The U-Bend #33: A Wyrd Series of Events

by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto

“It seemed to be fact, however, that he had booked the Weird Sisters. Exactly who or what the Weird Sisters were Harry didn’t know, never having had access to a wizard’s wireless, but he deduced from the wild excitement of those who had grown up listening to WNN (Wizarding Wireless Network) that they were a very famous musical group. “
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

A tragedy of justice has occurred this past week. And no, we are not talking about Snape being found innocent in The People v. Severus Snape. But, we digress. This past week, we learned that a band is trying to stop the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Canada. Why? Beyond the monetary damages and apologies, it all boils down to a name. And as you will see, this weird series of events will show why a name is such an important thing.

What is so important about a name? That is the question that is being asked by all the Harry Potter fans in Canada. This week an interesting article fell on our desk. It appears that a band from Calgary is trying to stop Warner Brothers from releasing the Goblet of Fire movie here in Canada (well, until they get a settlement). The band’s name? The Wyrd Sisters. But you, the oh-so-reasonable (and clever) reader must have read our opening book quote because you’re saying, “But, the band is called the Weird Sisters,” and you would be right. The magic of Hollywood on the other hand, isn’t so clever. Some WB executive (probably the same one who wanted a shrunken head in PoA) thought that changing ‘Weird’ to ‘Wyrd’ would be cool. Well, well, well… look at the situation we’re in now.

Now the band has its supporters, and a lot of detractors (heck, if they were trying to prevent you from seeing your favorite movie series, wouldn’t you go ballistic too?), but in the interest of fairness, let’s break this down a bit more. The whole problem, as we’ve stated, comes from the name, The Wyrd Sisters. Now the band is justified in saying, “Hey that’s our name,” after all, they were founded before the movie went into production (we think). Now, Warner Brothers will probably say that it was all a horrible misunderstanding and that the name should be allowed in ‘Fair Use’ since the band portrayed in the movie is fictional and in no way meant to be the Wyrd Sisters from Calgary.

But, what is ‘Fair Use’? After all, as any Harry Potter convention will tell you, “Warner Brothers won’t let me call my convention ‘Harry Potter Fan-con 06’. I have to call it: Muggles Enjoying Magical Schools and the Students Who Attend Them.” Is it really fair that WB holds such a tight control over the Potter license when compared to other fan communities? At least Lucas (in his flannel wearing wisdom) allows an official Star Wars convention. Sure, his recent movies left a bit to be desired but at least he’s giving back to the fandom that gave so much to him (i.e. cash). The best that we’ve ever seen out of WB is a couple of fansite kits and trips for the webmasters to the movie sets. Will we ever see an official Potter-con? WB, we leave the ball in your court.

So while the situation with the Wyrd Sisters is unfortunate, we see where they are coming from. Canadian Potter fans don’t fret; the odds are this case will be settled before November. And if it isn’t, this November we’ll be making a trip to the United States and then we’ll be flying to Calgary.

I can’t think of anything to help the ending. Just let it end. Its fine…..errr, yea fine.