for us once a month at Podcast Alley.
Andrew: It's been a great show, guys. Elysa, thanks for coming back on the show. I forgot to say that.
Elysa: No problem. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: No problem.
Micah: Great insight. Seriously.
Elysa: Aw. Thank you, guys. Thanks for having me again.
Andrew: But, I have to admit, I think your Make the Music Connection was the best with everything.
[Elysa and Laura laugh]
Micah: You don't like my goat?
Andrew: Oh, the sound of the tears.
Eric: But that was after she said she spent thirty seconds saying she didn't know or like Frank Sinatra.
Andrew: Well, apologies to J.K. Rowling, but we are out of time this week. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: [laughs] I'm Eric Scull.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Elysa: And I'm Elysa Montfort.
Micah: Be civilized in your responses that you send in. Please.
Andrew: We'll see everyone next week for Episode 143. Buh-bye!
Micah: Court is adjourned.
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