Warner Bros. calls for University of New Hampshire “Potter” classes to cease and desist

Just recently, Warner Bros. ordered a cease and desist on University of New Hampshire (UNH) for their Potter-themed summer classes. The classes were offered for children between fourth and eighth grade and used the Harry Potter books to “teach the kids grammar and literature tools” in a more dynamic and fun way.

Warner Bros.’ letter requested that the class be altered so that “those interested in it did not think Warner Brothers sponsored the course.”

While Warner Bros. does own most of the copyright to the Potter franchise, Michelle Gluck — special counsel for UNH — says that “teachers are allowed to teach about copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owners.”

Going on, Gluck says that “UNH did not admit any of [Warner Bros.’] allegations and does not believe the course created any risk of confusion within the meaning of trademark law” since they did not use any of the entertainment aspects of the Potter franchise and thus did not need a license from the studio.

However, UNH has made alterations to the course by “changing the name, avoiding references to trademarks and switching the course ‘modules and some of the navigation buttons’ online.”

While the teacher of the course, Professor James Krasner, refused to comment on the legal case, the director of UNH assured that the course made a positive impact on the students who attended it and reassured that it would return in the upcoming summer.

Harry Potter-themed courses are often taught at universities and colleges. In fact, MuggleNet Academia has held many podcast lessons with many of these Professors and scholars. For a list of many of the Potter courses, head over to MuggleNet Academia right here.

Do you feel Warner Bros. is right in this case, or do you side with University of New Hampshire? Let us know in the comments below.

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