I’m not particularly thrilled with the news. I can’t comment on the specifics of the case, since I don’t have access to the decision itself yet. I do think that this will have a chilling effect on similar endeavors. According to CNN, the judge said:
“While the lexicon, in its current state, is not a fair use of the Harry Potter works, reference works that share the lexicon’s purpose of aiding readers of literature generally should be encouraged rather than stifled.”
My guess is that this decision will pretty much the opposite effect. Even without the specific text of the case, the decision would seem to add to the risk of the authors and publishers of such texts. Such authors typically have less power/influence/money when compared to the resources that the established author and publishers have, and I’ll guess that publishers will be more averse to accepting such works. We’ll see. Call me skeptical, but I’m curious about the fair use evaluation and what “irreparable harm” Rowling would suffer from the publication of the Lexicon. And I am a fan, now a disappointed one.
Update: I have actually read the text of the case, and I don’t really think it changes the character of my earlier message. Yes, it’s a second circuit case and not binding all over the country, and yes, the facts are specific to this case, which is usually the situation. But you don’t have to convince the lawyers and judges that this case might not affect them- you have to convince the publishers and potential authors.